Monday, April 29, 2013

Oh, crap... the irony

My friend Chuck, who passed away on January 25, came to me in a dream last night.  It's such a gift when someone who's passed visits you in a dream.  Ordinarily I'd think that, anyway.  In this dream, I was trying to take a dump and Chuck was standing at the door. (I can imagine the psychological implications behind that one.) Fortunately, I "felt the urge" only my dream--you know how you hear about people who piss the bed because they dreamed there were in the bathroom? Well, thank God that didn't happen!

Speaking of... Shit has been hitting the fan in my house lately. I can't go into detail, only that I have no use for the whole "teenage wigger" culture and everything that goes with it (use your imagination).  Full-time now and there's no end in sight. I've said here before that the worst part of the stepparent role is you have no authority, but let me tell you, there's no fucking way I'm living in a house with rap music, so at least that has stopped. But your pal here in Las Vegas is miserable these days, and I can't even frame it in a way where hey, at least it's funny material for my comedy. Trust me, there's nothing funny about it.  Everything I see disgusts me.

So happy Monday, huh?  Actually, work is a real bright spot (never thought I'd be writing that!).  In fact, I told my boss if he put a cot in my office, I'd probably never leave.  Oh, how life has its twists and turns.

Funny that my last post was, "There is always joy. Always. Somewhere." Not seeing it right now.

Monday, April 22, 2013

There is joy. Always. Somewhere.

Last Friday night I was so full of joy, I could have literally burst. Literally.  Like my guts might have splattered all over walls of the Dallas Events Center in the Texas Station casino.

Why, you ask?  What made me beam brighter than the Luxor light?  Just a little tribute band called Night Fever. A Bee Gees tribute band. I know! Just when you thought, "Could Linda get any cooler?"

You know me and tribute bands--I love them. I think I've seen three different Bruce Springsteen tributes, a few U2, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young... hell, I even dragged Mom and Stepdaddy to a Pink Floyd tribute band in Boise.  Call me queer, but I love live music and how often do you get to hear "Thunder Road" or "Cinnamon Girl" live? Or any song from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack?

Friday night I was accompanied by my pal Lisa Gioia Acres, and minutes before show time, Lisa being Lisa somehow managed to get us seats up in the second row, which was awesome. Once the band came on, though, I realized the hearing in my right ear, the one closest to the speaker, might seriously be compromised. Since it had already withstood decades of abuse, perhaps most notably from a series of Sonic Youth shows in the late 90s, I decided to rip off a piece of dirty old Kleenex from my pocketbook and wad it up and stick it in my ear.  Attractive. Good thing I'm growing out my hair these days.

Anyway, the show was fantastic! The Bee Gees had a million hits and the very capable band played them all; there was only one song I didn't recognize.  A happy surprise:  I hadn't realized that they wrote "Islands in the Stream," the monster recorded by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.  I will kick your ass if you tell anyone, but I freakin' love that song. Love. It.

Anyway, at one point between songs Lisa said something in my ear like, "So which guy in the band would you pick for yourself?" and I was like, "Wow, the rhythm guitar player. How did you know I was playing that game in my head?" If there was any low point of the night (other than paying eight bucks for a Corona), it was a memory I had of being bored to death during a meeting at one of my old jobs and playing the "If somebody had a gun to your head and you HAD to have sex with one of these guys" game.  I looked around the conference table and thought, "Shoot!"   

But we're in happier times now.  Here's a You Tube video someone posted of the Night Fever band from a performance last year (thank you!).  You can see they are awesome.

