Thursday, September 29, 2011

Even MORE great advice from me!

I've really been enjoying doing comedy lately.  Hello, it's about time--it's been almost eight years since I first took the stage at Boomers and after all, hobbies are meant to be enjoyed, no? 

Sunday night I did a set at the open mic at Big Al's Comedy Club in the Orleans, which was a blast.  My BFF Julie of 47 and Starting Over fame was there with her boyfriend, Michael, who's also a comic and who also performed, and another couple who are Julie's good friends and are now mine as well.  Julie taped my set--I'll have to see if I can post that.  I know--promises, promises. 

Big Al's is a great room and John Barnes, who runs the stage, does a fantastic job keeping the comics moving.   If you're ever visiting, or are just looking for something to do on a Sunday night, check out Big Al's.  The show starts promptly at 9:00 and it's free.  Of course, open mics are always a crap shoot since they're open to all levels of performers, but that just adds to the fun.

Then Tuesday night I did the Las Vegas Comedy Show in my buddy Joe Lowers' showroom at Alexis Park.  It was the first time I performed there since I had my show last year and I swear, I don't think I'll ever get used to the stage lighting in that room--so bright!  I can't see a goddamn thing and it it's like Helen Keller comedy, but the room is awesome.  A couple of my friends from the old Boomers days were hanging out backstage and we remarked about how long it's been since we all met.  Eight years--Jesus H.  As my grandmother used to say, where does the time go?

At one point as we were shooting the shit, I was overcome with a feeling so warm I almost feel like a sap telling you about it.  But it's true.  I love all my comic friends; they're "my people."  If you read Bastard Husband, you know how much they meant to me when I first came to Vegas and hardly knew anyone in town.  As I wrote in my book, they never made me feel like an old bat; they've always been very warm and kind to me, and that still holds true for the young kids I'm meeting now.  I recently got a Facebook friend request from a kid born in 1990!

So things have never been better in the comedy area.  I'm having fun with it, now that I'm no longer blotching up with stage fright. I don't think I'll ever lick it entirely, but as Dale Carnegie says, a certain amount of stage fright is useful.
"It is nature's way of preparing us to meet unusual challenges in our environment.  So, when you notice your pulse beating faster and your respiration speeding up, don't become alarmed.  Your body, ever alert to external stimuli, is getting ready to go into action. If these physiological preparations are held within limits, you will be capable of thinking faster, talking more fluently, and generally speaking with more intensity than under normal circumstances."
He goes on to say that many professional speakers never completely lose stage fright.
"It is always present just before they speak, and it may persist through the first few sentences of their talk. This is the price these men and women pay for being race horses and not like draft horses."
Who wants to be a draft horse, huh? 

I love the Dale Carnegie stuff.  You have to read through a lot of anecdotal material to get to his point sometimes, but the takeaways are worth it.  Like when he encourages you to talk as confidently as if every person in the audience owes you money and they have assembled there to beg you for an extension of credit.  Cool stuff.

I share my experiences doing comedy in case one of you, my beloved readers, is allowing fear to prevent you from doing something you really, really want to do. Whether you're afraid to go out on the town by yourself, talk to a stranger in line at the grocery store, give a presentation at work, post an profile on an online dating site, or pursue a hobby as crazy as stand-up comedy... I have two simple words of advice:  "Fuck fear."

Just like Dale Carnegie's books, this blog is full of tons of anecdotal crap. So I'll save you the trouble of sifting through the more than 600 posts in the past three years and I'll tell you the three most important takeaways.  If you learn nothing else from my so-called life, let it be this:
  1. Stand up straight.
  2. Smile.
  3. Fuck fear.
Got it?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Calling all Lindas!

The other day I was at the checkout at Ross (quelle surprise) and noticed the cashier's name tag.

"Linda.  Great name!" I said, being the idiot that I am.  She gave me a sheepish look and said something like, "Yeah, there's no hiding our age, huh?"

No, there isn't.   I'm gonna guess that about 99% of women named Linda were born between 1943 and 1963, probably because of the song "Linda" that came out in 1946. According to this website, the song was written by Jack Lawrence for the 5-year-old daughter of his lawyer, Lee Eastman. Linda Eastman grew up to marry Paul McCartney, who wrote another song, "The Lovely Linda," for her.  Imagine having two songs written and recorded for you?

Linda was an extremely popular name in 1957; I was one of four Lindas in my class in elementary school.  There was Linda Smitas, Linda Smith, Linda Goldstein, and me (Linda Haber).  I always loved being a Linda; seriously, I felt I hit the jackpot when it came to getting a cool name. 

