Friday, December 31, 2010

Question of the Day #794

Hype, hype, hype. New Year's Eve is so hyped up that sometimes it can disappoint.

How do you handle the biggest night of the year? Big plans? Quiet plans? No plans?


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Question of the Day #793

This morning, I woke up all out of sorts. My body, still on east coast time, thought it was late, when in fact, it was very early. Without any food in the house and a rumbling stomach, I got in the car and got some breakfast.

After all the rain, it's a bright and sunny So. Cal morning. So I continued driving and headed out to the coast. The water sparkled against the sand. Cliff walls popped against a rare clear blue sky. I turned up the radio and drove.

I made a mental to do list, sang, and marveled at how beautiful LA can be.

When you come back from a long trip, how do you re-acquaint yourself with your surroundings?


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Question of the Day #792

While relaxing in Vermont, my family and I watched The Sound of Music and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Last night, we searched for another classic, but couldn't find one on broadcast TV.

Hurricane and Nonna wished we could see An Affair to Remember. I've never seen that movie. But between all their raving and the Gossip Girl references to it, I'm putting it at the top of my classic film to be watched list.

What classic films do you love? Which classic would you like to see?


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Question of the Day #791

When I reached for my 472nd cookie, it was hard.

"Awww," I whined. "The chocolate chip cookies are hard."

"Put some whiskey on a slice of bread and pop it in the bag. That will soften them up," Nonna said.

"Seriously? Where did you learn that?" I asked.

"A few years ago, I put some bourbonballs in the same container as stale cookies. The next day, the cookies were soft."

"Wow. You're a genius," I said.

Nonna shrugged and said, "The best inventions are accidents."

What accidental inventions have you heard of?


Monday, December 27, 2010

Question of the Day #790

When I hoped for snow, I had no idea Vermont would get a blizzard. Since I don't get to enjoy a lot of snow in LA, it's a special treat for me.

But apparently, people are getting snowed in everywhere. And cities that rarely get flurries, like Atlanta and Charlotte, are having snow days.

What weather is happening where you live?


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Question of the Day #789

My mom and I decorated these cookies yesterday. As I striped the candy cane cookie, she laughed and said, "Those stripes look like worms!"

"Watch out or I'll make you eat it," I replied.

We dipped cookies (and most of the kitchen) in chocolate. I stained my fingers red. We splattered sprinkles all over the counter and laughed through the whole process.

The cookies look funny, but who knows, maybe they'll taste good.

What are you not so good at but find fun anyway?


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Question of the Day #788

It’s like this
I crunch through the snow
Following the tracks she carves
I remember her at my age
Shaping her - no, our - future
And I wonder what’s next
And how to get it right
this time

I look behind me
And he’s there, backing me up
like always

The cold burns my face
As the sun melts gold over the mountains
We trudge along trees that touch sky

He passes us
She falls back a few paces and matches my stride
Happy to let him lead
Until he stops
“Listen,” he says. “It’s so quiet. I love that.”
We do
And for a moment it’s just
The Woods
And God
Then he turns to us and smiles
“But we have miles to go before we sleep
And many promises to keep.”

What promises do you have to keep?


*Those last two lines were quoted (so eloquently out of order) from Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

Friday, December 24, 2010

Question of the Day #787

Every Christmas morning, my family begins our celebration with bagels, lox, cream cheese and all the fixin's. We used to tear into presents first, then eat. But now that we kids are not, ahem, kids anymore, we usually eat before dolling out what my mother calls, "prezzies." But the first holiday meal is always the same.

What does your holiday breakfast consist of?


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Question of the Day #786

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Clearly, I'm not in LA anymore. I'm visiting my family in Vermont and last night, when I went to bed, I prayed for snow. We got a dusting, but not enough to start our snowmobiles up.

So I'm hoping for more. Because Christmas in the Green Mountains just doesn't feel like Christmas without snow.

What about you? What makes your holiday feel complete?


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Question of the Day #785

So while sitting at the kitchen island at my parents' house, my stepfather reads the New York Times online as I pull up The Question of the Day.

"Okay, what's The Question of the Day?" I ask.

"The Eternal Debate, of course," he replies.

"What Eternal Debate?" I spoon some cereal in my mouth.

"Write about how your family decorates a fresh Christmas tree and other people decorate artificial trees. Ask which is better."

"Wow. Were you thinking of that all night?" I ask.

"Nope. Just thought of it."

"I wish every morning was this easy," I replied.

So, do you prefer a fresh or imitation tree? Why?


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Question of the Day #784

One of my BFF's little ones wrote the following Christmas List to Santa:

1. A real dog.
2. A real cat.
3. A real computer.
4. A shooting star.

What's cuter than that?!
Do you have any cute "Dear Santa" stories to share?


Monday, December 20, 2010

Question of the Day #783

In LA, underground parking garages can be somewhat freaky. You know, like subways in So. Cal. There's always something a little unsettling about the idea of spending time in structures that could collapse and kill you in a quake.

But today, on the fifth and what feels like 500th day of downpour, I am psyched to park underground and take an elevator directly into a store. It makes the idea of grocery shopping and cooking loads of holiday food for my clients a lot less intimidating.

What are you unusually grateful for today?


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Question of the Day #782

H and I always joke about her plan to take over the world. We imagine her in a lone house in the middle of the desert (somewhere around State Line) with a giant satellite dish and a huge computer board that looks like something out of War Games. Or maybe a little like a recording studio. (This is total freak fiction. Let us roll with it.)

I just asked her, "But if you're going to take over the world, what would you change?"

That of course, spurred uproarious laughter and the answer, "Uh, I don't know."

So if you took over the world, what rules would you create?


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Question of the Day #781

It's holiday party season. People are booked up like libraries.

What holiday parties are on your calendar?


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Question of the Day #780

My brilliant FB friend, D, posted the following:

"My vote for wimpiest and most annoying Christmas song has got to be that Paul McCartney tune where he just sings, 'simply having a wonderful Christmas time.' I don't even know the name of it but I do believe it's following me everywhere..."

That, of course, inspired me to comment, "OH! Thank you for the inspiration. I'm totally stealing your concept for the Question of the Day!"

What is your pick for wimpiest and most annoying Christmas song?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Question of the Day #779

Blogger buddy, Dawn, posted about a book she wanted to love but just quite didn't. And that made me think about no matter how much I try to love other genres, I'm a YA commercial fiction lover. I've definitely gotten immersed in adult fiction too, but overall, there's nothing I love more than a novel about real teens dealing with real issues.

I wish I loved Sci-Fi. I wish Fantasy was my fantsy genre. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but overall, I definitely have a book "type."

What's your book "type"?


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Question of the Day #778

When my mother and stepfather got married, my biological brother, stepsister and stepbrother and I united under one roof to spend the summer together. We weren't exactly The Brady Bunch.

N made the walls shake with his heavy metal. C partied on, thinking nothing of barreling up the stairs at 3:00 AM and waking everyone. I complained, loudly, about my stepfather waking us at the crack of dawn, making us do chores. And H stood on her soapbox and preached about saving the Earth, way before that was cool.

My stepfamily took the "function" out of dysfunction.

Then The Parents decided to add a new rule to our war zone. Everyone had to be home for dinner at 6:30 on Sunday nights. Or else.

