Thursday, March 31, 2011

Maybe I'd lose weight if I had a fridge magnet that said "Do Not Enter"

One of the things I love about Linda Land is I get to see my possessions again.  As you may recall, I moved in with Mike in November when I came back to Vegas after my epic road trip with Mom and my sister Lori.  The thing is, when you move into someone else's house, you're... well, in someone else's house.  Like all their stuff is already in it; you look at their decorations, and whether they're your taste or not.  Oh, yeah, that's a topic for another post...

If you're new to this blog, "Linda Land" is the 1-BR apartment I took last month, my haven from the natural craziness that goes along with Mike and his young children, as adorable as they are.  So when the spirit moves me I head down the road to sit in peace and quiet and look at my stuff, which had been crammed into a storage bin since last May.

After Purgefest 2010, I'm pretty much down to the essentials; only the things that truly bring me joy made the cut.   I'd much rather do things than have things, and I always say that people on their deathbeds don't look back and think, "I sure had a cool couch."  No, they'll look back and remember all the fun they had with the people they love.

So as unmaterialistic as I am, I have to admit that on my deathbed I might look back and say, "Man, I sure had a cool fridge magnet collection."  And I do--look!  The front of the fridge is covered with magnets I picked up from all my travels. There's one from Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo and another from Graceland, where he's buried; a few from biker bars; a bunch from national parks in the West and assorted cities in the East; and many more. 

On the side of the fridge I have my special non-travel magnets.  That's a business card magnet from Julie of 47 and Starting Over fame in the top middle, a Guiding Light magnet to the right of that, and a Jackson Browne "Late for the Sky" magnet in the upper right corner.  Underneath there's Pee Wee, The Scream, a voodoo doll magnet from New Orleans, and...  what's that little bottle cap thing next to the voodoo doll?

Let's take a closer look...

Yep, it's a bottle cap magnet with a picture of Beverly D'Angelo!  There are two other ones holding up a flyer for a show Courtney did in Oregon.  So where does one find Beverly D'Angelo fridge magnets?  One of my girlfriends in Wyoming made them for me--do I have the best friends or what? 

(Poor Bev.  I wonder if she's come across my blog from a Google Alert of her name.  She's probably like, "OMG, that loon in Las Vegas is talking about me again."  And now with the fridge magnets.)

You know, I have quite a few blog readers in Bev's hometown of Columbus, Ohio.  I can't be more than six degrees of separation away.  Hook me up, will ya?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A great idea: "30 Days of Happiness"

My daughter, Courtney, has started another round of "30 Days of Happiness" on Facebook.  Each post consists of a short paragraph and a photo that celebrate the simple things in life that bring her joy.  I know all her Facebook friends enjoy this series immensely, and I am so very proud to have a daughter who clearly has her priorities in order.  I wanted to share a few of her posts with you.

Day 1

Happy first day of Spring! Yesterday we were outside sunning our faces and today we wake up to snowflakes falling from the sky. Despite the snow, I decided to make an early morning drive down to the Post Office to get our mail and boy am I glad I did. I received 3 letters from my best friend, Cyndi, who ... lives out in Colorado! I hurried home and read each one at the kitchen table with a big smile. There is nothing like receiving mail from your best friend! It truly is the simplest gestures that mean so much! What a perfect way to start off my week. Here's a photo of my cards from Cyndi with a very cute back drop of Hazel and John playing the banjo. I hope you all had a happy Monday, too!

Day 4

This is where I feel I spend lots of my time. In front of the kitchen sink doing dishes. I really don't mind doing them. I actually find it quite meditative. A window in front of the sink with beautiful green plants growing and crystals sparkling in the sun would be ideal, but unfortunately that does not exist where we live. So I created a little space that brings me joy every time I'm by the sink. A place where I can wash, breathe and think, with comfort and calm.

Day 7

Hazel enjoyed a big baby lunch this afternoon. Her first time eating spaghetti & sauce on her own and she loved every second of it. I just loved watching her plan of attack when I placed it on her tray. First she bobbled her head and was thinking about eating it birdie style. Then she picked it up with her little fingers and stuffed it in her mouth. Daintily, of course, because Hazel is a very dainty baby! I think this photo pretty much proves how much she digs this whole feeding herself thing! 

Isn't this the cutest idea? It's the most simple things that bring us joy, no? I hope you take a moment to celebrate life's pleasures today!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why haircuts stress us out

Tell me if this happens to you, too.  (Sorry, guys.  I don't know if you can relate to this. )

Fifty years of great haircuts!
 The woman who cuts my hair does a fine job (no pun intended).  She, too, has crappy hair, so she knows the territory well--Shannon's not going to do something crazy that would look good only on a model for a Pantene commercial.  She never cuts it too short, either, which I appreciate big-time.  A few years ago my regular guy in Albany went though a scissor-happy period where every visit resulted in a good three weeks of waiting for my hair to grow out.  There's nothing worse than a haircut that's way shorter than you expected, don't you think? 

