Monday, March 30, 2009

Update on my trip east

I know--Monday is not my usual blogging day, but I'm going to be traveling tomorrow and won't get a chance to post.

Lori and I left our sister Stacie's house in Fairfax, Virginia, early Sunday afternoon and headed north to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. On the way we stopped at the King-of-Prussia mall, where we met my blogging buddy Debbie Schubert and her husband, Chuck, for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. I hadn't met Debbie before, so it was a real treat to see her in person, and she and Chuck are absolutely adorable together. How wonderful that they've been married for over 25 years! It was such a joy to meet them. I'll post a picture once I get back to Vegas.

Beautiful Aunt Joyce is hanging in there. Cancer is such a pain because it seems once you get one thing under control, something else pops up. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, BAJ had brain surgery recently and the steroids they have her on are kicking her ass. Sucks.

She has such an unbelieveable attitude, though. Last night Lori and I were bitching about something or other and our Uncle John was ragging on Joe Biden, and then Lori said, "What about you, Joyce? Do you have something you want to complain about?" Poor Joyce just sat there trying to get comfortable in her recliner and said, "Oh no, I'm good."

One of the reasons I picked this weekend to come back east was that Lori told me Loretta Lynn was going to be at Penn's Peak, this awesome venue about a mile from BAJ and John's house, on March 30. We saw Little Feat there over Christmas; it's really a fantastic place. John picked up our tickets for us a couple of weeks ago, and all the way up from Stacie's we talked about what a freakin' treat it will be to see Loretta Lynn. Not that we're into country or anything, but for Christsakes, she's a legend! And Lori said John told her it was almost sold out, so how lucky were we? We were even bragging about it to Debbie and Chuck, and I'm missing my incredibly handsome boyfriend's birthday today, which I feel terrible about, but this just seemed like a good weekend to come back here.

So this afternoon Lori, BAJ, and I are sitting around, with BAJ nestled in her recliner. She had a rough morning; another doctor's appointment. It takes all her strength just to get up and out, and of course they did another biopsy because now they suspect skin cancer; one more thing to contend with once she gets her strength back. One of us mentioned that we'd better check and see what time Loretta Lynn goes on tonight and then John yelled in to us from the other room.

"GIRLS! We have a problem. These tickets are for Friday, March 20."
Ever the optimist, I wondered why they would have printed the wrong date on the tickets. I mean, that would be weird, right? They never print the wrong dates on tickets.

Um, the show was 10 days ago. John picked up the tickets on March 19, the day before the concert. That's why it was almost sold out.

Lori, Joyce and I laughed our heads off--the kind of cracking up where you think you might cough up a lung. My head was actually hurting from laughing so hard. Lori felt terrible for screwing up the date, but it's all good. It was worth it to see Beautiful Aunt Joyce get such a kick out of us; she seemed so down after her appointment. We had a great afternoon looking at old pictures of the family and the truth is, I'd rather spend the extra time hanging out here. Every minute with BAJ is a gift.

Tomorrow morning Lori and I drive up to Albany; I fly back to Vegas at 6:00. Hopefully I'll get to see my kids and grandson before my flight.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers for Joyce--so very appreciated! I wish I could meet each one of you and thank you personally.


P.S. Just had this conversation with Lori:

Lori: "What are you doin' Linda Lou? Blogging?"
Me: "Yeah, I'm putting up my post since we'll be on the road tomorrow."
Lori: "Well, good thing you didn't have anything else to do tonight."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

On the road again...

Short post today. I'm at my sister Stacie's house in Fairfax, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C. I got in last night around midnight; my sister Lori drove down from Albany yesterday. We'll have a brief visit with Stacie and her family, and tomorrow we're driving up to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, to see Beautiful Aunt Joyce.

BAJ has been fighting cancer and all the related crap that goes along with it for a few years now and has been through how many rounds of radiation, chemo, blah, blah, blah... A few weeks ago she had surgery to remove a brain tumor and it seems that the recovery from that has been the most challenging. Can I just say I fucking hate cancer. I can't believe that with all the friggin' geniuses walking around, no one has been able to figure out how to get rid of it. For good.

BAJ is a young aunt; she's only 12 years older than me. Trust me when I tell you she's the nicest person on earth--not a foul-mouthed, center-of-her-own-universe type like me. She has a master's in divinity and was a pastor at her church for many years before she became too ill to keep up with the responsibilities of her position. A pastor. In my family!

So Lori and I will be up there to see her tomorrow, and then Tuesday morning we'll be driving up to Albany. Hopefully I'll get to see my kids and grandson for a bit before I fly back to Vegas that evening. I should get in around midnight, and then it's back to work in the cubicle at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

So it doesn't look like I'll be able to post Tuesday since I'll be on the road, but if I can put something up before then, I will. In the meantime, any thoughts, prayers, and positive vibes you can send to our Beautiful Aunt Joyce will be very much appreciated.

