Saturday, January 31, 2009

Loving the ghosts of the past

I’m been busy lately. Really busy.

My mother and sister Lori were here for a week (we had a blast) and then Thursday night I went to Beer and Blog Las Vegas, where I got to hang out with my blogging buddies Hurricane Mikey, Carmen (Poker Girl in Vegas), and Sarah (408 Down), who’s also a former co-worker and precious friend for life. Then last night I worked until 8:30 (!) finishing up a proposal that had to get out. Me? Working till 8:30 on a Friday night? Yeah, I know.

Hey--welcome to all the new readers who’ve landed here thanks to Hurricane Mikey, Carmen, and Julie (47 and Starting Over). And thanks to all who commented on my last post, which was the synopsis of my book, Bastard Husband: A Love Story. Very much appreciated.

I’ve had some feedback, both on this site and from other readers, that the title doesn’t quite match the content. I agree; the story is about my first year alone in Las Vegas after a mid-life divorce, though I’ve threaded reflections on the relationship that led me here throughout the book. I figure it’s a working title; if I get an agent who in turn successfully shops it to a publisher, I’ll leave it to the professionals to determine whether it’s spot on or not. And if I self-publish, I’ll probably leave it as is—the title certainly gets attention—and I'll let the text on the back cover explain more.

My only problem with the title is that it sounds negative; I don’t want my book to be dismissed as a rant from an angry ex-wife. On the contrary, I think it’s clear throughout just how much I loved him. (And I still do.) But his path was wide enough for only one, and it wouldn’t have been healthy for me to tag along to where he was headed.

We were married for only two and a half years, but it’s taken me twice as long to get over Bastard Husband. As I wrote in my synopsis, “He was perfect and I loved everything about him. Until his thirteenth beer.” But as my father would say, “Other than that, Mrs. Kennedy, how did you like Dallas?” Anyone who's loved a person struggling with an addiction knows exactly what I mean.

In his book Effortless Prosperity, Bijan Anjomi talks about how some people come into your life as a boat; their role is to help take you toward your destination. In retrospect, I realize that my marriage to beloved Bastard Husband was, in itself, not the destination, as I had thought. No, he was the boat that took me here to Las Vegas. I do believe that was the role he was divinely meant to serve in my life, and once he got me here, his job was over. If it weren’t for him, I would not be enjoying this fabulous time today. So what’s not to love?

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately, in part due to my renewed commitment to getting my book published, but more so because I’m in the, well… zygote stage of a new relationship. Actually, we’re a bit farther along—he’s met my mother(!)—but you get the picture.

One of the biggest differences in starting a relationship at age 51, compared to when you’re 21, is that you come to the table with history. When you hook up with someone in your 20’s, you have no real points of reference. You conclude, “He’s a nice guy” or “He’s an asshole” and that’s that. But if you’re single and over say, 35, chances are you’ve endured some battle scars. You view a potential love interest through the lens of your past and think, “Hmmm… I’ve seen this behavior before.” You project what's coming next, always expecting the worst.

That’s not fair to the new guy. Or gal--the concept works both ways.

So how about you? Do you have ghosts of relationships past that you need to embrace? Can you thank them for the roles they've played? And--this is the hard part--can you release them?

Once you reach that point of peace, I believe you clear your energy and make room for a new person to enter your life. And chances are, you'll enjoy that relationship a hell of a lot more. I sure do.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Taking the long way from A to B

I’m going to take a break from stand-up. I’m doing a set, or maybe I’ll be hosting, on Saturday night, but that’s going to be it for a while. I need to focus on getting my book out there, whether I continue to query agents or commit to self-publishing. The manuscript has been done for over a year and I half, and though I continue to tweak it every so often, I could spend the rest of my life tweaking. I’m going to have to draw a line in the sand—and soon.

About three weeks ago an agent in California requested a partial (first 50 pages, annotated table of contents and bio) and I still haven’t had a chance to send it out—shame on me. This weekend, dammit.

Am I the only one who procrastinates like that? I do want to revisit those first 50 pages (again) and the agent wants a hard copy snail-mailed, which takes a bit of effort, but for Christsake, if my attention was focused on my priorities, I’d have had that out in no time.

Let’s see, my major goal for 2009 is to get my book published. On January 4 I emailed a bunch of query letters. (Good.) Three days later, an agent responded with a request for a partial. (Great!) Three weeks later I still haven’t sent it out. (WTF?) I’m either lazy or have some perverse underlying fear of success.

No, I don’t have my priorities straight.

What we focus on grows, right? I haven’t been focusing on the right things, so I’m shifting the focus, starting today. I need to align my actions with my priorities. I need to focus my attention and channel energy toward my goal.

