Susan Dromey Heeter's Budget Vogue: Great tickets, good advice, and more fond musings

By SUSAN DROMEY HEETER December 29. 2017 8:04PM
A bird's-eye view of the Women's March for Civil Rights in Portsmouth on Jan. 21, 2017. Congress Street was shut down for the event, which drew people from New Hampshire and Maine. (Kimberley Haas/Sunday News Correspondent file photo)

It's the time of year for lists - Santa's lists, shopping lists, top-10 lists. Here at my Budget Vogue desk, it's time for my own list - musings on the year, all involving Budget and Vogue.

1. Top moment in NYC in 2017: Winning lottery tickets to "Book of Mormon" on Broadway. Two hours before select Broadway shows is the chance to get significantly reduced same-day tickets. Simply show up to the theater, put your name in a bucket, cross your fingers and wait. Half the fun is the anticipation and possibility of hearing your name called. When my daughter and I won tickets we were beyond thrilled. And the show? To be front row center and close enough to peek into the orchestra pit, to see the sweat on performers, to watch the conductor turn the pages to the score is, well, beyond the best. And for $30 a ticket? Even better.

2. Top words of advice in 2017: "You will never regret being kind."

3. Top laugh 'til I cried: Listening to my friend Marybeth talk about her family's pet monkey. Marybeth is one of 10 children, and they had a pet monkey. And that pet monkey climbed the Christmas tree; it swayed and the monkey would not get out. Her father barked at her brother to put on white knit gloves to get the monkey "out of that damned tree." Marybeth's brother, of course, complied - but the white knit gloves did not do much to deter the monkey bite.

4. Top treat at Christmas time: Yule Log Rolls from Drakes. These are similar to Yodels but slightly larger and topped with sprinkles. I think they are outstanding and, because they're only available for a limited time around the holidays, I am entirely ecstatic when they appear on the shelves at Market Basket. They are my favorite dessert, bar none. I believe they cost around $3.99 and there are six. They are sure to please at your next gathering; I know I'm going to serve them at mine.

5. Top favorite word in 2017: Benign.

6. Top new habit cultivated in 2017: Carrying around note cards. When I have a moment in a waiting room, a pause at a sporting event, a moment waiting for someone to show up, I hand-write a note. And I've found lovely cards and stationery at various thrift shops, as, with the advent of those little phone apparatuses, no one seems to be hand-writing much these days. But I do. And I value and embrace the joy that comes after someone receives a note; very often there is a thank-you note for the thank-you note. This warms my heart. I hope to keep up this habit in 2018; it's a little moment of joy all around.

7. Top show to binge watch: I love "The Crown." All those stiff upper lips, those Queen Elizabeth cardigans, that tea served in lovely china cups just make me thrill in all things Buckingham Palace. There is rarely a hair out of place, never dishes in the sink, even little Prince Charles wears suits to go out to play. It is opposite world to me - as I watch, I tend to be in my pajamas eating Doritos, an activity I never see Queen Elizabeth or Prince Phillip engage in.

8. Top Christmas gift to bequeath: I'm a big fan of making popcorn. I use white popcorn, fine sea salt and vegetable oil; I utilize a Stir Crazy popper and present the popcorn wrapped in brown paper grocery bags. The popcorn is vegan, gluten-free, free-range and tends to be a crowd pleaser. Oh, and I never need my container back!

9. Top book purchased in 2017: The Constitution of the United States of America.

10. Top free, outdoor event attended in 2017: The Women's March on Jan. 21 in Portsmouth. Beyond enthusiastically thrilling. There will be another in 2018 on Saturday, Jan. 20, again at Market Square in Portsmouth. Meet me there - would love to see you. So Budget Vogue, so necessary, so wonderful, particularly in 2018 when we can all do something else free and empowering: VOTE!

So, thank you, dear Budget Vogue readers for another year of tops. Be well, bask in the glory of your own 2017 lists, and may your joys be topped in 2018.

Susan Dromey Heeter lives and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at

LifestyleNew Year

Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required