Thanks so much. I love you all.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Maybe I should take the bus

I forgot to tell you—I got stopped by the cops again. This is the fourth time that’s happened in the almost six years I’ve lived here, and each time I was pulled over on the same stretch of highway within a mile or two from home.

The first time was because I started to get off at an exit and then realized it wasn’t, in fact, my exit, so I pulled a lane switcharoo that apparently wasn’t safe.

“What do you call that?” the cop asked.

Honesty is supposed to be the best policy, so I said, “I call that… ‘Not my Exit’” and then smiled and gave him a single, deliberate nod. It worked; he scolded me a bit, but let me go. That little incident inspired a line for my comedy act:

I admit I’m a shitty driver. Thank God I never get in accidents… but I hear them happening behind me.”
The next two times happened about a month apart. I was stopped each time because my registration sticker had expired. Actually my car was registered, I just forgot to put the little sticker on the plate and so both times they let me go. I know... you’d think that after the first time, I would have just put the damn sticker on, but I kept forgetting.

The second registration sticker cop pulled me over right in front of my apartment complex and that guy had a bit of an attitude. In his defense, I think he might have been following me with his lights on for miles and I just didn’t notice and that’s why he was a little exasperated. Now I point the rearview mirror out the back window, not at myself, which makes it a little more difficult to check my lipstick while I drive. Yeah, I know.

The last time I got pulled over was a few weeks ago (I think by the same cop). Traffic on the highway was all backed up and my exit was right there, and okay, I admit I kind of crossed some lines from the on ramp merging onto the highway, but what the hell? I got into my exit lane prematurely—that’s it. It’s not like I was speeding or ran a red light.

This time I got a ticket I was pissed! I so wanted to ask, "Evidently all the child molesters are in jail? All the cold case files have been solved? That's why you cops are free to pursue crappy drivers like me?" But for once in my life I kept my mouth shut.

So I’m telling my mother about getting pulled over yet again in my beloved 13-year-old Saturn with a dent on the roof. And what does she say? What kind of support does she offer?

Mom: “I bet the cop was surprised you could speak English.”
So now I have to go to court in May. The ticket says I must appear—I can’t just mail it in—and the cop said it would probably cost me about $200. Great. Now I have to find something to wear; I have no cute court outfits.

Looks like I’ll be taking another trip to Ross. I'd better take the side streets.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More about last weekend

So I still have a couple of other things to tell you about last weekend. First, look at this picture I took of my car's odometer.

Only 1,100 miles to go until 200,000! If you haven’t already read my post about my awesome car, click this link immediately to read about the greatest vehicle on earth.

Not to brag or anything (because I know you’re all so jealous), but I am so freakin’ excited about hitting this 200,000 mile mark. We have people who come to our office to wash our cars while we work, and when my little Saturn hits the big milestone, I am totally gonna spring for a car wash. Yeah.

Another thing about this weekend: I went to my first Mensa meeting.

I’ll let that sink in a minute…

Yes, I was a guest. BAH-HA-HA! Did I have you fooled?

Everybody was really nice and not like all, “What the hell is she doing here.” People were just talking about stuff and I was psyched to hear one lady say that she, too, likes Kath and Kim. So now you know what the smart people watch.

I was almost a member of Mensa a few years ago when I lived in Utah. One day I got the mail and I couldn’t believe it when I saw an envelope with a return address that said, “The Mensa Institute.” I remember thinking, how did they find me? It was addressed specifically to me, not my brainiac husband, which I thought was kind of odd because he was the one with the Ph.D.

“Hey, look what I got in the mail,” I said, waving the unopened envelope in front of him. “The Mensa Institute wants me!”

He took the envelope from me and gave it a look. “Mesa,” he said. “The Mesa Institute wants you.”

I grabbed the envelope back from him and sure enough, it was some stupid Mesa Institute looking for a donation. Dammit!

Okay, so I wasn't almost a member of Mensa. But I still got to go to a Mensa meeting this weekend. That should count for something.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Great weekend (Part 1)

See, I told you I’d post a little extra something since my Saturday blog was full of info for writers. Aren't I nice? Seriously, if you knew me in real life, you'd think I'm nice as hell. Or you'd think I'm an a-hole. Definitely one of the two.

Anyway, I had the greatest weekend! I darted out of work Friday like my ass was on fire and headed straight to this new shopping plaza on Lake Mead Blvd. in Henderson that I love, love, love. I absolutely hate to shop, but this plaza has a Target, a Marshall’s, a Famous Footwear, and a Ross Dress for Less (opening soon), so this place is like heaven to me.

I can’t wait for the new Ross to open! I love Ross—look at these four cute tops I bought at the store on Eastern and Serene last week. Total cost: $35.

I swear, I should be in a 12-step program for cute Ross tops; I have about 40 in my closet, arranged according to color. If I’m having a bad day or feeling the slightest bit depressed, I just head to Ross and pick up a new top for $7.99 and everything is back to being perfect!

