Saturday, February 26, 2011

What a fun week this has been!

My grandson, Connor, has been here all week so you know I'm thrilled out of my mind.  He flew in on Monday--by himself--and will be here until the 28th.  I cherish every second with him, but I know you don't come here to read about a freakin' granny gushing over her grandkid so I'll make this as interesting as possible.

I know a lot of you either live in Vegas or come here to visit, and if you don't make it a point to explore the Valley of Fire State Park, you're really missing out on something spectacular.  It's only about 45 minutes north of Vegas if you go straight up I-15, but that highway is ugly as hell, so do yourself a favor and take the scenic road along Lake Mead.  Or you can do a loop and take the scenic road up and the 15 back. 

Connor and I took a drive up there on Thursday, and what a gorgeous day it was.

Connor on the rocks...

Picture perfect!

So we drive through all this beautiful scenery and Connor's like, "Yeah, whatever" until he nearly jumps out of his seat and goes, "Granny, look!  A red Camaro!"  Sigh... 

Speaking of cars, doesn't my car look like it's starring in a Scion commercial?  Still loving it! That is one cute little vehicle, if I do say so myself.  Who needs a freakin' Camaro?

On the way home, we stopped in at the Stratosphere.  Here's the boy on top of the world.

Everyone should go to the top of the Stratosphere, but unless you're there with kids, tell them you're headed to the lounge on the 107th floor and you can bypass the admission fee.  There's also a bar on the 108th observation floor, but it's not nearly as nice and you'll still have to pay the fee. 

While we were up there, we talked to a guy waiting to do a hundred-dollar bungee drop.  Here he goes...

Do they make adult diapers thick enough?

Actually, that doesn't seem too scary to me, probably because I'm not afraid of heights.  However, if I fell into a bird on the way down, I would totally shit myself.

Connor's my bud and loves hanging out with me, but the sad truth is my boyfriend, Mike, is his new BFF.  Mike's turned him on to the joy of making fun of Linda and the two of them gang up on me mercilessly.  Connor adores Mike, no doubt because mentally they're on the same wavelength, and everything Mike says is absolutely hysterical.  I mean witty beyond belief, even the crap that makes me roll my eyes back to my cerebellum.  So now Mike is totally full of himself and thinks it's only a matter of time till we're the comedy version of A Star Is Born

He was pretty funny the other day, though.
Me (getting ready to bitch about something):  "I know I'm a nag..."
Mike:  "Yup."
Me:  "WHAT? I'm a nag?"
Mike:  "Oh, no.  I thought you said, 'hag.'"
 Boys.  I love them.

Friday, February 25, 2011

More from my cousin Laurie in Christchuch, New Zealand

Thanks to all of you who are sending good wishes to my cousin and her husband in Christchurch. They've posted more on Facebook, which I'm sharing with you here. Unbelievable stuff. (If you haven't read yesterday's post, you might want to start there.)

Tanks, Tears & Some Criticism of TV

As I sit here the house we have relocated to on the other side of Christchurch, is shaking; this is just how we live now. We had a difficult night last night, the stress and emotional shock of what we have been thru began to kick in and affect us. Today we are connecting with ne...arby friends, as its this being with friends that helps. Driving across Chch has been difficult, 4x4 in some places because of the land upheavel and displacement. The liquefaction of the ground is remarkable to behold.

As you travel about the city (not the CBD where the real devastation is, which is cordoned off) it is a drop jaw experience - such incredible scenes of utter devastation. Hundreds of people are still missing, most likely laying dead under rubble where searchers have not been able to get.

We met an international USAR (Urban Search And Rescue) team yesterday. They were amazing; they came to see if everyone was out of our house.

Turning to our destroyed home, we realise now it may be impossible to retrieve things. Both exits and entrances to the house are shattered, twisted and broken (see the photos). It may be impossible to get things out. It is also very dangerous inside, so we have to assess whether life is worth the risk of recovering precious items. The aftershocks are heavier where we lived, and arrive as deep booms under the ground which moves quite violently. The broken buildings also make a lot of noise in shakes, as things rub up against other things. It sets off like a wave of noise across the city.

Water and petrol supplies are coming in to the city. We are really impressed with the NZ Navy. HMNZ Canterbury is docked in Lyttleton cooking over 1000 meals a night for people there.

There are now 600 rescue searchers (USAR) in Chch from all over the world, incl. China. These people are solely looking for people still alive or retrieving the dead. I still can't get used to the tanks and LAVs in the streets, it is so incongruous with fair Christchurch.

Our political colleague Gerry Brownlee who lives nearby, has been appointed as a special Earthquake Minister and his other portfolios redistributed to other ministers. Gerry is a rock and is the right person to do this. His own home is damaged.

The NZ census has been cancelled for 5 March. This means John's new contract will be void before he starts. He was to be employed as a census Team Leader and had a special meeting scheduled 4 hours after the quake hit. This will hit us hard in the pocket. John has suffered a lot with redundancy and employment disappointments recently.

A silly thing: but we feet annoyed with the younger TV journalists who have stupid smirks on their faces and ask inane questions. One front woman actually asked her field reporter on air, "And how is the TVNZ team doing?" (It's not about Auckland TVNZ staff who flew in!!). Having more mature journalists on camera, like John ? from Dunedin - and Bob Parker is inspirational - is so much better. These young things just do not have the gravitas for this job alongside the wonderful older men and women of the service sectors - like the senior regional coroner, major of Salvation Army, and all the specialist crisis response people. Maybe we're not thinking straight, it's just how we feel. Good on AirNZ for actively recruiting older people.