You can help me, my beloved blogging buddies. Hold me accountable. Nag me about taking action. And let me know if you need a gentle nudge toward your goals as well.

Here’s the synopsis I’ve been sending out. Tell me if you think it’s something you’d be interested in reading. Or if it sucks and I’m totally barking up the wrong tree. If goals are unrealistic, then it’s best to drop them and channel energy elsewhere. But in my heart, I think I’m on to something. I just need to take the steps to get from A to B.



A week after we moved to Las Vegas, I put my bastard husband on a plane to the other side of the world. By then he was actually my ex-husband, and he wasn’t always a bastard; he was perfect and I loved everything about him. Until his thirteenth beer.

The next day I went to a divorce support group I found in the Meetings section of the local newspaper, listed between "Cross-Dressers of Las Vegas" and "Friends and Family of Incarcerated People." (And I thought I had problems.) As I sat in a circle of strangers waiting for my turn to “share,” I glanced at the Absolutely No Swearing sign hanging from the ceiling and thought, this will be a challenge.

“I’m Linda,” I began, “I have no husband, no job, and you people are my only friends.” Everyone laughed at my pathetic truth.

Bastard Husband: A Love Story is an autobiographical account of my first year alone in Sin City following a mid-life divorce. With one foot in the past, anchored by concern for my troubled ex, I plod forward and take my readers along with me as I survive day to day, slip-sliding all the way. I share the frustrations of looking for a professional level position in a job market where valet parkers and cocktail waitresses are the coveted career options. Figuring I’m no good at long-term relationships, I become a hospice volunteer and burst into tears when a kindly patient comments, “I bet you have a nice husband at home.” When my first post-divorce date arrives at my door not with flowers in hand, but a brochure detailing his chronic mental condition, I can’t help but conclude I really know how to pick ‘em.

Though I’d rather sulk at home watching my video of Princess Di’s funeral, I force myself to go out and explore the Vegas neon nightlife. I check out music venues and start hanging at a bar that has open mic comedy in their back room. After several weeks of watching comics of varying levels of ability, I decide to put a stand-up act together and sign up for stage time. Despite excruciating anxiety, my first performance is a triumph and afterward I am approached by a woman wishing to book me for other area stages.

The story ends a year after it begins. Thankfully, I’m no longer so miserable even Jesus would cross the street if he’d seen me coming, and although some pieces have yet to fall into place, I realize I’ve begun to embrace the new life I’ve built. Most importantly, I learn I must honor my ex’s path—however self-destructive—and simply get out of his way because in the end, your heart beats only for yourself.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tonight on Aging Nymphs: It’s about time

I really don’t mind getting older. I feel great, I’m a hell of a lot smarter, and I honestly don’t feel my looks have deteriorated all that much (or maybe I need glasses). The only thing that does bug me is that fact that I’m much more aware that I no longer have all the time in the world. There’s so much I still want to do!

On tonight’s Aging Nymphs show, my Harley-ridin’ sister and I talk about time. Do you feel you have enough time? What would you do if you had more time? What are your favorite time-wasters?

Join in the discussion tonight at 11 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Pacific time. Just go to and click the “It’s about time” show title. Make sure your speakers are on and the show will start at the designated time. The call-in number is right there on the screen.

Want to listen to show archives? Just click one of the links on the right sidebar of this page.

Hope you can join us tonight!

(Lori just got on a plane heading east. Let’s hope her connection in Baltimore goes well and she makes it back to Albany—they’re having yet another winter storm. God, I love Vegas!).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beating hearts

Mom and my sister Lori are still here and so I’m far behind on my required reading, meaning the goings-on of my beloved blogging buddies. However, yesterday I did get a chance to sneak a peek at my BFF Julie’s site, 47 and Starting Over. The title doesn’t quite say it all (she writes about a variety of topics, and well), but it gives you a good idea of the theme of a lot of her posts. I’m not sure how I originally came across Julie’s blog, but having started over myself at 45 a few years ago, I knew it was something I could relate to.

Julie was having a bad day last Sunday, as evidenced in her post entitled “Due to lack of interest, today has been canceled.” In it she says,

“I hate being almost 48 years old and single. I need companionship, and not the kind that you get from girlfriends either. I have plenty of friends and family who love me. I just miss being in love, and having someone love me back. I don't mind being alone, but damn I am lonely.”
Yeah, a lot of us know what you mean.

