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January 2009 Archives

January 2, 2009

Thanks for the (Sh*tty) Memories

We leave The Shitty first thing in the morning.

Tim was so excited, he couldn't sleep last night. Well, OK. Maybe it wasn't just that we're leaving. Maybe it was the howling rain and gusts of wind rocking the bus. No, I think it's because he's so excited to get out of here. Me, too.

Although, sometimes, I have to admit, even the The Shitty isn't too shitty:



Especially when spending time with friends:


As in when Jim and Lisa visited. Even though Jim, upon learning I'd taken this photo, was heard to say, "F*ck that. I don't want to be in your f*ucking blog." Nice.

But... the vast majority of the time it is (shitty).

I had to go to the customer service desk (don't ask) at the local grocery store tonight. (Actually, it's one of two shitty grocery stores in The Shitty, which are right next door to each other. How shitty is that?) There's no one around (natch). So, I ring the handy little bell on the counter. Still no one. An idiotic teenage boy-clerk, in an apparent effort to rustle up someone for me, yelled across the store, "Hey! Someone's stealing from the safe!"

What a comedian!

Isn't that sort of tantamount to "joking" about bombs in an airport? Where's a Federal Marshall when you need one?

Then, earlier in the week, I went to an "office supply store". First, that there are even offices in this place amazes me, but not when you see their supply store. Anyway. They had a small, decorated Xmas tree in one of the aisles. Yes, I said, "in." Of course, while I was waiting on line just a few feet away, some poor woman brushed by it and CRASH. It had a horsy theme and all the little clay horses scattered about on the floor. The manager came by and told the woman not to worry, that she herself had brushed by it and nearly knocked it down three times that very day! (So, why in the world was it still in the same spot? That's the Shitty for ya.) I spied one of the horses with a broken off foreleg. You know me: I could not help picking it up and offering it to the idiot-manager, saying, "I think he needs to be put down." Nary a snicker. What do these people want from me? My Shittiest material?

I did finally find a place to do my hair. No, not this one:


Nor, this one:


Yes, it's also a place that cuts hair:


And, in fact, Tim did go - twice and proclaimed it not bad. As we all know, he is far more forgiving than I.

The place I went to (and thank you so much to the dear reader, Mary, who sent me the web site listing hair salons. You meant well. It is not your fault I cannot show my picture in this entry) was recommended as "the" place to go. (There's a "the" place in The Shitty?) Well... my haircut wasn't bad. Wasn't good, but wasn't bad. What was horrible was the rest of it. Yes, we gals want a great cut, but we also want to feel pampered when we go to a salon.

The stylist is a huge bear of a guy. Fine. However, he treats his customers (at least this one) as if we were Stephen Colbert dipped in the sweetest honey. I was pawed - and not in a good way. When he towel-dried my hair, I thought I was going to be decapitated. When he wanted to come at me from another angle, he didn't just turn my chair - oh, no. He slammed into it with his hips. Ask me to turn my head? Why would he do that? Nope, he grabbed my chin in his mitts and yanked my noggin around. Finally, there was a funky smell. I didn't say anything, as I just wanted outta there. But soon, one of his other stylists could not help but notice.

"I think the bean dip's gone bad." I'll say. My guy, who is the owner of the place, couldn't smell it. They kept bantering back and forth. Such gems from her as, "I'm going to puke" while actually holding a towel to her mouth. After he wondered aloud if it might be some dead rat in the back, he finally asked me if I smelled it, too. I admitted I did. Big mistake. He went off in search of. I'm not sure if he ever found anything, but I was left in the chair with wet (yes, rat-like) hair until his return.

I shall not (return, that is).

Best Restaurant in Crescent City: Bistro Gardens. (We would frequent it, anywhere.)

2nd Place - none.

Worst Restaurant - too numerous to mention.

January 4, 2009

A "Pleasant" Interlude

We're headed to Southern California, so needed to find a place to land for a night along the way. How to decide... how to decide. Well, turns out there's not much at about the half-way point (south of the Bay Area) - especially when one of the criteria is that there's an In 'N' Out nearby. (You all know how I feel about my Double Ds.)

Although this was our (OK, my) idea all along, it was only reinforced by one of the "new" (ie to us) restaurants we tried in Crescent City (and I'm not naming the place, which should tell you something) just before we left. Tim asked the waiter how the hamburgers were. He replied, "Well, they're not In 'N' Out." Unfortunately, great customer service is no substitute for good food. 'Nough said.

So, we're staying in an RV park at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds for the night. Didn't see much of the town. The In 'N' Out, however, was superb.