Every once in a while during the show I'd look back at the crowd and everyone had the same grin as Lisa and I as we all chair-danced in our seats. The scene was just so joyful! The highlight was toward the end when the band played "You Should Be Dancing."  Everybody got up and boogied, and I mean just going nuts, and keep in mind that the average age in the place was about 110. It was so cool. There was a heavy set guy dancing to the right of the stage and let me tell you, he had some moves. Like you know he was the man on the dance floor three and a half decades ago, and probably even now when he goes to a wedding.  Lisa and I were both checking him out and smiling as we danced like it was 1977, both of us so freakin' happy, and at that moment Chuck's death, the tragedies in Boston and Texas, my dear friend's recent cancer diagnosis, and another dear friend who lost his mother earlier that day...  through all that sorrow... there was joy.

There was JOY!!!  All because people decided to share their talents. Am I starting to sound like a broken record? Maybe some day there will be a Linda Lou tribute artist. Then I will know I have made it!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I miss Albany so much, BUT...

It's been almost three months since my friend Chuck's been gone (hard to believe), and with Hazel's birthday yesterday, I especially miss being with my family and friends in Albany.  I would have moved back there years ago if it weren't for the stinkin' weather. 

Oh, the weather!  I mean, here I am poolside last Saturday morning...

... and here's my daughter, Courtney, poolside in Albany.

Yeah. I think I know why I love Las Vegas.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Look who's 3!

I know, how bored must you be to actually read about someone else's grandchild, but...

Can you believe Hazel, formerly known as The Most Serious Baby on Earth, is 3 years old today? Oh, humor me!  I have to share these pics I stole from Courtney's Facebook page.

She's getting so tall!  But that's no surprise--her parents are 5'10" and 6'2" or so.

This one is my favorite. Look at that sweet little face in the mirror.

I miss her so much, I could fly back to Albany right this instant.

Happy Birthday, my precious girl!  (And thanks to all of you for indulging me.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

A fantastic performance -- thank you, Arlo!

Last Thursday night Mike and I had the pleasure, and I mean pleasure, of seeing Arlo Guthrie perform in Reynolds Hall at the beautiful Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas.

Waiting for the show to begin

I've always been a fan. I remember seeing Alice's Restaurant in the theater when I was barely old enough to go to the movies with a friend and no chaperone.  I loved it. When I was a kid I wished I'd been born several years earlier so I could be a part of the whole peace and love hippie scene.  (Of course, now I'm just as happy that I was born in 1957, not 1947.) I'm always thrilled when in conversation I make a reference to the Group W bench and someone actually understands what I'm talking about.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is the one where Arlo visits his father, Woody Guthrie, in the hospital. Pete Seeger serenades the folk hero, who is confined to bed and unable to talk or move due to Huntington's disease. (Woody Guthrie is played by Joseph Boley and Arlo's mother, Marjorie Guthrie is played by Sylvia Davis.)  Take a look here. Sitting through the ad in the beginning is worth it.

I'd seen Arlo perform a couple of times before.   Chris (my first husband) and I took our son Christopher to his first concert--Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.. Christopher was about 5 years old, so it had to have been 1983. I remember he wore a little denim jacket and fell asleep before the show was over.  Then several years later Chris and I saw Arlo again with his band, Shenendoah.

He was a wonderful performer back then and has gotten even better over the years.  His show last Thursday night was perfection; I could have listened to his music and his storytelling all night.  

Arlo today

Oh, his storytelling!  What a gift.  His tales were an entertaining musical history lesson that gave us a privileged glimpse into life as the son of a folk icon. I loved hearing that Woody would cut out newspaper articles that gave him inspiration for songs and later remarked to Mike that I'd just gotten the same advice in a comedy workshop as a means of finding inspiration for jokes.

Arlo talked about the earlier segment of the tour when he got to perform with his children and grandchildren--14 of them on stage at once, I believe he said. He relayed a couple of sweet stories about his wife that pulled at my heart. I'd read that she'd passed away in October; Arlo broke the news to the uninformed by saying, "We celebrated our forty-third anniversary last fall. She was sick and didn't live much past then..." and simply continued on. You kind of had to pay attention to catch it; I thought it was a brilliant way to weave in that sad fact.

