Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy Freakin' New Year! As much as I'm not really into Christmas, I love New Year's, and not just because it's another excuse to party. I love the sense of renewal, of starting over, of making goals for the upcoming year and working like hell to make them happen.

There's nothing like that feeling of accomplishing your goals--I thought of that last night when Lee Odell, my favorite professor from RPI (Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, where I went to grad school), stopped in at my book signing. I finished my master's program in tech writing in 1991 and haven't seen him since, so that was a real thrill. Coincidentally, he's married to my friend Kevin Bacon's sister, whom I met for the first time. I knew I would love her, and I did!


I had imagined a book signing to be dreadful task where the author sits around like the Maytag repairman (my younger readers probably won't get that reference), but I had a good turnout and we actually had a lot of fun. Probably because I served alcohol.


Wait, what kind of beer and wine is that?


What else?

Tonight I'm heading back to Rensselaerville for a New Year's Eve bash at Courtney and John's house. It'll be pretty low key, but that's fine with me--I'll be kissing someone I love at midnight, and that's what counts. Then I leave on Friday, arriving in Vegas around 11 p.m. (fingers crossed) and I'll be kissing someone else I love when he picks me up at the airport.

I wish you all a fun and safe New Year's Eve and we are going to accomplish great things in 2010. And I do mean "we."

Love you all!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We're not in Vegas anymore...



Can you believe all this freakin' snow? I am totally not a snow person, but I'm having such a good time here, I'm not even complaining. (I know! Can you imagine?)

Sunday was a great day to cozy up at home--we never even got out of our PJs. Courtney and John are wonderful hosts and Connor and I have enjoyed lots of high-quality bonding time doing stuff like watching clips of The Simpsons, Family Guy and What About Bob? on YouTube. Can I just tell you how proud I was the other night when Connor leaned over and whispered, "Granny, guess who my favorite actor is? Bill Murray." Way to make a grandmother proud!

We spent the rest of the day playing Rush Hour, a game with all these little plastic cars that you have to move out of a traffic jam. I'm not the most patient person on earth--I'm afraid Connor may now have some colorful new words in his vocabulary--but when I finally manage to free the red car, I throw my hands in the air as if "We Are the Champions" is playing over a nationwide P.A. system. Maybe I should give that X-Box a try after all.

Yesterday I went into Albany and had dinner with my dear friend, Joan, who now lives in Santa Fe.


You can't tell from this picture, but yesterday I had one of the gayest hair days ever. I never have a good hair day, but yesterday... every time I looked in the mirror, I was like, WTF???

I don't know if it's the Rensselaerville water or what, and yesterday I had a shitty hair day, a fat day, and a weird face day all at once. I was like, I can't believe I actually have a freakin' boyfriend! Thank God Mike wasn't around to see that because he'd probably want to break up with me and I'd be like, "Dude, I can't believe you're with me in the first place!" Jesus H. I haven't showered yet this morning, but fingers crossed... my self-esteem can handle only so much! Anyway, tomorrow night I have my book signing and if I'm wearing a hat in the pictures I post on Thursday, you'll know why.

Until then, here's my little snow angel.


Yeah, a hat... brilliant idea!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ingredients for a perfect Christmas

I had a great Christmas! Here's my precious Connor with his present from Granny and Mike. That was a big hit!


Yep, we had all the ingredients of the perfect Blackwell family Christmas, just like the old days when the kids were little.

The music: No typical holiday tunes for us--we listened to lots of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Albert King, Will Oldham, and Michael Hurley. We were also treated to some live music after Christopher arrived with his guitar. He and my son-in-law, John, played for quite a while--delightful! Nothing could sound more joyous. I wish I had a video, but Christopher would kill me for posting it anyway.

The food: Courtney made a big-ass pan of lasagna using an old family recipe (right off the side of the box). She also made brownies and a reuben dip and we munched all day long.

Drinks: No eggnog for us; we're a beer family. Courtney and John stocked up on the Saranac holiday sampler, which was a treat for me since I can't get Saranac out in Las Vegas. Court's almost 6 months pregnant, so she had NA beer and was a real good sport while the rest of us enjoyed the good stuff.

The conversation: A lot of families talk politics or sports when they get together; our conversation revolved around blind people. Christopher posed the question, "Do blind people clean up after their seeing eye dogs?" and we all thought good and hard about that one. We pictured them feeling around the ground and then sniffing their hands like, "Oh, I found it!" Then I said it must suck to be blind because how do you know when you're done wiping? Everyone agreed. Yeah, that's the kind of stuff we talk about.

I'll upload more photos when I get a chance. Today is Connor's 11th birthday, which he shares with my nephew Andy, who is 9. So tonight we're heading out to my brother and sister-in-law's house for the dual birthday celebration. One party after another...

Hope you're all enjoying a relaxing weekend!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I’m traveling today—going back to Albany to spend the holidays with my family (most of them, anyway). I have a 7 a.m. flight out of Vegas and (fingers crossed) will arrive in Albany at around 5 p.m. My connection is in Philadelphia, and last time I looked, the storm blowing through the Midwest has not yet made its way to that part of the country. The Philly airport is always a drag, though, so no guarantees.

Anyway, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog, buying my book, and most of all, for being my friends. And thanks to those of you who emailed photos of yourself and your family--I really enjoyed seeing them!

Hugs to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry freakin’ Christmas, you stupid slob

You know who Louis CK is, right? He’s one of my favorite comics. I’ve seen him a couple of times here in Vegas and I think he’s just fantastic. He has a bit about standing in line at the bank and at the post office where he looks at everyone and seethes with hatred for them. Funny as hell.

Yesterday I had my own Louis CK moment at the post office. The woman in front of me had a crumpled little piece of paper, made a half-hearted effort to look for a trash can, and then tossed it on the counter where they keep all the change of address and overseas declaration forms. Like it's okay to throw crap wherever you want.

Normally I would have said, “Hey, pick that up, you lazy bitch!” but because it’s Christmas, I kept my mouth shut and stood there hating her in silence. The line was kind of long, so I had a good 20 minutes to mentally rip her apart, and her gay-ass jeans with the stupid flowers on them. Then I started thinking about other people I hate, especially those PIGS who flick their cigarettes out their car window, or worse, dump the whole freakin’ ashtray.

But I also hate those idiots ahead of me in line at the supermarket who end up buying only five things, which they had to put in a grocery cart, but now that the cashier has rung everything up, they decide, “Hey, it’s only five things—I don’t need a cart anymore. I’ll walk away like I never saw the f*cking thing even though I’ve been pushing it around for the past half hour. Yep, I’ll just leave it for that nice looking girl behind me to deal with.”

Well let me tell you how this nice looking girl deals with it: I give it a good shove so the cart bangs into the back of their ankle. Christmas or not.

That said, if you knew me in real life, you would think I’m really nice. Because I know you don’t like lazy or stupid or cigarette-flickin’ slobs, either. I know you don’t.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How to endear yourself to your co-workers: accidentally drop the F-bomb in a meeting

Yesterday at work I conducted a mini training session on how to overcome procrastination. I know--blind leading the blind, right? One of the tips I gave was to approach a task in chunks; tell yourself you'll work on something for just a half hour and then reward yourself so you associate the task with pleasure, not pain.

“For example,” I began, “to motivate myself to exercise, I say ‘I’m only gonna do it for 30 minutes and then I can reward myself with a beer.’”

I swear to God, that’s the crap I spout off at work. And they love me.

When I first started this job three years ago, I reported to a little Chinese guy who conducted weekly department meetings that were simply intolerable. Everyone sat at a giant conference table and each of us had to blah, blah, blah report on what we’d done since the previous meeting. At seven o’clock in the friggin’ morning, and as if anyone cared. I always had something inane to say, and most of the time I’d just make shit up, but one morning I was truly excited about a training session I'd held.

“It was great!” I gushed. “And this project was a big fuckin—“

Oops.

“That totally slipped!” I exclaimed, but everyone was laughing too hard to hear any excuses. I swear to God, I don’t know how many people came up to me during that day, high five-ing me and saying stuff like, “I love working with you!” I was like, “You gotta be kidding. I’m a total a-hole” but they would have no part of it—they thought I was the tits. Ha!