For as loony as my parents were--my Type A father having a friggin' heart attack any time someone spilled the gravy at dinner and my Jeopardy-addicted agoraphobic mother--they sure pulled through when it came to naming me.   It was a close call, though. When I was little, my mother told me I was almost named Deirdre, and I remember thinking, "What the hell kind of name is that?"

These days, as the cashier in Ross reminded me, the name is pretty dated.  I've come across only one Linda below the age of 30--a gothic-looking cashier in Pier I Imports who was named after Linda Ronstadt and who clearly didn't share my enthusiasm for her parents' taste. My own daughter, in her teen years, used to practically howl over my name because she thought it sounded so old fashioned, just as I giggled at my paternal grandmother's name:  Mabel.

"See me in a couple of decades, Courtney," I'd tell my little clone, because Courtney is just the Linda of a later era.   

I know a Linda who goes by "Lindy" at the advice of someone who told her a younger-sounding name would give her a professional advantage. Whatever.  Dated or not, I love being a Linda.  I've always felt like a Linda and I think I even look like a Linda. And who knows?  Maybe someday my granddaughter will name her baby after her granny, and Linda will become hip again. 

You know, like Hazel.

How about you?  Do you like your name?  Does it fit you? Did you ever wish you were named something else?  

P.S.  I don't have a middle name; none of the girls in my family do.  "Linda Lou" is a nickname my friend Chief gave me at a beer party when I was in my 20s.  When I started doing comedy, I didn't want to perform under my real last name because I wasn't sure if I was going to keep B.H's name or not after our divorce.  So I decided to perform as Linda Lou, and then used that as a pen name when I starting writing. 

Between us, "Linda Lou" sounds like I'm a goddamn hillbilly, instead of a multi-generation Yankee, but at this point there's no turning back.  But looking forward... who knows.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The never-ending quest for balance (and a rewarding work life)

First, I know--it's Sunday and I'm supposed to post on Saturday.  I really, really have tried to maintain a regular posting schedule.  It's been getting harder, though. 

Last night I had dinner with a couple of my blogging buddies and their partners who are in town for the weekend--my BFF Julie from 47 and Starting Over and former Travel Girl  blogger, Dar.  I know these girls only from the bloggy world; we met almost two and a half years ago when--sight unseen--they booked trips to stay with me in Las Vegas.  Yep, the three of us were complete strangers until that one Friday night when we converged in the airport.

As some of you know, Julie's posts have been getting fewer and farther between in recent months, and I believe Dar completely gave up her blog over a year ago.  Why?  They're happy.  And they're both in relationships; they weren't when they started blogging. 

Relationship take up a good chunk of time.  When Mike and I broke up last spring, I couldn't believe how much more time I had to myself.  I started putting together content for a book I was thinking of calling, How to Survive Your Day Job (Until You Can Quit Your Day Job).  I also started to put together ideas for another book, Cars I Have Loved, Men I Have Wrecked.  For me, there's nothing like personal angst and time to myself to get the creative juices flowing.  Hell, I wrote Bastard Husband during the most miserable part of my life.

I'd rather be happy.  Though I certainly am glad that I was able to write and publish that book.  Seeing it mentioned in the Wall Street Journal last week was a thrill, that's for sure.

Anyway, I've been thinking of cutting back and posting twice a week instead of three times.  I'm not going to, though.  I'm going to maintain the Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule that I've had for the past three years as closely as I can.  I might be late now and then--or even miss a post entirely, as I did the day after Labor Day--but when that happens, please understand that instead of writing about life, I'm having fun living it. 

That said, I do love to create.  And I especially love to have created.  Finding the balance to create everything I want to create and still be able to live a rewarding personal life is key.  And oh, yeah--I still have to work a day job, too.  Long sigh...

As I'm sending out resumes and interviewing, it's becoming crystal clear that I'm continuing to bark up some wrong trees. I keep applying for permanent tech writing jobs when the reality is, the thought of sitting in a poorly lit cubicle all day writing stuff that I truly do not give a shit about makes me want to cry.  I like working as a contractor because that way it's only temporary and there's an end in sight, but why would I deliberately pursue a permanent position doing something I clearly don't want to do?  That's just crazy.

Since I got out of grad school in 1991, my career has had a dual focus in both technical writing and corporate training.  For the past five years I've been writing, writing, writing, and I am bloody sick of it.  I so need to get back into training.  I realize that on two interviews recently, I was practically flatlining as I spoke about my tech writing experience, and then bubbled with enthusiasm when they asked about my training background.  HELLLLOOOOO. 

