Friday, December 4, 2020

 

On Me

Many years ago, I had the privilege and pleasure of working with some of the most talented, ice skating professionals in the world. It was truly an honor. Plus, it was a lot of fun. I worked with notables such as Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia, Robin Cousins, Viktor Petrenko, Oksana Bauil, and Linda Fratianne.  I was directing and choreographing ice skating tours and shows. In some ways, I was the industry joke because I had never ice skated a day in my life…But as my late friend and Canadian champion Brian Pockar said to me, “ Don’t worry about whether you ever ice skated or not…I skate well enough for both of us. Just keep choreographing.”

This was the Nancy Kerrigan-Tanya Harding time. Big stories, big press, lots of ice shows.

During this time, one of the husbands of one of the champions came to see me in Las Vegas to talk about putting an ice show in one of the casinos. He was pompous and arrogant, and his ego entered the room before he did, but he was not a bad guy. He brought with him one of his partners from Palm Springs. A thin sundried tomato looking gentlemen who obviously played a lot of golf and had the suntan to prove it. He was equally as supercilious and dismissive. They both acted as though their entrance into a room demanded a celebratory response for those awaiting them.  Seeing and feeling the assemblage of pomposity stacked against me, I brought along my secret weapon; my friend Neil.

 Neil’s resume reads like a who’s who in the entertainment world. He’s been the entertainment director and VP of entertainment for properties all over the US. I figured I’d stack the deck. Plus, he’s a great guy and could probably get their attention. Wrong. They were so self-consumed that they never asked him any questions…just assumed they knew everything. Neil and I tried to speak to them about how different the Las Vegas market was. Having an Olympic champion in a show in Vegas was not a big enough draw to sustain eight shows a week; fifty-two weeks a year. The show needed lots of pops and whistles to compete in this market at that time.

Neil and I, and my terrific pal Phil, who had done the initial introduction, spent lots of time with these know-it-all guys, working through creative concepts and introducing them to a number of hotel directors who might be interested in their project.

Original Creative ideas don’t come along that often, so when they do, you hold them near and dear to your heart. I had one of those concepts on this project. It doesn’t happen that often, so I felt really good showing them the concept. The Puffed Ones seemed not to understand the importance of a good solid creative concept. To say they were dismissive would be a kind way of phrasing it.  My pals Neil and Phil liked the concept, and their approval meant the world to me.

I kept thinking that I wasn’t giving the Puff Pair the correct overview of the Las Vegas show scene. They didn’t seem to be connecting to how competitive the show market was in Las Vegas, and that it would take more than a couple of famous ice skaters to keep people buying tickets. There would have to be some theater spectacle.

Knowing this, I decided to spend a shit-load of money and take everyone to see “O” the exquisite Cirque du Soleil show. I figured that Puffy Plus One could see the competition and have an AHA moment of how important the creative aspects of the show would need to be. So off we went; moi, my pal Phil and the two puffed pastries.

To say that the two puffed pastries did not like the show would be accurate. They didn’t marvel at the show, like most do.  Prior to the Covid epidemic; “O” was the most sought after show in Las Vegas, with sold out tickets months in advance. It is extraordinary theater. Theater at its best.

Not for Puffy 1 and Puffy 2. They did not see the value of the show nor understand that this show would be one of their competitors. Holy Fu--in Moly.

Obviously this wasn’t going to work, but we gave it our all.  

On their last night in town, we all went to dinner. To say I felt marginalized would be an understatement. But I have learned to show up in life...no matter what, no matter what.

Sooooooooooooooo there we are at dinner. Puffy 1 (apparently deciding to come off the throne) starts asking me about my life. How long have you lived in Vegas?? Are you married? Blah, Blah, Blah. Somehow I have become a person to him, or he knows that he is required to enact that theme. Probably something his mother taught him…act like you give a shit…might be helpful in your life.

So he then he turns to me after asking about my husband and says, “Where did you guys meet?” I explain that we were introduced by mutual friends and in my relentless effort to connect…said laughingly, “My husband thought I was a tall blonde.” (I’m actually a short person with very very short black hair and this has always been a running joke with my husband and me.)  My husband usually refers to me as a tall blonde.

Dripping with disdain Puff 1 says, “Well what was HE ON? “

So without missing a beat I looked at him smilingly and said, “Me.”

“That’s good,” he says.

“I know,” I said.

BAM!!!!!

And in one moment, it happened. The very thing that most of wish for in an uncomfortable situation…The great comeback.

 

 

Monday, October 26, 2020

 

Sober Stories

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve blogged. Time to begin again.

