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November 2008 Archives

November 2, 2008

The Governor Endorses The Queen!

Not that We require the endorsement of mere elected officials - sniff - but... holy crap!

A lovely and insightful reader of excellent taste emailed to let Us know that she is a huge fan of Jen Lancaster's books (Bitter is the New Black, Such a Pretty Fat, and Bright Lights, Big Ass Sigh. You have to click that link, if only to see her subtitles. I am clearly an amateur) and thought I might like them, as well. We have obviously been holed up in Our throne room for too long (where most people do read, but as We certainly no longer have to remind you: We are not "most people") as even though she is a New York Times Bestselling author, We had never heard of her (have no fear - heads will roll!) So, We checked out her blog and quickly realized We and she (note the small "s," although Governor of Jennsylvania: Land of the Free, Home of the Bitter is, indeed, a laudable title), were likely twins separated at birth. We promptly emailed the Governor herself (large "G", although alas for Jen, small "h"), and although she is hugely popular (and thus, a shoe-in for re-election on Tuesday), she actually emailed right back!

In a true ugga-bugga coincidence (that's Boulder-speak for "like, um, freaky psychic-karmic-convergance, dude!" But, even more ugga-bugga, mere days after her email, during a reading/signing and royal schtik in Denver, I was placed directly across from a shelf full of her books) she said she was totally mad at me (thank goodness, Governors don't run the guillotines) because instead of finishing her current manuscript (which she was on deadline for), she stayed up late all week reading Queen of the Road. She also said she was about to do a blog post on her favorite recent reads and Queen of the Road was at the top of her list!

Because she is so popular, I promptly got thousands of hits to my own website from hers and am eternally grateful for her support. Here's what she said:

Queen of the Road is basically what would happen if you took me, gave me a modicum of maturity and a better education, and then tricked me into living on a (very nice) bus with my husband and pets for a year. I loved this book and I love this author.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: I'm going to be on KCLU-FM, that's Ventura's (88.3 FM) NPR station and Santa Barbara's (102.3 FM) NPR station, tomorrow, for their very popular (until tomorrow), "Emotional Fitness" show with Dr. Barton (ya think?) Goldsmith. Fortunately, the media is too preoccupied with some silly election (Monarchies rule, people! When will you all wise up?) to bother with the impending ruination of NPR.

Consider thouselves duly warned.

November 5, 2008

All Aboot (Sorry Ladies) My First Canadian Book Group

A little while back, I did a fabulous book group in Toronto by speakerphone. (Here's how to invite me to thusly appear at your own group. Oops! Just invited myself, didn't I? How rude. Oh well. What do you want from me?)


The ladies were very well-read, asked incredibly thoughtful questions to which I tried to provide intelligent answers and even gave me some wonderful ideas for my own book group, including Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, and The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. (I haven't gotten to either yet, as I'm also behind on my reading. Anyone else want to weigh in?)

Although we had been to Canada during our QUEEN OF THE ROAD trip, we hadn't gotten to Toronto. (I did spend a week there on my first book tour and I must say, Canadian publishers are far more evolved than their U.S. counterparts. In Canada, I stayed in Toronto the entire week, doing one event per day. I got to spend the rest of the time exploring that lovely city, which of course, included eating at fabulous restaurants. A lot of eating. At a lot of fabulous restaurants. U.S. book tours are more notable for doing a different city every day with little sleep, and, if you can imagine, I was even too tired at times to take myself out to eat - at fabulous or any other type of restaurants. Sigh.)

Anyway, when I was in Toronto that time, I wish I had known about the Bata Shoe Museum.

I think it deserves a trip all its own, don't you?

November 12, 2008

Livin' Just Enough, Just Enough for the Cit-ay!

That's Crescent City, California, folks! And, even more accurately (sorry Stevie), let's substitute "surviving" for "living." We'll get most accurate at the end of the next paragraph.

How could I have neglected to tell you anything about the place we're parked for the next couple of months while Tim does his time? Well, if you were here, you'd know. Perhaps our nickname for the place will give you a clue, "Crescent Shitty." Or, when we're feeling particularly affectionate toward our home away from home, simply, "The Shitty."