So after work on Friday, I struck gold at Famous Footwear, where I found these Steve Madden Girl wedges. How freakin’ cute are these? Plus, I’m like 5’8” in them, which of course makes me look soooo much thinner. Seriously, that’s how heels work—it’s like magic! (P.S. My ankles are not that fat in real life; it's just the angle of the camera.)

Then Friday night my super cute and sexy BF and I went to a party at the MGM Grand by invitation of my beloved blogging buddy Hurricane Mikey. They had a very cool suite with a balcony, which was awesome, but the best part was that everybody there was like the nicest person on earth--Mikey's peeps are as awesome as he is! I got to meet some of Mikey’s family, including his sister Amy, who got married Saturday at the Special Memories Wedding Chapel. Amy is an absolute doll, plus she’s a Deadhead, which I love because you don’t get to meet many Deadheads in Vegas. Personally, I love the Dead, and can’t hide my amusement when I forget to put my cell phone on vibrate at work and “Uncle John’s Band” emanates from my cubicle. Yeah, then I’ll wonder why they chose me for random drug screening…

I also got to meet some of Mikey’s blog readers who follow my blog now, too. OMG, what a thrill! People seem to love the Courtney stories! Here I am with Drew from Wisconsin. He was really, really nice and has amazing calves, which you can’t see here, from doing step aerobics.

Whew! I’ll tell you about the rest of my weekend on Tuesday. It’s all good!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

For all the writers out there

Today’s post is for all the writers out there. I know that this is probably boring stuff for normal people, so I’ll tell you what… I’ll put up a little something else before my next scheduled post on Tuesday that will be more of general interest. Fair enough? I aim to please.

I’m not sure if I told you that I had another one of my essays published recently in a collection of stories about grandmothers. The book is called Patchwork Patch: Grandma’s Choice and it’s put out by Choice Publishing Group. My essay, “Till the End” is about visits with my grandmother while she was under home hospice care.

Here’s the first paragraph:

In our family we reproduce young. My grandmother was 45 when I came along, my mother was 43 when my first child was born, and I became a grandmother at 41. If the pattern continues, my daughter will be so blessed at age 39, at which point we’ll have to move to Appalachia and start handing out banjos.
I know—everything has to be a joke.

This is the fourth time I’ve had something published. Last fall one of my essays was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery and two excerpts from Bastard Husband: A Love Story have been included in Writers Bloc I and II: A Las Vegas Valley Authors’ Showcase.

I know many of you are writers, and maybe for some of you, it’s been a twinkle in your eye to write something someday, but you have yet to act upon. I want to tell you about a few story call outs for some upcoming publications that you may want to consider contributing to. Consider this a gentle nudge. (None of these have an entry fee or reading fee.)

Choice Publishing Group is looking for original stories and essays from 250 to 2000 words about friendship. Each submission will be reviewed and considered based on creativity, originality, concept, and style. The deadline for submissions is March 31. (Hurry, that’s soon.) For more information, including complete submission guidelines, visit Patchwork Path: Piecing Together Our Lives online at

Ultimate HCI Books is requesting photo and story submissions for two upcoming titles. The Ultimate Runner will feature true stories from beginning runners to Ironman veterans. The Ultimate Bird Lover will feature stories celebrating what’s good, challenging, and downright funny about these “angels with wings.” (Yeah, I think I’ll pass on that one…) Go to for format and submission guidelines. Deadline for both is June 15; books will be published in November.

The Chicken Soup for the Soul series is looking for a variety of submissions. Check out their website and pick a title. Just do it!

Compensation for stories is typically between $50 and $200, but of course money is not the motivation. It’s a kick to see your stuff in print, and if you’re querying agents, it’s nice to have a couple of publications under your belt.

Speaking of agents… The Las Vegas Writers Conference is just around the corner! Held from April 16 – 18 at Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, the conference is chock full of workshops on all aspects of writing and publishing, plus you’ll have an opportunity to personally pitch your project to agents. Check the conference website for schedule and full details. I’ll be presenting sessions on “How to Get the Most Out of a Writers Conference” and will be a panelist for a session on blogging. This intimate (attendance is limited) conference is always great fun and is a fantastic place to network with other writers.

So there you go. Now get writing!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Three things…

I have three totally unrelated things to tell you today, with no segue ways between topics. Sorry.

First, 10 years ago today my father died of a massive heart attack while on vacation in Florida with his girlfriend, Pat. It was about 6 a.m. on a Friday morning when my sister Lori phoned to tell me the news. I remember the call like it was yesterday—I was in a hotel room in Shelton, Connecticut, where I’d been working for GE. Lori relayed the details as she knew them and told me that Pat had signed off to have his corneas donated.

After I got off the phone, I mechanically packed up my things, going through the motions as one does when they’re in that type of surreal state. I then went down to the hotel lobby to check out, and you’ll never believe what song was playing on the radio as I stood at the front desk.

