Saturday, October 30, 2010

Road Trip 2010, the Return: Day One

It's Saturday night and I'm writing from Columbus, Ohio, birthplace of my celebrity girl-crush, Beverly d'Angelo.  Surprisingly, I see no mention of a museum or shrine to her in my AAA tour book.  Go figure.

The day started out pretty uneventful; if you've ever travelled the New York State Thruway, you know exactly what I mean.  I got excited when I saw a sign for a rest stop with a Sbarro's outside of Syracuse--Sbarro's is my favorite fast food.  Mom found a penny in the bathroom--face up--so we figured we were in for some good luck, but alas, the Sbarro's was under construction.  Dammit.

Then Lori had the brilliant idea to stop at Dinosaur BBQ in downtown Syracuse.  If you've ever eaten at the Dinosaur, you know that the food is yum.  This was Mom's first visit and we all marvelled at the fact that we were able to drag her to a biker bar after only about two hours on the road.

We struck up a conversation with this cute Irish man sitting in the booth behind us who gave us cards with smiley faces. 

Once our food came, we were more into stuffing our faces than talking.  We did, however, come up for air long enough to say good-bye when our new friend got up to leave.  Delicious!

After chowing down, we got out our wallets, but instead of placing a check on our table, our waitress said it was taken care of.  "Mr. Coffey got it.  He does that now and then." 

That sneaky boy slipped out of there before we could thank him, so I'll do it now.  THANK YOU, Mr. Coffey!  What a wonderful and unexpected surprise.  Good thing Sbarro's was closed--that lucky penny really was a sign.

We got back on the Thruway and stopped at the next rest stop for coffee and snacks and then stopped at the rest stop after that to pee.  Yes, count 'em--three rest stops so far.  But we forgot one thing.

Can you believe it??? 

Tomorrow we're heading south into Kentucky, to a place I've always wanted to visit.  Stay tuned!

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Road trip 2010: The return" starts TOMORROW!

I'm posting today because I know I won't have a chance to post tomorrow.  Yep, tomorrow--as early as we possibly can--we'll be hitting the road en route to Las Vegas.   I can't wait to get to our first destination!  I'll try to post every day, but it's not always easy when you're on the road.  At the very least, I'll make periodic updates on Facebook, so feel free to follow me.

I'm excited out of my mind.  Once I get back to Vegas I'll be starting a brand new chapter of my life and these are unchartered waters; I'll be in a situation that's entirely new to me.  There's a lot of uncertainty, and I'm totally comfortable with it.  It's like I'm jumping in the deep end and while I think I know how to swim, I'm about to find out just how strong a swimmer I really am. All I can say is, I'm going to do my best to make it work.  I'm making a c-c-c-c-commitment. Commitment.  There, I said it.  Kidding--I'm psyched about it; I couldn't be happier.

Stay tuned--it's going to be fun!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

WARNING: Boring post ahead

Hey, I know enough about writing to know that you should always write to your audience.  Today, though, I'm writing for myself. It's going to be boring as hell for you, especially the guys.  But I promise things will start to get MUCH more interesting after I hit the road on Saturday.  I promise!

Let me say one more time: It’s been a fantastic summer. I never liked the expression, “All good things must come to an end,” but it really is time for me to move on. Of course I’ll miss everyone, especially Connor and Baby Hazey, but I’ve already booked my flight to Albany for the holidays, so I won’t be gone too long before I’m back again.

Even though I started working three weeks after I arrived here, I feel like I’ve been on a five-month vacation. And vacations are not good for the body! You know how much weight you can gain during a one-week getaway?  Imagine five months of eating and drinking and socializing and eating and drinking some more.

Since Lori and I hit the road in mid-May, I’ve hardly exercised at all except when I was in Vegas for those two weeks in September. Mike and I exercised a lot (giggity). I mean we walked three and a half miles every day. It felt great and I can’t wait to get back into that routine. My body is crying for it! I’ve never been in such crappy shape in my life; I haven’t gone this long without doing yoga since I started practicing it 13 years ago.

