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December 2008 Archives

December 1, 2008

Give the Gift of an Autographed Copy of QUEEN OF THE ROAD

If you're thinking of giving a book as a gift this holiday season (and if so, why not a humorous travel memoir that happens to be in paperback - so perfect for these downsized times - and has gotten spiffy reviews? I'm just sayin'... ) you can get free, personalized, autographed (and gorgeous, believe me) bookplates from my website. Just click on the red box on the book that says, "Gift the gift of laughter and inspiration this holiday season... " and voila! Instructions forthwith and for sure. The bookplates have a sticky peel-back, you put them on the inside front cover and now, you have a personalized, autographed copy to give to friends, family, yourself - or your entire neighborhood.

Is that really so far-fetched?

Well, just FYI: Already got one request for 14 bookplates - I sent them, and didn't even get a restraining order.

Blog posts coming up this week: The Pyramid of Poop! (Or, Why It's Handy To Travel With Husband in an RV), discussing another lovely book group I was invited to by speakerphone as well as an upcoming New York Times article on book groups that mentions yours truly.

Happy Cyber Monday, everyone!

December 18, 2008

Mentor Me A Book Club

OK, I'm not sure what that title means, either. I really suck at titles. One day, I'll do a blog post about the title I suggested for QUEEN OF THE ROAD. Suffice it to say, my editor found it so... innappropriate (to put it mildly) that she immediately phoned (not even emailed) my agent to see if she could talk some sense into me. It certainly would have had people picking the book up from the shelves (that's my rationalization and I'm sticking to it).

Anyway, a little while ago I did a fabulous book club in Mentor, OH. (Get it now?) Holly was the one who contacted me about phoning in by speakerphone, saying I was the first author to "attend" their group and she planned to surprise the rest of the gals. I think we did! (Hopefully, their surprise wasn't caused by my calling immediately after one of them said, "That was the worst book I ever read. Holly, how could you suggest such trash?")

Holly also mentioned that having been to Graceland herself, she could really relate to what I wrote about it:

We went to Memphis specifically to see Graceland, something we’d both always wanted to do. We’re not the only ones; it’s the second most visited residence in the U.S. (The White House is number one.) The fourteen-acre, 17,000-square-foot estate turned out to be a colossal disappointment. I thought it would be far more grand. Maybe it’s just that, as a museum left exactly as it had been when the King died, it can’t help being a fashion victim of the ’70s. But, really. One of the richest men in the country, a cultural icon no less, and he had Formica countertops?

Anyway, the group asked about our time in Ohio and I was able to reminisce about the gorgeous Ohio State Campground

from whence we headed over to Cedar Point Amusement Park. There, we were treated to (some might say, "endured") several of the craziest "amusements" in the States.

I'm usually game for any ride (look, I live on a bus, people) but one of the seventeen (yes, that's 17) coasters in the park had me begging Tim not to make me do it. He did anyway, saying, "If I'm going, you're going." Nice.

I think the most terrifying part of the entire experience was the anticipation, waiting in an hour-long line for the Top Thrill Dragster, of which the park boasts, "Reaching a stratospheric 420 feet tall and topping out at an unheard of speed of 120 mph, this new steel screamer helped Cedar Point reclaim the title of owning the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the universe." On second thought, I'm not so sure if this is a boast so much as a disclaimer.

Anyway, it's set up like a dragstrip, complete with bleechers and view stands. While we sat watching, trying to figure a face-saving way out of yet another mess Tim had gotten us into, each car paused, strategically situated so that the unfortunates it carried could very clearly see the horrors awaiting them. The adults among them burst into tears. (The youngsters were just too ignorant to know any better, methinks.) Despite our advanced degrees, neither Tim nor I could formulate a reasonable escape plan. But oh, I assure you, we tried.

So, with Holly's lovely book group, I got to, as therapists say, "Re-experience the trauma."


(standing from right) Jan, Margaret, Holly, (sitting from right) Laura, Susan, Debbie, Kathy, and Kim

December 24, 2008

Holiday Spirit - Finally

I can't believe how many of you have asked about our holiday bus decorations. Do I really come across as such a grinch? I shall grudgingly admit, since those of you who have asked have read the book, that the answer is.... What do you want from me?

