Thursday, April 30, 2009

You know I love Canadians, eh?

I’m about to make some sweeping generalizations about a whole country of people, but I think generalizing is okay if you’re doing it in a good way. And if you’re so politically correct you can’t handle generalizations of any kind, you don’t belong on this site in the first place. So buh-bye.

I love Canadians. Remember #19 on my 25 Random Things About Me post? I wasn’t kidding. Look at this couple I met back in January on that Hummer tour to the Grand Canyon.

That’s Heather and Colin, from Alberta. They were really nice. So nice that when I asked them how many people live in the city of Alberta, they didn’t even roll their eyes and say, “Alberta’s not a goddamn city, you stupid American.” No, they just chuckled politely. See? Canadians are nice.

Canadian cities are awesome! So far I’ve been to Montreal, Toronto, Victoria, and Vancouver—all fabulous. Others I’d love to go to are Ottawa, Quebec City, Calgary, and Alber… ha! Alberta’s not a city.

Canada also seems to produce amazing musicians. One day I was looking through my CDs (yes, I still have CDs) and I noticed I have a disproportionate number by Canadian artists. Then I realized--holy cow!--most of my very favorite artists are Canadian.

This Sunday I’ll be front and center at the main stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to see one the coolest guy on earth, Neil Young. (See #6 on the aforementioned list.) He’s Canadian—born in Ontario. And earlier this month you may have read my post about the trip the BF and I took to see Leonard Cohen. He’s from Montreal.

Originally from Quebec, Daniel Lanois is a name that isn’t widely recognized—he’s know only to incredibly cool people like moi—but I bet you’re familiar with his work. As a producer, he worked on a bunch of U2’s CDs, including The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. He’s also produced many, many fine musicians including Dylan, the Neville Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel, and more.

I got to meet Daniel Lanois after a show at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock (fantastic venue) back in 1993. DO NOT tell him this, but I thought his handshake was… kind of weak. I feel bad saying that because he was really nice. Who cares, anyway? He did the music for one of my favorite all-time movies, Slingblade, and his debut CD, Acadie, is my “desert-island” CD. It’s also a great make-out-on-the-couch CD, too. I’m not kidding; it’s a gem. You can listen to a song here.

Speaking of make-out music, how about those Cowboy Junkies? They're Canadians. How much did you love The Trinity Sessions? Can you believe that’s over 20 years old now? Geez.

And hey, four-fifths of The Band--Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson, and Rick Danko—hailed from Ontario. I did a phone interview with Rick Danko back when I had my radio show on WRPI and I got to meet him twice, too. I talked with him after his show at Café Lena in Saratoga—I want to say it was in maybe 1991—and then again at the Van Dyke in Schenectady, NY, in November 1998.

Alright, this is bad. Don’t tell anybody. That same year—1998—back when I worked at GE, my demented friends and I had a “ghoul pool,” meaning we each kept a list of the 10 celebrities who we thought were going to die. Whoever went through their whole list first would win. Sick, I know. Anyway, Rick Danko was on my list, so after the show at the Van Dyke I asked if he would autograph the back of my receipt and write “I’m still alive.”

“Sure,” he said. Oh, man, I was psyched!

Yeah, it says, “Rick Danko…Keep rockin’” then God knows what that scribble is. Damn!

Rick Danko died just over a year later and in real life I was very sad. He had some tough things happen in life and every time I watch The Last Waltz, I’m struck by how young and sweet he seemed. Now I feel like an a-hole for putting him in my ghoul pool. Well, not really. He probably wouldn’t care.

More Canadian artists on my CD shelves include Joni Mitchell (of course), Bruce Cockburn, kd lang, John Campbell, and Meryn Cadell. Other Canadian bands and artists not on my shelves include Paul Anka, Jesse Winchester, Gordon Lightfoot, Alanis Morrisette, Crash Test Dummies (are they still around?), Rush, and The Guess Who.

Pretty impressive, eh? Sorry if I haven’t mentioned your favorite—there are a ton more. But you get my point. Yay, Canadians!

So I’m not going to be able to post on Saturday. My friend Donna and I are flying down to New Orleans tomorrow to meet my sister, brother-in-law, and my other friend Donna for Jazzfest. If you’re a music lover, all I can say is get your ass there next year. It’s an amazing scene, and it’s not just jazz. Actually, I don’t even care much for jazz; you’ll find me eating beignets in the gospel tent and dancing my ass off to zydeco music at the Fais-Do-Do stage. I can’t wait.

I may be able to post something from the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott at some point while I’m there. I’ll try.

Have a good weekend and as always, thank you so much for reading my blog!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fun time at the Laughlin River Run

Oh, I had a great time at the Laughlin River Run this weekend! Laughlin is about 90 miles south of Vegas; I went down there with my friend Donna and we caught up on our girl talk the whole time. It was a beautiful day.

I’d say the drive down was uneventful except Donna got pulled over by a very nice, sweet cop (yep—some of them are) who couldn’t let her off completely because she was, after all, going over 90 in a 65 zone, and he reduced it to 75. It will still cost her $65, but the cop said because we were in a non-urban area, it wouldn’t even be reported to DMV. The guy was really nice, unlike that little shit that snagged me a couple of months ago (yes, I do hold a grudge).

