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?