So I do these little mini trainings like "Overcoming Procrastination" and "Ten Steps to More Effective Meetings" on a monthly basis now. They’re light and fluffy, but they get people out of their cubicles and I’m pretty sure my co-workers come out of them with one or two decent takeaways.

I always put together a little handout and I try to find a cartoon or something funny to stick on it to keep the mood upbeat. This is what I put on yesterday's handout.


Oh, but if only I had the balls to insert this little gem. I have a feeling I'd be voted Employee of the Year.

If only I had the balls...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mark my words: Bastard Husband will never be a Cirque de Solei production

You know how sometimes you know you’re not going to like something and then you talk yourself into having an open mind and so you give it a try? Well, I’ve been living in Las Vegas for six and a half years and had yet to see any of the Cirque de Soleil shows because, for one, I think they’re too expensive and I’d rather spend my money on other stuff and two, I couldn’t imagine that I’d like that type of production.

A couple of weeks ago my dear friend Lisa Gioia-Acres called to tell me she got her hands on some tickets to see LOVE at the Mirage for only twenty-five bucks and wanted to know if I’d be interested in going with her. “Of course,” I told her. If there was one Cirque show I kind of wouldn’t mind seeing it was that one, plus I’d never pass up the chance to hang out with Lisa. And so last night was time to pop my Cirque cherry.

Well… in the cinematic classic What About Bob? (possibly the best movie ever made), the hero proclaims there are two types of people in life: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don’t. The same applies to Cirque de Soleil.

I think Neil Diamond wrote some pretty good songs, but as far as LOVE goes, the flamboyant movie reviewer in the old Living Colour TV show said it best: “Hated it!” The Beatles music was great and the sound was amazing, but enough of the jumping and prancing around! After about five minutes of that, I was like, yeah, I get it—now go sit down. I swear, I had my eyes closed three-quarters of the time because I couldn’t stand all the commotion. Honestly, I felt completely over-stimulated.

Lisa and I could not be more different—she’s an all-natural earth mother who finds nothing more relaxing than cuddling up with a couple of feral cats and, well, you know me. I’ve told you before I’m not an animal person and the only things I buy at Whole Foods are hair dye and beer. So of course, she thought the show was fantastic.

“Don’t you wonder how they do everything?” she gushed.

I responded with, “That’s what they do—they have a way of figuring that stuff out.” What a Cirque Scrooge, huh?

So I’m filing Cirque de Soleil under “What the rest of the world seems to love, but I can’t stand.” Yep, right there along with Julia Roberts, guacamole, and the Lord of the Rings crap.

And now they have an Elvis Cirque. Because you know you can't think of Elvis and not think of aerial acrobatics. God help us.

How about you? What makes you feel completely out of sync with the rest of the world?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last call: order Bastard Husband today to ensure delivery for Christmas!

Available on Amazon.com, Amazon.uk, and Amazon.ca. The “Look Inside the Book” feature is now functional on all three sites, so you can browse through a bit before you purchase. I ordered a book myself to test the process and it took just a few days to arrive. UK and Canada orders are going to take longer, though.

But… if you want a signed copy with free shipping (US only, sorry), you can place your order through the PayPal link at the top right corner of this page. It takes a good week for books to get to the east coast, so don’t delay if you want it to arrive before Christmas.

I am really having a blast with this book—I’ve already made back my upfront costs, so it’s all fun and games now. Almost every single day I hear from someone who says how much they liked it. Yay--I knew you would!

Thanks again to all of you who took the time to post reviews on Amazon—that really helps with sales and is very much appreciated!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Here I go nagging you again, but at least it’s not about buying my book (I’ll do that tomorrow)

Some of you may have seen my post on Facebook saying I wrote in half my Christmas cards, "Here's to a great 2009!" OMG, I’m an idiot. And of course I sealed them, so there was no turning back. Fortunately they’re all to friends who already know I’m an eh-hole (that’s Canadian for a-hole), so it’s not like anyone will suddenly be wondering if Linda’s losing it. Jesus H.

So I’ve been working on my one-woman show lately and last weekend it suddenly hit me that I am gonna be up there all by myself for over an hour! This is beginning to frighten the hell out of me, but in a good way. Putting this show together is a challenge that’s out of my comfort zone—and actually performing it is WAY out there—but it’s something I know I can do and will make every effort to do well.

I’ve written before that every once in a while you have to do something that scares the crap out of you. Once you do it, your comfort zone expands and you have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of pulling something off that, at one point, you weren’t sure you actually could.

Remember my birthday post when I asked you these questions?

What is your God-given talent? What do you do better than almost every person on earth? How can you share your talent with the rest of the world?
Back then I said you didn’t need answers at that moment, just start thinking in that direction. But now it’s getting closer to the beginning of a New Year (that would be 2010, right?) and it’s the perfect time to identify a goal that both encompasses what makes you wonderful in your unique way and is a little outside your comfort zone.

So what is it you’d like to accomplish? What will we be looking back at this time next year with a sense of pride?

You don't have to tell me right this minute, but you know I'll be asking again soon. If I can do it, so can you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bitch Linda clone’s day off, my 25-year-old BFF, and my excellent adventure at a 2005 comedy conference

Ahhh… Saturday! I have absolutely nothing on my calendar today and can do whatever the hell I want, which means that Bitch Linda clone is off the hook for today. (Better read Monday’s post or that’ll make no sense.) Yep, Bitch Linda clone was on duty all week from 7 – 4, though real Linda took over during lunch hours, and I had a couple of really fun lunches this past week. Yesterday Mike and I went to Panevino’s and split a marguerite pizza—yum!—and Wednesday I had a delish eggplant parmesan at Bootleggers with my 25-year-old co-worker and BFF, Joe.

Man, I love this kid! (I call him a kid because I’m an old bat—ha!) Joe is one of the funniest people I know—right up there with my sister Lori and my son, Christopher—and the two of us play off each other and laugh so hard, we can barely get out the next punchline.

Our lunch reminded me of a comedy conference I attended in Palm Springs back in 2005. One of the workshop instructors was sit-com writer Tracy Newman, whose sister Laraine Newman was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live. Tracy mentioned that older women have a hard time getting comedy writing gigs in Hollywood, and as a result, they often team up with young guys who have more street cred in that industry. I think of her words often when I’m yukkin’ it up with Joe, and mark my words, someday the two of us will work together on a creative endeavor that will make you pee your friggin’ pants.

I gotta tell you about that conference. My sister Lori and her husband, Russ, flew in to Vegas and the three of us drove down to Palm Springs. They explored the area while I attended the sessions during the day, and then we hooked back up for the nightly showcase.

Each comic attending the conference had two minutes to perform in front of everyone, including about 10 industry people from LA such as Tracy Newman, the guy who played Wanda Sykes' straight-man manager in the short-lived series Wanda Does It on Comedy Central, and "The Drake" from the Seinfeld episode, "Gotta love the Drake." We were all scored on a scale of 1 to 5 in five categories--originality, material, ability to connect with the audience, stage presence, and something else I can't think of--for a maximum of 25 points. The top three scores won cash prizes.

About the other comics… There was Barbara the transsexual who looked like he was dressed up as his Italian mother for Halloween, the poor guy with the eye patch who had developed Bell's palsy just days before the conference, a sweet guy named Michael who had a brain aneurism a few years ago and was still pretty all messed up, and (my favorite) Brian the dwarf who just got out of jail. Some comics didn't give themselves away until they opened their mouths, like the bipolar maniac and, God bless her, the woman with ass cancer who now has no anus. Think of the bar scene in Star Wars. Comedy conference or telethon? Where was the one-armed albino? At least everyone could laugh at themselves--very inspiring.

I did really well--my best set to date. My scores ranged from a perfect 25 (from Wanda's sidekick) to a 15, which was the highest score that particular judge gave out to anyone, so that was okay. May I brag about the written comments? "She's great!" "Adorable on stage!" "Beautiful routine!" "Lots of potential!" "Good comedic personality!" "Great job!" "Fun material!" Alright, I added some of the exclamation points, but still--very encouraging. (You know me—so full of myself.)

