Saturday, August 29, 2009

0 degrees of separation from this Kevin Bacon

Holy cow, here it is Saturday again and I still haven’t told you about last Saturday night. OMG, I had so much fun! My old friend Kevin Bacon (not that Kevin Bacon) was playing in a band at Shifty’s, my new favorite dive bar, on West Sahara not too far from Palace Station. I remember doing a comedy set there a few years ago and I hadn’t been in the place since, but I’ll certainly be going back, and soon.

I got there shortly after 9:00 and the music had already started. Monk and Mazz are the main guys in the band, and I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to hear acoustic music. We don’t get to hear covers of Donovan’s “Colours” (Yellow is the color of my true love’s hair…) very often here in Vegas—I was in heaven! They reminded me of the type of music my son-in-law’s band, Red Haired Strangers, plays. So nice.

The first and second sets were totally acoustic, and then the guys plugged in and we were treated to a rockin’ blues jam session. In addition to interesting dive bar characters, Shifty’s was full of local musicians who rotated onto the stage to showcase what they’re made of. The music was amazing and that was the first I’d ever seen Kevin play. What a fabulous guitar player—so talented! Seriously, I was impressed.

Kevin and I go way back, starting in fifth grade or so in School #16, and we went all through Hackett Junior High and Albany High School together. I remember I was in study hall with him back in seventh grade. Because we were seated alphabetically, Kevin sat next to this kid Michael Bergman, who had the unfortunate nickname “Egghead,” I guess because of the shape of his head, but his friends called him “Egg” for short. So the knee-slapper of the 1969-1970 school year was that “Bacon and Egg” sat together during study hall. Hysterical, huh? I mean, what were the chances? Yikes. I see a post about the cruelty of children coming up in the near future.

Anyway, I last saw Kevin and his wife, Ann, at our 20-year reunion, which was 14 years ago. We recently reconnected through I think it was Neither of us knew the other was here in Vegas, so that was a great surprise. Ann was there, too, last Saturday night—what a doll she is. They’ve been married for almost 23 years, and it was wonderful to see a couple so loving and compatible and obviously still enjoying each other after such a long time. Well, I say it was wonderful, but this was just days after Lori and Russ’ 20th anniversary lovefest and part of me was like, Jesus Christ, doesn’t it figure I have to be around these model couples right when I’m going through my own nasty breakup. That’s okay, though. I’m happy for them. Really. I'm not just saying that.

In high school Kevin was a nice, nice guy, very open and friendly, and that’s the same person I was reunited with last Saturday. And you know what was really cool? Being around somebody here in Las Vegas with whom I have a sense of history, somebody who knew me way back when. I am incredibly blessed to have a million friends here, but they know me only as smart-mouthed, middle-aged Linda Lou. Kevin knew me as shy and skinny Linda Haber. Fortunately, he said I look almost exactly the same (Almost? What do you mean, almost?), but I wonder if he thought I’d changed much personality-wise. Probably not—I haven’t really matured at all in the past few decades and I still have those annoying cheerleader tendencies.

Man, time goes by.

So this afternoon I’m going to spend some quality time at the race and sports book in Green Valley Ranch; it’s Travers day at Saratoga Racetrack, and the sports book is the next best thing to being there. Better in some ways—no crowds, free drinks, and no lines in the ladies room. Tonight there's more fun on the schedule. Kat Ray is a local performer who graciously opens her house and backyard once a month between May and August for a “Kat Bash.” The ex-boyfriend and I went to the last two—remember his guest blog when he wrote this account? How things change. I’ll be going solo tonight, but you know me, I make friends easily.

But if I do nothing else this weekend, I will finally, finally send the files of my book to the printer in California. It's about time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Great news from the Northeast!

So you know how I’m all full of myself, posting photos taken at just the right angles that hide the middle age spread and crow’s feet and make me look all slender and attractive? And you know how I’m always spoutin’ off about how if you just stand up straight and smile, women at any age can be forever hot and sexy because hot and sexy comes from within?

Yeah, well, here’s something hot and sexy: I’m going to be a granny. Again.

Yep, Courtney and John are having a hippie baby. She wasn’t knocked up for the wedding, but she sure is now. (All you new readers: click here for the scoop on my daughter, Courtney. She’s a trip and a half—scroll down to the end for the biggest laugh.)

This is gonna be the tallest, whitest kid ever. Court’s 5’10” and paler than Nicole Kidman; John’s about 6”2” and is a redhead. Oh, but it’ll be so cute! I raided Courtney’s Facebook pictures again—look at these two. Aren’t they adorable?

Oh, man, I’m so excited! The baby’s due date is April 17, which means I have almost eight months to figure out how I can spend next summer in Albany. A contract training gig in upstate New York for the summer? A virtual tech writing job that would allow me to work from anywhere? Or maybe if I sell enough copies of that fabulous Bastard Husband: A Love Story, I’ll just take the summer off and continue to promote my book in the Northeast. The possibilities are endless!

