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April 2009 Archives

April 2, 2009

Temecula - Don't Worry, It's Not Catching

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the gals in that fabulous Lopez Island, WA book club recommended QUEEN OF THE ROAD to her sister and I hoped that didn't mean she hates her. Well, I guess she doesn't, as Kristy (sister of Jane from Lopez) liked it enough to bring it to her book club in Temecula, CA. (It's a lovely town in So Cal; it only sounds like something you'd want to be innoculated against.) Although, I suppose it's possible that Jane hates Kristy and Kristy hates her book club, but really. Let's just assume the best for once, shall we?

This book club has sisters of its own. Can you tell?


(That's Susan on top, then L to R: Lisa, Diana, Dana, Linda, then bottom row L to R: Becky and Katie. So, nu? Who are the sisters? Susan and Becky.)

While almost all of the book clubs I call in to comment on how "wonderful" Tim is (yawn), this one also mentioned how nice it must have been for him to "have a wife who made him laugh and was such a good sport about going on a trip she didn't want." They really said that. And no, they didn't sound too drunk or anything when they did. Of course, I told Tim (conveniently leaving out yet another night of Project Nerd-directed superlatives). His response?

"Oh, yeah. That's exactly how it happened." Fine.

Diana leaves May 4th for her own RV adventure - four months in Alaska. She doesn't want to go. (Sounded like she was having some anticipatory RV anxiety of her own, but as I always say, "I gave at the office" - sorry, Diana.) Her husband just retired and this is his dream. Sound familiar? Might I suggest that you do what I did: Grow a prodigious bus butt to show your darling hubby that living one's dreams can have its nightmarish aspects.

April 8, 2009

Semper Paratus

I didn't know what it means, either.

The book club I called into last night sure does: Always Ready. (It's the U.S. Coast Guard's motto.) Why would they, you might ask? Well, here's how DesaRae described her club when she first emailed me:

Our common denominator is that we are all spouses of Coast Guard active duty members stationed on Staten Island, New York or Bayonne, New Jersey. Every year a third of us move to a new duty station, so each year the composition of our membership changes dramatically. Because most of us are not near family, we rely heavily on each other for support and friendship. Our book discussions are usually liberally sprinkled with what is going on in our homes.

She signed her email, "President, CG Spouses Club Book Club." Good thing, too: As Queen, I only deal with heads of state. The VP or (shudder), treasurer would never do.


From left to right: DesaRae, Rhonda, Jada, Sonia and Brett.

When we started the discussion, each of the women told me where they had lived and I do believe amongst them, covered most of the states. DesaRae has orders to leave for San Francisco in a month, and although seemed sad to leave her friends, was also hoping the move would help cancel out the Staten Island accent her twins had picked up. (Good idea - the younger the better. You should have heard my Long Island accent growing up. Oy.)In addition to being married to a Guardsman, DesaRae herself graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1994.

Sonia was once stationed in Sitka, AK and I informed her that was our favorite Alaskan town. She proceeded to one-up me, saying it was her favorite place to live, ever. In fact, when she and her husband left on the Marine Highway's ferry, he grabbed her waist so she wouldn't be tempted to hurl herself overboard and swim back.

I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of Sitka from our trip. Can you tell why we liked it so much?


Harbor Mountain


Hangin' at the RV park.

Brett has also lived all over the place, and hails from one of my favorite parts of the country, Upstate New York. Rhonda's husband has been in the Coast Guard for 24 years and she also works for the USCG as a civilian employee. Jada grew up on a small Island off the coast of ME, and it seems hadn't traveled much until she met her Guardsman husband, who has been in two branches of service for a total of 20 years.

Because they've been... well, everywhere, the gals particularly enjoyed the descrptions of places and sights in the book. I think they could also relate to being reluctant travelers at times, as I was at the start (well, OK - for a bit more than just the start) of our QUEEN OF THE ROAD trip.

When I asked how they heard of the book, it seems some paperback book swapping website had deemed it "hot," so these terribly wise women unanimously agreed to make it their April pick.

Hmmm. Pushing 50 as I am, it's been years since I thought of myself as "hot." Perhaps I'll have to rethink that, now. Poor Tim. If I do, he's likely to see a resurgeance of one of my favorite little pranks: Years ago, whenever we were in his Corvette at a stoplight, some guy in a car next to us would invariably smile and give Tim a thumbs up. I'd immediately primp, toss my hair and mouth, "thank you," to the unsuspecting man. Drove Tim nuts.