We feel shattered. But we are so thankful to the point of tears, for all those lovely people (like the Valley Baptist choir and orchestra in California) who met to pray for us and Chch. Thank you so much.

It is very poignant and sad seeing the Catholic Basilica domes down and our Anglican Cathedral spire down, the symbol of our city, and perhaps 22 people still lost -probably deceased - inside.

Laurie left a comment on yesterday's post. Check it out and please continue to keep them in your thoughts.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My cousin's fascinating account of the earthquake in Christchurch

Since the earthquake struck in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Monday, quite a few of my friends have asked me if beloved Bastard Husband is okay.  I actually haven't heard from him in a few months, but since he's on the north island, I imagine he's fine. 

My second cousin, Laurie, with whom I've reconnected after nearly 40 years through the beauty of Facebook , also married a Kiwi.  She and her husband, John, live in Christchurch, not far from the epicenter of this disasterous event.  They share a Facebook page, and I want to share with you their recent posts.

The first day...

We are ok, but were almost killed, especially John who escaped serious injury or death by inches/seconds. Our story below. Our house is completely destroyed in Mt Pleasant near to epicentre. It hit like a bomb without warning and was incredibly violent. EVERYTHING in our home... is smashed, incl our car.

We were both home when it hit at 12.51pm. It was much more violent than 4 Sept by 5x in Mt Pleasant because we were nearer the epicentre and it was much more shallow. Our drive is ruptured and displaced; every brick on the exterior is down, every room is trashed, outdoor staircases are buckled and ruined, the house has shifted and will have to be demolished, most windows are smashed, garden flattened.

Laurie was in the kitchen and immediately sheltered in the doorway. You can see how the entire kitchen is filled with debris, including cabinets ripped from the walls.

John was on the lounge couch that is almost out the wall. He leapt up and met laurie in the kitchen doorway as the house broke a...part. Glass and debris exploded around John as he leapt (like some action movie). He had glass in his hair. Laurie has cut feet. A large dagger of glass from a snapped glass door stabbed down into the couch exactly where John was. When it was done, we climbed out the front door over rubble and gathered with our neighbours at top of the hill, where we prayed and thanked God we were all safe.

It is hard to register this movie we are living in, is beautiful Chch. We drove several hours looking for family members we could not locate. There are tanks on the streets. Liquification is everywhere (mud volcanoes erupting like pimples from the ground) burying cars from below, up to their... axles. A dust haze hangs in the air. Some streets are flooded, roads are cracked and broken.

The second day...

We've had a good sleep on the floor of John's sister's house last night. the city continues to shake quite a bit, but we're pretty used to this now. It's a beautiful sunny day in Chch, so that will cheer everyone, but the dust from the liquifaction will rise over the city and water is already a bit of an issue. The Avon is grey and silty. Bexley is flooded. It took 2 hrs to drive Mt Pleasant to St Albans. 

We are relocated. Our cells and emails are intact as we have managed to patch-in the internet (dialup only so far).

RIP our missing Christian friend Wally TaiRakena, presumed killed in his language school along with 20 japanese nationals in their international language school in the CTV building that collapsed. To confirm, but rescuers have moved on from this site with dogs and infrared cameras. No contact for 36 hours from anyone and looking at the site, impossible to survive.

Helicopters, planes, sirens and alarms continue to punctuate our fair city, deeply scarred by this assault.

Can you imagine what it must be like to experience such devastation, and in a flash like that?  As I said, I haven't seen my cousin in almost 40 years, but she seems so sweet.   I know I've been asking you to remember some people in your prayers lately--would you mind adding a couple more to your list?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WHAT??? My iPhone can cause wrinkles?

Jeez, about a minute after I published yesterday's post about how much I love my iPhone, I get this message in my In box.  It's from Vibrant Nation, a site I blog for that's geared to women over 50.  Say it isn't true!!!
Warning: Smartphones can cause wrinkles

According to a recent article in The Daily Mail, women are seeing an increase in fine lines and wrinkles. The culprit? All that smartphone use. Yes, it's been confirmed: the excessive use of smartphones for chatting, surfing, and working can cause wrinkles.

How so? Earlier mobile phones were used mainly for talk, but increasingly, smartphones are replacing laptop computers as the mobile option for play and work. Women of all ages now spend hours surfing the net, playing games, writing documents or texting on the relatively small screen area, which makes eyebrows crease.

According to Dr. Jean Louis, even younger women are developing premature wrinkles from staring at the small screens on their smartphones. A London-based, anti-aging cosmetic doctor, Dr. Sebagh, said that women peering at tiny smartphone screens for hours each day causes the face to scrunch up, creating an area of tension around and between the brows. As a result, mass smartphone use has become the new leading cause of early wrinkles
No, no, a thousand times, NO! 

P.S.  Be sure to check out the comment on yesterday's post from my BFF Julie at 47 and Starting Over.  Very informative!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

iPhone, Netflix... what else should I know about?

I've told you before, my iPhone has changed my life.  I can't imagine how I ever got by without it; everything I could want to know is right at my fingertips.  (The bullshitters can't be too happy, though, now that they can no longer lay their crap on people without someone whipping out their phone to call them on it.)  

The Around Me app was invaluable on my cross-country trip back to Vegas; we'd roll into some God-knows-where town and get the name, phone, and location of hotels and restaurants just like that.  We could pull into a parking lot, make a few calls, and know exactly where we wanted to stay for the night.  I also love the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) app to see movie times, trailers, trivia, etc.  Love it.