You know how it goes.  You're sitting there, maybe chatting away, and then, "Wait a second..."  You start to get nervous even though it's hard to tell exactly what's going on because your head is wet and messed up.  But with every snip, you're more aware of the accumulating hair on the floor than whatever the hell you were talking about.  You really want to slap the scissors out of his hand and yell, "Enough with the cutting already!" but instead you sit there obediently and smile thinly at the points in the conversation where he thinks he's being witty.

You think okay, maybe it's not as bad as you imagine and pray for the moment when the scissors are retired and it's time for the styling phase.  But inevitably, usually while the blow dryer is blasting away, you arrive at that moment of realization where your suspicions are confirmed.  Yep, it's too short.  Way too short.  You sit there seething and when he offers the hand mirror and swirls your chair around so you can see how he scalped the back of your head, you manage to eke out something like, "Yeah, it looks... good," because at this point what the hell can be done? 

Don't you hate it when that happens?

There's another salon scenario that's not nearly as bad, but still drives me nuts.  It seems that almost every haircut is about 10 minutes too long; that's when the hairdresser starts getting fancy with the "product" and styling.   He's got the curling iron going (as if!) and awards each hair with its own individual spritz.  You have no friggin' idea what your head is going to look like in real life, which will begin as soon you get out of the shower you're going to take the second you get home, but it's goofy as hell right now (reminds you of those plastic wigs you used to have as a kid) and you pray there's a baseball cap in the car because you have a couple of errands to do and you sure as hell don't want to be seen in public like this.

"Enough with the friggin' hairspray!" you want to say, but you sit there smiling like an idiot and when he offers the hand mirror and swirls your chair around so you can see the masterpiece he created with the back of your head, you manage to eke out something like, "Yeah, it looks... good," because at this point what the hell can be done?


What we go through just to look beautiful.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dinner and a movie and change for a $20 bill?

I saw a great movie Tuesday night.  Not Citizen Kane great, I mean great like funny with a cute plot and talented actors.  I'm sure it'll be in the theaters for about a week or so and hardly anyone is going to see it, which is too bad.  Oh yeah, I should tell you what it is.

It's Cedar Rapids, with Ed Helms, John C. Reilly and Anne Heche.  I thought it was so goddamn hilarious, I nearly laughed my Buns-of-Steel ass off.  It's kind of stupid humor, so keep in mind this is coming from someone whose all-time favorite movie is What About Bob?  Keep in mind this is coming from someone whose second all-time favorite movie is Pee Wee's Big Adventure.  Keep in mind this is coming from someone who walked out of The Hangover

Humor is so subjective, huh?  Take a look at the trailer and decide for yourself if it's for you.

Ed Helms does a great job playing the naive man-child, John C. Reilly is his usual hysterical self, and Anne Heche is perfect in her role.  You know what other role she'd be perfect in?  The role of your pal Linda Lou in the screen adaptation of Bastard Husband: A Love Story.  She's a real-life whack job with crappy hair--enough said.  But I'll say more:  Did you know Anne Heche won a Daytime Emmy years ago when she was on Another World?  If that's not a credential to be proud of, I don't know what is.  So as much as I'd love to get my hands on Beverly D'Angelo, it would be in my best professional interest to meet Anne Heche.  If that's not an example of sacrificing for your art, I don't know what is.

So yeah, Tuesday night Mike and I had a "date night" consisting of dinner and a movie.  You already know what the movie is, but you'll never in a million years guess where we went for dinner.  It was my choice; he would have taken me anywhere.  So where did I pick?


That's right.  Costco.

I don't know if you're aware of this, but Costco has a hot dog and soda special for $1.50 and I'm telling you, those hot dogs are giant-sized and they're freakin' delicious!  And I don't know if you're aware of this, but I am a huge hot dog fan. (Calling Dr. Freud...)  I said to Mike, "I'm telling you right now, I'm having two of these suckers, so I hope you brought your wallet."  He was like, "Anything for you, my love.  Would you like to cruise around the store first and take advantage of the free appetizers?" but I was like, "Hey, let's not be piggish." 

Have you ever gone to Costco just to eat?  We didn't even go into the store.  It was funny on the way out when we were passed the guy whose entire job is to check receipts and we're walking out empty-handed.  I was like, "Um, nothing for us today," as if there wasn't one item in the entire store that struck my fancy.

So how's that for a perfect date night? Life in the fast lane... this is Vegas, baby!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Could you move from an empty nest to a full one?

I've told you before that Mike and I are 6 months apart in age.  I was 53 in October and he'll be 53 next week.  (Yes, it kills me that I'm the older one, and he's so kind to remind me of that fact all the time.)  I've also told you that I had kids early, not Appalachian early, but I was 20 when Christopher was born and Courtney came along less than 13 months later.  Do the math; they're now 33 and 32.   (BTW, I was 23 when I finished my bachelor's degree--I was pretty driven even back then.) 