April 11, 2009

The Best State

As most of you know by now, when Tim announced that he wanted to "chuck it all" for a year and travel the country in a converted bus, I demanded to know, "Why can't you be like a normal husband in a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?" What you may not know, is that my other favorite whine during the years it took to convince me to do "the bus thing" was, "Why can't your dream include the best state?" Of course, I meant Hawaii, so was thrilled to call in to my first Hawaiian book club. (The only other time I've revealed this was during a radio interview in California. There was a moment of silence and then the host responded, "We're the best state." I think if you're trying to convince people you live in "the best state," one of the prerequisites is a sense of humor. But, maybe that's just me.)

Allison selected the book after reading about it on Bookmovement. (I'm not one to brag... well, OK. I am: The webmaster of Bookmovement emailed me the very next day after I called in to Allison's group, with congratulations that QUEEN OF THE ROAD made it to #1 on their "Book Club Bestseller List." Aloha spirit at work? You be the judge.)

To accomodate my Queenly need for beauty sleep (Hawaii is on H.A.D.T., that's Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time, ie four hours earlier than MDT where I am), the gals graciously met an hour before they usually do and at a workplace, rather than in one of their homes. I very much appreciated this supreme sacrifice, as it of course meant no libations could be served. (And, let me tell you, with the fruity drinks they have in Hawaii, that was quite a sacrifice, indeed.)


I asked the gals to take a picture of themselves in front of some gorgeous Hawaiian background. I'm sorry I did. It snowed in Denver the night before I called them. So tell me: Why couldn't Tim's dream include the best state? (From left to right: Lauren, Hollie, Stephanie, Dani, Allison, Anastasia, Jean, and Kristen.

This was quite an ecclectic group: They work as teachers, environmentalists, for a non-profit, for a shrimp company, in genetics research and one is in the Navy.

Like many of the book clubs I call in to, this one asked what my favorite place from the trip was. It was nice, for once, not to feel bad that I didn't answer "Your state."

April 15, 2009

My Therapeutic Failure

Heather and I first "met" on Goodreads last summer, so I was very pleased when she invited me to call into her Chicago-area book club. (Fine. I invited myself. What do you want from me?)

This group had the first mother-daughter pair I've encountered - Claudine, Heather's mother, who told me "I've been married 100 years." (Really, she didn't sound like it had been a day over 99.) A few years ago, Claudine's husband decided they needed to do an RV trip (what is it with men and RVs?) and she said QUEEN OF THE ROAD gave her flashbacks. Sorry, Claudine. I really had hoped my book would have some medicinal effect: Laughter is the best medicine and all that. I had no idea it could induce PTSD. Maybe future additions should come with a prescription for Valium. (Hmm. Not a bad idea. New York Times Bestseller List here I come!)


Back row, from left to right: Trish, Lori, Janice, Christine, Terri. Front row, from left to right: Liz, Heather, Julia. (Claudine is suspiciously absent. I guess if I'd been married 100 years, I wouldn't want my picture taken, either. Although, I am a bit concerned our discussion induced one of those flashbacks, and Claudine was off somewhere screaming, thinking she was careening off the road in a big rig.)

Many of the gals had traveled all over the country (except for Alaska), so it was particularly nice to hear that the book made them want to explore some of the places they hadn't seen. (At least that's sort of therapeutic, right?)

A lot of the discussion centered around the changes our bus year brought into our lives, and how we've tried to maintain the new traditions and ways of living since our return. Like other clubs, these gals were also surprised to hear that the trip was so life-changing, we plan to fix up our house, sell it and live on the bus full-time. (Project Nerd is drywalling at this very moment.)

You do realize I'm not using the Royal We for once, right? ie Sir Tim is doing all the actual "fix up our house" stuff.

Silly me. Of course you do.

April 20, 2009

A Golda-en Book Club

Oy. I really do suck at titles. This one came about because Golda (get it? Yeah, I know. What do you want from me?) did a google search on "fun book club picks" and came up with QUEEN OF THE ROAD. Thank you, Sir Google!

Her club (which meets in La Jolla), is fairly new. And they're already looking for fun books? My book club went through years of depressing, heavy reads before we tried "fun." And, I'm the only Jew in the bunch. Go figure.

