Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A great place to visit in L.A. where you're only six feet away from the stars!

So, last weekend's trip to L.A.

Have you ever been?  For the longest time I resisted, thinking I'd be the fattest, oldest, ugliest person there.  Seriously people, I'm a solid size 8--I thought for sure I'd be publicly stoned for presenting myself as such an atrocity. 

Oh, pull-eeese.  It's nothing like that at all.  I've been there a few times now and have never felt that vibe one bit.  (I bet some people wonder the same about Las Vegas--believe me, I don't think it's at all pretentious.)  L.A. is a blast! As I mentioned in my last post, my friend Nina is a tour guide, so she knows all the in's and out's. 

Nina lives in a high-rise apartment on Wilshire Blvd. with 24/7 valet service--swanky, eh?  

It's in the Westwook section, where UCLA is located.  Westwood is cool, with lots of shops and restaurants, and she's also a short drive to Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and the beach.

Last time I was there (pre-blog, unfortunately), Nina showed me all the stars' houses in Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, and the Hollywood Hills.  That was so much fun.  This time, she again took me to a place right in her neighborhood where the stars hang out.  Kind of.

Yep, we did a little tour of the Pierce Bros. Westwood Memorial Park.  It's exactly like the Coon Dog Cemetery I've been bragging about in northwest Alabama, except instead of coon dogs, it's full of famous people.

Look, there's Archie Bunker!

Nice that the Odd Couple are together for eternity...

What's Jack Lemmon in these days? Oh, the ground.

(Side note: I know Tony Randall's dead, but wouldn't Jack Klugman make a perfect "Dead or Alive" question? I vote alive.)

A lot of people had funny stuff etched on their tombstones.

Hey, guess who Merv's next door neighbor is?

(Sniff.) Nothing funny there.  But if I were Farrah, I'd have "God damn you, Michael Jackson, for dying on the same day and stealing all the grief that should have been mine."

Lots of other people you know are there.

Marilyn's not in the ground; she's in a drawer in a wall, just like Dean Martin.  I also saw the final resting places of Natalie Wood, Bob Crane, and so many more.

I thought this one was funny...

If you're like me, you're wondering who the eff is David Moran of Beloit, WI?  (And did he ever hear of using commas?)  I have no idea.  I even tried looking for him on Find a Grave.com. This is a super cool site that you'll want to browse for the rest of your work day. 

The only thing is, I'm pissed about who I didn't know was there before I went.  Like I totally missed out seeing the graves of Roy Orbison, Jim Backus (a.k.a. Thurston Howell III), Sebastian Cabot and Brian Keith, Frank Zappa, and Jonathan Harris--freakin' Dr. Zachary Smith of Lost in Space. "Oh, the pain..."

I am so going back. 

(And see, that's one place where truly nobody cares that you're a size 8.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Great weekend in L.A. and an upcoming comedy show

OMG, I had a fantastic time in L.A.!  What a fun place to visit.  As you can see, the weather was gorgeous. My friend Nina (the real-life "Mona" in my book) is an L.A. native and works as an actual tour guide schlepping tourists around, so she knows all the hot spots.  I took this of her on Rodeo Drive.

I'll tell you more in Tuesday's post, I promise.  It was a blast.

In the meantime, I want to let those of you in Las Vegas know that I'll be doing a set as part of an all-female comics' showcase Thursday night at 8:00 at Choices Pub, located at 6720 West Cheyenne.  I've never been part of an all-girl show (schwing!), so I'm really looking forward to this. 

If you're in town and can go out on a school night, be sure to check it out!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know I'm not big on Thanksgiving (and even less big on Christmas, which is a post for another time).   Don't get me wrong--I'm aware during most of my conscious moments how lucky I am.  I'm thankful every day--period. You know how people refer to New Year's Eve as "amateur night"?  That's how I feel about Thanksgiving. Plus all that food makes me nervous. 

Damn, I'm such a Scrooge.  But I really do hope you've all enjoyed the holiday!

Thanksgiving time in Las Vegas
I'm not going to be able to post on Saturday; I'm driving to L.A. tomorrow and will return on Sunday.  I'm going to visit my friend Nina--the "Mona" character in my book.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to post something Sunday night. You know me--I can't get enough of the road.

Enjoy your long weekend!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When life is good, is it less interesting?

