The Year is Half Over, What Have You Done?

On Saturday I woke up to the realization that the year is half over. And what have I done?

Well, I’ve had a lot of fun.

I’ve been to a bunch of Happy Hours with my girlfriends. (I almost never go out to dinner, but I am the queen of Happy Hour.)

I’ve done some cool hikes with my husband.

Sunday we went here.

Malibu hike Charmlee Wilderness Park
A beautiful hike through Charmlee Wilderness Park in Malibu

I’ve been to a bunch of concerts and country music festivals.

Brandy Clark. Coastal Country Jam featuring Jake Owen. Jay Nash, Tony Lucca & Matt Duke. (OMG – if you have a chance to see these guys – just one or all three together DO IT. They are amazing.) Stagecoach. U2. Oakheart Festival. Boots and Brews.

U2 Joshua Tree Tour Stage
U2 Joshua Tree Tour. I’ve seen U2 at least 10 times. I’d gladly see them 1,000 more.

Four festivals and three concerts are more shows that some people will see in a lifetime I realize, but those are not my people. God that sounded super assholey, didn’t it? That was not my intent. I’m super grateful to have gone to these shows. And I’ve got more on the way this year.

Hall & Oates with Tears for Fears (OMG!) Adam Ant (OMFG!) Green Day (Finally!) Thomas Rhett with Old Dominion & Walker Hayes (Cannot effing wait). And something called Retro Futura with Howard Jones, the English Beat and a bunch of other 80’s throwbacks. (Bought for a steal on Groupon – going with Dave and the kids. Should be a blast.)

So yes, it has been and will be a good year for music. Because live music more than anything is what makes me feel so alive. And young. (Seriously, so fucking young.)

And fun is great. Important, even. But I have goals this year that I have not achieved. I wanted to interview more artists like I did last year with Matthew Ramsey of Old Dominion and Matthew Nelson of Nelson. But I haven’t. Because that takes effort and I’ve been busy with a new(ish) job and life and just trying to keep all my balls in the air.

You know. Like everyone else.

I’ve only written seven blog posts all year. And maybe two newsletters (which you should totally sign up for because I obviously won’t overwhelm your inbox and you get a free book. Or rather bookette).

I did write this piece for my friend Jessica’s blog that I’m quite proud of, but only because she asked. And really. It was just a reworking of a piece I’d already written.

And my WIP – the sequel to Frosted Cowboy. LOFuckingL. I have an outline (ish). It’s actually a great story (at least that’s what everyone I’ve told the plot to says), even better than the first. And I’ve written some of it, obviously. But. But. What?

I’m just busy.

And lazy.

And so damn scared.

Because writing is so hard. And what if it’s terrible? (And like any first draft, it is so terrible.)

So, sure. I’ve had some goals. But I haven’t really had a plan. And  A goal without a plan is just a wish. I read that on Pinterest. Or maybe it was Twitter. One of those very philosophical websites.

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Saturday as I was cleaning that pile off my dining room table I came across an article I ripped out of Sunset Magazine by Anne Lamott called Time lost and found. And even though I was “so busy” and I’ve read it at least a dozen times before, I knew that this article about finding time to write was exactly what I needed and I sat down and read it again and it made me cry.

Because Anne Lamott knows the truth.

It’s so easy to make excuses. To be too busy to write. Busy job. Busy social life. Keeping all those balls in the air.

I’m not going to stop going to concerts or hiking with my husband or (god forbid) Happy Hour.

But what if I didn’t work through lunch every day. Or let one of those balls drop? (Or two? Or three? Or four?)

What if when I get up at 5AM (and I do, every single day) I actually write a blog post? Or contact a musician’s publicist? Or stopped being so scared to tackle my WIP?

Maybe in six month’s time – when the year is completely over, I’ll have done more than just have fun. More than just work. I’ll have created.

And my year will be one that was not half-lived.

 

*The quote “A goal without a dream is just a wish” is attributed to Antoine de Saint-Exupery (but you can find it on Pinterest). 

 

 

This is Where I Meet Hot Country Rockstars, Go To #BlogHer16 & Say Awesome A Lot

The Definition of awesome

“Just so you know, I’m not going to be available for anything remotely domestic or marital related for at least a week,” I said to Dave on the first day of August.