So whereas my motto was always "Free at 40," most people my age are emptying the nest right about now; the majority of my friends' kids are in college or a few years out of school.  But Mike had his kids later in life; they're 15, 10 and 6.  We're talking kindergarten.

When I tell people I'm living with a man with young kids they think I'm crazy. Their knee-jerk reaction invariably is, "Oh, my God!  Run!" and not one person has reconsidered their initial response.  I can still see the look on one friend's face when I told her I'm in the step-mom role to these little ones.  She'd just driven her youngest to his college dorm 150 miles away and I swear, her reaction was the classic "recoil in horror" combined with a look I can describe only as a throw-up burp.

I understand.  I admit that with every passing stage of my own kids' development, I was just as happy that they were one step closer to independence.   And I'll also admit that I'm not a "kid person."  I love my own and I adore my grandchildren, but I don't naturally gravitate toward kids.  Mike and I are very different in that way.  Everything a child does is nothing short of magical.  If we see a kid acting up in public he'll say, "Oh, the poor thing, I wonder what's making him so unhappy" and I'll be like, "Shut that f*cking brat up or I'll have it beheaded."  Niiiice.

Fortunately, Mike's kids are adorable.  They're cute and well-behaved and I love them.  But kids are kids no matter how good they are.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the house we're in is not laid out well and there's no place to escape the non-stop video games, which drive me insane (short trip, I know).  My Linda Land sanctuary a few blocks away has been a godsend; that was definitely a smart move and worth every penny.  I spend a few hours a day there in peace and quiet, with no TV and everything in place just the way I like it because I'm such a friggin' fuss-budget, and then come home refreshed and renewed.

I'm doing what I can to find balance, but the reality is we'll be 65 years old when the youngest graduates from high school and nearly 70 when she gets out of college.  I won't lie to you; there are times when I do that math and just want to burst into tears.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.  After emptying your nest once, could you ever live in someone else's crowded nest?  If you've done it already, any advice?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Busy, busy... and the joy of meeting blog readers in person

I'm late posting again this weekend.  It's becoming a habit, isn't it?

I'm starting to realize that being in a relationship--especially when you live together--takes a lot of time.  It's good... it's great, but I don't have as much "alone time," time I used to spend on my creative endeavors, which usually involved some kind of writing project.  I don't see my girlfriends as often; I'm behind on my email.  And no, I haven't written anything of substance in ages.

I am exercising, though.  That should count for something, but truthfully, I exercise only because I'm so friggin' vain.  Plus, my long-term goal--the most long-term goal I could possibly have--is to live to see my granddaughter, Hazel, on her 50th birthday.  I'll be 102, but I still want to look hot.

Anyway, yesterday Mike and I took the kids to the St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Henderson.  I forgot my iPhone, so I don't have pics, but St. Patrick's Day in Las Vegas kind of sucks anyway.  First of all, having the parade after the holiday is just plain wrong, and if there's one time of year I severely miss Albany, it's in March.  In Albany, it's a 1-2 week event, depending on where the actual holiday falls.  In reverse chronological order, there's St. Patrick's Day itself; Parade Day, which is the Saturday before; and the Saturday before the parade is Corned Beef and Cabbage Day at my favorite Albany bar, The Washington Tavern.  St. Paddy's is a time to spend with family at the pub and run into old friends from high school and college.  There's no sense of tradition here in Las Vegas, not for me, anyway.

Plus, the weather this weekend has been terrible--we froze yesterday!  March is typically the best time to come to Vegas, but I feel sorry for anyone visiting now.  That said, last night I was very happy to meet one of my blog readers visiting here from The Middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin.  Seriously, Linda and her husband, Bob, live between one town with a population of 107 and another town with all of 200 or so inhabitants.  Can you imagine???

They were nice as hell and have been married almost 49 years.  I asked about their secret to a successful marriage and Bob deadpanned, "I worked from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m., so we hardly ever saw each other."  So cute.  Linda's been reading my crap here day after day for quite a while, God bless her.  Fortunately, she said I was exactly the way she expected, except a little taller. (I'm just under 5'5" in bare feet, but you can always count on another few inches in Vegas heels.)  Good thing she didn't say something like, "I thought you'd be a lot prettier" or "You're a lot thinner in your pictures," though that would have cracked me up.

I've met quite a few readers since I started this blog, and I really am so appreciative that anyone finds my life remotely interesting.  I mean, it's interesting to me, (and if you only knew the stuff I can't post!)  But everybody's life is interesting, if you just put the right spin on it.

(Side note to whoever you are in St. Francisville, Louisiana:  You've been a loyal reader for a long time.  Reveal yourself--I'm dying to know who you are!)

Anyway, tonight I'm hoping to do a couple of comedy sets at Palace Station and then at Boomer's.  A comic friend from Albany is in town, so it'll be great to meet up with him.  Comedy is definitely something I'll find the time to do, especially now that I seemed to have lost my stage fright after a mere 7 and a half years.  I can't be too busy to be funny.  Now that would suck.

My sincere thanks to all of you, dear readers.  And if you've read my book--double thanks!


