Thursday, December 31, 2009

Question of the Day #421

Here we are, on the cusp of not only a new year, but a new decade. That makes me think of decades past, firmly defined, like the 60s' "Make Love Not War," the 70s' Discomania, 80's big hair and 90's grunge.

And I wonder what the first decade of the 21st century will be remembered for. The housing crisis? The United States' first black president? Granting then revoking same sex marriage rights in California? The MySpace, Facebook, Twitter explosion? War, war and more war?

What do you think?


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Question of the Day #420

I'm drooling over my new Foodsaver. It's waaay more high tech than my old one. It holds bags and can suck air out of canisters. I'm so excited about it that B and I are going to buy food to freeze right now!

What cool prezzies did you get over the holidays?


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Question of the Day #419

I'm getting ready to head back out to California. It took 30 hours to get here. It took B 20 hours to get home and since it snowed all night, I'm wondering how long my journey will take.

But like B said, it was the best Christmas ever. And if crazy delays and airport stays are the price we have to pay, it's all worth it.

How far did you travel for the holidays?


Monday, December 28, 2009

Question of the Day #418

Snow fell as I woke up this morning. My siblings and their little ones loaded into their cars and started their long, slick journeys home. My parents and I settled onto couches, snuggled under blankets and haven't moved since.

Only W has been ambitious enough to snowshoe. I didn't even take up the invitation to stroll out to the mailbox.

It's that kind of day.

How do you spend snowy days?


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Question of the Day #417

After gobbling down the delicious pumpkin pie B made, we had a leftover pie crust. So we decided to make a quiche with it. Except when we tried to pre-bake it, the pie crust slid into the pie plate and created a lumpy mess.

Ut oh.

What cooking experiment have you tried lately that fell flat?


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Question of the Day #416

The other night, we played a game called "Say Anything." You pick a question from a card and all the other players have to guess how you'd answer the question. I picked up the deck of cards and said, "These would be awesome for The Question of the Day!"

So here are a few borrowed questions (with my answers in parenthesis):

1. What would be the coolest thing to be able to predict? (When and to whom my novel will sell)

2. Which store is the most fun to shop in? (Whole Foods)

3. What can you say to your dog that you shouldn't say to your spouse? (Down boy!)

4. What's the greatest board game of all time? (Scrabble)

5. What shouldn't be done while driving? (Texting. Even though I'm totally guilty.)

How would you answer these questions?


Friday, December 25, 2009

Question of the Day #415

It's like this
I wake
and snuggle into the greatest Christmas gift ever
I whisper
The fog
Creates a lake in the mountains
Little islands of green
Hope rising out of the gray
Drums beat out a new story
Different from last year
No fear this time
Just warmth

How was your morning?


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Question of the Day #414

So, B, N and W just left the house to go to the dump. On the way out, they joked about how the dump is really a euphemism for where they bury all of my boyfriends' bodies. They giggled mischievously as B nervously buttoned his coat.

"Dad, can I shoot this one?" N said.

"Okay, I had the last three," W said.

They burst into laughter.

"Save me..." B mouthed as he closed the garage door behind him.

We use other, less evil euphemisms in this house. For example, we call the garbage disposal "Satan's Mouth."

What euphemisms do you and your family use?


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Question of the Day #413

Onions, garlic and the sweet tang of apple cider vinegar smothering pork wafts through my mom's house. I'm instantly transported to my grandmother's home.

The good china sparkles. Family snugs in around the table. Cousin Michael and I giggle through grace. The pork falls apart in my mouth.

Belly already full of tostones and suspiros, I'm distracted by the Charlie Brown tree my grandfather decorated. I wonder what's under it...

What meal sends you to holidays past?


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Question of the Day #412

Ohhh are we wallowing in food! Delicious spaghetti and meat sauce last night, mac and cheese tonight. Cookies, chips, sandwiches, bagels with mounds of cream cheese and holiday drinks. Who knew holiday drinks could be such treat? Apparently, everyone but me.

B is a big fan of Starbucks' egg nog latte, T's been sipping on some serious hot chocolate, Q's lovin' caffe mocha and I'm drinking chai lattes like crazy.

What's your favorite holiday drink?


Monday, December 21, 2009

Question of the Day #411

Are books always better than the movie?


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Question of the Day #410

If your flight was delayed four hours and your connection was canceled due to some historic snowstorm, and if you went all the way from JFK to Port Authority to board a bus that you purchased tickets for online and then was told upon arrival that the bus was canceled, therefore you headed back to JFK to wait 10 hours until the next plane will leave for your final destination, what would you do?

Apparently, B would sleep and I would write this question.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Question of the Day #409

What's your favorite sport?

Mine's baseball. All is right during baseball season. Nothing like bright lights, a buzzing crowd, the crack of the bat and hot dogs.