It’s funny, I’ve been saying that I’d like to spend a summer in Albany. I absolutely love living in Las Vegas—I so dig it here—and there’s no way I’d want to move back to Albany for good because the winters make me mental, but it’s a fabulous place in the summer. There are so many music and art festivals and the Saratoga Racetrack… and my babies are there.

I miss them! Courtney and I gab all the time, but my son Christopher isn’t much of a phone talker—you have to see him in person to appreciate him. I just love being around him; he’s such a sweet and gentle soul. I'm not kidding, he's the nicest person on earth. Can’t you tell from this picture?

And of course, I miss my precious grandson and big brother to-be, Connor. He’s 10 and it would be so nice to hang out with him for a summer.

Plus, I’d be able to watch my kids play their music, which is my favorite thing to do on earth. (I bet Courtney will be playing out to the end and will return to the stage soon after the baby is born.) And Albany also has a vibrant comedy scene—that would give me incentive to get back into stand-up.

But best of all--I'll have a cute new baby to play with! I have to make this work!

And so the whole picture suddenly changes... Just a few weeks ago, the boyfriend and I were making long-term plans—talk about a narrow escape. Now I’m formulating my exit strategy. See? The universe unfolds in divine order. Have no doubt!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saturday night "Mystery Date" and it all goes up in flames

My life is—literally—an open book. In my book, in this blog and in my published essays, I offer first-person accounts of my observations, feelings, adventures… and relationships. As I mentioned on Saturday, when you’ve created a public persona as I have, a certain degree of accountability comes with the territory; readers follow you because they’re interested in your life, and so you can’t put stuff out there and just let it hang.

So, what the hell happened between me and beloved boyfriend? Hmmm…. You know how you can be with someone and things are sucking and you’re both miserable and you’re in the “relationship hospice” for what seems to be forever and then you just can’t take the agony anymore and so finally you just pull the goddamn plug?

That wasn't the case with us. It was more like there were some smoldering embers that suddenly burst into wildfire and before we knew it, the whole freakin' forest had burned to a crisp.

The point of combustion occurred a couple of weeks ago. I had two free tickets to see Gladys Knight at the Orleans. Do you want to go with me? Sure. We have to pick up the tickets between 6:30 and 7:00--do you want to go to dinner beforehand? Sounds good. Do you want to pick me up at 5:15? Yep.

You see, I ‘m a planner. If my boyfriend is picking me up at 5:15, I start the beautification process around 4:30 so I have plenty of time to shower, do my makeup and pick out a slenderizing outfit that I think he’ll like. As you know, I’d make a terrible feminist. I think women should look good when they go out; a man likes to show off the babe on his arm. (Another reason why I'm not on board with the "formerly hot" concept--what guy wants to be with a woman who considers herself "formerly" hot?)

Anyway, I had on this cute little red dress--the one in this picture--and was ready and waiting at 5:15. And at 5:20. And at 5:25. At 5:30, I call him. He's at a Mensa friend's house, all caught up in one of those dorky freakin' Dungeons and Dragons-type games. He'll be right there. Sure enough, he was at my door by quarter to six, but by then I was seething.

You see, I’m a punctual type. Unlike beloved boyfriend, I like to be on time. If I have an obligation with someone at a specified time, I make every effort to be there and I freak out if I think I'm going to be late. To me, tardiness--yes, I just used the word "tardiness" and I'm not even a school teacher--is a sign of disrespect. It's a passive-aggressive way of saying, "You're not that important to me." I value my time, and I especially value my free time since I spend so many of my waking hours sitting in a gray cubicle. I think we should respectful of other people's time.

Let me tell you that beloved boyfriend messed up on the time the night before, too, and I ended up going to a comedy show by myself. Same thing with an event at the library a couple of weeks before--he forgot all about it, didn't answer his phone when I called, and so I went alone. So yeah, when I opened the door that Saturday night I was ready to bite his freakin' head off, and when I saw him standing there in the same jeans and gray t-shirt he had on all day, all I could think of was the old Mystery Date game from the '60s and I got the dud.

I simply rolled my eyes, gave him the Fran Drescher "hand," and shut the door.

So yeah, I was pissed at him for (yet again) screwing up on the time and he was pissed that I closed the door in his face and then I was pissed for a million other reasons that I won't get into but believe me they're good, and the bottom line is I haven't seen him since. We talked on the phone for an hour and a half this past Sunday night and we're both open to negotiations, but we're also both stubborn as hell, so no guarantees on whether we'll ultimately decide to rebuild.

Of course, I went to see Gladys Knight anyway. Of course, before the show I met an Irish guy named Sean from New York who lives in Vegas now, and of course, he gave me his number in case I ever want to hang out. He was really nice, but I don't think I'll be calling him. I could use a little break from boys. Stupid boys.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dancing by myself—back in the Vegas single life

I had intended to post something totally different today--I know you’re wondering what the hell happened between me and beloved boyfriend. When you’ve created a public persona as I have, there’s a certain degree of accountability that comes with the territory; readers follow you because they’re interested in your life, and so you can’t put stuff out there and just let it hang. I understand that, and I promise I’ll explain what happened with Mike on Tuesday. But first I want to tell you about last night.