During the first dinner, the silence was so loud that my mother cried. The second dinner brought more tears after heated debate over the questionable morality of meat eaters. But the third dinner brought a sort of solidarity between step-siblings, when we discovered that we could make my mother cry. And maybe, just maybe if we did that enough, she'd call off the stupid dinners.

We underestimated her stamina.

And after a few weeks, we got used to the Sunday Night Dinners. Slowly, we began to talk to each other. We got to know each other and eventually began to like each other. Years later, we look forward to the opportunity to gather around a table together and we appreciate the tradition.

What tradition does your family uphold?


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Question of the day #777

When we children's book writers ultimately to decide to break out and write explosive tell-all memoirs or take a dip into writing erotica, we're going to need pseudonyms.

The classic formula for a pen name is combining your middle name with the first street you lived on. For example, my middle name is Marie and the first street I lived on was Hemlock Dr, making my pseudonym Marie Hemlock.

Of course, since I just shouted that across cyberspace, when I finally decide to write a racy novel, I'll have to come up with another name.

What pseudonym would you use?


Monday, December 13, 2010

Question of the Day #776

Last week, a tipsy Irishman challenged me to a lasagna contest.

"HA!" I said.

"What? I'm serious. My lasagna can beat your lasagna. Any time, any place."

I laughed an evil laugh and tapped the shoulders of two friends standing by. They leaned in to listen.

"This man," I said and pointed at the Irishman. "Who, let's remember, once admitted to making grey mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, just challenged me to a lasagna contest."

M laughed. J groaned and shook his head.

"Dude. That's stupid. She's the best cook I know," said M.

"Thank you," I said.

"I'm telling you. My lasagna is amazing. It'll kill yours," my challenger said.

"Bring it," I said.

J rolled his eyes. "You know, after the lasagna contest he'll challenge you to a dance contest."

"Oh no, you're the dance expert. That, I'll leave to you."

At what challenge do you know you can't be beaten?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Question of the Day #775

Yippeeee! It's 75 degrees and sunny today! I'm going to the beach for a nice long walk. Hot and sunny is my perfect Sunday.

How would you fill in the blank?

My perfect Sunday is ____________________ .


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Question of the Day #774

Since I never got the burger I wanted yesterday, I'm going to get it today. But I'm not sure where I want to go.

Where do you go when you need a burger fix?


Friday, December 10, 2010

Question of the Day #773

I'm craving a cheeseburger, which inspired me to ask a question about them. But when I searched online for a picture of a cheeseburger, the picture of the bed above came up.

Can you imagine sleeping under that bun? Snuggling up in that cheese?

How would you describe the most unique bed you've ever seen?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Question # 772

Yesterday, Colleen F responded to the question about what musical instrument you would have liked to have learned to play by writing that as a kid, she wanted to play saxophone but her dad wouldn't let her.

That made me wonder, is there anything your parents said you shouldn't do that they were wrong about?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Question of the Day #771

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a rock star. I sang at every talent show, fair, play and in any choir I could.

When I got to LA, my roommates and I sang together. I learned how to play chords on the piano so we had some sort of backup. I never mastered the keys, but I wish I had.

Do you play an instrument? If not, what instrument would you like to play?


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Question of the Day #770

This morning, I have to go to the doctor to get some stitches out. Have you ever had stitches? What did you get stitched up?


Monday, December 6, 2010

Question of the Day #769

This question is brought to you by the letter "B."

During a vacation in Maui, Beck and I took a helicopter ride. We rose over the ocean and watched whales leap in and out of the water. We hovered near cliffs as waterfalls crashed down their walls. Then we flew into a deep valley. Steep lush jungle surrounded us.

I became terrified. I clutched Beck. I clung to my seat belt and tried to dig myself into my chair. Then I prayed.

I don't get motion sick. I love roller coasters and windy mountain roads. Turbulence doesn't bother me one bit.

But that helicopter got me. Big time.

Have you ridden in a helicopter? If so, how was it?


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Question of the Day #768

On my way to northern California, the woman next to me asked, "Is it scary?"

"Is what scary?" I asked.

"The propellers. The tiny plane." Her eyes bugged out as she clutched her purse to her chest.

"Oh, no. It's fine."

"Have you done this before?" She asked

"Plenty of times," I said.

She looked me up and down.

"Okay, here's how it goes. We take off, you get a glass of the free wine they're showcasing from wine country, you drink it and we land. You'll be fine."

"They give you free wine?" She perked up.


"Oh," she said. Then she dropped her purse, pushed it under the seat in front of her and leaned back in her seat.

How do you feel about flying on airplanes?


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Question of the Day #767

I'm visiting family in Sonoma this weekend. Before I left, friends asked me if we planned on going wine tasting. On most of my visits, we've toured vineyards and it's a lot of fun. But this time, we've enjoying a fire in the fireplace and rain on the rooftop.

My family is lucky to have easy access to beautiful scenery and delicious wine tastings. But I'm sure a break from doing the tourist thing is a welcome treat for them.

What attracts tourists to where you live?


Friday, December 3, 2010

Question of the Day #766

I've been so busy during the past month or so that I haven't had a second to read. What am I missing out on? What are you reading?


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Question of the Day #765

For the past week or two, LA has chilled out, big time. That means below 60 degrees during the day and hovering just above freezing at night. For us, that's seriously cold.

And it doesn't exactly have me jumping out of bed in the morning ready to rock the hill. Needless to say, my workouts have become stay-ins.

What activities does chilly weather make less appealing for you?


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Question of the Day #764

I'm supposed to make lasagna for my clients tonight. At first, I thought of meat lasagna with browned sausage in it. Then my mom's awesome portobello mushroom lasagna made my mouth water. And then came the idea of a decadent seafood lasagna in a cream sauce.

I never really thought about it before, but there are so many different kinds of lasagna. What's your favorite?


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Question of the Day #763

Yesterday was Cyber Monday. I heard lots of talk about crazy good online deals. But since I've put a moratorium on gift giving this Christmas, I did not partake.

Did you get into Cyber Monday?


Monday, November 29, 2010

Question of the Day #762

Yesterday, a lot of my Facebook friends updated about decorating for the holidays. I do not decorate, but I do enjoy other people's festive flair.

Do you decorate for the holidays? If so, how?


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Question of the Day #761

Last night, in the middle of a movie, the house went dark and still at the same time. When I went to the kitchen window, all the neighbors' houses were dark too.

I stepped outside and walked toward the main road. To the north, lights shined in the distance.

Then I looked up. Stars sparkled. Stars we can rarely see with all the city glare.

It's been a long time since I've experienced a blackout. What about you?


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Question of the Day #760

According to how you're feeling at this exact moment, would you rather:

1. Sit on the couch or go for a walk?
2. Eat or sleep?
3. Sing or dance?
4. Laugh or cry?
5. Talk or listen?


Friday, November 26, 2010

Question of the Day #759

I'm settling in for a Law and Order SVU marathon with a hot, bubbly bowl of leftover Spinach Artichoke Dip.

What's your favorite holiday leftover?


