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Pamela Fagan Hutchins | Pre-menopausal holiday letter.

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:

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47 Responses to Pre-menopausal holiday letter.

  1. Tracie says:

    I can’t believe I missed the tooth story – just followed the links to get caught up. Scary!

    I enjoyed being able to read your Christmas letter. Very fun. Merry Christmas!

    Great picture!

  2. —Love your Christmas letter…especially the “Authentic Part.”

    Congrats on all of your accomplishments in 2011 :)) Many more for you, Dear Pamela…

    What a beautiful family. X

  3. Wonderful holiday letter – not full of bs like so many! We’d know. We kept up with the blog so we’d know if you were lying about winning the lottery (and not sharing), winning Dancing With the Stars (and not telling), or winning an all expense paid trip to anywhere your heart desires (and not letting us go with). SO, we love that you are having and will continue to have, A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS. LOVE the picture – it is genuine, too. Just like your love for Eric – it’s da real thang, sha!!

  4. Ally says:

    Now that was an honest Holiday letter! I like it.
    Great family pic.
    It’s going to be a great 2012 – books, books, books! :)

  5. Ann says:

    This may be my favorite holiday letter of all time and not just because you announced I won the book. I have never laughed so hard at a holiday letter ever. So glad to hear that no one is in jail, pregnant or murdered anyone. And glad to hear that when you pull it all together, life is wonderful. Thanks for sharing your life with us Pamela.

  6. Irene says:

    Nice to read one of these that isn’t pouring sugar sweet syrup over everything. Tellin’ it like it is! That’s always been you Pam! Keep it up! Here’s hoping 2012 will be even better!

  7. Heidi M says:

    Whoop-dee-dooo! Another year in the bag! Thanks for the recap of the good, bad, and ugly. :)
    Here’s hoping 2012 ROCKS in every way possible.
    xo my menopausal friend

  8. I’m fixin’ to send my Christmas letter with the out of wedlock grand baby and son just barely not in jail after his second DWI. But the good thing is that grand baby is healthy and a cutie all at once.
    love you!

  9. Eric Hutchins says:

    Wow what a year. Incredible highs and lows and such much wondeful life in between.
    The year is forever marked for me with the sadness of my dad passing. But, he was a wonderful person and someone who would want people (me) (us) to cherish life, to be positive to LIVE while we can. When I think about all that he has given me, and taught me all I can truly be is grateful.

    Its hard to believe that everything that has happend this year could even BE packed into one year. What a wild ride, what a wonderful trip its been (I did not say long and strange).

    Even when you are a little “pissy” my dear, I love to hear your voice come through in your writing. I thought this pot was hilarious, and raw and cool and real, and I loved it. Not everyone will get it, and some, no doubt, will think it a bit inappropriate, and if they do, they need to get over it and get on with life, real life, with all its warts and smiles and bruises and victories.

    Here is to looking at an awesome 2012 laid out in front of us.

    • Pamela says:

      That was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever read, my love.

      And by “pot,” I assume you mean the marijuana you were “randomly” tested for 15 out of 16 consecutive testing periods at your old job?

  10. Love your holiday letter, Pamela. Would expect exactly that from you. Honesty. I did not know you will have lots of books coming out in 2012. I will be on the lookout! Wishing you and your beautiful family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy an prosperous New Year…..Ya’ll.

    • Pamela says:

      Hugs back!
      Eric and I had a breakfast date this morning. We started talking about my writing/editing/publishing calendar for the next year. He said, “wow, as you talked, your face got pale and you got dark circles under your eyes.”
      I bit off a lot and I’m chewing as fast as I can. But I work best under pressure. It’s all written, but there’s a difference between written and “professionally edited, finalized, and PUBLISH-READY.”

  11. 9 books? 9?????? Holy crap! Congratulations!

  12. :) I’ll tell you about it sometime. But I’ve been very, very busy whilst pondering traditional v nontraditional publishing the last few years. This represents my accumulated (and now professionally edited) work, 2007 through now.

  13. Me too. I haven’t even finished the Christmas tree and I’ve bought exactly ONE gift. Me thinks me better snap out of it, and soon!

  14. Methinks the way you perform under a deadline that you will become a whirling dervish and finish it all. Mesuspects you do this every year? 😉

  15. Ha ha, Pamela, you know me well. Weird. I’ve never pushed it this close, but we have opted for a small Christmas this year anyway since we are recuperating from a large wedding.

  16. P.S. I will buy EVERY one of your books!

  17. For you, a special price of only $499.00 each!

  18. Eric Hutchins says:

    POST, Not Pot, but, that was pretty funny. Although I may still have had the Grateful Dead theme running around my head.

    Thanks for reminding me of all that Random Drug testing that happened when that particular HR director tried in vain to find a way to get me fired. Good thing that the NEXT HR Director liked me a little more!
    :). Well, when she wasnt too busy NOT liking me :).

