Click to enlarge, use “back” to return: Note the AZ Cardinal atop the Dallas Cowboy inverted helmet. Eric said the Cardinal is using the helmet as a toilet. Because his team lost the annual match-up, Clark is staying mum (but his face is purple).


Y’all, y’all, y’all, y’all, y’all.

It’s time for the Hutchins-Jackson Household Year Five (which is our sixth year, because we started counting at Year Zero, duh) Holiday Letter.  TRY to control your excitement: no unseemly fist pumps or whoops of joy are necessary.

In an effort to spare those of you who hate Holiday Letters the pain of reading this one, let me sum it up for you: none of our kids is or has made someone pregnant, no one is in jail, and I haven’t killed anyone, although I’ve considered it. Eric hasn’t left me, even now that I am going through early menopause and on 14-day cycles that leave me alternating continuously these last few months between raging PMS and iron-deficient exhaustion and weepiness.

If you are still sick enough to keep reading after that intro, I can’t save you from the pain of the “Most Boring and Pathetic Holiday Letter ever.”  If you’d prefer to relive Christmases past, try this one:  2010.

So, let’s see, what shall I inflict you with?  I think the easiest way to ‘splain is to use categorization.  I love me some good categorization, and some bullet points.


Somewhat awesome and newsy stuff:


Not so awesome:

  • Liz is no less of an emotional rollercoaster at college than she was at home.
  • After a great first grading period, Clark slid steadily downhill all semester, ending in the third grading period with a record number of zeroes and F’s. He’s lucky he is a good test taker, but his grades are still dog poo. And after a new puppy and an aging dog, I know me some dog poo. Clark may be attending community college when he graduates if he keeps this up.
  • Despite swimming her best ever with almost no effort or practice recently, Susanne quit, rejoined, and re-quit club swimming. We worry that without it she will have nothing to battle us over. Scratch that — we are CONFIDENT she’ll find something.
  • Eric has a jaw partially packed with bovine bone and he has several implant/grafting procedures left to go, due to ignoring an abscess.  Oh, and I can’t leave out the accompanying terrifying heart infection. DO.NOT.IGNORE.TOOTH.PAIN.
  • I won another fiction writing contest, had even more great agents circling, and couldn’t land one — didn’t even hear back from most of them.  The industry is in turmoil, and many stores like Border’s are in the toilet.  I can read the tea leaves: time for a paradigm shift, so I made one.  I now have an agent/manager, and his name is Eric Hutchins.  I also have a publishing company: our own, named Skip Jack Publishing.  Stay tuned.
  • Speaking of toilets, the remodel is, of course, running behind. We’ve had no bathroom for three weeks, and we anticipate no shower and no potty for us downstairs for three more weeks. We have to pack a bag and hike upstairs to go take a shower. It’s like living in a college dorm, again.  I think we need a bed pan.  Or a cat box.
  • We whiffed it on the official half ironman triathlons this year due to travel and tooth abscess. And flu. We are in training for April ’12.
  • We quit dance lessons. We couldn’t fit it in. We are sad.


On a much more serious note, Eric lost his father. Read about or leave a tribute for the wonderful Gene at


So, that’s about it, people.  Us, it’s all about us.  We made it through another year, together.

And, despite my current menopausal pissiness, I must admit…it really was awesome, and I am the most blessed woman on the planet. Or I will admit it again when I’m through this hormonal invasion.  Until then, approach with caution but no eye contact.  Better yet, stay safely far, far away.  Or at least outside my throwing distance.

Happy 2012,


p.s. Congratulations to Ann Brennan, the winner of a free, signed, crappily gift-wrapped copy with shipping included of Easy to Love But Hard to Raise.  Read her winning comment (and she got some of the bonus points, too, thanks Ann!).

p.p.s.  Here’s the picture we used for old-fashioned, printed Christmas cards, the kind in a paper envelope with sticky stamps: