Thursday, March 31, 2011

Question of the Day #884

I'm heading out for a walk on the beach. What's your favorite spot for a walk?


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Question of the Day #883

Last night, Sammy made H and me a white pizza with garlic, anchovies and spinach. It was delicious. A sort of fantasy pizza for two girls who love pungent flavors.

How would you design your own fantasy pizza?


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Question of the Day #882

I need a little help. I'm creating an exercise to demonstrate the Split Attention Effect. Split Attention occurs when extraneous cognitive load imposed by background or environmental elements negatively affects learning.

For example, I cannot write and listen to music. My brain follows the song lyrics and I can't focus on whatever I'm writing.

So, I need a song to play during a training that everybody knows. A song that everyone will follow along to and therefore ignore whatever I'm teaching. Thus proving my theory that listening to music while listening to a customer's needs isn't a great idea.

What suggestions do you have for a song that everybody will know?


Monday, March 28, 2011

Question of the Day #881

After we were offered the tickets to NASCAR on Saturday, D and I decided to write out Bucket Lists. We figured a spectacle like a NASCAR race would be elligible for a checkmark.

We wrote out a lot of travel goals, described future homes and sited books I needed to finish writing.

We did not add things like sky diving or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Do you have a Bucket List? What's on it?


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Question of the Day #880

Earplugs? Check.

Sneakers? Check.

Puffy jacket? Check.

Willingness to try something I've never thought of doing before? Check.

H gave me and D tickets to NASCAR today. We figured, "Why not check it out?"

When have you done something you never thought you'd do?


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Question of the Day #879

Last night, C walked out onto the bar's patio. A girl followed him.

"Can you really do it?" she asked.

"Yep," he said as he stuck a toothpick in his mouth, tilted his head back and tossed an olive up in the air.

The olive nicked the toothpick and hit the ground.

He launched another and missed it. When the third olive hit the ground, the girl rolled her eyes.

"I'm going back inside," she said.

"Does the olive ever actually pierce the toothpick?" I asked. "I mean don't you need more velocity?"

"He does it all the time," S said.

"He does?" H asked.

"Oh, yeah. It's his thing," S nodded.

"Like Molly Ringwald's lipstick trick in the Breakfast Club," H said.

"My friend, A, can tie a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue," I said. "And T can put her feet behind her head."

"Wow," S and H said at the same time.

"But I don't have a thing like that," I said.

Do you? Do you have a special thing you can do?


Friday, March 25, 2011

Question of the Day #878

Last night, on the plane, I was freezing. As I struggled to stretch my jacket around me, the man I'd been chatting with, who sat next to me, spoke.

"Are you cold? I have a leather coat in my carry-on. I could get it out and you could put it over you," he said.

I had been facilitating meetings all day. Then I flew from Tulsa, ran to a connection in Houston and barely made it on the plane back to LA. I was exhausted.

"You know what?" I said. "I would love to borrow your coat. Thank you so much," I responded.

After I snuggled under the coat and began to drift off to sleep, I wondered, when was the last time a stranger was kind to you?


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Question of the Day #877

The woman I'm consulting for talks to herself. So do I. Picture a conference room where the two of us chatter to ourselves, not listening to each other. Just chattering.

It probably looks really weird.

And it probably looks even weirder when I'm alone. I talk to myself in the car, at home, grocery shopping and during walks. When I walk by their windows, people probably think, "There goes that crazy girl again."

It's ridiculous, but it's me. And I won't go changin'.

What about you? Do you talk to yourself?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Question of the Day #876

"Or you can fly on one of those tiny planes," my boss said.

"That's fine with me," I said.

"Really? I hate those things. It only takes one bad one," she said.

"Seriously? Did you just say that to me?" I asked.

We laughed.

"I'm sorry. I just don't like those things."

"If it will get me there without making two stops, I'm taking it," I said.

I just looked up the plane she booked me on. The CRJ-700 below seats 70 people.

I was suprised to see two seats on each side. Any plane that can seat two people on both side of the aisle is not that small. At least not to me.

How do you feel about flying on small planes?


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Question of the Day #875

This afternoon, I'm going to facilitate a Customer Service training for the company at which I'm consulting. So this morning, I'm checking off my list of audio clips, video clips, prizes, jump drives, PowerPoints and everything else I'll need.

I just caught myself wondering if I'd be nervous. Because this is a new company and a business far from what I'm used to training to, will I get last minute jitters?

