F*#ng February

Anybody seen January? I blinked, and it was gone. Three times in the last two days I’ve said things like “I’ll get to that in January” and “Hmm, maybe I’ll go in January.” Get to what? Go where? I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is I’m supposed to be running the show here, and I can’t remember what month it is.

It might be because Stu came home last week after 18 days in the hospital and I’m tired.

It might be because while I raced back and forth to see him I also raced to finish 500 Acres and No Place to Hide and I’m a little stressed.

It might be because my mom’s here doing her amazing mom thing and COOKING and my system’s in shock from actually eating something every day.

And it might just be because my birthday is this month and frankly? I’d prefer to delete February from the calendar.

It’s not that this is the BIG birthday. No. This is the PRE-big birthday. Uh huh. That’s right. You know what birthday I’m referring to. And I know several of you will leave me comments like “Oh Sue, you look great for someone turning THIRTY!” And I love you for it.

But I don’t love February.

And now you see why…

‘Twas the day before Christmas break…

‘Twas the day before Christmas break, and all through this place

Presents are hidden in every weird space.

Boxes tucked in cabinets, bags under the sink

Will my guys seek them out there? They’re men, what do you think? 

Some hiding spots are so good, all I can say,

Is I hope I recall them after a little Cabernet.

‘Cause Lord knows it’ll be me, late Christmas Eve night

Putting gifts under the tree, while my three men sleep tight.

With my wine glass and my flashlight, and my longshoreman’s mouth

Saying, “How the fuck could I lose stuff in such a small house?!”

Eventually I’ll get done, and go up to bed

And discover my pillow, tucked under Tug’s head.

Yes, it’s the day before Christmas break and frankly I’m glad.

Hope your holiday and your New Year is the best you ever had!

Just Shoot Me

A few weeks ago we had a whole bunch of family photos taken. We’re not usually big family photo people. We’re more, mom’s-not-in-the-shot-’cause-she’s-snapping-it people. I know, there’s this new fangled thing called a timer, and I get a kick out of watching folks set theirs and then run like hell to be in the picture. But as I have a tough time just opening the battery compartment on my camera, not to mention a habit of tripping over my own two feet (and at my age, who needs to break a hip?), I’d say that particular technology is beyond my scope of capabilities.

And frankly? All we’d really wind up with is photographic proof of my coming thisclose to killing my kids in an attempt to make them sit still and smile, dammit!

In any case, we had all these pictures done and the fact that everyone looks happy (and no one was threatened with death and dismemberment to achieve that result) is testament to Kim Petro’s incredible talent. Not only is she a terrific photographer, clearly the woman can herd cats.


I love this shot. In fact, I loved so many of them I ordered quite a few including several in black and white. I’ve been thinking about doing an entire wall of black and white photos for oh, the past six years. And now, with Stu’s illness, Casey’s post high school plans frighteningly in flux, Cuyler launching his stand-up comedy career (complete with Richard Lewis-like neurosis that “someone’s stealing my stuff!”), the final changes to my manuscript due really, really soon, and of course the holidays on the horizon, now? Is the perfect time to add this project to my plate.

Mad multi tasking skills, or terminal adult ADHD? You make the call.

I myself am going with mad multi tasking skills. Why? Because apparently there’s a mental health benefit to doing a dozen things at once.

In my quest to “get those black and white pictures up, pronto!” (because really, after all this time I should rush, right?), I’ve gone rummaging through scrapbooks, albums, and folders full of pictures looking for other black and whites to include. And the result? Is that my walk (albeit a speed walk) down memory lane, my taking just a little time to “go back,” is giving me the energy to go forward. Lately I’ve been running on fumes, but the images of family and friends – many of whom I haven’t seen in years – have refueled me.

Maybe someday my sons will break out our collection of pictures and feel similarly. Or maybe they’ll see them and say (maybe to their own sons), “Damn your Grandmother! That’s the day she made us wear our Giants jerseys and we jinxed them. Cowboys 33. Giants 20. I thought Grandpa was gonna kill her.”

Hmm. Maybe it’s better we’re not big family photo people.

It’s never too soon to buy a great beach read!

I know, it’s only December and yes, like everyone else I’m buying Christmas gifts.  But as far as I’m concerned, it’s never too early to start shopping for next summer’s stint at the shore. It makes the cold more bearable and it’s way more acceptable than spiking your morning coffee with Kahlua. Not that I’ve ever done that, but I can imagine.

On days like today, when I’m kicking myself for not taking the window boxes down and putting the outside lights up when it was sixty-three degrees, I like to think about what I’ll pack (bathing suit, blender, sunblock), what I’ll leave home (laptop, the aforementioned sunblock, and of course a variety of Stu’s meds which will result in frantic calls to the doctor and several trips to the local pharmacy, which is fine because I’ll be headed there for sunblock anyway), what I’ll drink (wine, margaritas, and more wine), and what I’ll read.

On my beach read list this gray December day is Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck (because I do feel bad about my neck, not to mention my forehead, and beause no matter how many times I read it I laugh out loud), her new book, I Remember Nothing (because I know how she feels or at least I think I do. I don’t know; I can’t remember.), Jen Lancaster’s My Fair Lazy (because that woman kills me), and Paul Rudnick’s I Shudder which I’ve read at least three times and cannot recommend highly enough. If you love to laugh, check it out. The man is a master.

Oh Lord, help me hang on ’til next summer. Sun, sand, surf, a glass of chardonnay, and I Shudder. No really, I do.

I tingle, too. Why? Because next August (the height of beach season!), eight months from today* in fact, 500 Acres and No Place to Hide comes out. You can pre-order a copy right now on Amazon. And I really, truly, shamelessly beg you to do so. 🙂 You won’t get it for awhile, but at least you’ll know it’s coming and you can make room for it in your beach bag.

Just pack it with your margarita mix, big bottle of tequila, and blender. (Yes, the one from home. Take it from me: never put the fate of happy hour in the hands of a vacation place appliance!)  Oh, and don’t forget your loved ones’ meds and your sunblock. Having to run to the store cuts down on beach time, which cuts down on beach reading time, and we just can’t have that, can we? I didn’t think so.

Happy holiday shopping, all, and more importantly, happy holidays. Thanks for thinking of 500 Acres when you’re on Amazon!

*I started writing this post on December 2nd. I hope to hit “Publish” before January 2nd!