I know there are people out there who haven’t exercised literally in years. I can’t imagine. There really is an incredible mind-body connection, and when you’re in good shape everything in life seems to flow a little smoother. You really do have a lot more energy. Right now I feel shitty. Not achy and painy; it’s more mental than anything. I feel guilty for letting myself go. I’ve always had a pretty hot body and I’m not just saying that because you know I’m so friggin’ full of myself. Seeing this middle-aged spread in the mirror and in pictures is just so depressing.

You know how you hear about the 800-pound guy who can’t even leave the house because he can’t fit through the goddamn door and you think, “Jesus, dude, wasn’t it a wake-up call once the scale tipped 500?” I feel like this is my 500-pound wake-up call. And I’m gonna answer it.

I like to think I have a lot in the “exercise bank” from all the ballet and yoga I’ve done since I was a kid, and it probably won’t take too long before I spring back to a less disgusting state. But sometimes I wonder if it’s even possible to get in “smokin’ body” shape again; maybe it’s too late.  That would suck.

I'm really going to try, though.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ever give your kid the finger to the back of his head?

I keep thinking of the line in Louis CK's show Saturday night that went something like, "You're not a good parent unless you give your your kid the finger to the back of their head.  At least three times a week."   And he's not talking about teenagers, either.  He's talking about "the little asshole who makes everyone late because he won't put his shoes on."

Giving kids the finger to the back of their head?  Can you imagine?  Who would do such a thing?

A lot of us have, right?  That's why he got such a huge laugh. 

There's something delightfully passive-aggressive about behind-the-head finger-giving, no? I give Bastard Husband the finger behind his head on the very first page of my book. One of my friends routinely gives his boss the under-the-desk-finger. And then there's the old pointing-at-the-phone motion. Driving doesn't count; that's not behind the head.

How about you? Are you a secretive bird-flipper? (Yikes, what a horrible saying.) Who's your favorite target?  Ever give your own precious angels the finger to the back of their head? 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The rest of the story...

To update you on Saturday's post, Mike called later that day so I didn't end up leaving him for Louis CK, as threatened here and on my Facebook page.  (Rockin' Billy, I'm still laughing at your comment.)

Louie put on a great show, as expected. I'd seen him twice before in Las Vegas and he's a true professional.  Thanks again to my brother and sister-in-law.  What a fun, fun night! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

George Clooney is handsome enough, but I prefer a hefty redhead

I am so excited! Tonight my brother and sister-in-law are taking me to the Palace Theater to see Louis CK, one of my favorite all-time comics.

I freakin’ LOVE that guy! Aside from being funny as hell, he’s one of the most ballsy comics out there. If you caught his show on FX last summer, you know what I mean. Sometimes I can’t believe he’s going there, but he marches right along. He’s full-frontal honest and often self-deprecating, which I love.

Here’s a clip from his Shameless video. I saw this on Comedy Central a few years ago (after midnight, so it was unedited) and became a fan for life. WARNING: This is vile, disgusting, politically incorrect, and includes absolutely terrible language and mental images that will offend just about everyone on earth.

Yep, Louis CK is right up there with Larry David and Ricky Gervais as far as comedy goes, and he’s one of my major celebrity crushes. If I didn’t already have a handsome hunk of a boyfriend, Louis CK is exactly the type of guy I’d go for. I love redheads—hello, Denis Leary, Billy Mumy, and Prince Harry (even though that’s just wrong)—and I don’t give a crap if a guy is losing his hair. On top of that, Louis CK has a manly body mass index of about 30, which I consider ideal. (I like something to hold on to.) I’m not kidding, he's the perfect male specimen. (Second to Mike, of course.)

Do you ever wonder if you met your celebrity crushes in real life, if they would even like you? That’s one of the things that goes through my mind at work while I should be editing IT documentation. I can tell you right now that I would drive Denis Leary bonkers—he would be begging me to shut the F up—and I’m simply not intelligent enough for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Billy Bob Thornton’s already had Angelina, so he’d be nothing but horribly disappointed with me.

