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April 6, 2010

Between Friends


I've said before that one of the best things about being an author is getting to meet other authors. One of my absolute faves is Kristy Kiernan. Not only is she a doll, but she writes like a dream. Think literary novels a la Jodi Picoult. Don't believe me? (Hey, when have I ever lied to you? Oh. Well, if you're going to bring THAT up. Sheesh.)

Here's the Publisher's Weekly review of her latest novel, BETWEEN FRIENDS, which comes out today:

Kiernan (Catching Genius) again demonstrates her ability to portray true-to-life relationships between women. Ali Gutierrez is mother to 15-year-old Letty thanks to the egg donation of her best friend, Cora. Ali wants to have another child, but first has to convince her husband, Benny, and then Cora, to endure the process one more time.

Cora, a free-spirit who's just returned to America from a teaching excursion in Chile, has news of her own—she has a debilitating genetic kidney disease, and she's not sure how to break the news to Ali. Meanwhile, Letty's going through growing pains with her bad-news boyfriend, and when poor choices begin endangering her life, it takes all three of her parents—Benny, Ali, and Cora—to try to save her.

With realistic dialogue and pinpointed emotions, Kiernan paints a persuasive portrait of the bonds between mothers, daughters, and friends in this inspiring, heartbreaking tale.
Kristy and I "met" when I called in to her book club of Naples Divas. She even baked a Queenly cake (get the feeling she's one talented dame?)

I've read her novels, CATCHING GENIUS and MATTERS OF FAITH (which won the Florida Book Award Bronze Medal) and highly recommend both to other clubs I've called in to. They are beautifully written, great discussion books.

I haven't read BETWEEN FRIENDS, yet. (Didn't I tell you it just came out today? What do you want from me?). But, I did just order it on Amazon. Kristy also enjoys calling in to book clubs, so what's not to like?

April 12, 2010

San Francisco Travel Literature and Lecture Series


'Twas a bit daunting for this Royal to call in to a book club of travel literature buffs. I mean, these people know travel. And books. Oh, my. (And, they'd be meeting in a bookstore, so no libations to mellow out with beforehand.)

Maybe that's why they asked such interesting questions, like this: Since shrinks are known for bringing out things in people they themselves didn’t know existed, is that why Tim wanted to do the trip? Did he know you really had an inner outdoorsy/adventurous side?

You mean, Tim did the whole bus thing for me? Right. Quite the martyr, my husband. I did ask him about it after the call, though. Big mistake. He latched onto that one so fast...

"Well, of course I did it for you." I'll say it again: Right. That man is evil, I tell you. Evil.

Here's more about this fascinating group:

Founded by Tara Russell of Three Month Visa Coaching and Consulting in partnership with Books Inc (the West's oldest bookstore). As Tara says, "this is an exciting book club and lecture series for seasoned globetrotters and armchair travelers alike! We feature books and speakers to inspire you if you are currently dreaming of "hitting the road" as well as provide useful resources for planning and realizing the trip of a lifetime. Our selections cover a diverse range of travel-related topics including long-term solo backpacking, "volunteer vacations," traveling with children and living or working abroad. Our focus is connecting travel enthusiasts from around the Bay Area so we can all share resources, contacts and ideas in support of each other's travel aspirations!

Details at: http://www.threemonthvisa.com/Book_Club.html

If you're ever in San Francisco, find them on MeetUp.

April 17, 2010



Morty checking out the Halibut Capital of the World - Homer, AK.

Two years today and I still miss him terribly. I guess you can't sleep entwined with a being for 19 years and not miss him when he's gone.

I had a dream about him and Shula (it's been over 3 years for her) last night: Both of them just suddenly appeared, looking exactly like they had, behaving exactly as they had. Tim acted as if nothing was strange. In the dream, I asked him how this could be possible. He said, "We wanted them to come back to us so much, they did." I was still skeptical until Morty pooped on the carpet. Then, I knew for sure it was him. Yup. That's my Morty-Pie.

Why wasn't Miles the super poodle in the dream? Well, living in Boulder all these years, I can't get away from some reincarnation theory - what do you want from me? The cats definitely still have stuff to work out in subsequent lives. They'll be coming back for sure - probably many, many times. The poodle? What's not to like? He has achieved the perfect State of Poo - an enlightened being. No need to come back here, anymore.


I was reminiscing with my cousin, Doug, about our dearly departed pets. He reminded me about the cat from his childhood, Lucifer.

Doug worked part-time at an animal shelter, so all of their four dogs and four cats came from there. Usually, they were deemed "unadoptable" and about to be put down. They assumed Lucifer got his name because he was all black, but Doug's family would find out just how precient the name would prove.