Once we got down there, we met Donna’s dad, Ben, and his wife, Jan, for lunch. Ben is a swell old guy—I wish I had taken his picture. So freakin’ cute in his new Harley Davidson shirt. I love older folks because they live to complain and the filter is long gone—the truth not only rolls right off their tongues, but the volume is turned up to 10. We had to remind him--you know those tattooed Mexican bikers with the metal studs jutting out of their necks and faces? They're not deaf.

After lunch, Ben and Jan hit the road and Donna and I wandered around. There were tons of vendors lined up all over, but it was one of those situations where after a while you realize you're seeing the same stuff over and over. At first I thought those Ed Hardy knock-off t-shirts were cute, but then they just plain started to annoy me. By the end of the day I couldn’t stand the sight of them.

Finally we settled in outside the Colorado Belle casino, where they set up the bandstand. There’s nothing like a biker event for some serious people watching, and Donna and I got an eyeful. I absolutely love the “anything goes” nature of the biker culture. I guarantee those women didn’t try on 10 different outfits before they left the house, fretting in the mirror and wondering, “Does this make me look fat?”

This lady had to be close to 70 years old. You can’t see it in the picture, but the sides of her pant legs were all cut out, and I’m telling you, she had an ear-to-ear grin all day. Seriously, I have a lot to learn.

So we had a fun time and made a couple of new friends, including this one who offered to take me to Sturgis. (Oh, man, that would be such a party!)

More fun is on tap for next weekend, when Donna and I head down to New Orleans for JazzFest. Yeah, sucks to be me!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yoga for beer drinkers and other normal people

You know I’m a certified yoga instructor, right? Well, in case you can’t figure it out, I’m what you’d call a meat-eatin’, beer-drinkin’, swearin’ type of yoga teacher. Definitely not one of those Whole Foods vegans – (not that there’s anything wrong with it) – it’s just not me. In fact, the only two things I buy at Whole Foods are hair dye and Young’s Chocolate Stout beer. I understand they have a wonderful selection of produce, but I can get fruit down only if I douse it in chocolate syrup.

I have to admit there’s an element of the yoga culture that annoys the hell out of me; I find it kind of snooty. And if you ever look through the yoga magazines—you know, the ones with the 105-pound models on the front—you’ll see from the ads that it’s a huge money-making industry. Everything costs a fortune—the special yoga apparel, the props, the yoga retreats, etc. It doesn’t have to, of course—all you need is comfortable clothes and a sticky mat from Walmart.

The thing is, yoga is cool as hell and you don’t have to be fit and svelte and all metaphysical-like to practice it. I mean, this cover of Yoga Journal doesn't exactly scream, "Yoga is easy--anyone can do it!" And that’s why I get pissed about the whole elitist yoga culture. They can bite me. Yoga's not meant to be esoteric; it should be accessible to the masses. And anyone really can do it.

Last Wednesday night on our Internet radio show, Aging Nymphs, my sister Lori Biker and I did a show on “The Beer Drinker’s Guide to Yoga.” If you’ve always wondered about yoga, but figured it wasn’t for you, give a listen. You may be surprised. We talked about the types of things I just mentioned, plus you’ll get a good idea of what yoga is all about (from our perspectives, anyway). It’s a pretty good segment (I wouldn’t direct you to one that sucks) and parts of it are pretty funny. My sister and I sound a lot alike, though; it may take a while to distinguish one voice from the other. (I talk more and my accent’s probably a little heavier.)

You can listen to the show in one of two ways. On the right side bar of this site, scroll down to the Blog Talk Radio show listings and click on “The Beer Drinker’s Guide” show title under the RSS/profile/share icons. The show will start up in a few seconds and you’ll stay right on this page. Or, you can click here to go to the Blog Talk Radio site (you’ll leave this site, though).

So speaking of beer drinkin’, today I’m heading down to Laughlin, Nevada, for the River Run. It’s an annual motorcycle event that attracts thousands of bikers. I went last year and had a blast! Pictures on Tuesday, but in the meantime, here’s an oldie but goodie.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sexy Blogger? Moi?

Well, what do you know… my blogging BFF Julie over at 47 and Starting Over has named me for the Sexy Blogger Award!

I can’t even begin to feign surprise because the truth is, had it not come my way, I would have been Pissed. As. Hell. Now, there are a lot of things that clearly I am not: tactful, soft-spoken, politically correct… But I will be the first to tell you, I am freakin’ sexy.

In order to accept this award, I must list Five Sexy Things About Me. Only five? Seriously?

Let’s start by getting the obvious out of the way:

1. I have a fantastic rack. Yes, it’s all rigged up with underwires and so much padding you wouldn’t know I was cold if I lived in Antarctica. Doesn’t matter. God invented Victoria Secret technology for a reason: to keep America beautiful. Plus remember, I live in Las Vegas. I gotta have a nice rack; it’s the law.

2. I have a nice smile. Can't you tell I’m a freakin' blast to have around just by looking at me? I exude fun! And fun is sexy.

3. I strut my stuff. Everyone teases me about my runway model walk, but I can’t help it—that’s what years of ballet and yoga will do. This is funny—when I first came to Vegas, I signed up to be a hospice volunteer. One day the old biddy chaplain complained to the volunteer coordinator that I “sashay” around and that I was too sexy for the hospice! She actually said that the wives of the patients wouldn’t appreciate my being near their dying husbands. True story—further details in my book. (Why write fiction when real life is so fascinating?)

But as I’ve said a million times, when you have good posture, you walk with confidence. And confidence—like a nice smile and a fantastic rack—is sexy.