But Louis CK… I think if he met me in real life, he would actually dig me. Like I wouldn’t drive him nuts or anything; we’d be a perfect couple. We could write comedy together and come up with scathing material about the people who annoy us, which in both of our cases, is just about everyone. I’m ten years older, but he’s said many times that he doesn’t particularly go for the young chicks. (He's single now.)

Hmmm… You know, I’ve called Mike several times in the past couple of days and he still hasn’t gotten back to me. If I don’t hear from him by tonight, would it be terribly bad of me to stalk the performer’s entrance of the Palace?

Just asking.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Whatever happened to Perry?

First, thanks to all who wrote in your recommendations for cool places to stop during Roadtrip 2010--The Return.  I already know we're going to make a beeline for one destination, and I can't wait to get there!  This is going to be some adventure--imagine me, my mother, and my sister Lori  riding cross-country in a little Scion the size of your coffee table.  We leave on Saturday, October 30--fun times ahead!

So earlier this morning, I received this comment from Carol in Perth, Australia.  Since I probably don't have any readers on Mars, it's safe to say Carol gets the distinction of my most distant reader.
Dear Linda,

After finally getting back from holidays, I have a bone to pick with you. Basically you owe me a bottle of after sun care.

I purchased your book and decided to save it to read whilst I was away. So, there I am sunning myself near the pool in Honolulu where I get third degree burns.How do I hear you ask, did I get so burnt? basically once I started your book, I literally couldn't put it down. I had to read it. I totally lost myself in your book. I haven't laughed or cried as much over a book, like I did with yours.

PS Whatever happened to Perry?


Perth WA :)
Oh, Carol, thank you for the kind words about Bastard Husband.  I really am proud of how it came out.  And, um, sorry about the sunburn. 

So.... whatever happened to Perry?  I'm asked that a lot.

Perry and I went out on an official date only once, on my 47th birthday in 2004, and then soon after he took a job in the Bahamas, where he lived for several years.  This was taken at the Hard Rock in November 2004 after a John Fogerty show at The Joint.  (My arm is not that fat in real life.)

The last I heard from Perry, he had moved to Houston.  I sent him a Happy Birthday email a couple of weeks ago, but haven't heard back so I don't know the latest.

What a cool guy--so nice and funny, too.  He'll always have the Jesus halo I mention in the last chapter of my book!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

St. Anthony, you rock!

Sunday I took my grandson, Connor, to see Secretariat. The movie was okay, nothing great, and it had the kind of sappy music score I can’t stand. But it’s a Disney flick, so what was I expecting, right?

Connor’s been squeamish about going to the movies with me ever since that little episode when I almost bit the heads off a young Asian couple for talking during The Karate Kid, and when the little 5-year-old girl behind us started getting antsy, he gave me a look that said it all. I assured him that I’m not gonna yell at a little kid sitting in a Disney film. Plus I was getting antsy, too.

After the movie we went to my sister Lori’s house for dinner, which she could barely get on the dining room table because she was on Day Two of being (justifiably) wigged out over losing her wallet Friday night. Once again I asked her the usual annoying questions like, “Where did you have it last?” (duh) and “When did you notice it was missing?” But this time I added, “Did you pray to St. Anthony?”

Seeing that we’re not Catholic, she hadn’t considered that last question, but seeing that in high school I had a boyfriend with a full-blooded Italian mother, I’ve been praying to St. Anthony to help me find stuff for years.

So in the midst of a house full of my relatives yakking away, I sat in the kitchen and said, “St. Anthony, please lead me to Lori’s wallet.” Then I quieted my mind after a few moments, I got up and walked out to my car, which she’d been in Friday night. I’d checked the car before, but this time I was guided by St. Anthony.



I went to lock the car, then caught myself. I had to look on the back floor.


Then for some reason, I looked in a nearly empty box on the back seat that had a few Bastard Husband books in it. There it was! Within minutes of praying to St. Anthony, I had her wallet in my hand.

