Monday, May 31, 2010

Question of the Day #572

In the tiny Vermont town where my mother lives, a parade was held today. Sixteen veterans marched. About half had served in World War II. Many walked with difficulty, but great pride.

I am grateful for the people who fight for our freedom. And today I'll pray for them and their families.

What would you like to share about Memorial Day?

*Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Mather, Rochester, VT

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Question of the Day #571

Yesterday's drive through the mountains to the vineyard was beautiful. Twisty roads led us to higher and higher ocean views, past golden fields, packed biker bars and sculpturesque boulders. Amid grapevined hills, a live band played and a warm breeze blew. It was so awesome that H and I asked, "Why would we want to go anywhere when we live here?"

Then we looked up and saw the writing in the sky. Apparently, Angelenos couldn't agree with us more.

If you could skywrite something, what would it be?


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Question of the Day #570

To celebrate my friend M, her boyfriend planned a birthday afternoon at Malibu Family Winery. There's an outdoor picnic area, live music will play and we'll be able to taste wine. So I'm whipping up some yummy food, packing a picnic bag and heading to the hills.

What a creative way to celebrate someone's birthday. It's not a dinner, a house party or a toast at a pub. It's something most of us have never done before.

Even though this winery is local, I didn't know it was there. Sure, I've been to Napa and Sonoma and enjoyed lush Northern vineyards and delicious wine. But sometimes, oddly, we tend to ignore local treasures.

What local treasures have recently come to your attention?


Friday, May 28, 2010

Question of the Day #569

Last night H and I discussed relationships with J.

"My girlfriends will say, 'why isn't he calling me?'" said J. "And I'll respond with NMTOT (nimtot)!"

"NMTOT?" H asked.

"No more time on that!" J said.

H and I laughed.

"I like that one. I'm writing it down," I said.

What crazy acronyms do you and your people use as code?


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Question of the Day #568

Sweat has been pooling in my brother's sunglasses as he landscapes in Ottawa.

B's FB status says that in Toronto, it's hotter than the armpit of the Valley.

My stepfather complained of the heat in Vermont.

And I'm freezing in LA.

I woke up to 60 degree rain. It hasn't broken 70 degrees since March. I type layered in a t-shirt, a hoodie and a big sweater and it's almost Memorial Day.

I want to read on the beach, bake in the sun, sit outside in warm night heat and sweat when I go for a walk.

I cannot wait for summer.

What can you not wait for?


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Question of the Day #567

This question is borrowed shamelessly from E Money's Facebook status update: "The other day I heard someone say that Forrest Gump was a crappy movie. What movie other people raved about do you think stinks?"

Excellent question E Money! I vote for Titanic. I couldn't believe the horrendosity. (Oh yes, that is a word in Suzanneland.) And people I know, eh hem, make that people I'm related to, went back to the theatre three times for a triple dose of awful.

What do you think?


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Question of the Day #566

When I was a kid, I wanted be a rock star. I sang at school talent shows, in choirs, and at fairs. When my mother had friends over, I belted out a show. I sang for anyone who would listen to me.

When Star Search came out I was convinced that I, too, could be a star.

Alas, I now sing in the car or occasionally at karaoke. (And I'm totally cool with that.)

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?


PS - Can you believe this question hasn't come up yet???

Monday, May 24, 2010

Question of the Day #565

A few questions ago, Beck put her favorite quote in the comments, "Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference."

That quote used to sit, framed, on the dresser in her bedroom. Not only a mantra, but a piece of art.

Yesterday's question inspired a lot of stories about bravery.

When was the last time you felt you needed to be brave?


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Question of the Day #564

ABC News decided to put people in ethical situations on a show called What Would You Do? I recently saw a segment during which an out of control soccer coach harassed a kid in a public park, screaming that he was stupid and forcing him to do exercises again and again. The point was to examine whether or not passersby would intervene.

In another segment, a older woman couldn't pay for a prescription at the pharmacy. Quite a few people offered to help. But when a young woman played the same scene only one person offered to help.

When I was in high school, as my friend C and I we walked to our car at the mall, we came across an enraged man screaming at a woman. Two kids huddled behind her. C and I marched up to the man and yelled, "Stop!" at him.

He laughed at us.

