Sunday, May 31, 2009

Question of the Day #207

My thighs are burning. My butt hurts and I'm a little wobbly. Who knew a bouncy house would be such a workout? After just five minutes, your heart races, your legs become jelly and you're out of breath like you just sprinted four miles.

How do little kids bounce all day long?

Yesterday's bouncy house led to much discussion around workouts. I hike in the hills around my house. N runs. Other friends do yoga. And then M mentioned The Bar Method.

"The what?" I asked.

"The Bar Method. You use a ballet bar to stretch and do all kinds of pilate like moves," she replied.

"Uh, I can't even touch my toes. I could never do that," I said.

"If I can do it, you can do it. There are only a couple girls in the class who can actually get their feet over their heads."

I imagined a room full of ultra limber toothpick skinny women twisted up like pretzels.

"Um, yeah, I could never do that."

"No really, you should come with me."

I don't know if it was the bouncy house burn, the margaritas or my cotton candy buzz, but I think I kind of agreed to go to some class where someone will force me to tuck in my butt cheeks, lunge and twist at the same time.

What kinds of workouts do you do? And are they as crazy as that?


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Question of the Day #206

I'm so excited! My friend K, the ultimate party planner, is having her ultimate kiddie birthday party today. Cotton candy machine, popcorn maker, margarita machine (Did I say "kiddie"?) and a bouncy castle!

Yes, she's a grown, married woman. But her birthday wish was for her and all her BFFs to enjoy a day of stressless, ridiculous, bouncy, kidlike fun. And I'm all for it!

So as I get ready to head out, I'm wondering, what would your ultimate birthday party entail?


Friday, May 29, 2009

Question of the Day #205

The shift keys on my laptop are not working. It started a couple days ago. They were working intermittently, but now they are dead. So, to start a sentence, I press caps lock. They hardest part is symbols. Like signing in, I had to cut and paste the @ symbol. And the # symbol in title of today's question.

That means no quotation marks, which when you're working on a novel, is laughable. So, I'm heading to the Geek Squad, again, where they will determine whether the problem is software, which I'm praying for, or hardware. If it's hardware, they'll send the computer out to be fixed, which will take approximately 10 days.

10 days without a computer. Can you imagine 10 days without Questions? 10 days without writing? Working? Blogging? Reading the news? Checking the weather?

How does the idea of not having your computer for 10 days affect you?


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Question of the Day #204

I'm revising my work in progress. Again. So for the past few days, after staring at the screen and searching for perfect punchy verbs and cutting and adding, my brain is scrambled by the time I stop.

So, I've been shaking it all off by watching really bad TV at night. I mean really bad. The Real Housewives of New Jersey bad.

I'm a Jersey Girl. It's not like I haven't seen these ultra rich, new school Italian women before. Yet, I'm completely fascinated by their mama drama lives.

Maybe I'm bored with my own life. Perhaps. But let's not psychoanalyze me. What about you? What bad TV do you inhale like it's oxygen?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Question of the Day #203

How would you fill in these blanks?

If I could _________________, I ___________________ .

For example:

If I could strike it rich, I would be relieved.
If I could get rid of my stomach ache, I'd eat breakfast.
If I could see into the future, I'm not sure I'd look.

I could go on, but the list is too long.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Question of the Day #202

My favorite color is red. It was my Granny's favorite color. In fact, she only wore red and black. Red is bright and powerful and eye catching. And according to The Color Code, it means I'm a bit of a control freak.

I won't argue with that.

What's your favorite color and why?


Monday, May 25, 2009

Question of the Day #201

In the U.S., today is Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who have died while serving in our military.

How is the holiday observed around you? Do you do anything special to honor those men and women?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Question of the Day #200

Wowee - check us out! We reached 200 questions! That means for the last 200 days we've asked, answered, pondered, evaluated and played Questions. Not bad. In fact, I can't think of anything else (that isn't necessary to live) I've done every day for the last 200 days.

So I'm feeling the need for an important question, which as usual, brings me back to last night. After spending some time with my girlfriends, around 1:00 AM, I headed over to Mansfield to attend a party. My dear friends R and J were there, waiting for me. (Nothing like being greeted by a couple very good men!)

We sat around the table by the pool and J kept talking about the old days and how the place didn't seem the same. As it shouldn't, because it's not. And after going back up to my house and grilling steak and scrambling eggs, it occured to me that it wasn't the house J was missing.

"You don't miss that place. You miss this," I said sometime around 4:00 AM.


"You miss grilling up food and starting happy hour as I stroll in from work. You miss steak and eggs in the middle of the night. "

"Arroz con pollo. I miss your arroz con pollo."

"You make arroz con pollo?" R's eyes bulged.

"Of course I do." I plopped steak, hash browns and a pile of eggs on J's plate and handed it to him. "But that's beside the point. You miss your urban tribe."

