Monday, January 31, 2011

Question of the Day #825

"My mother's crazy," M said.

"Isn't everyone's mother crazy?" D asked.

I looked at the friends surrounding me, and from what I'd heard, they did indeed have crazy mothers.

"My mother's not crazy," I said. "I mean she's fun, like wild and crazy, but she's not remotely nuts."

"Really?" D asked. "If my mother were here, none of you could get a word in. She'd be talking the whole time."

I thought about the rest of my friends. Like the girls I grew up with. Most of them have very sane, normal mothers. Maybe crazy mothers were a west coast thing?

"Do you guys really feel like most people have crazy mothers?" I asked.

"Yes," they replied in unison.

"This could be a good question." I began to search through my purse. "Does anybody have a pen?"

Now I gotta ask. How crazy is your mother?


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Question of the Day #824

Last night I attended a Chinese New Year Dinner. I learned that in Chinese, the number eight sounds like "FA," which means prosperity. So, to invite prosperity, our gracious hostess sat eight people to a table, where we ate eight courses of delicious Chinese food.

We enjoyed noodles, which symbolize longevity, and oranges because their seeds represent fertility and virility. And in a little Chinese takeout box, we were each given an envelope containing money culminating to numbers that when spoken in Cantonese means "Journey with Fortune." That money is meant for us to spend only when in need. And if it's not spent, that indicates a fortunate year.

Pretty cool stuff, huh?

What culture have you enjoyed learning about? Or what culture would you like to learn more about?


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Question of the Day #823

Yesterday, yellow police tape roped off the parking garage next to the office I work in. I drove past it, trying to figure out what to do and saw that the whole block was wrapped in yellow caution tape. I parked a few streets down and called a coworker.

"Yeah, apparently a suspicious package was found," she said.

"Wow. Well what should I do?" I asked.

"A couple of the girls are at Starbucks," she said.

"I'll go over there and wait with them," I replied.

I walked to the Starbucks across the street from the office. An officer stopped me at the door.

"You can't go in there. We're about to evacuate the building," he said.

"Wow. Really? So, I work in an office across the street. Does this mean I should go home today?" I asked.

"Yes, go home," the officer said.

So I went home.

Turns out, a movie prop that looked like a fake bomb had been found in a nearby dumpster that morning. What appeared to be sticks of dynamite were taped together, complete with wires.

Only in LA.

What's the weirdest reason why you ever got to skip work?


Friday, January 28, 2011

Question of the Day #822

I eat a banana every morning. I guess I'm a bit of a ritualistic person.

Do you eat the same thing in the morning? Or do you mix it up?


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Question of the Day #821

Last summer, I noticed a tiny impatiens sprig poking out of the pavement in front of my house. I marveled at how it grew out of asphalt. And even though this summer was gray and cold, the tiny sprig grew branches and became a full sized plant.

A couple weeks ago, its leaves had turned crinkly and brown. As I tilted the watering can over the plant, I realized that it wasn't thirsty. Frost had bitten it.

But some of the leaves still shined green. And pink buds struggled to bloom. So I cut off all the dead stems, leaves and buds so that the plant could save its energy to feed the healthy parts.
What metaphors have you found in everyday life?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Question of the Day #820

January is like a birthday barrage! Last week brought TY's birthday and a client's birthday bash. Today is T's "Dirty Thirty" and CF's birthday too. Tomorrow marks the birth of two of my favorite Jersey Girls. And I can't forget KD's celebratory day last week. Finally, another fabulous Jersey girl will wrap up January's birthday bonanza on the 31st.


Is there a certain time of year when a lot of your people celebrate birthdays at once?


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Question of the Day #819

A few months ago, my friend, D, and I were playing Scrabble when I felt around the box for my list of acceptable two letter words.

"What is that?" D asked.

"It's a list of two letter words."

"You can do that!" His eyes widened.

"Can't do what?"

"Use a list of acceptable words. That's cheating!"

"Oh c'mon, are you serious?" I asked.

"Of course I'm serious. That's it! I'm calling The Scrabble Commission!" He threw his hands up as his face broke into a big smile.

We burst out laughing. And I continued to giggle over "The Scrabble Commission" for hours.

Since then, I did learn that there is a National Scrabble Association and a whole lot of debate around using a list of two letter words. During other games, some opponents have been equally offended by the use of such an aid. But just a few days ago, when J and I played and I found that my two letter word list was missing, (Perhaps confiscated by The Scrabble Commission?) she told me to go, "Print that sucker up."

