Monday, May 19, 2014

How to Spend Less Time Running Errands and More Time Having FUN!

Nobody ever lay in their deathbed wishing they'd spent more time running errands. But, most of us have plenty of them to do just about every day. On my latest appearance on San Diego Living I gave five of my favorite tips for how you can spend less time running errands and more time having fun. Check out the segment here and let me know what you plan to do with all the time you save! You know what I'm doing of course...crossing more items off of my ongoing FabYOUList!

You can read about what that is here: The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life.

Yours in Time Saving and ADVENTURE,

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

30 Second Tips for Busy Moms (so basically...ALL Moms!)

I'm super excited to announce that I'm now a 30 Second Mom contributor! If you aren't familiar, it's an awesome app (and website) where busy moms can get practical parenting tips--all in :30 seconds! These videos also run on Chicago Tribune's website.

My first tip (below) is about how to get your teens to help out more around the house--without an argument! You can follow my tip stream, and that of many other real moms, on 30secondmom.com. Check it out, spread the news, and as always...let me know what you think! I love feedback!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

3 Reasons to Vote for The FabYOUList to Win a D.I.V.A. Award!

If you follow this blog you know that my very first book The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life came out in September 2013. It's a self-help memoir that follows me along on a post-mid-life-freak-out journey to conquer 40 life goals before my big four-oh. #40 was "write a book"--and The FabYOUList is that book. Now it's been nominated for a D.I.V.A. Award in the "inspiration" category! The voting closes January 30th and it would be such an honor for my book to win this. Here are three great reasons to vote today (and again and again because I'm pretty sure you can vote more than once!).
  1. Anyone who's put themselves on the back burner will relate to this book (I'm talking to you MOMS!). All my ups and downs (and trips to the ER) are in there--my adventures, misadventures, and what I learned a long the way. Readers will chuckle along (my trauma is amusing to others!), and get tips for how they can rediscover what makes their own passions, make a list like I did, and get out of their way so they can make their dream life turn into a real life--which they then can start living right away.
  2. The FabYOUList is funny, and funny books can be very inspiring. But just like comedies at the Oscars, they rarely win the top prize. In otherwords...let's stick it to the man!
  3.  I haven't actually won anything since my trophy for "highest science grade" when I was 12 years old--and this award would be so much better because I have to believe it comes with a tiara. It's the D.I.V.A. Awards...how could it not?
Check out the book here (there's a free excerpt!).

Check out the contest and VOTE here.

I believe you can vote more than once--so please vote often! I really, really (and I do mean really!) appreciate it.

xo,
Susan

If you'd like to see me talking about the book on Daytime with hosts Jerry Penacoli and Cyndi Edwards, you're in luck! Here you go...

WFLA News Channel 8

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Wives Tale for the Modern Day Woman

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, I've been feeling a little bit frazzled. There's lots to do and only one of me to do it. While making my extra-long to-do list this morning I was reminded of a post I wrote several years ago. Dug it up and guess what? It still makes me laugh. Hoping it makes you laugh, too--right in the middle of prepping dinner, changing laundry loads, or running your 2nd carpool shift of the day! Let me know what you think. Leave a comment here, or Tweet me @SusanCross1.
If you are new to this blog and you like my writing, please visit me again. I write mostly parenting stories here at secretsofasuburbansoccermom.com. You'll find other topics and info about appearances, The FabYOUList signings, etc. on my other site, susancampbellcross.com, and you can check out my "Cross Talk" blog on SHAPE's website at shape.com/blogs/cross-talk.

I’ve been married for 17 years--been a mother for 15 of them--and after all these years of doing laundry, washing dishes, making beds, picking up toys and dirty socks, sorting crayons, doing homework, driving carpool, dropping off and picking up dry cleaning, filling prescriptions, shuttling children back and forth from soccer, football, karate, and whatever other sport is in season at the time, I’ve come to one conclusion. I know what you are thinking...that I need a vacation. As nice as that would be, it wouldn’t do any long term good. Sure, at the end of the week I’d be tan and rested, but within five minutes of my return home I’d be smack dab in the middle of it again. And by “it” I mean the chaotic, Bermuda Triangle, hurricane-like storm that is my life. No, I don’t need a vacation. What I need is a wife.