Of course, I'm applying for training jobs as well, but I'm not seeing as many out there.  So this is where faith comes in.  I need to have faith that somewhere there's a company that would LOVE to have me in their training department or as a training consultant.  I can say with 100 percent certainty that I am a kick-ass trainer.  I always have received outstanding evaluations and, unlike some trainers who are more into "info-tainment," I make sure that participants actually learn.   It's so rewarding to show someone how to use new software or apply new sales techniques; I love to see how much more confident they are, how much better they feel about doing their jobs.

That's it.  I need to focus my energies toward something I do want, not something I really don't.  You know, I'm so brilliant at giving advice, I need to listen to myself sometimes.  And to you.  Any thoughts? 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Am I getting prudish on you?

Okay, I'd love to know your opinion.  This is a real live Halloween costume for kids that's in the stores like Target and K-Mart right now. 

Personally, I think this is creepy, Jon-Benet-ish.  "Sweet li'l treat" for whom???  I asked Mike what the hell this costume is supposed to be anyway, and he said, "I don't know.  A sexy witch?"

The costumed pictured is a size Small, which means it's intended to fit a 5-year-old.  Since when is a sexy ANYTHING an appropriate costume for a child?  The kid modeling it looks like a junior cocktail waitress; I can just picture this mini-Mae West sashaying through the race and sports book at Green Valley Ranch or flirting with the guys at the poker table.  Seriously, I'm surprised it doesn't come with a padded underwire, garter belt and a theater length cigarette holder.

Kids are already bombarded with sex in the media, and especially here in Las Vegas.  If you drive at all near the Strip, you'll see tons of cleavaged billboards and if you're really lucky, you'll pull up behind a taxi with a row of thonged asses staring back at you.  Lovely. 

So why encourage this sort of dress-up in young, make that very young girls?  Am I turning prudish or just getting old?  What do you think about this?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BIG news!

Holy crap, Bastard Husband: A Love Story was mentioned in this article entitled "The Best Love Stories" in the freakin' WALL STREET JOURNAL!  I just found out about it yesterday--thank you, Google alerts--and nearly plotzed when I read it.  Funny--I had just written a post about love. 

My little self-published book in the freakin' Wall Street Journal, in the same paragraph as The Great Gatsby and Romeo and Juliet!  I have no idea how that happened, but man, it's so cool that it did. 

Forgive me for saying once again that I'm really proud of my book.  If you're a regular reader of my blog, I just know you would love it. 

Man.  When you least expect it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why wouldn't you put as much effort into finding love as you would to find a job?

I have no idea how Chaz Bono did or how funny Charlie Sheen’s roast was last night—as of this writing, I haven’t even looked to see if my Facebook friends have weighed in. I was hanging out at the Alexis Park showroom, taking in the opening night of the World Series of Comedy, which is going on all week. My buddy Joe Lowers is the mastermind behind this event, so I’ll be helping him out as well as attending some comedy seminars. There’s no end to my busy-ness, and I know I have to start saying no to some things, but I definitely want in on this. As Warren Zevon said, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

Anyway, today I wanted to talk about love. Yes, love, people! Like me, one of my best girlfriends is crazy in love, and no matter how our conversation starts, inevitably we end up gushing about how great it is to be in a relationship and how—despite what 70s-era feminism would have us believe—life is so, so much better when you’re sharing it with someone who is nothing short of amazing.

I’ve said recently that if you wake up in the morning, can see your image in the mirror and can take a proper piss and shit, then already it’s a good day and you have nothing to complain about. There are a couple of other essential blocks of life that my BFF and I feel should be in place as well. One is having a source of income that’s adequate for an enjoyable lifestyle. The other is having a loving partner.

They’re both important, but at the end of life, I can tell you I’m not going to look back and think, “Oh man, I created some beautiful technical documentation.” An income feeds your stomach; a loving partner feeds your soul. Yet we’re conditioned to believe that a loving partner is a “nice to have” rather than a component as equally essential.

If you didn’t have a source of income, you’d work like hell to find a way to get some money coming in, right? You’d be scrutinizing, contacting everyone in your network to uncover leads, and sending out resumes with the hope that you’ll find the perfect match for your skills and marketable talents.

But we’re not as proactive when it comes to finding the perfect match for our love lives; we kind of just wait for someone to come our way. Can you imagine if you took that approach to your job search? “I’ll just wait around. Surely the perfect job opportunity will present itself to me by sheer chance.” You’d freakin’ starve! And so a lot of people are starving in the intimacy department because they’re simply not making the effort to find someone. That’s sad.

If you want to find a partner, you have to put yourself out there. Browse through and look for a group of like-minded folks. Post a sincere profile on an online dating site—make it funny and I guarantee you’ll get attention. (I could start a cottage industry offering that as a service.) Get the hell out of the house, and don’t be afraid to do something you enjoy by yourself. Go to the movies or a comedy club. Check out the events at your local library. Go out and support live music or a poetry reading at your neighborhood coffee shop. Just get yourself in circulation.