4. I have great legs. Having decent legs is pretty much a gift from God. Sure, you can exercise to tone them up, but for the most part either you’ve got ‘em or you don’t. I figure any loving God would have to give me shapely legs to make up for the crappy hair. It’s only fair.

5. I drive a sexy car. Let’s face it; nothing says, “Come and get me” more than a dusty 13-year-old Saturn with a dented roof. Hey, look—earlier this week I hit 199,500!

Only 500 miles to 200K! I am so going to the car wash on the big day! And I’m getting the works. Yes, I know—the Service Engine Soon light is on. Usually I cover that with masking tape, but it must have fallen off.

So there you go, sexy blog readers. And now I must pass this on to some other sexy bloggers. (My little sexpot friend Sarah (408 Down) should lead the list, but sweetie, you've gotta keep up with your blogging.)

The first two are hot Aussie chicks Lilly (Lilly’s Life) and Linda (Linda and her Twaddle). You just know they have cool, sexy accents. Extra points for that. Linda’s the one who wrote about how she once blew a snot bubble on a job interview (still cracking me up), which I know does not sound sexy, but she’s posted pictures of herself and she totally looks smokin’.

I met Debbie Schubert (Write on Target) last month up in Philly and man, she has the body I would have if I actually did Buns of Steel every friggin’ day like I promised a couple of weeks ago. (Don’t ask.) (Really, don’t.)

And speaking of incredible bods, Carmen (Poker Girl in Vegas) is lucky I can even be friends with her. She’s one of those skinny little size 2’s with big boobs, and I’m not talking foam floatation devices like mine. Damn her.

But the grand prize goes to my buddy and neighbor Hurricane Mikey. Talk about a lot to love! “Warm in winter, shade in summer…” isn’t that what they say? Oh, yeah!

Of course, all my blogging buddies are sexy—and so are all you readers. But most people aren't nearly as full of themselves as I am, so here’s the question: Are you comfortable naming five things about yourself that you think are sexy? Can you do it? C’mon--let’s hear.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bitch, bitch, bitch and what I did on my summer vacation

I’m afraid I don’t have time to post a thoughtful entry today. It’s not like I’m sitting here with nothing to write about. On the contrary, I have a million things I want to share with you; I just haven’t had time to sit down and articulate them.

I barely had a moment to myself last weekend, with the Las Vegas Writers Conference and all, and then I had to submit my latest Living-Las-Vegas article last night before midnight. I probably shouldn’t say it, but it’s a piece of shit. I always seem to wait until the last goddamn minute, as if I haven’t known all along exactly when the deadline would be. I hope the site’s editor can somehow salvage it. I hate handing in crap.

I’ve been going, going, going… and it seems that so much of my time is spent doing things I really don’t want to do. Work is sucking big-time lately; it’s all I can do to force myself to show up, much less fake a smile. Enthusiasm is simply out of the question. Yeah, I know I should be happy to have a source of income at a time when so many people are losing theirs, but staring at gray cubicle walls all fucking day is making me mental. I have so many more important, more meaningful things to do.

I don’t think I ever told you this. About 10 years ago when I was a contractor for GE I went through such a severe “work sucks” period, I actually toyed with the idea of going into rehab. Not that I had a drug or alcohol problem in real life; I just wanted a month off from work. I had it all figured out. At the time I had awesome insurance that would cover almost all of the expenses of a 28-day program and I’d be able to collect short-term disability pay the whole time. Not to mention all the interesting new friends I’d make.

Well, my real-life friends talked me out of that one—God knows why—but I did have a Plan B. For the previous year or so, I had had a gigantic uterine fibroid which was causing super heavy periods. My gyno said, “Yeah, we can take it out or not—it’s up to you.” Then one day when I could stand not one more day of work, I called to find out how much disability time I could get if I opted for the surgery. When I was told I could get eight weeks, you betcha, I booked me a date for a myomectomy. My surgery was on July 1, I was in the hospital for two nights, and was feeling fine a week later. I returned to work all refreshed just before Labor Day. Eight pounds lighter, I might add.

And that, kids, is how your friend Linda Lou spent the summer of 1999.

Back then I was a mere 41 years old; now at 51, I wouldn’t want to put myself though elective surgery of any kind. But work is really unbearable these days. Hmmm… anyone for rehab?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

One about Mom and it's not even Mother's Day

I’m heading out soon for the third and final day of the Las Vegas Writers Conference. The conference is always a lot of fun; it gives me a chance to reconnect with some writer friends I haven’t seen in a while and I’ve met a bunch of new, really neat people. (Neat. Who am I, Wally Cleaver?) It’s also reinforced that, for me anyway, self-publishing is the way to go right now and it was nice to hear such enthusiastic and genuine encouragement from my fellow writers. One gal, upon hearing of about my self-publishing plans, responded with, “It’s about time! I’ve been waiting two years to read that book.” God bless her.

My mother is the one who has always been my greatest cheerleader, though; it seems like she’s been on me about writing forever. And now I'm nagging her to tell her story.

For many years, Mom suffered from agoraphobia—the irrational fear of being in public places. With five children spaced 14 years apart, she developed a lifestyle where she became increasingly comfortable at home, to the point where it became fearful for her to leave.

As a child, I can remember her leaving the house only a few times without my father. My father did most all the grocery shopping, and brought the kids shopping for clothes at the beginning of each school year, to dentist appointments, and to ballet classes.