Friday, March 18, 2011

"There's a bathroom on the right..."

In yesterday's "Aqualung" post, I talked about really hearing the lyrics of a song for the first time.  It reminded me of this post from September 2008, when my blog was just a couple of months old.  Since hardly anyone read it back then, I thought I'd repost it today.

Happy Friday!

Today's secret word: "mondegreen"

I often feel like such a Johnny-Come-Lately, like by the time I find out about something, it’s soooo 10 minutes ago.  So I suppose I’m the last person on earth to hear of the word mondegreen. defines mondegreen (pronounced mon-di-green) as “a word or phrase resulting from a misinterpretation of a word or phrase that has been heard.” American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term in an essay “The Death of Lady Mondegreen,” published in November 1954 in Harper’s magazine. Referring to a 17th century poem that her mother read aloud to her as a child, the author tells how she misinterpreted the line "And laid him on the green" as “And Lady Mondegreen.”

My mother told me how when she was a kid, she misheard people referring to “the chest of drawers” as “the Chester drawers.” When my daughter was little, she thought a local newscaster went by the hip nickname “The Heat is On” until she was old enough to read and was shocked to see the name on the television screen was “Benita Zahn.”

Mondegreens often result from misinterpreted song lyrics, and they can be quite entertaining. My favorite mondegreen is the classic “There’s a bathroom on the right,” the line at the end of each verse of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.” And of course we all wondered what was going on with Jimi Hendrix when he shouted, “’Scuse me while I kiss this guy!”

Both Creedence's lead singer, John Fogerty, and Hendrix eventually capitalized on their fans’ poor hearing (or was it their own inability to e-nun-ci-ate?) and deliberately sang the mondegreen versions of their songs in concert. Alone in the car, I always sing “There’s a bathroom on the right”; it’s simply more fun that way.

I had my own mondegreen version of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” that, quite frankly, had me perplexed for decades:

"I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no...  I'm a rocket man
Rocket man, burning all the Jews I’ve ever known”
Burning all the Jews I’ve ever known?  Jeez, Elton... WTF? Then years later I looked up the real lyrics and was relieved to find the line is “Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone.”

Oh. That’s very different.

How about you? Any fun mondegreens to share? And did you even know there was such a word?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Aqualung" lyrics -- Have you ever really listened?

"Do you know the difference between a sod and a sot?"

This is how a lot of conversations start when you live with a certifiable genius with an extremely inquisitive mind.  I'm asked a hundred of these questions a day, usually while I'm intently editing a piece of technical writing, and of course I never know the answer. 

"No idea," I reply.

"A sot is a drunkard.  A sod is British slang for a guy, a chap."


He has another burning question.  "Do you know what a dog-end is?  It's the part of the cigarette that's thrown away."  Notice he doesn't even wait for my reply.

"I did not know that."

Why was Mike asking these burning questions?  Somehow he got on a brain tangent that ended with the lyrics to Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" on his computer screen.  We've all heard that song a million times, right?  Maybe a billion.  It was released in 1971, and 40 years later, if someone asked me what it was about I'd say, "No idea.  A guy with snot running down his nose?" 

Have you ever really listened to the lyrics?  When I took a look and read them I was struck by the poetry.

Sitting on the park bench --
eyeing little girls with bad intent.
Snot is running down his nose --
greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.
Drying in the cold sun --
Watching as the frilly panties run.
Feeling like a dead duck --
spitting out pieces of his broken luck.
Whoa, aqualung
Sun streaking cold --
an old man wandering lonely.
Taking time
the only way he knows.
Leg hurting bad,
as he bends to pick a dog-end --
he goes down to the bog
and warms his feet.
Feeling alone --
the army's up the road
salvation a la mode and
a cup of tea.
Aqualung my friend --
don't you start away uneasy
you poor old sod, you see, it's only me.
Do you still remember
The December's foggy freeze --
when the ice that
clings on to your beard was
screaming agony.
And you snatch your rattling last breaths
with deep-sea-diver sounds,
and the flowers bloom like
madness in the spring.

"The flowers bloom like madness in the spring..."   Amazing.  It's taken me 40 years to appreciate that song.  And now I know the difference between a sot and a sod, and what a dog-end is.  (Giving credit where credit is due, the song was written by Jethro Tull's flutist and lead singer, Ian Anderson, and his first wife, Jennie.)
Now I'm wondering what else I'm missing.  I want to listen to the whole "Aqualung" album, and every other classic rock gem I knew as a teenager to hear what they sound like from the perspective of a 53-year-old.  The funny thing is, people who were in their 50s back in 1971 probably totally dismissed Jethro Tull as "that racket the kids listen to."  And I'll be honest--I'm one of those old people who complain about rap music.  Maybe I should download some rap lyrics; maybe they're equally poetic.  (I so doubt it, but maybe?)
What do you think?  Is there a old song that you've recently "heard" for the first time?  Should I be more open minded about rap?  (Really, I cannot stand it.)  Do tell!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A fantastic overnight getway

I was on the go again last weekend.  My friend Bob, who I worked with in my GE days, used to say I was a rolling stone and was he ever right.  I do love to travel, and I especially love road trips.