I didn't score high enough to get in the money, but judging from the other scores that were compiled in a book we could review, I'd say I was certainly in the top 10 (out of over 100 comics), so I was pretty happy--especially since at that point I’d been performing for less than a year. Brian the little person came in third place. He turned out to be a really nice guy, and I felt bad when during one of the pre-showcase receptions, Russ, out of the corner of his eye, thought Brian was a trash can and almost threw out his empty beer cup on him.

All in all, some of the workshops were very informative, some not so much, but it was a great experience, I met a lot of wonderful people, and I did come away with some strategies to strengthen my act. Good times!

So anyway, as Joe and I were leaving Bootleggers, he pulled out a camera and took this picture, which I thought was really sweet because how many 25-year-olds want to have lunch with a granny and then document the experience for posterity?


Doesn’t he remind you of Jerry Seinfeld? And you know what else? He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I love this kid.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One man’s pizza in the road is another’s Starbucks in the parking lot

You know my father was a bus driver, right? He wasn’t just any bus driver; he was the mother of all bus drivers. Like if you looked up “bus driver” in the dictionary, you’d see his picture.

And that’s not the only place you’d see his picture. He was also a male model. Well, not really—we just called him that after he was selected to be part of the Capital District Transit Authority’s promotional campaign because, well, if anyone looked like a bus driver, he did. Yep, there he was, smiling on billboards plastered all over the Albany area.

When he died back in 1999, my sister Lori had one of the old billboards in her garage and we thought it would be cool to display it at his wake. It was pretty funny (and comforting) to watch people enter the viewing room at the funeral home and then start cracking up.


I mean, wouldn’t you?

When Lori and I were up in Idaho last month, we reminisced about the story he loved to tell about the wintry night he drove an empty bus up Madison Avenue on his way back to the garage.

I’m coming up the hill, and there… there in the road I see a pizza box. A nice, hot pizza… I could even see the steam. My mouth is watering, so I pull the bus over and get out, thinking, ‘Ooooh, this’ll be good’ and next thing I know a car comes along and runs the goddamn thing over!”
He could tell that story a million times and we’d howl with each rendition, exchanging glances that said, “Can you believe Daddy would eat a pizza lying in the road?”

Last Sunday would have been my father's 76th birthday, so I’ve been thinking about him a little more lately. Sunday was a windy, blustery day here in Las Vegas, so I had myself a “shower holiday” in his honor and spent a quiet day at home hanging out in my sweats. Monday was back to business as usual, and on my way home from work I stopped at Albertson’s to get some groceries.

And there… there in the parking lot I see a Starbucks cup. A nice cafĂ© mocha… with the lid still on and a straw right there next to it.


No, I didn’t see it get run over, and I didn’t pick it up and drink it. I just smiled to myself and thought of the nutcase that was my father.

We miss you, Dad, and hope you’re having some laughs up there with Beautiful Aunt Joyce.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tonight's guest on Aging Nymphs: Tarot card master Prudence Theriault

Have you always wanted to have a psychic reading, but never got up the nerve? How do you know when a psychic really has “the gift” or is ripping you off like the tarot reader who conned me in New Orleans? Is it all a bunch of crap?

Tonight on Aging Nymphs, our guest, Prudence Theriault, Certified Tarot Master/Instructor, answers your questions about tarot, psychic phenomena, and the afterlife, and tells us what’s in store for the New Year. Time is 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific.

To listen in

1) Go to www.blogtalkradio.com/agingnymphs and click the show title, or

2) If you're not near a computer, call (347)215-9937. If you want to join the conversation, press 1. Otherwise you can just listen to the broadcast on your cell phone.

This is guaranteed to be an interesting show!

UPDATE: This was, in fact, very interesting--Prudence was a great guest. You can listen to the archives of this and any past show at any time by linking the Blog Talk Radio links on the right sidebar.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reviewing our psychic predictions for 2009. Um, we’re not psychic.

Last January my sister Lori and I made the following psychic predictions for 2009 on our Aging Nymphs radio show. As you can see, um, we’re not exactly gifted in that way. (Although the year isn’t over yet!)

Lori's predictions:

1. Pluto will once again become a planet. Not yet.

2. Jack Klugman will remain healthy. (Note: I didn't think he was still alive, but I guess Jack Klugman is the new Abe Vigoda.) Well, I don’t know if he’s healthy, but he’s still alive.

3. A famous person will come out of the closet--possibly Condoleeza Rice, maybe Oprah (to be like Ellen, not Rosie). Does Meredith Baxter-Birney count?

4. Fidel Castro will die in a boating accident on his way to Miami. Not yet.

5. A law passes mandating death row prisoners to donate their bodies to science. Not yet.

6. Oprah will become the next Jenny Craig spokeswoman. Not yet.

7. This will be a great year for Will Smith. Well, it’s a better year for Will Smith than, say Patrick Swayze, but would you call it great?

8. Something spectacular will happen in the music world, like another Woodstock-type concert or maybe a No Nukes reunion!! (OMG, can you imagine?) Hmmm… I might give her this. That Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert they’re showing on HBO might just qualify.

9. Letterman's ratings will go way up. Conan will be no competition for him. YEP! Letterman’s ratings soared after his sex scandal.

Okay, here are mine. You have to appreciate the high degree of specificity, even if only one came true.

1. By the end of September, the Dow will have had 10 consecutive days above 10,000, but will lose more than 30 percent of its value during October. The Dow didn’t sink in October, but it has stayed above 10,000 since November 5. Keep in mind that when I made this prediction on January 8, the Dow closed at 8742.62. Give me partial credit, huh?

2. Ted Kennedy will die within 5 days of May 29, JFK’s birthday. D’oh! Ted Kennedy died on August 25.

3. So will Loretta Lynn. D’oh! (But good for Loretta)

4. Regis Philbin will have health problems in mid-July and will be replaced indefinitely on the Live program. D’oh! (But good for Regis)

5. Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer will break up for good at the end of February (he'll stick around for her 40th birthday on February 11) and she will not be seriously associated with another man for the remainder of the year. CLOSE! Rumors about their break-up started circulating on March 11.

6. Clint Eastwood will edge out Philip Seymour Hoffman for Best Actor and he’ll be present at the Oscars to accept. WAY off! Clint Eastwood wasn’t even nominated for Best Actor this year.

7. Dolly Parton will finally come out of the closet in April. (Isn't this amazing that Lori and I separately predicted a female celebrity to come out?!) Nope.

Okay, so we’re not psychic, but tomorrow (Wednesday) night, Lori and I have a guest on our Aging Nymphs show who really is psychic. My favorite tarot card reader, Prudence Theriault, Certified Tarot Master, is going to be joining us and will take your calls. So if you’ve ever wanted to speak to a psychic without incurring the 900 number fees, now’s your chance!

To listen or join the conversation, simply go to our Blog Talk Radio website at 7:00 Pacific/10:00 Eastern and click on the show’s title. Call the number on the screen to join the conversation, or you can listen to the show archives anytime by clicking a link on the right sidebar of this site.

This is guaranteed to be an interesting show, so don’t forget!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy friggin’ Monday

I know, I don’t usually post today, but I had this thought that’s perfect for a Monday.

Did you happen to see the Family Guy episode a couple of weeks ago where Stewie cloned himself and created a “Bitch Stewie” who did all the stuff that real Stewie didn’t want to do himself? At first I thought it was a brilliant idea and I’d give anything to create a “Bitch Linda” who could sit in my depressing gray cubicle writing stupid shit all day and do my grocery shopping and pump my friggin’ gas… and then I thought, yikes, Bitch Linda would be probably be taking over 80 percent of my life--there’s precious little I’d willingly be doing myself that I wouldn’t gladly farm out.

Jesus H, is that a depressing thought or what?

How about you? Would Bitch Clone be going through the motions of most of your waking hours, too?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tarot cards, airplane friends, Facebook and how they’re all tied together…

A couple of weeks ago I told you about how I occasionally use psychics, especially during those times of life when I can’t see the forest from the trees and I need some outside perspective. Some of you said that you, too, believe in that stuff, and others said no way-- psychics are nothing but con artists. I agree that yes, some are, but not all.

Let me tell you a little story about my last day in New Orleans after JazzFest 2008. (I’m writing this quickly, so forgive me—it’s not the best sample of my literary abilities.) The partying members of my family had already departed for Albany, and I had a later flight back to Vegas, so I had a few hours to kill by myself in the French Quarter. One of the tarot card readers sitting in Jackson Square called me over for a reading. I resisted, since I have my own psychics I call on when I need them.