So yesterday I wore this cute little hippie dress to work that I swear is about 10-15 years old, but every time I wear it I get compliments so what the hell. Well you know how it is when you’re wearing a cute little fat-hiding dress and your hair and face are still looking halfway decent even though you’ve been up since freakin’ 5:30 a.m. and you’re like, damn, I’m looking too hot to stay home tonight, I'd better go out and hit the town? That was me yesterday. After work I started to write the Breakup Explanation post and then around 6:30 I headed over to Green Valley Ranch casino.

I love watching live music, and the Ovation lounge at GVR is a nice little venue. The Michael Grimm band plays there at 7:00 on the Friday and Saturday nights when there’s no concert scheduled in the room, and since I’d been up since freakin’ 5:30 a.m., I appreciate the early start time.

Usually when I go out by myself, I sit in the back in the shadows. Sometimes it gets to be a pain in the ass when people keep asking you to dance. I know I shouldn’t complain—weh!—but sometimes you really just want to have a beer and enjoy the music in peace. So I found a seat in the back of the showroom and settled in. As I watched the band, I noticed a blond haired woman at a table on the floor to the left of the stage and I thought, that’s cool—she’s by herself, too.

That band is fabulous! They have a full brass section (there’s a million people on stage) and they play a wide range of music from soul to funk to Southern rock to the good ole Louisiana music that I love so much. When they started in on the beginning of Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken,” I was like, damn, I feel like dancing. And then doesn’t the blond woman get up and mingle in with the others on the dance floor and start dancing by herself, and she wasn't dancing by herself like whackos or mentally ill or retarded people do; she was just groovin'. I thought, good for her! But part of me was like, damn, I never see chicks that are cooler than me.

A few more songs went by and when they started in with “Chain, chain, chain… chain of fools” I was like, that’s it—if she can dance by herself, so can I. So I walked up there, put my beer and pocketbook on a table where I could see them, and did me some dancin’. I danced to “Back to Louisiana,” “Aiko, Aiko,” and Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” in my cute little hippie dress and I’m telling you, it was liberating! It’s funny, that blond woman has no idea how she inspired me. You never know how just being your normal self can have an impact on people.

I had a fantastic time. I was so digging the band, the other dancers, my Friday evening beer … the whole joyful scene. I used to go out by myself all the time, and it’s amazing how easily I just slipped right back into it. You know, I haven’t been in Vegas single girl mode since I started my blog (I kept the boyfriend under wraps for months before mentioning him); I think you’ll enjoy coming along for the ride.

There’s more live music on tap for tonight. Through Facebook or Classmates or something like that, I recently connected with my old friend Kevin Bacon from grammar school. Not that Kevin Bacon. Anyway, he lives here in Vegas and is in a band that’ll be playing out on West Sahara, so that’s where I’m headed for tonight’s adventure.

It’s all good, people. The universe unfolds in divine order.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I pulled off the surprise!

When I get really happy and excited, I clap my hands in quick little taps in front of my chest. I did a lot of that Tuesday evening--the surprise I planned for Lori and Russ' 20th anniversay came together beautifully!

I think the story is best told in Lori's own words, which she wrote yesterday on the plane back to Albany and emailed to me last night. So once again, I give you my sister, Lori Biker:

Our 20th Anniversary Surprise Celebration

Linda told us she had planned a surprise for us for Tuesday evening for our 20th anniversary. Russ was driving and she just gave him directions from the back seat. We didn’t know where we were going until we got there—the top of the Stratosphere!

The view was spectacular. You can see this place from anywhere in the Las Vegas valley and I always wanted to go there. (If you tell the security people at the bottom that you're going to the lounge, you don’t have to pay the $15 to go to the top!)

As we sat and had beers, Linda positioned herself facing the door. She had a mischievous grin on her face and kept checking her cell phone and then she walked away to talk on it. Shortly afterward, her friend Reverend Janet arrived. Janet performed my mother and stepfather’s Vegas wedding at the Tropicana three years ago. Linda told us she was there to renew our vows, something we had wanted to do but didn’t really get past the initial planning stages as it all seemed too extravagant on the websites.

What Linda arranged was perfect, of course. We didn’t have the “official” Stratosphere wedding package so we had to kinda be sneaky about doing this, which made it even more fun. Plus, who would expect the minister to be wearing jeans and a sparkly Vegas shirt?

We decided to do the renewal ceremony on the inside observation deck since it was quieter and a bit more private. We were overlooking a tremendous view of the Strip, the valley and the mountains.

As Janet spoke about how precious love is and how we have shared that love with our children, family and friends, Russ and I stood there with tears streaming down our faces. Holding onto each other and staring into each other’s eyes, we exchanged our vows again to love, honor, and trust in good times and in bad all the days of our lives.

These vows are so easy for us to take. We really are so much in love with each other and can’t imagine life without the other one.