As sweet as he was with people, he had to be the alpha animal with all other species. He got into so many cat fights, Doug finally learned how to treat most of his wounds at home. But, "Lucy" was so smart, brilliant in fact, he would let Doug do anything he wanted to tend to the wounds, without any protest. Here's another example of how smart he was, from Doug:

I could never get over how one day, while I was brushing my teeth, he came into the bathroom and jumped into the empty bathtub, which he never did. When I looked to see what he was doing, I saw that he was sitting directly on top of the drain and peeing. I was so shocked. I didn't reprimand him at all, only marveled at what he was doing. Every drop went right down the drain. Sure enough, when I walked into the kitchen, I noticed that someone had accidentally closed the basement door completely so he couldn't get to his litter box. To this day, I can hardly believe the ingenuity on his part in figuring out what the next best option was.

And, this one:

Our next-door neighbor didn't have a fenced-in yard and they had a miniature poodle. So they strung a clothesline from their house all the way to a tree at the back of their yard. From the line, they hung a long leash so that the dog could travel all along the clothesline route and as far around as the leash would reach. Well, wouldn't you know, that bastard cat figured out exactly how far the leash could reach. I caught him one day entering the yard and flopping onto the ground. Then he began rolling back and forth on his back until the dog finally noticed him. The poor pooch went running at top speed from the other end of the yard and, sure enough, just as he got literally within no more than three feet of Lucifer, he reached the end of the line, so to speak, at full speed, and got snapped up and over onto his back with quite some force. The best part was, Lucy was so certain of his measurements, he never even flinched. If he could have, I'm sure he would have chuckled. He definitely enjoyed himself.

Favorite pet stories, anyone?

April 25, 2010

Why I Love My Treadmill

I've worked out nearly daily for the last 30 years or so. Since I've always been keen on energy conservation (ie being as sedentary as possible), I knew from way back when, that I needed to add working out to my day. Now, working out in the morning is as automatic as washing my face. (Well, OK. You know me. Working out is probably even more automatic.)

I didn't start working out for the health benefits (although with an HDL of 104, in part due to all this exercise, it does kind of reinforce itself. Yeah, I'm bragging. What do you want from me?) I did it so that I could eat what I wanted (within reason). Still, I hate it.

I mean, I hate working out. And, that's why I love my treadmill.

Over the years, I've done a bunch of different workouts, from running (in college and medical school) to stairmaster (in residency), to NordicTrack (until it broke and I couldn't find a replacement part), to jumping on a mini-trampoline (while living on the bus), to jump roping (ditto). In the last few years, since we've been stationary again, we got a treadmill. Here's why I love it:

1) It means exercising indoors. (You know I prefer my nature through a window.)
2) It doesn't allow me to cheat. I can't slow down/stop because I've programmed in the speeds/time. It's sort of an antidote to my inner sloth.
3) I can do it in front of the TV, thus giving me permission to watch all the crappy realty shows I really wouldn't feel good about just sitting down and watching. (This "exercise pairing" stuff really works: if you can pair something you hate - exercise - with something you love - crappy TV - it becomes its own incentive.)

I mean, what could be bad?

Well... this, I guess: Because I can use the treadmill in the privacy of my own home, I see no need to get dressed to do it. You all know my aversion to getting dressed. Part of the perks of working at home is getting to stay in PJs all day. (Unless you're my husband, in which case, that's just not something "decent people" do.) So, why in the world do I have to get dressed to work out?

Sure, I have to wear a bra with my new-found DDDs. If I didn't, I could put an eye out. Sneakers are a must, as well. But why wear anything else when it's just going to get all sweaty and have to go right into the laundry bin? Even though Tim's the one who does the laundry, let's just say he's not exactly on board with the semi-naked workout thing. Ironic, huh, since he's the one who insisted we go to a nudist RV park.

When he works out, even at home, he puts on full work out regalia. I don't get it. And, I certainly don't get why Mr. Energy Conservation doesn't approve of the power/water savings in laundry I'm providing.

You just can't please some people.

Since the treadmill is near a window that workmen have to pass to get to our yard, if one is coming over (like he did last week), Tim will warn me, and beg me to put on shorts and a t-shirt.

"It wouldn't kill you," he says.

I wouldn't be so sure, if I were him. But, I do - put them on, that is. Largely because I don't want to be responsible for that workman's therapy bill the rest of his life.

Back to treadmills. This post was inspired by a reader of this blog who told me about her site, www.runreviews.com. It has treadmill reviews, workouts and a special section for running tips. I've been perusing it and getting some good ideas. Unfortunately for Tim, none of them include the need to be clothed.

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About April 2010

This page contains all entries posted to What Do You Want From Me? by Doreen Orion in April 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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