Saturday morning Mike and I got on the road a little after 8:00.  Our destination:  Joshua Tree National Park.  After stopping for a McDonald's Big Breakfast and gas, we pulled into the park a little before noon.  It's an easy ride; you just go down the 95 to I-40, and then you're on some back roads for maybe the last hour.  Mike and I are both talkers, as you can imagine, so the ride went by in no time.

I'd been to this park years ago with B.H. and remembered it as being very beautiful.  Yep, it still was.

Mike and I decided on a 3-mile round trip hike up Ryan Mountain.  The park info said it was strenuous, and it certainly was a steady climb, but I didn't think it was too hard.  I wouldn't suggest it to my 76-year-old mother, but if you're in reasonably good shape, you'll make it no problem.  As you can see, the scenery along the way was gorgeous!

Here we are about half-way up.

And at the top.  Yes, we hiked the entire trail arm in arm.

This was a fantastic hike--one of my all-time favorites.  Hard enough that you felt like you accomplished something, but not so hard you want to cry.  You know those hikes, right?

After a full day at the park we checked into our room at the Super 8 in Yucca Valley.  As Super 8s go, this one was  definitely above par--immaculate with larger than average rooms--and was only $51.   It didn't have a hot tub, though, and after the climb up Ryan Mountain that definitely would have been appreciated.

Saturday night we checked out a honky tonk up in Pioneertown (about 5 miles away) called Happy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace.  I'd been wanting to go there for quite some time.  It reminded me of the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in upstate New York.  We didn't eat there (big mistake), but the music was hopping and the scene was fun for all ages.

Sunday morning we headed for Palm Springs, about 30 minutes away.  I've been there a couple of times; the last was in 2004 when I attended a comedy conference.  Palms Springs has awesome shopping, and I was surprised to see so much vacant commercial real estate on the main drag, Palm Canyon Drive.  Vegas isn't the only place suffering.  Anyway, I got a cute little hippie dress for twenty bucks and Mike bought me a funky pocketbook I'd been eyeing.  Amazing boyfriend.

Doesn't it look nice there? 

You absolutely cannot go to Palm Springs without checking out the Palms Springs Aerial Tramway that runs up one of the mountains just outside of town.  Within 10 minutes, you'll climb almost 6,000 feet and I'm not kidding, the ride is spectacular.   The temperature at the top is 30 degrees cooler.  Here I am before we left downtown.

And here I am at the summit.  Yep, that's snow.  If I lived in Palm Springs, I'd definitely get a season's pass to escape the summer heat.

 We left town at about 3:30 or so and decided on the I-10/215/I-15 route.  If you're a big fan of Pee Wee's Big Adventure (and even if you're not), you have to stop to see the giant dinosaurs at Cabazon, just a couple of exits east of Palm Springs.  

These things are enormous!  See how small I am sitting at the base?

With another stop for gas and In-and-Out, we got back to Las Vegas around 8:15.   If you live in Vegas--or anywhere in Southern California--or are visiting and want a quick getaway, I highly recommend this trip.  You can pack a lot of living into two days!

What am I missing?  Can you suggest another overnight getaway from Las Vegas?  You know I'd love to do it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A movie recommendation and why does my voice sound like a freakin' fax machine?

The other night I made Mike watch Young@ Heart, a movie I ordered through Netflix (which, by the way, I am so digging).  I'd actually seen the film a while back in my favorite movie theater on earth,  The Flicks, up in Boise.  It's about a chorus of senior citizens in Northampton, Mass, who sing rock songs by artists such as Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, Bob Dylan, James Brown, The Ramones, The Clash, and Jimi Hendrix.  No kidding. I believe the average age of the chorus is about 80.

At first, Mike was like, "Jesus, Linda, what are you getting me into now?" but as it went on, it won him over.  Take a look at the trailer and tell me these aren't the cutest people you ever saw.