A girl in my neighborhood asked me if I believe in fairy tale romance. Yes, I feel I am living one. You know how every fairy tale has a time in the story where things get scary and something or someone wicked and evil tries to do harm? In the fairy tale I live, Russ and I are always hand in hand battling whatever life throws at us together.

Who knows, maybe my whole life has been a fairy tale. Russ rescued me from troubled times and has given me a life I never thought possible. I think that since I have been with Russ it has been the part of the fairy tale that goes….and they all lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tonight on Aging Nymphs

OMG, Lori and Russ' anniversary surprise came off perfectly last night! Details in tomorrow's post, but first...

Trying to get your life together? Maybe you know where you want to go, but can't seem to get there, or maybe you're still wondering what you want to be when you grow up. Our guest, life coach Deborah Bailey, spills the beans on how a life coach can help you attain your goals and get you where you want to be. Deborah also has a hilarious blog, The Peach Tart--check her out!

To listen or join the conversation tonight, simply go to our Blog Talk Radio website at 7:00 Pacific/10:00 Eastern and click on the show’s title. Call the number on the screen to join the conversation, or you can listen to the show archives anytime by clicking a link on the right sidebar of this site.

This is going to be a fun show. God knows I'm a friggin' mess--is a life coach enough, I wonder, or do I need a whole psychiatric team? Hope you can join us!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A fun Las Vegas weekend

I’ve been having a blast since my sister Lori and her husband, Russ, arrived last Thursday. As it turns out, old boyfriend Tim was also in town last week, and so Friday after work the four of us headed over to one of my favorite cheap-o hot spots, Ellis Island. This place is a favorite for both locals and tourists in the know and you can’t beat their $1.50 big-ass brew pub stouts and $6.95 steak special. Yum! I wrote a Living-Las-Vegas article about it a while ago; give it a read if you want to kill some time at work today.

We had a great time at Ellis Island, and not just because of the beer. You know how some people are entertaining as hell, but they have no clue that they’re entertaining because they’re just being themselves? That’s my old boyfriend Tim. He’s a tough-as-hell fightin’ Irish carpenter with 101 stories to tell; usually they involve pressing his thumbs into somebody’s Adam’s apple. Suffice to say, his tales don’t end with, “and they lived happily ever after.” It's more like “and the last time I saw him, he was coughing up blood.”

Friday night Tim told us all how he misfired a nail gun and drove a nail into his wrist, yanked it out, worked for 8 hours doing carpenter stuff, and then went to the ER, where he told the nurse there’s no friggin’ way they’re giving him a tetanus shot because he’s afraid of needles. Yep, he’s a tough mo-fo, alright. And very entertaining.

Saturday Lori, Russ, and I got in some pool time at my place. What a gorgeous day! Hey, doesn’t it look like Lori’s skinny dipping? Where's your bathing suit, Lor? Ha!

I'm no Helen Mirren, that's for sure.

Saturday night we saw Jackson Browne poolside at the Red Rock casino out on the west end of town. OMG, that is definitely one of my favorite venues! I saw Peter Frampton there last year—here’s a review in another Living-Las-Vegas article, if you really want to waste the day. Anyway, Little Kathy, one of my dearest friends from college (SUNY Plattsburgh), was passing through town from Colorado Springs last weekend, and she’s also a huge Jackson Browne fan, so she came with us. Little Kathy is another one of those entertaining as hell people; I’ll save the details for another post, but take my word for it, she’s a trip and a half.

Jackson Browne put on a fabulous show! Of course, there’s a part of me that wished he’d play nothing later than 1980, but his latest album (?) (CD?) is actually very good; it’s just that the old stuff brings back all the wonderful memories. He did play a few of my favorites, like “For a Dancer,” “The Pretender,” and “Fountain of Sorrow.” Aaaaah… I still love him and don’t even feel the slightest bit queer for naming my son Christopher Jackson.

The nice thing about Red Rock is that you can get as close to the stage as you want. Lori and I snuck our cameras in—pretty cool, huh?

Sunday we did a little of everything—some more pool time, breakfast at the Pancake House in Green Valley Ranch (and some playing the Saratoga ponies in the race and sports book), and then we headed out to the Mountain Springs Saloon, one of my favorite biker bars.

After a couple of beers and some great people watching, we went back to town and met my buddy Hurricane Mikey at the M resort and casino. I had a nice dark beer and Mikey had some kind of gay-as-hell girly martini, then we all went back to Green Valley and had a big-ass meal at Lucille’s in the District.

OMG, I ate like a pig! The only downside to having Lori and Russ and Tim and Little Kathy all in town is there was a lot of eatin’ and drinkin’ going on. And the party’s not over yet—today is Lori and Russ’ 20th anniversary and I have a little surprise planned for them later. Shhhh…

Aren't they cute? Happy Anniversary, you guys!