Yes. That is the only solution. I need someone who can help me keep this house running, who will be my partner in Costco runs and my go-to girl at the grocery store. I need a wife. Someone who can take turns cooking, or at least take turns doing the dishes. I need someone who is around during the day who can help make breakfast and pack lunches, who will drop the kids at the school bus once in awhile so I can actually make it to the gym. I mean really, right now I’m feeling pretty hypocritical munching down stress snack number 34 of the day while wearing workout clothes that have not a drop of sweat on them.

If I had a wife we could really take on the world. Why if I had a wife, I’ll just bet my bills would be paid, my invitations would be RSVP’d to, my car would be serviced, my library books and videos returned...and get this...wait for it...on time! Yes, a wife. That’s just what I need. Between the two of us we’d have this house running like a well oiled machine.

And it wouldn’t just be beneficial to have help with all the household chores. Oh no. There are a lot of other things that would be better if I had a wife. For example, if I had a wife there would be no argument about what movie to see, the position of the toilet seat (down, thank you very much), or what to watch on TV.  My DVR’d shows would never take the back seat for UFC fighting or English Premier League soccer. And I wouldn’t have to explain myself when I find the perfect pair of peep-toed, black suede, four-inch heeled booties. So what if they cost $650?  She’d get it.

Not only would she get it, she’d help me find an outfit to match.

Friday, October 11, 2013

I'm Cheap! Or at Least...My Book is

For a very limited time, my book The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life is available for only $1.99 on Amazon's Kindle. That's not a typo, and no...I'm not smokin' anything! It's just a special deal Amazon is running.

The FabYOUList is all about how I challenged myself to accomplish 40 life goals before my 40th birthday. Number #40 on my list was write a book, and The FabYOUList is that book!

Now before you read it, you should know that some of the things on my list were a bit crazy--I skinny dipped, I went into a strip club, I flew on the trapeze...but all of the challenges were meaningful to me. In the book I explain why, and what I learned from my experiences. I also offer suggestions about how readers can get reacquainted with their own childhood dreams, and start turning them into realities.

Living my list changed my life, and made me more me. I hope it encourages others to do the same!

If you decide to download it (ands for $1.99, why the heck not?), please let me know what you think, and what you end up putting on your own FabYOUList.

Of course, if you are old fashioned like I am, and prefer a regular physical copy of the book, you can pick one up at your local bookstore, or on most online bookseller's sites.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Term: Peri-EmptyNesting

I was so happy to chat with Claudia and Jill today on their radio show "Empty Nesters". I'll put a link below so you can listen along. We chatted about The FabYOUList, but also about how important it is for parents to have passions of their own to pursue PRIOR to the kids flying the coop. That way, they won't get hit like a ton of bricks when it happens. And it will happen. Sooner than you think! Time flies--I remember my daughter's first day of high school, then I blinked. She's a sophomore in college now. I have two more kids still at home, but I'm telling you--my making that list really saved me. I needed to "get a life" as we talked about on the radio show today. Are you Empty Nesting? Peri-emptynesting? Just knee deep in diapers still? No matter where you are in life, it's always good to have something going just for you. Yoga class, pottery, dance lessons, book club--whatever your "it" is, DO IT! You'll be glad when you blink.

To listen to the radio show, just click the top link in the box below. Then listen to a few more! These ladies are GREAT!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

A FabYOUList Life

If you don't yet know about my book The FabYOUList, you can link here and read all about it (and even order it if you feel so inclined!). In a nutshell it's about how I made a list of forty life goals and challenged myself to achieve them all before my big four-oh. #40 on my list was "write a book" and The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life is that book! It's a self-help memoir that follows me along through my journey toward accomplishing my goals--all the adventures and misadventures are in there, for better or worse. My list included "go to a strip club" and "fly on the trapeze" as well as some tamer things like "do something to honor my parents" and "have an organized closet." At the end of the book, I encourage readers to make a list like I did, and I advise them that when they've crossed the last thing off of that list, to make a new one. And I am working on my own new list myself.

I'd love to hear what you put on your FabYOUList! Tweet me @SusanCross1, or leave me a comment below.

Yours in Adventure,

Susan



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Camp Gyno Post on "Cross Talk"

Here's my latest post on SHAPE.com. Have you seen this spot yet from HelloFlo? I found it to be funny and informative...not to mention empowering for young girls.

What do you think? Answer in the comments below the post on SHAPE.com, or here, or Tweet me @SusanCross1.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

You Scream, I Scream...We all Scream for Ice Cream!