There’s a line of thinking out there, and I don’t know who’s perpetuating it, that women should be perfectly happy living the Mary Tyler Moore-throwing-our-hats-in-the-air single life. "We don’t need no stinkin’ men" and "We’re responsible for our own happiness," blah, blah, blah…

I have to admit, I’ve accomplished a ton of stuff in the five and a half years since my ex and I split up—I’ve gotten into stand-up comedy, written a book, had a few of my pieces published, became vice president of my writers’ group, and have been quite active in the writing community speaking on panels and at writing conferences. And I’m about 98 percent positive that had we not split up, I wouldn’t have that list of accomplishments. I wouldn’t have had the time or the motivation to accomplish what I have since our split.

That said, let’s get back to the passage from Julie’s blog (and kudos for her full-frontal honesty). I think that no matter how independent we are, how much we’ve accomplished on our own, or whether we’re male or female, most of us would agree that life is richer when shared with someone you love.

In my book, Bastard Husband: A Love Story, I conclude that in the end your heart beats for itself. I still believe that’s true—but given the choice, I think most of us would opt for Bono’s line, “Two hearts beat as one.”

What do you think?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Repost: Life Lesson from Sidney Poitier

Mom and my sister Lori Biker are visiting right now (when you live in Vegas, you get lots of visitors). We have a busy social schedule and I don't have time to put a proper blog together, so I'm going to repost something from August 12.

I started this blog in July, and this was one of my first posts. Back then, I think I had about 10 readers--maybe--so chances are you haven't read this. I'm happy to say my readership has been growing steadily. To all my blogging buddies who've been kind enough to add a link to their site, and to all of you who keep coming back to see what's up in the land of Linda Lou, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Life Lesson from Sidney Poitier

Last Sunday morning I had the pool to myself, as I often do when I get out there early enough. I floated around, engulfed in my serenity… enjoying the sunshine, blue sky and palm trees… reading my OK! celebrity rag… vowing that if John Mayer breaks Jennifer Aniston’s heart, I am personally going to kick his tattooed ass.

I also flipped through the September/October AARP magazine (yeah, I know…), which has a nice article on page 42 about Sidney Poitier. To this day, the thought of Sidney Poitier sparks a memory from childhood of watching Lilies of the Field on an old black and white TV and my mother going absolutely nuts over him.

“Look at the way he carries himself!” she sighed. Even at age eight I could kind of see her point, although I also couldn’t help but wonder if maybe my father’s Pillsbury Doughboy physique wasn’t exactly cutting it for her.

Anyway, in the article Mr. Epitome of Grace and Eloquence talks about how a shy boy from a tiny island in the Bahamas eventually made it to Harlem, where he worked as a dishwasher, and responded to a call in a newspaper for actors at the American Negro Theatre.

“When I auditioned, I read so poorly, I was thrown out,” he recounts, and then tells how the director grabbed him by the seat of his pants and said, “Just get out of here and go get yourself a job as a dishwasher or something!” Poitier had not told the man he was a dishwasher; “He was passing judgment on my worth,” he concluded.

The experience drove Poitier to improve his reading skills, which he reveals were at about a fourth-grade level. To improve his speech, Poitier bought a radio and listened carefully to a particular newscaster and would eavesdrop on people whose articulation he found impressive.

“I’d made a promise to myself that I’d become an actor just to show the man at the American Negro Theatre,” he said.

Hmmm… writers, think about those agents who respond to a query or manuscript with a simple, “Thanks, but not for me.” Suppose the agent instead replied with, “What the hell were you thinking, sending me that piece of shit? You call yourself a writer? Go out and get yourself a job as a dishwasher!”

In the long run, wouldn’t that be a kinder response?

What if that seemingly cruel director simply said to Poitier, “No thanks, not for me”?

Angels come in all disguises, don’t they?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

From the mouth of a babe

This is one of my favorite pictures of my kids. Look at Courtney—she’s a pretty girl, huh?

Yeah. Courtney is one of those beautiful girls who kind of doesn’t have a clue in everyday life. Like have you ever seen Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” segment? Or remember how Howard Stern used to quiz those supermodels?

Howard: “At what temperature does water freeze?”
Supermodel: “You mean legally?”
You get the picture.

You know those little Japanese carts that you see people being pulled along in? Courtney got on one at a music festival in Albany, the side of which read, “” At the end of the ride, the guy gave her his business card.

Courtney (looking at the card, perplexed): “Who is this?”
The guy: “That’s me.”
Courtney: “Well, then… who is Rick Shaw?”
Oh, so that’s why she kept calling him “Rick.”

Not that I’m saying Courtney is the least bit stupid. She’s a freakin’ savant when it comes to music. A few years ago she picked up a guitar and within three months had a CD of songs she wrote herself. Just like that.

Here she is playing the guitar. And check out her MySpace—you’ll see I’m not kidding. She's a really talented songwriter.