I know you're wondering... where was beloved boyfriend during all this excitement? Well, we’re “taking a break.” Stay tuned. (Don't worry, there'll be no Bastard Boyfriend sequel.) (Yeah, I get that a lot.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Guest blogger: my sister Lori Biker

I have a treat for you today--a guest blogger, my Harley-ridin' sister Lori. As I've mentioned, Lori is a freakin' blast to hang out with and is the funniest person I know. I always tell my friends who haven't met her yet that if they think I'm so funny and outgoing, wait till they meet her. Hey, here she is with Steve Martin--how funny is that???

And so, I give you... Lori Biker!

"I Don’t Retain Anything But Water"

I am in Las Vegas right now with my husband Russ, celebrating our 20th anniversary. We, of course, are staying with my sister. Wouldn’t we want to be alone at this special time? No! Who would want to be alone when they could be with Linda Lou?

Russ tells me the last time we stayed here, just the two of us without the kids, was when we flew here, stayed a night, and then drove Linda to Palm Springs for a comedy conference. Russ was her driver and I was her assistant. It was a blast. Linda told me what year that was, but I forget. Whenever I think of that trip, I immediately remember the reception they had one night for all the comics and their guests. We all stood around talking and at one point Russ turned to throw his cup away. In his peripheral vision he saw what he thought was a trash can but then he realized he was about to throw his cup away on a midget! There he was, cup-to-face with a midget, dwarf, little person--I don’t recall which term is the politically correct one. My point is, we did and saw so many things that trip, and this is the first thing I think of?

It’s funny the stories you remember from things you do. There are so many things that don’t get room in your memory bank at all. There is no way you could remember everything you saw, did or said. Some memories are in the back somewhere and can be pulled up with some work and others are right there up front. There are parts of my screwed-up life that I would like to kick out of my memory to make room for those times when I say, “I hope I never forget this!”

Remember in school, right after the test, all material is forgotten? I still do it as an adult. I have taken CPR at work many times. Each time I learn it, practice it, get tested on it and feel confident. Then I walk out of the room and it is like I walk through a mind eraser. How many blows? How many thrusts? I get a card that says I am certified in CPR but, man, I hope I am with somebody like Russ if anyone ever needs it. He remembers everything!

I wonder why some people remember so much and others don’t? My niece Courtney claims to have memories from when she was almost a baby! It seems they are true memories too, not just memories she has created from hearing stories. There are times when I am not sure if I was really somewhere or if I just heard the story and now I think I was there. Is it really a memory of mine or do I just remember the story?

Sometimes people remember the same things differently than others. Really though, if two people experience the same event or interaction, chances are they will walk away with two stories of what happened. I guess that is interpretation rather than memory. They have done episodes about this on The Brady Bunch, The Odd Couple and other sitcoms.

I hate when people ask me to tell someone a story because I tell stories so well, then as I tell it as I remember it, they correct me the whole way. We were in Las Vegas, no it was in New Orleans, and our bags didn’t make it out of Charlotte, no it was Philly… I guess I don’t tell the story so well! Really, I don’t remember the story in detail, just the gist of it. I went somewhere and my bags didn’t.

Yes, I do remember many wonderful things, like spending time with people I love, especially those who are no longer with me, getting married 20 years ago, and watching my kids grow up. But here is a story that just happened today. Russ and I went to the Fiesta casino to play the slots. I play the penny slots, sometimes the nickels, if I am winning. I almost lost a bunch of money, all relative, and then I won a big bonus and won it all back! I was so psyched. I walked right from that machine over to Russ and told him my exciting story. He asked me what machine I was playing… I sat at that machine for over 30 minutes and felt an intimate connection with it. I pleaded with it, caressed it and thanked it. But I had no clue of anything about it now. I told Russ I couldn’t remember. He just gave me “that look.” He’s been married to me for 20 years now, he knows how I am. I don’t retain anything but water!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Excuse while I vent (again)

I’m cranky as hell lately, so thank God my sister Lori and my brother-in-law Russ are coming to town this afternoon. Lori is the most fun person on earth and Russ is the best brother-in-law ever. We’re going to see Jackson Browne at Red Rock Casino on Saturday night, and next Tuesday is their 20th wedding anniversary. I have something planned for them, but they don’t know it yet. It’s going to be awesome. Lori and Russ are perfect houseguests and their visit is just what I need right now.

I have been so freakin’ out of sorts these past few weeks I can’t even stand myself—do you ever get like that? It’s mainly because of two things: my book seems like it’s never going to be ready for the printer and I’m absolutely miserable in my job. Miserable. My alarm goes off at 5:30 and the second my eyes open, they roll back into my head and I let out a resignation-laden “fuuuhck.”

I’ll spare you the details, especially since I know many of you are out of work and I should be happy to have a job at all, much less one that pays halfway decently. Nonetheless, the place is breaking my spirit. I’ve used up all my coping mechanisms and I’m just marking time like a prisoner.

Since I got out of grad school in 1991, I’ve worked as a technical writer or corporate trainer, with instructional design work in there, too. Almost all was on a consulting or contract basis, meaning I got to travel and I also knew that sooner or later the gig would end. For some reason, I find that comforting; I don't like being "owned" by a company as an employee. I’ve been an employee now for almost three years and I hate it. And there’s no end in sight.