So, how do you feel about using an acceptable two letter word list while playing Scrabble? Do you stick to all the serious rules or bend them just a little?


Monday, January 24, 2011

Question of the Day #818

I've watched three episodes of Showtime's "Shameless" and I can safely say I'm in love with the series.

Laurie Halse Anderson once said during an interview that the reason she wrote Prom was because all her readers wanted to read a book about "normal kids."

Not rich kids. Not kids with secret super powers. Not prom queens, drag queens or star athletes. Just regular kids.

This show, "Shameless," showcases a family that is anything but normal. The family is made up of six kids, a mother who ran away, an alcoholic father, one gay kid, one kid whose father has yet to be determined, a teenage girl whose boyfriend steals cars for a living, and so much more.

But in all that abnormalcy is normalcy. Like this week, the gas got shut off so everyone (subtly) wore puffy coats in the house. (Who hasn't done that?) Or the week before, when the oldest sister watered down the last drops of milk to make it go farther over her siblings' cereal. And an universal need to be loved twists through each character's storyline.

As messed up as this family is, it is so refreshing to watch a show about people who are not living in Beverly Hills or pimped out cribs or in a town where every resident sucks blood or shape-shifts. (Not that I don't love "True Blood." Just making a point.)

So this begs the question, why, as a society, are we not that interested in storytelling about people who are just like us? Or are we and is Hollywood telling us that we aren't? And what's your favorite story about normal everyday people?


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Question of the Day #817

Last night, I catered a Happy Hour/Appetizer Madness Contest/Cooking Lesson/Cocktail party at a mansion in Malibu.

From the entrance, floor to ceiling windows framed the Pacific Ocean. The sky melted pinks and oranges over the water as I prepped, cooked and plated course after course.

And, in the frenzy, I forgot to take pictures of the view or the food.

What situation do you regret not photographing?


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Question of the Day #816

"The thing about him is that he has Arrogance of the Face," said M as we watched P, a model-like specimen, walk out the door.

"Arrogance of the Face?" I said.

"Yes, he loves his face," M said. "We all suffer from an arrogance of something."

H and I looked at each other.

"Then I have Arrogance of the Brain. I think I'm smarter than everyone," I said.

"You see. My theory is true," said Mark. "I have Arrogance of the Mouth. I say whatever I feel like saying."

"I have Arrogance of Self. Because I think I'm better than everyone," H said as her face flashed bright red.

We laughed.

"Okay, you ladies are getting it now. Everybody is arrogant about something."

Will you please fill in the blank? I have Arrogance of _______________.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Question of the Day #815

If I were to place a Want Ad, it would read like this:

WANTED: Very tall person who is willing to change lightbulbs in hard to reach spaces in exchange for a delicious homecooked meal.

What would your Want Ad say?


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Question of the Day #814

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending an event at The Broad Art Foundation. My girlfriends and I got to view pieces from Eli and Edythe Broad's personal collection.

Among them was a piece by Christopher Wool, much like the one above, except the word was "pessimist."

"That is a bad word." I pointed at it from across the room.

"It is a bad word," C confirmed.

"Like 'hate'," H said. "'Hate' is a bad word."

What ordinary word hits you as a bad word?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Question of the Day #813

Last night, I made Caesar salad for my client family. So I bought a tin of anchovies, put two in the dressing and ate the other eight while I cooked the rest of the meal. When I came home, I didn't feel like cooking another meal, but I was craving potatoes. So I made some hashbrowns.

I rarely feel like cooking a meal for myself after cooking for someone else. On most nights I eat popcorn or maybe some soup I've frozen or something strange like anchovies and hashbrowns for dinner.

What does dinner look like in your home?


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Question of the Day #812

Last night, I came up with a great Question of the Day. I thought of writing it down, but I was in the middle of cleaning up the kitchen. So I assured myself that I would remember it and continued cleaning.

Of course, I now have no idea what the question was.

What do you always forget?


Monday, January 17, 2011

Question of the Day #811

All right, so maybe L, J and I are pushing it a bit by breaking out the swimsuits and hitting the beach today. The predicted high is only 74 degrees, and don't get me wrong, we're super thankful for those 74 degrees. It's just that for baring it all on the beach, it's still a wee bit chilly. (See how it's not exactly crowded?)

But give us an inch and we'll take a mile. We're doing it anyway.

What little something are you running big with today?