I can't freakin' believe that I learned only about three weeks ago that you don't need a Kindle to download e-books.  Nope, you can download a free app to your Mac or PC or iPhone.  You can even sample books (including the fabulous Bastard Husband: A Love Story) from the Kindle Store for free and then pay the whatever ninety-nine if you like it.  I must have 10 books downloaded to my phone now.  I love that thing--I could sell them!

We recently started streaming movies instantly through Netflix, which I am so digging.  For $7.99/month,  you can stream an unlimited number of movies to your TV, PC, or phone.  But to stream to your TV, you do need an Internet-capable TV, an X-box or Playstation media manager, or a device like a Roku, which I'd never heard of until I set my mother and Step-daddy up.  You can get a Roku at Radio Shack for less than a hundred bucks and it's super easy to install (I did it myself).  Roku is not just for Netflix; you can also stream a lot of news channels and Pandora.  You will need wireless Internet service, of course.

Anyway, now I can watch a million movies and TV shows whenever I want, including a lot of old programs that aren't in reruns.  Remember Soap, the sit-com from the 70s?  Mom and I watched a few episodes of that when I was up in Boise recently.  Sometimes when Mike is playing Black Ops (don't get me going), I'll retreat to the bedroom and lust over Gary on thirtysomething.  Remember him?  Schwing!

Quite honestly, though, there are a lot of movies on Netflix that aren't available to stream instantly; for $9.99/month you can get unlimted streaming movies plus one-at-a-time DVDs in the mail the old fashioned way.  That's what we opted for.  Still a great deal.

I have to wonder about the future of cable TV and satellite.  When I first moved to Vegas, and during the whole 7 years I lived here before going back to Albany for the summer, I had what I called "supreme cable"--HBO, Showtime, Starz, IFC, Sundance--the whole shebang, including a DVR.  Not now.  We have basic cable and that's it.  And sometimes I wonder if that's even worth it.  I'm hearing that between Netflix and Hulu, people are getting rid of their cable altogether.

I'm not the most techno-savvy person, so can someone explain Hulu?  Tsk, tsk, I don't think their website does a very good job of explaining what the hell it is.   All I know is that you can get TV shows on it, but are they shows that are out now or old ones like on Netflix?  If I miss an episode of Modern Family, can I watch it on demand?  I'd appreciate someone who's familiar with this to clue me in.

One more thing I recently learned about:  Groupon.  Mike and I recently went out to a really nice Italian dinner and paid $15 for $50 worth of food and drinks!  They have coupons for lots of different stuff--massages, car washes, dance lessons, and more.

 I have to wonder, what else am I missing? What other great apps or gadgets or services should I know about?  Technology can be overwhelming, so if anyone has any cool information to share--or any questions--feel free!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thank you for your kindness, and um... can I put in one more request?

Thank you so much to all of you who ordered hats in support of Hats Unto Others, my friend Lisa McGlaun's labor of love to provide hats to breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.  In case you didn't see the comments Lisa left on Tuesday's post, I've condensed them into one:

I love you. You're such a dear friend.Thank you for helping me get the word out. I'll be fine. I know I will. I am one of the lucky ones...just a few more surgeries and radiation treatment to follow and I can put this behind me. At least I'll put that part behind me but not the happiness I've found in crocheting these hats. It brings me such joy. 

I've already had some orders this morning thanks to this post. You have awesome readers!

Again...this is incredible! My donation hats have tags pinned to them that say Hats Unto Others...donated by...  I write in the name and state of residence for the person making the donation. Thanks to you cancer patients in Las Vegas will know that people from states like Wisconsin and Minnesota care about what they are going through!

I can't thank you enough for your help with this.

Love you,

In Tuesday's post, I also mentioned that one of my comic friends, Terrie Burnette, lost her 33-year-old daughter to Stage 4 breast cancer merely days after her diagnosis.  Here's Terrie's Facebook message:

On Tuesday Feb. 8,2011 I lost my daughter, Jessica Rae, 33 years old, to Stage 4 breast cancer. She was diagnosed last Saturday, and passed away Tuesday. We had no time to prepare, there was no treatment, just one day she's here alive and hopeful and before we knew it she was gone. She's left behind a sorrowful family including two daughters (living apart) and twin boys (living with her) just 6 months old. She wasn't working, had will, no insurance, no idea this was going to happen. The family is in need of help for her final expenses. We are asking for donations, any amount will be greatly appreciated and extremely helpful.
If you'd like to help Terrie out, and just a couple of bucks adds up quickly, you can send donations easily enough through  Paypal to the email address  (Please click the personal/gift tab or Paypal will take a percentage.)  

Terrie also says:
Even if you cannot support financially, twin baby-boy clothing donations or just a short note of support through prayer or loving thoughts is welcome. Thank you all for your continued support in this excruciatingly painful time.
Some brief words of sympathy--even from strangers--can mean so much.  You can send Terrie a message at  Please put "Jessica Rae" in the subject line.

As Lisa said, I have awesome readers.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. 

Have a great weekend and cherish every day!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Meet Bill, star of yesterday's post

Bill from Phoenix
Now, of course you'd invite this guy to stay at your apartment, right?  (Somebody get some smelling salts for my mother!)

Hahaha!  I took this from his Facebook page.  What a good sport, and he really is a great guy.  Even with the horns.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And my #1 most embarrassing moment is...

It's about time I told you my most embarrassing moment ever.  I know, you probably think you've already heard it.  If you've read my book, you might think it was the time I walked down the hall from the bathroom at GE with the back of my dress tucked into my underwear.  Or when I had a tearful meltdown on the couch of the dying lady I was supposed to be cheering up as a hospice volunteer.

