Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sorry, folks. I'm talking more to myself than to you.

I haven't posted in a week. I hate that. I've never, in the almost 5 years since I've had this blog, gone an entire week without posting.  Bad Linda.

Thanks to everyone who left comments on my last post about male friendships. The differences between men and women are so interesting. And thanks again for all the tech tip comments the previous week.  My "Tech Share" meeting at work went very well!  Thanks for making me look halfway intelligent.

I am digging my job.  Miracle! I know I keep saying that, but it's true.  I'm busy as hell so the day flies by, plus I get to help people. And wouldn't you know, I have more freelance work and personal coaching clients than ever before.

Yes, I am busy as hell. I was thinking that this is the first I've ever been in a super-demanding full-time job and in a relationship at once and man, both really take up a good chunk of your time.  I remember how back in the single days I used to come home from work and fire up my laptop and then settle in for a night of writing. I'd work on my book or my blog or my comedy act or an article I was writing for  Now?  Well, obviously I'm not posting here like I used to and I swear I haven't written anything creatively in ages.  And worst of all, I haven't been on stage in a month.

But wait.  Now I write resumes. A lot of them.  For people who've lost their jobs.  And they are friggin' works of art. My clients are so happy when they see them, which thrills me as well.  And I actually do put a lot of creativity in the resumes I write.

And although I haven't been doing comedy, I'm in front of people leading workshops and facilitating groups, and of course, I inject humor every chance I get.  My clients are learning things and feeling better about themselves.  That's important.

So I guess this is what I should be doing right now.  I'm still being creative and funny, just in a different forum.  And although I never minded living by myself, given the choice, I'd rather come home to a handsome husband and settle in and watch a movie together.  Though I wish I had time to write one.

I want to do so much. But everything has an ebb and flow, you know?  Sometimes I just have to remind myself that the universe unfolds in divine order. I'll do comedy again soon, I'll post more regularly, and I'll write another book.  Maybe two, and a screenplay. Everything in its right time.


This Sunday at 3 p.m. PDT (6:00 EDT) I'll be a guest on my friend Dave Kanyan's "Dumbing it Down With Bob" radio show on WGXC 90.7 in Hudson, NY.  You can listen to a live stream at Dave is a great guy--very entertaining--and I'll try to say something amusing, too.  I don't know if it's a call-in show or not, but if you think of it, give a listen!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I love you, man! Is it hard for guys to make friends with other guys?

Last night Mike and I watched the 2009 film I Love You, Man where Paul Rudd plays a driven real estate agent who, upon his engagement, realizes he has no friends that are men and therefore no one to be the best man at his wedding. He meets Jason Segel, a laid-back slacker, and a bro-mance is in full bloom.

I freakin' love this movie. Paul Rudd is hilarious--so painfully awkward, with a cringe-worthy performance reminiscent of Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents. He's fabulous, and that "Slappin' da bass" scene will make you shoot beer through your nose.

That got me to thinking, why the hell aren't comedic actors recognized at the Oscars?  Comedy is hard to pull off, folks! But no, you need to have a fake accent, a disability, or dress in period clothing (preferably all three) to be even nominated for the statuette. That's such crap.  Did you know Stephen Spielberg spent $250,000 on a campaign to get Bill Murray nominated for Best Leading Actor for What About Bob? (the greatest movie of all time) because he liked his performance so much?  But noooooo. What a bunch of stiffs those Academy members are.

During the movie last night Mike turned to me and said, "It is hard for guys to make new friends with other guys."  I'd never given it much thought, but now I'm like, yeah, I bet it is. Men are always so ultra-sensitive about coming off as gay that they probably feel weird reaching out to other men for the purpose of establishing a friendship. (Which reminds me, Thomas Lennon, the hot pants-wearing cop from Reno 911, has a small, but also hilarious, role in this film as one of Paul Rudd's prospects.)

Back in Albany, my guys friends have all been friends with each other for decades. It's easy to make friends in college; that's the whole purpose of being there.  But as adults it's different. And Albany is not a transient town like Las Vegas, where you don't have long-established relationships. I think of how I reached out to connect with people when I moved here, by myself, almost 10 years ago. The reaching out part wasn't hard for me--I'm pretty much an extrovert. I could say, "Hey, let's get together" to another woman and not think twice about it, and I certainly wouldn't hesitate to connect with someone because she might think I'm a lesbian.

But for guys, yeah, it might be different. Men can't really say to another man, "Wanna meet for coffee?" I guess they could have an extra ticket to a game or something, right?  Is that how it works?

It can't be easy being a guy.  The other day I was in the auto parts store buying a new bulb for my brake light and looking around at the aisles and aisles of manly car paraphernalia I was like, "How on earth do you guys know what all this stuff is for?" Men are amazing! They build skyscrapers and bridges and replace brake lights. You should definitely try to be friends with each other--you're awesome! 