“And that makes this week different than any other week, how?” he snarked.

Yeah, and you thought I was the funny one. (I am.)

It was actually a lie, because I had no plans on Tuesday, so I did fulfill the domestic/marital duty of making dinner and was even nice enough to do the dishes, but that’s where I drew the line. His sassy comment meant he wasn’t getting lucky. (Plus it was Tuesday. What kind of married people get busy on a Tuesday after 22 years of sharing the same last name?)

But, I digress.

The first day of August, marked my first week of having anything at all to do this summer. Yes, that’s right, all summer long I’ve been a Facebook voyeur, watching my friends travel to marvelous places like Cancun, Barbados, Costa Rica, shit even “just” Oregon while I’ve been working all day, only to go home and lose brain cells watching the Bachelorette. (Don’t judge – and if you subscribed to my newsletter you’d know why.)

And as JoJo and Jordan start their new life together (or the next six months, which is about as long as I give them), I too have finally started my new life. Or, at least (less dramatically and more truthfully) I’ve finally started to have some fun this summer.

It’s gone a little something like this:

Monday, August 1st: Cards Against Humanity

My writing group got together and played the ever awesome Cards Against Humanity where tough choices like this had to be made.

Cards Against Humanity White People Like
The answer is obvious.

There was a lot of laughing. And drinking. And even some crying (because we love each other that much). I got home at 1AM. (Yeah, this suburban mom’s has gone rockstar.)

Tuesday, August 2nd: Got My Ass Up After Five Hours of Sleep & Went to Work Like a Boss

Reverted to my boring suburban ways as noted above (i.e. watched season finale of The Bachelorette.)

Wednesday, August 3rd: Cetaphil Party at Cool Celebrity-Owned Restaurant

I was lucky enough to get invited to a party for awesome and influential bloggers thrown by Cetphil. And by invited I mean I was the awesome and influential Kim Tracy Prince’s plus one. The party was at Jessica Biel’s Aw Fudge on Melrose where everyone who works there looks like (and probably is) a model. (Seriously people, the servers are HOT!) The party was top notch. I learned all about Cetaphil (which, BTW, my kids’ pediatrician has always recommended for them), met some fantastic people including Whit Honea (he’s awesome – read his stuff) and Fab Mom Jill Simonian, and got a bitchen swag bag from Cetaphil that included these that literally saved my life (or at least my face) this week full of late nights.

#Cetaphil #MyCetaphilFamily
This is how you throw a product party – with plenty of swag and sangria! #MyCetaphilFamily

Thursday, August 4th: #BlogHer16 Expo

I hooked up again with the awesome (and influential) Kim Tracy Prince where we met our friend Rina Baraz Nehdar at the #BlogHer16 Expo.

#BlogHer16 Expo
Hanging with Rina and Kim at the #BlogHer16 Expo

For those of you who don’t know, BlogHer a website that hosts the world’s largest conference for women bloggers and content creators. (And yes, men can go too. If they want.) This is serious business people. Some of the sponsors were Go DaddyHerbalife, Staples, Go Rving and Best Buy; and this year’s keynote speakers included Sheryl Crow and Kim Kardashian West (I know, but seriously, if I had been able to shove a copy of Frosted Cowboy in her hand so I could snap a picture and post it on Instagram do not think for one second that I wouldn’t have done it) among many, many others. Thursday night, attendees were invited to a huge expo hall where companies wooed bloggers with their wares. We were given huge (and heavy) swag bags upon entry that included everything from Vagisil to vitamins to VELCRO to vibrators. (Okay, I might or might not have stood in line at a booth to get the vibrator.)

BlogHer16 Swag Bag Tweet

 

I got to meet many women IRL (including the Awesome Angela Amman pictured in the pink blouse in the top of this post) that I’d only known online and the complimentary wine was surprisingly tasty. My favorite item in my swag bag was this beautiful necklace from Saressa Designs  supplied by a company called The Artisan Group who bring small craft items to celebrities. (So I guess that means I’m a celebrity now!)

baby bezel pendant from saressa designs
My new favorite necklace. (I’m wearing it in the top photo and the photo below.)