If you've read my blog for a while, you might think my most embarrassing moment was when I fell out of my chair at work and got a rug burn.  Or what could be more embarrassing than when B.H. changed the wallpaper photo on my laptop as a joke and the lunch crowd at Panera Bread got a look at me flashing my "twin peaks" at Mount Rushmore as I ordered my meal. 

No, there's a moment much, much worse.  I'll start from the beginning.

Back when I had my old apartment, I'd routinely open mi casa to strangers or near-strangers needing a place to crash in Vegas.  My place was fabulous, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and so it was very comfortable for guests.  A couple of times I put up out-of-town writers attending the Las Vegas Writer's Conference; once I struck up a conversation with a lovely Canadian woman in Borders who turned out to be a writer planning to attend a different writers' conference in a month or so.  I insisted she stay with me and she welcomed the offer.  In all cases, my hospitality resulted in lasting friendships, even if just through email and Facebook.

But before Facebook, there was MySpace, remember?  With MySpace, it was easy to connect with people you didn't know, and I came to be virtual friends with a guy about 12 years younger than me who lived down in Phoenix.  Remember how you could post blog entries on MySpace?  Well, I'd read Bill's posts and think, man, this guy has it all together.  He was an engaging writer, well-traveled and could perfectly blend sensitivity and sarcasm--just what I like. 

Bill seemed like the coolest guy, and when I saw he was planning to attend the Burning Man festival on Labor Day weekend up near Reno, I said, "Hey, if you need a place to crash on the way, let me know."  He graciously accepted my offer.

Now, a normal person might think I was crazy to open my apartment to a complete stranger I'd met online, but after reading his blog and exchanging witty comments for over a year, I felt confident he'd be fine. 

"If I'm wrong about this, I will never be able to trust my instincts again," I told my friends, who invariably just shook their heads.

"What about your valuables?" one asked.  Valuables?  Like he's gonna walk off with my collection of fridge magnets? 

Well, I was right; there was nothing to worry about.  Bill was awesome, exactly as I had expected.  Exactly.  After he arrived, we chit-chatted in my apartment, enjoying some dark beer, and then after a while we headed over to the buffet at Green Valley Ranch casino.

((Shudder.))  This is where the embarrassing part comes in.  After we ate, we were standing on the casino floor when I noticed he had a little remnant of barbecue sauce or something in the corner of his mouth. So what do I do, but... OMG, this is too painful to verbalize...  I dab some saliva on my index finger and wipe it off!   Yes, the germ freak that I am and suddenly I'm channeling my Nana and wiping someone's face with my freakin' spit. I should have pinched his cheeks, too.


To his credit, Bill just played along and probably said thanks because who really wants to walk around with crap in the corner of your mouth, but Jesus H, who the hell wants to be cleansed with someone's body fluids? 

Sigh... We ended up having a great night.  I took him to see my favorite classic rock tribute band, Yellow Brick Road, in the GVR showroom and the next morning he hit the road and made his way up to Burning Man.  I didn't bother to lock my bedroom door that night as my friends had advised since quite honestly, if he wanted to rape me or stab me in the head I totally deserved it. 

Like everyone else, Bill and I jumped the MySpace ship and have continued our friendship over the years on Facebook.  He's still in Phoenix and is still a super-cool guy.  Me, not so much; nothing cool about this one.  And so, after all these years, I must finally extend an apology.  Please forgive me, Bill.  And if you ever want to stay in Vegas again, I'll just give you the key to my new one bedroom place, aka "Linda-land," and I'll stay with Mike.  You won't need to go for painful innoculations before your visit like you're visiting a third world country.

OMG, I am such an asshole.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Please support Hats Unto Others!

The first time Mike ever saw me cry was on June 1, 2009, the day I found out my Beautiful Aunt Joyce died of breast cancer. The second time he saw me cry was last Labor Day weekend when I learned my dear friend Lisa McGlaun had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

You know how I feel about that f*cking disease (and my regular readers know what it can suck).  Fortunately, Lisa has completed her chemo and is doing well.  So well that, true to her character, she's not thinking of herself but is helping others.  I'll let her tell her story.
When I went to my oncologist's office for the first time back in August I distracted myself by reading all of the signs posted on the walls. That way I didn't have to think about what was coming down the pipe....chemo, surgery, radiation....lots of stuff that scared the shit out of me but all of it out of my control. So one of the signs said, "Do you want to be a happy hooker?" Well, that caught my attention! Turns out it was for the next meeting of the "happy hookers", a group my doctor started. They get together once a month and crochet hats and blankets for the chemo patients that receive treatment at her office...which I was about to be one of!

So I went to the meeting and loved it so much that I started spending all my down time (time on the couch because I didn't have the energy to get up) crocheting hats. I'd learned to crochet from a family friend when I was eleven but hadn't made anything in years so making the hats ignited my creativity again. It also gave me a way to keep my mind off myself and on something positive like giving back to the new community of loved ones on "Planet Cancer"...:)

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada has several offices around the valley. I went to an appointment at a different office one day and realized that they didn't have a program to provide hats for their patients. I began to donate my hats there instead. Yarn got expensive! Ideas began to roll around in my head for how to keep these donations going. I'd go to sleep thinking about it and then I'd wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. Always at 4 a.m. because cancer patients who are on steroids never get a good night's is my new wake up time!..arrggg.