And, guess what awaited me in my inbox? This fabulous (and much needed after a long day of driving - not that I drove, of course), pick-me-up from Angel, who I sent autographed Queenly bookplates to (so she could, as she wrote, "give a special gift this holiday season….the gift of laughter.") - her lovely family with their gifts:


(That's Angel's dad, Pete, then clockwise: her mom, Barbara, her aunt, Rose, her sister, Ann Marie. Sitting down on the chair is her grandmother, Ann, and that's Angel, herself, kneeling in front.)

I was so touched she got them all an autographed copy of QUEEN OF THE ROAD for Christmas, but then I realized: You do actually like your family, right, Angel?

January 11, 2009

A Woman of Impeccable Taste

We were in Mira Loma for a couple of days (more on why, later). Two days (count 'em - two) before we left to come here, I was friended on Facebook by a woman who loved my book and just happened to have started working at…(cue karmic music)... the Mira Loma Borders. She said she loved QUEEN OF THE ROAD so much, she even picked it as a book club pick at her previous Borders in Riverdale (where, everyone else loved it to. I'm just sayin'...) As you know, I hadn’t posted anything about coming to Mira Loma on this blog or Facebook, or anywhere. I guess as Tim and I are getting closer to Boulder, we can't escape The People's Republic and its ugga bugga charms.

Of course, we had to stop at the Mira Loma Borders to meet this woman of impeccable taste. (She was just as lovely in person as online.) And, here she is:


Borders, take note: Leslie Johnston Perdue is going places!

January 13, 2009

A Resort Fit For A Queen

About a month ago, I got an email from a lovely man who wrote that he was enjoying my book and, "We also drive a Prevost and so do 20-30 of our close friends. I just ordered 20 books from Amazon to give my Prevost buddies."


As I responded, "My own mother didn't buy 20 books." (If the Queen Mother is reading this, of course I appreciate everything you do do for me - although 20 books would have been nice, too.) Since he said he lived in one of three "motorcoach resorts" in Indio, California, I, of course, asked if there might be a clubhouse and any interest in one of my patented book readings/signings/royal shticks. One thing led to another and...

OK. Here, I'm fessing up: I wish I had a picture of the lovely crowd, but I don't. With all the excitment of the day, I completely forgot to take one. But, trust me that a lovely crowd of about 75 people came out to see the Queen. Many had already read the book and were extremely kind (OK, fine - to my face, anyway).

Thusly, many, many royal thanks to Dwayne and Carol Herman. And, many, many royal thanks to Tom and Pat Sims who arranged the clubhouse, extensively spread the word and even had us over to their casita beforehand.

What's a casita, you ask? I had no idea these places existed, either. Again, I wish I had a picture, but (oh, wait. I'm a writer. Let's see how good I am... )

So, it's like a whole community, see? It's gated, see? Instead of townhomes, you got a very small house (casitas - get it?), with a kitchen and great room that has a Murphy bed. There's a garage and driveway. In all the driveways, are the rigs. Some people sleep on their Murphy beds, some in their rigs at night. The weather's always nice (it's near Palm Springs, after all), so going outside to sleep is no biggie. That's why each casita has a small pool and hot tub, too.

Fine. You have no idea what I'm talking about. Here's the website for Desert Shores Motorcoach Resort.

(And yes, next time I really will get to what we were doing in Mira Loma. And, I do have pictures of that!)

January 18, 2009

We Get Lubed

Since we were in the neighborhood, we figured we'd head out to Mira Loma (near San Bernardino), to get our bus serviced. We needed it lubed and oiled and just generally checkout out. Mira Loma is one of five cities in the country that has a Prevost repair shop. We visited several of them (don't ask) on our QUEEN OF THE ROAD trip. While some other repair places make you move out of your rig for days while you're being serviced, Prevost not only lets you stay in your rig, but even in their lot.

It's a huge place with tons of buses, most of them belonging to touring companies (ie, "seated coaches"), but occasionally, we'll have a brush with a celebrity bus (Whoopi - call me!). In the midst of all those buses parked for various lengths of time (they also sell some on their lot), is a row of hook-ups next to a grassy patch (Prevost is not only thoughtful of their customers, but of their customers' dogs) where people like us can stay a few days. There's even an In 'n' Out nearby, and you know how I feel about my In 'n' Out. Which reminds me: Really, In 'n' Out, I have to question your customer service, since our prior experience appears to be no anomaly. Now, whenever I order my "two double-doubles, protein-style" at any location, your cashier looks at both Tim and me and asks, "Do you want fries with that?" Listen up! I'm a real woman with a real appetite and Tim hasn't ordered yet! What do you want from me?

Sorry (you know how I feel about my In 'n' Out), back to Prevost. Here are two of the gals that always make us feel welcome:


Nicole Wilson and Delene Tawater, the Service Coordinator.

