A little late but nothing like cold pizza, right?

Name a trait you share with your parents or your children.

Here’s one I share with both a parent and my children: my extraordinary temper. As a teenager, I was a walking match stick and the world was my sandpaper. It’s much slower to burn these days but once it blows… hit the deck, grab your hind parts, and then watch the reenactment of Pompeii. I’m a Taurus and ‘bull in a china shop’ doesn’t even come close to describing it. It’s not just my parent (Hi Daddy!), it’s that whole side of the family. And probably a bit of Mom’s thrown in for good measure. Ready for this? Hungarian. German. Irish. Scottish. Can it get worse? Yes. Ohhh, yes it can. Both of my spawnlings inherited this monstrosity. So now, I get to look at them and gain a bird’s eye view of exactly how I was as a child. My poor, poor parents. Then again, it was their fault, right?

List 3 qualities of a good leader, in your opinion.

You know what? I like this question. A good leader is someone who knows how it is from the bottom up – and never Forgets It. He/she should possess massive amounts of patience, the ability to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes at the drop of a hat (how cliché was that?), a backpack full of work ethic, and the balls – Yes. Balls. – to push everyone just a little further than they think they’re capable of going while refusing to accept mediocrity. I sound like a sales ad – Heh. I can’t help it. For the past 7 years, I have had the distinct pleasure of working for three of the best leaders I’ve ever known. I could probably get paid more somewhere else but now I’m too spoiled to leave.

Who is your favorite television chef?
I was so excited when the Naked Chef came out… but then, I noticed. He wasn’t nekkid. Dang it. Seriously, I like So many! Paula with her down-home southern accent and food that will clog your arteries just by viewing it through the television. Emeril, because he’s funny and he has great pots (I have one – awesome!). Bobby Flay – hello, the man can grill like no other. And who could leave out Gordon Ramsay – the temper! The food! Yum.

My all time favorites, though? They aren’t on television. They’re my Grandparents and my Dad. I grew up in the kitchen, watching them cook and as I inhaled the wonderful aromas they created, I also gained the love they have for creating exquisite food. Dad takes the cake, though. He never gets annoyed, no matter how many times I call to ask (yet again) how much flour, milk, and eggs are in spaetzle. And he keeps the silent competition running full-tilt every time he out-cooks me with a new recipe creation. My chicken tortilla soup is still better, though. Heh.

Main Course
Share a story about a gift you received from someone you love.

From the first time I heard bagpipes playing and the first time I read a novel set there, I fell in love with Scotland. Obsessive drive-people-crazy-with-the-constant-talking-about-it love. It only grew worse as the years passed. Then, three Christmas’ ago, I opened a gift from Mr. Clean. Inside was a sheet of paper, listing twenty five clues. Each location obtained through the clues revealed a piece of a puzzle – but I wasn’t allowed to look at the pieces (only at the back of them and who gets excited over a view of cardboard?). Once all twenty five pieces were found, I had to put together the puzzle, upside down – still not seeing what was on the front. Finally! I got to flip the whole thing over, revealing… a map of Scotland with a two week trip route highlighted. It was the best. Ever. I bawled like a baby all the way home because I really, Really didn’t want to leave. I even tried to convince Mr. Clean to have the kids shipped over. We could buy a house and get new jobs. I’m still obsessed – only now, it’s with going back.

How do you react under pressure?

Depends on the type of pressure. Pressure at work? Deadlines banging on the door with both fists? Watch out, I’m the fire chief and no one knows how to put fires out like I do. Emergency type pressure? I’m on it. Calm and cool. I know the drill. Pressure at home? Kids won’t stop bickering? Husband is cranky? Eh. Not so good. I tend to crumble after a bit. It’s that emotional pressure that bites me in the heinie every time.
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