I’m calling these Sober Stories

Enjoy.

 

Story 1

The Big Oy Vey

 

My parents, two sisters, and brother were holocaust survivors. I was the only child born in the US after the war. Their story is extraordinary and heart-breaking and heroic, and I can only tell you in general terms what happened to them. I would have more details if I were able to read my sister’s book, “Portrait of a Holocaust Child-Memories and Reflections.” But alas, although I was not alive during their horrific ordeal, I cannot go to any holocaust museums, nor read any books, nor look at documentaries on the holocaust lest I start writhing on the floor dribbling.

Their experience, however, somehow made its way into my DNA.

In my three decades of recovery from life, drugs, and alcohol, I’ve received the great gift of meeting extraordinary humans along the journey of life who have illuminated my path. I feel compelled to share their wisdom with you. I call these stories …sober stories.

This one is called: The Big OY VEY

When I was about 8 years sober, I was sitting at an AA meeting waiting for the speaker to begin sharing, “what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now.” This is the usual format of a speaker meeting in AA. I was waiting to be inspired…waiting to hear something that would alter my thinking and therefore hopefully diminish some of the depression, anxiety, and emotional pain of living life on life’s term without self-medicating. In other words…waiting to hear something that would give me relief. That’s why I self-medicated. I’m looking for relief. Relief from my FEELINGS. My obsessive, critical, judgmental, diffident, self-mocking FEELINGS. The FEELINGS that says, “you are not worthy, you are stupid, you didn’t finish college, you are less than, you will never be confident, you will never be good enough and probably nobody really loves you (that’s always the icing on the cake isn’t it?)   

Back to my story…so I’m waiting to hear the speaker.

She spoke.

It was worth the wait. She was marvelous…stunning, articulate, warm, intelligent, and exceedingly honest. She did not look to me like the person she was describing. She looked nothing like what she described as her life…literally leaving her small children on a pier in California with no adult supervision and taking off to Hawaii in a drunken stupor.

And then she dropped the bomb.

“I have learned how to lean into the pain.”

Mic drop.

Whattttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt???????????????????????

 No self-medicating, no delusion, no deflection, no retreat just “bring it on.” Are you fu---ing kidding me?

Whoa!!!!!!!!! Do you mean no more running away? No more self-deceit? No more self bullshit? No more deflecting by getting another hobby; gardening, cooking, cleaning, facebooking, instagraming, twittering, tiktoking,  letter writing, planting, painting, skipping, hiking, crocheting  (I am beginning to sound like the UPS commercial) I WILL DO ANYTHING EXCEPT FEEL. (or going to the gym)

Oh nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Oy Vey.

Her theory is: cry, scream, rant, rave, writhe and FEEL THE PAIN.  

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Don’t go around it?? Don’t bury it?

 Go through it?? What are you new?

The big oy vey.

 Lean into it. Feel it until it’s over. Stop Fighting. Pay the price of pain then get up and go again. OH MY.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

And then I tried it. Not without a therapist, a shitload of meetings, and twelve dozen donuts. But, I did it. Again and again and again and again and again.

Not pretty.

And I do that now. Not gracefully. Not without an initial pushback. But I do it. Because I’m pretty much willing to pay any price to stay sober and fight for my mental health.

And it was worth it. I’m alive.

And in this process I became a hero instead of a victim.

How utterly simple.

How utterly complex.

How utterly divine.

Like love.

Utterly simple

Utterly complex

Utterly divine.

Oy vey.

 

 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dilemma of the Drunk

There has so much written about celebrity, drunkenness, and getting sober....I'm finding it seriously interesting. Everyone has an opinion. People arguing about whether AA works, with so many other myriad rehabilitation techniques. Charlie Sheen was quoted as saying, "AA is one size fits all and that may not work for everyone."
Many experts have spoken, medical professionals, mental-health professionals, and investigative journalists who have interviewed and reported their interpretations of what this despicable illness has done to individuals, families, and communities.
No one can dispute their findings or their accuracy.

Everyone has a valid point and yet.........the one area that seems to be never spoken of is why is it so difficult to get and stay sober? I mean what is all the fuss about really? Wouldn't celebrities want to be sober if they could be? Well let me ask you the reader a question:
This is a multiple choice question; either/or
1) would you rather drink and feel fabulous.......no emotional struggling, no anxiety, a sense of freedom and abandonment, no feelings of inferiority or inadequacy or would you rather stay sober and feel overwhelming depression, feelings of inadequacies, and anxiety to the point of being completely catatonic and not being able to get off the couch? which would you choose?
Well of -course if there weren't horrific repercussions from drinking you would definitely choose drinking to take away all your cares and woes...everyone would. and most people do..a couple of drinks at night to relax and let the worries of the day fall away. Well supposing you weren't able to do that... supposing you could never ever take the edge off...but had to sit with the frustrations, and injustices of life every single waking moment without a edge taker off-er. Well kids that's what getting sober is all about. So why is there such surprise when people don't choose that?