We had a 2 pm appointment, but that got changed a couple of days before and we were told we had to be there by 8:30 am. You know how I hate to get up early. (Imagine how much Tim hates it when I have to get up early.) But, we made it (and, believe me, I take no credit on that count).

Once our bus was in the service bay, Tim asked, "They're putting the bus up on the hydraulic lift. Do you want to stay inside or come to the customer lounge?"

"Are you insane? I'm going back to bed." And, I did. In the bus. (I doubted Prevost wanted me to take the word, "lounge," too literally. Besides, although they have a TV, wash-dryer and internet connection there, I didn't see a bed.) We have a white-noise machine in out bedroom, so I was able to sleep undisturbed while the bus was worked on and PN followed the mechanic around, asking questions and adding to his already impressive and excruciatingly detailed knowledge of bus guts. I'm sure you know how sorry I was to miss that.

I awoke upon feeling the engine start, and then the bus move. Assuming Tim was driving us to our hook-ups on the lot, I made my way up front. Unfortunately, I hadn't counted on Prevost being quite as full service as it is, because in fact, Tony, the technician who had worked on our rig, was parking us in our space. Our bus is configured in such a way that I really couldn't tell it was Tony until I was almost upon him and a "Hey, honey!" had escaped from my lips. Of course, I was still in my PJs, but I guess Tony has seen it all, as he was not only unfrazzled, but didn't even retch or anything. I mean, come on: A middle-aged, married woman in her flannels at one o'clock in the afternoon - oops! I hadn't mentioned it was one o'clock, had I? - apparently coming on to you. That is just so BLECH on so many levels. (For all I know, Tony's already filed his Workman's Comp claim. Sorry, Prevost!)

Here's the view we had from our bus of the rest of the lot:


Sadly, we were told most of those buses are for sale (such a deal you could get!), due to many of these touring companies going under. We actually found our bus this way, in 2003, on a Volvo (they own Prevost) repo lot in TN.

If ya see anything ya like, I'm sure Delene will hook you up. Anyone want to caravan with us?

January 22, 2009

Indiana Goes Royal and Some Book Recommendations!

A little while ago, I did my first book group in Indiana (Carmel, to be exact). A lovely lady emailed "I chose this book for our club and you know the pressure that brings." Oh, indeed I do! She continued she then noticed, "you love calling into book clubs," (indeed I do, as well), and we arranged the "meeting." Although I cannot verify, Lori assured me that one of the martinis from the book would be served. Judging by the laughter on the other end of the line, I tend to believe her.


Lori says, "I'm the short one." Ah, yes. I can relate.

It's so interesting to me that every book club I "visit" has different questions and we get into different discussions. Why is this surprising? Well, every radio interview (at least those of the standard 10-15 minute length) I do is basically the same. Same questions, same answers. No wonder I can (and, for the EST am drive shows do), do them in my sleep. (No matter what time they are - I do them in my Royal PJs, of course. Right now, my favs are pink flannels with black poodles on them. OK, OK. I'm as predictable as those radio shows.) I can always tell if the host has actually read the book, because then, even for the afternoon drive shows, I get the question, "Are you in your PJs right now?"

In any event, one of the things this book group and I discussed were other books we'd read. I shall trust the gals not to divulge which ones I didn't care for (ah, Lori, I do hope I spared you that embarrassment), but I did recommend a few they might not have heard of that I've recently read: Susan Breen's THE FICTION CLASS and Kristy Kiernan's, CATCHING GENIUS and MATTERS OF FAITH. All three would make wonderful discussion books, and indeed, I hope to blog about my own book group's thoughts about them once we return to Boulder.

And no, alas, I do not call in to my own book group to join the discussion while we're on the road. As you can imagine, I'm in a lazy book group - we always meet in restaurants. For all the gals that cook for each other - I tip my crown to you!

What are some of your favorite discussion books?

January 27, 2009

Pimp My Walker!

I think I have the best readers. Really. I've "met" so many of you online (and some off - I mean "off-line," not that you are off, and who better than me to judge?). Since I am a physician, I suppose I have to provide some actual evidence. Fine. Herewith, a video of one of my fabulous readers, Casey, in Southbridge, MA. Her equally fabulous daughter, Theresa, tells me her mother has 11 children (!) and "around" 40 grand and greatgrands. (I can see why it would be hard to keep count.) Check out this video a couple of the grands made, starring Casey. She's not only an inspiration, but even more importantly in Our Realm, has a wicked sense of humor.

Granny Casey, you are fly! (That's a good thing, right?)

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About January 2009

This page contains all entries posted to What Do You Want From Me? by Doreen Orion in January 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2008 is the previous archive.

February 2009 is the next archive.

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