Right now I’m doing technical writing. I don’t mind it—there’s actually a cool sense of satisfaction in creating a beautiful user guide—but I don't create user guides anymore and that's part of the problem. I don't like the stuff I'm creating eight hours a day sitting in a gray cubicle and I’m totally burned out.

I’d really like to get back into corporate training. I love training! I love helping people learn so they can feel more confident about doing their jobs. I love helping people get from A to B. And I am fun. as. hell. in the classroom.

So I am sending that energy out to the universe. I am willing myself a nice training gig—right this minute! When I lived back east I had an awesome training gig. I taught newly hired bank customer service people sales techniques and how to open accounts and use the software. Loved it. I worked 15 days a month and was paid a nice per diem rate. Yeah, that’s what I want.

Manifesting now…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

“Formerly” hot? Why not FOREVER hot?

Lately I’ve been reading this Formerly Hot blog, and I even have it linked at left on my Blogging Buddies list. The woman behind it, Stephanie Dolgoff, has fabulous—and I mean fabulous—writing credentials, but there’s something about this site that’s been getting under my skin. And when something gets under your skin, there’s no better time to make your feelings known than when you’re halfway through your second Young’s Chocolate Stout, right? Yeah, the other night I did the 2009 equivalent of the old “drink and dial” and left this comment on her post entitled “Still acceptably young.”

I hate the whole “formerly hot” concept. Why are you no longer hot? Why can’t you get better every year? I’m sick of the whole, “Weh… I’m 40.” Or 50. Or 60. Let’s quit overanalyzing age and start living! All that frettin’ is terribly unattractive. Definitely not hot.
Well, I got an email from Steph and we had quite a dialogue yesterday. I told her I know what she means about the universally accepted definition of hot as that “first-glance” type of attractiveness, as superficial as that is. But the “formerly hot” concept bugs me. If a woman turned heads and was considered hot when she was 20 and 30, I don’t understand why she wouldn’t continue to turn heads and continue to be hot at 40, 50, 60, and even 70. The only difference would be the age of the heads she’s turning; she’d still be hot to her own demographic*, right?

(*I’m not counting those woeful 50-year-olds who need a trophy chick three decades younger on their arm to make them feel virile or, God help us, the men who think Thailand is paradise because they have their choice of subservient, poverty-stricken young girls who would blow anything for a flicker of American hope. Let's leave them out of the picture.)

Steph and I agree that women shouldn’t feel like they have to be hot in the first place. I have friends who don’t wear a bit of makeup and they look perfectly fine; they care about their looks, they just don't have the vanity gene that some of us do. Women like me opt into “The Hot Game” and not all women care to play. That’s cool.

But I think if you choose to play The Hot Game when you’re over 40, you do have to keep yourself up. If a woman who used to be hot no longer attracts attention, she’s probably let herself go—she’s gained weight, walks around in sweats, doesn’t bother with lipstick or even a comb, or has a “Weh, I'm formerly hot” attitude that comes across in the way she carries herself.

However, Steph thinks that the cultural definition of hot encompasses just a sliver of the population, and that’s where we don't agree. Think of all the marvelous role models we have these days--Helen Mirren (remember this pic from last summer???), Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn--they're all in their 60s. Need I mention Sophia Loren (almost 75) and Raquel Welch (70 next year)? I think we no longer live in an era where 50 is considered over the hill, and I'm afraid that, however well-intentioned, a website that talks about "girlstashes" and asks women to send in their “formerly hot” stories only serves to perpetuate the ageist culture that as a society, we've finally begun to shed. Maybe she's targeting the "Menopause: The Musical" crowd, but I never saw the appeal of that shit, either.

Personally, I would never dream of calling myself "formerly hot." Hell, no--I plan on being smokin' when I'm 90! Don't think I'm kidding. Being hot has nothing to do with age; it's all about attitude. And the first steps toward staying "forever hot" are (say it with me, kids):

1. Stand up straight.
2. Smile.
What do you think? Would you ever refer to yourself as "formerly hot"? Or are you more the "FOREVER hot" type?

P.S. If you get a chance, check out this Living-Las-Vegas article I wrote last December. It's one of the most popular articles they've had on the site. “Are Middle-Aged Women Invisible? Not in Las Vegas.”

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm still a bratty looking kid

I’m on a “get rid of the crap in my life” kick, a clutter cleanse. Some people have trouble throwing stuff out—not me. I find de-junking liberating, not that I have that much left anyway. I got rid of/gave away a lot of things before the ex and I moved cross-country to Wyoming in 2001. More stuff got tossed when we moved to Utah in 2002, and by the time we unloaded the truck in Las Vegas in 2003, I was down to the bare essentials.

The other night I tackled the closet in my spare bedroom. I told myself I’d go through it for just an hour because when you set a time limit on chores like that, they don’t seem as overwhelming. Sixty minutes later I took three garbage bags to the dumpster. Aaah!