As you know, I’m conducting a job search now. Every single day I do something to achieve my goal of finding a rewarding position. Similarly, if you’re looking for love, you, too, should take action every single day.

If finding a love interest is important to you, then put some energy behind that goal. Make it a priority. Why wouldn’t you?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What I have to say about Chaz Bono and Charlie Sheen (like who cares, but here it is anyway)

So who's watching Dancing with the Stars Monday night? 

I have to confess I've never actually sat through an entire show.  I have watched bits and pieces of it, though, and have viewed the YouTube clip of Cloris Leachman doing a split about a million times. Now there's a role model for me! Nonetheless, if ever a program begged for a Tivo or DVR, allowing you to fast forward through the mindless boring shit, DWTS is second only to the Academy Awards.

One of my many delusions of grandeur--right up there with with lying in state when I die--is to hit it big enough to be on DWTS. I desperately need a good reason to get back in shape, and if dancing on national TV with millions of people worldwide waiting for me to slip and crack my head open isn't reason enough, then I don't know what is.

Anyway, I'm especially intrigued by this season's lineup. What an absolutely brilliant move for them to cast Chaz Bono, huh? Oh, the controversy! Shield your children's precious eyes! Of course, the violence in those friggin' Xbox games is perfectly okay and there's not a 10-year-old on earth who doesn't sneak a glimpse at Family Guy episodes. But we can't expose our children to a dude who used to be a chick--that just crosses the line, right?

Oh, for Christsake.

Let me tell you about my friend Jeremy. When I met him a couple of years ago, he was Jen. Yeah, that's right. Like Chaz Bono and every other person who's undergone gender reassignment, from day one Jeremy never felt his physical body matched his gender identity. Believe me, people, we have no idea what a living hell that type of life would be nor can we grasp the courage required to actually take the steps to right nature's wrong.

God knows Jeremy has a story to tell and I'll be meeting with him in the next couple of weeks to give him some direction on crafting a memoir. He said there's actually a lot of funny things that have happened along the path of his transition and if the one anecdote he shared with me is any indication, he could write a hell of a book. I'm going to see if I can twist his arm into doing a guest post here soon--he's a great guy and I think you'll love him.

So Monday will be a big night on TV. In addition to the DWTS premier, we have the Charlie Sheen roast on Comedy Central. Oh, man, those roasts are hilarious in a guilty pleasure kind of way, don't you think? I'm looking forward to that one.

Did you happen to see Charlie Sheen on Jay Leno the other night? I almost hate to admit it, but there's a part of him I find quite endearing; I have a weakness for those who confront their fuck-ups with full-frontal honesty. And I cracked up when Jay asked if he was dating and Charlie replied with, "Well, Jay, I don't think you'd call what I do dating."

I wouldn't wish the problem of gender confliction on my worst enemy and I feel the same way about addiction. (Hello--did you read my book?) In very different ways, I want both Chaz and Charlie to win.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Funny story from last night

If you're my Facebook friend you've already seen this, but I want to share it here as well so everyone gets to see what a total a-hole I am.

Last night at the G-Spot Comedy Show, my friend Lynn and I were not just the only white comics on the bill, but the only white people in whole the room.  Lynn was the first comic up and she killed until she made a reference to The Bible, when everyone got silent.  Gaynelle, the host of the show, jokingly called out, "Lynn, these are all black folk here--you can't be messing with The Bible!"  Everyone had a laugh and Lynn continued to deliver a hilarious set.

I was up next.  I took the stage and deadpanned, "Wow, I've never performed for a room full of black people.  Um, let's see... OK," and then continued with, "Jesus, Malcolm X, and Sammy Davis, Jr. walk into a bar..."

Fortunately, everyone cracked up.  Good thing, or I'd be posting this from my hospital room.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Can you be your "true" self at work or are you keeping up appearances?

Hey, you know that blogger extraordinaire Hurricane Mikey is posting again, and on his original site, right? One of the reasons Mikey took a hiatus was because he was conducting a job search and wanted to shield his personal life from prospective employers. Fortunately, as he’s recently reported, his current employer “doesn’t give a rat’s ass” about what he does outside of work.

As it should be.

Recently I told you that the contract on my job will be over at the end of the month. Weh. It’s been a wonderful gig, especially the telecommuting part. And now that I’m on the prowl myself, I’ve been thinking about Mikey and what employers need—and don’t need—to know about you.

