Project Nerd Archives

February 10, 2008

The Big House

After Reno, we headed to Crescent City, CA so Tim could do some temporary work at the maximum security, Pelican Bay State Prison which houses some of California's most dangerous inmates.

My best friend from our residency in Tucson, Alene, was recently promoted to Chief of Psychiatry at Pelican Bay. She told me there is such a psychiatrist shortage (as there is all over the country, both in and out of prisons) that the state pays really, really well for temporary assignments. She said, "Doreen, you must come here and work for me!" I replied, "Alene, I don't care if you pay me a million dollars: I will never, ever work at Pelican Bay." Then, she told me what they do pay and I quickly responded, "Tim'll do it."

Tim, aka Project Nerd, Domestic Superhero, had been busy fixing up our house so we could sell it in a couple of years and live full time in the bus. A little extra cash would certainly help. Still, I didn't actually think he'd agree to this (and I'm sure, part of the draw was getting to live in the bus again), but he did and there we went.

Alene said she'd give us a shoe tour.

“Does it have a kitten heel?” I wanted to know. She explained that the SHU – or Secure Housing Unit – is where the most dangerous of the dangerous inmates are housed. The tour was fascinating. We not only got to go into "the hole" or solitary confinment, but even into an inmate's cell when he was in the yard.

The most bizarre part was the group therapy rooms. If you think about it, you certainly wouldn't want these violent offenders loose with each other in a room - or the therapist. Instead, they each stand in their own, individual telephone booth-like contraptions with bars and plexiglass over the front. They're then lined up in a semi-circle and that's how the therapist conducts the group.

Tim's position lasted about five weeks. Although he couldn't tell me too much about the specifics of his work, he did relate the time one of the inmates commented, "I'm really not a bad guy." At the look Tim gave him, the inmate responded, "Well... there was that one night."

Slash-Proof Tim

July 3, 2008

A Celestial Seasonings Day

Yesterday, Tim and I spent the day at the ultra-fabulous Celestial Seasonings. Why is the company ultra-fabulous? You might think it's simply because it makes wonderful teas (not to mention because it picked QUEEN OF THE ROAD as its Adventures At Every Turn book club selection this summer). After spending the day there, I can tell you it's an ultra-fabulous company because of so much more: What a great place to work! I was told this again and again by the employees, although it was easy to tell - the whole ambience of the place, don'tcha know. (Yeah, yeah. The teas are the best. I know this. That's why they're the only thing I drink - before 5pm.)

Herewith, our Celestial day:

It started with a reading/signing/royal shtick in the cafeteria. Celestial Seasonings, in its infinite wisdom, purchased 300 copies of QUEEN OF THE ROAD for employees and their families. Now, isn't that a company that cares about the welfare of its workers? (And, I'm not just saying that because it was my book purchased. No place I've ever worked for has bought me any book! Uh... not you, House of Random. You made me a book - and a Queen - after all.)

Prior to the signing, I handed out boas to the employees in attendence - actually just the women. (The men, not so much - not secure enough, eh fellas?) It wasn't that I was being nice (really, don't we know each other well enough by now?) I just didn't want to feel overdressed myself - it was 10 o'clock in the morning, after all. (Sorry for all the feathers shedding all over the place. If you end up with one in your tea, you'll know why.)


Then, David Ziegert introduced me to the crowd...


... who, you can see, was already excited. (I had to remind myself they make tea. I mean, they probably get this excited... er, caffinated... every morning.)


This is me shticking. Yeah, I get into it. What do you want from me?


But, the audience seemed to, as well. (Maybe no one bothered to tell them I'm not real royalty?)


Afterwards, they had lots of questions about our story. My favorite was, "Since you're planning to sell your house and full time in the bus, where will you park?" I told them, "In the Celestial Seasonings parking lot, of course" and Dave did nod his approval, so we're all set! Hope they sell lawn gnomes in the Tea Shop.

Then, I signed all their books. They kept asking if I was getting writers' cramp. Were they kidding? Any potential pain was totally medicated by the adrenaline buzz I got soaking up their energy. (I'm way too lazy to produce my own. So, I soak. So sue me.)


By 11 am, Tim had parked the bus in front of Celestial Seasonings to give employee tours.