Okay, so yesterday my friend Susan told me she had Courtney and her boyfriend over for dinner Sunday night. After dinner, expressing her relief over the federal holiday the next day, Courtney let out a long sigh and said,

“Thank GOD Martin Luther King was shot on a Monday.”

Now, one of the many beautiful things about my precious girl is that she can laugh at herself. So when I talked to her last night, we cracked up together about her inane comment.

Me: “Oh, Court, you’re too funny.”
Courtney: “I know. I forgot they moved the holiday to a Monday.”
Me: “Yeah, and it’s his birthday.”
Silence, then

“Oh my God! Martin Luther King was shot on his BIRTHDAY?”
Isn’t she adorable? Kids say the darnedest things…

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tonight on Aging Nymphs: How to be a man magnet

I've been teased about being a man magnet for like, 20 years. Why? I don't know--could be the Vegas cleaveage. Tonight my sister Lori Biker and I will explore the topic on Aging Nymphs at 8 p.m. Pacific/11 p.m. Eastern. Ladies, call in and tell us your secrets, and guys, let us know what types of chicks you find attractive! Just click the link and then the show title--the call-in number will be on the screen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thoughts on Obama and why you should never leave the house without lipstick

I had a fabulous time Saturday at the west rim of the Grand Canyon! The tour was even better than I imagined--I’ll do a proper blog about it later this week, but in the meantime, here’s a picture.

Beautiful, huh? Yeah, I was having a good hair day.

Snap! I’m such an a-hole.

Okay, so Sunday was one of those days where I never quite got around to taking a shower. Sometimes that whole beautification routine gets to be a major pain in the ass. It takes a lot of effort for me to go from freak to chic, and I’m not always up for it when I have a day off, especially if I’m not going to be seeing anyone I need to look beautiful for. That’s why God invented baseball caps. (I bet you thought baseball caps actually had something to do with the game of baseball—wrong!)

Anyway, Sunday afternoon I went out to do some grocery shopping (in my favorite Rock and Bowl New Orleans baseball cap) and as I’m loading my bottles of Two Buck Chuck into my car in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s, I get stopped by a guy carrying a Fox 5 news camera.

“Excuse me, are you going to be watching the inauguration Tuesday?” he asked.

“No, I have to work,” I said. “Sorry.” Then as he started to walk away, I added, “But I will be going to a ‘Bye-Bye Bush’ party after work.”

He darted over and asked me a few questions as well as the spelling of my name. I told him that yeah, I’m happy to see the Bush administration come to an end and I think we all feel a collective sense of hope for the future because finally we’re in good hands—Obama’s a smart guy.

I totally forgot to watch the news Sunday night, but yesterday my friend Judy sent me an email saying she thought she saw me on the news, so they must have put me on.

The truth is, I'm so happy that Obama will be leading the nation, I’m not even miffed that the inauguration coverage will be pre-empting Guiding Light. I’m also happy that I followed rule #5 of my “10 Simple Ways to Project Self Confidence”:
“Never, ever leave the house without at least a little bit of eye make-up or lipstick.”
You never know when you’ll end up on the news.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Good thing Clay Aiken doesn't fly

I’m posting on a Friday night instead of my usual Saturday morning because tomorrow I have to be up and out by 6:20 a.m. I'm going on a Hummer tour to the west rim of the Grand Canyon. I’ve been to the south rim many times (that's where I am in the picture below), and I made it to the north rim once, but this will be my first time visiting the westernmost part of the canyon.

The west rim is supposed to be nice, and it’s a lot closer to Vegas than the south rim, where most people go. I’m particularly looking forward to checking out that new skywalk that projects more than 4000 feet over the canyon. It’s odd that I have no problem with heights since I’m afraid of a million other things, including fake fingernails, pictures of Jesus, and Clay Aiken. But most of all I’m afraid of birds.

I know they’re supposed to be spiritual creatures and all, but I cannot freakin’ stand birds. When I see them on the sidewalk in front of me, I jiggle my keys and clear my throat, and if they don’t fly away, I’ll cross the street. Sometimes they become domesticated, like the ones in front of Panera Bread in the District at Green Valley Ranch. There’s no scaring them; they’re so used to being around people. I have actually asked strangers to escort me into the place and protect me from those filthy things.

Years ago when I posted a profile, I said that overall I’m low maintenance, but my date must be willing to shoo away birds. I wasn’t kidding. And I still wouldn’t dream of having even a casual date a bird lover. It would never work out.

My dear friends Tim and Susan, who live back in Albany, have two birds. (They used to have a bird named “Linda.” So not funny.) I am able to go to their house, though, because I trust them to lock and hermetically seal the cage when I come to visit. They know as much as I do that if one of those f*ckers ever got out, I would spend eternity in a padded room rocking in the fetal position.