I came across a few remnants of my Kiwi ex—a couple of his cigarette lighters, a calendar with photos of New Zealand, and I stopped for a moment to consider his handwriting in a notebook I found. I hadn’t seen his handwriting in years.


I also came across a few treasures, some I don’t recall seeing before. Speaking of handwriting, check this out.

This is what it says on the back.

Just barely three years old and already writing like that! Brilliant.

There was no date on this, a poem I wrote in a Mother’s Day card.

”And you'll be very gay.” Imagine how much that will go for on eBay once I become a famous author?

Here’s a picture of my great-grandmother, my grandmother, Mom, and me. No date on the back, but judging from the size of me, I’d guess it was taken sometime in 1958. My grandmother, holding me, was about 46 years old. That’s what 46 looked like back then.

This picture cracked me up. Do I look like a brat or what? You can see there was no hope for my hair even back then.

Look at me and my sister Lori. I remember these dresses.

I also came across a bunch of old report cards. My kindergarten teacher wrote, “She expresses her ideas very well. She is mature for her age.” See? I was expressing myself well even back in 1962. Too bad I probably haven’t matured much since then.

It was kind of weird to come across these things. I was like, holy shit, I used to be a freakin’ baby! I used to be a bratty lookin’ kid! I mean, I know I wasn’t always this size, but for some reason, the reality of the passing of time kind of freaked me out.

Life is amazing, don’t you think?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mom, I'm taking a job in Korea...

Yes, of course I’m happy the two female journalists were released from North Korea. Let’s make that clear—we’re all relieved. But for God’s sake, I don't venture into North Las Vegas without thinking twice. Why anyone would go within a time zone of the most evil and dangerous country on earth is beyond the scope of my imagination.

I’ll tell you, this never would have happened if those girls had my mother…

Me: "Mom, guess what? I just got a journalism assignment in Korea. Isn’t that great?"
Mom: "Korea? Jesus Christ, are you out of your goddamn mind? What the hell is wrong with you? No, you’re not going to goddamn Korea."
If I had half a brain, I’d stop there. Or I could press the issue.

Me: "But my friend’s mother is letting her go."
Mom: "I don’t give a good goddamn about your friend’s mother. If she let your friend jump off the goddamn bridge, would you do that too?"
And then if I really pushed, I'd get her favorite "this conversation is over" line:

“Fine. Do what you want, you will anyway.”
I swear, I’d rather do the 12 years of hard labor in a North Korean prison than face her wrath upon release. While my friend’s mother would welcome her home with hugs and flowers, the photos of my reunion at the airport would be of Mom pulling me by the collar with one hand and swatting my head with the other.

“Don’t you think [slap] Bill Clinton has better things to do than bail your ass out of prison? Jesus Christ, [slap] do you know how much goddamn money you cost the taxpayers of this country? [slap] Huh?”
She may have a point--those two journalists chose to take that gig, no doubt to further their careers. We're not talking about soldiers serving our country. How much did their capture cost U.S. taxpayers?

And I guess Hillary’s been working to free three American hikers who were snatched after they strayed from Iraq into Iran. Are you kidding me? I mean, Jesus Christ, have they already hiked every goddamn trail in America, and in every other country in the free world, they now have to hike in Iraq???

Excuse me, I think I just turned into my mother.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tonight on Aging Nymphs: How Dirty Are You?

Get your mind out of the freakin’ gutter; I’m talkin’ germ-dirt, not smut-dirt.

When I was in college, a really, really nice male friend told me that any guy who says he doesn’t pee in the shower is a goddamn liar. I never actually believed him, but now a recent poll of 1000 women showed that 75 percent of them admitted to doing just that. Seriously???

This is the kind of crap my sister Lori Biker and I will be talking about tonight on our Internet radio show, Aging Nymphs. Our guest will be nurse practitioner Peggy Greenwood, who will tell us what will happen to the 24 percent of women who don’t wash up after using the restroom. Eew!

To listen or join the conversation, simply go to our Blog Talk Radio website at 7:00 Pacific/10:00 Eastern and click on the show’s title. Call the number on the screen to join the conversation, or you can listen to the show archives anytime by clicking a link on the right sidebar of this site.

I’m a bit germ phobic; I’d live in a bubble if I could… how about you?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Your turn to speak out: what makes a GREAT blog?

But first, thanks so much to all of you who voted on the Bastard Husband: A Love Story book cover. As you can see, the black cover won by a margin of more than 2 to 1. I heard some valid points to build the case for the red cover, especially the fact that the title is dark enough and the black only makes it, well… what’s darker than black? I tried a compromise, putting the funky heart with the arrow on a red background, but it didn’t work.

So the black cover it is. Today the manuscript and cover files are being sent to a local printer who’ll make up a prototype (an extra step, but the boyfriend has connections), and then if it looks good, I’ll send the files to PrintMedia and Lightning Source. This is becoming a reality!