I’ve never been big on editing out parts of myself in order to comply with corporate expectations; I’ve learned that it’s better for employers to know who you really are right from the beginning. Years ago, back when I was still following the rules, I got hired for a position no doubt because I performed so beautifully during an interview. And it really was a performance; I totally convinced them that I was a straight and narrow, by-the-book professional.

Of course, I couldn’t keep that boring persona up for too long and my true, fun, personality seeped through. I did a great job as far as my work went, but joked around with my staff a lot. They loved me. Yep, everybody under me loved me, but those above me on the food chain couldn’t stomach me at all. I wasn’t a fit for their culture; I was nothing like what they thought they were getting. That turned out to be the worst place I ever worked, just a miserable experience.

Ever since, when presenting myself to prospective employers or consulting firms, I’ve been my true crazy self. They can take me or leave me, and fortunately, I seem to be what they’re looking for. But I do have a very strong resume and an impressive portfolio of work. That’s the key—the more skilled you are, the more you can get away with being your authentic self on the job. If you’re really, really good, you don’t have to spend so much energy creating a professional persona. And you can direct all that energy toward doing a good job, which, after all, is why you're there in the first place.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not too relaxed.  It's not like I throw the F word around on interviews… or at all in the workplace. Well, I try not to.

This is funny. A few years ago, I had just started a new job—I was there maybe three weeks. About twelve people from my department were sitting around the conference table; each person had to give a brief report on what they’d been doing the past week. When it came to be my turn, I excitedly told my coworkers—and boss—of the progress I’d make on a task that was particularly challenging. I was feeling great about it all and at the end gushed, “And this a huge fuckin’ project!”

Immediately, I realized what I’d said and covered my mouth with a big “Oops!” but it was too late. Everyone in the room cracked up. For the rest of that day, people were high-fiving me and saying things like, “That was the greatest moment of my worklife!” and told me how much they liked me and wanted to work on projects with me. I was like a folk hero. Even my boss thought it was an awesome slip. (He was a nut himself, believe me.)

Anyway, in the words of Popeye, “I am what I am.” For some reason, it seems to be working.

How about you? Can you be your true self at work? On a scale of 1 to 10, how surprised would your coworkers be to know the “real” you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Once again, back to (Vegas) reality

Aaah, I'm back in Las Vegas!

I had a wonderful time in Albany, that's for sure, but I'm super happy to be home again.  The past 6 weeks have been insane, so I'm looking forward to some sense of normalcy. If there is such a thing in Las Vegas.

My flight yesterday was delayed 4 hours, which was no problem for me; I enjoyed the extra time hanging out at my sister Lori's house, which is only about 20 minutes from the airport. Nonetheless, for my "inconvenience," Southwest Airlines gave every passenger a $100 voucher, which I can always use.

IMHO, there's no airline like Southwest.  I could be wrong (imagine?), but I think it's the only one that doesn't charge for baggage, and God knows I have plenty of that. Like every airline, they do have weight limits, which I witnessed first-hand back in April when I tried to check a bag a mere 2 pounds over.  They were going to charge me an extra 50 bucks, I think, which pissed me off and I even pulled the old, "Hey, look at that big fat guy--he weighs at least 100 pounds more than me. Shouldn't I be allowed an extra couple of pounds?"

That didn't go over, though, and I had to rearrange my crap and stuff some more into my carry on.  But I still think there's some merit to my logic regarding total weight, taking personal body weight into consideration.

Whatever.  I still love Southwest. Yesterday near the gate a male agent walked by me and said, "I like your shoes," and I gushed back, "Why, thaaaank kewe!" and I thought, now there's a smart man because those are the magic words for getting points with women (there's a lesson there, guys), but too bad for him, I already have a boyfriend.

Oh, man, is it ever good to see Mike again. Our relationship stock is at an all-time high these days. I never thought of relationships in that way until I just wrote that, but everything kind of has a stock value and it's something we should always be on top of, don't you think?  Like people check the market every day to see how their stocks are doing, but we never think to examine the Dow of our lives.

I'm on to something here. You have your relationship stock, your job/career stock, your spiritual stock, your family stock, your social stock, your recreation stock...  and then every day you should monitor it. If you see the stock start to go down in one area, that means you'd better intervene; you need to do something to cause the stock to rise again.  Like if your relationship stock is going down, maybe you need to say something like, "I like your shoes."

Do I have it all figured out or what?

I have a lot more to tell you. Last Sunday night I was a judge at the Capital Region's "Last Comic Standing" competition and that was a freakin' blast. I'll save that for Thursday, though.

For now I'll leave you with a picture of my nephew Cameron, who turns 18 today. (He's Lori and Russ's son.) Not to sound like an old person, but his kid's a fine young man.  Cam joined his local volunteer fire department the day he turned 15 and has undergone all kinds of first response training. Now he's even presenting trainings himself.  I took this photo at his firehouse after their 9-11 memorial service.