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? Did you even know there was such a thing? I didn't! But I'm glad I do now...because I love me some ice cream!
When I was little my mom had a wooden ice cream maker...it had the hand crank and you had to use rock salt and it was a pain in the ass to use, but man did it make the most delicious ice cream! Plus, all that cranking (and sweating and swearing) burned off the calories prior to eating the ice cream. So it was all good! Those were the days.

I have a "lazy mom" version of that old ice cream maker now, and I bust it out once in a rare while. Not because I don't want to make or eat ice cream, but because I know that if I do make it, I will eat it. All of it. And minus the cranking, sweating, and swearing, I'd have to add a lot of workout hours to burn it all back off. Still, it is my favorite summer-time treat. Here are a few of my fave ice cream recipes that you can make yourself at home. You can find a machine like mine at Williams-Sonoma.

Please share this post with any friends who love ice cream (and we all know that's all of them!) and also, if you haven't already, please join me on my other site, susancampbellcross.com. See you there!

xox,

Susan
Author of The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life





Friday, July 19, 2013

Come on Over to My New Site!

I'm still going to blog about my adventures in parenting on this site...I mean, it is titled "Secrets of a Suburban Soccer MOM" after all! BUT...I want to let you know about my new site, susancampbellcross.com. Here is a link!

That site is already getting it's first makeover, and the new look will be revealed very, very soon!

On susancampbellcross.com I'll be posting about all things lifestyle, links to my articles from magazines like SHAPE, OK! and Star (where I'm happy to say I'm the lifestyle editor), and updates and info about my book The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life (coming out 9/10 and available now for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound).

I love visitors, so I really hope to see you at my new site soon! Please feel free to invite your friends along. The more the merrier I always say (except in circumstances where I have to share dessert!).

xox,
Susan






Friday, June 14, 2013

I know, I know...I haven't posted anything lately! I've been absolutely swamped--but in a very, very good way! I've been busy writing for SHAPE, OK!, and Star magazines where I'm now lifestyle editor. I'm super excited about that and also...drumroll please....my book is coming out!

Yes! The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life launches on September 10th! You can preorder the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, and some other great sites as well. There's a listing on Good Reads.

Here's a short video about the book...if you're a mom, I have a feeling you will relate to my story.



Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Early Bird Catches the View

There are a lot of benefits to being an early riser. I love having a peaceful house, the smell of coffee, and of course--the view!




Thursday, December 6, 2012

For the Last Time, I am NOT the Maid


Photograph: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images

Dear Kids,

I just wanted to remind you that “mom” and “maid” are not synonyms. I also want to remind you that you are teenagers. There is nothing wrong with your arms, your hands, your legs, or your brain. You are capable of learning to use the washing machine. You can remember when your sports practices are, and you most definitely can make your beds in the morning.  Oh—and that tall basket in your room is called a hamper. Since the one thing I’m certain you do know how to do is surf the Internet, I suggest you Google it.

I’m sorry if I am coming across angry. But, angry describes how I’ve been feeling lately—other than taken for granted that is. I blame myself really, for your not understanding that it takes some effort to keep your room neat and clean and your laundry washed and folded (or ironed and hung—as you, my youngest, so kindly reminded me last night). I have been remiss in teaching you the ins and outs of basic housekeeping.

When you get home today I’m planning to surprise you with a live tutorial of how to work the washer and dryer, the pooper scooper, the broom, the mop, the vacuum, the dishwasher, and the toilet brush. I will impart all I know about making beds and folding fitted sheets (which I’m afraid isn’t much). And then, I will introduce you to my little friend…the chore chart.

Have a nice day,

Your MOM
(NOT your maid)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Art of Reframing


Nobody gets in line for pain or heartbreak, but it is precisely those things that build our character and grow our wisdom. So why do we interpret bad experiences as bad? I say interpret, because I truly believe that we have a choice in how we process our experiences.

Case in point, my son recently got a crappy grade on a math quiz. I’m sure he’d love that I’m sharing this with the world right now! He was absent the day the teacher went over what was going to be on the quiz. He asked her what he’d missed. She didn’t mention one type of problem that ended up being on the quiz. And so, even though he’d done the responsible thing and checked in after having been absent, and even though he studied, he came home with a 6 out of 10 on that quiz. He was feeling pretty upset. He went to the teacher the next day and explained what had happened, but she refused to allow him the opportunity to retake the quiz or do any extra credit work. She told him he’d just have to make it up on the next test.