Later that night on the way home, I told Connor that after you pray to St. Anthony, you have to be sure to quiet your mind. Otherwise, you won't receive his direction and know where to look; you can't hear anything if you're chattering away yourself, right?

I learned in my yoga training that when you pray, you talk to God, and when you meditate, God talks to you. Or, if you're not a big God person, think of it as letting your own intuition talk to your conscious mind. So if you need direction on something, you can't keep pray, pray, praying. You have to clear your mind of any thoughts so the answer can come to you.

Connor always listens to me very politely, and since usually I'm spouting this stuff off when he's trapped in the car with me, what's the poor kid gonna do? I like to think maybe some will stick when he gets older and he'll remember some of this wise bullshit from his granny.

The truth is, I have to talk with him about nice things like prayer and meditation.  Connor's my Facebook friend--I have to balance out posts like this one.

Plus, I have to make up for harassing noisy movie-goers, right?  Can't give him the wrong impression about his granny.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Here’s your chance to tell me where to go

Two weeks from today (Saturday, October 30) Mom, Lori and I will be hitting the road on our cross-country trek from Albany, NY, to Las Vegas. We’d like to roll into Vegas a week later on Saturday, November 7, though the next day would be okay as well.

When Lori and I made the trip last May, we had some definite ideas of places we wanted to check out—Santa Fe, the Oklahoma City memorial, Graceland, Nashville, and Asheville, NC, come to mind. But the attractions that turned out to be the most fun were quirky and unexpected—Cadillac Ranch, the largest cross in North America, and the cafĂ© at the midpoint of Route 66 in Texas; Gatlinburg and a Loretta Lynn restaurant somewhere in Tennessee; Helen Keller’s birthplace and the lost luggage place in Alabama… not to mention all the biker bars we visited along the way. (Note to Mom: don’t think we won’t be dragging you into a few on this trip.)

We’re not so sure of our itinerary for the way back. I’ve already been to the Museum of Tobacco Art and History in Nashville, and it’s a good thing I saw it when I did because it’s now closed. Lori’s already been to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in St. Louis, but I haven’t and it sounds like a blast so she may just end up there again. I’d also like to breeze through Roswell, NM, in search of alien life, though it’s not really on the way.

See, this is where we need your help.

What fun/quirky places can you recommend between Albany and Las Vegas?

Or, is there a weird place you always wanted to visit and would like us to report back on?

We’d especially like to find something in West Virginia and Kentucky since we’ve never been through those states. I’ve never been to Kansas or Missouri, either. I’m open for suggestions—tell me where to go!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bathroom mirror, why are you so unforgiving?

As you know, I was really lucky to land a contract tech writing job within three weeks of arriving in Albany. This gig has been a godsend! There’s a steady flow of work that’s not overwhelming, my boss is cool, and my coworkers are fun as hell. Look—I let beautiful Ivory Girl borrow my tiara last week. Isn’t she adorable?

To go on, the company culture seems healthy, there’s a free parking garage, I like walking around downtown Schenectady at lunchtime… the only bad thing about this place is the lighting in the ladies’ room. I’m not kidding, it’s AWFUL! I look like I’m 90 years old, anemic, hung over and suffering with the flu and a wicked toothache, and just endured the middle seat of a transcontinental flight that was delayed on the tarmac for five hours before takeoff. So. not. pretty.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself, “Is the lighting in here really shitty or am I not nearly as attractive as I fancy myself to be?” And then I spend the rest of the day wondering how the hell I have a boyfriend, praying that he never actually gets a good look at me, and guessing whether young and gorgeous Ivory Girl thinks the lighting in there is just fine. In which case, I will secretly hate her.

Imagine if you had such crappy lighting in your bathroom at home? You’d have terrible self-esteem and would never leave the house. Maybe this is part of the company’s grand scheme to retain workers. You’re lucky you even HAVE a job looking like that! Go ahead and see if anyone else will take you, you repulsive hag!

