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!