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Question of the Day #758

1. As always, first and foremost, I am thankful for my roommate.
2. My upcoming date with eggs, bacon, M and football.
3. Soso, Juliet and their parents.
4. Friends to cook for and give thanks with.
5. Suzie Foods clients.
6. I'm thankful that my life is my life. Because the grass is not always greener.
7. My smart, funny, crazy, unconventional family.
8. High heels, Chapstick and YA novels.
9. Stories. Yours, mine and ours.
10. H.
11. The badass gravy I made last night.
12. Vitamin C and garlic.
13. Knowing when to let it go.
14. H. Did I mention H?
15. A well executed, much needed roadtrip.
16. November's beach and blue sky.
17. This afternoon's dance party in the kitchen.
18. Giggles. I'm thankful for many, many giggles.

I could go on all day. But then people would go hungry. So I'm handing it over to you. What are you thankful for?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Question of the Day #757

Bacon. Heavy cream. Butter. Sour cream. Cheese, cheese and more cheese. Turkey drippings.

Just some of the ingredients I'm cooking with today.

If you could eat any one food for the rest of your life and experience no negative affects whatsoever, what food would you pick?


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Question of the Day #756

Driving to Las Vegas from LA takes about 4 1/2 hours. And when you're all psyched about getting there and the music's pumping and you're chatting with a buddy, it feels like you get there in five minutes.

Driving to LA from Vegas feels like you're going backwards.

That's exactly what H said when I told her we'd only gone 86 miles after what felt like three days.

What drive lags for you?


Monday, November 22, 2010

Question of the Day #755

"I'll take a five." The girl next to me tapped the table in front of her cards.

The dealer gave her a five of hearts. That, plus her 10 and six, totaled 21.

"Nice," she said.

"Where are you from?" I asked.

The dealer dealt me a 17.

"Connecticut," she replied. To the dealer she said, "I'd like something small. Less than a six."

The dealer handed her a five. Her cards totaled 20.

The dealer showed 19. I lost. Connecticut won.

"I like how you just tell her what you need," I said.

"You gotta ask for you want," she said as she took a gulp from her Miller Lite.

"So where are you from?" she asked.

"I live in LA, but I'm originally from Jersey," I said.

"Oh, I grew up in Jersey too," she said.

"Of course you did," I said. Then I studied my cards. A ten and a 7.

"I'd like a four please," I said to the dealer.

Going forward, I'm going to take a lesson from that Jersey girl. What about you? Do you ask for you want?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Question of the Day #754

Last night, when I got up to go to the bathroom, I heard crazy whooshing outside. I shivered up to the window. Was it raining? No. The wind was blowing like crazy. Remember on Gilligan's Ilsand, when a "typhoon" would hit the island all the palm trees would bend over in the storm?

That's what the palm trees looked like last night.

I got back under the covers and lay there listening until the rain started slapping the roof. Then I drifted off to sleep.

What sounds do you like to sleep to?


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Question of the Day #753

"The little nibblets in butter," said L.

"Huh?" I stared at her blankly.

"You asked what my 'must haves' are for Thanksgiving dinner. They're the little corn nibblets in butter. Oh, and cranberry sauce in a can."

"In a can?" The cook in me was horrified.

"Yeah, I love it when it comes out shaped like the can." She grinned.

"I'm not making that stuff," I said.

"Fine. I'll make it. But you asked!"

She was right. I did. And because she piqued my curiosity, I'm gonna do it again.

What are your Thanksgiving "must haves"?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Question of the Day #752

"The world's going to end anyway, right? In 2012. That's what they say," said N from the cubicle next to me.

"Do you really believe that?" I asked.

"I'm ready. I got my bag packed!" he said and slugged some more coffee. I think it was cup number four.

"If the world was ending, why would you pack a bag? I mean wouldn't we just dissolve into ether?" I asked.

"I'm talking about survival stuff. Canned foods, weapons, tools. Stuff like that. Other people would be like, 'I'd pack pictures, keepsakes' and dumb stuff like that."

"You know, I write a blog and every day I ask a question. Maybe I could make a question out of that," I said. "Although it doesn't really make sense, if we're all gonna die it doesn't matter what's in the bag."

"Here's a question," N's head popped up over the side of the cubicle. "If you were in a plane crash in the middle of nowhere, would you eat the other people to survive?"

"Um, I don't know if my readers are that kind of crowd," I said.

"Not ready for cannibalism?" He asked.

"No. Probably not." I laughed.

He sank back into his chair and began typing on his keyboard. I began to type too.

"How about, 'should marijuana be legal?'" He said a couple minutes later.

"I try to stay away from politics," I said. "But I have to ask, if your plane crashed and you were stranded in the middle of nowhere, would you eat people?"

"Of course. I'd pick out the ones who were the least likely to survive and eat them."


"Seriously, if it was about survival, you would too."

Maybe he had a point there, but preying on the weak seemed a little heartless.

"Okay, what if you and your girlfriend..."

"I'd eat her." He said before I could finish the question.

I erupted laughing and put my head down on the keyboard.

"Must be true love," I said. "By the way, I'm never getting on a plane with you."

What do you talk about when you need to put a giggle in your work day?


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Question of the Day #751

This morning I dreamed that J (one of my Jersey Girls) and I drove a bank robber away from a heist in a getaway car. Except the getaway car was Bessy, the brown station wagon J drove in high school.

Bessy was old in 1989. So the dream of leading a criminal to freedom via Bessy's wheels is hilarious. Unfortunately, I woke before we could get the job done.

But I'm thinking Bessy might have been able to pull it off. There was that time J and a couple other Jersey Girls and I piled into Bessy and drove off school grounds (ILLEGAL!) and headed out to lunch. We belted out Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" as J spied her mother, (who, by the way, was like a CIA agent, somehow always catching us when we were up to no good) in the rear view mirror.

"Holy Sh*t! That's my mother!" J screamed.

"No!" I spun around in the backseat. And there was J's mother, leaning over the steering wheel of the car behind us, squinting at Bessy.

"I gotta lose her!" J yelled and slammed on the accelerator. Bessy lurched then sped up, if only a bit.

"Turn into the church!" Another Jersey Girl said.

J yanked the steering wheel to the right. All the girls the backseat crashed into each other as Bessy turned hard into the church parking lot.

Honking blared from behind us. J's mother's car was practically attached to Bessy's bumper.

A defeated Bessy rolled to a stop.

"Get back to school!" J's mother yelled.

We shrank in fear.

What kind of wheels did you roll around in when you were in high school?


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Question of the Day #750

Let's rev up Wednesday with a Speed Round:

1. What is the first thing you drank this morning?

2. Who is the first person you thought of this morning?

3. What are you doing right now?

4. What are you wishing you were doing right now?

5. What will you do next?

See my answers in the comments. Wanna play along?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Question of the Day #749

I cannot believe it took me 749 questions to ask this:

You are stranded on a desert island. (Oh, how I would love to be stranded on an island right about now. Well, except that I might end up talking to a coconut like Tom Hanks in that movie.) So wait, let's revise the classic desert island scenario. Why not? After all, this is a game, isn't it?

Okay, you and a bunch of your BFFs and / or family (whoever you wish to share your tropical paradise with) are on an island of plenty. You've got cool huts to live in, sunshine, lots of coconuts, pineapples and plenty of fish. And one of your genius buddies has figured out how to make rum!