    Merry Christmas Baby!

    • Pamela says:

      For those that are reading these comments (why? haven’t you got anything else to do?!! kiddin’ y’all), Eric and I used to work together. And I am the NEXT HR Director to whom he refers. We worked great together, except when we didn’t. We butted heads pretty darn hard, until he figured out a) Pamela wins and b) he loved me. It took him about 4 years, and his head was really sore by then. His name never popped onto the Random Testing List in the 4 years I worked with him. I would have LOVED it if it did. I would have chortled, danced, and probably even yodeled with glee. But it didn’t.

      Which brings me to a story. I met Eric b/c the FORMER HR Director of whom he speaks so fondly was talking to me in my office, having seen Eric walk into the next office. It was my first week on the job. This guy — let’s call him Chuck — said, “Boy, you’re gonna hate that Eric Huthcins. He is an asshole and is out only for himself. He doesn’t care who he steps on to get what he wants, and he doesn’t have the company’s best interests at heart.” I mean he WAILED on him. Eric heard every word. I knew who Eric was, but I hadn’t met him. I walked into the next office where Eric was waiting, actually, to meet with me, and Eric was purple-livid. He assured me I would find Chuck’s dire warnings completely untrue. I said, “Well, how about I get to know you and make up my mind for myself?” That wasn’t what he wanted to hear, but it wasn’t totally horrible, so he let it slide. Then he wrote a scathing email to Chuck, cc’ing me (the first of Eric’s many over-long emails that should probably never have been written). Over this laughable series of interactions, Eric and I became friends. Chuck was fast approaching his retirement date, and he noticed that I did not loathe Eric as he had hoped. He asked me why I didn’t hate him, and I told Chuck that I keep an open mind; that Eric had not exhibited any of those traits to me, and that we got along fine. Chuck said, “You’re just in the honeymoon period with him now. You’ll see.”

      Well, Chuck, it’s been 10 years. And we’re still in the honeymoon period, I guess, since we’re about to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary on January 1st. :)

      Hey, maybe I should stick that story into CWMYWTP, somewhere!

  19. Eric Hutchins via Facebook says:

    Rhonda, Just write to me, I am the “Marketing Manager”, I will take care of you and knock at least 10% off of that $499 price.

  20. Sandy Webb says:

    Menopause….YUCK! I started before I was 40. My saving grace was Implanon. Ask your gyno about it. It is implanted into your upper arm in an in office procedure….totally painless. It stopped my periods, my hot flashes and my night sweats. TJ said it stopped my mood swings too but to this day I deny that I ever had mood swings. It is actually a form of birth control (didn’t need that part as TJ was fixed) but I swear by it. Go…call your Gyno! It lasts for 3 years and then can be replaced if needed.

    • Pamela says:

      I love you! Thank you! I’m calling tomorrow!!!

      It makes me frustrated that I exhibit all the symptoms yet my gyno was like, uh, no, you’re not the right AGE. Um, whatever. :)

  21. Tina Anderson via Facebook says:

    I’ve always believed mine was a permanent part of my personality…part of my charm, lol. 😉

  22. JennyBean says:

    FOURTEEN DAY CYCLES! I can’t get past that.

    Are they really using cow bone on Eric? Bless his heart. And so sorry to hear about his dad.

    Love your awesome list. You are a lucky woman, Pamelot!

  23. Ha ha, Eric, I knew I could count on you to hook me up! :o)

  24. Eric says:


  25. Dana Epley via Facebook says:

    Ok, did Clark just shoot up a foot this year or have I not been paying attention?

  26. He did! He’s 6’2. It happens so fast with boys.

  27. Favorite comment, ever. Merry Christmas, Buh-ray-ette!

  28. Pamela says:

    Pamelot on friend Mika’s wall:

    Mika: An in-law of an in-law informed me that my Holiday Letter was ODD and INAPPROPRIATE. For the sake of peace I did not inform her she was anal retentive and a beeyatch. I kinda think maybe I just had a Mika moment?

    Like · · See Friendship · 50 minutes ago near Houston ·


    Oh, my dear Pam. A Mika moment would have been to tell her that she was, in fact, being an anal retentive bitch…and to have a Merry fu@king Christmas.
    31 minutes ago · Like.

    Shit. I aspire, but I fall short. Next time. :)
    25 minutes ago · Like · 1.

  29. Marian says:

    Why would anyone hate holiday letters?!?

  30. […] that was fast.  Two weeks ago I brazenly declared Eric and myself in full-bore preparation for an April Half Ironman.  That was before my hormones tightened the screw on […]

  31. […] time right now to fix the inexplicable spacing issue in this post — sorry, all!) Remember in my holiday letter I told you we had to install a cat box in our bathroom because my middle-aged bladder couldn’t […]

  32. […] I went for a paper bag. We’ve had a hyperventilator in the family before. **Liz, cough […]

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