Public speaking rarely spooks my nerves. I'll speak my mind anywhere, anytime. Give me a platform, I'll stand on it. Speech giving is a snap (although much easier than than training with visual and audio aids and orchestrating exercises). And I can deliver an excellent eulogy. (Morbid, but true.)

But for some people, talking in front of a group is as intimidating as getting up to bat at a baseball game would be for me.

What about you? How do you feel about public speaking?


Monday, March 21, 2011

Question of the Day #874

Saturday night was cloudy in LA, so I missed it. But did anybody see the Super Moon?


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Question of the Day #873


It's raining sideways on the LA Marathon. Roads are blocked. Bleachers were set up yesterday. Runners arrived from all over the world.

It's 50 degreees, pouring and whipping 20 mile per hour winds.

But the athletes are undaunted. Impressive, don't you think?


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Question of the Day #872

Greenwich girls labeled on FB Smut List:

I'm so glad that when I was in high school, "mobile" meant having a friend with a car. Not minute by minute access to gossip.

What makes you appreciate your high school experience?


Friday, March 18, 2011

Question of the Day #871

My friend, Nancy, is an amazing writer and editor. Her artist family is visiting LA, so she had a dinner party last night and I catered it.

Her niece and nephew act and make music. All their friends attended the party. So, in a room packed with college age performers, Nancy's Writer/ Director neighbor spoke about her journey in the entertainment industry. She started at Julliard, did Shakespeare in the Park, acted on Broadway, couldn't pay her rent and moved to LA. Here, she started a band, toured with Meatloaf, started writing comedy and pitched a TV show which sold. Then she began directing and kept writing and developing comedy.

Her story had much to do with timing and serendipity. Like how Jack Black happened to be her neighbor and he suggested she start the band. After a while, Tenacious D opened for her.

The kids absorbed every word. They asked tons of questions.

She gave great advice. Like if you want to act, work in film. Don't wait tables or work in a bar. Get on a set or into a production office. "Work for free," she said. "Be the one who leaves last."

"And most importantly, be cool," she said. "Don't get in there and act like you're too good to get coffee."

"Just get the work. Because work begets work."

Simple advice, right?

What simple advice has worked for you?


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Question of the Day #870

I just got a picture text of my infant niece wearing a bib that reads, "Kiss me! I'm Irish."

My roommate just left the house to start his St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Last night, on Facebook, I read about people setting Leprechaun Traps.

I need to perfect a PowerPoint, finish a Facilitator Guide and then cater "California Cuisine" at a St. Patrick's Day dinner.

What about you? Do you don green on a day like today? Attend a parade? Catch a leprechaun or two? Or work?

PS - I don't know the guy in the picture. I just like his hat and glasses. ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Question of the Day #869

If you could have any kind of grilled cheese sandwich, what would you order? You can choose your bread, type of cheese, add some veggies or meat - whatever. This is your grilled cheese dream sandwich.

How would you build it?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Question of the Day #868

I am so cold. I'm wearing a thermal shirt, a wool hoodie, jammy pants, socks and woolly slippers and my feet, nose and hands are ice blocks.

It's 68 degrees in the house. It's not like it's 50. I exercise. I eat whole foods. There is no reason I should spend the first three hours of every morning shivering.

It's seriously annoying.

What annoys you about how your body runs?


Monday, March 14, 2011

Question of the Day #867

I may be crazy, but this whole springing forward thing has messed me up. As much as I want it to be lighter later, (And oh, how I want that!) I could not settle down last night. My body had no idea what time it was.

I ate dinner at 9:30 PM. (I usually eat around 6:00.) I went to bed at 1:06 AM. Last week, I fell asleep during the first half of American Idol. Staying up until 10:00 PM is late for me. But last night at 1:06 AM, I was wide eyed and fidgety.

And this morning I feel groggy and tired. Like I partied all night.

Is it just me? Is anyone else thrown by springing forward?


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Question of the Day #866

So we've sprung forward. Gained an hour. A little more daylight. But does it mean Spring is coming? I know a lot of you have endured an awful Winter.

What do you think? Has Spring sprung?


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Question of the Day #865

"With everything going on in Japan, its hard to believe that it's just a regular Friday night where we are. We're just sitting here eating pizza. It makes me feel bad."

As I climb the bluffs, I think about what my sister in law said when we spoke last night. When I reach the top, I see surfers crowded in the water at Sunset Beach. Perhaps competing for some tail end of tsunami swells?

