All posts by Susan

I founded the site many moons ago. The support we get and the good info from around the country keeps it going. My favorite thing is a piece of advice that we haven't heard - and it gets harder to come by after thousands of interviews. Have questions? Email me. I'm happy to answer them as soon as I can.

Health and the Holidays

This holiday season many of us – me included – caught nasty cold or flu bugs.

In our area, we have a nifty service called Minute Clinic – you should read up on them to see if they are near you. In a nutshell, they provide medical service for what ails you; they were recommended by my doctor who had no openings until later in the week.

Before I went, I looked up our article on Analyzing Your Symptoms which helped me nail down what I needed to tell the doctor.  We were in and out in 15 minutes since I used our ‘cheat sheet’ for describing symptoms.

Here’s to good health in the New Year!

– Susan

Quick Answers for Kids, Cold Weather, and the Holidays

Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, Milwaukee – and the list of frozen states continues. 

We’re getting questions via phone about unplugged entertainment for kids since there’s no power and no school in much of the northern half of the country.

Solution: Here’s a good list of non-electric games and ideas for mom and dad.  We call it the Kids Emergency Entertainment Kit.

Another question we’re getting – ice dams.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, count yourself among the lucky.

Solution: Here’s info on Ice Dams: Prevention and Removal.

Holiday travel is always a bit dicey – moreso now with the crazy weather.  Lots of people are worried about their homes – are they secured?

Solution: Here are some tips from seasoned travelers on keeping your house safe and secure while you’re enjoying holiday travels.

Happy Holidays!


Those who passed in 08

Writing a Eulogy

There are a lot of 2008 summaries on news sites.  I’m seeing the requisite list of famous and influential people who passed away this year.  Heath Ledger, George Carlin, Bernie Mac, Tim Russert…

One of the most common questions we get about funerals is how to write a eulogy.  Here are some ideas readers have sent to us –

  • Talk about the person’s unique characteristics – their choice of clothing; their way of laughing, telling stories, talking
  • Did they take memorable vacations
  • Were they know for their work
  • Make the speech simple to read
  • Some things that might be funny to your friends and age group might not be appropriate for everyone attending. Err on the sides of caution, respect and dignity.

More good advice on our article – Writing a Eulogy

– Susan

Snow and Cold

Winter is fun!
Winter Can Be Fun!

OK, itPosts‘s -3 in Mpls., MN today.  The National Weather Service says the arctic freeze is everywhere.

Here are some things we’ve learned about cold weather:

1. Mittens vs. Gloves: Mittens win re: they seem to keep the entire hand warm. Gloves let the cold divide and conquer.

2. Hats: Need to cover the entire head and fit below the ear lobes.

3. Ladies: No hanging metal earrings, no matter how precious.

4. Dogs: Dogs with little or no coat (think Greyhound, AmStaf Terrier) need a dog parka.  And possibly booties.  Dogs with coats (Goldens, German shepard) can handle the cold, but bring them in after a few minutes just in case.

5. Road conditions – Watch for black ice.

According to Merriam Webster, black ice is a nearly transparent film of ice on a dark surface (as a paved road or a body of water) that is difficult to see.

You’ll find it on bridges, over and under passes and, for some reason, on clover leaf exit/entrance ramps. Watch your driving, turning, on/off ramps and braking because I’ve been in two car accidents because of black ice.

6. Ankle boots vs. Above-ankle boots.  Winner – above ankle boots.  Snow in your shoes just once answers this question.

7. Winter and Health: The American Heart Association has some good tips on winter health here.

Stay warm!


Candy Corn Day

Yesterday was Candy Corn Day (crafty candy makers – marketing the day before Halloween so you’re tempted to eat all the candy before the kids arrive…).

Happy Halloween
Happy Halloween

Speaking of kids – for anyone expecting little ghosts and goblins at their front door, here are some tips:

1) Clean Sweep

Clear and sweep your walkway and driveway to be sure kids won’t trip over rakes, toys, hoses, etc.

2) Light Up

Keep walkways and front porches well lit. Why? Kids often trick or treat in groups and don’t pay attention to anything except what’s in that candy bowl.  In dim light, it’s too easy for an over-excited kid to trip on a flower pot and get hurt.

3) Not Home?

If you’re not going to be home, turn the front lights off.  Nothing is more disappointing than expecting to get some candy and then realizing no one’s home.  Times are hard enough, don’t let the kids down…

4) Dogs and cats

If you’ve got pets that are feisty or bark when people come around, keep them away from the front door.  You know your dog is adorable, but to a child your dog is a big set of barking teeth.

Last thought …

Here’s a good article on costume safety for kids.

And – it’s a Friday night Halloween so if you’re an adult going out to have fun – designate a driver or take cabs.  We recently heard from a reader about a DUI that cost upwards of $11,000 to get through.  That’s a lot of cab rides…

See you this weekend!

- Susan

Connecting Flights – A Time Tip


We’re getting a lot of airline questions lately – Sarah from DC wants to know – “What’s the least amount of time you can have between connecting flights?”

We checked with Northwest Airlines and they say 30 minutes between flights.  I suggest calling your airline and asking what their policy is.

However,  I would not recommend 30 minutes between flights.  We were leaving on vacation and our flight was 10 minutes late taking off. Yes, you guessed it – we had 30 minutes to get the connecting flight, but our connecting flight had left (on time) before we’d even landed.  Think using a travel web site may make a difference?  Read one of our staffer’s layover experience here.

So if at all possible, build in an hour at least – it’s better to wait for 20 minutes to board than throw the entire vacation schedule out of whack….

– Susan