"Yes! Urban tribes." He nodded his head and gobbled up some eggs. "That's it. That's what I miss. The sense of community. There's no community anymore."

"You miss family," I said.

"Not my family," J said. "My family's crazy."

"Okay, okay. I get it. But the urban tribe is what we replaced our families with. So, now, if we only see each other once in a while, then what?"

"I don't know..." They both said.

As the food coma settled in their eyes and the sun begain to filter in the backyard, I wondered what other people do to satisfy that sense of community. That need for family or an "urban tribe." How does it manifest itself in your life? Where do you go to fill that space?


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Question of the Day #199

I'm taking part in a garage sale today with KGM and her hubby. In the past, we've blogged about fabulous garage sale finds, but what's the weirdest/greatest/most hideous thing you ever got rid of?

I don't have a lot of bad stuff to cleanse myself of today, unless you count the leather pants I bought for some New Years Eve during the 90's. But who knows, perhaps I'll dig up some heinous tablecloth that will become another person's decorative jackpot.

What trash of yours ended up being someone else's treasure?


Friday, May 22, 2009

Question of the Day #198

It's Friday! The beginning of a long weekend. So let's spread the happy. I'll start by writing out 10 things I LOVE:

1. Cheeseburgers
2. When my characters run away with the story and do something I totally don't expect them to do
3. When people comment on my blog
4. Fresh nectarines off the tree in my backyard
5. A good hike
6. Sunsets
7. The beach
8. Cuddling
9. Porch talk
10. Jam sessions

What are 10 things you love?


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Question of the Day #197

I just got an email titled, "Learn How to Make a Living on eBay." That got me thinking about the creative ways people are making money these days. Like my friend who goes to garage sales and buys barely used toys for a dollar or so then goes home, cleans them and resells them on eBay for $10.

I've put google ads on my blogs and everytime someone clicks, a few cents come my way. It's not much, but every click helps! Another friend earns cash by chatting online while showing off her calves to paying leg enthusiasts via webcam.

What creative ideas have you come up with to earn extra money?


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Question of the Day #196

S, of my critique group extraordinaire, has written an amazing fantasy novel. In it, there is a character who is "in limbo," stuck between two worlds, and for lack of a better title, we called her a "ghost."

Last night, at G's house, G and I kept hearing strange noises upstairs. G went to investigate, by herself. I turned to the other writers and said, "Should I go with her?"

T nodded and yelped, "Yes!"

So I got up and followed G out of the kitchen, grabbing a cast iron frying pan along the way. Upstairs, we checked closets, peered down hallways and peeked behind doors, all the while, holding my frying pan high, ready to bonk an offender on the head. When we found nothing, we returned to the group downstairs.

"Maybe it was the ghost," J said.

"Didn't you tell us a ghost story once?" T asked me.

"I had a haunted car once..." S began.

And the ghost stories started. So I ask, have you had any experiences that have made you believe in ghosts?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Question of the Day #195

Greg C's answer to yesterday's question made me think of a family sailing trip we took years ago in the Virgin Islands. As we sailed, two humpback whales popped up out of the water and then kept in time with us, jumping out, arching over the waves and splashing back in, over and over. It was an amazing sight.

What amazing moments of nature have you witnessed?


Monday, May 18, 2009

Question of the Day #194

What's your favorite kind of animal? Tiger? Zebra? Whale? Alligator? Gorilla?

I'm going with a whale. I'd like to think they'd be fun to play with.

PS - Isn't there some kind of personality test based on what your favorite animal is? Does anybody remember what it's supposed to mean?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Question of the Day #193

Last night, at Coldstone Creamery, N and I eyed the vats of ice cream in the case. We scanned topping after topping, and eventually, made the most important decisions of our day.

After careful consideration, he ordered "Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip" which is mint ice cream with chocolate chips, chunks of brownie and fudge.

I ordered vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips. What can I say? I'm a simple girl.

What about you? Do you add ice cream to your toppings? Go plain Jane Vanilla like me? What's your favorite ice cream?


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Question of the Day #192

I am having the most relaxing vacation of my life.

You know how sometimes you go on vacation and you're so caught up in sightseeing and activities or partying that you never actually rest? And then you get home and need a vacation from your vacation?

Since arriving in Palm Springs, we have done nothing but hang out by the pool, nap, eat, and zone out to horrible reality TV. After hiking Yosemite, flying back and forth to Honolulu and celebrating H's birthday, this is absolute Lazyheaven.

In fact, I even asked N if we can stay here forever. Sadly, he said, "no."

So what's your vacation style? Do you laze around? Take every tour in town? Party it up?


Friday, May 15, 2009

Question of the Day #191

Just when you thought the adventures might be over, Suzie's whirlwind tour continues. Destination #3 is Palm Springs. I've spent most of the morning floating around the pool on a raft. N has spent some of it in the shade and some of it on a raft and some of it baking on a lounge chair.

