May 4 2009








Chapter 1: Childhood & Secrets.

I sent my nephew a text message. I simply wanted to tell him that the only reason I was driving to Las Vegas was to see him…

“Can you keep a secret?”


“Need 2 know i can trust u”

“I wont keep secrets from my parents”

What the…? I was bereft. Few things can render me speechless for 30 minutes. His declaration was one of them. I wanted to tell him that that’s why secrets were invented  — to keep information from your parents. But of course, I couldn’t. I thought long and hard about how to approach this best; without stepping on parental toes, yet still encouraging him to question authority. C’mon, he’s 12 and long overdue. I came up with this:

“Ask ur dad if its ok 2 share a secret with me”

“Ya as long as its not bad”

What does my brother actually think, that I’m going to tell him where I hide the bodies? Or where to score the purest coke?

“1. Would never ask u  a bad secret, 2. Ur the only reason Im coming to vegas.”

“O ok cool”

But I got there and we shared some secrets. Good secrets. And it was cool.


Just us gals.

Speaking of secrets & kids: On my last night in Vegas, I went to visit my friend (who I know from SF) and his wife. Their daughter is 8, and reminds me so much of myself at her age. My dad, like hers, was a bar man, and she is more comfortable in a bar than in a toy store. Game recognize game, as they say. Anyhow, she and I were sitting with our feet in the pool while the grownups were still at the dinner table. After spelling out for me the pros & cons of being an only child, she — completely unprovoked — told me about a really scary dream she’d recently had. And it gave me so much comfort! Because I’d had a near-identical dream at her age that has haunted me to this day. And when she told me her dream, I just felt all that fear and anxiety melt away as I told her (realizing it for the first time myself): “Sweetie, we all have that exact same dream. It’s only a dream.” And then she gave me a friendship ring with a coral-colored heart, to match my toenails. Because it is the perfect shade for summer.

Chapter 2: The upside of big brothers? Some really awesome toys!

Yes, that is a Confederate Flag. Don't look at me.

My brother. Yes, that is a Confederate Flag. Don't look at me.

This is what desert living is all about! One of my brothers (clearly not the father of my nephew) lives @ 25 miles west of Las Vegas, heading toward Pahrump. It’s a great drive. And most conveniently, he lives — literally — right next to a very popular biker bar. Fortunately for me (and him), they adore him there. So it’s nice to have a place to go, a stark alternative to the Vegas we all know and love and/or loathe.

But it’s all about the drive. The desert. The mountains. THE QUADS! Quadding: Lord is that fun. I got nothing to say, you just have to try it. It’s like motorcycling for dummies.

Chapter 3: Operation Nephew Corruption


My Little Rockstar.

I believe I’m making some progress here. Tiny steps. Even if not, I’m having a ball trying. Think he is too. Got him to put down the ping pong paddle, flip that table, and shoot some pool. Because let’s face it, billiards has the potential to open doors in life. Later that night, I convinced him that real rock stars don’t sing sitting on the sofa — you need to get up and feel the music (look at pic at left: eyes closed!). And he did! Of course we were just playing the American Idol video game, but it’s a start. (note to self: never, under any circumstance, attempt to sing The Spice Girls “Wannabe” ever again).

My little hustler.

My little hustler.

The next day, after tracking me down (I’d locked myself in the upstairs room to get away from the sound of All Sports All The Time on the 65″ screen to get some work done), he asked what I was working on. I told him about the blockbuster franchise movie treatment I’m writing & hope to get produced (a girl can dream, n’est-ce pas?). Trust me, it’s in the very early stages and a mess right now. He asked to read it… and he said he liked it! So he promised to be my date on the red carpet at the Oscars when the time comes, which I cannot wait for now. The kid’s on the fast track to handsome, and it’s gonna be so much fun to see all the little starlets throw themselves at his feet.

Chapter 4: Talking To Ghosts.

where I get my good looks

where I get my good looks

Not “ghost” in the spooky haunting or “I see dead people” senses. Just people, alive and dead, who affected me profoundly and are always with me, or at lease very close. That’s a ghost to me and I have a few, many in Vegas. My mom outranks all of them combined.

This is just a sign to me, but I'm sure he's a ghost to someone somewhere.

This is just a sign to me, but I'm sure he's a ghost to someone, somewhere.

Feb 4 2009

Born Free

How cute are we together.

Good times on the road.

Well, I did it. I released the mancub from captivity. It hurt a little. But it was time. And it was a fun — and mother of God was it long — drive. But that’s what you get when you borrow a nearly 20 year-old car that feels like it’s going to explode if you go above 65. With no CD player or satellite radio. Oh, and no AC, which is normally not a problem in February. But this is the Soutwest, and these are times of global warming… I’m sorry, I meant to say Climate Change. And even though I was in the best of company, I WAS DYING. We were both dying. It was the longest motherfucking drive ever. Ever.

But an important journey it was. For the thought of him running free in his natural habitat, the impossibly beautiful desert of the southwest, fills my heart and my head with indescribable joy. And titillation. There goes one tough act to follow.

Mainly because I love the desert of the southwest so much. It’s also where I grew up (though in a neighboring state). No place feels more holy to me that the desert.

Nonetheless, this gives me an excellent excuse to visit the desert more often, and a cozy place to stay while I’m there. I’m liking this new arrangement already.