So I settled on a buy one/share one program and my husband Todd came up with the name "Hats Unto Others," like "Do Unto Others as you'd have them do unto you." :) Very clever, that man of mine!

Beautiful Lisa
I've had a great response. I think that is because it is a win/win situation for everyone involved. I get to make hats to give to people who need them and now have funding to buy the yarn. Also, I get to be really creative in making the custom hats that people order. The buyer gets a cool hat for themselves and the satisfaction of having another hat donated in their name. Now they are able to help a cancer patient too! The cancer patient gets a hat, which is a very good thing because until you've experienced a bald head you don't realize just how cold it can be! LOL

When I am at home in the evening I almost always have on a head just gets very cold. I know other women who've lost their hair feel like I do. There have been nights when I've slept with one on because even though I'm nestled under the covers my shiny bald head is not! It's helped a great deal.

I've had 30 orders so far. I'm very pleased with that and I'll continue making the donation hats even if no one else ever orders. As long as I have yarn, I'll keep going. I've set a goal of donating 1000 hats and I intend to reach it
If you've ever known someone with breast cancer--and at this point who doesn't?-- you know how helpless you feel.  You want to do something.  Well. here's something you can do.  If you can, please help Lisa reach her goal.  You can find out more or place an order by emailing her at

How I wish my aunt were still here on earth with us; I would have loved to buy her a couple of hats.  Although she did manage to find one herself...

B.A.J. was so funny!
I have cried twice in front of Mike since then, both within the past week.  Once was because I was pissed and the other was when I saw on Facebook that my friend's 32-year-old daughter died of breast cancer.   She had learned of her daughter's Stage 4 diagnosis only five days earler.  Thirty-two years old!  And she leaves behind 6-month-old twins.

I'd so rather cry out of anger. 

But what is there to be angry about?  Let's enjoy every minute of life today, shall we?  And thank you, dear Lisa, for being the angel on earth that you are.  With every cell in my body, I wish you a full recovery and a long, long life ahead.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Moms say the darnedest things...

I'm up in Idaho this weekend.  Mom and Step-Daddy are looking good, no?

Last night we went to a lovely dinner at a restaurant to celebrate their friends' 50th anniversary.  (That's the type of exciting news that makes you return to this blog again and again, right?)  Anyway, 50 freakin' years!  Now there's an accomplishment I'm unlikely to achieve.  Unless Mike and I get married like, today.  And live to 103. 

Mom and Step-Daddy will be celebrating their 5-year anniversary next week.  Let's just say it's good that he's hard of hearing and totally missed it last night at the dinner when Mom called him "Ed."  Hello--Ed was my father; Step-Daddy's name is Jim.

Mom is certainly getting more entertaining with age.  Here's a bit of our conversation from breakfast this morning:
Mom:  You want a glass of tomato juice or V-8?
Me:  No, thanks.
Mom:  It's good for you.   It's full of antioxidants.
Me:  No, I don't like tomato juice.
Mom:  Well, how about V-8? 

Me:  That's the same as tomato juice. 
Mom: But it's good for you. It's full of antioxidants.
Me:  The only way I can drink tomato juice is if it has vodka in it.
Mom:  You want vodka?  I have vodka.
Right now she's putting together the lasagne for dinner tonight.  She would have made it yesterday, but instead of defrosting the sauce, she defrosted some chili.

So entertaining...

Hey, have you ever seen the movie, "Mother," with Debbie Reynolds and Albert Brooks?  It's hysterical.  Here's a little clip I bet a lot of you can relate to.

Of course, this is all in good fun.  Those of us who still have our mothers are thankful every day, no?  And I can only imagine what my kids will have to say about me in another 20 years. 

I hope it's "Can you believe how hot my mom still is?"

Friday, February 11, 2011

An "artobiography" for your consideration

As someone who knows a little something about what it takes to get a book to print, I can tell you it's not an easy process.  Recently I was asked to participate in a virtual book tour for Storm of the i: An Artobiography by Tina Collen.  Strictly from a design standpoint, this book blew me away.  Some pages unfold, others are cut out; there's much for the reader to do other than simply turn the page. The book itself is truly a work of art, and is something that certainly doesn't lend itself to the electronic reader frenzy; you'll never find this one on Kindle. 

As you might infer from the word "artobiography," the work is part art, part autobiography; part memoir, part coffee table book. Collen is an artist now living in Boulder and the artwork displayed in the book frames her life story, specifically, how her relationship with a toxic, and often horribly cruel, father impacted her throughout her life.  The level of detail she imparts is impressive, as if someone were recording her early memories as they happened.

If I have one problem with the book (you know me), I feel that her break-up with her husband deserved a little more explanation.  It seems at one moment she was thrilled to be with the love of her life, and the next she was leaving him because she felt suffocated.  Huh?  That's it?

If you'd like to see a bit more about how Artobiography came into existence click here, and if you'd like to purchase a personally autographed copy, you can go to  In the comment box include how you'd like it signed. Books are also available at Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon.  As with most all books, if your favorite bookstore doesn't have it on the shelf they can order it for you.
This is Tina’s final stop of her blog tour.  She's giving an autographed book away in a contest, asking people to leave a comment answering this question:

Oftentimes the objects we hold onto contain cryptic clues that point towards something deeper about ourselves. Take a look around your house (or your room) at the things with which you have surrounded yourself. Is there anything you are still hanging onto that seems to contain a hidden message for you? What do you think it is?
Best of luck to you, Tina!  This is a beautiful piece of work--you should be proud!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Need some peace and quiet? Come to Linda-land!

