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Monthly Wrap: Annoying but Lovable

by Susan Henderson on July 11, 2008

I’ll be reading at the KGB bar in NYC on Saturday, July 12th at 7pm. This is for the kick-off of the new NPR show, Dimestories. There will be a whole host of amazing authors reading, so get there early or you’ll be standing-only. For those of you following the saga of me growing out my bangs, you may note that, at this reading, my hair will be in its Jackson Browne stage.

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My husband and my kids went on vacation without me for the first time ever. I stayed home to edit my book.

Here’s Green-Hand in the Galapagos Islands with a baby sea lion.

litpark galapagos islands and peru vacation photos

I felt out of sorts when they were gone, and mostly missing the annoying things: Mr. H coming into the bathroom to brush his teeth at the same time as me, even though the door is closed to prevent this very thing; Green-Hand leaving a trail of clothes and food through the house; Bach-Boy playing Bat out of Hell on the piano (super-loud!) at 6 in the morning; the boys begging me to read one more chapter (yes, we still read to them every night) even though my voice is hoarse.

Here’s Bach-Boy with an iguana.

litpark galapagos islands and peru vacation photos

So, this week I asked about your top 5 annoying habits, and a whole bunch of you said, Nail biting. Nail biting is annoying?! Come on, now. Only if you shake my hand and your fingers are still wet.

Here are 5 of mine. I didn’t ask for input because I know better:

1. When I’m in the car (driver or passenger), I “sing” along to the radio in sign-language.

2. I love to send Mr. H to the ice cream store with the cell phone and have him read me every flavor. And then when he’s done, I’ll say, I don’t know, maybe try the other store? And every time we have some conversation that includes him saying, I don’t think you like ice cream. Which might be true.

Here’s Green-Hand with more sea lions.

litpark galapagos islands and peru vacation photos

3. If you try to give me directions, I short-circuit after one or two. If I’ve been to your house ten times, I still need directions.

4. If someone sneezes, I have to fight the instinct to say, “Would you shut the f up?” instead of, “Bless you.”

Here are my guys finishing up their vacation in Peru.

litpark galapagos islands and peru vacation photos

5. Every morning, Mr. Henderson wonders if he’s made my coffee right, and he hasn’t. And when he left town, I realized, wow, I really do hate coffee, strong or weak, any kind of bean. And as soon as he’s back, the first thing I want to do is drink coffee with him on the porch, and the reason is because I like the company and I like the way a cup of coffee slows you down.

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Books I read this month: Christina Schwarz, Drowning Ruth (loved it till the last 5 or 6 chapters); Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (marvelous); Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (liked the concept and the first chapter); Mark Spragg, Where Rivers Change Directions (loved it and want him on LitPark); Lois Lowry, Gathering Blue (read this to my kids; amazing author); Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (not even halfway, but it’s so much better the second time around).

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Thanks to everyone who played here this week and to those who linked to LitPark: Ellen Meister’s Side Dish, Edge of the Mirage, Inside-Out China, Ovations, The Publishing Spot, Italian Woman at the Table, Jabberwock, Spaced Law, Vernacular, The Dilettante’s Valentine, Largehearted Boy, and Just Thinking. I appreciate those links! And one more thank you – this one to Bonnie Glover, who has given me just the encouragement and the push I needed on this round of edits. You should all click over to her site if you have time.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

kategray July 11, 2008 at 9:01 am

Maybe we should have done “the mind games we play with our loved ones”. I’m always indecisive about picking restaurants, or activities, and usually find a way to con my husband into making the choice. It might be payback, however, for his constant nattering about “smells” – he feels compelled to sniff everything he removes from the fridge or cupboards before he tries it, always convinced that something might have rotted. When I point out that he hasn’t suffered food poisoning from anything we’ve had, or that I’ve cooked, his response is always, “yet”. So I have to make him pick the restaurant, in order not to be blamed for when it does happen.

And, because Susan told me I should, here is the info for the WEbook voting:
Right now is the submission phase for writers to join and post their “goods” on the site. Once you’ve got your stuff up, you can submit for publication. This will last until July 17th, at midnight.
Then, as soon as the clock rolls over into July 18th, the voting process begins. It works something like American Idol, only no one gets voted off; just the top 10% of writers’ projects get contracts.
As I said on Wednesday (I think…?), I hope that some of you might be moved to vote for me, but there are plenty of other writers with talent as well.

herein lie links:
http://www.webook.com/member/kategray – my main profile
http://www.webook.com/project/sleep – my book in contention

and, I got chosen as writer of the week for their sitewide blog – pretty neat
blog.webook.com

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Aurelio July 11, 2008 at 9:56 am

I wish I could have taken your place on that vacation.