Life is perfect on the island, except you only have one iPod/stereo/or whatever musical gadget you use. And unfortunately, since you are on a desert island (even thought it's the coolest one you've ever imagined), you can't access any additional music.

What music would you want to be loaded on that sound system?


Monday, November 15, 2010

Question of the Day #748

So I've had my new phone for 48 hours and I can barely accept a call. I have managed to send a couple texts but not without concentrating really hard. I have no idea how to take a picture and linking the phone to the bluetooth in my car may take a miracle.

My technological dorkiness skyrockets off the 1-10 scale. It's embarrassing.

What about you? How are you with gadgets?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Question of the Day #747

It's gorgeous out so I'm going to lie on the beach for a bit.

What does Sunday in Autumn look like at your house? Is football on in your living room? Is somebody cooking in the kitchen? Are you running errands like crazy?


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Question of the Day #746

A couple weeks ago, I dropped my phone (in the rain) and it scattered into three pieces.

"Ut oh!" said my friend M.

"I can put it back together," I replied. Then I popped the battery back in and slid the back panel on.

M eyed me in disbelief.

"Seriously. That thing is ridiculous. You have get a new phone," he said.

"What's wrong with it?" I asked.

"What's wrong with it? It was made in 1998 and right now, it's in pieces," he pointed at the phone.

I pressed some buttons on the key pad.

"It's fine. Look, it's working," I said.

He shook his head at me.

"I'm taking you to the phone store and you're getting a new phone." He stared me down. Suddenly, I felt like a little kid who was about to be sent to her room.

"Okay," I replied. Then I put my old, cracked, flip phone in my pocket.

Today is the day. We're going to the phone store. My beloved, ancient, outdated, archaic flip phone is going to cellular heaven.

But M is right. I need to upgrade.

What do you need to upgrade?


Friday, November 12, 2010

Question of the Day #745

My in-home cooking gig has made me realize how much I miss cooking for people. So I decided to add some new recipes to Suzie Foods.

Last night, while writing a post on how to make my Spicy Chicken Soup, I thought about how recipes are sort of like the "How To" corporate training guides I've written over the last ten years.

If you were to create a "How To" guide, what subject matter would you choose?


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Question of the Day #744

As the "mmm's" and "ahh's" resounded from my client's dinner table last night, I knew my pan roasted filet mignon over sauteed onions and roasted mushrooms with scalloped potatoes and sauteed spinach with garlic was a hit.

"This is my favorite thing you've cooked so far," said the dad.

"Suzanne, these potatoes are incredible," said the cute teenage girl.

"Thank you! I'm so glad you like them." I smiled as I washed pots and pans. My otherwise low mood lifted. Funny how doing something really well can change everything.

What have you done really well lately? How did it make you feel?


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Question of the Day #743

B and H have presented a challenge. Write down 20 things you could be happy doing (to earn a living) for the rest of your life.

Twenty things? Twenty is a lot. Heck, five is a lot. So let's start with one.

Obviously, I'm a writer. I've made a living writing magazine and newspaper articles, training materials, newsletters, brochures and web copy. You name it, I can write it. I can't imagine doing anything else as a career.

But if I had to make a change, I could cook for people. I really enjoy the in-home cooking I've been doing for families. And I like preparing Suzie Foods. So I guess that's one other thing I could be happy doing for the rest of my life.

What about you? What, besides what you currently do, would you be happy doing for the rest of your life?


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Question of the Day #742

Last night was cold. I bundled up in pj's, piled extra blankets on my bed and fell asleep at 10:00. When my alarm woke at 7:00, I realized I had seriously slept. Like deep, awesome slumber. I said a little prayer of thanks before I got up.

When was the last time you really slept well?


Monday, November 8, 2010

Question of the Day #741

Every morning I go to the office, I pull into the parking garage and the woman in the attendant booth waves at me. Sometimes she's singing. Other times she's dancing. She's always smiling. A big, huge, joyful smile.

This woman stands in a booth, in a parking garage all day and she's having the time of her life.

Who or what reminds you to maintain a positive attitude?


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Question of the Day #740

I'm going to D's sister's house today to hang out with him and his family for a bit. The thing is, they have a trampoline.

Yup. A trampoline. And I gotta admit, I'm pretty excited to jump around on it. Almost as excited as I was when my friend K rented a bouncy house for her birthday party. I arrived early, plopped down a try of mac and cheese in the kitchen and went running for the backyard where I squealed and bounced like an 8 year old all afternoon.

So once again, I'm ready to bounce.

What "kid" toy gets you all excited?


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Question of the Day #739

As daylight streaked gray across the sky this morning, I walked along the cold sand. Dolphins curved up out of ocean. One jumped up high and splashed back in. The others charged north.

A wave washed over my feet. The water was not as cold as I expected. Warm for November. But then again, it's been warm for November. Maybe the lost summer had finally arrived.

"Did you see the seals?" Asked a girl with her hoodie pulled up.

"You mean the dolphins?" I asked.

"No. The seals." She pointed out into the water. "They were over there."

"No way," I said as I scanned the smooth swells.

"I see dolphins all the time..." she said.

"But seals - that's odd." I added.

"I know. It was really cool. They were just floating on their backs, popping their heads up."

"I'm sorry I missed them. So do you live around here?" I asked.

"No. I live in the valley. I'd like to live closer but my husband thinks if we moved to the beach that I'd never come out here."

"How often do you come now?" I asked.

"Every Saturday morning," she said.

We stared out at the horizon where sunlight cracked between the green-blue water and the gray sky. I pictured this girl, crawling out of bed in the dark each Saturday to drive an hour to get to where we stood.

"You know, I walk on the path almost every day. And when it's warm, I lay on the beach. But I rarely walk on the actual beach. If you can drive out from the valley every weekend to put your feet in the sand, I can certainly cross the street."

What beauty in your back (or front) yard do you not enjoy enough of?


Friday, November 5, 2010

Question of the Day #738

I'm not very good at math. (If any of you writers are good at math, please note that in the comments. Anomalies like you should not be overlooked.) So I didn't realize until right now, that at question #738, that means I've been writing a question every day for over two years.

Besides, eating, sleeping and necessities like that, I can't think of one thing I do consistently every day besides write a blog post.

It's like a diary. If you go back to Question #1 and start reading, you'll follow me through writing struggles, lots of philosophical talk, surveys, a massage that nearly killed me and H (and is one of my all time favorite stories), the end of an era, love stories, and of course, late night musings.

I love having a record of what has happened. Otherwise, I might have forgotten. And good or bad, I don't want to forget.

How do you keep track of your life? Do you take pictures? Blog? Journal?


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Question of the Day #737

On Tuesday night, there was a birthday party for one of my friends. Tons of people who hadn't seen each other in long time got together and caught up, had some drinks and, of course, sang some really funny karaoke.

Since I've been working in an office, I haven't gone out on weeknights. And on Tuesday, I was having so much fun, I didn't go home when I should have. As a result, yesterday, I was cross-eyed at the computer.

So I updated my Facebook status to, "Suzanne Casamento needs to get an "Off" switch." It's no surprise that I'm usually the last person to leave a party. I'm the last person to stop eating-even after I'm full. I'm always the last person to stop indulging. Period.