Last week I started a discussion thread on the blog writers' forum on I’m surprised the questions I threw out didn’t spark a little more activity because I think they’re pretty fundamental to blogging. Now I’m thinking that maybe blog readers are the ones I really want to hear from, so I’ll pose my questions to you as well.

With the millions of blogs out there in the blogosphere, we all face the challenge of making sure our own stands above the crowd. Readers have only so much time--we have to make it worth the effort to keep coming back. So I’m wondering…

1. What are the characteristics of the blogs you find yourself going back to again and again? What types of bloggers make you eagerly await their next posts?

2. And on the other hand, what are the characteristics of the blogs you land on once and know you’ll never return to
Please take a moment to comment on this. Your input will be very helpful to those of us who really want to create a positive reading experience. And I love, love, LOVE hearing from long-time lurkers who’ve come out of the shadows! (You know who you are.) If you’re too shy to comment, you can make your thoughts known by sending me an email to the address on the comment page.

I haven’t forgotten that I have two more awards to accept and pass on. Right now, however, I’m running late and I must hit the shower and make my way to the gray cubicle. I’ll be back later to take care of the awards, but in the meantime, I look forward to getting your input.

Lay it on me, readers!

8:45 p.m.

Okay, I’m back. I’m so digging your perspective on what makes a great blog—keep the comments coming!

I have two awards I’d like to acknowledge and pass on to other (more) deserving bloggers. Crazy-ass Peach Tart in Georgia (where else?) recently sent me a MAJOR award, which is for anyone who likes to laugh and who spreads humor throughout the blogging world we all travel in. Thank you, Peach Tart, you sick, twisted Southern belle, you! I’m going to pass this on to someone even more sick and twisted, FERTILE. Not a mommy blog. No, people; I said sick and twisted. I love this demented New Yorker because she’s too freakin’ cool to care about a goddamn award.

And the Best Blog award recently bestowed on me by my newfound friend and fellow nut job Slacker Chick recently gave me a Best Blog award, which I’m going to pass on to Suzanne Palmerie, who writes an absolutely beautiful blog called Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness. Suzanne is an incredibly talented writer who’s currently seeking representation. Her blog isn’t just for writers, though. I know a blog is good when I find myself slowing down to savor every word. Congrats, Suzanne, and thank you, Slacker Chick!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Awards & the Photo of the Week from Linda Land

I’m so honored! I’ve received not one, not two, but three blog awards this week. You know my delusions of grandeur… this is just the preliminaries for when I win the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Bastard Husband: A Love Story. And God forbid I lose, because I swear, I will scowl and fold my arms in front of my chest and 4 billion people worldwide will see me mouth, “F*CK!” No polite fake smiles from this one. Hell, no!

I’ll be sitting with Anne Heche, who will no doubt win Best Actress for her role as moi in BHALS. Perfect casting—I like her because she proves that you can still be famous even if you have crappy hair. And I think she’s a nut in real life. I’m actually rather well balanced compared to her. Of course, Philip Seymour Hoffman is a shoo-in for his portrayal of BH, my Kiwi ex. Aaahhh…

Now back to reality. My new blogging buddy/fellow smart ass Slacker Chick has given me “The Honest Scrap” and “Best Blog” awards, and whacky as hell Peach Tart has honored me a MAJOR award. (I “met” Slacker Chick over at, an excellent site I told you about last week.) I think I’ll do one award today and save the others for next time.

To accept the Honest Scrap award, I’m supposed to tell you 10 things about myself that no one else knows. Seriously? I’m an open book—literally—you people already know everything. Too much, I’m sure! So instead I’m going to break the rules and post the Photo of the Week from Linda Land. I know, I’m not remotely meeting the criterion, but it’s my blog (ha!).

So as if I’m not already in a piss-poor mood on any given weekday morning, I guess I must have left my car door unlocked one night last week because this is what greeted me as I was leaving for work.

Yep, somebody took the opportunity to rifle through my glove box and dump its contents onto my passenger seat. Yep, somebody actually figured there had to be something extremely valuable in a dusty 13-year-old Saturn with the dent in the roof.

Hmm… I can see why they wouldn’t want the hermetically sealed ketchup packet that was so old the ketchup inside actually evaporated. And they probably had no use for the cassette deck cleaner or plastic film container from the pre-digital camera era. But wait… can we get a close-up?

Can you believe they didn’t want my “How to Experience More Love” tape?

Oh, they probably already have their own. Duh.

I did notice two things missing: my remote gate opener and my work badge, which no doubt will end up on eBay once I become a famous author. To steal a line from my soul sister in Missouri, I’m shakin’ my head.

Anyway, I’m going to pass the coveted “Honest Scrap” award on to the most honest blogger I know: Julie of 47 and Starting Over. Did you see her post about her Incredible Hulk meltdown that ended with her ripping her blouse to shreds? God bless her, it doesn’t get any more honest than that!

Congratulations, Julie, and thanks to Slacker Chick and Peach Tart. More awards next time!

Have a great weekend, and be sure to lock your car, even if it's a friggin' 1974 Gremlin.