I eat. I drive. I write. I check out cute guys. I’m a single woman traveling — and living — solo. It occurred to me there are a million “mommy blogs,” but very few blogs for single women who aren’t sitting at home waiting for Prince Charming or watching their biological clock. Consider this the “non-mommy” blog. Think Anthony Bourdain meets Bridget Jones.  

The only thing that never changes is change itself…

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Well, the RV deal hit a bit of a snafu. More than a bit, actually. When the so-called owner of the RV bought it about 7 years ago, seems he never got the title transferred to his name. So that means it remains in the name of a dead man in the registration roster of New York, and that’s more than a bit of a problem.

It’s a deal killer.

New York requires he register it before he can transfer it to me. Despite having the documentation to put it in his name, New York will not issue a title immediately when it is filed for, because… well, they’re New York and want to make things as difficult as possible. So they make you wait 4-6 weeks for it to come in the mail. Seems the son who listed the RV for sale didn’t know — or claims he didn’t know — dear old dad has been getting a dealer tag from someone in the family whenever they want to drive it, in order to avoid actually registering the vehicle.

So after filling up the gas tanks numerous times to get to Rochester, NY, which was the commute from hell, and spending a whole weekend in the crappiest Motel 6 ever (and that is saying something my friends) as they kept putting me off and finalizing the transaction, I find out that I cannot get the vehicle in my name for 4-6 weeks.

I walked away from the whole mess.

Faced with the unexpected large expense of fitting my car to be towed (the cheapest I could find was about $1600) I found myself scared to death I was going to spend all my money on getting the RV and setting up my car, then have it breakdown and be forced to do another travel nurse assignment. I am determined that someday I will get an RV, but I’m afraid today just isn’t quite that day yet. Maybe I’m just being a chicken shit (probably is more like it,) but for now I just want to find a small town to get a little house in, and do my work at home gig.

Peace. Quiet. Sanity.

A chance to just let the dust settle and figure what the hell I want to be when I grow up. Presuming I ever do. Yeah… right…

The rumors of rock and roll’s demise are greatly exaggerated

Not only am I browsing old blogs for material to post on this new blog, but it’s that time of year when we tend to reflect on where we’re at in life, and the changes we’ve gone through, and the changes we still want to make. This was written way back in 2007 if I was saying I had been shooting about a year (I pulled it as a repost from my first blog so don’t have the exact date of original publication.) I’m looking through all these old photos, looking for a few to add to this article, and am feeling overwhelmed at what I captured in the obscure little scene of psychobilly music. I’ve gone through a lot of changes since I wrote this, and have focused more lately on other projects, and moved on from mid-life crisis, but I can tell you this: I feel exactly the same way about rock and roll now as I did then.

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2095033187_9dd588f033I recently celebrated my one year anniversary of getting my digital camera and starting to shoot bands, and I just want to say that in the last year, I have not only rediscovered my love of photography, but my love of music. Real rock and roll, not the corporate packaged crap on top 40 radio or MTV.The music industry is crying about the drop in sales and blaming illegal downloading. Yes, that has hurt sales, but what they blindly disregard is the two most important factors in why the music industry is struggling.

1) The music the labels are putting out sucks.

2) The artists are divas more worried about looking cool and getting the right haircuts and wearing the right artificially distressed black t-shirt than making good music. It’s all about bodyguards and backstage passes and partying with idiot millionaire heiresses and doing a stint in rehab for the sympathy factor…I mean, what is that?

Forget the divas and go out to local dive bars if you want to experience real music again. See for yourself how hard these people work. They haul all their own equipment, setting it up and tearing it down themselves between sets, often for nothing more than a handful of people (sometimes just a few friends and family) and a few dollars. Not even enough for their gas in some cases, and after spending a day working some crappy corporate 9-5 job to scrape by on the rent and buy their equipment. The ones from out of state don’t travel in luxury tour buses or stay in five star hotels. They get out there in a car with a trailer for their gear, or some cramped van, sleeping on peoples’ floors and or even on the ground somewhere to come out to these shows. Sometimes for months at a time.

These bands put themselves through this for the love of the music. And sacrifice a lot to get up on stage for all the rest of us. So love them, support them, buy their cds and merchandise.

Whoever spread the idea that rock and roll is a glamorous lifestyle was a brilliant PR person. And completely, utterly, full of shit. I am going to slap the next millionaire “rock star” who cries about how hard life is on the road with their room service and high tech tour buses and the fans that just won’t leave them alone.