Then, Tim and I were treated to a fabulous lunch in Dave's office, with various of the wonderful staff. Part of the fabulous QUEEN OF THE ROAD promotion Celestial Seasonings is doing involves a recipe contest (what are you waiting for? Click that link and enter for "prizes fit for a Queen.") For dessert, they served an utterly divine Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Mousse made with their Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Herbal Tea (just reading that makes you sigh, right? Just wait 'til you try it.) The recipe (which I just printed off their website) is in the archives of the Celestial Seasonings Adventure At Every Turn Book Club. I can't wait for Tim to make it!

This is Dave, Tim and me. (Note our waaaaay cool official badges!)


And, with Jennifer and Tracie who were responsible for picking QUEEN OF THE ROAD for the book club in the first place! (Eternal thanks! You are now, officially, Ladies of the Realm.)


So, what to do... what to do after lunch. We had a little while before the signing in the Tea Shop. Hmmm....

Months ago, when we knew we'd be spending the day at Celestial Seasonings, but before we knew the itinerary, Tim (aka Project Nerd: Domestic Superhero, for those who haven't read QUEEN OF THE ROAD, and why haven't you?) informed me, "I'm going to get them to give me a private tour." I responded, "You can't ask them to do that!" But, Tim was adament. Fortunately, it didn't come to that, as when we got the day's agenda, it actually said they would be happy to give us a private tour, or we could just rest for a bit. I informed Tim about the offer, saying, "So, I told them we'd be tired and just wanted to rest." A divorce nearly ensued. Here's Tim in PN heaven with the adorable (and very patient) Jessica:


Afterwards, I headed to the Celestial Seasonings Tour Center where I signed books for visitors to the tea shop (one woman was heard to tsk tsk as she read the back cover, "They went to a nudist RV park!") and the public tour. (If you've never taken this tour of the world's most advanced tea production site, it's a must: The mint room alone is worth the price of admission - which is zero. Oh, and you also get free tea samples. Really - what are you waiting for?) While I signed books, Tim gave public tours of the bus:


Talking about the love of his life is probably Tim's favorite thing in the world.

Then, as if the company hadn't done enough for us, they gave us each presents: A Depot gift certificate for Tim and a spa package for me. (Someone there obviously already read the book.)

All that was left before we left, was to exact a promise that if a position as Company Shrink ever opens up (doubtful - everyone seems so happy, but still: It doesn't hurt to ask), Celestial Seasonings will hire one of us.

July 16, 2008

Elle Magazine Review Fit For A Queen

First, excerpts from the review (then the backstory) in the August issue (which just came out while I was in New York):

"Beneath its fun and frothy exterior, you'll find in this wild ride across America's highways and byways a lovely portrait of a marriage that treats its ups and downs with humor and grace."


"Orion regales us with Americana of all sorts as she chronicles her journey with laugh-out-loud-funny tales of the many bus mishaps and unusual situations she and her husband encounter in their year on the road. Best of all, though, is watching her transformation from a materialistic couch potato into someone who learns to appreciate experiencing life to its fullest."

Back in April, when my publisher told me that QUEEN OF THE ROAD had been selected by the book editor of Elle Magazine as as a Readers’ Jury pick for the month of August, I thought it was a big deal. I mean, why wouldn't one?

Indeed. Unless, of course, the "one" were my husband. When I informed the Royal Consort about this honor being bestowed upon his Sovereign and Wife, he screwed up his face and asked, "L Magazine? What is that, a lesbian thing?"

The dear man had never heard of Elle. Well. We, of course, promptly set him, er... straight on that score. And, We could not resist adding, "My publicist is still pitching the lesbian magazines. But, they're slow and like to take their time."

July 22, 2008

My Goy Wonder

As I do more and more book groups for QUEEN OF THE ROAD (I'll post about them later this week), a common theme seems to be emerging: The women are in love with Tim. Really. (I mean, really?) This is not something I have to use my keen powers of shrinky observation to discern. Nope. They tell me this straight out. One even went so far as to warn me to be wary (of her? other throngs of bookish women?) Oh, please. My husband isn't a normal man with normal desires (the occasional nudist RV park notwithstanding). To wit: I fear his next hare-brained scheme is that we live on a boat. (Yeah, it sounds romantic, but we know nothing about boats.) What's my proof? I've recently caught him surfing sailboat sites on the net. Why, oh why can't I have a normal husband who just surfs for porn?