We yelled again saying that he couldn't treat her that way and that his behavior was wrong and we told her to come with us. She and the kids followed us to our car. We got in and locked the doors as he screamed, "Fine! You have nowhere to go." Then he walked away.

Everybody cried for a few minutes. Then I asked, "Where should we take you?"

She said, "He's right. I have nowhere to go."

C and I didn't know what to do. We were 17 year old kids and it was 1989. It's not like we could have googled an abuse hotline, called from the car and driven to the nearest shelter. We didn't have any resources.

I still pray for that woman and her kids.

I also admire what gutsy kids C and I were. I don't know how I would react to that situation now, as an adult. I would definitely get help, but I'm not sure I'd march right up to an enraged abuser.

Anyway, the question is, have you ever intervened to help a stranger?


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Question of the Day #563

I'm getting hung up on wordcount. I can't believe it. I don't think I've ever worried about wordcount in my life. But my WIP snowballed uphill into this awesomely disturbing climax around 100 pages and now I'm a little worried about the rest of it.

Major scenes have been plotted out and I'm sure my characters will take me on some wild ride and steer the story into places I haven't even considered, but if I focus on writing those major scenes, I'm thinking this may be one short book.

Maybe it's my way of worrying or procrastinating or slowing down the crazy roll I've been on for the last few weeks. I have to stop worrying about word count and like my Mom says, "Just do it!"

What worries get in the way when you're working on a project?


Friday, May 21, 2010

Question of the Day #562

Recently, H went to Europe. She brought me chocolate and pate from Paris and socks from London.

Socks may seems like a weird travel gift, but I just put them on and it's like my feet are being hugged. Seriously. There's a stretchy arch support and the ball and heel of my foot are cushiony padded.

Hugging socks. Definitely the most decadent socks I've ever worn.

What are your favorite socks like?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Question of the Day #561

I just read an article in which the theme is at any given moment there are hundreds of things worth documenting. Why don't we see if that's true?

Interesting Detail #1 - As I washed my hands, a ray of sunlight in the bathroom mirror shocked me. It's been cloudy May Gray for weeks now. I can't wait to get outside and go for a walk.

Interesting Detail #2 - One of my roommates just emerged from his room and said, "Oh my god, it's sunny out!"

Interesting Detail #3 - Many piles of manuscripts and training manuals on my desk need unpiling.

Interesting Detail #4 - It is so quiet here. You'd never know I live in a city.

Interesting Detail #5 - Someone's cooking eggs. I love the smell of breakfast being cooked.

What details about your surrroundings are worth documenting?


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Question of the Day #560

Simply V. is working on an awesome project. By taking a photo a day, she's compiling a thought provoking photo journal of 2010.

This photo is really cool, right?

Well, I think I'm a dork because I"m not sure what it is.

What do you think it is?


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Question of the Day #559

Only one in ten of you liked the template I switched to yesterday. And I'm no dummy. I want my bloggers to like their surroundings, so we're back to familair territory today.

Kelly mentioned that she's resistant to change. A little QOTD lightbulb went off in my head thinking, "Ooo, we haven't explored change." Thanks Kelly!

When it comes to little things, change doesn't bother me. Like let's say H and I have a plan to go to a certain restaurant and then we realize it's closed for a private party. No biggie. We go somewhere else.

But big change can be hard for me if I don't want it to happen. Like if, let's say I'm excited to move into a great new place. I'm all for change. But if I have to move out of a great place and it's not my choice, like the landlord sold it and is kicking me out to rent to new tenants, I'm not liking that change.

So I guess it all depends on the change situation.

How do you deal with change?


Monday, May 17, 2010

Question of the Day #558

I'm redecorating. Those dots were getting to me.

What do you think of QOTD's new look? (Be honest. We writers aren't afraid of constructive criticsm.)


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Question of the Day #557

My memory stinks.

I'll remember certain moments or feelings. Like saying something stupid in front of a guy I liked or flubbing the audition for the Christmas concert solo. Great memories are vivid too, like screaming the moment my agent emailed that she'd like to represent my manuscript and the night my siblings raced across the continent to surprise my parents for their 20th anniversary.

But other stuff is kinda blank. Friends will mention parties we threw or people we knew and I'll have no idea what they're talking about. Some of them journaled and they have these awesome accounts detailing every minute of what they felt were numbingly inane days. But those accounts are amazing because they bleed feelings.