Now that’s a pretty crappy thing to have happen. But after my son worked through feeling upset about it, he decided to look at it as a challenge instead of a setback. He met with a tutor. He studied straight through his free periods and lunch, and for hours at home last night.  In other words, he put in a lot more time studying for the test than he would have if he’d received a better grade on the quiz. The test is worth a lot more than the quiz was. Getting that low quiz grade might have been exactly the push he needed to bring his overall grade higher than even he thought he could.

I know a lot of adults who look at a setback as a just that, a setback. Not my son. He reframed that setback and turned it into a challenge. My son is in 10th grade and I’m grateful he’s learning how to do this now. It will make a huge difference in the rest of his life.

Yours Truly,
One Very Proud Mom

Thursday, September 6, 2012

There’s an Upside to Everything, Even Natural Disasters




Many of you know that my daughter just started college at Tulane University. We'd no sooner dropped her off when along came Isaac. What a welcome wagon!

I was fully prepared (okay, kinda prepared) for the emotional rollercoaster of having her leave home. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced extreme happiness and extreme sadness simultaneously. I knew we’d be weathering an emotional storm. I didn’t know we’d be weathering an actual one.

My daughter is a trooper. She’s a natural leader and she makes friends easily. While I was worrying, she was having fun. Yes, fun. She felt like the whole thing was a great bonding experience. And I realized she was totally right.

She had made some friends at orientation in June, and all of them were assigned to a different dorm. Up until she was locked in with her dorm-mates she really hadn’t socialized a lot with them. Isaac became the unwitting host to the biggest slumber party in Tulane’s history.

I know Kayla will look back on this initiation to Louisiana weather fondly. She will no doubt have made lasting friendships that she might not otherwise have made. And, it gave both of us the opportunity to know just how capable she is of taking care of herself. She doesn’t need me to be physically present each and every time something bad happens--even hurricane level bad. So thanks to Isaac, my daughter had a crash course in bonding and I had a crash course in separating.  Proof once again, that there’s an upside to everything, even natural disasters.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Try it, You Might Like it. Or not.



Moms—I’m sure you will relate to this. You ask your kids to try something new, whether it be something to eat, or an activity, and they balk at the idea telling you they “hate” whatever that thing is. How can they hate what they’ve never tried? I always tell my kids, “If you never tried ice cream, how would you have known you liked that?”

When my kids try a food that they end up not liking, they can always spit it out. But when they get stuck doing an activity that I’ve conned them into doing encouraged them to try, sometimes they are stuck for hours.

This is what happened to us just yesterday.  We're on vacation right now in Montana. It's such a breathtakingly beautiful place. We’ve enjoyed white water kayaking, and zip lining, and a whole day in Yellowstone National Park. Our boys went skeet shooting in the morning yesterday and loved it. In the afternoon though, we were going to try something that most Montanans consider a religious experience, fly fishing.

I had an idea that this was not going to be one of my kids’ favorite activities, but since I’d swooned watching Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It—which was by the way, filmed on the very same river we were going to be fishing—My husband and I took a risk and decided the whole family would give it a try. When we got to the place, the guides broke us into two groups. Fly fishing involves hooks and a lot of casting. Keeping five novices in close proximity would be dangerous. We hadn’t thought about this, and so when faced with deciding how to divide ourselves, we didn’t have time to weigh the pros and cons of every possible grouping. We simply split into a group of three (my husband, my daughter and me), and a group of two (the boys).

For about 3 ½ hours we were separated. I had no cell signal, and no way to know how they were doing or what was happening. The Gallitin River is beautiful, swiftly moving, full of slimy slippery rocks, and about 55 degrees. It was overcast when we left, and while we were out there, the wind picked up and it started to rain.  Our little group did okay—I caught a fish, my daughter caught a fish, my husband had one on the line, but it got away, which I still count since we were letting them go anyways. By the time we headed back to base it was rather chilly, and like I said, it was raining. We’d been wearing waders, boots, baseball caps, long sleeved shirts, etc. so we were ok. I figured the boys were, too. The only bad thing I could imagine might have happened was that they wouldn’t catch a fish, or worse, that one would and the other wouldn’t. That would have been a mess, and of course it did happen that way. If only that were all though! Our youngest son, Aidan, after suffering the sting of not catching a fish while his big brother did, fell into the river not once, not twice, but three times on the way back across. Why the guide had these two city kids crossing a rushing river on foot over slimy rocks I have no idea. If he hadn’t gone all the way in, the waders would have saved him. But he’s not one to do things half way. By the time we arrived he was sitting on a bench outside, in the chilly air, wearing soaked clothes and a massive scowl. He was wet, freezing, and madder than hell. And to be honest, so was I. Why did the guide make the boys walk across the river? And why did he not keep a towel and an dry tee shirt in his truck or something? This certainly couldn't have been the first time he’d taken kids out fly fishing. And I can’t imagine Aidan was the first kid ever to fall into the river.