Friday, August 5th: Old Dominion at The Ventura County Fair

I had to skip BlogHer (and Kim Kardashian) so I could see Old Dominion play at the Ventura County Fair with my friend Simmah. And if you are not familiar with them, do yourself a huge favor and listen to their album, Meat and Candy NOW. It’s so good! I entered to win a Meet and Greet pass on their website and the music gods were smiling on me because I won!

Old Dominion Meet And Greet
Hot country rockstars & happy me!

And even though this is by no means my first backstage rodeo, I was nervous and giddy and forgot to tell them how awesome they were at Stagecoach in my allotted 60 seconds with them, but I did tell them how much I loved their songwriting and in particular how the song Nowhere Fast gives me all the feels. (Like, seriously, it’s so good!) And then I told them they really suck at Twitter. (I told you, I was nervous. Plus, they really are very bad at Twitter.) They were awesome though, so nice. I’m pretty sure they all want me. (Don’t all hot country rockstars secretly pine away for 50-year-old suburban women who babble on non-stop for 60 seconds at a meet and greet?)

Old Dominion Matthew Ramsey Meet and Greet
Matthew Ramsey totally checking me out. Or defending the band’s lameness on Twitter. In my perfect world both these statements are true.

Saturday, August 6th: #BlogHer16 Convention

I got my tired ass out of bed much earlier than I wanted to attend the final day of the BlogHer convention with Rina and Kim. I’m talking a marathon thirteen hour day.

There was delicious food, engaging keynote speakers, informative workshops, and tons of schmoozing. The convention has such a fantastic energy. Highlights for me were the “The Pitch,” where five innovative women pitched their businesses in hopes of earning a $50,000 prize, hearing Lucy McBath of Mothers of the Movement tell her heartbreaking story, listening to Mayim Bialik talk about her website GrokNation and watching the pilot episode of the Amazon Prime show One Mississippi  and the Q&A with the show’s star and creator Tig Notaro afterwards.

And then there was dancing. From 6-9 we took over the Conga Room at La Live and partied like rockstars. Or, like suburban moms in a club before it was even dark outside who were happy to be on a dance floor letting loose after a long weekend instead of at home cooking dinner for our families. (Which is kind of like being a rockstar, right?)

Sunday, August 7th: Warped Tour

Speaking of rockstars, I did not sleep all day Sunday like most people would after a week like I had. No, I got up like the baller that I am and took Marley to the Warped Tour in Pomona which 65 miles from my house and was about two degrees cooler than the surface of the sun. If you are unfamiliar with the Warped Tour you must not have a teenager who likes to listen to music where the word “singing” should be replaced with “screaming.” (Lucky you!)

So, yes, I am freaking Mother of the Year. And I looked like it too. After a week of looking totally cute for country rockstars and parties I put on the most suburban “Suburban Mom Running Errands” outfit I could find – a brightly colored tank top, baggy shorts, this cute baseball hat, and tennis shoes and stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of black. (And no, you do not get a photo of that!)

The good news is, I have friends in high places and after a little bit of confusion (and maybe some begging) was able to score a wristband that gave me all access backstage where I was able to find a lovely couch under a tree at the commissary patio and sat there all afternoon reading my book. (Yes, I brought a book!)

Okay, maybe I’m not such a rockstar after all. But I don’t care. I ‘d earned the rest.

 

P.S. If you have read this entire post the real rockstar is YOU! It’s so freaking long. Thanks for sticking with me. You’re awesome!

 

What’s on Your Twitter Feed?

Marley has a friend (who shall remain nameless) who recently sent her this text:

snarky-teenage-texts
Hey… wait a minute…

 

Now that’s some funny shit. And it seems like it would be completely accurate. I mean what else is Twitter for but:

  • Stalking your daughter’s rants & band obsessions
  • Tweeting to wineries about how awesome they are in hopes they will mistake you for someone who is influential and send you a free case of their wine (hasn’t happened yet, but a girl can dream)
  • Retweeting @dailyhotguy’s half-naked hot dude pics (If you are unfamiliar with @dailyhotguy here’s one their tweets from Thanksgiving – that I did not retweet, BTW!)
henry-cavill-shirtless
Um, yep, even with a silly turkey hat, shirtless Henry Cavill is still hot!

