Saturday, February 28, 2009

Good-bye, my oldest friend

My oldest friend has died. Though I’ve known most of my friends for a longer duration, Mary Pearson was the oldest age-wise. She was 93.

I met Mary in 2002, shortly after I moved to Cedar City, Utah, with my crazy Kiwi ex. Though God knows the two of us went through some, ahem… trying times, I’ll be forever grateful for the fact that when we were together, I never had to work a stinkin’ day job. To keep myself busy, I worked part-time in a psychic doctor’s office (really) and taught yoga at the local Gold’s Gym. I also created a seated yoga program for the elderly, whom I taught as a volunteer at the Kolob nursing home and the Emerald Point assisted living center. That’s where I met Mary.

Usually only about three people showed up for their weekly yoga lesson—Joe, Fern and Mary. Though Mary was frustrated that she couldn’t encourage more residents to participate, the small class size was fine with me since it allowed me to really get to know “my students.”

Joe, a handsome and reserved gentleman, was a distinguished ex-judge who did his yoga from his wheelchair with the determination of a competitive athlete. At the end of each class, he’d take my hand, look me in the eye, and thank me with sincerity for my time. I loved him.

Fern was a beautiful woman with lovely fine features, but her mind had been taken by Alzheimer’s. One day during a stretching exercise, I noticed the second toe on her right foot was missing. I mean, gone at the root.

“Fern, what happened to your toe?” I asked.

She looked at her foot, then back up at me. “Why, I don’t know…” she said with wide-eyed wonder, as if that were the first time she’d noticed she had a missing appendage.

“Poor thing,” Mary murmured, shaking her head.

At that time Mary was about 87, one of the older residents chronologically, but certainly the youngest in body, mind and spirit. I was immediately drawn to her positive energy and welcoming smile. We’d visit in her little apartment after yoga class and she’d tell me about the wonderful life she and her late husband, Herman, shared together. I also learned that she was Jewish, which I was thrilled to hear. Growing up, I adored my Jewish girlfriends and by finding the one Jewish person in southwest Utah, I felt I’d won a social scavenger hunt.

The next year I moved to Las Vegas and Mary and I stayed in touch by telephone. We literally had the same conversation every time we spoke—old people like to tell the same stories—and I enjoyed it every time.

First she’d tell me the latest goings-on with “the Emerald Point soap opera.” Old people also love to talk about each other, and evidently one biddy had a bee in her bonnet about Mary’s friendship with Joe and some of the other male residents.

“We’re just friends,” Mary would explain in her shaky voice. “But you know, Linda, sometimes I do miss a man’s companionship.” From there she’d break into song with, “It’s so nice to have a man around the house…”

“And what about you, darling? How’s your love life?” she’d ask. Every single time.

Invariably I had nothing to report, but these days I’m crazy in love and knowing Mary would relish in every detail, I gave her a call last Sunday. However, instead of her voice, I heard three annoying tones followed by the message that her phone had been disconnected.

Fearing the worst, I called her daughter, Fran, who told me that Mary passed away on February 9. She had a couple of small strokes recently, but a large stroke left her in bad shape, and per her wishes, Mary’s family took her off life support. I don’t get the impression she suffered long.

I’ve often joked that when I get old, I want to be the cutest lady in the assisted living home. Mary was definitely the cutest lady at Emerald Point; she was my hero and role model. I guess we can’t ask for much more than living a full and happy life—we should all look this good on our 90th birthday—but I’m sure going to miss her.

Friday, February 27, 2009

It's my party

Well, it came to the point where I decided to delete some comments. I don't like censorship and respect everyone's opinion, blah, blah, blah... but things were starting to get ugly and that's not what this site is about.

I think of it this way: if I were having a party at my house and one of my guests was loud and obnoxious and making the other guests feel uncomfortable, I'd ask that person to leave. And to please not come back.

In real life I surround myself with positive people; I feel sorry for those consumed with negative energy, but I don't want them around me. Same goes for my virtual life.