These celebrities have an inalienable right to drink and die .....and they have the money and power to get enough caretakers around them to keep it going. Let them. It's their life.  They can live their life however they want. Will they eventually lose their looks, their minds,, their friends, their families? Well of-course they will. But that is not our business. Hopefully they will not drive over a 5 year old child and kill him/her.
As my friend Nancy used to say. "Everyone gets sober ...some people do it in life and some people do it in death, but everyone gets sober.

I chose sober.............screaming and thrashing all the way.
Has it been terrific? Sometimes, and  sometimes so emotionally and painfully horrifying that checking out seemed like a better option. What it has been is REAL...terrifyingly real. And after a lot of years...kinda fabulous. At some point the navel gazing ceases and the narcissism disintegrates and "growing up happens."
Oh cool...Growing up. Yup growing up. That's when you realize that you are not overly sensitive but actually just immature. That growing up.

So if you are riding the fence about sober...Go for it. But make sure to grab your ass..cause you are going for a hell of a ride.




Monday, August 26, 2013

Dumb Days

 I've got a girlfriend that says that one of the best things in life to do for your own growth and development is to take a DUMB DAY. What is a dumb day you ask?

Well....a dumb day is a day that you do not try to solve any of your life's problems ...real or imagined.
You do not call the bank, accountant, or HMO provider. You do not go on a diet, join a gym, or attempt the New York Times crossword puzzle. You do not attend the new Anthony Robbins seminar entitled, "Mimicking the successful paradigm of your financial consultant." You do not confront your boyfriend/girlfriend/ husband/wife/ significant other/not so significant other, with any of your frustrations, disappointments, or bad root canal stories. Basically you do not sign up or join, nor do you commit to, anyone or anything. If your business partner wants to meet for cocktails and sardine appetizers the answer is, "NO." If your landlord wants to discuss the new airline runway destined to go through your living room the answer is, "NO." If you have a delivery package from Neiman Marcus or Hattie's Hot Tubs waiting at the post office ...you do not pick it up. If there is a shoe sale at Nordstroms ...(Well that is obviously not a good example...)
Continuing on..
If your friend can get you into a new self-help course entitled, "Miraculous Lives," for an all time low price of $99.95 you say, "NO." Everything is NO NO NO NO NO NO.
And why do you ask?
Because you are taking a DUMB DAY.

A dumb day begins with eating some kind of dumb meal, one that does not demand cooking, cleaning, chopping, spicing, baking, gardening, grating or juicing. Cereal in a plastic throwaway bowl and plastic throwaway flatware is preferable. There should be no showering, primping, dressing, moussing, or douching. The preferred dress is ripped non-matching pajamas, worn slippers and the oldest bathrobe that hasn't been thrown out yet. The events of the day will need to include as many reruns of Law and Order as the TV day has available. There is an abundant amount of this programing so that will not be a problem. For lunch anything wrapped in cellophane that doesn't have an expiration date of 1882 is acceptable. Dinner is a frozen TV dinner with no more than 2 lines of microwave instructions. Cooking time not to exceed 5 minutes. There will be no defrosting.
You will not do your nails, catch up on bills or watch world news. You will accept that on this day you will not be inspired, enthused, or motivated to do anything except be dumb.

There will be no insight into your life, and no baking bread from scratch. You will not put a new hard drive into your computer, take up Italian, prune the rose bushes, macrame a pull over, practice Tai Kwondo, nor go door to door selling Teflon coated furry welcome mats. You will not mail cards, wrap gifts, or give your pet turtle a bath.

Turn over all the self-help posters in your home..cover up.." A life unexamined is not a life worth living." The only thing you will be examining today is your TV remote. There will be no dusting, polishing, or meditating. You will not answer the phone, run the dishwasher, take out the trash, or paste photos in an album. You will not "be nice" to anyone. You will not mow the lawn, talk to the neighbors, or sign up for Thai cooking class. And most importantly you will not not not..do you hear me? not get on the bathroom scale, or log onto Facebook.