Despite her inability to leave the house, my mother was devoted to her children. She would bravely venture out with my father for things that were important to us—teacher conferences, school award ceremonies, dance recitals. And as long as she could secure an aisle seat, I knew there would be a good chance she would be able to stay to see my performance.

Then, when I was in my 20’s, my mother had a special reason to break out of the prison she called home. With two babies less than 13 months apart, I needed her help. She realized she would need to be able to get to my house without having to rely on my father, and so she joined a support group for people with agoraphobia and other types of phobias. Together they would practice doing things that most of us would find mundane: walking through a mall, riding an elevator, driving over a bridge.

Her next step was to get a driver’s license and soon after, her own car. More accomplishments followed: she enrolled in a continuing education class at the local high school, then got a part-time job as a bookkeeper (her first job since she was a teenager!) She and my father divorced and she began working full-time to support herself. Secure with her independence, she bought a house and decided it was time to start her college education.

Over the course of several years, she took classes toward an associate’s degree in accounting, which she completed at the age of 58. And then, at age 66, she went on her first business trip—to midtown Manhattan of all places!

The thought of my mother, someone who was once afraid to leave the house, walking through Times Square is unbelievable. These days, we’re lucky if we can find her at all—she’s always going somewhere, she'll even fly cross-country by herself.

I always tell her she could be a real inspiration to others, particularly those people whose lives are ruled by their fears. She recovered not by the use of drugs, but by her own determination. It would be nice if others could hear her story and perhaps find the courage to change their lives as she did.

So the other night I started in on her; I told her she needs to write a book. I can edit it for her and I know how to get it out there to the people who need to read it. I mean, she has a daughter with her own publishing company! What more could she ask for?

“But I can’t write,” she said.

“That is such bullshit,” I told her. “You’re as good a writer as I am, probably better.”

“Oh, for Christsakes. I can’t even write a goddamn sympathy card without messing it up.”

I rolled my eyes and then she told me the sentiment she inscribed that day, which necessitated a trip back to Walgreens to purchase another card.

“I’m so sorry to hear that Jeffrey has gone to a better place.”
HA! Okay, you got me on that one, Mom.

But I still think she has a great story that has the potential to change another person’s life. What do you think?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Some things come this close to sucking

You know how something almost happens and by the grace of God it doesn’t? Like maybe when you get this close to getting in a car accident, but at the last minute you don’t?

Well, last Thursday morning on my way to work I was walking down the concrete steps from my apartment in my cute new 3” platform Steve Maddens that I showed you a few weeks ago and I almost went flying. I mean, had I not grabbed onto the railing at the last minute, I would have tumbled head over heels like a friggin’ cartoon character. Except I wouldn’t appear unscathed in the next scene. No, I’d be the woman in the commercial yelling, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

You know how when someone falls, you want to laugh but you know you shouldn’t so you bite the insides of your mouth and try to pull yourself together enough to clear your voice and say, “Are you okay?” with a straight face? Well, I’m not even sure my little spill would have been funny. Like I might have ended up with months of rehab, and I’m not talking about the type of rehab where you sit in a circle with a bunch of entertaining characters with colorful pasts. I truly believe I came this close to being messed up big time.


So earlier this week, one of my blogging buddies, Fragrant Liar, wrote a cute post about her adorable little grandchildren and vacuum cleaners, which brought up a not-so-adorable memory of your friend Linda Lou. (Don’t worry, there’s a connection between these two stories.) You know how you all loved hearing about my embarrassing episode at Panera Bread? Well, here’s a little tale that came this close to being in my Top 10 of “Was My Face Red” moments.

Years ago, I want to say this was in the early 90s, I bought a new vacuum cleaner. I kind of knew it was kind of a piece of crap, but I figured it would do the job, and it did. For maybe a week or two. Then one day it didn’t suck. I must have had company coming or something (because why else would I vacuum?) and I remember being really pissed. And like my mother (and father, too, now that I think of it), the nanosecond something doesn’t go my way, I fly off the handle and start in with “Jesus Christ, what the hell… [fill in the blank].”

So I’m having a friggin’ meltdown. I’m on the phone bitching to the guy at Sears about this goddamn piece of shit vacuum I just bought a week ago and why the hell can’t they make anything decent these days, blah, blah, blah…” and the guy says, “Why don’t you check the hose? Maybe something is caught in there and is plugging it up.”

I answered with something like, “Check the hose? What I am, a friggin’ mechanic?” and then he said, “Well, bring it in and we’ll take a look at it.” I hung up and though I was this close to schlepping the thing across town, somehow… all by myself… I figured out how to take a little piece of the vacuum apart and checked the hose myself.

Yep, I was this close to watching a retail clerk at Sears pull out… my little black lace bikini underwear. This close.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meme alert: Eight Things I'm Looking Forward To

My blogging buddy Modern Mom tagged me last week in one of those little meme challenges. The original version is pretty lengthy, and because I’m so damn long-winded, I’ll just respond to the first part. Here goes.

Eight Things I’m Looking Forward To

1. The Las Vegas Writers Conference, April 16-18. Between workshops, seminars, panel presentations, and pitch sessions with agents, editors and publishers, this conference has something for everyone, no matter what stage of the writing life you’re currently living. Money’s tight these days, I know, but if you’re in Las Vegas stop by Thursday night between 7:00 – 10:00 for a “Meet the Authors” open reception, sponsored by Stephen’s Press. This will be a great way to meet and network with other writers. Be sure to look for me and say hello!