I don't want to have to resort to comment moderation, like one of my friends who had this same person crash her party. No, I'd rather leave the door unlocked so people can come and go as they please and allow them to immediately strike up a conversation with the other guests. So when you see this person's comments, and God knows you will--she evidently has nothing else to do--rest assured they'll display only until I have the time to delete them. Unlike her, I'm not on this site 24/7, and I have better things to do than continually take out the trash.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the road to publication

Hey, guess what? On Tuesday I was mentioned in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the current state of the publishing industry. Check it out! The reporter, Novella Carpenter, found me through a comment I made on Nathan Bransford’s blog about my intention to self-publish.

Nathan is an agent with the Curtis Brown Literary Agency, and if it’s a twinkle in your eye to see your novel, memoir, or non-fiction masterpiece in print—whether you want to go the traditional publishing route or you opt to self-publish—Nathan’s site is required reading. You’ll learn a ton, and if you’re new to writing, his site, and all its links to other resources for writers, is a great place to start educating yourself about the road to publication. Nathan knows his shit, except for the fact that he rejected my query for my manuscript, Bastard Husband: A Love Story, over a year ago. Oh, Nathan, how could you???

There’s quite a fork in that road to publication these days, which is what Tuesday’s article was about. Because of all the reductions the publishing houses have been undergoing lately, they’re playing it safe, signing established authors and they're less likely to take a chance on new writers. That makes it harder for people like me, and so a lot of us are deciding to self-publish.

I’ve barely dipped my toe in the do-it-yourself waters, but I’m psyched as hell. I’ve been playing the "find an agent” game for almost two years now, with no success. Hmm… might that be because my manuscript isn’t any good? HELL NO! It’s awesome! Here is an excerpt. Want more? Just click the link the right sidebar.

Finding an agent who’s willing to represent you is a monumental achievement in itself, but securing representation is still no guarantee that the agent will, in fact, be able to sell your project to a publisher. Especially these days. So the more I learn about this crazy business, the more I’m convinced self-publishing is the way to go. I’ll keep you posted with a periodic “Road to Publishing” feature, and God willing, in just a few months I’ll have a book ready for your reading enjoyment!

And now for something completely different…

A reader contacted me about the picture in my pathetic Most Embarrassing Moment blog I posted on Saturday:

There is something wrong with your website. I keep clicking on the red “Censored” ribbon, but it won’t go away. You really need your webmaster to fix that.
My apologies and thank you for bringing that to my attention.

And finally, this is my 100th post! When I started this blog back in July, I had no idea how much fun I would be having with it, or how many wonderful friends I would make. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, and the sense of community that can be built through the blogsphere is amazing. I want to thank every single person who's someone found their way to this site and who keep coming back. If you've been shy about leaving a comment, can I take this opportunity to nudge you a bit? Just say hello, so I can give you a personal thank you.



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's still about love

I’m in love.

Yep, I’m in that crazy, euphoric, shout-from-the-rooftop stage of love that has to annoy the hell out of everyone. My friends, family and co-workers are no doubt sick to death of hearing me gushing like a teenager about my freakin’ awesome boyfriend, but frankly I don’t give a crap. Stick a fork in me, I’m done with dating—this one is it! And if you read this blog about my dating antics, you’ll be rejoicing right along with me.

I love this feeling! I love it when he takes my hand as we walk through a casino or puts his arm around me as we’re leaving a restaurant. I love it when he gives me flirty glances for all the world to see.

But I wonder… What it would be like if I couldn’t talk about him, much less gush like I do, without the risk of offending my audience? What if he couldn’t take my hand in public? Or show any more affection than he would to a casual friend? What if we couldn't get married even if we really, really wanted to?

In other words, what would it be like to be gay?

Not since Bjork’s feathered fiasco in 2001 have I cried during an Academy Awards ceremony, but last Sunday night Dustin Lance Black moved me to tears. Black, in case you don’t know, wrote the screenplay for Milk, the story of Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official, who was murdered in 1978. When I heard his acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay, I paused my DVR and grabbed my laptop to capture his poignant words.

“When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas, to California. I heard the story of Harvey Milk and it gave me hope. It gave me the hope that one day I could live my life openly as who I am and maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married.

“I want to thank my mom, who always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to. If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who’ve been told that they are less than my their churches or by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon—I promise you—you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.”
Yes, very soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

TMI Alert! (Mom, pass on this one…)

Last Thursday I put on a cute little dress and black tights, an outfit no doubt inappropriate for someone my age and a total “Glamour Don’t,” but I think I looked adorable, so who cares? Anyway, every time I left the ladies room at work I vigilantly checked that the back of my dress wasn’t tucked into my tights, distinctly remembering the time I waltzed down the hall at a previous job with my sundress stuffed into my underwear.