Remember I told you about my daughter, Courtney, and her "30 Days of Happiness" project on Facebook?  Check out Day 18:

Isn't it fun to play with your shadow? I think so, and the house made the perfect pallet. I stood there for about 15 minutes playing with my shadow and imagination. I was in my own little Courtney land and I created a story in my head and acted it out with my shadow. I feel as if I have... been in a creative slump lately as far as my music goes, but this little imaginative, mental escape gave me an idea for a new song! Wow, what 15 minutes of carefree, imaginative alone time can do! I'm going to reserve that time for myself every day! How refreshing.
Oh, how I need to do something like this!  I've been in a super creative slump lately--aside from cheeky little tidbits on Facebook, I feel it's been ages since I've said or written anything funny. Or meaningful.  Maybe it's because, like Courtney with her beautiful new baby, in recent months I've been really happy.

Which begs the question, does contentment stifle creativity? 

Sometimes I wonder.  Hell, I wrote Bastard Husband: A Love Story during the most depressed time of my life and it's definitely the most creative and well-crafted piece of work I've ever done.  When times are tough, we have to cope somehow, and our creative juices provide a soothing and productive outlet.  But when life rolls along perfectly, we just roll along and enjoy it.  There's no need to make sense of things through literary expression, or in Courtney's case, by writing a song.

When I wrote my book I was "so miserable even Jesus would cross the street if he'd seen me coming," but it's also the funniest thing I've ever written.  God knows I'm friggin' full of myself, but I still crack myself up when I read some parts.  During that same bleak time, I also started doing stand-up comedy.  That's because without things going wrong, nothing would be funny. 

So when life is good, is it less interesting?  

People often ask about my next book.  I'm still working on my How Am I Normal? anthology, but that will be a collection of essays by other writers. As far as my own work goes, part of me hopes my life will be sailing along so well I'll have nothing interesting to write about. 

No, I'll find something.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm a "Glamour Don't," but even I wouldn't wear these

I'm the first to admit I know nothing about fashion.  As you know, I can spend fifty bucks in Ross Dress-for-Less and be all set for the season.  And most of the time, I think I look totally hot.
I have one fashion rule:  I wear whatever makes me look the thinnest. And from age 15 to 35--when I actually was thin--I wore Danskins literally every day.  Remember Danskins?  They weren't just for ballet class; I wore them with Levis, skirts, overalls (wince)... I had them in long sleeves, short sleeves, tank tops, scoop necks, turtle necks, V-necks... and in every color imaginable. 

And I'm talking real Danskins--the kind with no snaps at the crotch, not bodysuits.  It was an art form pulling a Danskin over to pee, right? And a source of frustration for the boyfriends; Danskins were the next best thing to keeping the goods under lock and key.

Okay, so who am I to talk about fashion?  But every once in a while, I see a trend that's just plain wrong.  Have you been in a shoe store lately? Have you seen all the open-toe winter shoes and boots?  Yes, open-toe boots!  They might work in Phoenix and Southern California, where the winters never get below 60 degrees, but for the rest of the country, I'm like WTF?  Seriously, what is the freakin' purpose?  If it's cold enough to wear boots, then why would the toe be open?  What am I missing, people?

This is the stupidest trend since those freakin' half sweaters they tried to push on us a couple of years ago.

Are you with me on this?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The daily walk through our 'hood and Las Vegas: its future isn't what it used to be

Oh, how I love the Vegas sunshine!  As I mentioned before, every morning at 9:00 Mike and I walk three and a half miles through the neighborhood.  I'll take you along with us...

Here's what 90 percent of the neighborhoods in Las Vegas look like. Not too exciting, but thanks to the (sometimes dreaded) home owners' associations, they're well kept.  Especially where we are in the Green Valley area.

I never get sick of seeing palm trees--they make me feel like I'm on vacation.  This is an intersection we pass near Green Valley Ranch casino. 

If I didn't have to get back to work, I'd be trying to talk Mike into breakfast at the Original Pancake House in there. If anything can send you into a diabetic coma in no time, it's their delicious chocolate crepes!

Sometimes, not often, the Strip gets a little smoggy.  A good wind will take care of that.

This is a typical scene: an empty lot that was once a twinkle of prosperity in someone's eye. My guess is, it will still look like this several years from now.