It was Eric Clapton’s “Looking Through My Father’s Eyes.”

Is that freaky or what?

Next, I want to share a beauty tip. Totally unrelated—I told you. You know what I’ve been using on my skin lately and I swear to God it’s noticeably softer? Good old fashioned Gold Bond Lotion. I mix it with Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar (cream or lotion) because I like the scent, but it’s the Gold Bond that’s keeping my skin soft. And—I don’t know if this is related—the eczema breakouts I used to have stopped since I’ve been using it.

I know—we should be sharing beauty tips more often. (I can see Hurricane Mikey rolling his eyes now.)

Here’s the last thing I want to tell you…

My ex is on the friggin’ warpath because he caught wind that my book is getting closer to becoming a reality. He shot me several nasty emails yesterday, each with liberal use of the C word. He thinks I’m out to “fuck up his entire life” and I’ll be ruining his chances of ever finding a girlfriend.

Certainly, I’d have been spared untold headaches and heartaches had an ex-girlfriend written this book before I got to him. And note to anyone (male or female) who gets stinkin' drunk and obnoxious and pours water on their spouse at 3 a.m. while they sleep: Don’t think your actions will always stay a dirty little secret.

Or… should they stay a secret? Should I reconsider this project? Tell me what you think. I assure you, ruining his life was never my intention. I never mention his name in the book, and I’m going to make some changes that will obscure his identity a bit, but I realize it wouldn’t take a genius to piece things together.

So what is my intention? By sharing my experiences in this book, I know I will help other women gain perspective into their own lives. That’s my intention. And aside from that, the book is really funny; my goal is to entertain and inspire. Am I looking to cash in from all this? Hardly. Though if the book takes off, that would be a sign that there’s a need in the marketplace.

I really am sorry about this, on so many levels. I wish none of that bullshit ever happened. The most damning thing I say about him in the book was in the excerpt I posted last Saturday. BTW, I wrote this in response to a comment someone made about the Bastard Husband: A Love Story title. In case you haven’t seen it:

I can't tell you how many times I've reconsidered that title, and for two reasons: 1) the book is more about my post-divorce journey than it actually is about my ex (though certainly reflections on that relationship are threaded throughout) and 2) the title, as you've say, implies bitterness. That said, I've decided to stay with it for one huge reason: the title gets attention. People remember it. It came to me one morning in the pool area of the Ramada Inn in St. George, Utah, where I'd spent the previous night due to an episode like the one in the excerpt from last Saturday. I sat in a lounge chair thinking, "What a bastard, but I love him." That's when I thought I had the makings of a book.
Hmm…. Lots of stuff here. Tell me what’s on your mind. Was the Clapton song a message from beyond or just a crazy coincidence? What's your beauty secret? And if you were me, what would you do about the ex?

Let me know!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

If you could change anything about yourself...

One of the last times I was back in Albany, my sister Lori and I went out for a few beers with our childhood friend Chuckie Bell. At one point he asked, “If you could change something about yourself—anything at all—what would it be?"

That was a no-brainer. “MY HAIR!” I exclaimed.

I have fine, thin, limp, crappy hair that flattens to my head about 30 seconds after I turn off the blow dryer. The actress Molly Shannon, star of my guilty pleasure Kath and Kim, once said, “I was born with three hairs on my head and I’ve spent my entire life trying to make them look like five.” I can so relate! Believe me, I thank God every day for a pretty face and a hot body, but at this age it’s about five minutes to midnight as far as they go, if you know what I mean. Pretty soon I’ll be SOL.

Lori went next and said something like, “I wish I could be more tolerant of other people.” Chuck’s answer was equally annoying.

Jesus, I thought. How freakin’ superficial am I? Yup, other than my hair, I pretty much have it all together. Sure, I’m the center of my own universe, I have absolutely no patience, I’m quick to judge, and when people don’t see things my way, I secretly think they’re mildly retarded. And I wish I could change… my hair? What an a-hole.

What about you? If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be? And be honest—give us your knee-jerk reaction; don’t go thinkin’ up some goody-goody Pollyanna response unless that’s really what comes to you. Though in that case, you're much too nice to be reading this blog.

Oops! I almost forgot...

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!! Lori sent me this pic of herself and her husband, Russ, taken at the parade in Albany last Saturday. Don't they look like fun?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rejections no more… and a timely excerpt

Last week I received another rejection letter for my manuscript, Bastard Husband: A Love Story. As rejections go, it was a really nice one.

Hi Linda,

I received your sample manuscript and enjoyed reading it very much. You have a great voice, and I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions. Unfortunately, with today's difficult publishing market, we don't think our agency would be able to get your book the attention it deserves.

Best of luck,
Well, I wasn’t disappointed—rejection is part of the game—and actually, by the time I heard from her, I’d pretty much decided to self-publish. Having an agent say she liked my work, but can't do anything with it because of the state of the industry sealed the deal for me. Now it’s full steam ahead. I’m psyched; this is going to happen, and it’s not going to take forever. I've received my last rejection.