That’s the sad excuse that passes for music these days. Real rock and roll is in some hole in the wall, with sweat pouring down everyone, and people slamming into each other and screaming and jumping up on the stage with the bands and everyone — bands and fans alike — hanging out as equals. Like a sort of big, happy, family.

(Okay, a big, crazy, drunken family, but we’ll take what we can get.)

Turn off MTV and get out there and see it up close. Get sweat on, spit on and knocked around the pit. Because rock and roll is NOT dead. It’s in some dingy dive bar down the street. Where’s it’s always been.

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Mmmm… Happy Belly, indeed

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If you’re one of those people who think small town cafes mean frozen beef patty hamburgers and onion rings, Happy Belly Deli in Norwood, Colorado will definitely redefine small town cuisine for you.

The restaurant is also a bakery and coffee house, but forget any vision of pretentious open mike nights and all-vegan bohemian staff. The menu boasts a variety of healthy – and not so healthy, in a good way – dishes that cover any diner or group.

Opening at 6:30 am (5:30 am during hunting season), you can start with breakfast in the colorful dining area, where local artists display their work. They have some fancy mixes of espresso and teas, but for a good ol’ cup of joe, it’s self-served family style by the ordering counter. There’s a daily special, but also a choice of breakfast bowls and sandwiches that make great to-go items.

And that egg, cheese and meat sandwich on a homemade croissant… ooh-la-la, that puts Burger King to shame (not that that’s hard, but you get what I’m saying.) I go pepper jack on the cheese for a little southwestern spicy kick and extra crispy bacon… yeah, it’s not good for you, but it hurts so good, right?

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The dining room is sunny and warm, with shades of green and orange.

The Benny breakfast bowl seems to be a popular favorite, which features the usual eggs and potatoes, but has a hollandaise sauce thrown in the mix. I was going to get that on my last trip, but confess I got sidetracked by the daily special – an omelet with cheese, bacon and carmelized onions.

Likewise, you can grab a single serving quiche fresh from the oven, or a selection of pastries and huge muffins overflowing their wrapper. And they always have a gluten-free option if you need one.

Now, when you move to lunch, things get a little healthier, thank goodness, or this whole town would be dead or on the heart transplant list.

The chicken pesto sandwich is tasty, stuffed with chicken, of course, and cream cheese, pesto, tomatoes and sprouts. There are vegetarian options, if needed, such as the Mediterranean roll: hummus, feta cheese, carrots, pepper rings, olives, cucumbers, lettuce and Greek dressing in a whole wheat wrap.

The food is very good, but even better is the friendly ambience, and the local hang out here. I’ve witnessed conversations from ballroom dancing to the counter gal asking a customer if his house was unlocked so she could go by and take a look at it, as she was thinking of renting it after he moved. And of course, it was.

That is a conversation you’ll only hear in a town of 400 or so.

If you’re passing through Norwood, Colorado, stop by the Happy Belly Deli – before 3pm when they close – and give yourself a happy belly, indeed.

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The egg, bacon and cheese croissant. Take that Burger King.

The whole world is wild at heart and weird on top

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Note: This photo really has nothing to do with the post, other than a homage to random good fortune. But I like pictures so I wanted one on it.

I am having the oddest day today.

I spent the morning writing up some new articles for my CMT Examiner site when I got off work. Then I went to one of their phone trainings, then things got really weird.

I’m getting emails from Chuck Ragan’s rep asking me to write something up for No Depression for him. Grammy nominee Linda Chorney is messaging me on Facebook to say hello. I respond to emails from a publicist at CMT to set up interviews with Paige Duke and some of their other reality show casts. My editor at Yahoo!Movies sends me the nicest message about setting up a special beat for me because he so loves what I’m writing for them. I’m querying Miranda Lambert’s, and Trace Adkins and The Band Perry’s and Keith Urban’s reps for photos and maybe interviews if I can dare hope — I’m doing that because instead of spending most of my time trying to find the right people, my contact person at Examiner just basically handed me the keys to the country kingdom in the form of the CORRECT contacts for every major country artist on the planet.

After spending five years struggling just to get the right contacts in rock and roll to finally get somewhere, that last one alone is enough to make a grown woman cry.

It’s been a very surreal day, indeed.