BTW, can you believe I haven't asked this question yet? Talk about overlooking the obvious.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Question of the day #408

So my mother calls me this morning:

"I have 11 1/2 minutes so I thought I'd call you."

"Oh? How nice. What are you doing?"

"Making spinach balls."

"Spinach balls?"

"Yes. Then I have to make fudge. Don't you remember? I made fudge last year."

"I remember."

"You don't? You loved it!"

"Mommy, I said, 'I remember.' And yes, I loved it."

"And one of your presents ended up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. But don't worry, it'll get here. I just got off the phone with them."

"Oh. Okay. Thank you."

"Okay, goodbye. I have to go now."

"What? That was 11 1/2 minutes?"

"Well, it's very hard to get the spinach balls into the bags and hold the phone at the same time."

"Mommy, you're a machine."

"Well, I have a lot to do. It takes work to make the perfect Christmas."

"I know and I can't wait. Good bye, Mommy. I love you."

"I love you too. Bye bye now."

Last week she emailed me a snow report - "Nine inches and counting." Then she wrote underneath, "Anything else you want?" She's like a Christmas Fairy or The All Time Greatest Elf. This woman is creating magic by the minute.

She's a total spaz but loving every minute of it.

How do the holidays make you feel? Excited? Stressed out? Blah?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Question of the Day #407

Okay, back to presents. You see where my head is, don't you?

Simply V's answer to QOTD #404 got me thinking about how handmade gifts can be some of the best. In the past, she has given me gorgeous stationary featuring her photography. My friend, Riiick, wrote, performed and recorded a song for my birthday once. And I've made and packaged meatballs and written poems as gifts.

Have you given or recieved handmade gifts? If so, what were they and what was special about them?


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Question of the Day #406

One of the regulars played sax with his band at the pub last night. They wailed out a holiday rumpus with a trumpet, drums, keyboards, guitar and bass. I couldn't help but shake my hips as I ran food.

On the way home, The Pretenders' 2,000 Miles played on the radio, backed up by the Goo Goo Dolls' Better Days, which made me think that those songs may not have originally been designed to be holiday songs. They were probably just written in the moment, yet have somehow ended up as much Christmas songs as "Jingle Bells."

Which leads me to my all time holiday favorite. The one that makes me stop for a moment just to let my heart melt - Dan Fogelberg's Same Old Lang Syne. It kills me.

What holiday music do you love?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Question of the Day #405

So I'm making a list of books for Santa. I'd like some recommendations. What good reads have you devoured lately?


Monday, December 14, 2009

Question of the Day #404

This question is brought to you by Lisa D:

What's the best gift you ever gave somebody else?

I hate to be cheesy, but I'm a little cheesy these days, so I might as well go full tilt - my heart. You?


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Question of the Day #403

While making gingerbread cookies, B asked, (Yes, he bakes! How cool is that?) "What's your favorite cookie?"

Mine are oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip. I just asked B and he said he thinks his faves are chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin with gingerbread rounding up third place. What about you?


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Question of the Day #402

Last night, when someone who shall remain nameless leaned in, close enough to rub her cheek against mine and through boozy breath said, "Doesn't this place look great?" that was nothing out of the ordinary.

That person is a serious Close Talker.

Then when I approached a table full of girls and asked, "Can I get you started with something to drink?" one of them looked up at me. Her lips moved but I couldn't hear a word.

"I can't hear you," I projected.

Again - moving lips, no words.

What is with the Soft Talkers and the Close Talkers? And what personality trait annoys you the most?


Friday, December 11, 2009

Question of the Day #401

I have chores to do. Right now, it's all about the laundry. Then I have to face my worst enemy - floors.

I HATE doing floors.

My old house was all hardwood and tile flooring. While I loved the way they looked and felt, keeping them clean was ridiculously hard. Sliding glass doors banked each side of the house on both floors and they didn't have any screens. And I was pretty close to the freeway. So, during the summer, I often had bare feet with black bottoms.

One of the benefits of being single. Who's gonna complain?

Now, in my nifty new place, I still have hardwood floors. But they're much easier to clean. They're far from freeway dust and they aren't nearly as vast as the old place.

But I still HATE doing floors.

Anyhoo, I'm going to hit that mess now, all the while wondering, what is your least favorite household chore?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Question of the Day #400

Today I'm working on a sales training. It's a fun project and I'm into a good groove with it.

What are you workin' on today?


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Question of the Day #399

What's the worst holiday food you can think of?

I'm going with fruitcake.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Question of the Day #398

B is a 3D modeler. From what I understand, (and I have a lot to learn) that means that he takes drawings and sculpts them into 3D characters or objects, then they're animated for film. Pretty cool, huh?