This bathroom situation is still a million times better than one of the places I worked as a contactor several years ago. Everyone there must have been on high fiber diet—I swear, at any given moment the place stunk like my father had just finished up after downing a giant plate of Mexican. Mixed with Chinese and Japanese.

Anyway, if you’re ever having an ugly/tired/can’t-stand-your-face kind of day, blame it on the lighting. Or just turn the damn lights off. If anything, I know I look best in the dark.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The beautiful Northeast and another road trip... coming up!

Wow, we had another beautiful weekend here in the Northeast. There’s a line in a Tom Waits song that goes, “Never saw the east coast till I moved to the west” and I certainly know what he means. I’ve really enjoyed being back here this past summer, and I’m appreciating the fall foliage like never before. Let me share some pics.

This is what Helderberg Lake in rural Albany County looked like last Saturday.

I took these two on Sunday at Reichard's Lake in Rensselaer County.  When I was little, my grandmother's family had a camp on this lake.

Here's one of Warner's Lake in East Berne.  I took this on my way to work yesterday.

Just about every photo I’ve posted in the past few months was taken with my iPhone 4. Not bad, huh? Damn, I love that thing.

Anyway, when I lived here I used to get depressed as hell once autumn came because I knew all too well what was coming. When I was a kid I didn’t seem to mind it, but once I started schlepping babies around, winter turned into a major pain in the ass and I haven’t been able to tolerate it since. I freakin’ hate the cold. And wind. And snow.

But this year… it’s a joy to see the colors of fall because I know that in two weeks and four days, I’ll be packing up my little Scion for another cross-country road trip back to Las Vegas! Yep. I know how much you enjoyed traveling with me and my sister Lori last May, and though we have time constraints on this trip—we have to be in Vegas by November 7—it’s still going to be a blast. And this time DeeDee Idaho, a.k.a. Mom, is going along for the ride. Call the TV executives, I smell a reality show in the making!

Yep, Mom’s flying into Albany two weeks from today. I can't wait--I haven't seen her since Mother's Day and I never go that long between visits. Then the three of us and my bags of crap head west on Saturday the 30th. You may recall that Lori drove every friggin’ mile on our trip last spring, and she swears she’ll do it again. BTW, my driving is NOT that bad, contrary to what Lori and beloved daughter Courtney would have you believe in this video Court made a couple of weeks ago on our way home from Lake Placid.

Whatev. Ha!

Anyway, my last day of work in Schenectady will be the 29th, and then I start working virtually from Las Vegas on November 8. I’m incredibly psyched that they’ve extended my contract until mid-December. After then, we’ll see. I’ll take whatever I can get; it’s a good gig. And though I’ll miss my friends and family, I’m also incredibly psyched to be getting back to Mike. We’ve done a good job handling the distance, but enough is enough. I’m really looking forward to the next phase of our relationship.

So much to look forward to! I know we’re supposed to live in the present moment, but having a lot to look forward to sure makes the present even sweeter.

One last thing: I have only a few copies of Bastard Husband: A Love Story left with me here in Albany. If it’s been a twinkle in your eye to order it, don’t delay. I have a stash in Las Vegas—and you can always order through Amazon—but if you want a signed copy soon, now’s the time! For some reason, sales are more brisk lately—yay!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Although my foot lives in my mouth, you can still get hit by my shoe

One of my goals for the upcoming year is to try to land more speaking gigs.

Hold on. Let’s try that again.

[Ahem.] One of my goals for the upcoming year is to try to land more speaking gigs.

That’s better. (The minute we put “try” in a goal statement, we’re already telling ourselves we’re not serious about doing it.)

Anyway, last Monday night I spoke to a nice bunch of about thirty women at the All Saints Church in Albany. (No, that’s not a typo.) One of the ladies had read my book and asked if I’d speak to her group. Believe me, I was as surprised as you are!