And I'm so jealous. I never journaled. This blog is the closest thing I have to a journal and one of the reasons I enjoy blogging so much.

Have you journaled?


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Question of the Day #556

One of the writers in my critique group was just accepted into a great Master's writing program. (Yay G!) Even though she's excited, she said, "I'm scared. What if I don't make any friends?"

Isn't it amazing how, whether we're 13 or 45, we have the same fears?

What kid-like fears do you find still pop up in your life?


Friday, May 14, 2010

Question of the Day #555

Plot. Looks simple huh? Well, I've been complaining about plot troubles for weeks now. And I am pleased to announce that after lots of brainstorming walks, discussions with my critique group and way too many ideas gone pancake flat, I've formed a plot!

Since Monday, I've pounded out 33 pages. And I haven't even started writing today. It's pouring out of me. And it feels AMAZING.

Is it the perfect plot? Who knows? After revisions, it may not look anything like it does now, but my novel finally has a shape, a story, a plan. And my characters are running with it.

I am thrilled!

What good news would you like to share on this awesome-ist of Fridays?


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Question of the Day #554

Yesterday, I bought three gorgeous organic vine tomatoes. I love tomatoes. I pop cherry tomatoes like other people pop M&Ms. They're sweet and savory at the same time. But the best part is that when I hold a fresh tomato up to my nose and inhale that fresh planty-earthy scent, I smell Summer.

What smells like Summer to you?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Question of the Day #553

Every time I pull on the roll, the toilet paper holder in my bathroom squeaks. Loudly. It's been doing this for eons. And every time I go for a swatch I think, "I have to spray some WD-40 on that thing."

Then I leave the room and forget about it until the next time.

What household item in need of fixing do you keep forgetting about?


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Question of the Day #552

My mother told me that as I'd get older I'd feel smarter. That is true. Besides getting smarter, I also think I've become more appreciative. More appreciative of quality time with friends. More appreciative of small gestures like birthday cards or when someone asks to read my work.

As I've gotten older I've also learned to say "no." If I don't want to do something, I don't do it. If I don't want someone in my life, I don't just put up with them because I don't want to make them feel bad. Life is short, we should spend it doing things we love with people we love, right?

What do you like most about getting older?


Monday, May 10, 2010

Question of the Day #551

My friend N remembers her father reading the entire Little House series to her, one chapter a night, when she was a child.

I remember begging my mother to let me stay up and read "just one more chapter!" as a kid.

How did you get your read-on? Did your parents read to you when you were growing up? Did you read by yourself?


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Question of the Day #550

My mother uses little phrases and a raised eyebrow to say big things.

When I'm frustrated that things aren't moving fast enough, she says, "Paciencia en la vida. Paciencia." Just like her mother said to her. It's their reminder that hard work will eventually get me where I want to be.

When I'm procrastinating about writing or tackling something I'm dreading, she says, "Just do it!" An exclamation born out of a wedding job 20 years ago, when she and all her employees barrelled towards a deadline without enough flowers. Everyone complained that they were "never going to make it," and it was "going to be a disaster" and "maybe they should cancel" when one of them yelled, "Just do it!" All the grumblings stopped and they did it well.

If I'm debating a situation and give pause on one side of things, she stamps the decision with, "That's it." A phrase originally dropped by her father, which we now interpret as, "Okay, you figured it out. Now get it done."

Since she is also an artist, she understands how inspiration can be fleeting. So when we overhear an intense conversation or drive past Mexican shanty homes or sail next to whales, she nudges me and says, "Save this." Thanks to her, I have a whole bank of life's images to write about.

It's in those moments, that my mother, the woman, the person comes out. Her experiences and her knowledge are to be trusted. Because more times than not, she's right.

So how will you finish the sentence below?

Mom was right about ______________________ .


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Question of the Day #549

I recently saw an Oprahsode where Richard Branson was interviewed. He gave a tour of his private island where he and his family live. Like the guest house pictured above, most of the rooms don't have walls. Serious indoor / outdoor living.

I could do that.

I'm not saying a private island is my dream. But living where it's so warm all year around that I don't need walls, coupled with breathtaking water views is definitely a dream for me.

What is your dream home like?