Eagerly filling my tank. I don't even have to ask him to pump.

Filling my tank.

I should really aim to find a new mancub with roots somewhere really exotic, someplace I’ve always wanted to visit. A destination location. So that next time I set him free… well, you get the picture. Venice. Barcelona. Hawaii (been there, but I’ll go again).

Door close, window open. Door close, window open.

Sep 17 2008

That there traveler looks an awful lot like me.

I had a conversation recently with a complete stranger. Some of my favorite conversations are with complete strangers. You’re starting with a clean slate and can be the you that you want to be — for as long as you’re able to keep up the act. Admit it, you do it too. Not lying, no not at all. Just omitting all the whiney crap with which we pepper our conversations with friends.

Back to the conversation: The subject was travel, for the most part. Drive vs. fly; solo vs. others, 5-star vs. backpacking. etc. etc. etc. And the fact of the matter is, we decided, travel is travel. It’s all good, it’s all relative.

And then he said, “it’s as though you shed some of the identities you’ve taken on with each step away from home, the world seems sharper and vivid.” And long after the conversation ended, I couldn’t stop thinking about what he said.

Why do our identities bring us down so much that the world improves when we shed them? Shouldn’t these identities — since the are after all a part of us — enhance our daily experience here (and during travel) that much more, giving us an enriched perspective?  It’s as if we send someone else out there, the part of ourselves we like, the part that can relax, “just be myself”. So are we not ourselves at home? Sure there’s work, family, obligations, etc. But that is all part of one’s “self”. I mean, I get that travel is freeing and liberating and fantasy-filled and not a realistic existence for which most of us could trade in our “real lives”. But it’s that state of mind, that here-and-now, that we can keep.

Then why don’t we? Why not make that one of our many identities, in addition to offspring, spouse, parent, employee, home decorator, carpooler, choc-o-holic, sex-goddess, etc.?  Why not approach every step away from our front door as an adventure, a journey, a trip in and of itself? Actually, it is when you think about it. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You know what will probably happen — probably what happened yesterday. And the day before. Wake, shower, coffee, drive to work, banter with colleagues, work, bathroom, coffee, email, work lunch masturbate etc etc etc blah blah blah.

But you don’t know for certain; this may be the day your CPR skills are put to the test when you pull over to help an accident victim. Or the day when you find a complete stranger at the gas station is so intriguing that you make up some lame excuse to be “…going to the mall too! Gee, what a coincidence!” Or any number of scenarios that definitely did not happen yesterday. I think it’s called living in the present. I think we’re supposed to do that while planning for the future and learning from the past. Something like that.

Back to travel & the whole identity thing. I think about this a lot lately because as you know (if you’ve read any of this blog before), I blew up my life as I knew it over a year ago. And in the explosion, I lost some identities. Your dad dies: you’re no longer a daughter. You and your husband part: you’re no longer a wife. You leave your job: you’re no longer a bartender. You put your filmmaking on hiatus: you’re no longer a filmmaker (and no longer call that community your own — and that was my community). All I know: I’m a writer. I’m a yogi. I’m an athlete. I like my wine and I love to cook and there’s a few more things that are a little personal that I’ll just keep to myself. I want to feel alive, even if it hurts sometimes. And these days, I throw stuff at the walls. A lot of stuff. See what sticks. See what my new Identity is going to entail. It’s interesting to say the least.

Which is why I like traveling. I don’t just like it; I feel most calm,  most “myself” then: Because people may ask out of curiosity “what do you do?”, which is shorthand for “what do you do when you’re not standing in that spot talking to me for the first time?” But they don’t really care. Think about it. When you’re at home, if you go to a party or a bar or meet a friend of a friend, that’s the inevitable question. And one I honestly don’t know how to answer right now. But when you meet someone when you’re traveling, no one cares about what you do, your past, your plans when the trip’s over. It’s all right here. It’s all right now. We’re interested in the person before us at that moment. That moment is all that matters. Sure, it could change our futures. Don’t bet on it, but you never know.

The hell with all this existential crap. I want to talk about travel some more. The above-mentioned stranger asked me where I’d like to go next. Here’s what I came up with off the top of my head.

1. Copenhagen (at Christmas): Saw it on a billboard when I was living in London and I fell in love. Hans Christian Anderson stuff.

2. Barcelona: Spaniards are HOT! Plus it was my daddy’s favorite country when he lived in Europe for 6 months after WWII. He said the people in Spain were the nicest. Plus, Spaniards are HOT!

3. Greek Isles: I did the National Geographic mainlands-in-the-off-season-tracking-down-the-village-where-my-grandparents-were-from thing. Now I want the sexy beach experience. And Greek food… oh, the food.

4. Venice: Just look at it, that’s why.

5. Tokyo: Never been anywhere in Asia. Tokyo just seems to have this incredible, one-of-a-kind energy. And the surrounding countryside.

6. Safari in Africa: I imagine that would be like stepping back in time. Plus then I’d get to wear a cute little safari outfit.

7. Desert of Arizona and Utah. Actually, I’ve already been to both. I grew up in Vegas and the only redeeming quality of Vegas in my opinion is the surrounding desert. That said, it pales in comparison to the deserts of Arizona and Utah. I don’t know if I believe in God, but I do believe in the desert.