One thing about Aidan is, when he's mad, he gets really mean. It doesn’t matter that we had nothing to do with him not catching a fish, or falling into the river, or getting stuck out in the cold sopping wet, well…maybe save the fact that we signed him up and made him go in the first place. He was determined to take it out on us in spite of himself. I guess he doesn’t realize that when he refuses to change out of wet clothes, it doesn’t make us feel any wetter or colder. I bought him a long sleeved thermal and made him change immediately anyway. He was furious all the way home, and showed it by continuing to sling sarcastic and mean remarks at all of us. It was tempting to get angry at him for being so, well…angry. But then I realized, if I were him, I’d be pretty upset, too. And even though his anger was misdirected (really—that guide deserved it, not us), it was still warranted. I tried the old, “Well, not everything’s gonna be your favorite thing,” but he was way too far gone for that.

Instead I told him I was on his side, I was sorry he’d had such a lousy experience, and that I totally “got” why he was upset. I also told him I didn’t like that he was being mean to the family when we hadn’t done anything but try to console him. When we got back to our little place I ran a hot bath and made him some cocoa, after which he apologized for being mean and thanked me for being nice to him anyway. We went to a late dinner and let him order whatever he wanted. By the end of the meal he was back to himself again—upbeat and joking around.

I still think it’s good to have the kids try new things, but in the future, I'll stay close by, just in case. I guess we can officially add fly fishing to things Aidan’s tried, and not liked, along with brussel sprouts and sushi, and with any luck, the next new thing he tries will go over like ice cream.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another Reason to Read with Your Kids

Yesterday I sat down and read with my son. I know this is something most moms do, but probably not when their teenagers.


My son Rory was assigned C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce for summer reading for Honors English. He's going into 10th grade at a college prep school. I had never read anything by C.S. Lewis other than The Chronicles of Narnia, which wouldn't be a shock except that I was a lit major in college. Well, technically I was a writing major in the literature department, but that involved tons of lit classes.

At any rate, he read the book himself, but then was struggling to understand the meaning behind it. It's full of symbolism and analogies, and while it isn't Olde English, the language isn't exactly what an American teen is used to. So, we sat down and read it out loud. Well, I read it out loud. He listened. And at first I was thinking that I'd probably be bored out of my mind reading this book. I know C.S. Lewis to be a very religious writer, and I don't consider myself to be a very religious person.

I am however, a lover of good stories. And even though the book was clearly arguing a certain perspective, one that I'm comfortable not being certain of, I appreciated the descriptive language, the development of the characters, the drama of the plot, etc. In other words, I found myself enjoying the book very much. It made me think. Which to me, is what qualifies a book as good. It certainly is what makes some of them stand the test of time as this one clearly has.

I'm not suggesting everyone run out and buy a copy of that particular book, or that everyone spend four consecutive hours reading out loud to their teenagers. But, I do recommend picking out one of the books your kid (no matter how old they are) has to read, and reading it with them (although, in this case, reading it aloud helped my son understand it a lot better). You can get a copy of your own, and read the book simultaneously and check in every few chapters. Create a kind of family book club. I think the kids will appreciate that you take an interest in what they're learning about. It will give you something to discuss (which believe me, for a lot of moms of teens boys, is huge). And of course, even if it's a book that you'd ever read on your own, it just might make you think.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Roots, Wings, and Inevitable Things


The summer seems to by flying by and each day that passes brings me closer to the day my daughter leaves for college. She’s worked very hard in school, always been a great kid, and now, she’s going to be off on her own, starting a new chapter in her life.

And by default, so will I.

I’m tearing up just typing these words by the way. I'll always be her mom. I knew this from the moment she was born. But, she won’t always be a child. In fact, she’s gone and grown up before I could digest that fact. It’s heart wrenching to be at that point where I’m supposed to let her fly. Roots and Wings always was a favorite analogy of mine, until now.  Now I’m perched at the edge of my nest, my baby bird ready to soar, and I’m trying very hard to let her go. I only hope that her roots will bring her back at least for holiday breaks and the odd long weekend.