Is it really that hard?

Monday, March 18, 2013

If you visit me, I'll cook* for you

I was bummed that I didn't get to see Hurricane Mikey while he was in town this past weekend. It was my own fault; I just couldn't get it together. But the good news is, the big man is blogging again. That's right--he's back and better than ever, though at 160 pounds lighter, he's nowhere near as big as he used to be. And he has plans. Yep, he has plans...

Tonight I did get to see one of my most loyal readers.  I met Linda and her husband, Bob, for drinks a couple of years ago when they were visiting Vegas and thought they were awesome. They're from the Middle of Freakin' Nowhere, Wisconsin, and have that Midwestern sweetness that is just so endearing.

Here they are tonight in my kitchen.

Oh, hell, yeah--my kitchen!  Usually when readers or other bloggers come to town, I have to meet them somewhere, and it's usually somewhere on the Strip. But these two had a rental car and were willing to come to me, which was just fantastic since, you know, I'm a working girl these days and don't have the kind of time I used to. But even after toiling all day in the office, I still made them a delicious dinner.

Costco does it again!

This stuff is the BOMB! So what that it has a million calories and a billion grams of fat? It's freakin' delicious.  I've been making my own lasagna for decades--literally--and I'm telling you right now:  never again.  Why go through all that layering cheese and noodles when you can stick this in the oven and an hour or so later, you got yourself a meal. Seriously, it's that good.

Do you love Costco or what? Mike and I were there on Sunday. Because we're on a health kick lately (again), we decided to forgo the $1.50 hot dog and Coke special and instead opted to dine at the Costco buffet (if only they could put those little stations a little closer together) and save ourselves three bucks. I tasted a veggie burger and I actually liked it until the woman said it was made with soy. Soy is one of those things I won't eat just because I don't like the sound of it.  I will, however, think nothing of eating a hotdog, which is essentially a tube of pig anuses.

Anyway, Linda and Bob are so nice; I felt a little guilty about not doing a super cleaning for them.  Like the place was certainly presentable, but just between us, 10 minutes before they arrived I was spot cleaning the kitchen floor with a paper towel and a spray bottle of Mr. Clean.

And I didn't feed them dessert, either.

No, I had only two bon bons left in the freezer, which I totally could have offered to them, but then what if they said yes? There would go my bedtime snack! Some hostess. Seriously, these things are the perfect little treat when you're dieting. You know how you feel a little guilty when you're heading back to the freezer for that second bowl of ice cream? Well, at only 60 calories each, you can have two of these and live totally guilt free!

So there you go--two healthy eating tips from me.  Which reminds me, thanks for all the tech tips on my last post. My meeting is tomorrow. I'm going to write up all the tech tips we talk about and post them for you to download.  Fingers crossed it's not a cluster.

Anyway, the bottom line is, if you come to Vegas and don't make me go to the Strip to see you, I will heat something up for you and wipe the stains off the kitchen floor. I can't guarantee dessert, but I will give you beer. Fair enough?

Oh, one more thing. My guests and beloved husband were all talking about Catholic stuff at dinner, and I swear, when I heard the new pope's name, all I could think of was this:

"I'll get you, Pee Wee Herman!"
Come on, I know I'm not the only one.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Please help! Do you have a "tech tip"?

If you're like me (but let's hope you aren't), you're feeling a wee bit overwhelmed by all the available technology out there. I go through phases where I simply can't bear the thought of learning something new and then every once in a while I'll get in the mood to explore a little.  It seems, though, that whenever I discover something interesting, everyone else is like, "Oh, yeah, I've known about that for ages."

So my question is, what am I missing out on now?

I had this brilliant idea to have a "tech share" meeting with my clients at work.  I'm asking everyone to come with a tech tip--a useful app or website or God knows what else--that they think people in general would be interested in.  Something that would make their life easier or more fun.

This is where I need your help.  The meeting is next Wednesday, and I'd like to have an arsenal of cool stuff to show them in case most people come to learn rather than share.  I'm not exactly tech-a-licious myself--I mean, I can get by, but sometimes not without a lot of swearing.

So what do you have for me? What bit of technology would be helpful for almost anyone to know about?

Come on, make me look good!  Alas, I work in a formal business environment and can longer rely on cleavage and short skirts. :(

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sometimes even I'm sick of the sin

You know I absolutely love living in Las Vegas. (Actually, I live in Henderson, but close enough.)  I love the sunshine, the mountains, the fact that I can lie poolside in February... I love that this is what I see on a walk through my neighborhood.

I've made a life here that I never could have dreamed of. Anyone can reinvent themselves in Las Vegas, and as many times as they want. There's no place like it.