Good looking kid, eh?  I'm very proud of my nephew, serving the community as he does.  Happy Birthday, Cam!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stage fright, you're my bitch

As I've mentioned before, my stage fright is pretty much under control and I've finally reached the point where I actually have fun doing stand-up.  Yay--after all, hobbies are meant to be enjoyed, right?

I had a ball Thursday night at the open mic at Savannah's in downtown Albany.  It was almost going to suck--I got there just a few minutes after the sign-up time and all the slots were already filled.  Fortunately, Russ, the guy running the stage, recognized me from other stages in town and let me close the show.  If I bumped any other comics, thank you for giving up your time.

A ton of people came to see me, so it's good that I was able to perform.  But as I was standing there watching the other comics, a bit of my old pal stage fright resurfaced.  At one point during the show, Russ said something like, "We have a very special guest performing" and I was like, yikes, don't build me up too much--I don't want to disappoint everybody. 

But the root cause of my anxiety was the fact that there were so many people I know in the audience.  My son, my first ex and a bunch of his friends, my roommate from college and some other Plattsburgh State friends, my sister Lori's biker buddies... It's much easier to perform to a room full of strangers than people you actually know, especially those who've known you for years.  And especially because--I've told you this before--so many people, when they learn I've been doing stand-up, say, "Gee, I never remember you as being that funny."  It's one thing to move to the other side of the country and reinvent yourself, but quite another to present the "new you" in a place you lived for the first 43 years of your life.

The nature of performing--no matter what kind of performing you do--is that sometimes you're just gonna have an off night.  You can't hit it out of the park every time at bat, you just can't.  With 18 people in the audience who came explicitly to see me, I wanted to do well; that's why the stage fright resurfaced.  But as I stood in the back of the room waiting for my turn to go up, I silently chanted my new mantra, "Stage fright, you're my bitch."

I hit it out of the park.  Russ was kind enough to give me a great intro and I flew with it from there.  Coming off stage to everyone's accolades, especially from the folks I didn't know, was a real high.  I sold a bunch of books, too, which was great. It turned out to be a really fun night and I was glad to be the impetus for a gathering of so many people, some of whom hadn't seen each other in years.

Lori's biker friend Mick and me
The lesson here is that you just have to plow through the fear, people.  It's taken me long enough to realize that, and it's much more easily said than done, but it's true.  Make fear your bitch.

This is funny.  You know how I telecommute from Las Vegas, but work in the office when I'm back in Albany?  Well, Thursday afternoon I was reviewing my set list in my cubicle and then after work met my friends for a drink.  I was a bit unnerved when I arrived at the pub because I was afraid I'd lost my set list somewhere in the office.  I thought I forgot it on my desk, but when I went back for it, it was gone.  I imagined someone coming across a crumpled piece of paper with a list that reads

1.  Breasts
2.  Fart shirt
3.  Dating
4.  Periods
5.  Blow jobs

... as well as the supporting details.  We all had a great laugh about it--hell, my contract is over at the end of the month anyway--but fortunately, I did, in fact, put the list in a separate compartment in my pocketbook. (As you can see, my humor is extremely highbrow.)

Anyway, I have just two nights left in Albany and then I fly back to Vegas on Monday.  It's been a great trip and yesterday the sun finally came out, so that was nice, too.  Hope you're all enjoying your weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Crazy, insane, cuckoo... but having a great time

Can you believe I missed Tuesday's post?  I was sitting in the office, totally thinking it was Monday... Yikes, I'm losing it.  I've been crazy busy since the end of July when my sister Lori came for a visit.  The week after she left we started moving--which was a production and a half--and before we got the last picture hung, Connor came to visit and now here I am in Albany until next Monday.  Tonight I'm doing a set at the open mic at Savannah's, which will be fun.

So it's all good. I'm not complaining; I just need some downtime.  It's the natural ebb and flow of the universe.  I'm just ready for a little ebb time.

Anyway, I'm having great fun here in Albany.  Of course, I haven't seen the freakin' sun since I've been here.  Last April it rained for 12 straight days while I was here and then the sun came out as I was boarding the plane.  Lovely. 

But who cares about the stinkin' weather?  Lori had a family gathering at her house on Sunday and I was so, so happy to see everyone.  How about this beautiful baby?  Hazel is getting so big!

She has the face of an angel, if I do say so myself.  And that hair!  Orange ringlets and bright blue eyes--what a combo. And she's still the most. serious. baby. ever.

Here's my beautiful Courtney.  She and her three friends are doing their 50-mile walk for MS this weekend, and she asked me to say thanks again to those of you who contributed to the cause.  And I'll say thank you again, too.