What kind of switch do you need?


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Question of the Day #736

Last night, I left the house I cooked at, walked out to the car and could not find my keys. I went back into the house and searched the kitchen. No keys. I searched my reusable shopping bags. No keys. The clients thought perhaps the housekeeper put the keys in the "key drawer." It held plenty of keys, but not mine.

As I retraced my steps with a flashligh, I stepped in some mud which sucked up my flip flop and slathered all over my foot. No keys in the grass or around the car. I finally concluded that my keys had to be in the trunk of my car. I must have dropped them in there when I was taking the groceries out.

So I called H. She happened to have a key to my house. She picked me up and drove me to my house where I got my spare car key. We drove back to the client's house and I opened up the car and the trunk.

No keys.

That's when I heard a voice. (No. Not that kind of voice.) It was the client saying, " Hey, Suzanne, I found your keys in the bathroom."

Good lord.

Are you one of those people who always loses their keys?


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Question of the Day #735

My friend N and I have a history of going to see cheesy dance movies together. Years ago, she first dragged me to see Center Stage. Then Bring it On I and II.

They're cliche, predictable and funny when they're not supposed to be. We grab each other's hands and cackle like crazy people at the most dramatic climactic moments. We're your average movie goer's worst nightmare.

So next on our cheestastic list is Burlesque. How in the world could we miss out on Cher and Christina Aguilera making it big in the burlesque world? Last night, when the commercial came on and I heard the line, "Watch out for the girl from the farm," I immediately jumped up and emailed N.

What cheesy film did you just have to see?


Monday, November 1, 2010

Question of the Day #734

Last night's haunted house was like a Disneyland attraction. Hundreds of parents and kids lined the sidewalks, waiting to enter a maze of terror. Kids with bloodied, scarred faces stared me down as strobe lights mangled their images. Hands flew through hidden holes in black walls and grabbed at me as I walked by. Screams echoed from all angles.

It was like a Hollywood production. In someone's house.

What "over the top" Halloween event/costume/thing did you experience yesterday?


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Question of the Day #733

Today I'm working at a haunted house and Halloween party. I'm not sure what my responsibilities will be. Maybe I'll get to pop out of a coffin and scare people. Or maybe I'll hand out candy. I have no idea. So I'll have to report about it tomorrow.

What are you doing today?


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Question of the Day #732

Last night, over delicious Mexican food and slammin' Cadillac Margaritas, D and I discussed writing and the entertainment industry on the whole. It can be pretty discouraging and confusing. One agent or development person will tell you your plot isn't good enough while another may tell your voice isn't strong enough.

I had a similar conversation with one of my writergirls yesterday. She's considering turning a novel in verse into prose because an agent and an editor suggested she do so. But I love her verse. Every word is perfectly chosen. It sings.

D and I discussed the fact that after awhile, we writers don't know who to believe. And as a result, there are moments when we don't feel good enough.

"But I don't want to worry about whether or not my work is 'great enough,'" said D. "I want it to be great for me."

And that is what keeps us going.

So, what craft/art/activity do you partake in just because you want it to be great for you?


Friday, October 29, 2010

Question of the Day #731

Last night, as H and I sat on the deck and talked out the week, a star streaked through the dark sky behind her.

"Oh a shooting star," I said, waving frantically.

But by the time she turned around, it was gone.

"Make a wish!" she said.

And I did.

When was the last time you saw a shooting star?


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Question of the Day #730

I slept through my alarm. The alarm right next to my head. It woke my (poor, innocent) roommate up, in the next room, but I just kept on snoozing.

This 9 to 6 thing is a little hard to adapt to.

What are you having trouble adapting to?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Question of the day #729

One of my friends is going to be the Mystery Reader at his daughter's first grade Halloween party and he's looking for book suggestions. Friends have suggested The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White and Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper.

Do any of you fabulous readers have any other suggestions?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Question of the Day #728

The family I cook for is koo koo for Halloween. I'm talking ghouls hanging 20 feet from trees, skeletons that actually move and give you creepy looks, creatures in coffins and ghosts flying in front of the house.

It's cRaZy.

How do you feel about Halloween?


Monday, October 25, 2010

Question of the Day #727

Last night, I attended a small birthday dinner for Little J. Somebody brought red velvet cupcakes.

I'm pretty good at avoiding sweets, but I'm a sucker for cupcakes. Chocolate with vanilla icing are my all time faves. I go gaga for carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing and red velvets make me swoon.

What's your favorite cupcake?


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Question of the Day #726

Tomorrow, I'm going to work in an office. I haven't worked in an office since 2002. I'm nervous about:

  • Fitting writing time into a 9 to 5 life
  • Not having cool enough office-like clothes (During my interview, the people in that place could have held an impromptu Monday morning runway show.)
  • Gaining weight because I won't be able to take my daily walk
  • Making poor food choices because I won't be able to whip up something healthy whenever I feel like it
  • Being the new kid
  • Hitting that 3:00 office dead zone where you can't keep your eyes open

Because I just re-read what I wrote and almost choked on the negativity, let me focus on the positive:

  • A paycheck
  • Meeting new people
  • Work creates more work
  • Exploring a new industry
  • Stretching my comfort zone
  • Learning something new

What negative will you turn into a positive?


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Question of the Day #725

Last night I attended my friend N's birthday party at a club in The Valley. I guess I got what I deserved, but wow, the butt clenching tight stone washed jeans, the spandex, teal, one sleeved dress with the hip cut out and hair bumped and the three dudes in flannel doing the running man in the middle of the bar area were seriously stunning.

It was like The Valley meets The Jersey Shore.

When have you been a in situation that made you feel like the most stylish person in the room?


Friday, October 22, 2010

Question of the Day #724

Yesterday I received an AARP membership card in the mail. Twelve years too early.

What has presented itself lately that you're totally not ready for?


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Question of the Day #723

Blogging is awesome, but it takes time. It doesn't take all that much time to post a question every day - although it does takes a lot of thought to conjur up something blog-worthy. It's visiting other people's blogs that can suck up days at a time.

I love to read other people's musings, thoughts on writing and cool links but I feel like I never have enough time to read them all.

What do you feel like there's never enough time for?


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Question of the Day #722

I love road trips. I've driven cross country five times. I've stood over red canyons in Navajo Territory, waded in the Smokey River in Tennessee and soaked in New Mexico hot springs while snowflakes fell from the moon.

But one of my favorite road trips is California's coastal Route 1. The road curves in, hugging mountains, and turns out to expose sheer drop after drop to an ocean so blue. I used to drive it every year, but it's been a while.

Maybe it's time to get in the car.

What's your favorite road trip?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Question of the Day #721

"They got married at Disneyland. The bride arrived in a pumpkin carriage and everything," said L.

"Wow. That sounds crazy," I replied.

"My friends got married in a cemetery. Now that's crazy," E said.

I, of course, immediately texted, "Wedding in a cemetery" to myself so I'd remember to ask the following question.

In what unique locations have you heard of people marrying?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Question of the Day #720

I talk out loud to my Granny. She died in 2003, but on a daily basis you can catch me babbling to her. It usually happens when I'm cooking, because I have a lot of her cookware and we used to cook together and somehow when I get in a kitchen, I feel like she's around. I'll ask her "Should I add more garlic to this?" or "What do you think of this so far?" Stuff like that.