For those of you considering self-publishing, I’ll keep you informed of the steps I take along the way. I'm still very early in the process. So far I bought two domains: (can you believe that was available?) and I’m going to push traffic to; the longer URL will be directed to that one. Tomorrow I meet with Gregory Kompes, who’s going to do the internal design (fonts and layout), and possibly the cover. Next week I’m going to purchase my ISBNs and set up an LLC to establish my own publishing company, which will be called “Aging Nymphs Publishing.”

I think my regular readers are going to like my book. I really do. However, some people are going to hate it, and hate me. I expect that and won’t be forcing anyone to buy it.

Anyway, this week as I’ve been doing my final, final, final editing, the media’s been full of stories about Chris Brown’s alleged (!) attack on Rhianna. Watching Larry King and Oprah this week, along with rereading my pages, brought back some uneasy memories. I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been stated about that case and the problem it represents. I'll take a more personal approach to putting in my two cents by posting a couple of pages from my book.

I know this is the one piece of my story that my ex would rather I didn’t release for the world to see, though I don’t think he disputes the veracity of my account. Certainly my intention is not to embarrass him; I have no doubt that he was sorry for his actions that night (as well as others), and I’ll emphasize that he was never physically threatening.

So what is my intention? I'd like to think that if any woman recognizes herself in my words, she'll know she's not alone and will have the strength to remove herself from the situation. I'm particularly hoping one young friend of mine sees this and finally does what she should have done long ago and gets the hell out.

This is not fiction; it’s a memoir. And a memoir reflects an author’s representation of the truth, as remembered through the filter of the author’s own experience. This is how I remember one night back in 2002.

My heart raced as I waited for the Laramie police to arrive. Oh, God, did I do the right thing? I wondered. Maybe he’s not as bad as I thought.

I met the two female officers at the front door and closed it behind me. “I think everything’s under control now,” I said, shivering in the overnight chill. “I probably don’t need you after all.”

“Where is he now, ma’am?” the taller woman asked. I’d put her at about five-foot three. Talk about a small police department. Good thing I didn’t fear for my life.

“In the basement,” I replied. “There’s a little room with a couch. He’s settling down now. I probably didn’t need to call. I’m sorry to bother you.”

“We’d like to speak to him, ma’am,” the other one said.

I could tell they had no intention of leaving, so I let them into the house and led them through the kitchen to the stairs.

“Why don’t you stay here,” one of them advised in a question that wasn’t a question. The two of them trudged down the steps and after a moment, the blasting Iron Maiden CD shut off mid-scream.

I remained in the kitchen, mentally trying to justify the call. I kind of expected a blowout that night, since the day marked the last day of classes. He was particularly vulnerable when something came to an end, whether it was the semester, a paper he’d written for an academic journal, or sometimes simply the end of the week. All ends seemed to lead to the deep end.

I knew the pattern well. The beers in the first stage of intoxication inspired brilliant philosophical revelations, invariably related to harness racing or the stock market. During Stage Two, he loved me deeply, and would even wake me from a sound sleep to profess his adoration. “I’m the luckiest guy, babe,” he’d say. “You’re the woman for me. You understand me.”

And then there was Stage Three.

Somehow between the eighth and tenth beers the most perfect woman on earth inexplicably morphed into a white trash whore who should be eternally grateful to be married to an amazing guy like him. He would sometimes accompany the tirade with a peculiar, and extremely annoying, practice of pouring water on me in bed. Water doesn’t leave a mark, but believe me, it can scar.

Often when events began to unfold like that, I’d leave before the situation got too ugly. But on that night I wanted to sleep in my own bed. I’d already taken my contacts out and wasn’t up to facing a puzzled front desk clerk remarking on the fact that I was checking into a motel three blocks from my house.

I should have left anyway; I should have recognized the new level of aggression, the way he followed me around, pressing his weight into me and shouting, “You can’t control me!” “You fucking bitch!” and other selections from his greatest inebriated hits. He’d never been physically violent, but the behavior that night scared me. I didn’t want to risk what could happen if his mood escalated. Mostly I worried he might accidentally shove me into something or send me flying down the very cellar stairs I’d fantasized about finding his drunken ass at the base of. I thought I was right to call the police. Maybe not.

I listened hard at the top of the stairs, but heard only muffled conversation. What the hell could they be talking about? He’s probably giving them stock tips.

The women finally made their way back upstairs. I half expected them to tell me he’s the greatest guy and I should be thankful to be his wife.

“He’s going to stay down there tonight,” the smaller one reported. “I think he’ll be asleep soon. I doubt you have anything to worry about.” She handed me a card with her name and badge number. “I’ve circled a referral on the back for Project SAFE. They can help you if you need a place to stay. I think you’ll be okay for tonight, but you’ll have the number in case you need it in the future.”