Why in the world, then, should you keep reading about this place? Look at it this way: The more you learn, the less likely you'll ever feel the need to come here yourselves. That's a good thing. Trust me.

Granted, the beaches are gorgeous. If you simply stared out at the ocean all day, you might forget you're actually "in the shitty." But, you've got to turn around, not to mention actually go to town, sometime. Poor you. Or us, as the case may be.

Herewith, some Shitty highlights (or lowlights - you decide):

Since there's a harbor with, you know, boats and everything, I had been looking forward to eating loads of fresh fish. Thing is, you can't buy fresh fish at any store in town - not even the (two) grocery stores. The only way to get fresh fish is right from the fishermen themselves, but they won't filet it for you. Believe me - I asked. The grocery stores are another issue - the nicest one in town is 23 miles up the coast in Brookings, Oregon.

Ah, the harbor. The lighthouse's fog horn sounds every 7 seconds. Every 7 seconds. All day, every day. 7 seconds. It's like Chinese water torture.

As the subtitle of my books says, I have approximately 200 pairs of shoes, although I regularly wear maybe four. I like admiring the rest on my shelf - like works of art - but I haven’t bought new shoes in ages. I thought I’d been “cured” of that particular obsession while living on the bus. But, in Crescent City, I bought my first pair in a very long time: Waders. At Wal-mart. Oh, Queen of the Road, how far hast thou fallen?

Last year while we were here, I saw this Elephant Seal on the beach by our rig:


She seemed to be in distress (even more so than one would expect simply being in The Shitty), so I went to the RV park's office. They said not to worry, "she's just molting." Hmm. This Queen has always believed one should molt behind closed doors but, oh, well. Kids these days. The marine center said she’d come all the way from Alaska, and was headed to the Faulkland Islands to… hook up. I turned to the seal and gave her some free psychiatrist advice (which, as with everything in life, you get what you pay for), "Honey, there are perfectly nice seals next door in the harbor. But, if you insist, I hope he’s worth it." (Clearly, this seal has no sense if she stopped here to pick up a new coat. She should have gone just a little ways down the coast to the Nordstrom in San Francisco. Good luck finding anything nice here in The Shitty.)

It has been way too long since I got my hair done in Boulder - including weeks of ungodly humidity. As I observed when we were in Arkansas - which looks positively cosmopolitan compared to this place - think Hindenberg disaster - “Oh the humidity!” Tim wasn't crazy about my new look either, but as I always say, why did he marry a Jewish woman if not to be disappointed every day of his miserable life? I found this salon (notice it’s conveniently located on the fishing harbor). I think I’ll just wait until we get home.


No Scissors 'R' Us for this royal. What do you want from me?

One plus is that in nice weather (so, every few weeks), Tim and I walk on the beach. I love watching the pelicans skim the water (Pelican Bay has pelicans! Who knew?), but some kind of seagull flock recently got to town. They are decidedly less enchanting. Prior to our last walk, I had just washed my hair. The seagulls kept flying overhead.

"You better not poop on my hair" I called, more than once, eyeing the sky warily.

"Keep looking up and it won't be your hair you get it in," Tim snickered. Told you he's evil.

Unfortunately, the pelicans are soon migrating south, so we'll only be left with the seagulls. Tim lamented that fact, saying, "Even a bird-brain knows to get out of The Shitty for the winter."

On the plus side, we can walk to Turf Club (although do we really want to?):


Tim thought maybe we should give it a try. Feeling scatalogical (what else is new?), I commented they should change the "f" to a "d".

Tim said, "I don't think anyone will notice." He has a point.

Anyone have a nomination for Worst Shitty?

November 15, 2008

Field Trip!

We just had to get out of The Shitty.

And, look: I don't mean to insult anyone - this time - but one of Tim's prison coworkers tells us he and his wife refer to The Shitty as "Oklahoma By The Sea."

So... FIELD TRIP! But, since it was raining (what else is new? Let's just assume that's the default position in these here parts. I'll send out a bulletin and alert the news media when there's some sun) where else could we decide to head but... caves. The Oregon Caves, to be exact.