Lucky in love

As I sat there, I thought of what it must be like to be with someone for 43 years, enjoying a bunch of children and grandchildren together and entertaining people together throughout the country.  As blessed as my life is, that is something I'll probably never have--over four decades with someone. But I consider myself to be extremely lucky that Chris and I always been on such good terms and that I get to see him and our children play music together now and then.  One of the highlights of my life was last summer when I got to headline on the same stage with the Blackwell Sinners.

Blackwell Sinners and friends

A good concert gives you plenty to think about and stays with you long after the performance is over. Man, I'm so glad we decided to go see Arlo. And one of the thoughts that's been going through my mind is, I'm so glad that he's sharing his talent. are you sharing yours?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bastard Husband: A Love Story -- FREE this weekend! (and other plugs)

That's right--go download my book, Bastard Husband: A Love Story for free today and tomorrow.  You wouldn't believe how these free promotions translate into real sales for me, and every download really helps!  I have yet to figure out how that crazy Amazon algorithm works; all I know is that when you hit it the right way, sales happen. So help me out and spread the word! 

Other things happening... Tonight I hit the stage at Roadrunner's on West Flamingo and 215. Can't make it because you're in a different state or country?  The show will be streaming live on The Rocking Comedy Show, so tune in!  Show starts at 9:00 (and I hope it really does...) I was a guest on their podcast on April 9; if you scroll down the page, you can listen to the archives.  I'm only about an hour into the show.

Tomorrow night I'll be doing a set at LJ's at 1243 East Sahara. That's an early show--starts at 8:00, which is good because it's a school night and I need my beauty sleep.

And then on Thursday night, I'll be in the all-female lineup at Scoundrel's Pub at 4360 South Decatur. That starts around 9:30, and I've asked to go up first because it's a school night and I need my beauty sleep.

It's good that I'm getting back to comedy--it's been almost two months since I've been on stage and I have a couple of big things coming up in the next two months that I have to be sharp for.  On May 5, I'll be speaking to about 60 women at a Hadassah luncheon (you know me...) and in early June (date TBD) I'll be at the exclusive Cube Theater in a show that will be professionally taped, so I should be able to get some decent footage to share.

Oh, it looks like the archive is up from the in-studio guest spot I did on the Sex and Money show on KLAV.  Click here to listen and scroll down to the April 8 broadcast.

My blogging schedule has sucked lately--you can see why. I apologize about all the self-promotion today.  I'm actually working on a meaningful post, so stay tuned.

 But in the meantime, go download my book!  (Pleeeeeeze!)


Monday, April 8, 2013

My brilliant invention and share your talents with the world!

Earlier today I was an in-studio guest on the Sex and Money radio show on KLAV 1230AM here in Las Vegas with Darrell Allen Jansen "Big Al" and Len Connell.  I had great fun!  I've always loved radio. Back in 1976 as an undergrad at SUNY Plattsburgh, I was one of the first female DJs on WPLT. While in grad school in the early 90s I had my own show on WRPI, which I did for about 3 years. Unfortunately, I'm too pretty for radio and too old for HDTV.


As I'm writing this, the show hasn't been archived, but I'm sure it will be soon.  If you want to listen, click here and scroll down.

"Big Al," me, and Len

Notice I'm wearing a sweater; it was freezing in Las Vegas today.  And rainy. And windy. Yet for some reason, my hair doesn't look nearly as crap-tastic as it should have, considering what the wind does to my fragile wisps of locks. Miracle.

Anyway, I have a confession and a fashion tip in one. (Sorry, guys, there's nothing in this for you other than a glimpse into the female psyche.)  Okay, ya see that button on my sweater?  It's not a button; this is one of those sweaters that just hangs open in the front. But the purple shirt I'm wearing was a little tight, meaning my rolls of gut flab were hanging out despite all the hours I've put in at the gym this past month. So being the genius that I am, and in consideration to everyone I came in contact with today, I tacked the front of the sweater together with... not a safety pin, but... a post earring. That's right--a fat gut-hiding earring.  Does it work?  Well, who's the thinnest looking person in the photo above?  Huh?