As I write this, my beloved and extremely handsome Michael, a 52-year-old man with an off-the-charts genius IQ, is sitting in the living by himself playing Call of Duty Black Ops.  Or, in his words, "protecting the free world." For those of you who are fortunate enough not to know what the hell Black Ops is, it's the most annoying f*cking video game ever invented. Shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting... get the picture?

Look, I know damn well that I'm the fussiest pain in the ass that ever walked the planet; if I were queen, I would behead someone for breathing too loud.  So you can imagine this Black Ops is driving me positively crazy.  (Short trip.)  

Hmmmm... You know what I haven't told you yet? You know how I'm 53 and I had my kids when I was 20 and 21, which would make them in their early 30s? Well, Mike had his first kid when he was 37, was 42 for the second, and 46 when the youngest was born. That's right--two of his kids are younger than my grandson. God bless us. I've never mentioned them because they're simply not my kids to talk about. They're adorable and I truly love them, but between Black Ops going 24/7 and the fact that I have the baseline patience of John McEnroe in five o'clock traffic, sometimes I need to get away from it all.

And so I've come up with a solution. Your pal Linda Lou found a little crash pad.  Yep, I went back to the apartment complex I lived in for 7 years before I went back East this summer and I got myself a cute little 1 BR; my retreat from the chaos. Now don't read too much into this; Mike and I are not breaking up over a freakin' video game.  I'm still going to live with him, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, the house he's in now is temporary and although it's like 2400 sq. ft., the layout is weird and sometimes there's no place for me to go if I just want to sit and read a magazine in peace.

But now I will create a glorious Linda-land, just down the road.  I absolutely loved my old apartment, and this one is just as adorable, but much smaller (780 sq. ft.).  Like my old place, I have an amazing view of the entire Las Vegas valley--look at all the windows!

This Strip is in the distance, but you can't tell from the picture.  Here it is at night.

I just started moving boxes from my storage unit on Monday and after 9 months, it's so good to see my stuff again.  Look, I found my Loretta Lynn nail clippers!  You know you've made it when your image graces personal hygiene items, right?

Of course, during Purgefest 2010 I got rid of tons of crap (that I don't miss), and I'd love to say I'm now down to the essentials, but I think I can purge a little more.  Quite honestly, I could sit in an empty room with nothing but my rocks and decorations and be very happy just to enjoy the precious, precious peace. 

My little bit of heaven is super cute (they painted, put in new carpeting and vinyl flooring, and let's not forget the two pools and hot tubs) and it's only $700 a month.  This got me thinking--wouldn't it be a great idea for a bunch of mothers and step-mothers (or fathers and step-fathers) to chip in together for a little getaway like this?  "Honey, I'm going to the clubhouse."  You could stock the fridge with beer and wine and maybe have a pool table... the possibilities are endless!  Seriously, how brilliant am I?

Today I leave for Idaho to see Mom and Step-daddy (and kick their senior asses in Scrabble), but I'm really looking forward to putting Linda-land together when I get back.  It's going to be fun--I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bastard Husband -- Now available on Kindle!

It's taken me long enough, but I finally figured out how to upload my book as a Kindle file.  Yes, Bastard Husband: A Love Story is now available on Kindle for the introductory low price of only $2.99!  Get it here and enjoy hours and hours of reading pleasure for less than the price of a cheap beer during happy hour.

Don't have a Kindle?  Don't worry--you don't need one!  You can download this masterpiece to your PC, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, or any Android phone.  I downloaded the free Kindle app to my iPhone and a minute later had the book at my fingertips. Personally, I never could imagine reading a book on a phone, but I find it surprisingly easy. 

Here'a a screen shot my mother is sure to love.  (Hey, it's all true...)

So what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday, Linda style!

You know I'm an oddball; no duh, right?  (How can I still be saying "duh" at this age?) (Whatever.)  Anyway, I had a fantastic Super Bowl Sunday, and of course it had nothing to do with a football game. 

Mike had the kids this weekend, and by Sunday morning let's just say I was ready for some Linda "alone time."  Every once in a while I get a hankering for a McDonald's Big Breakfast, so that was my first stop of the day.  As luck would have it, someone left a Sunday New York Times on the table.  Awesome.

Maybe you saw my post on Facebook--I'm eating and reading and then this man comes up to me, strikes up a conversation and within a minute asks me for my phone number.  He was nice enough... and probably a couple of years older than my mother.  Is there a polite way to say I prefer men born in the Eisenhower/Kennedy years, or at least from the same historical era?  Still, I appreciate his asking.

After breakfast, I decided to work off those sinful calories by taking a little jaunt up the McDonald Ranch City View Trail.  It always looks the same, no matter what time of year, but I love it!  And don't think I ever forget to thank Jesus, Buddah and Bono every time I'm out in shorts and a tank top in the middle of winter.

Then I came home, showered, and went through my 40-step beautification process (freakin' exhausting!) and then headed out to where all the cool folks go on Super Bowl Sunday:  the library.  The library on West Sahara was having an event called "A Feast of Conversation" put on by Dr. Loren Ekroth, a former professor of communication studies.  I had no idea what to expect, but I've been on his mailing list for a while so I thought, it's Super Bowl Sunday--what the hell?

What a fabulous event it was!  After a short ice breaker, we were all paired off and were directed to sit across from each other at a table.  We were then given a menu which included appetizers, "proverbial" soups and salads, entrees, and desserts; under each course heading were many possible topics of conversation.  The intention was for each of us to pick a topic under each section and... have a conversation. 