Court's been training for the walk, and man, she looks fantastic.  She was slender to begin with, but all that walking is sure paying off.  I can't wait to get back to "reality" and get in the walking groove again.  Mike and I were doing so well, and then it all hits the fan...

On Monday a bunch of us went up to the track at Saratoga.

With the rain, a few of the longshots came in, but no big winners in this bunch.  (Well, we're winners, just not when it comes to horse racing.)

Mom  couldn't get over how tall Connor is getting.  He's towering over her!  (Lori's bending over a little, but he'll be catching up to her soon.)

So I've been having a great time, but busy, busy, busy.  Plus, I'm going into the office while I'm here.  I've been so spoiled by being able to work at home, but it's nice to see my work buds.  This gig is up for me at the end of the month, so that's one more thing I've been doing--conducting a job search.  I've already had a couple of good bites on some resumes I've sent out, and despite the lousy economy--and the even more dismal Las Vegas economy--I have a feeling I'll land something fairly soon.  Anybody want to hire a kick-ass corporate trainer/technical writer?  Oh, forget it... you guys know me too well.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and for continuing to read my crap.  I'll be back to my regular self, well, probably never.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


With the holiday, I totally forgot today is Tuesday.  I'll post later!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Quick trip to Zion and Bryce

Earlier this week, my boy Connor and I took a quick little trip up to Utah to check out some national parks.  If you've read my book, or even the excerpt "A Glimpse of Life in Utah," you know that BH and I briefly lived in Cedar City--an experience that I, um, don't ever need to have again.  But Utah is a beautiful state and the one good thing about living there was that the hiking was incredible.  How lucky we were to have two national parks within just a short distance.

Anyway, Mike's kids started school last Monday, so I took a couple of days off from work for some Granny-Connor bonding time and thought, hey, let's do a road trip to Zion and Byrce Canyon. 

Usually when I visit Zion, I stay at the Desert Pearl Inn, which I wholeheartedly recommend.  This time, though, their rates were a little more pricey than what I felt like spending ($142/night) so I thought, what the hell, let's try a new place.  The Majestic View Lodge caught my eye online, and for $129 we got two beds and a balcony with a view.

The decor was rustic and actually looked like the pictures they posted online.

I can recommend this lodge as well.  It was spotless and they double-sheet the beds, which is always a major plus in my opinion.  (If hotels did that more often and advertised it on their marquee, they'd always get my business, and God knows I do sleep around.)

The only thing a little on the different side was the toilet.  This video doesn't do it justice.

Connor warned me about the loud flush, and I totally thought he was exaggerating.  But then when I flushed it myself, it scared the crap out of me, even after having been warned.  But that's no big deal, and the fact that they have a brew pub on site more than makes up for it, if you know what I mean. 

Speaking of scaring the crap out of us, not too long after we exited the tunnel in Zion National Park, something pummelled our car.  You know how in a split second a million thoughts go through your head?  Well I thought, oh great, now I have to buy a new windshield.  Connor and I thought we got hit by a giant glob of bird shit. I immediately put on the windshield wipers and it was gone in one swipe.  We couldn't believe how much noise it made!  But upon closer inspection, it looks like the hood of my car was hit by a flying red rock, which left a good sized dent.  I don't know what the hell hit my windshield--maybe a piece of the rock?  At any rate, it's a good thing I wasn't going a nanosecond faster or it would have hit the windshield right where Connor was sitting.  Yikes.

Here's a pic of Connor just before all the drama.

Zion is beautiful, though.  Since we were pressed for time, we decided to just do a drive-through and then headed up to Bryce, where we did a gorgeous hike on the Navajo Loop.

Isn't my boy getting big?  I'd say he's getting so old looking, but if he ever told me that, I'd kick his ass.

Bryce is positively stunning.  If you've never been, you simply must.  You must!

We took the route home through Cedar City and I showed Connor the house where BH and I used to live.  Connor doesn't remember BH, but he had a lot of questions.  I just said, "He was a character, Connor.  He was a character."

Our old 'hood.  I could sit on my couch and look out at the red rocks.

Cedar City is a beautiful little town, but man, there's a weird energy there that creeps me out.

Connor's an excellent traveler and I love every minute I spend with that kid.  We had a ball together driving along listening to Weird Al's parodies (insert weak but loving smile) and watching Family Guy episodes on my iPhone.  I've talked before about the importance of travel and how a trip not only gives you lasting memories, but a wonderful opportunity to bond.  Connor is always going to remember this little getaway, as well as our trip with Mike and the kids last weekend to California.  Travel with your kids, people, even if you don't think you can afford it.  There are cheap ways to do it, and it's one of the few things that's perfectly okay to charge if you have to as long as you don't go crazy.  Just my opinion.