The sun shines over the Pacific as I settle on a bench. Images of wreckage knock around my head. And that shaking. That shaking that one report said lasted for five minutes. I jitter just thinking of the 20 seconds of rolling in LA last Easter. I can't fathom how scary five minutes would be.

A couple walks their dog behind me. Some guy on the bluff above shouts into his cell phone about a producer who "knows everything but knows nothing." Families play on the beach below.

It's a normal day in LA.

Writing a normal question, when in many parts of the world nothing is normal, doesn't feel good. So I figure we should address the mess head on.

How do natural disasters, like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, make you feel?


Friday, March 11, 2011

Question of the Day #864

5:41 AM: Phone rings. T's name (my dedicated letter writer from yesterday's post) appears on my phone.

"What is wrong with that girl? After 17 years, doesn't she know there's a time change?" I think. I send her to voicemail. Then I roll over.

5:47 AM: Phone rings again. My mother's name appears. I send her to voicemail.

"What's wrong with everyone?" I think.

Then I bolt up.

My immediate thought: Terrorist Attack.

I call my mother back. She describes the earthquake in Japan and California's tsunami warnings. Sadly, I am somewhat relieved.

When have you felt relief in the face of disaster?


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Question of the Day #863

Just the other day, I got a lovely letter. It said,

Dear S,

I miss you.


The letter was recorded on my voicemail, so it wasn't exactly pen on paper, but the format was seriously cute. This, of course, got me thinking about letters. As a kid, I remember the joy of finding an envelope with my name etched on it in the mail pile then running upstairs to read and write back.

In my early 20's, my friend T had a very boring job, so to pass the time, she wrote me a letter every day. Envelopes bearing her perfect cursive arrived daily among my roommates' bills.

But the best letters were from my Granny. I still have many of them. Short scribbles of love. Most of them thanks for something I sent her, knowing that a letter could brighten any dark mailbox.

This morning, I found a site called Letters From Lauren, written by a girl who loves letters too. She writes to Aunt Jemima, her grandmother (who she never met), and The Yogurt Man.

I admire Lauren's throwback to letter writing.

So, if you were to write a letter to someone, who would it be and what would it say?


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Question of the Day #862

"M's dad is really tall and he's got big feet too. Size 15's, just like me," said T.

"You know what they say about big feet," I said.

"Yeah, big socks." T grinned.

"Interesting that she choose a big guy like you, when her dad is a big guy too," I said.

"I think a lot of people do that," H said. "My dad is really laid back and easy going. Most of the guys I've dated have a similar personality."

"And M is a lot like my mom," T said. "She's very independent, smart and loyal."

"So, you think a lot of people are attracted to their parents' traits?" I asked.

"Well, they say that women look for their father's qualities and men look for their mother's," H said.

"That certainly explains my ex," I said.

"Completely," H said.

What about you? Have you been attracted to qualities in a spouse that you were already familiar with via a parent?


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Question of the Day #861

Last night while Helen, Edna and I were out to dinner, Edna asked, "If you were to name a food after yourself, what would you name it?"

"Suzie Meatball," I said. "Gregg Bell already calls me that."

"I'd be Edna Bisquit. I love bisquits!"

"Helenizza," Helen said. "I'd have to be Helenizza!"

If you were to name a food after yourself, what would it be?


Monday, March 7, 2011

Question of the Day #860

Last night I dreamed I couldn't find a prom dress. I wanted to wear a pink prom dress with white platform heels. But my mom borrowed the dress and she couldn't remember where she put it. I searched and searched through closets of dresses.

The pink one was nowhere to be found.

But I did have the heels. All chunky white patent leather with a silver buckle. (Um, so not my style.)

So I decided to go to the prom in my pajamas, in my heels, because I really wanted to get my tiara. I mean, after all, who wouldn't want a tiara, right?

Turns out the pink dress I was looking for is in my closet. (Thankfully, the shoes are not.) Now I just need an occasion to wear it.

Have you had any vivid dreams lately?


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Question of the Day #859

Yesterday, at a baby shower, I overheard a guy daring another guy to eat a 16 ounce cup of nacho cheese sauce.

"I'll give you a hundred bucks."

The guy shook his head.

"No, way that's disgusting."

"H and I will do it," I said.

"We will?" H asked.

"Sure, all we have to do is eat a cup of cheese sauce and we get a $100," I said.

"That's disgusting," she said.

"That's hilarious. I know what you eat," I said.

"How long do we have?" I looked at Mr. Moneybags.

"Five minutes," he said.

"No problem," I said.

Someone started a stopwatch.