Unfortunately, this is what a lot of strip malls around here look like these days--half empty.

Las Vegas is hurting, people.  From what I hear, the Strip is still hanging in there, but the impact of the Vegas economy is really felt in the locals' quality of life.  The locals' casinos have cut way back on offering live music, my favorite casino cafe was replaced with a Denny's, and grocery stores that were once open 24/7 now close at 11 p.m.  Even my favorite biker bar, the Pioneer Saloon down in Goodsprings, had a single guy playing a guitar because they can no longer afford to pay an entire band.

Some of my friends, like Hurricane Mikey, have left; others are leaving soon.  A few would like to leave, but are tied to their houses or some other aspect of life here.  Even I wonder sometimes, is the bloom off my beautiful Vegas rose? 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So what would YOU do if you went on a date and the guy sat there playing with his i-Phone?

So last night Mike wanted to take me out to dinner.  Beautiful.  On the way out the door, he says, "What would you do if you went on a date and the guy sat there playing with his i-Phone?"

"Why, I'd take his picture with my i-Phone, post it on my blog, and tell the world what an asshole he is."

A half-hour later... voila!

Don't try to hide, Michael.  We know it's you.

And he wonders why I would totally dump him for Louis CK. :)


Okay, I'll come clean.  When I took this, Mike was actually looking up something we were talking about.  At least he wasn't killing zombies like he sometimes does in bed. OMG, DID I JUST SAY THAT?

Seriously, Mike is awesome.  And lucky that he's extremely good looking...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Courtney's "30 Days of Happiness"

Besides in the looks department, my daughter Courtney and I are alike in many ways.  One of the things she inherited from me is my sunny "everything is perfect; the universe unfolds in divine order" outlook, which is my typical M.O.   Except when I'm a crazy bitch.

Anyway, recently Courtney started "30 Days of Happiness" posts on Facebook.  Every day she writes a little something about what makes her happy along with a photo.  This is one of my favorites.
30 Days of Happiness: Day 2

The simplest things can make me so happy. Like, socks! I have about 47 pairs of them. There is nothing like tossing some cold piggies into some wooly socks. Hazel, however, prefers to take her socks off. Usually about two to three times in one hour. I caught this shot just in time!

How freakin' cute is that?  And yes, that's actually the color of Hazel's skin.  Whitest. Baby. Ever.

Courtney's Facebook friends are loving her posts; I look forward to them every day.  In response to her comments, Court recently wrote this:

I decided that for 30 days, I would document the simple little things in life, that are often just looked over. I encourage people to do the same. It truly does make my soul feel better and it makes me appreciate every day, just a little bit more.
I love it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Need a resume? Now's the time!

Yesterday I posted this on my Facebook page.
Hey, Facebook friends! I don't know how it happened, but I'll have some extra time this week to take on some freelance work. Need a resume? I'll make you look so good, you won't believe it's you. I'm not cheap, but I'm totally worth it! (That works on so many levels...)
As I mentioned in Saturday's post, I have a little more time on my hands these days, and I'm in a resume-writing mood.  If you read my book, you may remember that I worked for many years in corporate outplacement, and between that and my background as a tech writer, I can crank these things out in no time.

By the end of the day yesterday, I received this message from a Facebook friend whose resume I'd written.
I LOVE what you've done; you truly are a miracle worker... You've definitely portrayed things differently than had occurred to me, and I love that. You are my missing piece :)
Resumes are so important and I get a lot of personal satisfaction from writing them.  If you need a resume or want to give your existing resume a facelift, email me at linda@bastardhusband.com and we'll take it from there.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This pic made me do a double-take

I keep forgetting to post this pic. 

During our road trip, my daughter Courtney texted me this picture of herself. When I looked at it I thought, holy crap, is that kid looking more and more like me or what?  People always tell us how much we look alike and neither of us see it.  But now I think there may be something to it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The joy of working from home

I absolutely love working virtually from home!  I did it for two weeks in September and last Monday I started working virtually on what will be a regular basis at least until the end of the year. To stay in synch with my office in Schenectady, which is on East Coast time, usually I roll out of bed just before 6:00. I take an hour break at 9:00, when Mike and I walk about three and a half miles around Green Valley, and then I get back to work until 3:00.  Awesome.  

There's a real cost savings to working virtually.  Over the summer I commuted a good 250 miles a week, which on my car is about three-quarters of a tank of gas, and I spent close to $40 a week on lunches. 