Don’t ask me why I’m so afraid of birds—I can’t recall any traumatic event in my childhood and yes, I have seen the movie The Birds. Like a million times. Hello, it totally validates my point that they're pure evil. And what caused that plane to go down in the Hudson River on Thursday? Just sayin'.

I bet you didn't know there’s an “Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds” Barbie. Can you believe it? My friend Ann sent me this link. I kid you not, here’s the product description:

"This Barbie is for The Birds! Celebrating Alfred Hitchcock's classic film, this incredible collector's doll features our heroine being attacked by a trio of fine feathered foes, just like in the movie. Will these plastic birds damage her delightful handbag or her carefully styled hair? We certainly hope not! Be sure to let Barbie into your home and pray that the birds don't come in with her! Stands about 11 1/2-inches tall."

Isn't that too funny?

Amazon says the same people who bought it also bought Elvis and Priscilla dolls.

As a joke, one of my precious girlfriends from work, Kirstin, played with the image and put my face on Tippi Hedren's body. The sickest part is, I didn’t even notice the birds pecking at me.

No, all I could think was, “Gee, I wish I were that thin.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Even the Flintstones had a gay old time

I love my friend Todd. He’s more of a virtual friend than a flesh-and-blood friend--even though we used to work in the same building--because most of my contact with him has been through email and blog comments. (I did get to hug him at Word Camp, though.) Todd’s cool as hell, and I wish he would comment more because he always has something neat to say.

“Neat.” Who am I, Wally Cleaver? That’s so gay.

That’s so gay. I always say that; it’s one of the many verbal inflictions I continue to hold on to from like, sixth grade—before I even knew gay people were invented.

A couple of months ago my sister and I did a show about pet peeves, and in the course of my scientific research I came across a blog post from someone who said his pet peeve was people who say, “That’s gay” when they’re talking about something being “lame.” So now that I know it annoys someone, I make it a point to say “That’s so gay” at every possible turn. Yeah, real mature.

Anyway, on Tuesday, in reference to the apparent Twitter craze, I blogged about how gay the word "tweeting" sounds. Todd left a comment voicing his agreement, with asterisks referring to a disclaimer explaining his words were not intended to be offensive to gay people. He then wondered whether he should cut the word "gay" in this context out of his vocabulary altogether.

His comment got me thinking. Might a gay person actually be offended by people like me who say, “That’s so gay?”


Now, anyone who remotely knows me would also know that I’m very vocal about gay rights and that about half of my female friends are lesbians. (Down, boys—I'm hip to your fantasies.) A few months ago my Prop 8 post had the Mormons up in arms, and my celebrity girl-crush on Beverly D'Angelo is not exactly a secret. (Remind me to add Kate Winslet to that list.)

But beyond the fact that I'm hardly a gay basher, I simply can’t imagine a real live gay person being offended by someone saying, “That’s so gay.” I mean, really—anyone who can’t handle that is gonna get their ass kicked out there in the real world. Plus I like to think that people, whether they’re gay or b-l-a-c-k or whatever, have the capacity to determine the intention behind someone’s words and the context in which they’re used.

Pulll-eeeze. You know, we wouldn’t be talking about any of this if it weren’t for those politically correct a-holes out there who think it’s their personal responsibility to protect every minority on earth, regardless of how insulting it actually is to the group in question. I wish there was a derogatory, politically incorrect word for those idiots. I would totally use it—at every turn—just to piss them off.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First impressions -- Tonight on Aging Nymphs

You know the cliché, “You get only one chance to make a first impression.” On tonight’s Aging Nymphs Internet radio show, my sister Lori Biker and I will tell you how to make sure your first impression is a good one (including the single most important thing you can do), and how to recover if you’ve already blown it. We’ll also share some horror stories--as I always say, my foot’s only a size 6, but it lives in my mouth.

Join us at 11 p.m. Eastern time/8 p.m. Pacific and share your experiences with first impressions—you’ll see the number on the screen. Too timid to call in live? Then just leave a comment here!

Remember, you can listen to show archives anytime by visiting our BlogTalkRadio website or clicking a link on the right sidebar of this site.

Talk you to later!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The world's atwitter... or is it?

I’m back. Man, a day job can really cramp your style.

Okay, I left off talking about Twitter, which so many people at last weekend’s Word Camp: Las Vegas conference seemed to think is the absolute tits. Ironically, as various speakers proclaimed the wonders of the “hottest social media network,” half the attendees were sitting there creating Twitter posts, or “tweets.”