When I speak to groups, I talk about how I ended up in Las Vegas after a midlife divorce and got into standup comedy, and how you’re never too old to set goals for yourself and a lot of the motivational blah, blah, blah you’ve been reading here for the past two years (as opposed to the politically incorrect and vulgar stuff—ha!) I also talk about how the book came to be and read funny bits and pieces.

I was a bit leery about speaking to church ladies because you know me—it’s an effort to be on good behavior for any length of time—but they were all really cool. Really cool. When I mentioned how I’m the bossy type of person who would tell the pope how to say Mass, there was a chorus of, “I think you should!”

I sold a lot of books that night. (If I could get a few gigs like that a week, I could quit my day job.) God bless my sister Lori for coming with me and selling books while I signed and chatted it up. One of the girls told me, “The last author who signed a book for me killed herself.” Yikes. Then when I went to sign her book, I noticed I’d already signed it to another person. Huh? She said she bought it at an estate sale! So I wrote
I won’t commit suicide if you don’t die. Deal?
The funniest part of the night happened the next day when I realized I’d been sitting in a circle of 30 women crossing and uncrossing my legs with a giant price sticker on the bottom of my shoe. How could no one have noticed? One more thing for the “Before I get in front of people” checklist.

That reminds me of my funniest/most embarrassing shoe-related moment, which happened about 14 years ago when I was working as trainer for a corporate outplacement firm. I was facilitating a small group around a conference table but during the module on interviewing skills, I pulled my chair away from the table so people could see my body language.

"You don't want to come across too uptight," I said, sitting rigidly in my seat. "On the other hand, don't get too relaxed." To demonstrate, I sat back in my chair with my legs crossed and my shoe dangling from my big toe.

After making my point, I adjusted myself back to normal posture, but I must have uncrossed my legs with a little too much force because my shoe went flying into the air in what seemed to be a head-over-heels slow motion movement for like 10 seconds before it landed perfectly like a gymnast in front of a guy, right on his open training binder. Now, the last thing you expect when attending a training session is the instructor's shoe presented to your face, right?

That was so freakin' funny; we all must have laughed for like 20 minutes.

Aaaaah.... am I not the biggest idiot you ever met?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When gentle nudges don't work, find creative ways to nag

Every Sunday the Albany newspaper, the Times Union, prints a "Life Stories" feature of short stories sent in by readers about their lives.  (Hence the title, huh?)  Because I fancy myself as being somewhat interesting, I submitted a piece in back in July.  The next day I got this response:  

I’ll be happy to consider your story. I’ve just returned from vacation, so it will be a while before I get to read it. Please bug me if you don’t hear from me.
Well, every three weeks or so I'd take the guy up on his invitation to bug him.  At one point, I opened with "You'd think you were my boyfriend, the way I nag you!" and though without fail I heard back right away, his response was always something like, "I'm swamped right now, but keep bugging me."

The other night I decided to go balls to the wall and sent this: 

Okay, Jack--

You said don't hesitate to bug you, and for once I'm doing as I'm told. And here are five other things I will do to get you to read my Life Stories submission:

1. I will buy you a beer. Not the cheap stuff, either. A good microbrew.

2. I will send you a free copy of my book. Men love it because it has lots of swearing.

3. I will crank call your worst enemy. That will be fun; I'll use my fake English accent.

4 I will let you borrow five dollars. And for as long as you need it.

5. I will send you my obituary picture to be printed when I die in 2059. See attached. I look awesome and I probably won't change too much before then.
... and I attached this picture.

Well, I heard from him the next morning and guess what? My story is on the schedule for November 7.

I'll remind you before then, but that's not the point. My point is, sometimes you have to be creative to achieve your objective. Sure, I took a risk, but in all his communication he seemed like a nice guy, so I figured he might get a kick out of my approach.

So my question to you is, what do you have out there that's going nowhere for you? How can you creatively escalate the situation to the next level?

Do it! Do it today!!!

P.S.  Cleavage might help.  Just saying.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Still sleeping around... this time in Lake Placid, NY

Thanks to all of you who sent birthday wishes here and on my Facebook page--I had a FANTASTIC birthday!