This afternoon my boy and I are taking off together again.  This time we're flying to Albany, where I'll be until September 12 when I come back to Vegas.  I haven't been back since baby Hazel's birthday last April and I can't wait to get my hands on her.  My mother is in Albany now, too, so we'll have a nice little family reunion. 

Whatever you have going on this long weekend, enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An aging nymph goes to LEGOLAND, or as David Byrne would say, "This is not my beautiful life!"

I know what you're thinking. Remember when Linda was a hip swinging single writing about her adventures making the scene in Las Vegas?

Yep, it's come to this, people.  LEGOLAND.  Mike has long been threatening a trip to Disneyland, but I said no freakin' way.  I can't stand that Disney shit and besides, I hear the place is full of birds.  But I softened on LEGOLAND and so last Friday afternoon we packed up and began our journey toward San Diego with his two kids and my grandson in the back seat. Connor's iPad kept the boys entertained the whole way while the little one watched Netflix on my iPhone.  All were wearing ear buds--thank you, sweet baby Jesus.  Anticipating the 5-hour trip, all I could think of was a comic friend's line that he asks a girl on a first date:  "Does this smell like chloroform?"

Thankfully, the drive was relatively quick and painless.  We found our hotel no problem and it was a gem; we got a two-bedroom suite at the Marriott Townplace Suites in Vista.  Marriotts are always of consistently high quality.  This one offered a continental breakfast and a complimentary shuttle to the park, so it worked out really well.  I highly recommend.

LEGOLAND is in Carlsbad, CA, and we woke up to some perfect southern California weather.  But during the shuttle ride my sunny mood darkened when I realized, This place is gonna be full of kids.  You'd think I might have put that together beforehand, huh? Of course I love the children in my immediate circle, but how many times do I have to tell you I have the patience of John McEnroe in five o'clock traffic? Not exactly a kid person.

We walked through the aquarium when we first arrived at LEGOLAND.  Overall it was pretty uneventful.  Our first stop once we got into the actual LEGOLAND park was Miniland USA, which I actually dug.  There were all these reproductions of areas of the U.S., all constructed with LEGO bricks.  Like my reader Jazzy Cazy, I am fascinated by miniature replicas.

I posted a few of Las Vegas earlier this week  Check out this one of the Venetian.

In addition to the New York, New York casino in Las Vegas, they also built a mini Manhattan.

Here we are in New England.

 I absolutely loved LEGO New Orleans.  Check out this Mardi Gras parade!

How freakin' cool is that?  I took a million pictures of these little places.

Unfortunately, the most interesting part was over in the first half hour and I spent most of the next 7 hours waiting for Mike and the kids to go on rides. 

There was a 45-minute wait for some of those rides, which gave me plenty of time to think.  At one point, I was sitting next to a row of about seven empty baby strollers parked against a wall and thought, man, I remember when I used to hang out in places with a row of Harley Davidsons parked outside.  Wasn't it just last month that I was dancing on the bar at Hogs and Heifers?  Has it really come to this? 

The people watching was interesting.  As the kids romped in the water, Mike and I observed the families that walked by.  Almost without fail, the mother led the way, pushing a stroller with another kid at her side as the dad dutifully followed along a few paces behind, wistfully remembering the days when he'd spend a weekend afternoon watching the game and drinking beer with the guys.  Back when he still had some testosterone flowing through him.

Our kids had a ball, though.  There's plenty to keep them busy.  Here's Connor climbing a rock wall.

He's gotten so big since I last saw him in April.  And I gotta say--the only thing worse than having a kid screech, "GRAAAANNNNNY!" in a crowd of people is hearing that from a really tall kid whose voice is changing.  (How many times do I have to tell you, it's "Aunt Linda" in public, sweetheart?)

LEGOLAND really is a beautiful park--it's very well maintained and there are hardly any birds.  At one point while the gang was in line for a ride I ducked into a cafe and serendipitously asked the cashier where I could get a beer.  I figured there had to be some kind of saloon somewhere, but alas, there is no alcohol in LEGOLAND.  So if there was one place for improvement...

The next day we stopped at Carlsbad Beach before hitting the road back home.  Again, it was a gorgeous day.

The kids were equally awesome on the drive home.  It's great that they all get along so well. 

So I survived LEGOLAND and 10 hours of driving with three kids.  I'm as surprised as you are.  Mike still wants me to go to Disneyland, but I said there's no freakin' way.  I'll make the arrangements and do all the navigation, but I'll be at the hotel poolside with a cocktail while they visit Mickey and his friends.  Yep, that's where you'll find me.