Let's take a poll. (To the left.) What kind of pool person are you? Do you float on all day? Seek quiet in the shade? Soak up the sun on a lounger?


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Question of the Day #190

My friend Rob acted in a television pilot, "Captain Alpha Male." And we're really hoping it gets picked up. Here's a trailer:

Rob is the fine black man sporting an eye patch. We've been friends a long time and I'm wishing very good things for him.

So, are you sending good energy to someone in hopes that they achieve one of their dreams?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Question of the Day #189

Once upon a time there lived a pair of shoes. Shiny, red patent leather, opened toed, sling back, three inch cork heeled (no wedge) very well loved shoes.

Last night, as H and I walked to downtown Waikiki, the right very well loved shoe broke. Actually, it cracked, so that as I walked, it sort of buckled under the arch of my foot. I didn’t fall or get hurt, but my favorite shoes were suddenly clearly hazardous. So I hobbled back to the hotel, kissed them goodbye, buried my reds at the bottom of my suitcase and slipped on flip flops.

After indulging in birthday margaritas and conversing with a South Philly combat technician sporting a yellow tank top and more chest hair than a German Shepard, a ton of government contractors, a marine with scary war stories, a guy who ran away from his tiny hometown in Washington and moved to Maui, a dude who couldn’t remember the name of the town he lived in and a bartender who told REALLY bad jokes, we headed back to the hotel.

As we began our walk, I noticed that the flip flops were giving me blisters. I once again mourned my reds, since they never hurt my feet, and then I flipped off my flops. The slate sidewalks were warm and immaculately clean. We saw one cigarette butt on our half mile walk. No plastic bags, bottles, gum or garbage of any sort.

H kicked off her shoes too. We discussed how we’d never walk barefoot in Hollywood. I hate to bash my city, but in comparison to Waikiki’s lickable sidewalks, my city is filthy.

Earlier in the night when we waded out into the turquoise ocean and stared up at the birthday stars to make wishes, I admired Diamond Head in the distance and the glowing city lights along the shoreline. But being comfortable enough to walk barefoot on the way home really boosted Waikiki’s stock.

What are some qualities about the places you’ve visited that made them extra impressive to you?


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Question of the Day #188

Today, H and I hiked Diamond Head, a crater formed after a volcanic explosion thousands of years ago. An army fort was built into the crater before World War One and we got to stand on the look out tower.

To get there, we hiked up trails, pounded up stairs and skulked through tunnels. On the way down, H said, "Look Suz! There's the light at the end of the tunnel."

And to think, I'd almost thought it had disappeared. So have you seen any glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel lately? If so, what did it look like?


Monday, May 11, 2009

Question of the Day #187

Shhhh. Is that your suitcase? The wheels are squeaking. Don't wake the neighbors! It's time to sneak out for H's birthday. By the way, "H" is for "Honolulu."

What are you guys doing today?


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Question of the Day #186

Yosemite is awesome. In the true sense of the word. This is one of the many waterfalls and rockfaces we saw while hiking yesterday.

What awesome landscapes have you visited and loved?


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Question of the Day #185

Stars sparkled in a black sky at Yosemite National Park last night as we stared up beyond the pine trees. When the lights of plane streaked across the darkness, someone asked me, "Where do you think that plane is headed?"

"I don't know. It's hard to tell what's north or south."

All the friends on our cabin's porch began pointing in opposite directions.

"That's north."

"No, that's north."

"That's south."

"Suzie, look at the moon and think about where it rose at your house the other night," N said.

Thursday night, the moon had risen over the southern wall on my deck, creating palm tree shadows while N and I grilled.

I studied the sky. The moon was in front of me, straight up.

"Okay, then that's south. Which means if the plane is going that way, it's probably headed to San Francisco or San Jose."

"Right!" N said.


"You think?"

"I don't think so."

Everyone muttered as they stared up. And in all that quiet, in the middle of nowhere, there was a certain calm in knowing that we were all turned around together.

So when was the last time you had absolutely no idea where you were?


Friday, May 8, 2009

Question of the Day #184

Yesterday I got a huge cooler full of Omaha Steaks from my Auntie Maria. Filet Mignon, burgers, pork chops, sirloin, dogs, potatoes au gratin and sole stuffed with crab and scallops.

Holy cow! Literally.

So yesterday, N and I had filet mignon and potatoes au gratin for lunch and the most delicious hot dogs ever for dinner. It was like a holiday.

And I have enough food for the next month. What a cool gift for a foodie like me! It used to be that sending cards and flowers were a crazy big deal, but now it seems like you can order anything for anyone anywhere. So what cool gifts have you sent someone you love?