2. The Laughlin River Run, April 25. This is one big freakin’ biker fest! I went last year for the first time and had a ball. I wrote up a full account in my very first Living-Las-Vegas article—check it out. I LOVE the biker culture, especially biker bars, which will be the topic of my May 6 article. My friend Lisa and I did a little research last Sunday down at the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada, about 25 miles south of Vegas. What a cool place—I can’t wait to go back!

Here we are. Yep, we can tell our grandsons this is how Granny and Nana spent Easter Sunday.

I don’t ride myself (duh—I’m way too Princess and the Pea), but my sister Lori does. She kicks ass.

3. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 24 - 26 and April 30 - May 3. (Alas, I’ll be there only from May 2 -3, leaving New Orleans on the 4th.) JazzFest is a freakin’ blast, and it’s not all about jazz, either. I prefer the stage with the regional zydeco and Cajun bands, and there’s nothing like eating a breakfast of beignets and café au lait in the gospel tent. Big, giant artists also make the scene; this year I’ll be seeing Bon Jovi (not really one of my favorites, but certainly worth a look) and Neil Young (one of my VERY favorites). This will be my thirteenth JazzFest; my sister Lori has been there for 10 of them. Look, sometimes we dress alike!

4. Mother’s Day in Boise. Mom and Stepdaddy just bought a house up there and they close at the end of the month. I can’t wait to check it out. Did I ever post this picture of them? It was taken on their wedding day, February 18, 2006 at the Tropicana here in Vegas. See… it’s never too late for a Vegas wedding. Aren't they cute?

5. Memorial Day weekend. My blogging BFFs Julie and Dar are coming for a visit and I can’t wait to meet them! They’re staying with me, which gives me an excellent reason to do a super-cleaning, which I hardly ever do anymore. I hate to say it, but now that beloved boyfriend and I have been together for a few months, I’m not quite the super-cleaner I was in the early days. (Don’t worry, honey; I may let my place go, but I’m way too vain to let myself go.)

6. The party to celebrate Courtney and John’s wedding, June 20. This is going to be so much fun! As you probably know, John and Courtney are both singer-songwriters, as is my son, Christopher, so between them and their friends, there’ll be lots of home-grown music. Mom and Stepdaddy will be there from Idaho and I’ll be bringing my BF back to Albany to meet my kids, grandson, and the other family members I haven't exposed him to yet. Yay!

7. The Saratoga Racing season, late July – Labor Day. I LOVE the track! I usually make it back for Labor Day weekend and catch a couple of days of racing at the top of the stretch. But the Vegas version of a day at the races is fun, too. I’m gonna send you to another article I wrote.

8. Jackson Browne’s concert at Red Rock casino pool. I love Jackson Browne! (I know, I’m a girl.) But I really love him—did I tell you my son’s full name is Christopher Jackson? You don’t think he was named after Stonewall Jackson, do you? Or, (gasp!) Michael Jackson. The pool at Red Rock is a great place to see a show; I saw Peter Frampton there last summer and (again) I wrote a Living-Las-Vegas article about it.

On top of all these fun things I’m looking forward to, my book, Bastard Husband: A Love Story is really coming along! I purchased my ISBNs, submitted the paperwork for my LLC (Aging Nymphs Media), and Gregory Kompes is working hard on the internal design and cover. Here’s a mock-up. Simple, but I like it. (The title’s strong enough!) What do you think? It won’t be long, folks!

Okay, with these meme challenges, I’m supposed to tag eight other bloggers. So to keep it interesting, I thought I’d list the eight most freakin’ demented women I know (and I mean “demented” in a good way).

1. Julie (47 and Starting Over)
2. Linda (Linda and Her Twaddle)
3. Carmen (Poker Girl in Vegas)
4. Sandi (Lucky Thirteen Plus One)
5. Debbie (Write on Target)*
6. Kristin (Fertile)
7. No idea what her name is but I love her blog (The Letters I Wish I Had Written)
8. Tasha (The Housewife Diaries)

* Sometimes appears normal but is demented underneath, I guarantee.

Alright, girls… What are you looking forward to? (Or go to Modern Mom’s blog for the full meme.) And Hurricane Mikey, why don’t you play along, too? You know, break up the estrogen fest a bit…

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Buns of Steel, here I come!

At one point during the Leonard Cohen concert last Sunday night, two of the backup singers did a cartwheel together. (I told you this show was amazing.) Their agility prompted my boyfriend to whisper, “Can you do that?”

Easy answer. I told him I haven’t done a cartwheel in probably 20 years, and attempting one now would certainly land me in traction for the rest of the summer. No, cartwheels are a part of my past that I’m sure I’ll never return to. Just like Coors Light. But then I started to wonder, “Can I still do a split?” Hmmm.

I never thought I’d say this, but… I may be getting old.

The ability to do a split has always been my personal barometer of aging; as long as I could still entertain my friends and family by making an a-hole of myself on the dance floor (or in this case, on the bar) at the end of a particularly spirited song—usually courtesy of Talking Heads or some zydeco artist—I knew my youth was still intact. But the truth is, I’m not sure if I still have it in me. That’s a scary thought.

My sister Lori snapped that picture back in May 2005 when I was a mere 47 years old. A bunch of us were in Molly’s on the Market, our favorite bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans. We go down there every year for JazzFest. Well, almost every year; since 1994 I’ve missed only three.