Well, if you’ve ever been to New Orleans, you know how aggressive the street performers and vendors can be. “I’m the best reader here,” he said. “I guarantee this will be the best reading you’ve ever had.”

Nope. Not interested.

And then as I walked away, he called after me, “You’ve been married twice, and that second one was a real doozie, wasn’t he?”

Okay, you have my attention. I sat down, give him $30 and waited for other brilliant cosmic insights. Some things he said were pretty right-on, though just about anyone who assesses my style of clothing and jewelry can figure out I’m a “creative type.” He offered some encouraging predictions—my book would do well, my kids would collaborate on a musical project, etc. Overall, I thought it was an okay reading.

During my time in New Orleans, I’d been worrying a bit about Bastard Husband. I hadn’t heard from him in about three weeks, which was very unusual. So I had one last question before our session was over.

“Is my ex-husband still alive?”

“No,” he said, matter-of-factly.

“What?” I nearly jumped out of my seat. “He’s dead?”

The guy seemed genuinely sorry. And surprised at my reaction. “I thought you knew,” he said.

Gulp. “Are you sure?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah. He’s dead. Dead, dead, dead." He shook his head as he spoke. "He had a heart attack.”

If you read my book, you know that BH’s father dropped dead of a heart attack at 52, and fretting over BH’s health was somewhat a morbid hobby for me. I started to freak.

“When did this happen?” I was hoping to trick him; if he said he’s been dead for two months, I knew it couldn’t be true, since I’d heard from him more recently than that.

“Just within the past six weeks,” was his reply. “I thought you knew.” He casually looked away and then back at me. “Yeah, he’s dead. Dead, dead, dead.” The certainty of his words spooked me.

OMG, he’s dead. I knew this day would come, but I didn’t expect it today. Goddammit. I spent my remaining time in New Orleans shuffling somberly around the French Quarter until it was time to catch a cab to the airport.

I was still on the verge of tears when this adorable young girl in her 20s sat next to me in the middle seat on the plane. Her name was Tobi, and before takeoff, she confided she had a nearly crippling fear of flying. Her husband sat in the aisle across from us; but as I recall, she didn’t want to sit next to him because she was afraid her anxiety would drive him nuts. I told her not to worry; flying is the safest form of transportation and the most dangerous part of a trip is the ride to the airport. We laughed about the irony of my having no problem sitting in a chair 30,000 feet in the sky, yet I become a mental patient at the sight of a pigeon.

Having broken the conversational dam, I told her all about the tarot guy in Jackson Square and my life with BH. “Isn’t it weird that years ago, a tarot card reader told me I would meet him, and now another reader tells me of his death?” I asked.

I told her about the time I thought I smelled smoke in my apartment, but couldn’t find the source. I sniffed all over the place, and even felt warmth on my right arm. A little while later, I received an email saying he'd been sending me “fire energy.” Got it! There were a lot of cosmic incidents with BH, and I was sure this tarot reading was another one.

I went on and on, and I’m sure that poor kid had the longest friggin’ flight of her life—she probably wished the plane would, in fact, go down just to escape my yakkity yakking about the demise of BH. God bless her, she was polite as hell, and before we deplaned, she gave me her email address so I could update her on the situation.

Well, I checked my email the second I got home from the airport, and sure enough, there was a short message from BH. Nothing important or coincidental, but he was definitely alive. That stupid tarot reader got me all freaked out for nothing!

I emailed Tobi and we had a good cyberlaugh together and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. Facebook has solidified our friendship. I’ve told her she has an open invitation to stay with me here in Vegas (provided she can get on the plane) and no doubt we’ll connect when I’m in New Orleans for a future JazzFest. I wouldn’t be surprised if we keep track of each other for a long, long time.

And through Facebook, I’m also in constant contact with Prudence, the tarot reader in Albany who I call on for insights when I need them. I love her readings! And mark your calendar—Prudence will be a guest on my Aging Nymphs show this coming Wednesday night at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. More details on that to come!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mental talk and then some cute pictures (I think so anyway)

I have some pictures I want to show you, but first, remember last week when I wrote about what if you could kill somebody and get away with it? Well, I totally would have used my Get Out of Jail Free card on the guy sitting next to me on the plane coming back to Vegas on Tuesday night. I had a brief layover in Chicago, and it was the Chicago-to-Vegas leg of the trip where I thought I might go postal, and of course, it had to be a packed flight.

You know me--I'm easily annoyed, right? Well, this big guy had to plop himself in the middle seat next to me and not 10 seconds later he starts snoring. What's worse, he must have had some kind of respiratory problem because I am not kidding, for three f*cking hours I had to listen to the sound of snot gurgling through his sinus cavity. Between him and the bratty asshole A.D.D. kid in the row across from me, I thought I would lose my freakin' mind.

Deep sigh...

So now that I got that out, I will transition from Bitch Woman to Annoying Granny but who cares because look at this adorable picture of my angelic grandson, Connor.


OMG, I could eat him up! We had some excellent bonding time this trip--he had fun helping me figure out the goddamn electronic controls of the Toyota Prius I rented and one night I turned him on to the cinematic masterpiece, What About Bob?

Here's what my pregnant daughter is looking like these days.


She's gained only 12 pounds so far (due in mid-April), and is skinny to begin with. Courtney's lookin' good, huh?

Here's my son Christopher and his girlfriend, Ketti. They are so adorable together.


Christopher's a wiseass, huh? He's just goofing around; in real life he's very sweet.

All those pictures were taken Saturday night at Lori's 50th party, which was very fun. Then Sunday night I had my book release party. I had a great turnout, but I got my hair cut the day before and wouldn't you know, it was like I was back in elementary school when my mother would cut my bangs the night before picture day and every school photo looked like this. (My kindergarten picture--don't I look like Connor?)

So here I am at age 52 and I still have gay-ass bangs.


Anyway, I had a really nice trip and it wasn't hard saying good-bye to everyone because I'll be going back on Christmas Eve. That'll be a long visit, too--until New Year's Day. In the meantime, I'm happy to be in the Vegas sunshine.

Thanks for bearing with me. I am pretty mental, huh?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back to Vegas tonight, but at least I made it here

I'm having such a great time in Albany! I'd say I hate to leave today, but I do miss the sunshine and I'll be back in another couple of weeks, anyway.

I almost didn't make it here. As I told you in Saturday's post, Mike got me to the airport on Thanksgiving morning with plenty of time to spare. And by "time to spare," I mean time to make new friends in my favorite bar in boarding area C, which is exactly what I did.


That's Mattie and Chad. They were a blast! I met Mattie first; she sat on the barstool next to me. She came from Texas and was on her way to Reno, and we instantly bonded when I gave her a knowing look after overhearing her say that after a weekend with her family, she'd be ready for detox. Then Chad came along and it was officially became a party. Chad was also on a layover from Texas, on his way to Park City to spend Thanksgiving weekend skiing with friends.

I can honestly say that Chad is the first guy I've ever met who's a "hail chaser," meaning he fixes hail damage on people's cars after they've been pummeled by little rocks of ice. He works for three months at a time in exciting parts of the country that get massive amounts of hail, areas like Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Roswell, New Mexico. (Yes, he has been to the UFO museum--I asked.) And then--and this is the best part--every year he gets three months off during "no hail" season. Sounds good to me!

Anyway, the three of us had the best time chatting away, and if we all weren't intent on getting to our destinations, we could have stayed there forever. I pictured us making an independent film, "Lost Weekend in McCarran," where we eat and drink at the bar and wash our hair in the bathroom sink, all the while revealing to each other our deepest, darkest secrets. I think I'm onto something with that.

Anyway, Chad was the first to leave for his gate, and I dutifully watched the clock and said good-bye to Mattie a full half hour before my 2:00 departure. But then I looked at the Departures board and saw my flight was delayed until 2:15. Excellent--I had time for one last pee and also had time to go back for a second celebrity rag. At 1:50 (a full 25 minutes before my flight), I headed to my gate, figuring I'd get in line with the rest of the passengers with "A" seat tickets. But as I approached the C-11 boarding area, I saw it was... empty.