So why??? Well in todays world of too much ... too many errands to run, too many phone messages, too many e-mails, and too much self-degradation for not being able to keep up with too much to do, it's nice to get dumb once in awhile. The world demands that we stay in touch, on our mark, on top of our game, on top of it all....and that my dear friends is just tooooooooooooooooooooooooo much. There are too many demands on our time, our lives, and our spirits. So, get dumb. In the 60's or 70's or whenever.... they named it....."tuning out." It's now the 21st century and time for a more dignified name. My pal named it DUMB DAY.

Seems like a perfect name to me.

Love and Laugh
Minnie Madden


Monday, October 24, 2011

One Ear Hair

One ear hair

A few months ago I discovered one hair growing on my ear; about ¼ of an inch in length. It was growing out of the fleshy part of the ear. According to the medical journals it was where the anti-tragus meets the anti-helix… (As if that makes a difference.) The fleshy part of the lobe where the ridge is. (Not inside the ear thank-you very much)
Now of itself that probably doesn’t seem very dramatic. Well of –course it doesn’t seem very dramatic…. it isn’t HAPPENING TO YOU.
Obviously in the scope of importance it isn’t the oil spill, Iraq, Iran, the recent Republican debate the Wall Street movement, or Paris Hiltons’s evanescent career.(Sidebar: did you know that she wears a size 13 shoe?? Whoa! NO shoe modeling contracts for those boats.)

Oops I digress.
Okay now back to the errant hair growing out of my ear. Well obviously my first concern is WHO SAW THIS?

I’m usually not interested in image management. But this was definitely different.

What is image management you ask?

Image management is an illusionary way of being where you painstakingly control what you say, do, and wear for the benefit of other people…bosses, spouses, friends, and the general public. You want to manage their opinion of you so you speak, act, and dress in a certain manner under the illusion that people 1) look 2) see 3) or actually give a shit, about what you are saying, doing, or wearing.
This is not dressing for success…. (Another article another time) this is dressing for an image that you want to portray to the world. You want to control how other people view you. People you know and people you don’t know. It’s an equal opportunity disguise. It lives somewhere between adolescence and Los Angeles.

It is planned, plotted, and perpetuated in the mind of the individual.

It’s based on what will they think of me? Without really answering the important question of: WHO ARE “THEY.” (My pal Patty once said, “you know who THEY are…they are the imaginary people looking in your window to see whether you cleaned your apartment today...” That’s who THEY are.)

For so long I have claimed not to give a crapola about THEM and here I was wondering WHO SAW MY EAR HAIR. (For edification…only ONE (1) hair…so far anyway. Thank-you very much.)

And now I was one of them…the image management group. I had to admit I cared about what THEY thought. Wouldn’t you?

My capricious thinking started to image all sorts of scenarios. How long had it been there? What if the hair was flapping in the wind at the gym while I was on the treadmill? Of-course that didn’t happen because I don’t go to the gym. When my pals and I went to PF Changs for dinner did one of them not order the noodle dish as the result of a subliminal response to (THE HAIR?)

If I had not noticed it …could it have eventually looped around my belt? Who knows how deep this thing can go??

I had nightmares. Headlines, “Extra Extra read all about it”….”Mops of hair growing out of woman’s ears; Surgeons baffled”… …The Enquirer wants to know!….Ear hair suffocates woman. A forest in her ear. (sounds like a song doesn’t it?) Death by tangle?

Oh it just went on an on….as it usually does ……….the ubiquitous state of embarrassment. I was mortified. I RAN AROUND FOR AT LEAST A DAY WITH A HAIR GROWING OUT OF MY EAR.: and everyone saw it and NO ONE SAID ANYTHING. Ha! and they call themselves friends!!!

This has got to stop!

I solved my problem by buying a suicide mirror; that’s the 12x one. You know …you look in the mirror and your pores have pores. Everything is so large you can only look at your nose, lips, or eyes but not all at once. I carry it with me everywhere…that and a pair of tweezers...

This isn’t image management it’s survival.

OMG……….are they the same thing?? Image management and survival?? Maybe those people who are pre-occupied with how they 1) look 2) talk 3) act 4) look are just trying to survive. Maybe they are just afraid of being themselves…or maybe they don’t know who they are….so they pretend to be what they think other people will 1) respect 2) fear 3) be impressed by and most importantly 4) like.

Okay another lesson learned….I say to all you image management people out there…carry on……...there’s room for all of us on this earth and I no longer judge you…My (1) one ear hair and I are one of your tribe.