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Question of the Day #183

May 7th. Makes me think of the Seven Layer Dip from Cinco de Mayo. Although the hostess with the mostess, KGM called it "Siete Layer Dip," quite appropriately.

In addition to the Siete Layer Dip, KGM broke out an excellent black bean salsa, homecooked shredded beef tacos (the beef melted in my mouth) and her famous Buffalo Chicken Dip which while it had nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo, is a favorite among B and GB, who actually race to arrive at her house so they can hoard it.

We listened to mariachi, drank cervezas, had a party in KGM's closet which any shoe lover would kill for, watched her break out some crazy bounce moves, played with our Chihuahua honoree and discussed hiring ourselves out as an entourage that specializes in discouraging stars from blowing all their cash on very bad things.

All in all it was a festive fiesta.

In So. Cal, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated like St. Patty's Day is celebrated in Boston. It's big. What about where you live? Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Question of the Day #182

Interviews. Whether on the phone or in person, they're nerve racking. My usual charm somehow seems to dissipate into babble or stumbly mumbling. Or sometimes I feel like I'm rockin' it. Like the whole gig is a slam dunk and then BOOM, somebody else gets the project.

What are your interview experiences like? Have you ever had an interview that you thought was dooming your career but ended up scoring you a dream job?


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Question of the Day #181

Lately, when I think someone's behavior is crazy, I'll say, "That's koo koo roo." I've been saying it to the point of overuse, which got me thinking about other phrases I over use. Like when I sign off on the phone with H, a lot of times I say, "Rock on," before I hang up.

I also use the word "crazy" way too much. But that's probably because I've been dealing with an insane person and some crazy situations. Nonetheless, I should break out my thesaurus and shake it up.

As writers, we have to be really careful about using a word or phrase too much. In a very early draft of my WIP, the brilliant Sarah Laurenson pointed out that I'd used the word "bolt" a zillion times. Savanna bolted out of bed, down the hall, across the lawn. She bolted more than lightning. And when I did a "Find and Replace" I found that the word appeared over 60 times in the manuscript.


So even though speaking is completely different than writing, I'm going to find some synonyms for "koo koo roo" and "crazy." Because even though there's plenty o' crazy to point out, I need to point it out in a different way.

What words or phrases are you repeating like crazy? (Oops. I did it again. See? I just wrote "crazy.")


Monday, May 4, 2009

Question of the Day #180

There's a school across the street from my house and right now kids are laughing on the playground. Cheering and chatter and play are generally nice sounds. Good music to write to.

Until recently, when whoever runs recess decided to add a hideous soundtrack of bad 80's songs to playtime. Little kids monkey on monkey bars to "Walk Like an Egyptian," Thriller" and "Come on Eileen." They play tag to the beat of C & C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now" and Madonna's "Get Into the Groove."

I shut the windows and insert earplugs.

Commiserate with me. Or brag if you want to. What sounds do you hear around your home?


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Question of the Day #179

When H and I used to work together, we'd check our horoscopes online every day. Sometimes they were eerily accurate and others were from another planet. Nonetheless, we checked every day.

Each year, my friend, Mr. F, either cuts out my birthday horoscope from the LA Times or sends it to me via email. This year's is:

Today's birthday (April 30): Through May, you grow your talents and discover ones you didn't know about. July is intensely romantic. October brings travel. Leo and Scorpio adore you. Your lucky numbers are 12, 3, 33, 20 and 19.

None of that sounds bad. But after reviewing my birthday horoscopes for the last two years and realizing that I never had those cash windfalls or new careers, I'm not going to bank on an intensely romantic July.

Do you believe in horoscopes?


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Question of the Day #178

On Thursday night, at my celebration, there was a moment when it was all Taurus all the time. A little crowd formed at the end of the bar including me, H, B, S, and S, the bartender. All Taurus. And then there was poor GB, Mr. Pices. Clearly a fish out of water. (I cannot believe I just typed out that lame pun. And I'm not even going to delete it.)

And I thought about one of my fave Jersey Girls, whose birthday is May 7 and another friend who was born on April 28 and another on the 27th and another today. It's clear that we Taurians stick together.

Do other signs do the same? Do you have a bunch of friends who are a particular sign? Or are there people of a particular astrological sign who you like to hang around?


Friday, May 1, 2009

Question of the Day #177

Now that was a good party.

After a "Suzie Special" pizza, an abundance of friends, a fabulous champagne toast, lots of crazy talk, and overwhelming donations to "The New Jeans Fund," I found myself at the beach, barefoot at 4:00 AM. The giant waves crashed white, booming in the darkness.

And I felt calm. Actually peaceful. And I thought about all the times I've sought solace in the ocean, whether singing into it late at night, sunbathing in its sand, praying while studying its currents or writing to its music.

Just like the treehouse when I was a kid, as an adult, the ocean is where I have always gone to soothe my soul. Where do you go?