Freaking out a bit, I started running toward the ticket woman, who asked, "Are you Linda? We've been waiting for you."

I was like, "WHAT? The sign said we were delayed until 2:15" and she was like, "Oh, yeah, the departure boards have been wrong today" and I wanted to say, "You gotta be f*cking kidding me," but I was so grateful that she took my ticket and let me on the plane because if she said some bullshit like, "Sorry, we can't let anyone board 10 minutes before the flight" I would have gone friggin' ballistic.

So yeah, even though I got a coveted A seat the night before and arrived at the airport 2 hours early, I was still the last person on the goddamn plane. And the best part is, because it was Thanksgiving Day, the plane was less than half full and I had the whole row to myself, which I love. They also gave out free drinks, so I sipped my Bailey's on ice and once again toasted the perfection of the universe.

As you saw in Saturday's post, Lori and Connor picked me up at the airport and I've been having a fantastic time here. Saturday night was Lori's 50th birthday party, and Sunday was my Albany book launch for Bastard Husband. I'll write up the details and post some pictures on Thursday. But today is actually the big day for my sister. It's hard to believe she's 50!


Happy Birthday, Lori!

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Cyber Monday

Remember, Bastard Husband: A Love Story makes a great present for anyone on your list who's going through a divorce or other turning point in life. Or anyone who just needs a laugh. Available on Amazon, Amazon in Canada and the UK, or get free shipping and a signed copy right here through PayPal on this site.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Short post, but I have lots to report when I have more time

I am busy as hell here in Albany and don't have time to write a proper post today, but I'll just say that even though Mike got me to the airport a full two hours before my flight because he knows I'm neurotic about running late, nonetheless I was the last person to board my flight to Albany. Yes, the whole plane was waiting for me. Yes, as a matter of fact I did meet some new friends in the bar, but no, that's not why I was almost missed my friggin' flight. Details soon.

Fortunately, I did get on my flight all right, and even with my eleventh-hour boarding, the plane was so empty I still had the entire row to myself. My sister Lori was there at the Albany airport eagerly awaiting my arrival, and so was my favorite little boy on earth.


Man, I am so not photogenic. (What's with the goofy mouth?) But look how big Connor is--I can't believe I have a grandson who's just a couple of inches shorter than I am!

More to come... Tonight' is Lori's 50th birthday party and tomorrow is my Albany book release event. Busy, busy. Hope you're enjoying your weekend as much as I am!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Yes, yes, of course I’m thankful

Thanksgiving... again? If you really want to hear my take on the holiday, just read last year’s post. Nothing’s changed since then.

So today I’m catching a 2 p.m. flight to Albany, which is awesome because I’m totally going to miss Thanksgiving dinner. (You know me and food.) I haven’t been to Albany since Courtney’s wedding party in June, and I cannot wait to see my kids and get my hands on my precious grandson, Connor. I can tell from Court’s Facebook photos that’s he’s really getting big and older looking. (I’d kick his ass if he said that about me.)

I have a direct flight on Southwest and I’m A-59, which means I’m guaranteed to get one of my favorite seats in the back next to the window. You know me about being so goddamn neurotic about getting to the airport with a friggin’ hour to spare (remember this post?); let’s hope I’m on more on the ball than I was last time I flew to Boise. Yep, I made some friends in the airport bar and, well, time kinda got away from me and even though I was an A-28, I ended up being one of the last people to board. Tsk-tsk, Linda.

I’m taking Monday and Tuesday off from work (thank you, Baby Jesus) so I’ll have a nice long time to visit. Lori’s having a 50th birthday bash on Saturday and the next night is my Albany book release party. (5 p.m. at Tess’ Lark Tavern on Madison Avenue) It will be very similar to the book launch event I had here in Vegas with a reading and whatever other b.s. I come up with. I hope it goes just as well! One of my friends is going to film it and I’ll ask him to put the video in a format that will allow me to load snippets onto YouTube. I’m praying for a decent hair day on Sunday, but you know, there’s only so much even Baby Jesus can do.

I’ll still be posting on my regular schedule and will have lots of pictures to show you. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and to my friends around the world who don’t celebrate the holiday—just have a great freakin’ day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

If someone could get away with murder, would you still be alive?

When I lived in Wyoming (2001 – 2002), I got to know a lot of people, but I deliberately didn’t make too many good friends. My ex had a one-year visiting professor gig and because our time there was limited, I didn’t want to start friendships only to have to move on. But I couldn’t resist one of my yoga students, Marguerite. She was so nice and so much fun! Last year for my birthday she made me fridge magnets out of bottle caps with Beverly d’Angelo’s picture on them--that’s how good a friend she is! They’re in my cube at work or I’d post a picture. I will some other time.

Anyway, Marguerite once said that everyone should be able to kill one person in the course of their lives with absolutely no ensuing consequences. That's right, you get a pass for one murder.

Wow. Imagine how nice people would be? You’d be afraid to piss someone off in case they haven’t killed anyone yet. Be careful with the road rage—you never know. Cheating spouses? Both parties would be crazy! And the woman who used to cut her fingernails in the cubicle next to me? I can’t say for sure she’d live to see her year-end performance appraisal.*

So here are a couple of questions:

Given this scenario, would there still be a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card in your wallet, or would that have been cashed in long ago? Who would you have used it on?

Is there anyone on your hit list right this minute?

Do you think someone might have offed you by now if they could get away with it?

* I'm kidding--I would probably save my One Free Murder ticket for a serial rapist/ax murderer chasing me. Or for someone who asks, "Are you gaining weight?" Or anyone who gives my book a bad review.

Hmmm….

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bastard Husband is now in Canada, the UK and Europe, too!


Yep, BH is now available on Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk. I have a lot of Canadian readers, so that’s good news, eh? (They know I freakin’ love Canadians; I’m just being an eh-hole.)

Unfortunately, all the great reviews that are on the American Amazon site don’t transfer over—dammit! And reviews definitely sell books—I heard from a woman on a memoir forum who said she bought my book because of the reviews, and the fact that some were written by men.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to write something up!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

So. easily. annoyed. even when I'm having fun

I don’t think I ever told you, but I’m a tribute band freak. My friend Donna shares my guilty pleasure; together we’ve seen tribute acts for U2, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, and there are more I can’t think of right now but they were all great fun. Except one--a band called Lez Zeppelin. We should have known.

So last night I met Donna and her husband, Joey, up at The Cannery, a hotel/casino on the north end of town to see a band perform Led Zeppelin IV in its entirely. The room at the Cannery is pretty decent—nothing special, though—and last night they set it up with rows and rows of chairs all facing the stage. Well, just as Donna and I finished our conversation about how, as we’re getting older, every goddamn thing seems to bug us and we get annoyed by the stupidest shit, two big guys sat right in front of us. [Eyes rolling.] One guy’s head was obstructing my view of the stage and the guy in front of Donna had a string of lint on the back of his shirt that she soooo wanted to pick off.

Anyway, the band came on stage and immediately made it clear that they’re not a tribute act, which was a huge disappointment because it’s much more fun when the band is decked out like their idols. They opened with a promise to get to the album we came there to hear after a few classic rock songs and within seconds I felt like I was watching your typical bar band. Fortunately, a woman in the row across from us provided some entertainment, dancing all sexy-like in her micro-mini sweater dress and reminding me of the line in a Leonard Cohen song that goes, “She’s a hundred, but she’s wearing something tight.”

The lead singer increasingly annoyed the hell out of me; in his stupid golf cap and preppie clothes, he reminded me of a spoiled suburban kid whose parents still pay for his car insurance even though he’s 32 years old. When he introduced a Soundgarden song with, “You older people probably don’t know this one,” Donna and looked around at the age 50+ crowd and wondered who the hell did he think was gonna turn out to hear Led Zeppelin IV? What a douche. (I never used to say that word, but I do now because Stewie on Family Guy made it cool.)

Anyway, the night turned out fine. The dancing Monet (do you get that reference?) moved to the bar area, so the people sitting in back of her didn’t have to shoot her. I was able to position myself so Giant Head Guy in front of me perfectly blocked my view of Douche Boy. (And to think I was pissed when he sat down—see, everything really does happen for a reason!) For the rest of the show I focused on the guitar player, who looked like he could be Keith Richards’ grandson, which, if you ask me, is how young rock-n-rollers should look if they’re gonna cover Led Zeppelin.