I don’t think I’ve done a split since that afternoon in Molly’s, which by the way, is also the last time I almost got kicked out of a bar. (Yeah, I’m someone’s granny.) Anyway, I’m not sure I could do it right now, and that’s a sobering thought.

Three weeks from today, we’ll be back at JazzFest. I’ll be dancing my ass off, and whether or not I actually do another split on the bar or somewhere else, I need to get in better shape. Nearly stroking out during last weekend’s hike up Camelback Mountain (while my boyfriend just breezed along) was a major wake-up call. So last night I took out the big guns.

My Buns of Steel video.

I’m telling you, if you want to get in really good shape in a hurry, the original Buns of Steel video with Greg Smithey is the way to go. It incorporates everything—aerobics (which I hate), stretching, isometrics… and it works the arms and abs as well as the buns. I swear, of all the exercise and yoga videos I own, this one is the best bang for the buck.

Warning: This video will kick your ass. Seriously.

My sister and I used to do it together all the time in my living room before I moved out west. To get through the really hard parts, we each developed our own coping mechanisms. Lori got her revenge by giving Greg the finger as she burned through those excruciating leg lifts. I used to… oh, I can hardly write this with a straight face… I used to pretend I was auditioning to be one of the background exercisers, and so I’d maintain a pretty smile no matter how much pain I was in.

Lori literally fell over laughing when I revealed that little gem. Can’t blame her.

Anyway, I’ve often said that if you did Buns of Steel every day for a month, you’ll be in the most amazing shape of your life. With another JazzFest coming soon, and considering my pathetic performance on the hiking trail last Saturday, I think it’s time I put myself up for the challenge.

I am going to do that video every friggin’ day until I leave for New Orleans on May 1.
There, I said it. No, I proclaimed it. Every friggin’ day.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Weekend update (Part 2): Review of Leonard Cohen concert and more

Okay, so I want to finish telling you about last weekend. If you haven’t read Tuesday's post, scroll down and read up. Not to tell you what to do or anything; it will just make more sense that way.

Sunday night was the Leonard Cohen concert, the event that prompted beloved boyfriend and me to plan a trip to Phoenix. For you kids out there, Leonard Cohen is a legendary songwriter. I mean legendary. There’s nothing I can say about him that hasn’t already been written. This New York Times article explains why he’s touring for the first time in 15 years, at age 74.

I have to admit I wasn’t always a fan. Chris, my first husband, used to play Leonard Cohen’s music in the house all the time, and it took me a while to warm up to it—I thought it was too dark and creepy. Then the beautiful melodies grew on me and I found I really liked him, though I wouldn’t dare put Leonard Cohen on the stereo if I were alone in the house—still a little too scary. Now, though, I’m totally hooked and want to tell the world about him, though all the super-hipsters are already in the know. I’d never seen him live, so I was out of my mind with excitement.

Sunday night’s concert was in the Dodge Theater in downtown Phoenix. On a Sunday night, the area was a ghost town, and we got there about an hour and a half early because that’s how neurotic I am. Thankfully there was a Greek restaurant across the street that had a full bar—good news because like you, I prefer to go into a concert with a bit of a buzz.

The show was incredible. Amazing. Spectacular. There are better ten-dollar words out there, but you know what I mean. It was one of those concerts where I savored every moment; every single second I sat there thinking, “I cannot believe I am here watching Leonard Cohen.”

His voice sounded as it did 20, 30 years ago—dark and brooding. Even at 74, he moved with grace, often dropping to one knee as he sang and springing back up effortlessly. (I think he must do yoga.) He even skipped off the stage a couple of times! And he seemed so humbled, so appreciative of the audience’s obvious adoration… it was a wonderful experience.

Everything was top-notch. The Dodge is a fantastic venue; there’s not a bad seat in the house and the sound, the musicians, the backup singers… everything was perfect.

There are still quite a few more dates on the tour, so check out Pollstar and make it a point to catch his show. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. And if you’re unable to make it to a live performance, I have good news. You can buy the DVD of his 2008 concert in London. The set list from that shows looks very similar, if not identical, to what we were treated to last Sunday night.

Perfect. That’s all I can say.

Now let’s get back to the not-so-perfect Cottonwood Resort. After seeing the pictures in my last post, you’re probably wondering why the hell we would ever stay there again. I’ll tell you.

The location was excellent; we were minutes from Old Town Scottsdale and Camelback Mountain, where we hiked on Saturday, and we weren’t too far at all from the Dodge (and on a Sunday night the traffic was nonexistent). Although the front office of the Cottonwood is located right on busy Scottsdale Road, you have to drive back a bit to get to the casitas, and as I said, the grounds were beautiful. This shot is not from their website; I took this.

I almost booked us at the Marriott Residence Inn next door, but that would have been right on the road and soooo typical. And it cost only $10 less per night. Our casita was huge—much bigger than what we needed—and it was clean, which is most important to me. The bathroom was enormous! But there was only one, meaning the BF and I had to share it and generally I don’t like to pee where boys have been, but that neurosis is a subject for another post. (Stop laughing, Hurricane Mikey.) So yeah, the Cottonwood was fine, but next time I would make damn sure we got a casita with a decent sized hot tub.