OMG! I’m tweeting about the guy in the front of the room talking about Twitter.”
(In all fairness, I guess one could say I’m not really living life when I’m spending all this time blogging about it. Touche.)

One of the conference speakers, Warren Whitlock, was kind enough to give everyone in the audience a copy of his book, twitter Revolution. I’m about a quarter of the way through it, but I can’t say I’m quite ready to drink the Kool Aid. I’ve had a Twitter account (@vegaslindalou) for a few months now, but my tweets are hardly worth the effort to read them.

Cameron Diaz is definitely NOT on my celebrity girl-crush list. She’s no Beverly D’Angelo.”

“Home for lunch watching Barbara Walters interview w/Patrick Swayze I recorded last night. Sniff”

“Bloody hell! Why do people have to take care of personal hygiene in their cubicles? Nail clipper is at it again!”
Jesus, could anyone possibly care about such inanity? I’m such an a-hole!

A few of you commented about Twitter on the post I started this morning. What about the rest of you? Are you tweeting? (That sounds pretty gay, no?)

Anyway, John Hawkins did an absolutely fantastic job of putting on the Word Camp event—hats off to you, man! I believe John will be organizing a “Beer and Blogging” get together for bloggers here in Las Vegas—I’ll keep you posted. Or you can follow him @vegasgeek.

And I did get to meet a really nice guy with whom I’ve been tweeting for a while. (Still sounds gay as hell.) It’s always fun when you finally meet virtual contacts in real life. Except when initiated through Match or Craigslist. Yeah, that’s usually a train wreck.

Speaking of meeting virtual friends, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting two of my Vegas blogging buddies in the past few days. Hurricane Mikey was kind enough to check out my act at the Royal Resort last Friday night. Unfortunately, I ended up hosting the show instead of doing a set, but I was thrilled to meet this prolific Vegas blogger and had much fun shooting the bull with this big hunka man over drinks after the show. Pizza at Grimaldi’s is definitely in our future!

And then yesterday, I had lunch with Carmen, aka Poker Girl in Vegas. She’s freakin’ awesome—anyone who shares my love of celebrity gossip, soap operas, and talking about boyfriends is my kind of gal. As it turns out, we work around the corner from each other, so no doubt we’ll enjoy more noontime chat fests.

I’ve posted before about how I love and care about my virtual friends. I really want to thank you all for taking the time to read my blog. But as for my Twitter posts… you must have better things to do.


Faking it as a techie... more to come

So minutes after I posted my blog last Saturday about my technical ineptitude, where did I go but to Word Camp: Las Vegas, a conference for users of the popular open-source blogging software, WordPress.

I knew that 90 percent of what I’d hear would go straight over my head, and I was right, but one of my favorite Zen sayings is “You walk in the mist and you get wet.” I believe it’s always good to walk in the mist of something you eventually want to know more about, and whatever you take in is great. You don’t have to understand everything right this moment, and sometimes you have to consciously try to be comfortable wading through unknown territory. Which is especially hard when everyone else in the room is a genius.

Although I set up this blog through Blogger, I was sure I’d pick up some useful bits of information, and I was right about that, too. (And as any ex-husband or boyfriend can tell you, oh, how I love to be right.)

One of the major takeaways was that Twitter was mentioned about every three minutes. Twitter users post microblogs, or “tweets” of up to 140 characters; you can see my most recent tweets in the sidebar at right.

Oh, crap! I really, really have to get in the shower and get my ass to work. I’ll continue this later. I want to tell you more about Twitter and how I met a couple of cool fellow Las Vegas bloggers—Hurricane Mikey and Poker Girl in Vegas—this weekend. Damn that day job!

Be back later…

Saturday, January 10, 2009

And I don’t like techno music, either

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES,) the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, is here in Las Vegas this weekend. At CES, manufacturers, developers, and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems show off their products and services…

Hold on. I have no idea what I’m talking about. I lifted that stuff off the Internet.

Despite the fact that I make a pretty good living as a technical writer, I’m not exactly into technology. In fact, a lot of the time I have no idea what I’m writing about at work, yet somehow I’m able to string a bunch of big words together in a way that makes sense to someone who cares about what they mean. I sure as hell don’t.

As far as consumer gadgets go, well, um… let me just say I drive a 13-year-old Saturn with a cassette deck. I do have an MP3 player in a drawer somewhere, but I don’t know how to use it, so an Ipod is pretty much out of the question. (Or are they the same things? I don’t know.)

A super techno-savvy friend of mine simply shakes his head at the sight of my televisions. Yeah, they’re both from the 90’s (like my car), but they work great (like my car), so why should I replace them? It’s not like I have to get up from the couch and walk all the way across the living room turn a knob to change the channel, like in the old days.