I remember back when she first went away to overnight camp. All the moms were standing there trying to convince their crying little ones that they’d be fine at camp, and that they’d be home before they knew it. My daughter was already on the bus, waving happily from the window, calling out to me, “You’ll be fine at home, I’ll be back before you know it!” In the sea of moms who were drying tears, I was the one shedding them. Seems like I’m that mom again.

I’m happy for her, I am. And I’m happy for myself to still have 2 kids at home to mother (note I didn’t say “smother”!). But I just can’t believe that this time has arrived--well almost arrived. I still have her until the end of August. I hope to spend as much time with her as I can.

I remember when the kids were really young and people used to come up and tell me, “Enjoy this time, it goes by so fast.” I used to stand there, covered in whatever slime they’d wiped on my shirt, my hair a frizzy mess, my make up nonexistent most days, and think…not fast enough! Oh how I wish I could rewind the clock and tell that younger version of myself to take heed. These well-intentioned strangers spoke the truth. It’s gone by in a blink.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Announcing...My New Site!

I have a new site and I'd love for you to check it out, follow it, and share it.

Susan Campbell Cross

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Children May Be Vampires


Is it me, or are there suddenly vampires EVERYWHERE? Actually, I take that back. Not the everywhere part, the suddenly part. Because it really isn't suddenly. Sorry Twi-hards and True Blood fans, I have two words for you. Ann Rice. For those of you who are too young to know who that is, I'll wait while you Google her.
Yes, the undead have been ubiquitous for a while now and truthfully, for the most part, it hasn't phased me. I used to have nightmares as a child about "drac-lee-uh" as I called him (probably I'd stayed up too late one night and caught a glimpse of some old movie on tv), but over the years my fear had dissipated. Probably in part due to bad casting of the movie version of Ann Rice's book Interview with the Vampire. If only they'd switched Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise's parts, I might have taken vampires more seriously.
I'm a grown woman. The Twilight series did nothing for me. I'm too busy to get into yet another cable tv drama, like True Blood. So why is it that I'm suddenly freaking out again about vampires? Because I am afraid I may have given birth to three of them!


Yes. It's summer time, and my children have turned into the undead. All the telltale signs are there.

  1. They are nocturnal. During the school year my kids have to go to bed at a reasonable time, because they get up so dang early for school. But, now that school is out, and they're all three teenagers, they have turned their days into nights and vice versa.
  2. They're pale. They're fair to begin with, but they're looking downright anemic lately, no doubt due to the lack of sunlight. That's what'll happen to you when you wake up at 1:30 PM, lounge around until 4:00 PM, and become active only after the sun goes down.
  3. They hate raw garlic. Although, this may not mean anything since I don't believe many people like raw garlic with the exception of every cab driver I've ever been driven by in NYC.


I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get away with driving a stake through their hearts or shooting them with silver bullets, so I've come up with another way to get rid of the vampires living in my house. I've signed them up for summer camp! Well, two of them anyway. Starting tomorrow morning they'll be rudely awakened (yes, I plan on waking them rudely--it's payback time) at 7:30 AM so they can be ready to leave for camp by 8:15 AM. Hopefully waking up that early and being active during regular human hours will make them tired at an appropriate bedtime. Regardless of whether they're tired or not though, they will be going to bed at 11:00.


I'm tired of being out of whack and off my own schedule because of these undead offspring of mine. They may or may not be less vampire-like, but I'll definitely be less of a witch. Minus the "w" and plus a "b".

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

LA Mom in New York (Fish out of Water Again!)

You would think that after having been to NY several times now that I would have gotten used to the whole "riding in taxis" thing. You’d be wrong. Yes, my fish out of water experiences in NY don’t seem to be ending any time soon.


Good thing my trauma is amusing to others. I often find myself saying (out loud and to know one in particular), “Oh well, at least this will be a funny blog post.” It makes me feel better to know the worse an experience, the better the blog post will be.  I like a good silver lining. And so, I’ll keep writing.

