Thursday, May 30, 2013

Holy crap, is it Thursday?

Man, I've been crazy busy at work lately.  I mean like workaholic busy.  I'm talkin' 12-hour work days.  And I'm not even complaining.

SCREECHING HALT!!!  What??? Linda's not complaining?

I know, I can hardly believe it myself. Not just the fact that I'm not complaining, but that I'm not complaining about work.  And that I actually love it.  I love my job!  I don't mind working!

(Who is this imposter? Obviously, the real Linda is tied up in a closet somewhere.)

I would love to write more, but it's 10:30 at night and I have three resumes to tackle.  I actually have a lot to tell you, too.  But I gotta get back to it. In all honesty, I can't keep this pace up much longer. At some point, I'm gonna crash or come down with another case of Bell's Palsy, which would suck, as entertaining as that was.

Actually, I'm jamming right now because next Tuesday I'm off to Albany for a few days.  I can't wait!!!  And I can't wait to see this little angel.

I am gonna eat her UP!!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hiking recommendation and a GREAT movie recommendation!

Well, it's about damn time.  Mike and I had a really nice weekend together--our first weekend alone since early April and believe me, it would be an understatement to say that having no alone time has taken a toll on my sanity. We needed this.

Yesterday we did the Cathedral Rock hike up at Mount Charleston.  I cannot freakin' believe that I've lived in Las Vegas for 10 years and have never walked around up there.  Look how beautiful it is:

This was a perfect hike. It's just under 3 miles round trip and it's a steady climb all the way up. I had to stop a million times to catch my breath because my blood pressure has been through the roof lately, but that was okay.  It wasn't one of those hikes where you're like, when the HELL is this gonna be over?  No, this hike was challenging enough without putting me into whining territory. 

Here we are at the top.

Be sure to click on the picture to enlarge it and you'll see that for some reason my mouth looks all black.  I don't know if it's a shadow or what, but it's weird looking.  Same in this picture:

You can strike the sexiest hiking pose you want, but a weird black mouth negates it all.  What the hell?

On the way home we stopped in at The Resort on Mount Charleston and caught a set of a really good band with a tres sexy French woman lead singer. There's nothing like drinking beer in the sun while listening to good music. It was nice and cool up there and they had a yummy dark Lobotomy Bock on tap--a new beer to me, but you know I'll be looking for it next time I'm doing my weekly shopping at Lee's.

On the way home we stopped at Steak and Shake (like a Johnny Rocket's) at the South Point Casino and chowed down. The food was delicious, but I could have done without hearing the Bart Simpson-like burping emanating from the booth across from where we sat.  The first time I just rolled my eyes, but the second time I turned around, expecting to see an old man or a big fat tattooed guy but it was a young-ish tattooed woman. She probably could have kicked my ass, but I gave her "the look" anyway.  Believe me, I am an excellent burper myself and my kids and first husband could tell you stories of our pizza and Coke dinners every Friday night where I could pretty much rattle the windows, but for Christsake, in public?  That's just piggish.

Oh, I have a GREAT movie recommendation for you.  Mike and I watched God Bless America on Netflix Friday night and I swear I could watch it again right this minute.  It's about a middle aged guy and a teenage girl who, fed up with the stupidity of American culture, decide to shoot everyone who annoys them. It's like that Falling Down movie with Michael Douglas, but way more demented.  I can't watch a movie with violence, but this one is so over the top I laughed my head off.  Skip the ad and check out the trailer.

The lead actor is Joel Murray, Bill Murray's brother!  He's perfect.  This is a dark, pitch-black comedy written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwaith, who is far more talented than he gets credit for.  I've seen a couple of his other movies and they're awesome, too. 

Check out God Bless America.  If you have a sick sense of humor--or have ever wanted to go ballistic on people talking during a movie--you will love this.

Hope you're all enjoying your Memorial Day weekend.  Hats off to our vets!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

More b.s. (and the first word is bird)

In honor of Monday's bird shit post, yesterday my sister Lori texted me this photo she took:

 Well, even I wouldn't drive around with that crap on my window!

 Here's the actual text:

I didn't go to JazzFest in New Orleans this year, but Lori did:

That would freak me right out. You know me and birds. One of my goals is to live to be 102 and never be shat upon by a bird.  I told you before--if that ever happens, they'd have to put me through a Karen Silkwood shower and line up a series of therapists.