And yes, the band did get around to playing Led Zeppelin IV but perhaps most importantly, after her third beer, Donna found the courage to surreptitiously pick the lint off the shirt in front of her.

Good times!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do you believe in psychics?

Hey, if you missed last night’s Aging Nymphs internet radio show, you can always listen to the archives by clicking the link on the right sidebar of this page or you can go to www.blogtalkradio.com/agingnymphs.

We had a fun show--duh, I love talking about my book--and Prudence, my tarot card reader, also called in. I don’t talk much about psychics in this blog, but I’ve used them regularly for the past 15 years or so. I had my first reading with Prudence back in February 2000 when I was still living in Albany. At the time, I was going out with a guy I called “Mike Peterson” in my book, a Grateful Dead lover 12 years younger than me. (Yeah, that’s when I had two kids and a boyfriend all in their 20s.)

Among other things, Prudence saw that relationship ending and another strong romance starting “in 3-6 months, one with greater intensity than I’d ever experienced before.” (I save all my notes.) Then she pulled a card that indicated a marriage proposal and I thought, “You gotta be kidding.” Marriage was the last thing I could ever imagine. She also said I’d be moving to someplace warm and dry. Another thing that wasn't on the radar screen or even a twinkle in my eye at the time.

Three months later, to the day, I met BH and by the end of the year we were married. Needless to say, it doesn’t get any warmer or dryer than Las Vegas. And the date of my reading was BH’s birthday.

That was the only reading I’d had with Prudence until November 2008, when I called her out of the blue (she does phone readings, as well as in person). I’d used the services of other psychics over the years—and was happy with almost all of them—but for some reason I felt it was time to reconnect with Prudence. I’m happy I did. And oh, man… did she predict Mike coming into my life to a T.

I know that some (most?) people don’t understand psychics and think they’re a waste of money. I’ve always liked that stuff and won’t even engage in an argument. I don’t feel the need to defend them; I’ve said a million times that you can’t tell anyone anything and I’m not about to waste any time trying. For me, psychics can be more helpful and certainly cheaper than psychotherapy and I get what I need out of them, and that’s all that counts.

I usually call on a psychic when I need some direction, but can’t see the forest from the trees on my own. How about you? Do you ever consult psychics? Do you feel that you’re psychic yourself?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bastard Husband... any questions?

What does BH think about the book? Whatever happened with Perry? Will there be a sequel?

How do you go about writing a memoir? What does it take to get a book published?

I'll answer all questions when Aging Nymphs internet radio show returns tonight at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific. To listen live, go to the Aging Nymphs Blog Talk Radio show page and click on the show title. Call in with your questions, leave them here as a comment, or email me at linda@bastardhusband.com. And remember, you can listen to the archives anytime!

And hey--my sincere thanks to those of you who posted reviews for BHALS on Amazon.com. Thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Partyin' it up, Boise style

Well, I had another fun weekend in Idaho and we were so busy this visit, we didn’t even have a chance to break out the Scrabble Deluxe.

My sister Lori flew in from Albany earlier in the week and since Wednesday was Stepdaddy’s 74th birthday, they decided to have a bash for him on Saturday night. I know that partying in Boise with a bunch of senior citizens may not sound like fun, but these are cool folks. You can tell by the wine bottle, right?


This lady’s name is Donna and she used to own a biker bar in Pocatello.


She told us about when the Hells Angels came to town and how she 86ed a biker who later rode right through the front door and into her bar to ask her how long he was banned. She got in his face and said, “Forever!” and then he rode right back out. I think she could have kicked his ass.

Here’s Mom and her girlfriends. I love these gals and not just because they told me they liked my book.


Mom moved to Idaho from Albany about five and a half years ago—about a year after I moved to Vegas. Like me, she’s found that people out West are friendly as hell. How’s that for a generalization? But it’s a good one.

(Can you freakin’ believe you’re reading a blog post about a septuagenarian’s birthday party?)

Lori is a nut when it comes to cooking and they had enough food to feed the whole local AARP chapter. Here she is with Mom.


The music was excellent—my son-in-law’s band, Red Haired Strangers, just released a new juke joint/honky-tonk/bluegrass CD which played throughout the night. But the best part was that Lori and I got to meet our stepsister, Cindy. Here she is with her husband, Traig, their awesome son, Cale, and Stepdaddy. Isn't she adorable?


They live up in Manhattan, Montana, and when I heard them talking about other family members—Brea, Paisley, Sackett, and Gage—I thought who the hell named you people, Sarah Palin? They were so nice, and it really was a thrill to finally meet them.

But hey, it wasn't all party-party. Lori, Stepdaddy and I managed to get in some exercise. That morning, the three of us took a walk around the 'hood. It was like 32 degrees, but nice and sunny. We came across this house for sale on our walk.


Wait, what's the name of the Realtor?


BAH-ha-ha-ha! You're never too old to laugh at a name like that, are you?

Monday, November 16, 2009

If you have some free time today...

Bastard Husband: A Love Story is now available on Amazon.com. If you've read the book and want to kill some time at work today, please do me a favor and submit a short review (a sentence or two is fine) here. Reviews help greatly with sales and are very much appreciated!

If you want to save shipping costs and receive a signed copy, you can always order BH right from this site. You can also get it through your local bookstores, but you'll have to order it--it won't be carried in stock.

Happy freakin' Monday...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Aural pleasure

Doesn't that sound sexy? I'm talking about Leonard Cohen. He performed here in Las Vegas on Thursday night at the Coliseum in Caesar’s Palace and of course I had to go.

You might remember this post from when Mike and I saw him in Phoenix back in April. Mike was unable to go this time, but you know me, I don’t mind doing things by myself and there was no freakin’ way I was going to miss Leonard.

I’d never been to the Coliseum; as I expected, it’s a beautiful venue. I bought my ticket, got myself a t-shirt and beer and settled into my seat about 20 minutes before show time. The lady who sat next to me, Rita, was super nice. She’s from Israel, but has been living in Encino for the past 15 years. We had a great chat and of course I had to show her my book because that’s just what anyone who crosses my path these days has to endure.

Then about a minute before show time, two guys made their way into our row and I swear, the one who sat himself next to me looked exactly like George Clooney except he was a little bigger, a little younger, and about 10 times better looking. Yeah. And he was really friendly. Rita and I exchanged knowing glances and as the lights went down, I leaned over to her and whispered, “God loves me.”

The show in Phoenix was fantastic and Thursday night’s was just as enchanting. (That’s a pretty gay word that I don’t usually use, but in this case it really fits.) I’d say the two performances were about 80 percent the same—both were perfection. I’m so glad I didn’t miss that show.

I know there are a lot of you—both women and men—who wouldn’t feel comfortable going to concerts by yourself, or soloing on the town as I do. I wish I could convince you to give it a try. You'll never have as good a time sitting at home as you would sitting next to people like Rita and George.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Somewhere there’s a psychologist working on a research project yelling, “JACKPOT!”

So how about me posting almost every day this week? Who loves ya—huh?

Hey, I was reading Tuesday’s post and then I thought, I wonder if my friend Kathy is pissed that I told the world she’s overweight? I didn’t mean like, holy shit overweight, just overweight like everyone else on earth. You know what I meant, right? Well, if she had a blog and wrote “Happy Birthday, Linda” and then told everyone I have crappy hair, I’d be like yeah, no kidding.

I hope she’s not pissed because she really is one of my best friends. Man, it must suck to be in my social/family/work circle. You never know what I’m gonna say, and maybe about you. But if you knew me in real life, you would freakin’ love me. I bet you would.

Anyway, I’m heading to Idaho again this weekend. My sister Lori is there and Mom is having a party on Saturday for Stepdaddy, who along with Kathy, celebrated his birthday yesterday. Stepdaddy, like Kathy, is freakin’ awesome. Whenever he and Mom pick me up at the airport, he gives me a big hug and even lifts me off the ground. Sometimes if we’re just standing around, he’ll hug me for no reason.