So. Not. Pretty. You have no idea how much I was thanking God I wasn’t wearing a thong that day. (Hey, I gave you the TMI alert.)

So I’ve been thinking a lot about embarrassing moments lately and then yesterday I nearly blew my Guinness all over my monitor laughing at this post by my blogging buddy Linda in Australia. Linda’s full-frontal bravery inspired me to reveal my own Most Embarrassing Moment Ever.

I have to preface this with some explanation. Stay with me.

When we were together, my (second) ex and I hiked almost every weekend. We took tons of pictures and, as a joke, while in the most remote areas of Wyoming, Utah and other parts of the West, I’d invariably pull up my shirt, flash him, and give him a big cheesy smile. Mature, I know. And yes, I fully expect the entire collection of boob shots will grace the Internet soon after the release of my book, Bastard Husband: A Love Story. That’s just the price I have to pay.

Anyway, I like to think BH and I have maintained a loving relationship since we divorced in 2003 (living in separate hemispheres makes it a lot easier). I should say our split was not due to lack of love or compatibility, but because after his thirteenth beer he’d turn into a, well… bastard. I’m sure even he would admit to that. But we’re good, and every couple of years he comes to the U.S. for a conference; last year he stayed with me here in Las Vegas for two weeks.

So one day I needed some alone time and decided to go Panera Bread, a large café near my apartment, to do some writing. The place was packed, but I found somewhere to sit. I flipped up my laptop, hit the “on” button, and then got in line to place my order.

Okay, so picture me returning to my seat, walking through the crowded restaurant with my excellent yoga posture and my Linda Lou confidence, smiling at everyone along the way…

Now imagine my reaction when I find that, as a joke, beloved BH had loaded this uncensored photo onto my laptop as my wallpaper, for all the world to see:

Yes, there I am at Mount Rushmore, in front of the four greatest U.S. presidents ever. And in front of everyone in Panera Bread--old people, families with young children, the guy smiling in the seat behind mine… everyone.

I could have died.

But as my Aussie friend Linda can tell you, that’s nothing compared to blowing a snot bubble out your nose during a job interview.

See? There’s always someone worse off than you are.

Oh, my blogging buddies bring me such joy! I love you all!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The dangers of living close to a blogger

Okay, so evidently my daughter wasn’t thrilled that I told the world she bought her wedding dress at The Deb. In case you haven’t seen the comment she left on last Thursday’s post, here it is:

Are we the Yankee-hippie version of Kath and Kim or what?

Although I’m sure it was written in jest, Courtney’s comment got me thinking about what it must be like to live in a blogger’s inner circle. Do my family and friends live in fear that it’s just a matter of time until I spill the beans on them?

And what about my boyfriend? I mean, what kind of balls does it take to be with someone who wrote a book entitled Bastard Husband: A Love Story? Does he shower me with affection and gifts because he loves me or to ensure against a poison pen?

What about you? Have you ever been angered by something written about you? Did you confront the writer or silently wish them a torturous demise?

Bloggers, have you ever gotten in trouble from something you wrote? Did you apologize or did you say, “Hey, if you weren’t such an a-hole, I wouldn’t have to write that stuff”?

Beloved boyfriend, are you the saint I believe you to be, or do you have your own "Lindalicious Exposed" blog out there that I’m just not aware of? God knows I give you enough material.

Monday, February 16, 2009

PERFECT wedding!

I’m posting a day early—I can’t wait to tell you about Courtney and John’s wedding. If you’re landing on my blog for the first time today, scroll down to last Tuesday and read up from there. It’s hard to believe my little hippie girl and her beloved pulled this off in 1 week’s time.

Everything was perfect! The festivities started, as planned, at 9:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at the Rensselaerville firehouse. This is what the bride and groom looked like 1 hour before their wedding. With them is Courtney’s son, Connor, whom John asked to be his best man. That gesture alone tells you why I’m so thrilled to have this guy as my new son-in-law.

After breakfast we all headed over to John’s parents’ house. Here’s Courtney and Connor just before the barefoot bride made her grand entrance. Quite the transformation, huh?