Friday, May 7, 2010

Question of the Day #548

The Organic Writer, Yvonne Osborne, asked the following in her comment regarding yesterday's question about scars. "What do you think is cooler? A scar or a tattoo?"

And I realized that in 548 questions, I have never asked about tattoos. How is that possible?

I like tattoos but I don't have any. I've seen some amazing artwork that I'm really drawn to and I've seen some stuff that seems a little trite. But the cool thing about tattoos is that there are always stories behind them. And the tattoo that may look silly to me could mean a great deal to the person it's on.

A friend of mine is tatted everywhere and after I asked him about them, he said each one symbolizes a different period of his life and that all together they tell a story. I like that idea.

So, my first question is how do you feel about tattoos? Do you have any? Why or why not? And what do you think is cooler, a scar or a tattoo?

Thanks for the inspiration Yvonne!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Question of the Day #547

On a warm summer evening when I was eight years old, I sat on my neighbor's back deck waiting for her to come outside and play with me. Her cat stepped onto my lap and settled there. But then a bird chirped or a squirrel darted in front of us. Whatever it was startled the cat and she scrambled, leaving a scratch on my left arm. The tiny line is still there.

In sixth grade, I swiped one of my mother's pink disposable razors and shaved my legs. Without shaving cream and with a shaky hand, I scraped off a nice chunk of skin on my left calf. Today, the horizontal scar is a shade lighter than the rest of my skin.

In seventh grade woodshop, a miter saw dropped on my right ring finger. The teacher made me feel like a baby when I asked to go to the nurse. The teeth marks still there today are proof that he was a jerk.

Do you have any scars? What stories are behind them?


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Question of the Day #546

My friend N made me dinner last night. As we sat down to eat, she lit candles on the table.

"I believe in candles on the table," she said.

I got that. I started to think about all the things I'd list after "I believe."

I believe in Sunday Night Dinners, roadtrips with the top down and late night porch talk. I believe in keeping secrets in the vault. I believe that what goes around really does come around. I believe that if you work hard enough, you'll get where you want to be. I believe in thinking big. I believe in the law of attraction. I believe in real food and good sheets. I believe in watching sunsets. I believe in smiling at strangers. I believe that stopping to chat with an elderly person is one of the most valuable things I can do.

I could go on forever.

But what about you. How would you fill in the blank?

I believe ___________________.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Question of the Day #545

Last night, H, L.E.O. and I went out for sushi. I ordered salmon eggs.

We stared at them.

"All those omega 3s. I just want to smash them all over my face," said H.

"I must accessorize!" said L.E.O.

"I just wanna eat 'em," I said.

Perspective is amazing, isn't it? How does perspective play a part in your relationships? Do you find that you and your loved ones usually see things the same way? Or are some of you thinking "facial" while the others envision beaded bracelets and food?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Question of the Day #544

I've started drinking green tea. It's full of antioxidants and may prevent some cancers. So heck, I'm going for it. I've been drinking at least one or two cups a day for the last couple weeks and it seems like an easy way to do something healthy.

What healthy thing have you integrated into your daily routine?


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Question of the Day #543

H made me cupcakes.

H does not bake. H hates sweets, especially chocolate. But she knows that chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing are my favorite. When she couldn't find any at the market, she decided to bake some.

H making me cupcakes is one of the best presents I've ever gotten because she flexed her comfort zone to do something nice for me.

When was the last time somebody did something they wouldn't normally do just because they knew you'd enjoy it?


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Question of the Day #542

So last night, H and I were channel surfing and stopped on Eddie and the Cruisers. How could we not? I remember, as a kid, being completely infatuated with Eddie and also thinking Joanne was supercool.

But last night, it felt like we were reading a script.


INT. EMPTY BAR - Lone barkeep sweeps floor as Eddie and The Cruisers enter through front door, one by one. First Eddie, then Joanne, Sal, etc. Barkeep stops sweeping and peers at the strangers. A silence holds the room as Eddie and the Cruisers stare down the barkeep.


Can I help you?

Eddie nods at Sal.


Yeah. We're Eddie and the Cruisers.

The bandmembers smirk and chuckle knowingly.

That movie may have been intoxicating at 13, but at 38, it was BAD.

What movie do remember enjoying in your youth that turned out to be not so great as an adult?