Right now I’m in NY for a few meetings. Some are with people I’ve met before on previous trips so they’ve gotten to know me a little bit; well enough for them to ask me straight away, about my funny taxi story. They knew there had to be one. And I did not disappoint.
Last time I was here I had to battle the rain. I live in L.A. and am unaccustomed to having to deal with weather of any kind. When it started raining on my last visit I was thinking how smart I was for packing a packable lightweight umbrella. As the rain fell harder I was thinking how stupid I was for bringing a lightweight umbrella, as it flipped inside out almost immediately and broke, leaving me completely defenseless in what seemed to my thin LA skin to be a typhoon. Needless to say, I showed up to most, if not all, of my meetings that trip looking like a drowned rat.

This trip, so far, the weather is great. No rain. I've learned to give taxi drivers cross streets and landmarks and not just addresses. I've also learned that the little light on the top of a cab means it’s available, and that I actually have to wave at the driver and sometimes shout, “Taxi!” to get their attention. This is very much against my nature, but I'm happy to say that today it worked like a charm. I was feeling really proud of myself as I was whisked off toward my destination.


It was a great day. The sun was shining, the air was warm. So warm in fact, that the driver decided a little breeze might be nice. He rolled down not just his own window, but all of the windows of the cab. It was fine when we were in traffic, but once we were zipping along my hair began to fly every which way. So while I did not look like a drowned rat, I did look like the woman from Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds, minus of course, the actual birds. If I’d had birds in my hair there would have been no need of an explanation, and therefore no funny taxi story to tell before my meeting, and no funny blog post for you to be reading right now. See? Silver lining. Works every time.



Friday, June 1, 2012

Check Your Receipt for Double Charges. Check Your Receipt for Double Charges.

I just got back from a little retail therapy session with my step mom. She and I had wandered into an Ann Taylor Loft store in Calabasas and lo and behold, they were having a sale.

We didn't really need anything, but who doesn't like to save money?

She and I proceeded to try on half the store and so, we were pretty tired and dazed by the time we checked out. The gal who'd been helping us rung up our items, and we were on our way.

Once home, my step mom, wise woman that she is, checked her receipt. I wish she'd been wise enough to do it in the store, but at least she did it. I wouldn't have checked it at all.

Sure enough, she found an item that should have been marked down, but she'd been charged full price. She made a call and they were able to adjust the price over the phone.

Then we went over my receipt. I thought it would be way too much of a fluke for the gal to have made a mistake like that twice in a row. I thought wrong.

Sure enough, I'd been charged twice for an item that was half off. So basically, I had paid full price. Because of the double charge I will have to bring the receipt back to the store to have it corrected.

By the time I'm done driving over there, parking, waiting in line, locating my car again (I really should  drop bread crumbs in parking lots), and driving home, I'll probably have lost 45 minutes of my life. Is it worth the money? Probably not.

But, I'll go out of principle. The principle being that even if the sales gal wasn't paying attention as she was ringing up our purchases, I should have been. Next time I'll double check my receipt to make sure I'm not being double charged.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tales from the Crypt Revisited

NOTE TO READERS: Recently someone asked me what a few of my favorite blog posts were. This one came to mind immediately. In light of my impending birthday, and my subsequent thoughts of starting a facelift fund, I thought I'd re-share it. If it makes you laugh, please consider following this site. And...I LOVE comments. People often email me comments instead of posting them here, or they put them on my Facebook page. That's great, too, but this really is the best place for them. That way, when I go back and look over the older posts (which I will be doing soon since I'm working on a book based on the blog), I will know what you all thought! So...that all being said, here is a post about something extremely important if you live in L.A....PLASTIC SURGERY! Well, not just plastic surgery...read it and you'll see.




I went to the mall yesterday for a little retail therapy.  Hey, I'm just trying to do my part to stimulate the economy.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  While I was wandering around the mall in my state of bargain hunting euphoria I started to notice the faces of some of the women there.  Now granted, this isn't your run of the mill mall.  It's in an affluent area and the people who shop there can, well, afford to shop there.  But as I looked at their faces, I could see that they can also afford a few other things.


One woman who had been walking in front of me for several minutes appeared to be in her mid to late twenties--from behind that is.  She was dressed in a trendy, but tasteful body conscious outfit.  Designer jeans, cute wedge sandals, printed cotton top, cropped cardigan, basically the uniform for suburban women of taste.  Her hair was gorgeous from the back.  I was just admiring her highlights and her perfect layers when she abruptly stopped and turned around.  Maybe she'd dropped something, maybe she'd passed the store she was looking for.  I don't know what made her do it, but I hope she didn't see my reaction, because when that woman turned around she suddenly was not a twenty-something fashion plate.  She was the Crypt Keeper.  Well, not so much the Crypt Keeper as the Crypt Keeper after several visits to the plastic surgeon.