It was a gorgeous weekend here in the Northeast, and Saturday afternoon my daughter, Courtney, and I packed an overnight bag and took the kids for a spur-of-the-moment birthday trip. But to where? As we approached I-90 I said, “We gotta make a decision now. North, south, east or west?”

We decided we’d head north and instead of targeting Lake George, we went balls to the wall and ended up in Lake Placid. What a beautiful ride up there.

Yeah, beautiful until Courtney started singing this song to the tune of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”

Oh, who’s the craziest driver?
Who’s the craziest driver?
Who’s the craziest driver?
It’s Vegas Linda Lou!
Very funny.  I do my best; that's all I'll say.

We rode into town just before dark, and evidently everyone and his Canadian brother planned a Lake Placid destination that night. Hotel after motel were not only sold out, but they all told us the entire North Country was booked. Yeah, whatever. We’ll deal with that minor detail after we get some dinner at this little Mexican restaurant on the main drag.

A little Asian woman greets us at the door. “Chinese, Japanese, or Mexican?” she asks.

Huh? “Um, Mexican,” I say.

The little lady apologizes that she doesn’t have a high chair for Baby Hazel as she hands us “the Mexican menu.” Courtney and I look at each other with the same thought: Just how good can this “Mexican” food be?

“Mom, I think Hazey really needs a high chair,” Courtney says. And 10 minutes later we were down the street in a cozy steakhouse with Hazel perched in a high chair.

Dinner was delicious, but we still had that little problem of where we’d be lying our heads for the night. Our waiter brought us a phone book and after a few unsuccessful calls, I had a hunch to call one of the hotels that said they were filled earlier.

YES! They had a cancellation for a room right on the lake and so we buzzed right over to the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort.  They wanted an arm and a leg for the room, but we were pretty desperate.  Nonetheless, I asked for a AAA discount. Nope. AARP discount? Nope. Pretty girl discount? Nope. Not even the day before my birthday? Still nope.  I couldn't even get a late check out from the guy at the desk.  Jeez, could I be losing my mojo?

Grrrr…. I took the room anyway—it was better than driving back to Albany. Hazel went to sleep and Courtney, Connor and I sat around telling stories and laughing and we each enjoyed a Lake Placid 46’er Ale. Well, not Connor. He drank water.

The room was nothing special, but in the morning when we saw the view from our balcony, I realized it was worth every cent.

You know what's not so beautiful?  Me in the morning.  Looks like poor Connor got my "morning hair" gene.

And on the other end of the spectrum, look at these two.  Now, that's beautiful. 

Lake Placid is a cute little town, and if you've never been, it's definitely worth the trip.  There are lots of cute little shops and restaurants and all kinds of hiking and athletic-type stuff.  (Whatever.) Next time I'd like to drive up to the summit of nearby Whiteface Mountain. Yes, I said drive up.

We got back into Albany around 4 p.m. on Sunday (my birthday) and couldn't believe all the ground we covered in 24 hours.  Afer I dropped off Courtney, Connor and Hazel, I headed over to my son's house to hang out with him and his girlfriend, Ketti.  Those two are so freakin' adorable.  They still have their cable converter box (yes, they're the ones!), but with that laptop Christopher was toting around, it looks like they're finally in the twenty-first century.

I had a wonderful birthday weekend, which began on Friday night with a happy hour gathering at my sister Lori's house.  Fun, fun, fun!  I am so very grateful to have so many people who care about me--I truly feel loved!

Thanks again to all!  XOXO

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tomorrow I turn 53. I should be much more mature, no?

So tomorrow is my birthday again. Doesn’t it seem like I just had my birthday last year? Man, time flies. Anyway, for today’s post I thought I’d recap the major events of the past year, and what a year it’s been!