So tonight, there's a Christmas special airing on ABC at 8:00 PM, called Prep and Landing. B helped develop Wayne and Lanny, the two adorable lead elves, and he modeled them.

I'm very excited to watch the show. Clearly, I'm all crazy over the fact that he's so super talented. And I love that they've come up with a new holiday special.

Which brings us to a whole other subject. I don't watch a lot of movies. And my movie man thinks this is super weird. My stats are pathetically low when it comes to holiday movies. Sure, I've seen Rudolph and A Charlie Brown Christmas. But somehow, I skipped Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas and a whole bunch of others.

What about you? Are you a Christmas movie fanatic? Which ones are your faves?


Monday, December 7, 2009

Question of the Day #397

What do you want for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa or whatever holiday you may be celebrating?


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Question of the Day #396

NOTE: This post may be unsuitable for certain bloggers. Viewer discretion is advised.

As B and I wandered through the bookstore today, two little boys buzzed passed us. One said to the other, "Would you rather be eaten by a lion or would you rather eat poo?"

We, of course, burst out laughing.

"Now, that's a question of the day, "I said.

"Yeah, no," B said. "But you should ask what hilarious things your bloggers have heard kids say."

Is he a genius or what? So what hilarious things have you heard kids say?


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Question of the Day #395

B was saying that he likes concerts and wants to take me to some. That made me realize that I haven't been to a concert in hundred years. Since I've been pretty broke, concert tickets are up there with a trip to Vegas - not happening. In fact, the last time I made it to a show was only because my Jersey Boys kidnapped me and took me to Bon Jovi. And that was two years ago.

When was the last concert you went to? And who played?


Friday, December 4, 2009

Question of the Day #394

My house is a mess and I'm scrambling to clean it up. While scrubbing the bathtub, I wondered, who cleans your house?


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Question of the Day #393

On my ninth Christmas morning, I woke to find a two toned, blue, Omni 10 speed bike under the tree. It was the bomb.

I was so psyched, I rolled it outside and rode it up and down the snowy driveway. Then I paraded it past the neighbors' houses shivering all the way.

It was my favorite childhood Christmas present. What was yours?


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Question of the Day #392

I love your teacher stories! Thanks to everyone for commenting on QOTD #391.

In Kristen's response, she suggested we vent about our least favorite teachers today. I usually like to focus on the positive, but whatevs, let's let it all out.

In 6th grade, I had an amazon math teacher. I mean this woman was like 6'2'' and built like a linebacker. And she was not pretty. She used to call me up to the chalk board and yell at me. I was always nervous around numbers to begin with. (I still cringe when customers hand me two credit cards and ask me to split the bill.) And she would say, "What is wrong with you? You can't figure that out?"

I cried a couple times. That woman was made of mean. And she made a fear of math even scarier.

What teacher would you like to vent about?


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Question of the Day #391

Lisa D. sent me this email:

I was just asked "Who was your favorite teacher?" and I thought, "A ha! Great question!"

She is sooo right. Great question!

I have two. In high school, I had a tough English teacher, Mrs. Meys. She was serious about Beowolf and The Canterbury Tales and all sorts of stuff I had no interest in reading. At the time, I was way more curious about the latest party than the oldest literature.

But then she assigned us a poem. So for once, I actually did my homework and I wrote one. And although I'd probably be horrified if read that poem now, she gave me an "A." That got my attention. I just wasn't an "A" student. So I stopped sleeping and started listening in class. She encouraged me to write and read. And at the end of the year, she gave me an award for effort and achievement. I'd never earned a reward before.

After I published my first story in Seventeen, I went back to my high school and put a copy of the magazine in her mailbox along with a thank you note. She wrote me back, stating that she was retiring that year and the thank you was a wonderful send off and that she would follow my career.

When I got to college, I'd decided to major in writing, but I had NO idea how to write or what being a writer even meant. The first day of my first writing workshop, Andre Dubus III entered the classroom. He was passionate about the craft, excited to dig in and ridiculously attractive. He taught a small group of students about plot, introduced us to some great writers like Susan Minot, showed us how to structure a story, foreshadow, describe without being cliche and ultimately complete our very first short stories. And he made it fun and exciting.

That man made me want to be a writer.

The funny thing is, years later, during an interview, Andre talked about that first workshop and revealed that he had no idea what he was doing either. He had never taught a class before and didn't really have a plan. I think the honesty of it all inspired me.

Teachers are under paid and under appreciated. But they're the most important influences, outside of family, during our formative years. I know that if Mrs. Meys hadn't encouraged me to read and write and if Andre hadn't stirred up a writing storm in that workshop, I wouldn't be who I am today.

So let's give thanks to the most important people in our lives. Who was your favorite teacher?