As planned, “Joanne the Buddhist from down the hill” performed the ceremony, and she did a fabulous job.

Her words were personal and meaningful, and we all had a laugh when Courtney got in John’s face after he started repeating his vows to Joanne instead of to her.

Laughter through tears of joy… it’s a beautiful thing.

John’s parents, Bill and Jeanette, live in their sailboat these days; they flew up from Florida for the big day. They’re lovely people—really, really cool—and can you believe they hadn’t even met Courtney until the night before the wedding?! Do you think they liked her?

Here’s the happy couple with the parents of the bride. I was afraid my dress would be a little too Wednesday Addams for a wedding, but this was clearly an “anything goes” event.

Cake and champagne followed. Note to those of you planning a wedding on a budget: When your guests fill up on a pancake breakfast at the firehouse, there’s no need to put out an elaborate spread.

Courtney: “I’m drinkin’ whiskey, so you know I’m not knocked up.”

Soon the guitars came out.

Courtney serenaded her groom with two of her songs, “One Rock, One Soul” and “Sweet Darling,” while he backed her up.

Oh, your sparkling eyes,
The way you say goodnight.
Hold me close, my dear
And whisper in my ear.
Two hearts, one rock, one soul…
Two hearts, one rock, one soul…

-- Courtney Blackwell Rice

As Courtney sang, John’s mother took my hand and as we watched our childern play together, I couldn’t imagine feeling any happier than I did at that moment. Kleenex, anyone?

As planned, that evening a bunch of us headed to the Palace Theater, a grand old venue in downtown Albany, to see Willie Nelson, who was backed by Asleep at the Wheel.

The newlyweds sat a few rows ahead of us, and I think I watched Courtney resting her head on John’s shoulder, his arm draped around her, more than the performers on stage.

What a perfect day. It’s amazing what you can pull off in just 1 week!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tomorrow's the big day!

Just a quick update...

I got into Albany last night right on schedule. My friend Tim picked me up at the airport and then he, his wife, Susan, and I headed out to Rensselearville, NY, a quaint little town in the Helderberg mountains about 30 miles outside of Albany. My future son-in-law's band, Red Haired Strangers, had a gig in the restaurant of the Rensselaerville Institute.

What a great scene! The place was packed--this was definitely the place to be in Rensselaerville on a Friday night--and the music was awesome.

A band with a pedal steel guitar, fiddle, and banjo... guys in flannel shirts, women with not a bit of make-up... Nope, we're not in Vegas anymore. I was really digging the small-town authencity. The 18 degrees outside--not so much.

So tomorrow's the big day: pancake breakfast at the Rensselaerville firehouse at 9:30, wedding in John's parents' living room somewhere around noon, and Willie Nelson concert at the Palace Theater in downtown Albany tomorrow night. Courtney and John are glowing.

Love is all around.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wedding Update

So here’s the latest on my daughter’s wedding. When I talked to Courtney Tuesday afternoon, she still didn’t have a dress and she had yet to secure anyone to perform the ceremony, which (call me crazy) seems kind of crucial. Especially when the wedding is five days away.

Thankfully, Tuesday night she called to say everything’s falling into place.

Courtney: “Hi, Mom. I got a dress. I found it at The Deb.
Me: “The Deb? As in the Deb Shop? I remember buying hip huggers there in 1972.”
Courtney: “Yeah, that store is totally not me, but my dress is perfect. And Joanne the Buddhist who lives up the hill said she’ll do the ceremony.”
Me: “Whew! Thank God for the Buddhist up the hill.”
How many times have you heard yourself breathing that sigh of relief? It’s practically cliché, right?

Courtney: “AND, this is the best part... John’s parents are flying up for the wedding!”
Me: “Great! I can’t wait to meet them.”
Courtney: “Yeah, so be good and don’t talk about boobs or anything.”
Alright, can I just say that boobs is not a topic I typically bring up when I first meet people? I talk about boobs in my comedy act, but believe it or not, I am socially cultivated enough to know that upon introduction to your daughter’s in-laws, it's not proper to open the conversation with boobs.

Me: "What about penises? I suppose they’re off limits, too?"
So what a relief; everything seems to be under control. I didn't hear from her yesterday, and if there were any snags, I would have known. But I know from experience that no matter how simple you swear it's going to be, there’s always something that can go wrong.