If you're like me and have a soft spot in your heart for old people, you will absolutely love this movie.  There are a couple of parts that may make you cry.  So beautiful.
As I watched it the second time around, a couple of thoughts entered my brain.  I told Mike I think it would be interesting to watch this again in 20 years when we're 73.  I really believe that 80 in the future is going to look a lot different from what 80 looks like in the movie.  Remember this post with the four generations of the women folk in my family then and now?  That's what I'm talking about.
I also noticed that although there were a couple members of the chorus who had "good voices," that didn't seem to be a requirement.  I got the impression that all that was needed was a willingness to learn the songs and commit to the performance schedule.  People could be in the chorus simply because they had an appreciation of the joy of singing. 
As you probably know, both of my kids are singer-songwriters.  They may have gotten some writing talent from me, but certainly not the singing.  I have a shitty voice; even my talking voice has a lot to be desired.  When my kids were little, they used to tell me my voice sounded like the ironing board opening.  And when I got mad and starting yapping at them, they'd call me "Dino" from The Flintstones.  Those little brats! 
I've always been able to fake a good talking voice, though.  When I was in grad school and had a radio show on WRPI, my sister Lori used to bowl over laughing at my sexy radio voice because it sounded so put on.  She should talk!  My friend Tim says that when the two of us get together we could attract every dog within a 5-mile radius with our high-pitched voices.
So as crappy as my talking voice is (and to make matters worse, I pronounce it "tawking"), you can just imagine my singing voice.  I'm a good writer, a decent dancer, and I do pretty well as a comic, but singing is just not my forte.  As a result, I never sing.  Oh, I do in the car when I'm alone, but never in front of other people.  When you suck at something, you don't exactly want the world to know. 
Anyway, a couple of years ago when Mike came with me to Albany for Courtney's wedding party, we stopped in to see my friend Babs from my GE days and her husband, Randy.  Babs loves to sing and has her own karaoke machine. She insisted I pick out a couple of songs and give it a try.
At first I was like, hell, no!  Though I'm never afraid to look like a total a-hole, at that point Mike and I had been together for only a few months and he thought I was all hot and sexy.  Why ruin it, you know?   But he and Babs kept encouraging me, and I have to admit, I kind of wanted to give it a try.  I picked out a song from the collection while Babs got me a beer (which I chugged), and I was ready to go.
Mike and Babs probably suffer from PTSD flashbacks every time they hear Carly Simon's "You're So Vain," but I have to say that once I got over some initial reluctance, I had a blast singing it.  It was liberating!  Afterward the two of them lied about what a great job I did and a minute later I was scanning Babs' songbook in search of my next number.  Next I was channeling Chrissie Hynde with "Back on the Chain Gang."
To his credit, Mike stayed with me even though I have a shitty voice--probably because I am so freakin' hot and sexy--and I realized that you don't have to be perfect at something to enjoy it.  Not that I would ever do karaoke publicly, though it probably would be funnier than anything I could say in my stand-up act.  And if I want to return to the Northeast in my old age, I can always join the chorus.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So we're just waiting for all these people to die off, right?

Last week I was telling a friend about how great it is to work at home--how I save so much money on gas, clothes, eating out, etc.  He shook his head.  "I could do eighty percent of my job at home, but my boss is the type who wants to see people in their seats.  I'll never be able to work at home." 

We talked about how stupid that was, and how a lot of progressive companies are reaping the benefits of allowing virtual workers.  Morale is improved, which leads to reduced turnover, plus they can save a mint in commercial real estate and associated costs.

"Sure, it makes total sense," my friend said, "but I'll have to wait for my boss to die off before that will happen."

He's right; the younger generation of workers behind him will think differently.  Hmmm.

Then earlier this week, I responded to a Facebook post by HLN talk show host Joy Behar asking for viewer opinions on the "Sister Wives" reality TV show and whether polygamy should be legal if it's part of a person's religion.  Another comment from a young guy got my attention: 
If this A-hole is ever legally able to marry all those skanks before they legalize gay marriage, I`m moving to Canada.
I sent him a private message saying yeah, no shit, but let's move somewhere warmer than Canada. He replied,

I hate the cold too, but I`d rather freeze my ass off than live in a country that would allow such biased civil liberty nonsense... I can`t wait til these people stuck in the 1800s die off and a new generation of leaders take over.
That last sentence prompted me to recall the conversation I had with my friend about working at home.  It's kind of funny how we're just waiting for all these people to die off so the world will be a better place.  This is nothing new; think of all the people who would throw the N-word around--they've just about died off, right? 

I've said a million times that you can't tell anybody anything.  People basically talk to hear the sound of their own voices and once their minds are made up, there's no changing them.  But I never realized that those minds may actually have to be buried in the ground before there is real social change.

Of course, my friend's boss could just retire.

Any thoughts?  Is working at home a possibility for you?  What types of thinkers are you waiting to die off?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Even children get older"

Oh, I know--there's nothing more boring than a blogger giving a birthday shout-out to one of her kids.  That said,


Baby Courtney

Courtney and her baby

Courtney and her "big" baby
 "And the seasons, they go 'round and 'round..."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Who DOESN'T have a busy life, huh?

I felt bad about not getting around to posting on Saturday.  Ever since I started this blog in July 2008, I've been really good about maintaining a regular Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday posting schedule.  Ultimately, I think it's better to live life and not have time to write about it--that's what our pal Hurricane Mikey's doing--but I do enjoy blogging and try to make time no matter what.

My brother, Steven, and brother-in-law Russ leave today.  Oh, how I love having them here!  I didn't get to tell you that after they got in last Thursday night, we went to the Ovation Lounge in Green Valley Ranch to see "Brody's World," the solo project of Brody Dolyniuk, the front man of the greatest classic rock tribute band, Yellow Brick Road.  Brody does literally dozens of musical impressions, mostly in the classic rock vein, in the course of an hour and a half and the show is truly amazing.  I believe right now he's performing it only on the first Thursday of the month, and in the Ovation Lounge.  I cannot recommend it enough.  If you're in town and can possibly catch this show, I guarantee you'll love it.  Talk about America's Got Talent... I told Steven that someday we'll be saying, "Remember when we saw Brody in Green Valley Ranch for free?"