As you can tell from my sister's texts, she's a big fan of exclamation points.  I am, too. We're just naturally excited!!!  Sometimes when I'm sending emails at work I have to go back and take some out so my clients don't think I'm loony. I mean, they already know I am, but they don't need the reminder.  One time I signed off the end of an email with "XOXO" because in real life I really do love that client and it was just a reflex, but I caught myself and took it out and just sent the XOXO sentiment psychically.

Speaking of catching myself, you know what you have to be really careful about when texting?  If you somehow misspell "so much," the iPhone will autocorrect it to "douche." I've caught that twice so far and I shudder to think of how many times I've sent this out:

 Hey, it happens.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bacon and bird shit

Last week at the invitation of one of my clients, I attended a leadership breakfast at The Four Seasons Hotel next to Mandalay Bay on the Strip. As my Nana would say, it's a very ritzy place.  Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge was the featured speaker, and he gave me a lot to think about regarding the importance of U.S. diplomacy and how we're helping ourselves by helping others.

But as intellectual as this all sounds, you and I both know you can totally picture me pulling up to the valet in my dusty Scion with the Harley Davidson sticker on the back window.  And on the passenger's side of the front windshield? A stubborn glob of bird shit that I kept meaning to do something about, but every time I got into my car I never happened to have a bottle of Windex and a wad of paper towels.

I imagine the spanking clean valet guy in his pressed uniform threw up in his mouth a little when he noticed the old Altoid tins and disposable flip-flops from my last pedicure stuffed into the little compartment on the driver's door that's my idea of a litter bag.  Now I have something to tell my grandchildren, he probably thought, recalling his childhood when he'd sit on his Grandpa's lap and listen to his horror stories of working as a valet guy in the olden days when he'd occasionally have to park a Pinto or a Gremlin or a Pacer or a Corvair.

Anyway, breakfast was some kind of fancy egg concoction with a few slices of bacon on the side.  Bacon.  Just how do you eat bacon at the Four Seasons? Do you cut it up with your knife and fork?  Or do you nonchalantly break it into little pieces with your fingers and then pop a bit into your mouth when no one's looking?  I hope that's the right answer because that's what I did. I tried to look around to see how other people were handling the situation, but nobody seemed to be eating their bacon at all.  Probably because they, too, were waiting for the moment when no one was looking.

Oh, if only bacon were my biggest problem in life...

Anyway, on Saturday I took my friend Warren, the guy I met on a Southwest flight from Albany a couple of years ago, up to Red Rock Canyon.  If you come to Las Vegas and don't check out Red Rock, you're really depriving yourself.  Warren has visited Las Vegas many, many times but had never been off the Strip.  Needless to say, he was impressed by the beautiful scenery. 

That morning I got an oil change and at the end the guy said, "And we washed the outside of all your windows" and I was like, "Woo-hoo!" because of course I still hadn't dealt with the stubborn glob  on my windshield and I really didn't want Warren to have to view the gorgeous rocks through bird shit.

Well, the "Woo-hoo!" was totally premature  because the bird shit was still there.  I told you it was stubborn.  I went home to shower, the whole time thinking, I have to remember to clean off that bird shit before I pick up Warren at his hotel.  But once I got to the Tuscany and saw Warren walking toward my car, sure enough,THAT'S when I remembered. So I got out of the car right then and there, took a Kleenex, and rubbed the windshield like a magic genie until it came clean.

And now in that little compartment on the driver's door of my car, there are old Altoid tins and disposable flip-flops from my last pedicure and a Kleenex with remnants of bird shit.  How's that for a happy ending?


Monday, May 13, 2013

Great Mother's Day weekend!

Oh, man, it was good to get away this weekend.  As you can see, Mom and Stepdaddy are doing well.

Don't they look fantastic?  You'd never know her blouse is on backward, right?  It is!  When she showed me the tag in the front, I thought, oh Jesus, she's losing it.  But Mom said the girl in the Black & White store said a lot of people wear it backwards so I guess she's okay after all.