I (well, OK, Tim) dug out my hiking boots from the bay. Then, he shook them out for me. I figured there might be spiders inside - the cobwebs were a good clue. When I didn't put them on, but instead, wore my slip on sneakers for the car ride, he started to ask why, but then figured it out for himself. I hate wearing shoes, so always take them off in the car. Or, as Tim so eloquently put it, "You're too lazy to lace up your shoes more than once today."

So, what does a Royal wear when gracing the caves with Her presence? For some reason, Tim thought this outfit was noteworthy. I really don't get why, especially as I can attest to the fact he was the only one laughing.


The cave tour took about an hour-and-a-half. Half-way through, they pointed out an entryway that was used when the caves were first explored by tourists early in the last century. Since they didn't have the clear path we did, getting to the point we had would have taken them hours. Besides, our helpful Park Ranger said, the best, most beautiful, interesting part of the cave was yet to come!

Well, good, 'cause it hadn't been any of that up until then. Really, why couldn't we have lopped off the uninteresting part of the tour and just started right there? Tim anticipated this excellent question by clamping a hand over my mouth. Geez.

Here. Judge for yourself:


Oh, OK. I'll judge for you: Nice, sure. But for an hour-and-a-half?

Of course, Tim was entranced with the whole thing. I was more entranced by the idiocy of one of our intrepid little band. When the ranger asked, "So, how do you think the first explorers made sure they could find their way out of this maze?" A young man I would guess to be about twenty, answered, "Cookies." I kid you not. He thought they left trails of cookies. Tim had to clamp his hand over my mouth, again.

Tim, of course, knew the answer and called out, "String." Smarty Pants. Later in the tour, the Ranger asked some other, utterly factoidinating question of the group. This time, perhaps so as not to repeat the cookie debacle, no one answered. I hissed to Tim, "I suppose you know the answer to that one, too." The Ranger reminded us to not whisper, as it might disturb the bats.

I ducked.

The final question was posed when we entered one "room". Mr. Ranger-who-has-been-at-this-job-for-over-a-decade-but-still-apparently-knows-so-little-he-has-to-posit-questions-to-Cookie-Man, asked, "So what fruit do you think this room is named for?" Cookie Man answered, "Carrots." Ranger guy retorted (and none too gently, to his credit), "I said, 'fruit.'" (If anyone cares, it looked like bananas. But, really, why would you? It's not like bananas are so exotic you can't see real ones any time you like, so who gives a crap about seeing imitation ones you have to be prompted to know what you're looking at, anyway.)

Obviously, I don't get why everyone oohed and ahhed over this stuff. Especially for an hour-and-a-half. Really. Five minutes would have been enough. For all you nature lovers who disagree, explain this to me: Why is it, if nature is so wonderful, that you always feel the need to anthropomorphize it into decidedly unnatural, more familiar things? For example, the Ranger delighted (and everyone, especially Cookie Man, which should tell you something) loved the formations that looked like a wedding cake, and another, a Freddie Kruger mask.


I don't have to tell you what this one looks like, do I? We're not talkin' Rorschach, here.

Why is something "natural" so much more intriguing when it looks like something man-made? If you want to see a wedding cake, go to a bakery.

And send me some cookies while you're at it, in case I get lost in a cave.

At least I had the consolation of wine tasting afterwards:


We happened upon Foris winery and Minerva was kind enough to profer samples. Apparently, the Wall Street Journal did a story on one of their wines, recently, and they've been innundated with orders. (Hint: They ship.) Try the port and semi-sparkling. Trust me. You know you should.

(And, if you're wondering why my hair looks as wild as the wild river, see my previous post - and, deal with it! I have to. And, why should I suffer alone?)

November 20, 2008

First Methodist Supports the Monarchy!

First Methodist Church in Hurst, TX has a book group! Who knew? And, despite a few of the... shall We say... questionable words in QUEEN OF THE ROAD, these ladies of impeccable taste, decided to discuss it, anyway.