Work clothes?  Forget about it.  Even though my office was business casual, we're still talking clothes I wouldn't normally choose to buy.  I realized that as I moved my stuff from my luggage to the closet this week.  Now all I need  is play clothes and going out on the town clothes.

I also have more time.  A 40-minute commute translates to almost 7 hours a week of sitting in the car. That's almost a whole other work day I now have to myself.  I need that time--who doesn't?  I have a million goals to pursue and a couple of projects to work on. 

While I understand that not every profession is suited to working virtually, I don't know why more employers don't offer workers the opportunity.  As far as productivity goes, if anything, I think virtual workers feel more pressure to have something to show for themselves at the end of the day.  And a major advantage is that a happy employee is going to be a loyal employee who's going to be less likely to jump ship.  Once you've experienced the joy of working virtually, why would you ever want to go back to getting all dolled up and schlepping yourself to the office?

It seems like a win-win situation to me. 

How about you?  Do you work at home?  Would you, if you could?  Do you think your employer would be open to it?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Recent piece on me in the newspaper

I meant to post this link earlier this week.  This piece on me was printed in the Albany Times Union last Sunday.  As far as I know, the local NPR radio station still hasn't aired the essays I recorded--I'll have to look into that.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Surprises along the road

I've talked before about the importance of travel--you get to bond with your traveling companions and create an unforgettable experience, your world becomes a little bigger, and invariably you learn something along the way. 

I definitely learned a few things on our cross-country road trip, in addition to the fact that there is actually a cemetery exclusively for coon dogs and that if you stop at rest stops but don't put gas in the car, you will eventually run out.  (We will never live that down.)

Here are a few other things I learned.  First, did you know there's an Amish community in southern Tennessee?  Instead of driving the interstates, for much of this trip we drove the side roads, which are always more interesting.  We saw this guy riding along on Route 43 in Ethridge.

I feel a little bad posting this because according to this article on Amish lifestyle, the Amish people don't like having their picture taken. They believe photographs violate Biblical teachings.  But evidently I don't feel too bad, because here I am sharing it with you.

BTW, I think I would make a terrible Amish woman.  Can you imagine?  Call the TV execs, I smell a reality show!

Another thing I learned is that the "land of cotton" extends far beyond Dixieland.  You would not believe all the cotton fields in west Texas.

We also saw some in New Mexico.  As a result of this trip, I've decided I will integrate "Now wait just a cotton-pickin' minute" into my lexicon at every opportunity.

I also learned it's possible to get authentic Italian food in the middle of Texas.  Yeah, you'd think we'd have opted for a hunk of Texas beef or maybe some Tex-Mex, but our hunger kicked in during a stop on I-20 in Eastland.  The only place around was this one, so we thought we'd give it a try. We didn't expect much until we were greeted by a handsome Italian man from New York.  Aaahhh--delicious!

One more thing.  We learned that down South, it's impossible to get a cup of hot tea.  Mom's a big tea drinker, and when she asked for a cup of hot tea, they looked at her kind of puzzled.  Then they said, "Well, you don't have to put ice in it," meaning you can have iced tea without the ice.  This must have happened in four or five restaurants.  They totally did not know about making tea with a tea bag and boiling water!  It was like she was speaking a different language.  I got the same reaction when I tried to order a sub with Russian dressing out West.  No such thing.

But at last, in Valentino's Mom was able to get a cup of tea.  See how happy that made her?

Thank God, cuz when Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

How about you?  What has surprised you during your travels?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Rattlesnake Saloon in Tuscumbia, Alabama

 One of the many highlights of our nine-day road trip was our visit to the Rattlesnake Saloon in northwest Alabama.  We were driving in the middle of God knows where on our way to the Coon Dog Cemetery when we passed a sign for the place pointing down yet another back road. 

"The Rattlesnake Saloon!" my sister Lori hollered, practically driving off the road.  "That's where we're going next, Mom!" 

Mom started to protest, as if dragging her to a freakin' graveyard for dogs in Deliveranceville wasn't proof enough of her good sportsmanship.  But we all know one of the benefits of getting older is that you reach a point when finally, finally you become the boss of your parents, so all she could do was silently pray we'd forget about it after we checked out the cemetery. 