A police officer just gave me a referral to a women’s shelter.

“You know, I have a master’s degree…” I wanted to say. Instead, I took the card and muttered, “Thank you.”
This excerpt shows the “bastard” side. I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved him.

Questions? Comments?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Something borrowed

Well, I talked to new bride/new 30-year-old/precious daughter, Courtney, on Monday, her birthday. She and her husband are on their honeymoon down South. When we spoke she was in Wilmington, North Carolina; their ultimate destination is Vero Beach, Florida, where they’ll be meeting up with John’s parents on their houseboat.

Remember her wedding last month? Remember how she got this beautiful dress from The Deb, of all places? (Evidently it’s a very uncool place to shop if you’re over 15.)


Courtney: “So you know my wedding dress?”
Me: “Of course, sweetie. You looked so beautiful.”
Courtney: “Yeah, well, I brought it back to The Deb.”
Me: “You brought it back? What do you mean?
Well, you see that satiny sash around her 23-inch waist? Evidently the price tag of the dress is hidden under there. Evidently that was the plan all along.

Courtney: “I knew I was never gonna wear it again, so I thought what the hell, I’m gonna return it.”
Me: “You brought back your wedding dress?”
Courtney: “Hell, yeah! I told them it didn’t fit and they totally gave me my money back. A hundred and fifty bucks! Woo-hoo!
Over the phone, she couldn’t see my eyes rolling back to my cerebellum. But I have to admit, her reasoning is sound…

Courtney: “You know what they say, Mom. ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed… Well, I borrowed my dress from The Deb.”
And evidently her underwear was blue.

If the TV execs don’t go for my reality show idea, which is brilliant, by the way, perhaps I can interest them in the Yankee-hippie version of Kath and Kim. We are so there.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tonight on Aging Nymphs: Procrastination

Tonight on our Internet radio show, my sister Lori Biker and I will be talking about “Procrastination: Ten Things You Should Know.” Procrastination is a self-sabotaging behavior that keeps us from achieving our goals. About 20 percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators—are you one of them? What do you procrastinate about?

Leave a comment here and we’ll discuss it, or call in tonight at 11 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Pacific. Just go to and you’ll see the call-in number on the screen. The technology’s been a little unpredictable lately, so if you don’t connect the first time, keep trying.

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My great idea for a reality show

Did I ever tell you my brilliant idea for a reality show? If anyone knows a TV executive, maybe you could pass this on. We’ll split the royalties.

Okay… you know that TV show Little People, Big World on TLC? It's a reality show about two "little people" who have a family of four kids and one of them, named Zach, is a little person, too. Well, I feel sorry for Zach, but not because he's a dwarf. (By the way, that’s the politically correct term—not midget—even though “dwarf” sounds a hundred times more offensive, don't you think? I saw the little person father on Oprah and he said that midget is the "M word." News to me; I always thought the M word was "marriage.")

I digress...

Anyway, the reason I feel sorry for Zach is because he's the only kid in the family who, let's face it, can't beat the crap out of his parents. And you know damn well that's exactly what his "traditionally sized" siblings are doing once the cameras stop rolling. I guarantee you, the mom and dad are covered with bruises; you just don't see them because of makeup.

I mean, can you imagine having parents two feet smaller than you?

"Curfew? I think not! Do my homework? No, YOU do my homework. And clean my room while you’re at it or I will drop-kick your ass into the next yard.”
Oh, the possibilities...

So anyway, here's my brilliant idea: A reality show that follows a family with Tourette's syndrome. And I don't mean the boring kind of Tourette's with the random tics and annoying grunts and flailing of the head—no, my reality show family uncontrollably blurts obscenities and vulgarities. They have the entertaining kind of Tourette’s.

And here's the twist: Unlike the Little People family where all the kids are normal except one, this show will have only one kid who is normal and we'll feel sorry for that kid because while his brothers and sisters are calling their parents sh*t-head motherf*ckers right to their faces with absolutely no consequences whatsoever, the poor "verbally appropriate" kid has to bite his tongue to the point where, in the season finale, he actually bites it off.

OMG, are you as excited about this as I am?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Honoring the paths of others

I often tease and say that my daughter, Courtney, is responsible for every gray hair on my dyed head, but the truth is, she was always a good kid. Sure, when she was little she once screamed, “You’re so mean, you should be a STEPmother!” And, of course, the high school years were a bit trying.

Me: [bending over in the kitchen]
Courtney: “Eeeewwww! When I get old, is my ass gonna be that fat?”
Me: “If you’re lucky.”

And the day I found her clipping her toenails in my unmade bed—her revenge for some restriction I imposed on her teenage lifestyle—is forever etched in my brain. Quite honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive her for that one.

On Monday, my baby turns 30. Courtney’s a strong-willed free spirit (I don’t know where she gets it from), but nonetheless, she’s still a good kid.