Let me tell you about my second wedding. The date was December 30, 2000. My now ex and I decided we’d have a small ceremony, just the two of us, during his winter semester break in the New Age sanctuary of Sedona, Arizona. It would be perfect.

This excerpt from my still to be published manuscript, Bastard Husband: A Love Story, tells the rest.

We applied for a marriage license over the Internet and found a metaphysical minister, also through the Internet, who agreed to marry us at four o’clock on the balcony of a hotel overlooking Sedona’s crimson sandstone towers. The morning of our nuptials we hiked through red rocks and afterward relaxed in the hot tub, sharing our intentions with a biker couple from Ohio who offered to be our wedding photographers. Now this is the way to get married, we bragged—no hassles, no stress.

When it came time to get ready for the ceremony, I showered and did my make-up and hair the way I always do; no need to make a fuss. I unzipped the blue plastic garment bag I had ever-so-carefully protected during our flight, and oblivious to the possibility there could be more than one blue plastic garment bag in my closet at home, took out… my daughter’s junior prom gown. As my fingers slid across Courtney’s navy satin dress, which would have been tasteful enough to wear for the occasion, I lamented more than ever that I was no longer a size 3. Fortunately, I didn’t have to get married in hiking gear; I’d packed a separate bag with a little cocktail dress, in case we went out for New Year’s Eve.

And so, the bride wore black.
That was probably a sign, huh?

I have no idea what I’m going to wear to this pancake breakfast/wedding/Willie Nelson event on Sunday. But I’ll be damn sure I take the right bag with me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

News flash!

OMG! (As the kids say.) No, make that OMFG!

Just last Thursday I blogged about how happy I am that my beautiful daughter, Courtney, is so much in love. I don’t know why I decided to write that post; for some reason I was thinking of them and was filled with joy. Then last Sunday afternoon Courtney called me.

Courtney: “Hi, Mom. John and I are getting married next Sunday.”
Me: “WHAT? Next Sunday? Like in seven days?”
Courtney: “Yeah, we’re gonna get married in his parents’ living room. We're just having the ceremony, then we’ll have a big party in June.”
Can’t say anything… a million questions going through my head.

Me: “Why Sunday? I mean, Valentine’s Day is Saturday.”
Yeah, that’s the question I picked to ask.

Courtney: “But the pancake breakfast is on Sunday.”
Me: “The pancake breakfast?”
Courtney: “In town here. We’re gonna get married and then everyone can go to the pancake breakfast.”
I should tell you, they live in a quaint little town outside of Albany. That evidently has pancake breakfasts. On Sundays.

Courtney: “Or maybe we’ll go to the pancake breakfast first and then get married.”
Me: “Um, yes... you could do that.”
Courtney: “And we’re going to Willie Nelson Sunday night. Isn’t that just perfect?”

In case you can’t figure it out, my precious angel is a bit of a free spirit. She’s an authentic peace-and-love flower child, a singer-songwriter who’s an equally talented artist. My little Joni Mitchell. Last summer they were casting hippie types to be extras in Ang Lee’s upcoming movie, Finding Woodstock. Yeah, they totally picked her.

Thankfully, I found a flight to Albany for only $308 round trip. I leave Vegas on Friday and come back on Monday. All my prayers have been answered lately, so I’d better not push it by asking for a heat wave. Or that nobody gross sits next to me on the plane.

Damn, I just wrote about them last week! Mother’s intuition? I am thrilled.

Here are a couple of new photos I snagged off Courtney’s Facebook. That’s Courtney and John, and my precious grandson, Connor.

Oh, what the hell is all that white stuff?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Grand Canyon Hummer Tour excellent adventure

It’s taken me long enough, but I want to tell you about the tour I took to the west rim of the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago through This is kind of a long post, so sit back and come along on this trip with me. No doubt those of you in the colder climates need a little escape!

My traveling companion made our arrangements and he told me a Hummer 2 would be picking us up at the Green Valley Ranch casino at 6:40 a.m. Because I’m freakin’ neurotic about being late for stuff, I stood at our prescribed meeting spot outside the movie theater entrance at 6:30 and took a couple of pre-dawn pictures while I waited.

At 6:43, I called my companion—again, because I’m neurotic—to see where the hell he was because, you know, he was all of three minutes late.