I swear to God, I am so much smarter than I look.

Hey, thanks for all the sweet comments on my last post. They're all very much appreciated, but please know I certainly wasn't fishing for "Oh, Linda, you're so wonderful" compliments. The truth is, I need to make a deposit in the karma bank every now and then. You know, to make up for all the swearing and judgmental eye rolling.

I do believe it's important to share your talents with the world; other people benefit when you do that. Barbara's son Keven and maybe a thousand other folks have benefited from the resumes I've written.  I've heard from so many women (and men) who wrote to tell me that my book inspired them to be more proactive in their own lives. When I speak to groups or do stand-up, I like to think that the audience is entertained by my message or inane observations.  I like to think that when I lead workshops, I motivate my clients to go out there and get the best job they possibly can, because they deserve it.

Sharing your talents may not be easy. I didn't just wake up one day and decide to write resumes; I went to grad school to learn technical writing. Even with a solid writing background, it took a lot of hard work to write a book, especially a good one. Until relatively recently, doing stand-up scared the crap out of me.  Any type of public speaking takes countless hours of practice.

So sharing your gifts may require a huge time investment and you may have to go out of your comfort zone.  Weh, weh.  Do it anyway.  By sharing your talents, you have the opportunity to make the world a better place, in your own unique way.  Hey, if I didn't share my amazing earring-button invention, you'd have to hold in your stomach all day.

You're welcome.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The most important resume I've ever written

A couple of weeks ago I posted about how lovely it was to have one of my dear readers and her husband come to our house for dinner during their visit to Las Vegas. I have been lucky enough to have met quite a few readers in person since I started this blog back in July 2008. Without a doubt, my greatest joy in blogging has been being able to see the people who've read my crap year after year in the flesh. I have made friends I hope to have for the rest of my life.

There are still so many I've yet to meet. At the top of my list is my friend Barbara in southern California. For years now, we've been following each other's lives through our blogs and Facebook friendship. Her most recent blog is Surrendering Into Serenity, a chronicle of her life as the mother of a 20-something son named Keven who has had one hell of a struggle with heroin addiction.  

Barbara and I are about the same age--I'm a few years older--and we're both very cool (if I do say so myself), classic rock loving chicks.  But whereas I pretty much flit through life and the most I have to bitch about is the sound of Black Ops emanating from my living room, Barbara's has to deal with her son being in jail or at death's door in ICU.

Fortunately Keven has been doing well for months now.  But when you love--or are in love with--someone struggling with addiction, you know you can never really trust your happiness. You just enjoy those moments that are drama free and hope they last. Fingers crossed.

Like all of Barbara's followers, I've been sending positive energy to her and Keven for years, wishing I could do more. A couple of weeks ago, I got my wish.

Barbara sent me an email.  "I know you're busy... I hate to ask...  I'm, I'm asking, if you can please give us some advice on how to write a resume...  Is there any way to make it sound like he's got something to offer?"

Advice on how to write a resume? Um, no. Let me write it. I'm not that freakin' busy.

And so I talked to Keven one day during my lunch, asking him a million questions about his background--what's he's done, what he can do, what he wants to do.  He was sweet and funny. An hour later he had a resume. Barbara wrote to tell me she cried when she saw it.

Within a week or so, Barbara put up a Facebook post announcing, "KEVEN GOT THE JOB! HIS FIRST INTERVIEW EVER AND HE GOT THE JOB!!!!"  Now I was the one crying.  I've heard the expression "It takes a villiage" a million times, but I think this is the first I've actually understood what it meant in the context of my own life. 

Keven's been working about a week now and it's been tough for him, but he's gaining experience. The kid needs a win. I know you're all pulling for him, too, because if he wins, the whole village wins.