Monday, December 29, 2014

The Annual Newsletter for 2014. Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!

The 2014 Newsletter

A few years ago, I considered writing a Country Western song. Not to get rich, or become famous—because we all know how things turn out if that's what you're striving for in life. All I wanted to do was find a unique approach to the annual newsletter, and maybe poke a little fun at the place we now consider home: Georgia.

 I'm pretty sure that little ditty lives on somewhere—maybe on a hard drive or in the scribbled pages of a notebook. When I die y'all can sell it to Taylor Swift and split the millions. You've got my blessing.
Damn. That sounds like a Country Western song right there: family, lost treasure, a dead broad and blessings.

Truth is, sometimes I get an idea in my head and just can't shake it. Most people call this crazy. Some, well, one person anyway, calls it "genius."
That's why this year you're getting a full-on Sandes Country Western rendition of our 2014.
You could also BLAME IT ON THE MOONSHINE or the fact that Linda started the year in Key West, at the southernmost tip of the US of A. Or... because she took her first trip to Nashville, Tennessee.

Yessiree. Music City! Also known as Cashvegas, The Home of the Honky Tonk, The Heart of Country Music, The Soul of High Carb Living, Twang Town, Trashville, the Third Coast, Rock City, Not Memphis, The Protestant Vatican, The Buckle of the Bible Belt and my favorite: Nashvegas! Yeah, baby.

 It was a fantastic road trip from the ATL. Two sassy gals in a Jaguar convertible with a trunk of wine and good intentions. I prefer not to dwell on the redhead returning home with a broken wrist—because what happens in Nashvegas, stays in Nashvegas—especially when you're invited there to speak on a mystery panel. (PARDON ME) I'VE GOT SOMEONE TO KILL.

In Twang Town, country music blares out of every street corner speaker, every shop, bar and restaurant. In the Buy 1, Get 2 Free Boot shop, we heard, I BOUGHT THE SHOES THAT JUST WALKED OUT ON ME. Over lunch, we were serenaded by a sparkly-suited gentleman crooning, IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER, I'D LIVE OVER A DELICATESSEN. By dinnertime, I was speaking in full-blown country-western song titles. Yep, I MAY BE USED, BUT BABY I AIN'T USED UP.
Oh, you see where I'm going, don't you. Yes, those are real life country western song titles. Well, most of them anyway.

 As usual, the even years are a time of settling-in for us. Fixing things, making things, staying close to home and hearth. This year, I learned YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUR KATE AND EDITH, TOO. But that never stops me from trying, even if—as we say in Bunco, IT TAKES ME ALL NIGHT LONG TO DO WHAT I USED TO DO ALL NIGHT LONG.

M worked his butt off this year too. He was proud to say, JIM, I WORE A TIE TODAY. If I didn't know better, I'd think his daily prayer was, DROP KICK ME, JESUS, THROUGH THE GOALPOSTS OF LIFE. He certainly put in some long hours at the office, while I thought, I DON'T KNOW WHETHER TO KILL MYSELF OR GO BOWLING.

 Of course, there was plenty of writing and rewriting time, pestering the agent to pester the editors, telling them, IF I AIN'T GOT IT, YOU DON'T NEED IT. While the topsy-turvy world of publishing had me saying, I'VE GOT THE HUNGRIES FOR YOUR LOVE AND I'M WAITING IN THE WELFARE LINE.
Yeah, a girl's got to believe in herself and stick to her guns, because IF I CAN'T BE NUMBER ONE IN YOUR LIFE, THEN NUMBER TWO ON YOU.

Trying to helpful, M suggested he was GONNA HIRE A WINO TO DECORATE OUR HOME, but Linda rose to the challenge and by spring, we had a new patio and were WALKING ON SLIPPERY ROCKS TO FALL INTO YOU.

In March, Linda hosted her 12th birthday event, combining a St. Patrick's Day pub crawl with a dancing party bus, inviting friends old and new. DON'T WORRY DARLING POLISH VODKA WON'T MAKE YOUR CLOTHES FALL OFF.
 At one bar, M was heard to say, I WISH I WAS A WOMAN, SO I COULD GO OUT WITH A GUY LIKE ME. At stop number three, a guy in a green wig assured him that was still possible as Linda texted: I WAS LOOKING BACK TO SEE IF YOU WERE LOOKING BACK TO SEE IF I WAS LOOKING BACK TO SEE IF YOU WERE LOOKING BACK AT ME. The Milton cops thought it was funny.

 We concluded the wet months at a local (cheap) version of the Kentucky Derby, slogging a bunch of folks to The Steeplechase singing, BEER FOR MY HORSES while playing Cards Against Humanity, because I'm the QUEEN OF MY DOUBLEWIDE TRAILER. and SHE THINKS MY TRACTOR'S SEXY.

 As the weather warmed, Linda blazed new NC trails with her hiking buddy, Debbie. By the end of their escape they were singing the camper's favorite tune: I'D LIKE TO CHECK YOU FOR TICKS.

Back home at UGA, the boy took some tough summer courses. I'LL SUBLET YOUR UGLY APARTMENT, JUST STACK YOUR BOXES BY THE DOOR but WHO'S GONNA MOW YOUR GRASS?

The girl (SHE GOT FRECKLES ON HER, BUT SHE'S PRETTY) was surprised by her friends with a Sweet 16 party, then took driving lessons from a female bodybuilder/stand-up comic/substitute teacher, whose lessons included IF LOVE WERE OIL, I'D BE A QUART LOW and IT'S NOT THE HIGH COST OF LIVING, IT'S THE COST OF LIVING HIGH.