“I’m just getting out of the shower,” he told me. “I'll be there in 15 minutes.” I tried hard not to sound annoyed because it's a new relationship and all, but then he laughed and I could see him waving at me as he approached the casino. Very funny.

The Hummer 2 arrived a second later and our tour guide hopped out of the vehicle. “I’m Scott,” he said, offering his hand with a broad smile. Another couple was already in the vehicle, and they introduced themselves as Heather and Colin from Alberta, Canada. Immediately I thought they were nice as hell, but that may be because I just love Canadians.

Our guide gave us a broad overview of the day’s itinerary and within 20 minutes or so we were traveling over the Hoover Dam. Scott told us a little about the Hoover Dam Bypass Project and explained that we’d stop for photos on the way back.

About a half hour or so past the dam, we pulled into Rosie’s Den, a diner/roadhouse along Route 93 in Willow Beach, Arizona.

We stopped long enough to grab a coffee and peruse the authentic souvenirs from the Old West, like this Marilyn Monroe luxury plush blanket.

Back on the road, Scott told us we’d be taking a scenic shortcut through private property, thanks to an arrangement the tour company had with the land owners. The diversion would shave 15 miles off the trip, he said, and again, we could stop for pictures on the way back. As we drove along a bumpy dirt road through a beautiful Joshua tree forest, Scott told us about the wildlife we might see and pointed out many different types of plants. I don’t remember their names, but after asking our Canadian companions how many people actually live in the city of Alberta, one thing I won't forget is that Alberta is a province, not a city.

Scott fired up the theme from Bonanza on the Hummer’s stereo system, and as we rode along I realized two things: 1) I wouldn’t have experienced this cool shortcut if I hadn’t been on a tour, and 2) I should have opted for a small coffee at Rosie’s, instead of a large, since that bumpy road was started to tease my bladder.

Once through our shortcut, we were about 21 miles from the west rim, and had another 14 miles to go on a grated dirt road. Scott told us the road does quite a job on tires, and even if you had a rental car that you didn’t care about, the last thing you’d want is a problem out in the middle of nowhere. Another reason I was glad to be on a tour.

Just a couple of hours after our departure from Green Valley Ranch, we arrived at the west rim. Owned by the Hualapai Indian tribe and just 120 miles from Las Vegas, the west rim is much closer and considerably less crowded than the tourist-heavy south rim. We browsed through a gift shop and then took a shuttle bus to the Skywalk at Eagle Point. Maybe it’s because I’m not afraid of heights, but to me, the Skywalk actually looks a little more imposing in pictures than in real life.

It wasn’t scary at all, even though you’re almost 4000 feet above the Colorado River. They don’t let you take cameras onto the Skywalk, but that’s not the disappointment you might think; there are plenty of photo ops all over.

After the Skywalk we strolled around the Hualapai Indian village, though there really wasn’t too much to see except for some teepees and other structures that kind of had the same sense of authenticity as the aforementioned Marilyn Monroe luxury plush blanket. I’ve seen quite a few native American cultural demonstrations and they always leave me feeling sad. This one included.

We then took a shuttle to Guano Point, which was beautiful, even though “guano” means “bat shit” (my translation, not our guide's).

I should say there are no real hiking trails at the west rim. This is more of a “walk around and explore” type of place, and I was a bit surprised by the lack of guardrails at both Eagle Point and Guano Point. I’d probably be a wreck if I had my 10-year-old grandson with me, even though he’s a well-behaved little angel. Despite my years of ballet, I’m clumsy as hell, so I kept a cautious distance from the edge, even though it doesn't look it in this picture.

Scott gave us a choice of eating at picnic tables on the rim at Guano Point or we could have a cowboy cookout in the dance hall at the nearby Hualapai Ranch. Once he explained that the continuous sound of chirping birds was piped in to scare away the ravens, which evidently swoop down after your food while you’re eating, I spoke for all of us when I said, “Cowboy cookout—definitely!” With my bird phobia, I would have been a mental case eating out there.

Hualapai Ranch was a little hokey—with staged gunfights and that type of stuff—but it was a blast talking to the actors (I inquired about getting a job as a saloon girl) and the guy who performed card tricks was amazing. And the barbequed chicken, potatoes and glazed carrots hit the spot. Not many people opt for that part of the tour, Scott told us, but we had great fun and I would totally recommend it.