Take a look at this video and tell me you're not freakin' blown away.

Then Friday night the boys came to see me do a comedy set at Tommy Rocker's.  It went really well, and I'm happy to say I'm making great progress in ridding myself of stage fright.  I knew all along that the key would be to keep forcing myself to get on stage as often as possible, but that's easier said than done.  I do feel I've turned the corner, though, and look forward to performing this Thursday night at Choices Pub and Showroom at 6720 West Cheyenne.  I'll also be back at Tommy Rocker's on April 8, and will no doubt do some open mics in between.  I promise one of these days I'll put a bit of my set on You Tube--I really should.

What else?  I attended a cocktail reception for memoir writers on Saturday and on Sunday I went hiking with Mike and the kids  out near Red Rock.  Look at how beautiful it was--can you believe this scenery is like 20 minutes from the Strip?  Man, Vegas is a nice place to live!  How lucky we are.

So much to do.  Between my job, my freelance work, my comedy, my endless freakin' book promotion... on top of having all kinds of fun living in Las Vegas and not to mention being in a relationship with a guy with two little kids and a teenager... it's no wonder I'm insane.  But aren't we all?

Damn, I just realized today is Mardi Gras.  I should have put up a post about New Orleans.  See?  Too busy to think properly.

Hope you're keeping it together!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Busy, busy... and Linda Land is looking good!

It's going for 11 o'clock on Sunday night and I am freakin' exhausted!  I feel I've been going, going, going forever.  My grandson, Connor, left last Monday after a week-long visit, which was nothing short of delightful.  He got along so well with Mike's kids, and when the kids weren't around (they were in school last week; the February vacation must be an East coast thing), he had the big 52-year-old kid to play with. 

Here they are at the Hoover Dam.  This is funny because doesn't it look like they're the same size?  I assure you, Mike is not Connor's height of 5'4".  Yikes--he has only another half-inch to go before he catches up with me!

You've probably seen a million pictures of the new bridge.  Here's a million and one.

You can walk across the bridge from one side to the other, which the three of us did.  You can't see a damn thing when you're driving over it; in fact, you hardly know you're on the bridge at all.  I'm sure they didn't want people driving and taking pictures at the same time. 

After Connor left I had a couple of days to prepare Linda Land for my brother and brother-in-law's annual NASCAR visit.  Linda Land got kind of neglected while Connor was here, and since both Steven and his wife, Kim, and Russ and my sister Lori always so graciously put me up when I'm in Albany, I wanted to make sure they had a comfortable place to stay.  Steven and Russ were the first people to stay there--I've never been there more than a few hours at a time myself--and I'm not kidding, I was putting the finishing touches on the place minutes before their arrival.

As you know, last year I celebrated PurgeFest 2010 and got rid of almost all my crap, so I'm just creating a funky space from what made it to my storage bin.  The couch isn't mine--it was in Mike's garage.

I still need to get a TV, or maybe I won't since I can sit on the couch and take in this view.

Can you believe I'm 53 years old and still have a papisan chair? Aren't you supposed to grow out of them like, when you graduate from college?  I don't care.  I love it.

Here's another angle.

One thing--for all my faults, no one can accuse me of being materialistic.  I figure the contents of my entire 1 BR apartment is worth less than Mike's bedspread ensemble.  I've never cared about having stuff other than the essentials.  I care about having a good time!

Saturday morning I hung out with Steven and Russ in the hot tub and then lingered at the pool--with a People magazine and an US Weekly--after they went to the NASCAR events.  Glorious!  I think this place is going to work out perfectly as my little escape when things get crazy at Mike's. 

I have a lot more to tell you, but my man is waiting for me.   I guess I have the best of both worlds--I have my shabby-chic retreat, but at the end of the day, I'm sleeping in luxury.  I'm a lucky gal.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's still Saturday here in Pacific time

My mother is probably wondering why the hell I haven't posted yet today--it's Saturday, goddammit!  Well, my brother and brother-in-law are in town and besides that the day just got away from me.  Don't think I've forgotten you--I'll post as soon as I can!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Get out! It could change your life.

Okay, first--I totally suck.  I haven't started my 30-day Buns of Steel challenge yet.  Yes, I'm busy, but that's no excuse.  I suck.  But I will do it.

Did you happen to see Ellen yesterday?  Matt Damon was on, talking about the time he was filming in Miami and some guys were going out on the town.  He didn't really feel up to it, but went anyway.  It's a good thing he did--one of the bartenders became his wife, and they now have a happy life together with four kids.  He felt fate played a role in their meeting.  The moral of the story, he said, was, "Go out to the bar!"