Though now that I write this, I’m remembering a TV we used to have when the kids were growing up. The knob was broken and for like two years we had to change the channel with pliers until the kids said it was too much of an embarrassment when their friends came over. Finally we gave in and got cable. And back then, it was nothing like the cable I have now, which came with a 125-page textbook of instructions. The only reason I read the damn thing was to make sure I could correctly record the daily episodes of my beloved Guiding Light.

No doubt as a result of their upbringing, my kids are anything but technology geeks. They’re both singer-songwriters, so they know how to hook up microphones and amps, but as you can see from the photo below, those are old-fashioned acoustic guitars they're playing.

In all fairness, I should say they’re not completely back in the last century; Courtney did put up a MySpace page, and Christopher does have a couple of electric guitars, though he’s not at all into computers, which is shocking for someone his age (30). I think maybe Neil Young once said computers are bullshit and so he took his words to heart. Christopher just recently got an email account (which one of his neighbors set up for him), though he checks it only about once a month.

“It’s that or the cell phone,” he told me. "I can't do both."

He’s not kidding. My favorite story is that Christopher and his now ex-girlfriend used to share a cell phone. Except they treated it like a land line--when they went out, they left it home. “When we’re not home, people can leave a message and we’ll call them back later,” they explained.

These days, however, Chris does have his own cell phone (but forget about text messaging) and he actually takes it with him when he goes out. Most of the time.

I took this picture of my boy when I was back in Albany over the holidays. Isn't he so damn cute? He's the nicest, sweetest person I know--such a gentle soul. I'm so proud of him; who cares about his technical acumen?

It’s okay that I talk about Christopher here. Though he'd probably be mortified, God knows he’ll never see it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Aging Nymphs' (psychic?) predictions for 2009

My sister Lori and I have a bit of a vanity project going, our Aging Nymphs Internet radio program. We chat every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Pacific time about a variety of topics that we hope are of general interest so the show doesn't become your typical sister yenta-fest (with pseudo-yentas because we're not even Jewish).

The topic for last night's broadcast was "Psychics' (and our) Predictions for 2009." We read off some predictions from professional psychics Sylvia Browne and Michael Cohen and then gave our own. Let me make it clear that we weren't trying to pass ourselves off as psychics, although we did get a caller who asked for psychic counseling and I was more than happy to oblige. (And I was even somewhat accurate--ha!)

Anyway, just for yuks I thought I'd post our predictions here. (Lori and I did not confer before the show.) It will be fun to see if any of them come true over the course of the year.

Lori's predictions:

1. Pluto will once again become a planet.

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.)

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

4. Fidel Castro will die in a boating accident on his way to Miami.

5. A law passes mandating death row prisoners to donate their bodies to science.

6. Oprah will become the next Jenny Craig spokeswoman.

7. This will be a great year for Will Smith.

8. Something spectacular will happen in the music world, like another Woodstock-type concert or maybe a No Nukes reunion!! (OMG, can you imagine?)

9. Letterman's ratings will go way up. Conan will be no competition for him.

Hmmm... Okay, here are mine. I know you'll appreciate the high degree of specificity, and if any of these come true, I can tell you right now I'm going to wear my tiara every goddamn day for the rest of my life.

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.

2. Ted Kennedy will die within 5 days of May 29, JFK’s birthday.

3. So will Loretta Lynn.

4. Regis Philbin will have health problems in mid-July and will be replaced indefinitely on the Live program.

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.

6. Clint Eastwood will edge out Philip Seymour Hoffman for Best Actor and he’ll be present at the Oscars to accept.

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?!)

I'm telling you, you had better pray that none of my predictions come true. I'm already so full of myself--trust me, you won't be able to stand me.

What fun!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Get out of the way!

During the past few days I must have thought a hundred times about one of my blogging buddies. I’ve never met Barbara, and I know only as much about her as what she posts on her blog. (I think about my virtual friends as if I know them in real life--see this post from back in September.)

Barbara's been telling us lately about the heartbreaking effects of her son’s drug abuse. I can relate, having been close to someone with a similar struggle, someone who was the most incredible person on earth. Until about his thirteenth beer.

Like many of her readers, I left a comment on Barbara’s site, hoping my words would somehow help. I shared the most important piece of advice I heard back in my own dark days when I first came to Las Vegas, and I want to post those words here as well.

One night, about six months after I’d blown out the last candle of hope for my marriage, I attended a free lecture by a spiritual teacher named Bijan. He explained that people are either going up, going down, or they're hovering where they are in life because they can’t decide where they want to go.