I pray to her too. Every night before I sleep. Sometimes while I'm driving or taking a walk.

At various points this weekend, the conversations were about loved ones who have died. And when I mentioned my talks with Granny to friends, they also admitted they talk to angels. In fact, pretty much everyone I asked this weekend (and of course I got curious and asked everyone), said they talk to angels.

Do you?


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Question of the Day #719

"There's a color the sky turns right before a tornado," said J.

"You've seen a tornado?" I asked.

"Oh yeah. I grew up in the midwest. I saw a lot of them," he said.

"Wow. What are they like?"

"Loud. The whirring of the storm is deafening."

"So if one was coming, what would you do?" I asked.

"Get in the basement. But once, when I was 12, my dad let me stand with him out on the porch and watch the funnel touch down. Then when it got really close, we went down to the basement with the rest of the family."

"Wow. So it was like a rite of passage?"

"Exactly, I was 12, the oldest kid in the family. Old enough to stand outside and watch."

"Very cool," I said.

J smiled.

At what moment did you realize you weren't a kid anymore?


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Question of the Day #718

Last night, H and I went to see a friend play country music. As the dancers kicked, twirled and slid, I watched with envy. They moved with confidence, grace and sass, almost by rote.

What badsass skill do you wish you had?


Friday, October 15, 2010

Question of the Day #718

Whatcha doin' this weekend?


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Question of the Day #717

Yesterday, I walked by a parked car with a dashboard covered in stuffed animals. First I thought, "What is wrong with that person?" But then I thought about a certain stuffed hippo I sleep with every night.

Which made me think, what is wrong with me? I'm 38 years old and I sleep with a stuffed hippo?

This sparked a lively conversation last night. I found out I'm not the only 30 something with a stuffy tucked under her pillow. Someone else, who shall remain nameless, still cuddles a security blanket. And another cherishes a childhood toy.

Okay, so now that my hippo is out of the closet, what about you? What are you holding onto?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Question of the Day #716

Recently, I began cooking for a family a couple times a week. With three kids who have football practice, piano lessons, violin lessons, dance class, cross country practice (and those are only the activities I've heard about so far) these parents are running about a thousand carpools a day, not to mention running their own business.

So it's easy to see how they have little time to cook. Meanwhile, I'm having a great time cooking up Suzie Foods at their house. So everybody's happy.

If you could have someone come and help you with one household chore, what chore would you choose?


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Question of the Day #715

Sunday night, while out with friends, TY retold a friend's story about being circled by shark while surfing this summer.

"Screw that sport," said N. "I'll try anything in which I might kill myself. But leave it up to a shark? No way."

Everyone laughed as I began scribbling on a napkin.

What animal do you never want to come face to face with?


Monday, October 11, 2010

Question of the Day #714

The delicacy pictured above is the Taylor Ham, egg and cheese sandwich I ate for breakfast yesterday.

It's freakin' delicious. And it's a Jersey thing. Taylor Ham is pretty hard to find in other states. I'm guessing that's because its sodium and nitrate levels are probably lethal. You can buy it online. But you probably shouldn't.

What food is indigenous to where you're from?


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Question of the Day #713

It’s like this

YOU glow
Eyes the brightest blue
Belief in your words
Finally sure
That you’re good enough

YOU are the luckiest man in the room
And you don’t even know it
No one to protect
You can apply the brakes
Make a u-turn
And change your route

YOU curled your hair
Shed your weight
Lightened your heart
Rocked the dress
Fought for equality and won

YOU somehow grew when growth was done
Hoisted up your slouched shoulders
Swiped the hair from your eyes
Made us wonder how we missed out on that

YOU rub your wife’s shoulder
Avoid her eyes
Mine too
Dance the fine line of "good"

YOU almost did it
Almost signed the papers but panicked
Because you didn’t know what life would be like

YOU are the 2.0 version of the hottest girl in school
Tiara traded for confidence
You feel it
You show it
You own it

YOU face things I can’t imagine
Lies mountains high
Hope even higher
Brave enough to love anyway

YOU forgot to make me a name tag
Then told me it didn’t matter
That nobody could forget me
YOU were right

YOU spent your Sunday with me and your beautiful wife
Connecting the dots like they never disconnected
Seeing things my way
Or is it your way?
Like we always did

I type these words at 30,000 feet
Thankful for the opportunity to peek into your worlds
And go home
to mine

What did you learn at your reunion?


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Question of the Day #712

As a precursor to tonight's 20th high school reunion, last night I went to dinner with five girls I went to high school with. I hadn't seen most of them in years.

C passsed out a middle school yearbook and a high school yearbook.

"Suzanne wins the award for biggest hair in both books," she said.

"Hey now," I reached for the middle grade yearbook and said, "If I recall correctly J had some serious bangs."

We flipped to J's page.

"Ooo, she could be a serious contender," C said.

Everybody laughed.

We caught up on marriages, kids, careers and everything in between over food and drinks. At some point someone said, "I can't believe we're almost 40."

"I hate the way that sounds," T said.

"Really?" I replied. "I like it."

"You do?" asked K.

"Yes. I loved high school and college and my 20's were great. But the 30's were hard for me. I'm looking forward to my 40's. As silly as it sounds, I'm hoping I'll finally blossom," I said.

Through the night, I talked with different classmates. Some of them glowed with newness and reinvention. Others are facing incredible challenges, but even so, are very self aware.

I think that's the beauty of getting older. Figuring out who you are and who you want to be. Being able to set boundaries and use the word "no."

What beauty do you find in getting older?


Friday, October 8, 2010

Question of the Day #711

Yesterday, C and I went for a walk as her four year old peddled a pink bike with training wheels next to us. When the little one didn't want to ride anymore, C and I each grabbed a handle of the bike and began doing arm curls.

Next, we pushed back and worked our triceps. We giggled as we pushed the bike high over heads and then switched arms and did the same sets all over again.

"You gotta work out however you can!" C said as a car passed by and the person in the backseat turned around to stare at us.

How do you manage to squeeze a workout into your day?


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Question of the Day #710

This morning I logged on Facebook and saw that my friend, B, had linked to her brother in law's new website where he's launching a line of guitars he designed.

I've never met a guitar designer. In fact, I don't remember anyone I know ever saying, "My friend designs guitars..." Pretty interesting talent, right?

What unique talent does someone you know possess?


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Question of the Day #709

Now that we've analyzed how much we text, tweet or update our status on Facebook, how do you unplug?

I unplug when I walk. I don't bring my phone. When I walk, electronic communication is the furthest thing from my mind.

H drives. She goes for long drives, blasts music and gets lost in the road.

My friend, B, goes for bike rides. For those couple hours every day, that usually super plugged-in guy completely goes dark.

How about you? How do you unplug?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Question of the Day #708

Remember how we recently discussed whether or not gadgets and communication devices help or hurt us?

How plugged in are you? Are you constantly updating, texting and emailing? Or are you like my friend M, who doesn't even have a cell phone?