Boise is just a wonderful place--every time I go there I love it more and more. It's a city in the middle of the country. Within minutes you can go from seeing cattle grazing to walking around a funky downtown with cool shops and restaurants.  I know, I tell you this over and over but it's true.  It's a really nice place to live.

After I got in Friday night we headed straight to Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery in Eagle, just outside of Boise, and had dinner on the outside patio on the Boise River.  The weather was beautiful and in the summer it doesn't get dark up there until after nine o'clock; next month around the summer solstice it will still be bright at ten.

On Saturday Mom and I toured some houses on the Parade of Homes, went shopping at Ross (of course), and then we met the lady who runs the Boise office of our company for a drink at another cool little place with a patio.  I'd talked to her on the phone several times, but had never met her.  She was awesome.

And then on Sunday we lounged around the house until it was time to go out for dinner.

Super.  Here's another picture that will come up when someone Googles "middle age spread."  I've been doing pretty well weight-wise, keeping under 140, but if someone told me 10 years ago that I'd be happy to weigh 139.6, I'd be like get the hell out--that's what I weighed both times the day I gave birth.  Whatev, right?  Hey, look--I wore the same skirt to my brother's wedding in 2008.

And I thought I looked fat then and I was probably four pounds lighter.  Maybe five.

Anyway, usually when I go to Boise we try to take in a movie at The Flicks (independent movie house that sells mircobrews), but we didn't get a chance this time.  Mom said she hasn't seen anything good lately, but she watched No Strings Attached on Netflix twice because evidently Ashton Kutcher has a wonderful ass.  I swear to God.

I got her a Mother's Day card that said something like the nut doesn't fall far from the tree and it scares the crap out of me that it might be true.  But take a look at that first photo again--I sure wouldn't mind looking like that when I'm 78!

One last photo I must share.  Because you know how exciting it is to look at other people's grandchildren.

I miss them so much.  I have a flight booked for early next month--can't wait!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stand up straight, smile, and make a few thousand bucks in minutes

I'm always telling you to do two things as often as you can:

1.  Stand up straight.

2.  Smile.

Right?  Don't I always say that?  Well, look what I found in Dr. Oz's column in the newspaper the other day:
"Researchers in Japan measured the angle between the base of the neck and the middle of the back of independent-living 65-year-olds. How slouched a person's shoulders were predicted if he or she was still going to be self-sufficient five years later. Those who slouched the most were about three and a half times more likely to need assistance for everyday chores than those who stood the straightest."
Seriously, I cannot stress the importance of good posture enough. I tell my clients all the time to start working on their posture immediately because the way they carry themselves will affect how they come across in an interview. People with good posture project confidence and command authority, and that's exactly what will give you the edge, especially when it comes to salary negotiations.  Think of it this way:  Just by standing up straight and smiling, you may be able to line your pockets with a few thousand dollars.

Hey, last week I gave a little mini-session on negotiating salary at work.  Maybe you guys will find this info helpful, too.

Tips for Negotiating Salary

1.  The biggest factor in determining whether or not you get a higher salary is based solely on whether you ask.
  • The vast majority of companies (80%) are willing to negotiate salary, but the vast majority of employees never even try.
  • 18% of job seekers never negotiate their salaries, 44% negotiate occasionally, and only 37% of prospective employees will always become an active participant in determining their salary.
  • 13% of job seekers are comfortable negotiating.
  • Of those asking for a boost, 72% received it.
2.  DO NOT ask if the offer is negotiable.
  • This shifts the entire balance of power in their direction. They can simply say “No” and now the game is over.
  • The worst part is, once they say “No” they can’t even change their mind if they wanted to. You might go on to present the most compelling case in the world for giving you more money, but now they'd have to admit that they were wrong in the first place.
3.  Negotiate cash compensation first and offer a number that places your goal as a midpoint.
  • Once you determine the “wiggle room” for financial compensation—such as salary, bonus, incentives, pension and 401(k)—consider negotiating other non-monetary benefits such as insurance, vacation, educational assistance, professional membership dues, etc.
4.  Show how you can make an immediate impact on company performance.
5.  Don’t sound too canned or overly rehearsed.
6.  Remember that wages are merely an economic price for your economic output.
7.  Take the “How can we figure this out together?” approach.
  • Don’t convey the “I want you to make the following changes” attitude.
  • Instead, show that you’re both on the same side.
8.  Realize that many employers see candidates who negotiate as high performers.
9.  Don’t split hairs and don’t interrupt.
  • Recruiters and hiring managers grow annoyed with back and forth negotiating of minutia or with an attitude of arrogance or entitlement.
10.  Understand that this will actually be the easiest money you’ve ever made.
  • Just asking for more money may provide you an increase of 5-7%.
 And during all this, don't forget:

1. Stand up straight.
2.  Smile.

You can never hear it enough!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A little inspiration about attitude

All I will say (for now) about the home situation is I'm less bitchy this week than last week.  Nothing's changed except my attitude.