But there's definitely a downside. Traffic can be a pain in the ass and the never ending road construction makes it all the worse. I lived in Albany for 43 years and it seemed like there was construction once in a while, but for the most part, when it was done, it was done. I just don't understand why they can't finish things up here.

I don't like that education isn't valued. To be sure, I have a lot of friends who have advanced degrees, but the overall culture here doesn't seem to put education as a high priority. Newscasters don't use proper grammar, though last week I heard Piers Morgan say, "three a.m. in the morning," so I guess I'm rolling my eyes on a national level as well.

But what's really starting to get on my nerves is the "sin" aspect of Sin City.  I love sex as much as the next person--okay, probably much more--but sometimes I look at the giant sign on Bally's or get behind a taxi advertising a row of thonged butts and think, enough already.  I'm sick of looking at tits and asses.

Last Saturday night I was listening to a band in the showroom of a casino that "loves locals" with my girlfriend Donna. Sitting on a banquette sipping drinks before the show, we watched a guy, who I'm gonna say was about 65, come in with a woman on his arm in a super short and super low-cut dress with super high heels. I'd put her somewhere around 45, and she resembled the actress Andie MacDowell.

Well, they sat right next to us and almost immediately started in with the PDA.  Donna and I looked at each other like, really?  At first we thought they were a married couple on their date night, but after a while we thought, who the hell over the age of 16 makes out in public like that?  Any adults with that kind of passion would just get a friggin' room.  And they did. not. stop. for the entire hour and a half the band played, and obviously neither of them could give a shit about the music.  It was like a car wreck that you just had to watch. She was very attentive toward him, rubbing his leg and all, but when the guy would whisper in her ear, she'd glance off with a totally vacant look. "She's working," I said to Donna, who wasn't quite convinced until the guy left to go to the men's room and his babe immediately started pecking away on her cell phone. Probably setting up her 11:00.

Oh, just puke, ya know? They were disgusting. Normally I'd dismiss it with a wave of the hand and "That's Vegas for you," but I really wanted to throw my drink at them.

On February 21, two innocent people, a cab driver and his passenger, were killed on the Las Vegas Strip because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and found themselves in the middle of a war between two pimps. I have a lot a respect for cops--my son-in-law is a New York State trooper--and God knows the Las Vegas Metro police force has their work cut out for them, but for Christsake, I can't drive to work in the morning without seeing commuters pulled over every half mile. That's taking up a lot of manpower, no?

Mostly it's the highway patrol, but the Henderson cops are even worse. In my 27 years of driving in upstate New York, I was pulled over once. Once. Here, in less than 10 years? Five times. Every once in a while when I'm at a party, I'll do a little poll and ask people how many encounters they've had with the Henderson cops.  Nearly everyone has been ticketed at one time or another, and like me, these aren't people who've lived here their whole lives. Mike just had his day in court back in January, and actually won, which is rare.

My point is, do we really need a force of overzealous traffic cops when there should be much bigger fish to fry?  Like are all the rapists and child molesters locked up already?  All the cold case files solved?  I say crack down on prostitution, get these friggin' pimps out of here. Call me a prudish old fart, but I'm getting sick of the sleaziness.

And this is the worst. Longtime readers have heard me talk about my beloved 25-year-old BFF, Joe, whom I used to work with. He's 28 now, but I love that kid and he's one of the funniest people I know. Well, take a look at what happened to his ex-wife, as reported by Channel 8 news. Please, I beg of you to click this link to see our justice system in action, and be sure to check out the judge. Lovely. I'm disgusted.

Why are our public servants not serving the public? And where can we ever go to complain?  This is weight on the scales for why I'm starting to get a bad taste for this place. As wonderful as it is.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How's it going? Is 2013 okay so far or what?

You're not going to believe this. I have a job--a real job--that I actually like. I'm working in the field of corporate outplacement, supporting folks who've been "downsized" (there are a ton of euphemisms in this business) or are otherwise no longer in their positions.  I facilitate job search workshops, help people strengthen their resumes and write cover letters, and do whatever I can to help them through this period of transition. 

I started working in outplacement in 1987 for a very small company, when I was 30 years old.  Then for about five years in the 90s, after I got out of grad school, I did workshops on a per diem basis with a large, international firm. I've always loved this work; I'm able to blend my writing expertise and training skills, plus I get to help people. 

I haven't enjoyed working since I moved to Las Vegas.  That's an understatement. Hold on, I did like the gig I had during the summer of 2010 when I was back in Albany. I made some awesome friends there, and the work wasn't bad. But that was a New York company, and I swear the mentality is different back East. I've pretty much hated every job I've had in Las Vegas. Until now.  Hallelujah!!!