My cell is an embarassment. A cracked, old, red flip phone that takes and receives grainy, tiny pictures. I text quite a bit, actually, but when I send texts, they don't get saved. So I can't see what I sent. There's no text thread. It's like operating with half the technology. Which probably prevents me from being ridiculously addicted. If I had a fancy phone, I might google constantly, take pictures everywhere I go, text my whole life away.

What about you? What's your technical communication style like?


Monday, October 4, 2010

Question of the Day #707

If you were to put something in a time capsule, what would it be?

I'd put my latest manuscript in it since it feels rather timely to me.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Question of the Day #706

Last night, I saw a friend, who, the last time I saw her, was a disaster. I mean in a low place, caught up in some ugly cycles, unable to break out of destructive patterns. I've been in those spots, so they were easy and awful to recognize.

But last night, she was back.

Her smile was bright. Her tone light. She stood taller, more confident. She laughed. A lot.

It was awesome. So, if I could, I'd give her an award for executing an amazing comeback. Something to say, "You seriously rock."

If you could give someone an award, who would you give it to and why?


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Question of the Day #705

This morning I woke to booming thunder. I mean crazy loud thundering thunder. That NEVER happens in So Cal. In the 16 years I've lived here, I have witnessed less than 10 thunderstorms and none of them have been booming loud.

I'm so used to not having real weather that when it comes, it's a shock.

Does it rain where you live? Do you have real weather? If so, what's it like right now?


Friday, October 1, 2010

Question of the Day #704

I'm stealing from the "If" book again. Openly admitting to dialing it in today. Here goes:

If you could discover one thing in your family attic, besides money, what would it be?

I'd like to find the rest of my Granny's cookware. I have a couple pieces of her pieces from the collection pictured above, but I'd love to have the rest. She wore a lot of red and the fact that her cookware was also red was so Granny. And when I use it, I feel like she's cooking with me.

That said, your turn!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Question of the Day #703

Let's say someone gave you a fat gift certificate to your favorite bookstore. Awesome, right?

What would be the first five books you'd pick out?


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Question of the Day #702

"That girl gets around like a record," said G.

"He said he'd never get married. Then he folded like a beach chair," said J.

There are some very funny people around me, always coming up with good one liners.

Have you heard any good one-liners lately?


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Question of the Day #701

This question has been plucked straight from a series of messages between me and Carlos.

Carlos: "I just read a piece on The Daily Beast about the founder of Facebook. It was written by one of his classmates and it comes in the wake of the new movie The Social Network, which doesn't represent the guy in a very flattering light. It made me wonder if all these gadgets and communication devices we have now hurts us as a society or helps us.

Personally it's a mixed bag for me. I love being able to communicate with someone like you from a couple hundred miles away, but are we losing the personal touches of talking to someone face to face? I saw a MTV "True Life" episode that was about being too attached to your technical device or something like that. It was sad to see how these young people in relationships would ignore each other over their blackberry's, xboxs, and social networks. What do you think?"

Me: "Excellent question! Thank you! I will use it on QOTD. I haven't personally known any young people ignoring each other over technology, but I have seen a couple Oprahsodes that showed families who are constantly texting or playing video games and are challenged to unplug. When they do, they discover each other.

You and I weren't brought up that way, so we know to put away our cells when we're socializing with other people. But I can see how young people would have different boundaries. Interesting stuff."

So, bloggers, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Do all these gadgets and communication devices help us or hurt us?


Monday, September 27, 2010

Question of the Day #700

7oo Questions. Wow. And we're still having fun!

Anyhoo, did I mention that summer finally came to So Cal? I'm so happy that really bad things, like my car dying, can't kill my mood. I'm like a happy balloon. Unpoppable. Unstoppable.

That's right. Pump up the temperature, add some serious sunshine and I'm elated.

What elevates you to unpoppable, unstoppable heights?


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Question of the Day #699

Last night, H and I stumbled across some crazy stuff. We walked through a sandbox of giant moving hands.We headed towards the ocean through a suspension bridge of glow sticks.

We watched as the faces of singers "mooning" over karaoke were projected into the sky. Last night, in Santa Monica, a series of art installations comprised a massive party on the beach called "Glow."

The wacky art in motion was really cool. Weird. Cool. We loved it. Thousands of other people did too. Apparently, the party lasted until 3:00 AM.

We were kind of amazed that this sort of event was even taking place. Streets were blocked off. The beach was a free for all. Over 200,000 people were expected.

Overall, the whole thing was sort of crazy. But again, cool.

What crazy cool things take place in your neck of the woods?


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Question of the Day #698

You know how I've been complaining about how cold it's been? That the cloudy weather has been so depressing. That Summer never came to So Cal?

Guess who's here?!

That's right. Summer! She got to town on Thursday, heated up Friday and brought the most perfect sunshiny, blue-skied Saturday ever. And she's supposed to stay through Tuesday!


What extraordinary thing is taking place around you?


Friday, September 24, 2010

Question of the Day #697

Yesterday, I attended a funeral. During the burial service, loved ones played keyboards, guitar and bongos. They read poems, sang and danced by the gravesite in celebration of the dear friend who died.

It was beautiful and very much a celebration of her life.

In what unique ways have you seen a life celebrated?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Question of the Day #696

I just perused my bank activity. It looks like this: supermarket, supermarket, bill, gas, supermarket, supermarket, supermarket, bill.

I know I'm just one person. But I love food and I love to cook.

Where does all your money go?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Question of the Day #695

The search function on my blog is one of my favorite things. When I brainstorm questions, I search keywords to ensure that I haven't already asked something.

I just searched, "What's your favorite?" and discovered that so far we've discussed our favorite fruits, trees, colors, animals, ice cream, seasons, Christmas movies, board games, cookies, electronic devices, places to read, one hit wonders and so much more.

Do you have a current favorite something that you'd like to praise?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Question of the Day #694

A fat bolt just fell out of the desk chair I'm sitting in. I turned the chair over and searched for where it could have come from. I have no idea. And of course, I threw out the instructions my cheap IKEA chair came with.

So the bolt is on the floor and I am in my chair. For now.

What instructions have you thrown away that you wished you kept?


Monday, September 20, 2010

Question of the Day #693

Yesterday's book club met at Skylight Books, which is a supercool independent bookstore. We ate delicious brownies and discussed Albatross by Josie Bloss.

Albatross is a twisted story about a love triangle, but more so, about how someone can get in your head and convince you that you're worth less than you are. We book clubbers agreed that the message was an important one, especially for teens. Josie Bloss does an amazing job of subtly creating the most uncomfortable moments where as a reader, you're cheering for the MC, Tess, to walk away, but knowing that honestly, as painful as it is, she won't. And that most other kids wouldn't either.

It's through a skillfully crafted series of those moments and warnings from that little voice in her head that she's finally done.

Tess's parents were so well drawn. That's a really hard thing to do as YA writer because the focus is on the teen and parents are so...secondary in the teenage world. The mother in this book was thoughtful, smart, realistic and believable. And I really admired how Bloss wrote the father. She did an excellent job of showing how Tess's history with her father created an opportunity for another abuser to slide right in and manipulate her. He was realistic and cutting but it never hammered us over the head. A perfect blend of subtly and cruelty.

The combination of a great read and meeting smart, fun readers made book club totally awesome.

So, what are you reading?


