The Five!

1. Yes, I know this is usually a FRIDAY Five, and it’s Thursday. But this week has been nuts, and tomorrow I’m spending the day with my best girls from high school, doing our annual get-together, so I’m going to try and get this done today. Which is hard because I have been going non-stop since about six this morning. It was like the perfect storm of STUFF happening around here: husband leaving for race track at 5am, guys coming to take down a dead, leaning tree by 9, plus babysitter and other people and dogs barking and OH MY GOODNESS. By the time I got over here to my office and the quiet, I felt like it should be bedtime. But that’s the way it is in this house. Either nothing is happening, or everything. There seems to be no in between. Secretly? I think my husband likes it that way. Why, I have no idea.

2. Also today we had some car switcheroo going on, so my babysitter was driving mine and I had my husband’s sedan. It’s a manual transmission, which isn’t a big deal, as I can drive a stick shift. My first car was an automatic, a 1984 Nissan Stanza hatchback:

Mine was blue, and I looked JUST about as cool driving it as you can imagine. (Side note: I found this picture on a site called Old Cars Parked. Ouch! But I digress.) My Stanza was great, though, got me everywhere I needed to go, even if it slowed to a crawl up steep hills. When I was in college, though, my parents traded it in for a new car and gave me their old one, a white Honda Accord with a manual transmission. Learning to drive stick was NOT easy. My husband (then my boyfriend) was too nervous to be in the car with me while it shuddered and stalled repeatedly, so the task was passed to my brother, who had just returned from living at a Zen Buddhist center in California and was very relaxed. We spent hours with me trying to master the clutch, stalling, jerking around parking lots. Finally, I was on my own, so I started practicing late at night, after I got off work at the restaurant. I’d drive around empty neighborhoods, try to stop on hills (sometimes sliding down them backwards, whee!) until I finally got comfortable enough to try daytime. I drove stick for years, and ended up being so used to it that when I did finally buy my own new-to-me car, I was really bummed when the one I wanted and could afford was an automatic. I got it anyway, but since then have prided myself on my stick shift ability. It’s just a good skill to have, like being able to fold a paper sailboat or assemble a decent bean salad from memory. I am still good with a Honda. But my husband’s car is European, the stick is kind of different and today, I kept stalling. Shuddering. Embarrassing myself having to turn the key AGAIN to start at stoplights. (Often some of the SAME stoplights where I stalled out at night, all those years ago. Full circle!) So maybe I am not as good at it as I thought. Which is a realization I am coming to about a lot of things as I get older. And now I am DEPRESSED. *thinks a minute* You know, I wouldn’t want to be in my twenties again, though. Even if it meant rocking the manual transmission. Too much angst, not enough nice sheets. Yeah, forties are good.

3. Speaking of my brother, I will now share this picture of us as kids for no other reason than I WISH I could find a dress in the same toadstool pattern today. Also, you can admire the shag haircut my mother STILL insists was super cute (I disagree):

4. One thing I did in high school AND now was always carry too much stuff in my purse. I have never been able to go minimalist in ANYTHING, but especially when it comes to my bag. Do I NEED a big wallet, sunglasses and regular glasses, my phone, many lipsticks, a cute change purse AND several smaller bags to hold various other things? Probably not. But I have them. I was always the one—speaking of my high school friends—who ended up carrying everyone ELSE’S stuff because I was already lugging around this huge bag. “Can you hold my keys and ID?” I’d hear, and then my shoulder would sag under MORE weight, while my friends danced off to the bar or wherever. Anyway, every once in awhile I decide I am going to try and be different. So this week I found a great little wristlet on sale and got it. It fits only my phone, a couple of credit cards and one lipstick. TINY! But I packed it up for date night with my husband and was feeling SUPER proud of myself…until my babysitter commented on it. I said, “I’m thinking it would be great for if my friends and I end up at a club or something on Girls’ Night.” People: the LOOK on her FACE. “Sarah?” she said to my husband. “At a CLUB?” And then she giggled. In a nice way. See, that’s why I need a big purse. To whack people over the head with when they stuff like that. A wristlet=not the same. (I’m still going to take it with me this weekend, though. So there!)

5. Finally, a book update. I finished Jennifer Weiner’s THE NEXT BEST THING (which I loved) and have now moved onto Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL, which is one of those books that picks up steam and suspense so much that you realize you MIGHT be in danger of letting everything else in your life fall by the wayside until you finish it. I am trying not to do that, though. On audio, I finished Anna Quindlen’s LOTS OF CANDLES, PLENTY OF CAKE and have moved onto David Sedaris’ SQUIRREL SEEKS CHIPMUNK, which is just as twisted and weird and wonderful as you would guess from the title. On deck in print: BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter; on deck in audio, LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED by Jenny Lawson. So many books, so little time. Especially since I probably need to start writing another one of my own….

Have a great weekend, everyone!