Not enough for ya? OK, ladies. Let's see whatcha think of Mr. Perfect, now:

Last night, Tim and I had some bites at one of our favorite spots. He ordered lobster and because he's so perfect, offered some to me, even though he knows I won't eat it. (Although I gave up keeping kosher long ago, I still can't do the lobster thing - I just don't see the appeal of having my dinner stare at me while I dismember it.) Usually, that's the end of the interaction, but for some reason, last night he queried further.

"So, what exactly is gefilte fish?" He asked. We've been together nearly 20 years, have gone to almost that number of Passover Sedars, and now he's asking? I explained it's fish ground with eggs and flour or matzoh, molded into oblong shapes, usually served in a jellied broth. (At least the way my family buys 'em.)

"Really?" He asked, dipping that other white meat into a luscious turine of warm butter. "And you call yourselves the 'Chosen People'"?

Fine. He's perfect - and funny.

Thanks so much for your support.

September 24, 2008

Tim's Demented Aunt and Jim's Unit

Tim was gone most of last week, visiting his buddy Jim at some God-forsaken cabin Jim's sister and her husband are building in Westcliff, Colorado. It's not even actually in Westcliff. That would probably be too civilized for them.

Linda and Joe are truly off-the-grind kinda people. They work when they have to (as engineers at a major tech firm), just so they don't have to work - like, terribly much. That's why they're building this thing (and I do mean they are building it) as a summer home in that God-forsaken place.

When Jim first invited Tim down for a visit, I called his wife, Lisa, who happens to be a close friend of mine, as well.

"Lisa! Let's also meet there. It'll be great to see you!" I exclaimed.

"Uh... Doreen," she stammered. "I-I don't think you realize what this place is like." She went on to explain that it's beyond rustic. So much so, that she's never even been there. Like, they just got indoor plumbing. They use solar power, so essentially freeze at night - well, there is the wood-burning stove for the entire thing. They're so far from anywhere, in fact, they only go to the supermarket once a month.

"OK, Lisa. I really want to see you - but not that much," I conceded.

"Me, too."

Jim takes his RV to the cabin when he drives from their home in Prescott, Arizona to visit Linda and Joe. He calls his rig his "unit."


He and Tim slept in it.


This is why they didn't sleep in the cabin:




The morning Tim left me at home, he said good-bye with a concerned look on his face.

"OK, Sweetie. I did the laundry, so you should have clean underwear. The dishes in the dishwasher are also clean - I just ran it last night. I gassed up your car, so you've got a full tank. There's - "

"You know, it's not like you're leaving your demented aunt alone for the week." He shot me a dubious look.

"Fine." I continued. "So how come you didn't hire a sitter?" His face lit up.

"You think there's still time?"


When Tim got home, the first thing he noticed was that the electric blanket was on the bed.

"You used the electric blanket?" You would think he knows me well enough after nearly 20 years not be incredulous about my inability to maintain any modicum of body heat - even while it was still officially summer.

"The bed just wouldn't warm up without you in it." He shook his head and gave me a look of despair.

"That's because you have no soul."

Very nice.

The second thing he noticed is that I was in my PJs. It was 4 pm. (Those of you who know me know it was most definitely not because I had gotten ready for bed early.)

But, something was amiss.

“Sweetie, is your nightgown inside out?” I looked down.

“Yeah. I guess it is,” I shrugged.

“Sweetie, PLEASE take it off and turn it right. It’s bad enough if people see you in it all day, but if it’s inside out, they’ll start offering to help me toilet and feed you.”

Very, very nice.

Finally, that night, we saw on TV it was something called "National Stay at Home Week." They pay someone to think up this stuff? I proudly proclaimed, "See? I'm ahead of my time." Tim, recalling that the gas gauge on my car still indicated, "full" upon his return, rolled his eyes.

''Only a week? Amateurs."

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.

August 20, 2009

I Went to Arkansas and All You Get Is This Lousy (and Late) Blog Post

During our layover in Dallas, dear, sweet Tim, never one to miss an opportunity to egg on my airplane phobia (now that my bus phobia is largely cured) made a big point of saying, "Did you see the plane we're flying into Ft. Smith?"