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Question of the Day #810

I can't believe I'm about to talk football, but I am.

In less than three hours, the New England Patriots will face the New York Jets again. The last game was an embarrassment. The Jets scored a mere 3 points as the Patriots ran up the score to scary heights. I shrank in my seat as I watched, surrounded by a bunch of New England fans.

I've been in California a long time, but I'm a Jersey Girl. And the overwhelming majority of my family members are Jets season ticket holders. (Even some who live in California.) And it's hard to watch the home team get destroyed.

But we're having a heatwave. It's going to be 80 degrees today. It's the playoffs and tomorrow is a holiday. So I'm going out to join all my Massachusetts friends watch what, hopefully, will not be a massacre for the Jets.

Do you root for your home team? Do you root at all?


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Question of the Day #809

"I love this song," H said as the first few measures of Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" played.

"So do I," I said.

"I love that video."

"Yeah. It was a sexy video," I said.

"The woman wore a great 50's swimsuit."

"She did. And the memories played like a film in the background. And they were kissing on the beach," I said.

"Yeah," she said.

I sighed.

What music video stands out in your mind?


Friday, January 14, 2011

Question of the Day #808

I'm always cold. Like it can be 72 degrees in the house and I'll put on a sweater and wrap myself in a blanket. Whereas my roommate will sit in shorts with a fan in front of him. Is it a man / woman thing? Do men burn hot while women shiver? The debate took place last night over pizza.

"I turn on my heating pad every night before I go to bed," said H.

M's jaw dropped.

T winced.

"My girlfriend can go to bed in full pajamas, socks and a hoodie and pile covers over herself and I'll be next to her, no covers, in my boxers sweating and saying, 'Oh my god, I'm so hot,'" said T.

"I made excuses to let the dog out when I was back east, just so I could stand outside in the freezing cold," said M.

"I made excuses to sit in front of the wood burning stove," I said. "But you know what's weird, my mom blows this whole theory. She's always hot. She kept running out of the room with the stove."

"Really?" H said.

"Clearly, we have a question for tomorrow." I said and texted myself: Do you run hot or cold?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Question of the Day #807

Last night, as I placed dinner on the table at my client's house, all the chairs sat empty. The kids and parents shouted from different rooms.

"Did you find him?"

"No! Did you?"

Ajax, the lizard, had gotten loose.

I giggled as I washed pots. A lizard on the loose made me think of the night at Mansfield when a possum snuck in the backdoor. As everyone slept, it roamed around knocking over plants and knick-knacks.

In the morning, a very brave M whacked the seething little monster out of the house with a broom. That was right before S found that the house invader had left her a gift in the bathtub.

Heh heh heh.

Has an animal ever been on the loose in your house?


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Question of the Day #806

Most of the time, when I wake up in the morning, my jaw is killing me. My front teeth ache and I know, once again, I was grinding my teeth while I slept.

Some people snore. Other people walk. Others get up and prepare entire meals and eat while they sleep.

What do you do while you're asleep?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Question of the Day #805

A few minutes ago, in the middle of finalizing a menu for a client's dinner party on Saturday night, my email shut down and of course, ate the menu. Then Explorer took a full minute to open my blog. Last night, my roommate asked me to open a website and my computer just couldn't. Period.

My lovely laptop, on which I've written two novels, hundreds of training manuals and over 800 Questions of the Day, is old.

In what shape is the computer you're blogging on?


Monday, January 10, 2011

Question of the Day #804

My friend K got stuck, for an extra week, on the east coast due to the storm around the holidays. She spent a couple days at the airport hoping to fly standby. The rest of the time was spent inside her in-laws' home.

I get a little crazy when I'm away from home too long. I want to sleep in my bed, cook my own meals and enjoy my routine in my surroundings.

"I would have lost my mind," I told K.

"What saved me is that I'm really good at living in the moment," she said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I don't get all wrapped up in what I'm missing or could be doing or should be doing. I can just focus on what I'm doing at that exact moment and be okay. If I didn't have that ability, I'd have been in trouble," she said.

I realized I'm not very good at living in the moment. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I should be doing. Sometimes, I torture myself about what I could have or should have done in the past.

I'm going to think of K when that happens and try to focus on the here and now.

What about you? How good are you at living in the moment?


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Question of the Day #803

I don't want to jinx anything, but ever since I kissed 2010 goodbye, I've been feeling better. A lot more positive. And strangely, good things seem to be coming my way.