This is very different; the other day I was thinking, man, if my real father (who died in 1999) ever hugged us for no reason, we’d be like what the hell? I mean, we all knew he loved us and all—he would take the ends of the loaves of bread and leave the good slices for us, and he always made sure there was ice cream in the house—but he was definitely more the “Jesus Christ who spilled the goddamn gravy” kind of father. Which is totally different from the hugging for no reason kind, if you know what I mean.

Ha—I remember when my little sister first heard of the concept of incest. I think she was about 12 or so. I remember her saying, “Well, that’s nothing we have to worry about,” like how lucky is that?

Whew!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day!

Last year at this time, I had just a few readers, so odds are you haven't seen this post about my favorite vet. It's adapted from my book, so if you've read it, you already know about Paul.

Happy Veterans Day and thanks to all who have served and currently serve our country.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When you’re laughing your ass off, nobody cares how big it is

One of my dearest friends turns 51 tomorrow. I met Kathy in 1976 during her freshman year (my sophomore year) when we were students at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and since then we’ve had a million beers and as many laughs together. You know how some people get after they get married, have kids, and work a professional-level job--all boring and grown up? Not Kathy. She’s a friggin’ blast.

Over the years, we’ve taken countless “girls’ trips” to places like Lake Placid, Montreal, Newport, Burlington, New Orleans, Las Vegas, to name a few. On our last trip we spent a fabulous weekend in Sedona with our fellow Plattsburgh friend, Maggie.


One of my all-time favorite things to do is to drink beer and shoot pool with Kathy in a dive bar with a great classic rock band, and that’s exactly what we did when we raised hell in the biker bar last year at the Connor Hotel in Jerome, AZ. I can picture her now, grinning broadly with her eyes closed, playing air drums (not air guitar like most people). Goddamn! Just having that image in my mind makes me so very happy! We had so much fun, laughing our asses off. You know how sometimes you have those “life-gasmic” moments when you could simply burst with joy?

Kathy is so freakin' awesome and she's the most loyal friend on earth. But oh, I didn’t tell you... Kathy is overweight. I'm sure that's what the charts would say.

But it doesn’t matter.

I'll say it again: it doesn’t f*cking matter. The whole goddamn universe is overweight. My mother, my sisters, three-quarters of my BFFs... So what?

When you’re laughing your ass off, nobody cares how big it is.

One of my favorite friends at work has lost 80 pounds over the past year. I’m thrilled that no doubt she’s at a healthier weight and she must be enjoying quite a boost to her self-esteem, but seriously, I can’t say her sarcasm is more entertaining or her smile more endearing since the weight’s been off. Everything I adore about her now was there a year ago, too; she hasn’t suddenly become a more worthwhile or valuable person.

I’m telling myself this as much as I’m telling you. I'm not even overweight and I bitch about it. And God knows I’ve wasted half my life fretting over my fine, thin, shitty hair. But seriously, do you think any of my beloved friends loves me an iota less because of it? It’s a pretty safe bet that no one at my wake is going to say, “Linda would have been so much more awesome if it weren’t for that crap on her head.”

Let’s stop this, huh? Let’s stop being so hard on ourselves; let’s not treat every goddamn imperfection like it’s the end of the world. Nobody cares. It doesn’t matter.

Although Jesus H, can you imagine if I actually had beautiful, long hair? Can you imagine how full of myself I’d be then?

And BTW, Kathy has gorgeous thick hair.

Happy Birthday, Katter!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I used to think I was a female Larry David, but now I think I'm a female Ricky Gervais. Either way, I'm being awfully complimentary to myself...

... but that's nothing new.

Did you happen to see Ricky Gervais on Letterman last Friday night? He was talking about how the older he gets, the more he's annoyed by everything and I was like, "YES!"

He said, for example, he gets annoyed when he's in an empty restaurant and the waitress sits people right next to him and he has to listen to them chew, and how every other little noise drives him insane (short trip), but the best was when he talked about his intolerance for people who are late. He said something like, "I'm always 20 minutes early, so when someone shows up 10 minutes late, they've kept me waiting for half an hour."

[Picture me sitting on my couch with the stains from my kids' beer parties shouting "Amen, brother!" like a black person in church. (How's that for a stereotype?)]

And then he said something like, "I just can't imagine why people wouldn't want to rush to see me," at which point I turned into an octogenarian in an assisted living home and yelled, "BINGO!"

So maybe the perfect man does exist for me. Yeah, he's a short, pudgy, pasty little guy who obviously dyes his hair and has fang teeth... but he does have a killer sense of humor and an English accent. And as you know, I can overlook a lot for that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bastard Husband newsflash and the crap on Facebook (literally)

GREAT NEWS! Thursday night I met with Joe Lowers, my comic friend who runs the showroom at Alexis Park, where I had my book launch party. He’s encouraged me to create a one-woman show around my book and he wants to produce it. We’re looking at opening mid-January.

A one-woman show has been in the back of my mind for a while. It's something I think I'd really like doing--more than stand-up. We still have a lot of details to work out, but the concept is on its way to becoming a reality, and like everything else, I just have to take the steps to get there, one foot in front of the other.

I’m very psyched. And what a great motivator to get back in shape—years of sitting on my ass at the keyboard is really starting to take its toll.

Of course, if you’re a Bastard Husband: A Love Story Facebook fan, you’ve already heard this big news. Did I tell you I love Facebook? I used to love MySpace, too, but like a lot of people, I’ve given that up since there’s only so much of that social networking stuff you can possibly do without having it consume your life. It seems most people these days are on Facebook, so Facebook is it for me now. Twitter can still kiss my ass, and earlier this week I deleted my Linked In profile. I just decided I don’t want to play the corporate game anymore; it’s not a ladder I ever wanted to climb in the first place. And my sarcastic updates like, “Linda is busy writing TPS reports” simply couldn’t be helping.

One of my friends at work poo-poos Facebook, saying, “I don’t need to hear from former classmates and others from my past. I didn’t care about those people then, why would I care about them now?” I’m the exact opposite. I love to hear from people from my past! I love hearing about their lives and what they’re up to. People mean a lot to me, even if I haven’t seen them in years. This morning I heard from a girl I knew since first grade who wrote to tell me she’s enjoying my book. Yesterday I got the sweetest message on Facebook from the daughter of my best friend from high school—it was the highlight of my day.

And of course, Facebook makes it easy to catch up with my brother and sisters. Like earlier this week when my sister Stacie posted this:

Stacie is not in the mood to potty train.
Her subsequent comment:

The diaper was off for about 10 minutes and she shit on the rug and I stepped in it and I cried. I’ll remember this for a while.
Then:

Can you wait at least until tomorrow to admit to laughing? It happened about 4 minutes before I had to get Charlie from the bus and I still haven’t gone back to clean it up yet. I’m thinking of just throwing it out instead. I never did like that rug.
So that little exchange prompted my sister Lori to send me this message:

Can you believe Stacie left the shit on her rug? What if a robber comes in and thinks she shits on her rug?
I was like, I know! That’s exactly why I make my bed every morning, even if I’m running late for work—what if a robber comes in and thinks I’m the type who doesn’t make my bed? And if the robber has to take a shit, I hope he uses the guest bathroom since no boys are allowed in mine.

Are you, too, thoughtful when it comes to robbers? Any special accommodations?

Which social networking sites do you frequent? Are you on MySpace anymore? Can Twitter kiss your ass, too?


And can you believe this little angel would shit on the rug?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hey, you know what today would have been? My thirty-second wedding anniversary.

Yep, back on November 5, 1977, my first husband, Chris, and I got married up in Plattsburgh, NY, where we were going to school. We had a small wedding with just immediate family and friends in a church on Lake Champlain, just steps away from our favorite dive bar on Royal Street, the Deliri.

Man, we had a lot of good times in that place. And the night before our wedding, Chris had way too good a time. A bunch of guys took him out for one last night on the town before settling into married life and OMG, I don’t know what they did to him, but he was so friggin’ hung over the next day—to this day I’ve never seen anyone hurting like that.

Chris was literally shaking as we said our vows and he could hardly move or speak. Believe me, I was pissed! We were totally in love, but I remember thinking, “If I weren’t six months pregnant, I would NEVER marry you.” Ha!


I think that was taken with one of those cameras with the rotating flash cube. Look how fat my face is--and I bet I weighed all of 120 pounds.