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Question of the Day #692

This afternoon, I'm going to attend my first book club meeting. Considering all the reading I do, it's funny that this is the first book club I've ever been in. I'm excited to celebrate books!

Have you ever been in a book club? If so what did you like about it?


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Question of the Day #691

I'd like to do a little market research regarding market research.

I just filled out an online survey about my last travel experience. It took about 10 minutes and was fairly painless. But I did wonder whether or not my "additional comments" section, where I typed in what annoyed me, would actually be read and considered.

And because I questioned whether or not my input would actually impact the company's processes and / or services, I questioned why I was actually spending 10 minutes on the survey. Unlike my supermarket, which invites shoppers to fill out a survey and then enters them in a drawing for a $100 gift card, this company offered me nothing for my time.

Which gave me pause. I mean, do I have get something in order to give my feedback?


So, how do you feel about surveys? Do you fill them out?


Friday, September 17, 2010

Question of the Day #690

YA Writer, Amy Spalding, invited me to join a book club. The first meeting is coming up and the read is Albatross by fellow kt literary client, Josie Bloss.

In the Acknowledgements, Bloss thanked her mom for saying, "Don't have a wishbone where your backbone ought to be."

That's been stuck in my head for a week.

What quote has resonated with you lately?


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Question of the Day #689

It’s like this
I ease my bedroom door open
The air conditioner hums as I step into the still hallway
Through the darkness, I reach for the railing
And tread down the carpeted stairs
Skip the third
And the fifth
Lean to the right

At the back door
The house holds its breath as I pull on the knob and step outside
Crickets sing as my feet meet the smooth slate, still warm from the day
I tiptoe
Until I reach the neighbor’s lawn

Dew splatters my ankles as I burst into a run
Down the street
To the next
And the next
Pebbles dig into my soles
But I keep running
Heart pumping
Flesh tingling
Giggles rising

Headlights beam through the trees
So I duck behind a hedge
Catch my breath
And start again

Racing through the warm summer night
To get to you

What's better than summer love?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Question of the Day #688

Last night, H and I babysat K. (Total tangent: That read like an alphabet book, didn't it?)

We played with walkie talkies and ran around as K protected us from monsters.

"Ahhhhhh! I'm killing the monsters!" K yelled. A lot.

"Save us! Please save us!" H and I squealed.

"BAM!" K karate kicked the air.

Suddenly the floor vibrated with bass and a booming beat. The three of us stared at each other as concert-loud music shook the apartment.

"I think the neighbors don't like our game," I said.

"Let's play something quieter," H suggested.

"Who wants to talk about wii?" K asked. "Raise your hand!"

H and I raised our hands, marveling that the neighbors had really just super sonically blasted hip hop to shut us up.

How do you deal with neighbors when they annoy you?


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Question of the Day #687

I met with my critique group last night. I'd sent them the first few pages of the story I've been researching. As always, they brought up excellent questions. What's the bigger secret? Why is M able to see the things she sees?

Excellent questions. Questions I don't have answers to right now. And that's okay. Sometimes you just have to get your butt in the chair and trust that the answers to the questions will present themselves, right?

(A resounding "right!" would really boost my confidence right about now.)

What questions are you waiting for answers to?


Monday, September 13, 2010

Question of the Day #686

After just one night in Jersey, the "aw" in talk, walk and call snuck back into my speech.

And after spending a week with my mother, yesterday, when I entered a bathroom and saw myself in a mirror, I caught myself walking like her. My laugh also sounded similar and my hands gestured like hers.

I didn't realize I'd been picking up on that stuff and I was surprised when I noticed.

Who have you found yourself emulating lately?


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Question of the Day #685

Yesterday, as I sat at the airport bar watching people drag carry-on's through the terminal, I wondered if they were arriving for vacation or for business. Were they coming home after long trips? Just starting one?

"You must meet people from everywhere," I said to Susana, the pretty bartender who served me a beer and buffalo wings.

"I've met some pretty amazing people." She leaned on her elbows and raised an eybrow. "I waited on Matt Damon once. And you know what's weird? He's pretty tall."

"He is? He always looks like the short one," I said.

"I know." She turned to a customer on the other side of the bar and took an order.

I thought about the time I ran into an old family friend at O'Hare in Chicago. And the time in college, when on a flight to Boston, I saw a friend from my hometown.

"Do you know who Chuck Liddell is?" Susana asked as she punched an order into the computer.

"Yes." I remembered the episode of Entourage when Chuck Liddell punks Johnny Drama and challenges him to UFC fight.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "And one time, I saw him walk by so I ran out from behind the bar and chased him all the way to baggage claim."

She tapped her long nails on her cell phone, then showed me a picture of her and Chuck.

"I had to get my picture taken with him," she said.

I laughed.

"That's awesome," I said. I pulled out my notebook and started writing.

As I paid my tab, I handed Susana my card and told her about The Question of the Day. I asked if it would be okay to write about her.

"Sure, I'll totally read it," she said.

"Excellent. Thanks!" I said and walked towards my gate.

And just like that, another airport connection was made. What airport connections have you made?


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Question of the Day #684

Yesterday, I made a new friend. This is Skylark. She lives at Liberty Hill Farm in Vermont. She's a milking cow.

On the farm, I met calves, heifers, bulls and milking cows. I watched them graze, laze, get fed and milked. I learned that every other day, Cabot Cheese picks up the milk to make cheese with.

I loved it.

My Vermont visit has been like one giant, super fun field trip.

What "field trip" have you taken lately?


Friday, September 10, 2010

Question of the Day #683

"Mommy, where does ice cream come from?" I asked repeatedly, only about three summers ago, until my mother finally took me to Ben and Jerry's for a factory tour.

At the factory, we watched a moo-vie about how Ben and Jerry took a simple idea and turned it into a thriving business. Then we got to stand over the production room and watch as pints were filled with crunchy, fruity, chocolaty goodness. We learned about the Testers, whose job is to taste Ben and Jerry's creations all day long.

While I seriously contemplated a career change, I noticed that every once in a while a pint was chopped in half and someone examined it to make sure that the ice cream to chunky goodness ratio was on target.

The whole thing was fascinating. So, for the last few days I've been following my mother around asking, "Mommy, where does milk come from?"

She got the hint. Today we're going to visit a dairy farm and I'm super excited to peek at the inner workings of the dairy industry.

What inner machine have you had the privilege of learning about?


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Question of the Day #682

While enjoying the view from my parents' mountain porch, my mother and I poured over her high school yearbook.

"This guy drives a 'hot 67 Chevy'." I pointed to the blurb underneath a classmate's picture.

"And his favorite phrase was 'for crying out loud'," My mom said.

"Ooo! I'm writing down all the slang. What else did people say?" I asked.

"'Get serious!' 'You better believe it!' 'I amost care.''' She shrugged sarcastically at the last phrase.

"Hilarious," I said.

"What are you? Some kind of nut?" She said.

"Huh?" I asked. "Am I acting nutty?"

"No. That's what Luisa used to say." My mom pointed at the yearbook where the phrase was highlighted.

"Ohhhh." I laughed and continued note taking.

Now I have my own fabulous little slang dictionary full of 60's phrases.

So, what phrases did you use in high school? And are they still "cool"?