I guess with a passage like this (from when we were in Key West):

Throughout our travels thus far, we’d scoffed at rigs, RVs and buses alike, for sporting various kitsch, from oh-too-cutesy stuffed animals clinging to the ladder in back, to lawn gnomes perched precariously on the steps, to custom wooden signs in the windshield announcing the owner’s name and hometown, usually with some little logo signifying a favorite pastime, like a fishing pole, golf club, or bowling pin. Once, in a weak moment, undoubtedly after some disaster that reinforced how alone and vulnerable I felt, I made the mistake of wondering aloud if, as a token of our solidarity with other motor-homers, we should get one, too. But Tim said no, since depicting my favorite pastimes would entail a logo of a bed and a credit card and result in our imminent arrest for solicitation.

We had promised ourselves, therefore, that we would never stoop to such tacky displays, but then, like Ebenezer Scrooge forced to see the ghost of buses past, we had a change of heart on Christmas Eve. As we strolled in the dark amongst rigs lit up with holiday cheer from two-story, blow-up, glowing Santas, to palm trees strung with colored lights, to life-sized, nodding, fluorescent flamingos, we could not help but smile and laugh at the whimsy of it all. Then we hit upon a rig that had nothing – not even a lone blinking white light – and exclaimed in unison, “What a grinch!” Then, upon closer inspection, “Hey! That’s our bus!”

So, here's a picture of our very first bus decorations!


Now, for all of you who feel it's rather... minimalist, let me just explain: It's pouring here in The Shitty, so nothing outside would do. And, as for the inside, Tim and I agreed we wanted to start small and add a little bit here, a little bit there, every year - to build our own holiday bus tradition. The ornament we started with (that you can't see) is, of course, the poopin' moose.

And, because Tim is simply the best husband, like... evah (and reads this blog) - he braved the pouring rain to take these from outside the bus:



Chappy Challah-Days, everyone!

Speaking of holiday traditions, I was relieved to figure out that I'm not the only Jew in Crescent City. How do I know? The best Chinese restaurant in town is open on Xmas. We'll be enjoying takeout tomorrow night.

December 29, 2008

The Pyramid of Poop or Why I'll Never RV Without My Husband

Tim had put off emptying the "black water" tank (for all my non-RVing readers, I'd explain this, but do you really want to know?), as the weather has been (what else) horrible for a week. When he finally opened the valve, instead of hearing the expected (and welcome) sound of rushing water, he was met with a most ominous silence: The solids had apparently settled out, as they are wont to do. (Again, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, just be thankful I'm granting a Royal Reprieve and allowing you to remain ignorant.) Tim knew he was facing that most dreaded of RV mishaps (yes, even worse than finding oneself in a nudist RV park) - the "black water shower." (Sorry. Now, you most certainly understand. Maybe I should have warned you not to read this around meal time.)

By total coincidence, I had just been on an RV forum and read an article about the Pyramid of Poop (thinking, "Thank goodness that's never happened to us!") which advised (now, I'm really sorry. Really.) stirring through the toilet drain to loosen the plug. After attempting this with the crank from our awning (as suggested in the article), Tim discovered that, unfortunately, our drain is L-shaped and therefore did not provide for a straight shot.

There would be no stirring solution. Obviously, this was a job for Project Nerd: Domestic Superhero.

But, what's a Project Nerd to do? Why, go outside to hover in the vicinity of the tankful of poop for inspiration, of course. And, inspiration struck, indeed! PN realized he could pull the end of the sewer hose out of its drain, then hold it above his head (there's that physics for majors thing, again), thus backfilling the entire system with a column of water. With admirable PN alacrity, he replaced the hose back into the drain. The water cascading out of the hose created suction, pulling the clog through the pipe and draining the tank.

The dreaded Pyramid of Poop was thusly avoided.

Anyone out there think that was a useful nugget? Groan.

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About December 2008

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

November 2008 is the previous archive.

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