After the ceremony a bunch of us went out to dinner and Chris was still so sick, he couldn’t get out of the car. Somebody at the table told the waitress we were celebrating my wedding, and I remember her looking at me all pregnant and all, and saying, “Well, where’s the groom?” with this quizzical look on her face. I was like, I am so gonna kill him.

Chris is awesome, though, and as I’ve said before, I couldn’t ask for a better father for my kids. I always enjoy seeing him when I go back to Albany, and I wish every divorced couple could have the mutual respect for each other that we have.

Here are a couple of other old pics I dug up. This one was taken at a wedding we went to. I think it was April 1977.


I loved that gown and I loved those shoes!

This was taken at Chris' parents' house; I remember I was on really good behavior. It might have been Easter 1977. It was some kind of holiday.



Man, the passage of time is pretty damn scary, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not just ranting, I actually did something and you can, too

Hey, remember my rant last week about those lousy banks and credit card companies?

As you know, Congress passed a law earlier this year that would put an end to their abusive tactics -- including raising interest rates on our card balances for no goddamn reason -- but the reforms don't go into effect until February. In the meantime, those rat bastards have been hiking interest rates, adding new fees and doubling our minimum payments.

Yesterday I came across the Consumers Union's money web site, www.creditcardreform.org, and filled out a simple online form that sent an email to my rep in Congress saying they need to make this law effective immediately -- we can't afford more months of the banks' F-ing with our credit cards. I also suggested a class-action suit for retroactive repayment to those of us who've already been fucked over (doesn't hurt to ask!)

I'm hardly an activist, but you know this pisses me off. It literally took 2 minutes to send that message. It's worth a try.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chicken Soup Gone Wild -- the new mega-series

I don't think I ever told you that I once had the big idea to come with a Chicken Soup for the Soul satire, a collection of demented tales mixing spirituality and debauchery. Well, that idea lasted all of about half a week. But Saturday's post, where I ranted about the co-founder of the series, inspired me to dig up this little gem, the only story I wrote for my tongue-in-cheek project.

Note to Mom and any future employers (ha!) (as if): THIS IS FICTION. It's probably the only piece of fiction I ever have written or ever will write. Though some parts are clearly rooted in reality. Seriously, I am not a pothead. You know my drug of choice is Guinness, Young's Chocolate Stout, or Moose Drool. Or Bailey's.

So here it is--my anti-Chicken Soup story:

"We Met in the House of (Fermented) Spirits"

Every once in a while you experience a special type of drunkenness, a buzz that expands your awareness and opens you to appreciate the perfection of everyone around you. If you’re lucky, you may cross paths with other souls vibrating at the same level of inebriation, recognizable by the alcohol-induced twinkle in their eyes. Those of us who are students of spirituality refer to that as “synchronicity.”

I could tell Ozzy was special by the way his aura lit up the bar. “Can I buy you a drink?” he asked.

“Why, yes, thank you. Guinness for me, please,” I said, graciously accepting his offer. The universe is indeed abundant.

I watched him sip his Bud Light and observed a familiar sense of judgment arise from within. Remember, Linda, I said to myself, God is not thinking, “Ozzy certainly has shitty taste in beer.” And so I vowed to look at him through the eyes of the Almighty and forgave him for his pedestrian choice of beverage.

We engaged in some small talk and I was entranced by Ozzy’s delightful English accent. Then ego reared its ugly head and I began to question my self-worth. What would a guy with such an attractive verbal inflection possibly want with me? Fortunately I tapped into the goddess within and reminded myself that, yes, I deserve to be with a man who sounds like Ozzy.

“I don’t show these to just anyone, but I’d like you to take a look.” Ozzy said. He then presented me with a few pictures of the biggest, juiciest marijuana buds I’d ever seen.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. “Are these yours?”

He beamed with pride. “Yes, I’m growing them in my basement. I’ve been studying hydroponic gardening—I’m quite good at it.” Catching himself, he added, “Sorry, I don’t mean to brag.”

“Oh, no,” I said. “By all means, take ownership of your God-given talents.”

Of course, I know well enough to stay in the present moment, but when I saw the size of his illicit crop, I couldn’t help myself and immediately projected into the future. I envisioned cuddling together on the couch listening to the Grateful Dead, watching Animal Planet with the sound muted, sharing a bag of Cheetos. If he turns out to be my soulmate, I thought, I’ll never have to buy pot again. I silently thanked the universe for sending me this incredible connection.

“I’m going to submit these photos to High Times,” Ozzy told me.

“Good for you,” I said, impressed by his lofty ambition to submit to such a prestigious national publication. Though I doubted High Times would accept unsolicited Poloroids, I suppressed my skepticism—never try to crush a person’s aspirations with your own limited thinking.

Fast forward in time and, well . . . life doesn’t always unfold the way you think it’s going to. You enter a relationship believing your beloved is a mellow toker and he turns out to be an intolerable sot. I don’t think Ozzy intentionally led me to believe he was more of a stoner than the boozer he turned out to be.

And so I learned that first impressions are sometimes wrong; you see what you want to see. And to be fair, maybe I didn’t exactly present my authentic self either—between my dyed hair, contact lenses, artificially whitened teeth and perky cleavage courtesy of Victoria Secret’s bra technology. Perhaps the lesson is, the Law of Attraction works both ways.

And the universe always unfolds in divine order.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Writers beware: Author 101 rip-off

Yesterday I attended the first day of a two-day Author 101 conference. I was looking forward to it, not only because it would get me out of a day of work, but because the focus was supposed to be on marketing, which naturally appealed to me.

What a rip-off. Instead of offering strategies that would be helpful to authors, the whole focus was on how to write a book in 30 days (imagine the quality?) and then sell that piece of crap through the Internet using the get-rich-quick techniques they’ll tell us if we enroll in their very expensive future seminar. (And, of course, there was plenty of “Enroll today and get…” bullshit.) With the exception of one speaker named David Hancock, who actually seemed to know a little about the writing world, it was essentially a day-long infomercial; the author’s equivalent of sitting through a timeshare presentation.

I’ve been around the writing circles long enough to know there are plenty of people out there preying on writers, and every writer should research Predators and Editors before querying agents, signing contracts with publishers, or enlisting the services needed to self-publish. So I ended up walking out during one of the afternoon speaker’s pitches for blah, blah, blah… and the guy at the registration desk could tell I’m a bitch on wheels, so I supposedly will get a refund. I’d better. But even though I’ll get my $179 (!) back, I’m still pissed as hell.

You can’t rip people off in this economy. You just can’t—it’s immoral. And I’ll tell you what really burned my ass (to use my mother’s expression) was that one of the offenders was Mark Victor Hansen, the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He spoke for about 45 minutes, 44 of which was a pitch for a $2000 workshop he’s offering next month. He told us all about what we’d be learning… next month. But hello, guess what? We all paid good money to learn something TODAY.

On top of that, every two seconds he’d tell us to do something, like “Touch your heart and say, ‘I can do it!’” and “If you agree say, ‘Yeah!’” like goddamn Simon Says. I’m not kidding, that guy annoyed the crap out of me. I really felt he was totally full of bullshit, even when he was speaking about all the charity work his organization does, and don’t even get me going about how he’d pepper his infomercial with spiritual overtones and abundance-speak. Really, the nerve of him spouting that shit while he’s ripping people off.

In contrast David Hancock, the one good speaker I heard, talked about how authors must be at the service of their readers and encourage personal contact. It’s important to develop a relationship, he said, and to give readers much more than they expect. Mark Victor Hansen was obviously there to serve himself and I sure as hell didn’t expect a 44 minute pitch session. My opinion: there's something sleazy about this guy. Just my opinion.

I did learn from him, though—what not to do. Violating your readers’ trust is unconscionable, and I want my readers to trust that whatever I have to offer is of the highest quality I can possibly produce. Okay, some of my blog posts are total vile, crude and tasteless shit, but you're not paying for this and I can tell you with all my heart that my book is funny, poignant, and well written. And if you don’t agree with me, send it back and I will be happy to refund your money.

I’m a Chicken Soup contributor, you know.

I feel kinda dirty.

... and Happy Halloween!

I snagged this picture from my sister Lori's facebook page. This is not me, it's MY MOTHER on her way to a Halloween party circa 1985.


No, that's not her real hair; it's a Halloween wig. HA-HA-HA!