But the thing is…

Hey. Hey! Quit looking at Henry! Get your eyes back on the words. Thank you.

What was I saying?

Oh yeah. The thing is, while it seems like that would be an accurate portrayal of my Twitter feed, it really isn’t. At least not lately.

Recently I’ve tweeted about…

Authors’ books or writers’ websites (and okay, okay, maybe my book or website)

tweets-about-books
So… I might be a tad self-promoting

 

Country music lyrics (don’t judge)

tweets-about-jake-owen
I can’t believe Jake Owen didn’t tweet me back professing his undying love for me!

 

Bradley Cooper

tweets-about-Bradley-Cooper
That Barbara Walters is a hussy!

 

Yeah, I know. My tweets are kind of lame.

And, okay, I do tweet about wine, but not that much.

tweets about wine
So far no free cases of wine.

 

And the last time I tweeted a picture of a half-naked dude was in July. Of 2014!!!

half-naked-guy-on-twitter
Yep! Totally worth it!

 

So, while hilariously funny, I don’t think Marley’s friend’s assessment of my Twitter feed is all that accurate. Though perhaps if it was my feed would be more interesting.

(Note to self: More tweets about half naked dudes and wine!)

 

You can find me on Twitter as @rossgirl08. And here are some other super cool people to follow: @BookStarDaily, @dailyhotguy, @kimtracyprince, & @theskimm

P.S. Sorry for the uber shitty quality of my Twitter snips. Going to see if I can fix that. (You know, in all my free time!) 🙂

 

 

 

 

An Actual Conversation with my Ridiculously Frustrating Son

Last Saturday we were still waiting for news.We hadn’t heard from any colleges yet and we knew that admissions decisions had been mailed on Tuesday from one of the schools Chandler is most hopeful about.

“Call me if the letter comes today,” I said as I was walking out the door on my way to a lacrosse tournament with Marley, happy for the distraction. Our mail comes late, sometimes not until five o’clock. I had an image of myself perched on the couch by the front window with my laptop, obsessively refreshing the search for the school’s “accepted” hashtag on Twitter to see how many kids were taking my son’s potential spot, looking up every time I heard a car even though I know the difference of the sound of a passing car and the stop-start of the mail truck.

Chandler called a little after three.

“Mom, a box came in the mail addressed to Dad. Can I open it?”

“Why do you want to open a box for Dad?” I asked my heart sinking that the news hadn’t come.

“I want to see if it has my…”

“You’re acceptance letter wouldn’t come in a box for Dad,” I said cutting him off. It would come in a big envelope addressed to you.”

“Shhh, Mom,” he said clearly frustrated to be cut off. “I got the acceptance letter, but first I want to know if this is the hat Dad got me on eBay.

“Really, Chandler? You got in?” I said tears coming to my eyes.

“We’ll talk about that in a minute. Can you please ask Dad about the box?”

Now I was the one who was frustrated. But also really, really happy.

I put the phone to my chest and looked at Dave. “Your son got in, but he’s more interested in a box that’s addressed to you. Can he open it to see if it’s his hat?”

“Tell him to go ahead,” Dave said rolling his eyes.

“Dad says go ahead, Chandler,”

“Oh good, it’s my hat,” he said. “Yeah, Mom. I got in. Isn’t that great?”

“Yes, Chandler. That’s really great. I’m so proud of you,” I said the tears welling up in my eyes again. If I wasn’t so happy I might have had to kill that kid..

The Day My Son Almost Got on a Plane Alone Without His Cellphone

Early Sunday morning we dropped Chandler off at the airport for an overnight trip to Washington D.C. Yep that’s right, 2700 miles across the country and back in 36 hours so he could check out a college that’s much too far from home in my opinion. (What if he meets a girl there. And marries her. And never comes home!) I watched him walk away then looked to see if he forgot anything and saw his phone on the backseat.

His phone.

cell phone
Oops!

Dave hopped out of the car and called him before he went inside the terminal. As he handed over the phone Chandler said, “That would be bad.”

Yes it would.