Last year the two of us celebrated her birthday in Oregon. She’d fled the wintry Northeast and was crashing for a couple of months at a girlfriend’s house in Bandon-on-the-Sea, a tiny little seaside town a couple of hours southwest of Eugene, and I flew up from Vegas for the weekend to be with her. Bandon is absolutely beautiful; I could certainly understand why anyone would want to live there, and as we walked along the rocky beach, I found myself fantasizing about I might be able to swing a relocation as well.

But Courtney wasn’t living in reality, not in my motherly opinion. I could understand that she was going through one of those crappy times of life where nothing comes together, but I felt she’d downright abandoned from her life back east. Just ran away from it all to spend her days combing the beach looking for agates. She had no job and no source of income, save for the little money she made playing gigs in the local coffeehouse. Forget health insurance.

I was not a happy mommy, and when I wasn’t biting my tongue, I was fighting the urge to smack some sense into her. I tried to be good. This was her birthday weekend; I wanted to keep it pleasant. But again, “Every gray hair on my dyed head...”

The morning of Courtney’s birthday we walked the beach together and then the two of us and her friend, Cyndi, went into town. I bought a funky bag at “the gypsy lady’s shop” and at another cool little store, Courtney bought a skirt she fell in love with. How the hell do you have money to buy a skirt? I thought, but again, I bit my tongue. I would have sprung for it, since it was her birthday and all, but I’d already spent a fortune that weekend and I already gave her $200 toward an eye exam and new contacts (no insurance, remember?)

Courtney changed into her new skirt right away and since it was a beautiful spring day, she thought she’d take her guitar down to the pier and play for tips. I sat about 30 feet off to the side, enjoying the sun on my face, listening to her sing. Soon a couple of young teenage boys came along. They got off their bikes and sat cross-legged in front of Courtney, giving her their full attention. At the end of the song, they clapped and put a little something in her open guitar case.

“Thank you!” she said sweetly, straightening her new skirt. “Today is my birthday.”

The boys asked how old she was and they were surprised to hear she was 29; one said he thought she was 18. After a while, Courtney started strumming her guitar again.

“Do you know this song? If you do, you can sing with me,” she told them.

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are gray
The boys chimed in.

You’ll never know, dear
How much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away
At that moment, the disapproval I’d been suppressing all weekend completely dissipated. Poof! All I could see was perfection, the hallowed beauty of my child. The divine unfolding of the Universe right before my eyes.

Later that day Courtney drove me up to the airport in Eugene. The two-and-a-half hour drive gave us time to talk.

“Mom, why does life have to be so fucking hard?” she asked. “Sometimes, I swear, I wish I could just chill with Pop.” Pop, her paternal grandfather, passed away a few months before.

“We’ve all had times when our lives are in the shitter, honey,” I told her. I shared my remembrance of flying back from Albany one New Year’s Eve just after my last divorce, thinking, “If there was ever a good time for a plane to go down, now would be okay.”

Courtney remained in Bandon for about another six weeks before returning to Albany. If you’ve been following my blogs leading up to her wedding last month, you’ll know that things did, in fact, turn around for her, and in a big way. Fortunately, that’s how life goes; things have a way of turning around.

I’ve learned many lessons from my brief marriage to my second ex. Two in particular stand out: 1) You can’t tell anyone anything, and 2) People don’t always do what you want them to. That goes double for your kids. I’ve often said that the hardest part of being a parent is watching your children learn their lessons. We want our kids to get on track; we want life to cushion the bumps in their road. But we can’t.

A year later, I look back and I’m happy that Courtney got to spend that time in Bandon. She needed to get away; it was good for her soul. And what a beautiful soul it is.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Still no progress toward politically correct

Is it okay to generalize about a minority if you’re saying something good? I know you’re not supposed to slam an entire race of people, but if I'm spouting off positive stuff, then hell—shouldn’t the group in question simply take the compliment?

Whatever, I’ll just come out and say it: I love Jews. I do! When I lived in Wyoming and Utah, I swear, I met people who had never seen a Jewish person in real life. I was like, damn--you don’t know what you’re missing! They’re smart, they’re funny… what’s not to love? I’m generalizing, I know, but it’s true!

We had only one Jewish family in our neighborhood on Lincoln Avenue, where I grew up in Albany, but because I was in the “academically talented” classes in school, I had tons of Jewish friends. In eighth grade I became best friends with Joan Freedman—she was awesome! Joan had a medical excuse to get out of gym from a doctor whom her parents knew on a first-name basis. That right there gave me my first case of Jewish envy, which continues to recur every Christmastime.

Several months ago, I started to write a blog about the celebrities I wish I had as friends. Now, I’m talking friends here; don’t get this confused with my celebrity girl-crushes. (And we know who’s at the top of that list, don’t we, Beverly D’Angelo?) No, these are the top three women—who, of all the celebrities on earth—I would most want to be friends with. And guess what? They all happen to be Jewish.