I don't know if women realize when they decide to go to that level of tightening that they aren't really going to look younger.  I know people argue that they aren't trying to look younger, just "refreshed".  But, I can tell you that this woman did not look younger or refreshed.  What she did look was surprised.  That about sums it up.  She had a permanent look of shock on her face that I must say, did not match her outfit in the least.  Her eyebrows were so far up on her forehead that they had taken up residence in the neighborhood directly adjacent to her hairline.  Her eye lids had also been tweaked (and that's putting it kindly).  I'm not sure she could blink actually.  Why, there wasn't enough slack for her face to show any expression other than surprised.  And even if there was, the botox would have kept her from making it.

I think I may have let out a slight gasp when she noticed me stopped dead in my tracks staring in disbelief.  And that's when, the saddest thing of all happened.  She smiled.  I tell you, it was the most pained, swollen, collagen injected,  wanna-be smile I've ever seen (sorry Lisa Rinna, even your trout pout runs a distant second).  It was as if two overstuffed breakfast sausages had been Crazy Glued in the spot where her real lips should have been.  They completely filled the space between her perfectly sloped and buttoned nose and her chiseled chin.  With so little surface area left it was amazing that she could even force those lips into anything remotely resembling a smile.  I was shocked.  I was stunned.  I was hoping I didn't look as surprised to see her as she looked to see...everything.

It was too late to run, she had made eye contact.  So I did what any polite suburban shopaholic would do.  I said, "Um...nice shoes," and I cut and run into Nordstrom.  Now I'm as insecure as the next woman when it comes to aging.  As I sipped my half caf, non fat, post traumatic soy latte in the cafe by the juniors department I had to ask, was that my future self?  As startled as I was by that woman's appearance, I could understand the desperation that lead her to the plastic surgeon's office.  This is a harsh reality women face in this society.  Sean Connery can be weathered and bald, Brad Pitt can be slightly rumpled and still sexy as can be as he approaches the half century mark.  But when Jamie Lee Curtis stops coloring her hair and vows to embrace aging gracefully, it makes headline news.  Honestly, the woman was on Oprah, that's how rare it is for a woman to willingly go into that goodnight.  Most fight it every step of the way with methods as simple as hiding their roots to the varied array of alterations that can only be done under general anesthetic.  I am not immune to this desire to look younger, fresher.  I'm holding steady for now, but who's to say what time will bring?  Will my insecurities leave me looking permanently surprised?   I decided to cut my retail therapy session short.  When the waiter came with the check I handed him a sweaty, balled up twenty.  "Sorry it's so wrinkled,"  I aplogized.

"That's OK." He smiled smoothing out the bill, "It doesn't matter how wrinkled it is, the value is the same."  I wish buddy.  I wish.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Well Fiddle-Dee-Dee, My Daughter's College Bound

If you've followed my blog for awhile you know all about my daughter Kayla. She's super smart, super pretty, super talented, super athletic and NO...I'm not super biased just because I'm her mom!


Anyways, she is a senior in high school (when the hell did that happen?) and has finally, after much deliberation, settled on where she will go to college this fall.


She was accepted to six fine universities. They are, in no particular order...Kieran, dim the lights...


St. John's
Dickenson
UCSD
Boston University
Boston College
Tulane University


And the winner is...drum roll please.....


TULANE!!!!


Yes, my daughter will be heading south to New Orleans this fall. Or should I say Naw'lins? I am now working on my southern accent, and looking for a hoop skirt in green and white.


Roll Wave to y'all!


Susan Fiddle-dee-dee Cross


P.S. Mint Julip anyone?


Recipe by Bobby Flay for Food Network


Ingredients
  • 5 fresh mint leaves, plus a few mint sprigs, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Shaved ice
  • 2 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • Lemon slice, for garnish, optional
  • Orange slice, for garnish, optional
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish, optional
Directions
Place mint leaves, sugar and a splash of water into a silver julep cup or a 12-ounce Tom Collins glass. Muddle the mint, sugar, and water together with the tip of the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill the glass with shaved ice, add the bourbon, and stir until combined. Garnish with a lemon or orange slice, a cherry, and a few sprigs of fresh mint.