Nobody was picking up Chandler at the airport in DC. He was taking the Metro to the university he was visiting and meeting the student whose dorm he was staying in. The student was going to text Chandler where to meet him. Without his phone that meeting would have been close to impossible.

It’s crazy how dependent we’ve become on our phones. Why look something up on a map when your phone is equipped with a high-tech GPS navigation system? Traffic on the freeway? No need to wait ten minutes for an update on news radio, just check out Waze for an alternate route. Your toddler bored in line at the market? Hand her your phone so she can play a game and stop whining about it. Email, Facebook, your camera, hell even a flashlight – all on your phone.

And when we need to get in touch with someone? Instead of calling them we text. Ironically our dependence on cellphones has made actually talking on the phone nearly obsolete.

Dave and I tried to speculate what would have happened if I hadn’t seen the phone. When would Chandler have noticed and what would he have done? He’s really responsible and leaving his phone behind is out of character for him. I’m sure he was just distracted, maybe a bit nervous about his trip. But I worried, was this kid really ready to go away to school?

I don’t think I’m as dependent on my phone as most people seem to be. I rarely use it check my email or Facebook or Twitter status. I’m terrible at texting. In fact, I forget my phone all the time.

But I will admit that I am dependent on my kids having their phones. I like to keep tabs and keep them close. We used to have Chandler text us when he got to his destination when he first started driving. And we still ask him to text us when he’s on his way home.

When we got home from the airport I told Marley what happened and then said, “I think at dinner this week we’ll have to have a discussion about this and what you guys would do if you were traveling alone and didn’t have your phone.”

She rolled her eyes. “Really, Mom? I’d just find a mom or an an airport employee and tell them I was a lost little girl and could I please borrow their phone to call my mommy.”

I met  her eye roll with a sigh. I suppose she would. That girl’s got some street smarts. (As most girls do.) But would Chandler? I wan’t so sure.

After he got home I did ask him what he would have done. He shrugged, “It depends when I noticed.”

“What if you noticed before you got on the plane?” I asked.

“I’d use someone’s phone to call you or call my phone.”

“What if you noticed after you were on the plane and it was too late to get your phone back?”

“I’d find a way to call you when I got to DC then take the metro to the school. He texted me. You could have read me his text.”

“But Chandler,” I said, “what if your phone wasn’t in the car? What if you lost your phone?”

He shrugged again. “But I didn’t, Mom.”

No, he didn’t. I don’t know why I was skeptical that he’d know what to do. He is eighteen. And he’s smart. (Plus, am an awesome mom.) It would have been inconvenient for him not to have his phone. Perhaps even difficult. But like all of us when we forget our phones, he would have survived.

And I probably would have too.

How to Avoid Homework in the Digital Age

Yesterday Marley was “doing homework” in her room. We bought her a lovely Crate and Barrel desk (well, the original owner bought it from Crate and Barrel – I got it and the almost-matching-Ikea-chair at a yard sale for forty bucks a couple years ago), but she prefers to use her desk as a place to store dirty clothes, books, old homework, candy wrappers (even though she’s not supposed to have candy in her room) and god-know-what-else on it (she uses her floor to store the overflow that doesn’t fit on her desk) and do her homework on her bed.

(Wow! That was an 92 word sentence – I know I write obnoxiously long sentences, but I might have set a record!)

Anyway, I walked in her room to check on her and she was reading a book. She’s reading Eighth Grade Bites, the first Vladimir Tod book by Heather Brewer. I love to read and she claims that she does not like to read, so it brings me joy that she is reading a book. She also needs to read books and then test on them at the school library to get points for her Language Arts class. (Why is it called Language Arts in middle school, but English in high school? Just wondering.) She needs ten points by next Friday and Eighth Grade Bites is worth seven, so she will have to read another book after (and Ninth Grade Slays is almost twice as long) so she does need to read.

But. I would still prefer that she do her reading last. She’s a fast reader. She can read on the weekends.

She had to do nine math problems, study bones for science (did you know that 1/4 of the bones in our body are in our feet?), and write over 20 vocabulary sentences for Language Arts. I know this because all of her homework is online. Yes, the digital age makes it possible for even non-helicopter moms like me to know what their kids are supposed to be doing.

“You’re doing your reading first?” I asked her trying to sound upbeat and chipper instead of disapproving.