If you read Bastard Husband, you know we met when I was travelling for business and I decided to check out the hotel lounge instead of ordering room service. Had I cocooned it that night, my entire life would look differently today.  Maybe better, maybe worse--who knows.  But it definitely would not look like it does now.  Without B.H. there'd be no book, that's for sure.  Would I have eventually become a writer?  Maybe; I'd dabbled a bit and have been a technical writer for two decades now.  Would I have gotten into performing stand-up?  Doubtful.  Would I have ended up in Las Vegas?  I can't imagine how.

I met my first husband, Chris, in a bar in Albany--the Last Chance Saloon of all places.  He was a friend of a friend, and actually, I'd met him briefly before at a party.  Chances are had I not gone out with my girlfriends that night I would have connected with him eventually.  I met Mike at a meeting of the Henderson Writers' Group.  At the time I was the vice president and attended nearly every meeting.  Had Mike not showed up at that one, he probably would have made it to another meeting and I'd have met him sooner or later.  But had I not ventured down to the lounge in the Buffalo Marriott that night almost 11 years ago, I probably never would have crossed paths with B.H.  It's freaky to think that a seemingly inconsequential decision would, in fact, have such a profound impact on the course of my life. 

How about you?  How is your life entirely different because you decided against staying in?  Are you glad you did?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

OMG, I met the Buns of Steel guy!

Yep, that's right--Saturday afternoon I met Greg Smithey, the guy from the Original Buns of Steel video!  It had already been a thrilling day for me, and to meet him in person sent me over the top.  Let me explain.

The previous weekend Mike and I took his kids bowling.  On the way to the casino (that's where most of the bowling alleys are in Vegas) I was all full of myself and like, "I am so gonna kick your ass, Mike" (same competitive spirit as when I'm playing Scrabble with the seniors in Boise) and he was like, "No way, Linda," but guess what?  I beat him by five pins.

My man does not like to lose, so last Saturday we decided to continue with a two-out-of-three series.  As luck would have it, we got a deal earlier in the week through for six games of bowling at Terrible's on Boulder Highway, including shoes, for only ten bucks--can't beat that.  Two games for each of us, plus my grandson, Connor.  So bring it on! 

Connor and Mike are total buds now so I had a lot of psychic vibes working against me, with Connor cheering for "Team Mike."  Mike creamed me the first game by 30 pins and the series was even.  The second game was close throughout, and even at the tenth frame it was anyone's game.  But your pal Linda Lou pulled through and victory was mine!


So I'm driving us home over Lake Mead Blvd., singing Queen's "We Are the Champions," and I notice a truck up ahead with an I Love Buns of Steel bumpersticker. 

"That could be Greg Smithey!" I shouted. When I ordered his DVD a few months ago I learned he lives in the area.  I sped up to get a look. "Yes, that's him!"

Greg then turned into a shopping center, and since I was already committed to my lane, I figured it was too late to catch him.  But Mike pushed me to pursue.  I turned into the next entrance to the plaza and flew through the parking lot like Starsky and Hutch, with no regard for my grandson's safety in the back seat. 

"I don't see him," I said.

Then Mike spotted him and with a whiplash-inducing halt, I pulled up next to a man minding his own business in the roadway in front of Pet Smart.

"Are you Greg?" I asked.

"Yes," he said.

"Stay there!"  Not, "Hey, do you have a minute?  I'd love to meet you," but an absolute command. 

Greg stood there obediently while I screeched around a parking aisle--bumping over a little concrete thing along the way, to Connor's delight--and parked.

"I can't believe it's you!" I gushed, as if he were an actor on Guiding Light.

"Oh, you're the funny lady," he said, remembering an email I'd sent a couple of months ago.  I might have told him that when my sister Lori and I do the Buns of Steel video together, during the hard parts she gives him the finger, but I put on a pretty-face smile because I like to pretend I’m auditioning to be one of the exercisers in the background.

Anyway, Greg was such a good sport, posing for pictures and listening to me go on and on about how great his video is.  He was really, really nice.  You can't see here, but he has a ponytail.

"I always tell people that the original Buns of Steel is the single best exercise video on earth," I said. "Like if you did it every day for 30 days, you'd have an amazing body." 

Greg smiled graciously, and as the words were leaving my mouth, it hit me.  That's exactly what I need to do.  If I did Buns of Steel for 30 days, I'd have an amazing body!  I gotta walk the talk, or "wawk the tawk," as I say.  And so today, March 1, is the beginning of my 30-day pledge.  I'll post some "before" measurements tomorrow so we can see the difference.

Want in?  Get the Original Buns of Steel DVD. Don’t buy this through Amazon; it’s a lot cheaper if you go through Greg Smithey’s website.

Greg said he's thinking of writing a book about how Buns of Steel came to be such a phenomenon.  I hope he does it.  And I'd still love to get a quick interview sometime, you know, if he can forgive me for nearly mowing him over.

Thirty days.  In another month, I'm going to be amazing.  And the increased strength is sure to help my bowling skills.  Mike's hoping for three out of five. Yeah, right.