The first one is Susie Essman, who plays the most foul-mouthed character in television history on Larry David’s show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Watch this You Tube video and tell me you don’t want to party with her.

Then there’s Judge Judy. Anyone who writes a book entitled Don’t Pee On My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining is alright with me. See, that’s why I love Jewish women--there’s no bullshit with them; you never have to wonder where they’re coming from. If Judge Judy were president, or even first lady, this country would not be in the mess it is now, I guarantee.

You may not know my third fantasy friend. That’s Teresa Strasser, from the Adam Carolla radio show. The show was cancelled a couple of weeks ago as a result of corporate cutbacks, and now the economy has officially pissed me right off. You can still hear Adam on his free daily podcasts, but still, it’s not the same.

Anyway, Teresa’s a young girl—younger than my kids even—and she’s a super talented writer. And I bet you anything she’s a sweet person in real life. Probably because she had a black stepfather; you don’t see the Jewish/black combination very often, so you know she must be special.

Anyway, Teresa and I are MySpace friends, and a while back on one dateless Friday night after a few beers, I sent her an email saying we could totally be BFFs. (I think that was the same night I wrote to Oprah.) For some reason I also mentioned my unhealthy infatuation with Denis Leary—you know those alcohol-induced confessions—and Teresa graciously wrote back and said, yeah, she could totally do Denis Leary, too.

BFFs. Definitely.

I’d better end it here.

Coming soon: Why I love Canadians, eh?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Those 25 things

I’m a little late getting on the “25 Random Things About Me” bandwagon that’s been going around Facebook. My Blogging Buddy Julie and her son, Jordan, were written up in their local newspaper about their participation in this phenomenon. I resisted for a while, but okay, I’ll play along at the risk of boring you to tears. These fascinating facts aren’t worth the screen they’re displayed on, but I’ll try to make it interesting.

1. I am the oldest of five kids spread over 14 years. My mother and the girl next to me in French class were pregnant at the same time.

2. I had two kids when I was 21 and still finished my bachelor’s degree at 23.

3. I have never tried soy, sushi, yogurt, or guacamole simply because I don’t like the sound of them.

4. A few years ago, I came in second place in a pretty feet contest. It was held at a gas station.

5. I’m absolutely helpless. I can’t open a box of pasta without making a mess of it. If I were sitting next to emergency exit of that plane that landed on the Hudson River, everyone would have died.

6. I love men, but I would never, ever want to be one. Unless I were a rock star. Then I’d want to be Neil Young.

7. I have been to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 12 times. I’ll be there this year, too. So will Neil Young.

8. I totally admit that I’m a cross between Private Benjamin and Princess & the Pea. How doooo I stay single?

9. This morning I weighed 138.5. The most I weighed when I was pregnant was 139. Not good.

10. Regarding weight, a famous actress once said that as women age, at some point they’ll have to choose between their ass and their face because they’re not going to look good at the same time. I’m choosing my face.

11. From Day One, my mother told me I was soooo smart and soooo beautiful. That's why I have such high self-esteem; I didn't think she was lying.

12. When I was little, I asked my mother if the air was blowing the trees around or if the trees were moving and that’s what made it windy. She answered with, “Jesus Christ, what the hell kind of stupid goddamn question is that?” Maybe I wasn't that smart after all.

13. I have never had a day at work that was better than a day at home.

14. I regularly consult psychics. Prudence, my tarot card reader, is cheaper and more effective than a therapist.

15. I’ve been watching Guiding Light for over 30 years. My sisters and I used to go to NYC for their annual fan club gatherings. So queer! I don’t care--I love my soap.

16. I am easily annoyed. And I have zero patience. But I still think I’m nice as hell.

17. I took ballet lessons on and off into my mid-30’s. I’m so graceful, I could trip over the pattern in the carpet.

18. I have a sister I haven’t spoken to in three years, but I think of her every day.

19. When I meet people, I know I subconsciously give them extra points if they’re Jewish, Canadian, or gay.

20. My life’s purpose came to me one morning when I was meditating. “To help others access, acknowledge and accept their God-given talents and help them share those talents with the rest of the world.” Sounds corny as hell, but I do believe it’s true.

21. I believe in love at first sight. I believe it can happen more than once.

22. Sometimes to motivate myself to clean, I pretend Princess Di and JFK, Jr. came back to life and are coming over for dinner.

23. I am not very materialistic. I’ll prove it—take a look at my living room. And let’s not forget I drive a 13-year-old Saturn.

24. I used to go for younger men. Like at one point I had two kids and a boyfriend all in their 20’s. But in the past few years, I’ve much preferred guys within a couple of years of my own age.

25. I swear to God, I don’t think I’m any worse looking now than when I was younger. The only thing I hate about getting older is that I’m running out of time and I’m afraid I won’t be able to accomplish everything I want.

Yep, of everything that people should know about me, this is what I’m putting out there. Oh, my.