When people are on their way up, he said, you want to support them to help their energy rise, to help boost them to where they need to be.

People on the way down, however, must reach the bottom before they can go back up, and so you have to get out of their way; they can’t go back up until they experience the lessons they need to learn at the bottom.

We want to help them—it’s human nature—and it has to be especially hard, as in Barbara’s case, to watch your own child struggle so. But we can’t learn anyone’s lessons for them, and sometimes by helping, we get in their way. We prevent them from learning the lessons they need to learn, and so it will take longer for them to head back up.

Sometimes a path is wide enough only for one person; some legs of a person’s journey must be walked alone. We just have to get out of the way so they can get to where they’re supposed to go.

Easier said than done, but I know from experience that it works; my ex and I have enjoyed a loving relationship since our divorce over five years ago. Looking back, I realize I could have saved myself untold turmoil had I not resisted so much, had I not been so goddamn hell-bent on jamming the square peg into the round hole, had I accepted the simple fact that—guess what?—people don’t always act the way you want them to.

You can always love the person during their hard times, just know when to get out of their way.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Guys: 5 things NEVER to say on a date

A few of my virtual girlfriends and I have been having great fun over the past few days engaging in a sort of "Biggest Loser" competition. Our friendly banter has nothing to do with weight loss; no, we've been ranting on our, um, curious taste in men. Though I've never seen these spirited gals face-to-face, I'd bet my last dime we're all more attractive and more intelligent than the average bear, yet it seems we all could be cover girls for the book "Smart Women, Foolish Choices."

I kid you not, here are five things I've heard on dates since I've been in Las Vegas. Keep in mind that nobody held a gun to my head forcing me to go out with these fellas; no, something in my brain decided, "Sure, give this one a try." Here goes:

1. "I'd love to hang out and talk, but I gotta get to Check City (payday loan company) before they close.” Soooo, I guess I'm picking up this tab, huh?

2. "I flossed my teeth for you." Well, I am worth it. And I hope you put on some deodorant, too. But I most definitely did not wax the bikini line for you.

3. “Would you like to see a picture of my 6-week-old baby?” Is this a date or an interview for a nanny?

4. "Did I ever tell you about the time I got in a road rage fight in the parking lot after my anger management class?" (This was the same guy who picked me up at my apartment and handed me not flowers, but a brochure about his chronic mental illness.) (And I went out with him for like 6 months.)*

5. “I’ve ever been with anyone so old.” Well, I’ve never been with anyone so stupid.

I sometimes do a bit in my stand-up routine that goes like, "I hate it when women say 'All men are assholes.' I mean, I wish! There'd be more for me to date!"

I'm kidding, of course, and let the record state that I love, love, LOVE men. But holy shit I need to get out of the habit of choosing guys simply because they'd be a great source of material for my comedy act or my next book.

* I should say that #4 is actually one of my favorite men on earth. See my Veteran's Day blog and you'll know why.

It's all good... yep, it's all good.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Yikes--it's hard to believe it's 2009. Sounds so futuristic, no?

I had a FANTASTIC time last night at Santa Fe Station partying it up with my friend Lisa. (Check out my December 9 blog about her.) Her husband got us into an event for the VIPs so we had free food, free drinks, dancing... what more can I say? Oh, I could say that at midnight New York time (which will always mark the real New Year for me) the first person who hugged me was an ex-Playboy bunny (Miss July 1999) and the first person who kissed me was an ex-porn star. Hmmmm... is this a sign of what lies ahead for 2009? With any luck!

The VIP party was an early one, so afterward a bunch of us headed down to I think it's called the 49 Bar or something like that. I snuggled for a while on a cushy sofa with Miss July (she's very sweet) and Lisa and I danced our asses off on the table. At one point we were dancing like go-go girls inside a beaded light (hard to describe). Lisa and I were laughing about how she's a "Nana" and I'm a "Granny," though we don't exactly have that grandmotherly behavior down quite yet. A friend of Miss July was taking pictures of us--if I ever hear from him, I'll post them. (Um, maybe...)

Today there's nothing on my agenda except to make my plans for the New Year. I have tons of stuff that I want to accomplish--I won't bore you with them--and as far as resolutions go, I have only one:

To have more FUN!!!

Yep, that's it.

Sure, I'd love to lose a few pounds and I probably should exercise a little more and drink a little less. And yeah, it wouldn't kill me to eat a vegetable now and then or a piece of fruit (I happen to think cheese ravioli is the most delicious food known to man). And really, some of the crap that comes out of my mouth is no way for a granny to talk, but tough shit--my only resolution is to have more fun!

Yep, more of this:

Because this is inevitable.

Here's to a FUN-filled 2009!