Even though I have a 23-mile commute, even though I have to dress up every day... I still love it. I love the work, I love our clients, I love my boss, I love that I have my own office, I love that I often have the entire office suite to myself, I love that I'm making good money, I love that I'm getting 3 weeks vacations right out of the gate (and 4 weeks next year!), I love that there's a lot of variety in my day, and I love I'm spending my day in a way that's meaningful.

It's about freakin' time.
My father, who was a bus driver, loved his job. Loved it! He always used to say, "I don't work; I bring other people to work." I feel similarly. "I don't work; I help other people find work." 

Weird, but I think I'm getting more done now that I'm working regular hours. There's a lot of truth to that saying, "If you want something done, ask a busy person." I'm starting to get in a groove (thank God February is over) and I feel like I'm going to be more productive than ever. I'm going to cut way back on the freelance work I'll accept and I'm raising my rates because... I can.  I just don't need the work as much anymore.  Funny how that works, huh?

Hey, when I was back in Albany when my friend Chuck died, my sister Lori said she was ready to have a New Year's Eve do-over party because so far 2013 was sucking big time. A lot of people thought it was a good idea; 2012 was awful and this year wasn't looking much better. Well, things are definitely looking up for me, and I hope they are for you, too.

So, how are things going?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Palm Springs: the PERFECT getaway when you've had enough of Las Vegas

Las Vegas is awesome, but if you live here or have been here a million times already and want to get away, do I have a great overnight or 2-day trip for you!

When Lori and the Sacca sisters--Donna and Gina--were here a couple of weeks ago, the four of us took a quick overnight trip to Palm Springs.  I've talked about Palm Springs before, and every time I go there, I like it even more.  It's a good 3-4 hours away, depending on your road skills, and it's a pretty boring drive, but the destination makes it all worth it.

If you go, you'd be crazy not to stay at the Riviera Palm Springs. Lori and I stayed there a few years ago when I attended a comedy conference, and at that time, the rooms were only so-so. Oh, but they've all been redone and they are gorgeous! I forgot to take a photo before all our stuff was all over the place; this is from their website, but it is exactly how our room looked.

Okay, well, we actually overlooked the parking lot, but who cares? As nice as the rooms are, you'll want to spend most of your time poolside.  Dig this--there are little fire pits all over the place, which is really cool at night, and the heated pools and hot tubs are open 24/7.

 No, wait.  Here's a better photo of the pool area:

The property is old-school swanky and the staff makes everyone feel like a movie star. We rolled in on a Sunday afternoon and with Gina's military discount, got our room for only $119, though resort fees brought it up to $165. Still, not bad considering the quality of the experience.

Palm Springs is a cool town with fantastic restaurants and great shopping that won't break your bank.  Hey, look at this funky Kleenex dispenser I picked up in one of the cute little shops.

Is that the coolest thing or what?  Seriously. And speaking of cool, there's no better way to escape the heat than the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, a thrilling 10-minute ride on a rotating tram car that brings you up nearly 6000 feet in elevation to 8516 feet above sea level. 

The view on the way up

And with that elevation comes a 30-degree drop in temperature. Weren't we just in our bathing suits?

Lori, me, Donna and Gina

We had SUCH a blast! And as luck would have it, there was a Rod Stewart tribute artist performing Sunday night in a little park downtown.  So much fun!

What a great way to celebrate 50 years of friendship!

If you go, I'd recommend that you do two nights. (Joshua Tree National Park is nearby, too, if you want to get in some hiking.) But if you have only an overnight, it's still worth the trip.  The problem is, you won't want to leave the pool at the Riviera.

Friday, March 1, 2013

So much for my regular posting schedule...

I am really sorry.  I thought for sure that once things calmed down after the girls went back to Albany on Tuesday, I'd be able to get back onto my usual posting schedule, starting yesterday.  Hahahaha!  Wednesday I started my first official day at my new job--I say "official" because I had been doing consulting for them and now I'm an actual full-time employee.  It's great and I love the work.  More about that some other time. 

Anyway, on Wednesday I'm sitting in my office (yes, my own office and not a cubicle!) and I'm like, I'm not feeling so hot. I was freezing all day and as the afternoon went on, I came to realize I must be coming down with something. Figures--that is totally my m.o.  Anytime I have a particularly stressed out period of life, I reward myself for getting through it by contracting something.  At least this time it wasn't Bell's Palsy, as fun as that was. No, I just crashed when I got home from work and slept right through to the next day. No time to write a post for Thursday morning.

I felt a lot better yesterday, but last night we had to go to a dinner party for a friend's birthday and didn't get home until after 9:00, at which point I crashed again.  We'll see how today goes, but at least I got up early enough this morning to dash this off to you.

I really do have a lot to tell you about our time in Palm Springs, and I have a great place for you to stay if you ever decide to go there.  Next time--I gotta hit the road and go to work.  No more telecommuting for me, but.... did I tell you I have my own office?