The more I know about you, Susan, the more you scare me. Like, your #1 annoying habit. Seriously? You sign to the radio while you drive?

And your #4 worries me too. I’ll forever be wondering what you’re really thinking every time you say something sweet. (My mind is rerunning our past conversations with an ominous new revision.)

But your #5–Honestly! How can you be a writer and not like coffee??? It’s our fuel.

I hope you don’t mind, but I just read a very funny essay about her first communion by our fellow writer, Adrienne Jones, called The Bad Seed, so I thought I’d link it here for the LitPark gang.

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EkEkEkEk07 July 11, 2008 at 10:15 am

sneeze. i was watching THE ORPHANAGE with my best friend and she turned up the volume and said, “why did i turn up the volume, i have to read the screen.” and then she sneezed really loud and jumped about ten feet into the air. she excused herself and proceeded to sniffle snot back into her nose. i waited about twenty seconds and then whispered, “god. bless. you!” she laughed and said, “it took you long enough, gosh.” my response…”well, it was annoying. loud. i’m trying to listen to the subtitles.” ha!

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EkEkEkEk07 July 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

post scriptum: the picture of green-hand with the baby sea lion is really beautiful and moving. i want a baby sea lion, daddy!!

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SusanHenderson July 11, 2008 at 11:52 am

I used to have a boss that would smell everything in the staff refrigerator. It was the weirdest thing.

Thanks for the links!

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SusanHenderson July 11, 2008 at 11:53 am

I’m going to take you driving with me when you come out to visit!

Thanks for the link to Adrienne’s essay. I’ll check it out when I take my next work break.

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SusanHenderson July 11, 2008 at 11:56 am

There’s something about the sound of sneezes and motorcycles that hits some raw nerve for me. I don’t know why.

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SusanHenderson July 11, 2008 at 11:56 am

Thanks. I want one, too.

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Aurelio July 11, 2008 at 12:08 pm

For me, it’s leaf-blowers.

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jodyreale July 11, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Well, shoot, I wish I could be at the KGB thing. I never get to do anything cool. Maybe you could tug on your ear or something for your LitPark peeps who can’t be there. Or not.

I could have used five, maybe ten more annoying habits; I was dying! And Where Rivers Change Direction IS a great book. (Does that make me a Spragg hag?) Thanks for the pics. Not just sea lions, but baby sea lions. Take that, vacation overachievers!

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djtuffpuppy July 11, 2008 at 11:07 pm

I like the brief comments on the books you have read this month.

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SusanHenderson July 13, 2008 at 9:07 pm

I’ll catch up with comments Tuesday or Wednesday. My friend since first grade is visiting, and we have a lot of wine to drink and a lot of stories to tell.

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Gail Siegel July 14, 2008 at 10:39 am

Those photos are so beautiful. What an adventure they must have had!

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Nathalie July 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm

I am so jealous of their travel!

If not coffee, how’s about tea? It does slow you down too.

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SusanHenderson July 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm

It was a funny reading because it was all recorded for radio and there were lots of rules, like, Don’t say hi, Don’t say thank you, Don’t shuffle your papers. Was fun though, and I hope sometime we’re reading somewhere together. (Let’s say we’re Spragg groupies, but not Spragg hags!)

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SusanHenderson July 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Thanks. I like the idea of doing book reviews in 5 words or less.

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SusanHenderson July 15, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Thanks. I owe you a note. I should be caught up by tomorrow. xo

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SusanHenderson July 15, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Coffee’s way better than tea. Tea always smells great and then the taste is a gyp. If I only drank things for taste, I’d do refills of scotch and pickle juice. Alas…

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SusanHenderson July 15, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Jonathan, happy birthday tomorrow!

Let me see if I can post a picture here or not… drat, I can’t, so I’ll link it: http://www.geocities.com/susanmhpublishersmarketplace/2008/jonathanadams.jpg

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Bonnie July 16, 2008 at 12:41 am

Hey – thanks for the shout out, but you’ve got it so much in control.
My guys went away too. Amazing how much someone can be missed in just the space of a few days…

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SusanHenderson July 17, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Bonnie always makes my day.

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