No such luck (for her).

As (our) luck would have it, there were two other women (who arrived separately) checking out the coon dogs' final resting place.  We struck up a conversation with one of them, named Pam, and somehow she and Lori got to talking about the Rattlesnake Saloon. 

"I've always wanted to go," Pam said.  "My girlfriend's been there. She said they take you down a hill to the saloon in a pick-up." 

Mom started to blanch, but that's all Lori needed to hear.

"Follow us!" Lori told her after we'd paid our respects to the departed canines.  And so began a two-car caravan to the Rattlesnake Saloon.

We found it no problem, but alas, the sign said the place was closed.  Mom breathed a sigh of relief, but Lori, our new friend Pam, and I were bummed.  Then a minute later, the owner, a big, beefy Alabama hunk of manliness named Danny Foster, drove up and offered us a private tour.

"Get in my truck!" he bellowed.  "I'll take you down."

The three of us climbed in.  Danny Foster drove us down a steep incline, and there at the bottom was the Rattlesnake Saloon.  Check this out. The saloon itself is built into a cave.  (Believe me, pictures don't do the place justice.)

It's really nice on the inside, don't you think?

Isn't this sign funny?

This is where the band plays. You can't really tell, but it's kind of in a cave, too.  So cool.

There's also a couple of outside bars and a giant deck that overlooks a pond.

Danny Foster was so awesome; we were so appreciative to get a private tour. Mom thought it was fantastic--and oh, how we wished it were open.  You could tell it would be a swinging place to party.

And how about our new friend Pam?  How cool is she for going to the Coon Dog Cemetery all by herself on her day off and then following a family of Yankee women to a biker-friendly bar?

Man, those people down south are nice. 

If you ever have the chance to visit Tuscumbia, Alabama, make sure you go there between Thursday and Sunday so you can enjoy the Rattlesnake Saloon.  And don't forget to go to Helen Keller's birthplace and the Coon Dog Cemetery. 

Jeez, I should be a tour guide.  As I always tell my mother, "I take you to the best places."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back in Las Vegas!

After eight days on the road, we rolled into Las Vegas at about 5:30 last night.  I certainly was happy to see this man at the end of our journey!

So excited to be starting a new chapter of life.  And I'm pretty sure this book won't have the word "bastard" in it.

Back to my regular posting schedule tomorrow!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just a mere four hours from Vegas

We're waking up today in a gorgeous Springhill Suites in Prescott, Arizona.  Seriously, this room is the best yet, with not one, but two flat screens--one in the bedroom and one in the sitting area.  I love a good hotel!

We rode into town last night around 7:30 or so.  Mom and I were here about 12 years ago--and stayed at this same hotel--when we made a loop through Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona and Jerome.  I remember thinking Prescott would be a really nice place to live, so I'm eager to see it in the light of day.

OMG, yesterday was awesome.  We woke up in Sorocco, New Mexico, which I'll always remember as the place where Mom tried to turn on the TV with her cell phone. (She's a never ending source of material!)  Instead of driving up I-25 to Albuquerque and picking up I-40, we decided to take the back roads.

Back roads take a little longer, but that's where you're more likely to find the cool roadside attractions.  We stumbled upon this cute little pie shop in... Pie Town, New Mexico!  Of course we had to stop and have a piece of pie, and OMG, we all agreed it was the absolute best we ever had. 

Believe it or not, the only other business in Pie Town was ANOTHER PIE SHOP!  That was it.  Too funny.

We made our way across New Mexico and central Arizona, enjoying the scenery every mile of the way.

Our destination for the day was The Spirit Room Bar in the Connor Hotel in Jerome, Arizona.  Yep, we dragged Mom to another biker bar!

I swear, this is one of my absolute favorite places on earth.  If you don't have a good time there, you might as well call it quits. 

The music is always fabulous--bluesy roots rock and roll--and everyone gets on the dance floor.  And I do mean everybody-- old people, young people, lesbians, a guy with Down syndrome, a woman in a wheelchair... hell, even Mom got on the dance floor!

Oh, what a fantastic place that is! 

So today is our last day on the road.  Prescott is probably less than four hours from Las Vegas, but you know us--it'll take us a good part of the day to get there. We're explorers.  But in a way, I can't wait to get there.  There's a hunk of man I can't wait to get my hands on.  Giggity.