As I usually do when calling in to bookclubs, I asked each of the gals to introduce themselves. Valerie was up front about not having read the book, saying she was the "slacker" of the group. Someone else chimmed in, "She brings great food!" Slacker? Hardly. Wanna join my book club, Valerie?


(Back Row, L-R) Diana, Corinne, (Front Row, L-R) Rosilyn, Valerie, Jesica, Golda.

A few of the gals had actually traveled by RV at some point in their lives (one "in a Beverly Hillbilly's motorhome with the wrong man." Double Oy!) One of my favorite parts of our discussion was when they recalled what someone said to Tim and me at the beginning of the bus thing: "I hope you have some hardship on your trip." We agreed that sometimes, it's the hard moments that are the most memorable - even life-changing. (In our case, between the fire, armed robbery and finding ourselves in a nudist RV park, I'd say that was true.)

What about you?

April 23, 2009

Buff Boys

Yeah, I know that got your attention.

Ever hear of Buffalo Exchange? If not, you don't know what you're missing. And, maybe that's a good thing. Buy, Sell, Trade can get awfully addicting.

Most of those 200 shoes I tried to stuff in the bus were from The Buff. I discovered the store during my starving student residency while living in Buff Ground Zero - Tucson, AZ. When we moved to Boulder, even though I was gainfully employed and could actually afford new clothes, I went through Buff Withdrawal. (Look, my people don't pay retail.) So, I called the Tucson headquarters several times to badger.... er, ask, "When are you opening up a store here?" Finally, they told me they had sold the franchise rights in CO.

"Well, if they want a partner, have them call me." I joked.

Yep. Tim and I are part owners of the CO Buffalo Exchanges (in Denver and Boulder).

It's a really hard job - quality control, merchandise testing and of course, annual meetings of the Buff Board:


L to R: Justin, me, Tim, Todd and Victor.

Fav Buff story: While still in Tucson, I picked up (well not really - I wasn't an owner yet, so did pay for them) the cutest little black and white cowboy boots you ever saw. I wore them one night when Tim and I went out to a comedy club there to see Paula Poundstone. She starting asking people in the audience questions, spotted my boots and wanted to know where I got them.

"Buffalo Exchange," I answered. While all the women in the audience applauded, Paula could only wonder, "What kind of town is Tucson? You exchange clothes for large, angry mammals?"

April 26, 2009

Some Hard Core Dames

Maybe it's the weather, but this Minnesota book club informed me right off the bat they were serving Prevost Princesses for their meeting. Pure alcohol, folks. Here's the recipe for those of you who didn't read the book (and, why I'm encouraging that sort of behavior, is beyond me):

Prevost Princess
3 parts vodka
1 part peach schnapps
1 part raspberry liqueur
1 robust whine (optional)

Recline on couch; command husband to assemble and shake.

This was Tam's first hosting of the book club at her house, and obviously, she has fabulous taste - both in books and martinis, of course.

And now, without further ado, here are Angie, Ira, Kathleen, Kirstin, Renee, Sally, Sara, Sarah, Shar, Sharon, Kate, Tam and Ann:


One of the Sara(h)s said her husband didn't want her to read the book, as she's the one who wants to do an RV trip. (Really? Even after reading the book?) The other chuckled when she read the mention of Homer, AK's lone stoplight, because she was actually living there when they got it. And, sorry guys who roam beaches with metal detectors: Renee said she saw one of you after she'd read the book, and couldn't stop laughing. Perhaps it's because I wrote, "How those things work, exactly, is slightly beyond the scope of this memoir and well beyond the interest of its author, but I’m certainly not the first to observe that these devices inherently attract metal and repel women." Kathleen went to one of my favorite places on earth, Walt Disney World, for her honeymoon. She said most people thought she was nuts. Not I, Kathleen. Not I.

The gals did chastize me for not getting to Duluth on our Queenly trip. I explained that there were many places we did visit - like Duluth - that just didn't make it into the book for whatever reason. (Cape Codders have also chastized me for the same reason and I've had to explain the same thing.) I'm not sure they believed me, so here's the proof: A picture of our bus at the "RV park" we stayed in for our Duluth overnight, aka Chez Sam.


I'm sure you recognize this important Duluth landmark, right ladies?

Really, it's your own fault your lovely city didn't make it into my book: If someone had insulted me, run around naked, or robbed us... As you know, plenty of lesser towns made it in for precisely those reasons.

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About April 2009

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

March 2009 is the previous archive.

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