I’m glad you’re here and honored you’re reading. I don’t know who *you* are, of course — it is one of the wonders of writing for the vast and ambiguous internet. Dear Reader, you include my mother (hi, Mom!), people I know and love, co-workers, fans — and also a bunch of assholes who want to find a new stranger to call a cunt. What a melting pot. Welcome, everyone, I guess.
This is not my first blog — that was ‘The Captain’s Blog’ which I started in 2006 when I moved aboard my first houseboat ‘The Road’ on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In 2012 I piloted ‘The Road’ on an epic trip downriver, over 1,800 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. It was a fantastic, magical, dangerous journey that took over a month and during which I almost died, almost daily.
When the trip was over, my first mate and mate-mate, moved aboard a new boat together, ‘Toad Hollow’. She was a 1969, steel, custom, Riverboat that we found rusting on shore, and rebuilt into a little floating palace. Lovely as she was, however, we both felt a call to go West. Mountains, Hollywood, no-winters.
To make the journey we found the closest thing we could to a land-boat; and bought a 1976 Silver Avion Camper for $6,000. We packed up ourselves, a dog, two cats, a rubber tree plant, ‘stuff for a year’ and hit the road.
We ended up in an RV Park outside of Los Angeles, in Van Nuys. To folks in LA, Van Nuys is one of those places that will sometimes have the uptight suck air through their teeth. It’s not particularly bad in terms of location, or crime, or homelessness — it’s just… Van Nuys. For context, lots of famous stuff was filmed in Van Nuys (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Karate Kid, Casablanca) but nothing ever takes place there. One of the only times I’ve even heard it referenced was as the place they find The Dude’s car in The Big Lebowski.
Nestled among the unremarkable city of Van Nuys, however, is a very remarkable RV Park. Owned by the same family since the 1940’s, it is an island of whimsey and joy. Tall, full trees line well-kept boulevards; murals adorn almost every wall; carved owls hide over archways — there’s even a rock garden featuring the cast of the Wizard of Oz. The owner, Steve, took over from his father and is a joyful steward. Always smiling, a walking welcome.
It was Steve who suggested that I do ‘some kind of show’ in the RV Park clubhouse. He knew I was a comedian and a host — I had told him about a variety show I had co-hosted in Minneapolis — and he liked the idea. A month later, we debuted The Trailer Trash Talent Revue. A monthly show featuring musicians, comedians, The World’s Ugliest Dog, Emmy winners and a lot of folks staying in the RV Park who we drew out of a hat. It was wild, fun, unpredictable, and always sold out.
We would have stayed there forever but, wouldn’t ya’ know, The Fella got a dope-ass-real-grown-up-job-JOB and we had something like financial security for the first time in either of our lives. So we bought a condo and got pregnant. Well… I got pregnant, but he was responsible.
I continued to perform while I was pregnant, doing shows including the Trailer Trash Talent Revue up until a few weeks before I delivered. I was back on stage a couple months after she was born and was working regularly until the world shut down in March, 2020.
In fact, my last big show was my debut at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood where my set is all about breastfeeding and hysterectomies.
Then, as was the case for all of us in vastly different ways, The Pandemic happened. Is that what we’re calling it, by the way, I’m not sure if we’ve landed on that officially. I’ve heard it called ‘when Covid hit’ or ‘The Lockdown’ or ‘Quarantine’ — but you know what I mean. All the ways big and small that our lives were impacted starting around mid-March, 2020.
I had grasped to some extent how vastly different my life was from Boats & RV’s to Condos & Diapers — but The Pandemic cut loose even any small anchor of familiarity. Ironic that it was here — the first unsinkable and non-mobile home that I had lived in in over a decade — that I would feel so adrift and stranded.
Beatrice was 20 months. She had just stopped breast-feeding and started pre-school. All of our family live many states away, we didn’t have many friends with kids — and our closest were also particularly vulnerable to the Virus and so studiously locked down.
And then, two days after the Lockdown began here in LA, I was diagnosed with cancer. Thyroid Cancer that had been removed in 2013 had, apparently, returned and spread to a lymph node.
Then (man, I wish I was kidding about this) our beloved dog — who had been with us for years from the Mississippi River Adventure to the RV Park — was also diagnosed with cancer and died weeks later.
I know. Fuck, right?
But between all that (and the wild fires, injustice, insurrection) was Life. I learned how to do stand-up sitting down, we never went hungry, and I’m a hell of a mom, it turns out.
I’m also a writer.
I’ve always been a writer — it’s been my work, my joy, my therapy for decades. In the past year, however, the pen proved to be not only mightier than the sword, but mightier than the mask. My journal saved me over the past year, but the difference between my journal and a blog is *you*.
I’m not going to try to classify what this blog will be — because I can’t believe you, whoever you are, care. It’s a little bit of a diary, a letter to the universe, collections of what-not from a place of why-not.
I’m glad you’re here and honored you’re reading.
Leave your reactions and comments — but don’t be a dick or I’ll block your ass.