So far, how are you feeling about 2011?


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Question of the Day #802

Recently, I got together with a friend I hadn't seen since my freshman year in college. Over dinner and wine, we caught up on the last 20 years. We discussed jobs, friendships, writing, love and lack thereof.

Near the end of the evening, he asked, "What do you think is the biggest difference between who you were then and who you are now?"

"I'm a lot less judgemental, and overall, a much nicer person," I responded.

"I can see that," he said.

What do you think is the biggest difference between who you are now and who you were as a kid?


Friday, January 7, 2011

Question of the Day #801

When I was growing up, my mother owned a florist. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the fresh scent of the shop. I can also relive the panic of getting 50 centerpieces to a wedding on time while running huge arrangements to the funeral home across the street.

It was a crazy business. But that's another story.

My favorite perk of my mother's business was that we aways had fresh flowers in the house. One bunch of lilies could flavor the whole bottom floor of the house. A little vase of gerbers, freesia or ranunculus always prettied up the counter in each bathroom.

What a luxury. As an adult, I really miss having fresh flowers in the house.

What's your favorite flower?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Question of the Day #800

800 questions. That's a nice, big, even, round number.

Sooo, since 800 is on my mind, I ask, how would you fill in the blank: I wish I had 800 ___________?


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Question of the Day #799

All-Star blogger Kelly Polark did an awesome 2010 Recap covering her favorite concerts, songs, movies, and TV Shows. As tempting as it is to borrow shamelessly and ask all of you to list your favorite things of 2010, I will instead use her question as a springboard for mine.

What about 2010 stood out the most to you?

My answer, unfortunately, is that just about everybody I know had a hard time. Lack of work and money, weird health issues and scares. Rejection. Strange weather, including the worst summer in LA ever and way too much rain too early. (Which is not just a complaint. It could be dangerous later on.) Ridiculous love problems. Things that shouldn't even have been issues exploded into disasters. Then there were very scary, real relationship problems.

All in all, it seemed to be a year of extremes. It was kind of like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs on every level-not just the weather.

Okay, back to the question (and hopefully more positive answers). What about 2010 stood out the most to you?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Question of the Day #798

Did you hear about the dead birds falling out of the sky? On New Year's Eve, an estimated 4,000-5,000 blackbirds fell out of the sky in Beebe, Arkansas. Now, days later, 500 more birds were found dead along a highway in Pointe Coupee Parish in Louisiana.

Experts are trying to figure out what happened. They originally surmised that New Year's Eve fireworks startled the birds and caused them to fly in the dark, therefore blind, ultimately injuring them. But this second account, which did not involve fireworks, kind of blows that theory.

I'm not even sure what the question is here. I just know that these news stories are freaking me out. How do they make you feel?


Monday, January 3, 2011

Question of the Day #797

Last night, I watched a news series, Oprah Presents Master Class with Diane Sawyer. It was not only fascinating to hear Sawyer's stories and understand her lessons, but it was beautifully executed.

When she said that curiosity is fuel for her, I broke out my notebook and started taking notes. She said, sometimes, she'll be flying from one end of the Earth to the other, already exhausted, and she'll think, "I just can't do this." But then she'll pick up a file, read a little bit, think of a question, then another and another. And suddenly she's got a zillion ideas and she can't wait to get there.

Sawyer said, "The only way you can get up some of these mornings is if you can't wait to see what's around the bend."

For me, that kind of curiosity comes when I'm immersed in a story and I've hit that sweet spot where the characters are leading me and I'm basically just typing what they're channeling.

Those days are the mornings writers live for.

What mornings do you live for?


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Question of the Day #796

While at the market, I spotted TIME's Person of the Year issue. I'll admit, I'm a bit fascinated by Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook phenomenon, so I bought it. There's something magical about his perfect storm of timing, technology and creativity meeting a huge market that went crazy for his product.

Not to mention that he's pretty much just a kid.

If you were to choose The Person of the Year for 2010, who would you choose?


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Question of the Day #795

Yesterday, some friends and I gathered at the beach to kiss 2010 goodbye. I'd envisioned rejoicing when the sun dipped below the horizon, but clouds smudged out the entire event. As we shivered over cocktails, I realized that the bleak sky was actually fitting.

A crappy sunset for a crappy year.

So I shouted obscenities at the ocean. I told 2010 to kiss off. I made a toast and a prayer and thanked God it was over.

How do you feel about your 2010?