On our way home Monday afternoon, BF and I stopped for lunch at the Silver Spur Saloon in Frontier Town in Cave Creek, just north of Scottsdale. Cave Creek is a funky area that I’d been to many years ago on a Scottsdale/Sedona trip with Mom and I wanted to check it out again.

Here we are before we hit the road and headed back to Vegas.

So it was a memorable trip, to say the least. But the best part was being able to spend two full days and nights with beloved BF. You learn a lot about a person during a 5-hour road trip and after this initial trek I’m even more in love than before. We’re still very early in what I pray will be a long journey together, but we sure got a great start. And if you've ever read this post of mine, you'll be very, very happy for me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tonight on Aging Nymphs: 10 Secrets to a Happy Life

Why do some people always seem happy and others can barely eke out a smile? What about you--is your glass half empty or half full? How do you stay happy? Is it harder to keep yourself up in these tough economic times?

In tonight’s Aging Nymphs Internet radio show, my sister Lori Biker and I reveal 10 secrets to a happy life. Listen live at our NEW TIME 10 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Pacific; just go to Feel free to join the discussion by calling the number on the screen. And if you miss the show, you can always hear the archives just by clicking the link on the right sidebar of this site.

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Weekend update (Part 1): Cottonwood Resort and Camelback Mountain

OMG, I had the most amazing weekend!

As I mentioned in my last post, beloved boyfriend and I had tickets to see Leonard Cohen in Phoenix on Sunday, so we left Las Vegas on Saturday and made it a long weekend.

I was pretty psyched when we checked into the Cottonwood Resort in Scottsdale and they told us we were upgraded to a bigger casita. The grounds were beautiful, and at 700 square feet, our casita was huge.

That was the good news. The bad news is, sometimes real life doesn’t quite match up to the pictures you see online. (Just ask anyone who’s dabbled in Internet dating.)

Remember how I wrote that we’d be staying in a swanky resort?

Here’s a photo of our casita’s living room from their website.

And here’s the photo I took.

Swanky? Not quite. “Rustic” would have been a better word. And there’s nothing wrong with rustic, as long as you’re not expecting swanky.

I was really looking forward to having a private hot tub on the patio off the bedroom, but silly me, I expected it to look like this photo from the Internet.

This was what our patio looked like.

O.M.G. You can’t really tell from this picture, but the thing was barely big enough for two people. And the jets didn’t work.

We nonchalantly asked a neighbor about her hot tub. When she told us it was round and could fit “maybe four or five people,” we concluded that all hot tubs were definitely not created equally and at that point, the BF called the front desk and asked if we could be moved to another casita with a tub that wasn’t quite so... concentration-campy. They said they were booked for the night, but would move us to another casita on Sunday, which was not the answer I was looking for. I like to settle in hotel rooms, and once I have my toiletries and cosmetics all laid out, I don’t want to have to pack them up again and move. But nothing could be done until the next day.

So speaking of the next day… I’m happy to report that I did not have to administer CPR on the BF or wave smelling salts under his nose after he experienced Linda Lou's "Good Morning" look. (Really, I don’t know what happens to me during the night, but it's horrifying.) He said he actually liked my Albert Einstein hair, which is hard to believe, but nonetheless a smart thing for him to say and duh—he is in Mensa.

Sunday we hiked up Camelback Mountain. Not all the way to the top, though, and that was my fault. I didn’t realize what a strenuous climb it would be and about halfway up I was seriously going into “whiny mode.” Beloved BF is the most patient person on earth and I never once saw him roll his eyes when I had to stop for another water break about 10 whole feet up the trail from my last sip.

Despite years of ballet and yoga, I’ve never had much endurance and with my Private Benjamin tendencies, I can be a real pain in the ass. I was sure I was suffering from heat stroke when I stopped to rest on this rock, yet look how I bravely pulled myself together for my trademark campy pose.

And nice of Mensa Man to tell me I was pulling a Britney Spears in this photo.

We’re on our way downhill here, so now my smile is sincere. Plus, whenever this guy has his arm around me, I'm a happy girl.

When we got back to the resort, we decided it wasn’t worth it to move all our stuff to another casita, so we hung out at the pool for a while and then went into downtown Phoenix for the Leonard Cohen concert.

I’ll give you a full review on Thursday, but in the meantime all I can say is, Best. Show. Ever. I'll also tell you why we would definitely stay at the Cottonwood Resort again. Yep, we would.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I’m an a-hole, but that’s why you love me

My friends don’t come right out and say it, but I’m sure that one of the reasons they hang out with me is because I’m such an a-hole that I make them feel really good about their own lives. That’s okay; I’m cool with it.

Case in point:

The other day at work somebody started passing around a card for everyone to sign because it was the CEO’s birthday. You know how it goes--the card is tucked in a manilla envelope along with a staff list and then after you write some load of crap you cross your name off the list and pass it on to a co-worker who now has to come up with his own load of crap to write.

Now, I work in one of those offices where there’s always a celebration for something or other, but the place has been going through some changes lately and as a result, let’s just say morale is in the shitter. We all know who hates whom--secretly or not so secretly--and standing around with phony smiles pretending to be nice is just plain icky. And the older I get, the less inclined I am to fake it.

But back up… I should say that to me, there’s something inherently wrong about office celebrations; I just want to get my work done so I can get the hell out of there. (Though I’m sure if alcohol was involved and people ended up sitting on the Xerox photocopying private parts, I’d be totally into it.)

So anyway, the CEO’s birthday card landed on my desk and I wrote in my standard bullshit.