I now understand.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I had a mid-life crisis in Cleveland

The First Mid-Life Crisis

About 10 years ago I had a mid-life crisis waiting for Southwest flight #1455 from Cleveland to Las Vegas. It was my first one (not flight...but rather mid-life crisis.) This announcement comes over the loud speaker that the flight has been delayed due to storms in St. Louis. Storms? It's June 22 (I remember the day) What storms??? So I'm reading this great book and figure what the heck..it's an 8 hour flight ..because this particular flight stops everywhere...so now it will be a 10-12  hour flight. Who cares I've got nothing pending.

Nothing pending how could that be??? I've been busy since I was 11. .What does that mean nothing pending??? I apparently had urgent pendings at the age of 11. I know from pending. I've been pending all my life...........But really I have nothing pending now. How can I go on without pending, and the anxiety from the pending ??? Can I live without pending???

I remember thinking I could call everyone that has left a message on my phone. (I always make calls from the airport.) Okay... let's see who would have called?? my "recovery" pals who think I know something...some never ending work calls , or friends calling to see what I am up to...What am I up to?? are you kidding ?? I'm without pending ...how can I be up to anything ? But alas I didn't want to talk with anyone. "That's strange, " I thought. My whole life is based on catching up. I live for that. I live to check things off my list. I'm the kind of person that thinks that one day everything will be done and I'll sit down and put my feet up and say, ( I don't know what I would say because like the rest of the world I've never gotten to that point.)

And then it hit me...I don't want to return calls .........I don't want to do anything. There's no one I want to talk to and I have been talking all of my life. OH MY GOD I'm having a mid-life crisis in Cleveland waiting for flight #1455 to Las Vegas. I don't want to read my great book or fabulous W magazine. Oh my God I'm ____________ years old (not ready to devulge my age to you yet) and I've paid for enough therapy to open an outlet mall, self-medicated myself into spending 25+ years in a recovery program, groped my way into meaning and purpose, self-evaluated, self-examined, and self whatever into a mid-life crisis? That is what I'm having isn't it?

And then it came to me....I have examined every component of my psyche, but not planned one damn thing in my life. I just rolled. Life happened and I went for it. One gig after another. You gotta roll with it baby.
And when the rolling stopped............
.... I folded...........major meltdown in Cleveland..
not apparent to the naked eye but exceedingly apparent to my soul. I got scared there wouldn't be a second act.
Well, I recovered from Cleveland and then 10 years later............... as in last year...............
another major meltdown. ANOTHER FU--NG MID-LIFE CRISIS. NO NO NO. yes yes yes.

Again nothing pending AGAIN. So no third act????

So I'm here to tell you there is always another act. You want to know what a mid-life crisis is???........besides picking up a blonde and buying a yellow convertible corvette and a new toupe (for males)  and driving fast on a coastal highway wishing you had a different birth certificate and a different divorce attorney.  A mid-life crisis is thinking and almost believing there are no more surprises for you in life....and no next act...the curtain has come down. So I'm here to tell you that the curtain has not come down.
Show up another day
Dare to be surprised
and if that doesn't work
buy an internet radio station.............
I did.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

too many passwords

I decided to buy an internet radio station. TLVS1.com  (am doing this with Chuck Rounds ...whom I've got an arts and commericial photography business with called MaddMeat)
This is my first step in reinventing myself. I've reinvented myself so many times in the past couple of years I've got whiplash.
Do I know anything about owning an internet radio station? of-course not, but that has never stopped me in the past. Had I ever thought about owning an internet radio station before last week. UHHHHHH No. Have I ever listened to radio internet? UHHHHHHHHHH No.
Can I spell internet radio? YES. Wew.
TLVS1.com has video streaming. Fell in love with that as soon as it was explained to me. Have I ever watched video streaming on internet radio? Well since I've never listened to internet radio before this I guess the answer is No.
I've owned the business for a week now and all I can say is: there are a lot of programs and passwords and all I know how to do is schedule the Bobby D show in the computer. Chuck's the smarty pants engineering guy so he seems to know what to do while I stress about not knowing and get sick from the stress and then need to take a day off, which leaves him more to do. Ahhhhhhh the price of partnerships.
We both have 9 other jobs ...his all real and mine imagined...but I think about them and that stresses me out too..even if they don't exist in reality.
Going into week 2 of internet radio land now...and will keep you posted. Just wanted to take a moment and thank my pal RW Munchkin for supporting the idea and my pal Mitchell Greenberg for sending me this quote.
"If at first the idea is not absurd; then there is no hope for it." Albert Einstein
Stay tuned
http://www.tlvs1.com/