The Mama to-be handed us spoons.

We finished in two minutes.

Mr. Moneybags handed us $100.

"$50 for two minutes work. Not bad," I said.

H took her half and smiled. "Not bad at all."

When was the last time you did something totally and completely age-inappropriate?


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Question of the Day #858

Last Sunday, H and I went to breakfast. We ordered our food and two Diet Cokes. A lot of people drink coffee. We drink Diet Coke in the morning.

After we demolished our eggs, the waitress came by.

"Can I get you anything else?" she asked.

"I'd love another Diet Coke," said H.

"Me too, please," I said.

The waitress looked at each of us, kind of checking us out. Then she said, "I'm sorry, but do you two know that the sweetener in Diet Coke turns to formaldehyde in your bodies?"

H and I stared at her.

"I'm not lying. You can look it up," she said.

After a moment, she walked away with our empty glasses.

"Well, that's good news. I guess I'll live longer because my organs will be pickled," H said.

"Exactly," I said.

The waitress brought our glasses back, filled with Diet Coke.

"Thank you," H and I said.

"Did I tell you that someone came to the door yesterday and asked if I've been reading my bible?" I said.

"Seriously?" H asked.

"Yep. What's with people trying to tell me what to do?" I asked.

"No idea." H took a sip of her Diet Coke.

Now, we're not dummies. We realize Diet Coke is not good for us. And if people read the Bible once in a while, perhaps the world would be a friendlier place. But you can't come to my front door and tell me what I should do. Just like I can't follow people around the supermarket and take all the conventional fruits out of their shopping carts, explain why all the pesticides are eventually going to give them cancer and replace those fruits with organics.

It's none of my business, right? How do you feel when a stranger tells you what you should or shouldn't do?


Friday, March 4, 2011

Question of the Day #857

I just went for my first walk of the week. It's Friday. Not good. But it's been so cold that I haven't been able to coax myself outside.

How has weather prevented you from doing the things you like to do?


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Question of the Day #856

When I slide my closet door open, the shoe mound on the floor shifts. I snatch up the box of envelopes in the laundry basket and pop it into the office supply box in the back on the left. The clothes hang so tightly together that I can barely tell sweaters from pants.

Little by little, my closet has become a disaster.

What do you need to clean out?


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Question of the Day #855

Yesterday, supercool bloggergirl, Green Girl in Wisconsin, wrote a post about what she's "into" lately. Mostly delicious foods, cooking new recipes, wearing her hair down and necklaces (suddenly).

That got me thinking how people go through phases. Like our own individual fads. For example, when it warms up, I'm all about driving up the coast with the top down. And sometimes I go through spurts of road trips. Like three in a row. Then I won't go anywhere at all for months. I'm like that with the movies. Even ice cream. I'll eat it three nights one week and not again for a month.

For the last couple weeks, I've been into:
  • Work. Yay for work!
  • Spicy chicken soup (Ate it four times in the last week.)
  • Lotsa layers (It's cold!)
  • Trying new recipes
  • Catching up with old friends
  • Really lazy weekends
Green Girl asked her readers what they're into right now and I thought the question was brilliant. So what about you? What are you into right now?


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Question of the Day #854

Many food allergies affect the family I cook for. So, yesterday, when I got the call saying that Mom's reading a book on Veganism, I started to hyperventilate.

"I think no dairy is crazy," she said.

I began to breathe again.

"But I think I'd like to try some vegetarian meals," she said. "What do you think we can have tonight?"

My brain was on page 18 of the customer service training manual I'd been writing about setting the right tone during customer calls. Not on vegetarian meals.

I had no words.

Do not let callers experience dead air. Set expectations regarding what you're doing, such as, "I'm going to do some research so I can better answer your question, so it may be quiet for a few moments, okay?"

"Um...uh..." I said.

"Um's" and "uh's" are symptoms of a lack of confidence.

1. Next time you answer a call, take note of how many times you say “uh” or “um.” Was it more or less than you expected?

2. How do you think “uh’s” and “um’s” make customers feel?

3. Make a point of consciously eliminating those symptoms of ill-confidence during future calls.

"Can I call you back?" I asked. It was the best could do.

Eventually, when I got my cooking head on, we settled on Eggplant Parmagiana. I made my Granny's recipe and it was delicious. But I'm a little worried. It's hard enough navigating the allergy land mines. Not being able to serve my clients meat may leave me recipe-less.

Which of course made me wonder about other people and their relationship with meat. How do you feel about meat? To eat or not to eat?