I think this group has the right idea: Meet at a fabulous restaurant first (no wonder they call themselves, "Food for Thought") then return to a church meeting room to discuss the book. When the food is Tai and the book is QUEEN OF THE ROAD, how could they go wrong?

Some of the ladies apparently thought the food a bit spicy. As the book group leader said, "I should have told them about your website!"


So, thank you, Clara, Lorraine, Nancy, Sarah, Phyllis, Carrie, Nancy, Roseann, Bobbie, Barbara, Clarita and Peggy (and especially to Nancy Nelson for setting this up) for your thoughtful questions.

Next time I'm in Hurst, Tai is on me, ladies!

November 23, 2008

Signs of the Times

We were in Brookings, OR yesterday, to go to the only good grocery story in town (not the one we're in, of course) and saw this sign:


Henry's kinda kiny, huh? Any guesses on what he does with that oil can? On second thought, not sure I want to know.

So, I thought I would post a couple of other... interesting signs... from our travels, this from a truck stop in west Texas:


And this, from Front Royal, Virginia:


And, even more from those crazy Virginians, this one from Walnut Hills Campground, in Staunton:


And, finally, this from Savannah, GA (think about it, folks):


November 27, 2008

Dogs Giving Thanks

We're spending the holiday with dear friends this year, so I'd like to tell you about their very thankful dogs, Roberto and Bernie. I used to call Roberto, "The Luckiest Dog in the World" - until they got Bernie. You be the judge.



Handsome dog, no?

About five years ago, Jim and Lisa were vacationing in Mexico when Roberto, a Lab-Terrier-who knows what mix, came up to them on the beach. He was nothing but skin, bones and scabs: He was allergic to sand fleas and had scratched all his hair off. One hip was out of its socket, so his right leg was dragging. He couldn't get food because of how he looked: everyone shunned him - except Jim and Lisa. They took him to the vet, got him treatment and stayed in touch. Even the new and improved Roberto couldn't find a home, so Jim and Lisa arranged for him to fly back to the U.S. (he couldn't go unaccompanied, but they could only find someone to take him part of the way, so Lisa drove hours to meet him, where they stayed a night in a hotel before driving back) and adopted him. (If anyone calls immigration on them, you'll answer to me!)

Roberto quickly became the leader of their pack of four dogs (the two cats, not so much). And, I quickly discovered you can take the dog out of Latin America, but you can't take the Latin out of the dog. He has this way of sitting in front of you, flopping his head back and looking at you with those big, brown eyes that make you want to... well, buy him a plane ticket and run away with him. Perhaps that's why, when not calling him "The Luckiest Dog in the World," I call him, "The DILF."


You've probably gotten the impression by now that Jim and Lisa are softies when it comes to animals. It's no wonder, then, that they've volunteered for years at Best Friends as well as their local Humane Society. The latter is where they met Bernie.


Two years ago, Jim had seen Bernie, a Chow mix, come and go over several months. When Bernie came back to the Humane Society for the fourth time, the staff said he was now considered unadoptable: he jumped fences and tore up houses when left alone during the day. They were told by management to euthanize him - immediately. But, the staff knew he was a sweetheart of a dog who had simply never been taught proper manners and refused to put him down. They just weren't sure how long they could hold out. So, Jim asked if he could foster Bernie, to train him and turn him into an adoptable dog. It took months of painstaking work at home and on leash for hours every day. Jim fully intended this to be a temporary arrangement - at the time he and Lisa had Roberto and another large dog, as well as a cat. But, when no one stepped forward to give Bernie a fifth try, he stayed in the home he'd already found. (Which, seeing him with Jim and Lisa during the "foster care" stage, Tim and I figured would be the outcome.)

Bernie is a sweetheart of a dog, curious like a cat. He loves staring out the window, watching the world go by, pondering perhaps, on how lucky he is.

Maybe it's not quite a daring, cross-border rescue, or a last minute stay of execution, but what are you thankful for?

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About November 2008

This page contains all entries posted to What Do You Want From Me? by Doreen Orion in November 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2008 is the previous archive.

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