“Yes, I’m almost done,” she answered. “I only have a few pages left.”

“Okay,” I said and handed her an index card with her homework assignments written on it. “Finish up and start your math.”

“I know, Mom,” she said in that lovely tween voice that lets you know they know. (Everything!)

A half an hour later I popped my head in her room to let her know I found a cool website with some math games for percentages. She’s been struggling with percentages and I’m great at percentages (probably because in my mind percentages equals buying things on sale), but I’m not great at teaching her percentages. (Probably because she’s not great at listening.)

She was still reading her book.

“I thought you said you were almost done.”

“I am,” she answered.

And then I noticed the glow on her face. It was not a metaphorical glow that lights up your face because you are reading words that inspire or enlighten you. It was a physical glow. A bright glow that reminded me of the  briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

Pulp-Fiction_briefcase_full

And it was coming out of her book.

She was the modern day version of a kid in class with a comic book stuck inside of a text book.

“Hand over the iPod,” I said.

“But Mom,” she whined. “Listening to music helps me concentrate. Even Dr. Robin said it’s a good idea.”

“Yes, well listening to music may help you concentrate, but having a mini computer stuck in your book does not. Hand. It. Over.”

And after a few “That’s not fairs” she did.

And then I went back to my laptop and got back to work. After watching a short film on YouTube. And commenting on some Facebook status updates. And scrolling Twitter. Because Marley has nothing on me when it comes to being distracted.

(And if you’d like to be distracted even further, here is the film on YouTube that caught my eye.)

Cabbage Soup Diet Diary: Day One

Yesterday I confessed to you all that I was going to torture myself with the Cabbage Soup diet. Understandably, I received a lot of flack. My friend Sarah yelled at me on Twitter. I knew she would. She solves women’s digestive problems. But I don’t have digestive problems. I have my-metabolism-hit-mid-life-and-decided-to-stop-working problems. It might have a lot to do with the amount of cheese I eat.

(Or it might be the wine I drink with that cheese.)

Anyway, I’ve decided good, bad or whatever to do the diet this week and journal about my experience here. (Lucky you!)

Day One:

I think that Day One is the hardest day as it is fruit only and fruit is: a.) not filling, and b.) pretty gassy. Cabbage Soup Diet Tip #1: Gas-X is your friend. Take it first thing in the morning and take it as often as it says you can.

This is what I had for breakfast on Day One:

Cabbage Soup Diet Breakfast
Yes avocado is a fruit!

Looks pretty tasty right? Pomegranate seeds, mango, grapes and half an avocado. Yes, avocado is a fruit. Sure, whoever created this crazy diet probably didn’t intend for you to have avocado, but while the diet strictly says no bananas until Day 4, it doesn’t say anything about avocados. Besides, I gave up coffee. And wine. I deserve something for that don’t I?

At 9:00 I was hungry again and ate more mango and grapes.

At 10:00 See above. (And so on and so on through out the day!)

For lunch I had some yummy Cabbage Soup Diet soup. Doesn’t it look delicious?

Cabbage-Soup-Diet-soup
Umm,.. Yum?

Well, just close your eyes and plug your nose and pretend it does like I do! (Actually, it’s not that bad. But like I said yesterday, by Day 3 or 4 it really does make you kind of gag.)

In all honesty I really wasn’t that hungry. I mean, yes, I was hungry, but I never felt like I was starving. Probably because I was literally eating all day long. And yes, in case you are wondering I did have the second half of that avocado as an afternoon snack. (Damn it was good!)

And I don’t think I was that cranky. (I tend to be when I’m hungry). Although I did snap at Dave at dinner, coincidentally while he was eating his second chicken burrito and I was slurping more soup. (Oops!)

I did roast some grape tomatoes for dinner. They were pretty tasty. Even without the olive oil I usually slather on before I roast them.

Roasted tomatoes for cabbage soup diet
Delicious!

Tomorrow I’ll be eating vegetables all day and I get my baked potato! You’d better believe I’m looking forward to that! I’ll also be getting on the scale and see if I’ve lost any weight. (Yes, overnight. Shut up!)

But right now I’m going to take another Gas-X and head off to bed.