 It's kind of like... Have you ever had a doctor's appointment where they're making you wait and wait and you're getting more and more pissed off and all you want to do is kill somebody and your blood pressure is like a thousand over a million and you reach a point where you say to yourself, "I could walk out right now, motherfuckers" and just the fact that you can say, "Yeah, motherfuckers, I could walk out right now and never look back" and totally mean it... like you're not even going to find another doctor--no, fuck it--you may never see another doctor again in your life, you may give up doctors for good... just that realization makes you feel so empowered that you're not even pissed anymore and when the nurse finally calls your name and you get up from the crappy waiting room seat cushion like you're Clint Eastwood and you just know that nobody is gonna dare fuck with you unless they want this to be their last day on earth and just knowing that you're all Clint Eastwoody, with a drop or two of Ray Liotta and John McEnroe mixed in for good luck... just knowing that, just having that power, gets you through it all.

So it's true--attitude really does change everything!

So inspirational!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

This is me trying to be positive

Unless you've landed here for the first time, you know that even on a good day I'm secretly plotting the demise of anybody who annoys me. So you can imagine what I'm like now, right?  Well, this is me thinking happy thoughts.

Some Happy Thoughts to Lower My Blood Pressure

My trip to Boise on Mother's Day weekend.  Mom is always good for a laugh and Stepdaddy always stocks up on Moose Drool when he knows I'm coming to town. That's a beer, in case you didn't know.

The Galaxy Luxury Theater in Green Valley Recliners... craft beer... and they will kick your ass out of the theater if you dare to touch your cell phone during the movie. Mike and I saw The Place Beyond the Pines there last Friday night.  The movie is set in Schenectady, where I worked during the Summer of 2010, and it was also filmed there.  While it was cool to see some local sites, the film itself was horrible (and looooong).  But still, you can't beat watching even a crappy movie like this:

Kumare It's a real movie about a fake guru, the best I've seen in a long time. Absolutely fantastic and available on Netflix.  This one I can recommend, especially if you're into yoga and holistic shit.  You'll still like it even if you're not. Don't miss it.

My weight this morning.  I was 139.8. Still 5 pounds away from my goal, but I'm getting there.  Maybe a little stress is good for you after all.

The Rising.  This Bruce Springsteen tribute band is coming to the House of Blues on July 10. You know me and tribute bands.

My friend Warren's visit to Vegas.  I met Warren a year and a half ago on a Southwest flight from Albany to Vegas and we've been friends ever since.  We get together every time I go to Albany or when he comes here.  Looking forward to seeing my pal the week of May 13.  

The trip I have planned with my grandson, Connor.  I want to take that kid so many places this summer, but I'm leaning toward LA. My dear friend Nina is a tour guide there and I'm hoping she'll be able to show us around--she definitely knows all the hot spots and houses of the stars that will impress him.  Plus, what 14-year-old doesn't want to cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway with his granny?

Hazel's recent overnight crank call rampage.  I talked to my first ex, Chris, last night and he said he recently got a call at 2:43 a.m. from Courtney.  Now, when your phone rings at that hour you naturally suspect a situation involving flashing lights, but evidently our 3-year-old granddaughter just had a case of insomnia and swiped her mother's phone while her parents slept.  Seems a couple of Courtney's friends were also greeted with a "Hi! Hi!" in the middle of the night.  Oh, how precious!

Happy Hour today with a blogging buddy.  We get together every so often for sausage rolls at an Irish pub and it's always a fun time.  Aw, sausage rolls... I'll be back in the 140s tomorrow.  Damn.

Well, that's about all I have right now.  Thanks for listening.  It's always nice to know you're out there.