Well, I hit the jackpot with my conversation partner.  He was a cool, retired widower named David who'd worked in Hollywood for years as a publicist.  You're not going to believe this, but I didn't ask him if he knew my celebrity girl-crush, Beverly D'Angelo--I must be slipping.  Anyway, he was a fascinating guy.  Here are a few samples form the menu which David and I discussed.

Appetizers (15 minutes):  A famous place you'd like to visit
Proverbial soups and salads (20 minutes):  "Better to light a candle than curse the darkness"
Entrees (30 minutes):  "For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe" and "Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.'"
Desserts (15 minutes):  Favorite music that delights you

It was so much fun--kind of like speed dating, except without the dating aspect and you talked to only one person the whole time.  Like I said, David was really interesting and I now have a new friend. Who worked in Hollywood.  Who may know Anne Heche and could ask her to play me in the movie version of Bastard Husband: A Love Story. Just saying.

So then after that, I decided to go to the movie theater in the plaza near the library, but I first stopped at a little pizza joint and ate half three quarters of a freakin' pizza.  Yes, with a diet of McDonald's and pizza, I wonder why I don't lose weight.  Hey, if you've ever wondered what a movie theater looks like on Super Bowl Sunday, here you go:

Now, you know me; there's nothing that makes me happier than sitting in an empty theater with no one I can bitch at for talking or breathing too loud.  A couple of people came in, but they were really quiet, and then two women sat in the aisle in front of me and started yakking away and I was all poised to bite their freakin' heads off, but they did shut up after they settled in.  Good thing, huh?

The movie was Rabbit Hole, and even though it was a slice-of-life movie about a couple who's lost their 4-year-old son in an accident, it wasn't as depressing as you might think.  And holy crap, can I just say that Nicole Kidman gets more beautiful with age?   I have totally repressed from my memory that she was married to Tom Cruise.  I bet she has, too.

Anyway, after that I went to the Foundation Room on top of Mandalay Bay to see John Hilder, one of my comic buddies, perform.  The Foundation Room is so cool. They have a comedy show there every Sunday night at 9:00 and man, that's a great stage I'd like to do someday.  I think the view of the Strip from the Foundation Room is the best.

And then I went home. Whew! 

So that was my Super Bowl Sunday.  How was yours?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday... We'll Have a Gay Old Time

I understand that tomorrow's the Super Bowl, right?  Not being a football fan (too much racket for me), I don't pay much attention.  In fact, when it comes to the Super Bowl, I feel like a Jewish person on  Christmas Eve--all that hub-bub that simply doesn't apply to me and it's a good time to go to the movies.

At any rate, I thought I'd pull out an updated version of this perennial favorite that, like Courtney's take on Martin Luther King Day, just doesn't get old.  Hope those of you who celebrate have lots of fun, and I don't care how much you drink and eat at your Super Bowl parties, just NO DOUBLE DIPPING!

Super Bowl Sunday... We'll Have a Gay Old Time

Anyone who knows me also knows I am a BIG proponent of gay rights. I have a beloved and quirky lesbian aunt and half my girlfriends have real-life girlfriends. Don’t forget my long-standing celebrity girl-crush on Beverly d’Angelo—how many times have I said I’d make the perfect (lipstick) lesbian?

I’m the first to admit I’m one of those super-annoying girly girls. I wouldn’t be caught dead without nail polish, and my toes are always painted a pretty shade of pink, even if no one sees them all winter. I put on lipstick just to get the mail. I mean, I wearing a freakin’ tiara!

So never in a million years would I think I’d talk about football on my blog. In my opinion, there are only two sports: figure skating and gymnastics. And unlike the rest of the world, I sure as hell didn’t celebrate Super Bowl Sunday because football is so not me. It’s loud and, frankly, I just don’t get it. At least in basketball, when you make a basket, you get points. Baseball—you round home plate, you get a run. But football, with all those first downs and everything… I’ve had it explained to me, but it just never sinks in.

To me, the most puzzling mystery surrounding football is why so many super-manly macho men are into it in such a big way, especially since, well, obviously… Football is gay.

Oh, pull-eeeze… You have a bunch of guys making passes at each other in skin-tight pants, for Christsake! And what could be more gay than huddling?

Oh, I know: tackling. (You realize they’re tickling each other while they’re down there, don’t you?) Even after the player’s already on the ground, there’s always the guy who still has to jump on top of everyone, just for the sheer pleasure of diving into a pile of testosterone. (Not that I blame him—I probably would, too.)

Don’t get me going on all the hugging and ass patting that goes on in the end zone.  My Beautiful Ivory Girl co-worker says that if they weren't wearing helmets, they'd be running their fingers through each others' hair. So true!

Of course, after the game they all take naked showers together and, to soothe those aching muscles, rub each other down with what else but Ben-GAY.

Even the names of the teams: the Rams… the Packers (ouch).

No doubt the Oilers (eew!) left town and changed their name to the Titans for fear of being outed. Even the Cowboys and the Chiefs… tell me that doesn’t sound a little "Village People" to you. 

It’s okay, guys. Women love gay men! Yeah, yeah, I know… most of you don’t play yourselves, you just like to watch.

That’s just sick.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How am I looking? And another Linda Lou rant

What do you make of the "Hi, I'm Linda" photo of me at right?  Mike took it in Sedona last weekend and he really likes it, but quite honestly, I don't think it looks like me.  I look mean.  Or bitchy. On the plus side, my hair looks awesome (for me) and my boobs look huge even though I'm not all rigged up with Victoria Secret bra technology.  Which is probably why Mike likes it. 