In Florida, we had plenty of beach time with a house full of females, learning, YOU CAN LOCK ME UP IN JAIL AND THROW AWAY THE KEY BUT YOU CAN'T STOP MY FACE FROM BREAKING OUT. The boy went back to school and got his first apartment saying, I'M A GROWN ASS MAN, BUT MAMA CAN YOU HANG MY DRAPES?
And of course, there were outings to DRAGON CON: I DON'T KNOW WHETHER TO COME HOME OR GO CRAZY, the Decatur Book Festival: MY RED NECK, MY WHITE SOCKS AND MY BLUE RIBBON BEER, and Netherworld with the besties, where I SAT DOWN ON A BEAR TRAP.

In the fall, s an anniversary gift, M finally kept his promise to join Linda backpacking. SHE TOLD ME TO TAKE A HIKE AND I DID, HOLDING HER HAND. Though he was heard to murmur I'D RATHER HAVE A BOTTLE IN FRONT OF ME THAN A FRONTAL LOBOTOMY before agreeing. It was just one night and he admitted that SLEEPING IN THE WOODS IS GRAND EXCEPT FOR THE SPIDERS ON MY FACE.

With the kids back at school, Linda got busy finishing the fifth book and planning more Girls Night Out Events, sad to learn YOU CAN'T ROLLERSKATE IN A BUFFALO HERD. But you can shoo your husband off to Poker Night, even if he says, I'D RATHER PLAY POKER WITH YOUR DOG, HE MAY BITE BUT HE DON'T WHINE HALF AS MUCH AS YOU.

I prefer not to dwell on the hole in pocket but IF I HAD A NOSE FULL OF NICKLES, I'D SNEEZE THEM ALL ATCHOO.

Even after taking a REFRIED DREAMS cooking class with M: SADDLE UP THE STOVE MOM, I'M RIDING THE RANGE TONIGHT, he made a kitchen faux pas by grabbing a wrapped package from the freezer in GA and driving it all the way to FL not checking it.
So on Christmas day, we had a beautiful little roaster chicken instead of a fat round turkey breast. In the end, poultry is still poultry and there's nothing sweeter than family puzzle time while doing the POULTRY PROMENADE.
 Later, watching a bunch of old home movies, I experienced a TRAINWECK OF EMOTION mixed with feelings of that dream where THE BRIDGE WASHED OUT AND I CAN'T SWIM AND MY BABY'S ON THE OTHER SIDE. Maybe it's true, I'D RATHER HEAR A FAT GIRL FART THAN A PRETTY BOY SING. 

After a week, it became apparent: there is such a thing as too much family beach time when one is OVER LONELY AND UNDERKISSED, and MY GIVE-A -DAMN'S BUSTED. Or maybe that's just fodder for more shitty songs.

 All in all, we've had a great year, stealing our moments when we can, building new friendships and making plans for another fantastic year of opportunities.
 We hope to see all of you and raise a toast to the happiness you create regardless of circumstances.

Be well. Smile often and dance, dance, dance. Because I STILL MISS YOU BABY, BUT MY AIM'S GETTING BETTER.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2015!

  If you've missed any of the previous years, or are just looking for some bathroom reading, a bunch of the old letters are posted here on this blog, along with an assortment of ornaments, errr... pornaments* that I've fashioned over the years.  Enjoy!

*WARNING Adults Only

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Not quite Gone Girl. But, I was missing for three months.

 It wasn't on purpose. Well, not really. How do you fall out of habits, into habits?
 It used to be that the wonderful BlogHer folks would send me an email reminding me that I had not posted in two weeks. Imagine that? Two weeks without an update.
 But that was in the days where a blogger was like a Facebook friend. I had my list of favorites and I spent every other morning scrolling the list and catching up on my "pals."
Thing is, it can take a while to read a 1000 word post, watch their videos, or check out ALL the vacation photos...

After a while I began to resent the wasted hours and started seeing these bloggers as pathetic egotists, horrible spouses and generally bad parents. All right, not all of them but the ones with the most viewed- most controversial- posts.

 And there was the problem.
If I wouldn't be this person's friend in real life, why was I following their blog? Why couldn't I turn away from the train wrecks? And what did all that say about me and my blog?
 Yep. it got too deep.
 So, I weaned myself away. In the last three years I've moved off blogs and Facebook to Instagram, Pinterest and Vine. I swore to never start Tumblr, instead running away to Twitter, where, if you can't say it in a 130 characters, maybe you shouldn't be saying it at all.
 I can follow a thousand people's tweets, have conversations and still get all my errands done and keep the word count up on the novel in progress. It's fast and I love the hashtag freedom. Sure, it's tougher to build a true following, but it's freeing. And after all, it's not my job. it's just part of my social life.
 So, that's what I was doing the last three months. I was writing book two of the CARGO series. I was working on rewrites and a new "secret" project, or two.
 I was hiking in the mountains and backpacking in NC. I was designing and executing a patio. I taught myself how to sew drapes, hit a golf ball and finished decorating my daughter's bedroom, all between getting my son established in college- 2 sessions- 2 apartments, and coordinating all the things that need coordinating when you have vacation property.
 I'm trying to not feel obligated to blog here- or over on the writing site. But I do. Especially over there, where that space was designed for me to weigh in on career choices, on writing and writers I adore.
 If it weren't deemed important in the publishing industry to have an FB page- or three, ( for branding) I would delete it all.  Because young folks, cool folks, the next generation? They  aren't there. But. Old people like Facebook. And old people still read books. I know, because I'm one of them.