Then I passed it on to my friend Rick in the next cell, I mean cubicle, and went back to writing the proposal I’d been working on. Then Rick goes, “Linda! Bitter?”


Rick handed the card back to me. “Look,” he said, pointing to the sentiment I’d inscribed. In ink. “You get ‘bitter’ every year?”

Well evidently I didn’t make the loop in the letter e in “better” wide enough, and with the dot of the exclamation point landing right over it, sure enough, it looked like I was, in fact, telling the CEO he gets “bitter every year.”

Um, not good. Especially given the current corporate climate.

So what does one do in that situation? Thoughts flooded my brain. White-Out would look too obvious, right? I was, like, the fourth person to sign the card; I could buy another one and forge the three signatures before mine. Or I could just leave it as is and figure it was meant to be.

I decided to f* around with the e, trying to make it “better.” It ended up being a mess. But at least it no longer looked like “bitter.”

See? I’m such an a-hole. Now aren’t you glad you know me?


I’m very excited about this weekend. In a couple of hours the BF is picking me up and we’re heading to Phoenix. We have tickets to see songwriting legend Leonard Cohen at the Dodge Theater Sunday night, so I’m taking Monday off from work (assuming I still have a job). I’m psyched as hell for this concert, but let’s just hope it works out better than this past week when I thought I was seeing Loretta Lynn. Yeah…

We’re booked for two nights at a swanky resort in Scottsdale and we have a casita suite with a whirlpool off the bedroom--yay! It should be really beautiful, if it’s anything like the pictures on the website.

This will be our first official sleepover and I’ll tell you what won’t be so beautiful: when beloved BF sees what I look like in the morning. There’s a reason my kids used to tell me I go from “freak to chic.” I’ll either have to slip out of bed to beautify a half hour before he wakes up or sleep in my makeup like Tammy Faye Bakker. So. Not. Pretty.

I’ll write up a full report for Tuesday’s post. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and have a great weekend!

Friday, April 3, 2009

My blogging BBF's anniversary

I know--my posting schedule is all messed up this week!

I'm here today to say "Happy One-Year Anniversary" to my blogging BFF Julie, star of 47 and Starting Over. I love her blog (I could certainly relate to the title) and her sense of humor, and I can't wait to meet her when she comes to stay with me in Vegas for Memorial Day weekend! I just may have come across a chick who's more bawdy and fun loving than I am--is that possible???

Do me a favor and hop over there--and leave a comment while you're at it. Her goal is to rack up 100 comments on her anniversary post. And tell her Linda Lou, her twin separated at birth, sent you!

Congratulations, Julie! What a fantastic milestone. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Days of infamy

I'm still trying to catch up from the weekend. Yesterday was a full day and night, but I've cleared my calendar for this evening so I can (finally) see what's going on with my friends in the blogshpere. I feel so out of touch!

Speaking of my blogging buddies, here's a picture of me and Debbie Schubert, whom I met Sunday in Pennsylvania. She's the cutest thing.

And here she is with her husband, Chuck. I'd love to see them play their music together. So nice to see a couple so happy after over 25 years of marriage.

Debbie told me they got together the day John Lennon died. Of course, I remember right where I was when I heard the news; a cashier in the Madison Avenue Price Chopper in Albany told me. That was one of many major events for which I'll always remember where I was. Here are a few more:

The day JFK was shot: I was in gym class in first grade.
The day the Challenger blew up: I was working in a Planned Parenthood clinic (how ironic, considering I had two kids at age 21, huh?)
The day Jerry Garcia died: I was in the car picking Courtney up from her summer school class at Hackett Middle School.
The night Princess Diana died: I had just come home from seeing Ulee's Gold at the movies
9/11: I was in Laramie, Wyoming. My ex and I were going to do a yoga video and when we turned on the TV the first tower had fallen.

And damn it all, yesterday another event occurred that I'll always remember:

The day CBS canceled Guiding Light

Yeah, yesterday I was bumming about leaving Beautiful Aunt Joyce and being back in my stinkin' cubicle. I had lunch with my BF and told him, "You know, I could just burst into tears at any moment." He took my hand and told me he loves me, because he's so friggin' awesome, and then when I got back to work, I had an email from my friend Wendy in Wisconsin saying Guiding Light is going off the air in September.


I am pissed as hell. They can't do that to my friends in Springfield! Believe me, this will be a whole separate post. (I know the guys can't wait for that one.) The only reason I'm not totally freaked out is because I saw on Facebook that they're trying to find a new home for the show, so maybe another network will pick it up. If they're smart.

I'm steamed, people.

So how about you? What events do you remember exactly where you were? And is there anyone else out there who watches Guiding Light?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New article

Whew! After a crazy few days of traveling, I'm back in the comfort of my funky apartment. No flight delays--which is a miracle since my connection was in Philadelphia. My plane got in just before 11:00 last night and, like Cinderella, I was home at the stroke of midnight. It's now 6 a.m. and I have to be in my cubicle in an hour. I could cry; Cinderella definitely needs more than 5 hours of beauty sleep.

But hey--I want to tell you that my latest article posted today on Take a look--it's about my favorite kick-ass classic rock tribute band, Yellow Brick Road. And bonus: find out what could be the secret to a long-lasting relationship. Explore the site a while, too; it's full of interesting articles that give insight about what it's really like to live in Las Vegas.

Off to work I go. Weh.