Earlier this week, I had my passport renewal photo taken, and this is what I think is a more accurate representation of your friend Linda Lou.  Unfortunately, the sagging jawline is much more noticeable and God only knows what's going on with all the tendons and crap in my neck.  Seriously.  But my face looks more like me.  I think.

One of the photos of myself that I simply won't let die is my tiara picture.  This was taken on my 50th birthday, so it's a good three years old, but it's fun and dammit, I'm printing up another batch of business cards with it on them.  Mike says that picture doesn't look like me.  What do you think?

Oh, who really gives a crap.

Let me ask your opinion about something else.  I posted this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, but I'm not done bitching about it.   Is it just me or are you also ready to puke when you see these kids with those giant, stretched out holes in their ears?  If I were queen--and I have the tiara--it would be against the law for anyone with those ears to serve food.  Who can eat after looking at that?

There's a beautiful and super-friendly girl who waits on me at the Starbucks near my house.  She's adorable, but she has holes in her ears the size of quarters.  Why, why would anyone do that to themselves? If my daughter did that I'd be like, stick a knife in my heart, why don't you? That's self-mutilation--something the Nazis would do. 

And I'm seeing it more and more--the kid in CVS... the guy behind the counter at T-Mobile (I had to buy a new battery for the piece-o-shit brick I want to sell on Craigslist.)   Whatever--I'm grossed out at every turn!  Exactly who in these companies makes the decision to hire these freaks?  Oh, yeah, this guy should totally be on our front line working with the public... let's have that girl serve food. OMFG.

And I have the nerve to wonder about my looks.  The only thing big about me is my boobs in the photo at right.


Oh, what would I do if I didn't have something to rant about?  Speaking of, you'll have to wait until next Thursday to hear my solution to the Black Ops game.

In the meantime, got anything you want to bitch about?  I'm all ears.  D'oh.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Following up on previous posts

Today I want to follow up on some stuff I've talked about recently. 

Remember my post on the rat bastard credit card companies from a couple of weeks ago?  My dear reader Sous-Chef up in freezing Minnesota left this comment.
Two words for everybody: "credit union." Member owned and supported and far better credit policies (and rates) long-haul than any banking or "financial" institution. Membership requirements vary by insitution sometimes it's employer based other times it may be community residency. If you don't meet the requirements but family members do and belong you may be eligible to join based on that.
Now, you know damn well that there's nothing I love more than offering advice, especially unsolicited, but you may be surprised to learn that sometimes I actually take advice, too.  Sous-Chef's comment sent me into action. 

I called Wells Fargo and said, "Look, you rat bastards, you're charging me 21 percent on a credit card with a pristine payment history.  Is there anything you can do about lowering that rate?"  (Pause) "Oh, no?  Very well, then." And then I marched my Buns of Steel ass to Nevada Federal Credit Union and got myself a loan at freakin 8, I said 8, percent and paid off every bloody cent I owed to Wells "Go Eff Yourself" Fargo.

Just. like. that.  I thought you had to be special in some way to join a credit union, but in this case, I only had to be a Clark County resident.  I got great service with a smile from a guy named Sheridan at the branch on Boulder Highway and Lake Mead.  Seriously, it couldn't have been a more pleasant experience.

Then yesterday an insurance guy from NFCU named Bart (!) called me and within an hour I lowered my monthly car insurance payment by $40 with an increase in coverage.   I had been with Nationwide for over 30 years and I just jumped freakin' ship to The Hartford's AARP (d'oh!) plan when I heard how much better it was.  The bottom line is, one simple trip to the credit union is going to save me a boatload in the long run.  Thanks for the great advice, Sue!

Now I'm obsessed with finding other ways to save money.  My boyfriend is Mr. Thrifty to the point where I feel sorry  if you get stuck in back of him in the Walmart grocery because he's price matching every goddamn item with a handful of competitors' flyers and questioning the cashier's every scan.  Seriously, I won't shop with him; it's too embarrassing. 

Proof on our kitchen counter!
But if you have any money-saving tips, I'd love to hear them and I bet everyone else would, too.  Comment away!

Changing topics...  On Saturday I said I'd let you know about a great place to stay if you decide to visit Sedona.  I've been staying at Sky Ranch Lodge up near the Sedona airport for over 10 years now, and I think it's great.  If you want to splurge for a rim room, you'll have a fantastic view of the city.  I've stayed in the rim rooms many times, but on our trip last weekend, Mr. Thrifty and I decided we'd go for a regular old room at about half the price (less than $60).  And you know what?  For the amount of time we were in the room, plus the fact that it gets dark so early this time of year, it was a totally smart move to opt for the cheaper rate.  Plus, we still could see the red rocks (pardon the screen).

All the rooms are going to be redone soon and honestly, it's about time.  But still, this place is immaculate and you know me and my germ freakiness.

If I have one complaint (and you know I do), it's that the walls are paper thin.  Saturday night the people in the next room had both a blaring TV and a fussy baby (probably because the goddamn TV was so loud) so you know that was driving me insane (short trip). Maybe they were getting us back for all the noise from our room on Friday night.  Giggity.

I'm such an a-hole.

Okay, one last thing.  Remember this post where I was bitching about that fucking Black Ops game?  Well, evidently new "maps" are being released today and that means later today is going to be pure hell for me with all the shooting, shooting, shooting going on in the living room.  (Anyone want to meet me for a drink this afternoon?  I can be there by 3:30.)  But good news!  I've found a solution that I can't reveal just yet, but I swear you're going to think I'm a goddamn genius when you hear it.  Maybe Thursday. How's that for a tease?