October 2009 – the release of my book, Bastard Husband: A Love Story. That was one big freakin’ accomplishment, five years in the making. It took three years to write—I toiled over every. single. word—and then I queried agents for two years before I decided to self-publish. Hell, it was doing nobody any good sitting in my laptop! At least once a week I hear from someone who’s taken the time to email me to say how much they’ve enjoyed it. I had a fantastic book release party in the showroom of Alexis Park Resort, just off the Las Vegas Strip, and hosted by Hurricane Mikey.  I read excerpts and had an overall amazing time. This led to…

February 2010 – the opening of The D Words, my one-woman show based on my book. I did 22 performances during February and March. Positively surreal. If anyone had ever told me I’d have my own Las Vegas show I’d be like, what are you smoking? I’ll resurrect it in some other incarnation sometime in the future—I’m toying with some ideas.

March 2010 – the Blackwell Sinners at Roots Fest in Albany, NY. The Blackwell Sinners are a family band—my daughter, Courtney; son, Christopher; their dad, Chris; and Courtney’s husband, John. There’s nothing that brings me more joy than watching my kids play their music, and I do mean their music—they write their own stuff. I could burst with pride. Check out and "like" their page on Facebook.  Listen to their songs, too!

Photo by Ken Jacobie
April 2010 – the birth of Hazel. She is so beautiful, I could melt.

March through May – Purgefest 2010. Within a couple of months, I got rid of all the crap that no longer served me and put the rest in storage. So liberating! I gave up the beautiful apartment I’d been in for seven years and trusted I’d be moving on to someplace even better. I quit my job, which I’d been miserable in for years, and again trusted something better would come my way. I replaced my beloved 1996 Saturn with a brand new Scion and realized there’s another car out there I could love even more.

And in my new Scion I had…

May 2010 – the ultimate sister cross-country road trip. Twelve days on the road with my sister Lori, stopping at every Harley dealership and biker bar from Vegas to Albany, laughing our asses off with each passing mile. From standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, to Santa Fe and Albuquerque to Cadillac Ranch and North America’s largest cross in Texas to Oklahoma City to Beale Street and Graceland in Memphis to Helen Keller’s birthplace to the world’s largest lost luggage store to Nashville and Asheville to playing bingo in Virginia and then finally zipping up to Albany to meet my new… whew!

Remember when my sister Lori got struck by a giant arrow outside the Indian casino in New Mexico?

June 2010 – a fun new job. Three weeks after I landed in Albany I started a three-month contract job doing technical writing. My coworkers are a blast and my boss is awesome. I’m still waiting to hear whether I’ll be able to continue on and work virtually when I return to Vegas next month—fingers crossed!

Summer 2010 – time with family and friends. It’s been wonderful being back in Albany. I’ve so enjoyed spending quality time with my 11-year-old grandson, Connor, before he hits the teen years and is too cool to be with Granny.

God bless my friends Tim and Susan for putting me up for months on end in their beautiful country home.

August 2010 – recorded essays for Northeast Public Radio. This has been a twinkle in my eye for ages, and finally I took the steps to make it happen. They haven’t aired yet—I’ll let you know when they do! Now I need to approach the NPR affiliate when I get back to Vegas.

August 2010 – excerpts from my book were selected to be included in an anthology. Oil and Water… and Other Things that Don’t Mix is expected to be released this month. All proceeds from sales (ebook and print) will go directly to registered charities with an active role in helping to clean up the effects of the Gulf oil spill.

September 2010 – my trip to Maine. I just told you about that last week. So much fun!

All year – This year I also had took a couple of trips to Boise to see Mom and Stepdaddy. I give thanks for their continued good health every day.  Mike and I had a great Valentine’s Day getaway to Zion National Park in Utah and our relationship is stronger than ever. I can’t wait to start our life together when I go back to Vegas for good next month. I’ve seen lots of great movies and music, and have enjoyed good health myself. I am blessed with the best family and friends ever, including you virtual friends whom I have yet to meet. I’m a lucky gal.

Yep, it’s been quite a year. Tomorrow I turn 53. Holy shit, huh? I should be much more mature.