We drove back to Las Vegas the same way we came. I took a million photos in the Joshua tree forest, and as promised, we stopped for photos at the Hoover Dam.

A tour of the west rim is perfect if you want to see the Grand Canyon as a day trip from Las Vegas. Admittedly, it's not as dramatic, but I’ve been to the south rim many times and I’m telling you, it can be a nightmare to park and the crowds can be a real pain in the ass. Plus, the south rim is about 4-5 hours away, and the road up to the canyon from I-40 is borr-rring.

Our day was full, but not overly exhausting. The Canadian couple—Heather and Colin—became our new best friends, though maybe it would have been a drag if we got stuck with people who weren’t so fun. Scott was the perfect guide—knowledgeable, but non-intrusive, and though he’d probably done that gig a thousand times, he approached our tour with a sense of enthusiasm. The Hummer was comfortable and I think we were all happy to leave the driving to someone else.

Great fun!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

And my mom should be happy, too!

There’s a saying that a mother is only as happy as her least happy child. Maybe it’s a cliché by now, but I still think there’s a lot of truth to that. We worry about the kid who’s struggling, no matter how old they are, and when our children are joyful, we feel it as well—again, no matter how old they are.

Social media sites provide the forums for us to keep up with our grown kids’ activities—whether they're across town, across the country, or across oceans—and these days parents and their offspring “befriend” each other through MySpace and Facebook. If you read my recent blog on technology, you know that my son, Christopher, will have no part of this “craze,” but my Courtney is a little more techn-savvy, and so it’s easier for me to keep up with her. (She’s a total trip—here’s some required reading for the uninitiated. Warning: You’ll pee your pants from laughing.)

The other day I came across this picture of my precious angel and her boyfriend on her Facebook site.

I swear, I all but dropped to the ground and thanked God above when I saw this. Maybe it’s just me, but I think their compatibility and the love they have for each other jumps off the screen. Yay—what more can we ask for our adult children than to be totally, crazy in love?

Really, what would make a mother happier than that?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why football is gay

Anyone who knows me also knows I am a BIG proponent of gay rights. I have a beloved and quirky lesbian aunt and half my girlfriends have real-life girlfriends. Don’t forget my long-standing celebrity girl-crush on Beverly d’Angelo—how many times have I said I’d make the perfect (lipstick) lesbian?

I’m the first to admit I’m one of those super-annoying girly girls. I wouldn’t be caught dead without nail polish, and my toes are always painted a pretty shade of pink, even if no one sees them all winter. I put on lipstick to just to get the mail. I mean, look at my picture—I’m wearing a freakin’ tiara!

So never in a million years would I think I’d talk about football on my blog. In my opinion, there are only two sports: figure skating and gymnastics. And unlike the rest of the world, I sure as hell didn’t celebrate Super Bowl Sunday because football is so not me. It’s loud and, frankly, I just don’t get it. At least in basketball, when you make a basket, you get points. Baseball—you round home plate, you get a run. But football, with all those first downs and everything… I’ve had it explained to me, but it just never sinks in.

To me, the most puzzling mystery surrounding football is why so many super-manly macho men are into it in such a big way, especially since, well, obviously… Football is gay.

Oh, pull-eeeze… You have a bunch of guys making passes at each other in skin-tight pants, for Christsake! And what could be more gay than huddling?

Oh, I know: tackling. (You realize they’re tickling each other while they’re down there, don’t you?) Even after the player’s already on the ground, there’s always the guy who still has to jump on top of everyone, just for the sheer pleasure of diving into a pile of testosterone. (Not that I blame him—I probably would, too.)

Don’t get me going on all the hugging and ass patting that goes on in the end zone.

Of course, after the game they all take naked showers together and, to soothe those aching muscles, rub each other down with what else but Ben-GAY.

Even the names of the teams: the Rams… the Packers (ouch).

No doubt the Oilers left town and changed their name to the Titans for fear of being outed. Even the Cowboys and the Chiefs… tell me that doesn’t sound a little "Village People" to you.

It’s okay, guys. Women love gay men! Yeah, yeah, I know… most of you don’t play yourselves, you just like to watch.

Eeew… that’s just sick.