This is what he made me look at:


Tim, of course, immediately got into full Project Nerd, Domestic Superhero mode when we landed. Here he is doing some important something or other on Bob's tractor:


What IS it about men and tractors? I don't mean what men see in tractors, I mean what women see in men in tractors. I mean, I was almost ready to move to a farm. Almost.

The manliness could not last, however, as here he is fixing a toilet - with Frances' screwdriver:


Isn't it cute? I'd want one if I'd ever use it.

Still, Tim somehow managed to take time out to make (yet another) mockery of me, by making me feed the horses. Note the difference in how I do it:


vs. how he does it (also note Frances' giant, some might say "mutant," zucchini):


They seem not to like me. The feeling appears to be mutual:


Can you say, "Ewwwww!" (I've really never seen the appeal of riding one of these things. I mean, giving a very large, very dumb beast complete control over my Royal Personage? No thanks!)

Apparently, a lot of things need feeding on farms. Here we are at the catfish pond (note I am completely covered to the waist - no chiggers are gonna git me this trip!):



See the mouth in the lower right? It gave me nightmares (as I'm sure my mouth, ie "Ewwww," again, gave it).

Hey, Tim! If I'm such a bad driver, home come you let me drive Bob and Frances, huh???


Fortunately, it was eventually time for the rest of us to be fed, and even more fortunately, I wasn't the one doing the feeding:


That's me, Cousin JT, his friend, Mary, Bob and Frances.

After dinner, I noticed this across the Arkansas River from the restaurant and asked, "Oh, are they building an amusement park?" Much splitting of sides and slapping of knees, ensued.


It's actually a "sand and gravel operation" according to Tim:


And finally, my favorite line (which occured our last night, while I inspected Tim's ankles for chiggers):

Tim (bragging): "I was out all day, every day in the grass and never got one chigger! I'm immune to chiggers!"

Me (yawning): "One of your superpowers, eh?"

September 21, 2009

Lion (Not Tigers or Bears, but still - Oh, My!)

I saw a mountain lion in our backyard last night.

I wish I had taken a picture, but I was too busy slamming the door shut (only the screen was closed). I was lion (sorry, couldn't resist) in bed with my laptop (yeah, I know, what else is new?) and something caught my eye through the window. It was only 6:30pm, so still light out. I figured it was one of the foxes (and yes, more pictures are forthcoming soon) but... no.

We live adjacent to open space, and the beast apparently jumped the fence and sauntered on over into our yard. I leapt out of bed (yeah - the fastest I've moved in quite a while. What do you want from me?) to close the door, because the lion was only about 10 feet from it. The motion/noise startled the thing and it ran off.

I called 911 to ask if I should report this somewhere. The operator took the report, and sent two officers out to the house. I didn't know they were coming or I would have (not baked a cake! Geez!) gotten dressed. Yep, I was in my PJs - and rather ratty ones, at that (even for me), since Tim isn't home. (He's out doing a camping trip with a buddy - more on that later this week.)

The officers said when they got to the house, they saw a flash of an animal running, so figured it was the lion, but searched the property, anyway. I told them they could have seen a fox or deer, as we have plenty of them (and yes, we do live in the city). One of the officers said with a smile, "Probably not so many, now."

I asked if mountain lions come through screen doors (it was hot and I wanted to keep it open). The officers responded, "Not usually."

Not usually? Guess who was sweating all night.

A Division of Wildlife officer called me later to follow up. He asked if the lion had a collar (it didn't - so it wasn't one they've been tracking). When I told him how it ran away, he said, "You're lucky. A lot of them aren't afraid of people."

Of course, I called my neighbors to warn them... well, at least the ones we like. As for the ones we hate? Let's just say there was a steak in the fridge that, if only my pitching arm were better and their fence wasn't so high...

I also called Tim. He was quite jealous. It's funny that such an outdoorsy guy, who is always hiking, camping and in the yard doing... well, yard stuff, has never seen a moutain lion, but fresh air-challenged me has now seen two since we've lived in Boulder. (The other was about 10 years ago when we lived in the mountains.)

When I told Tim which PJs I'd been in to greet the officers, he asked, "When they left, did they tell you they hope you feel better?"

September 28, 2009

My Man's Annual

We women have ours, why shouldn't they have theirs? In this case, my man's annual is his camping trip with buddy Jim.

I think I'll stick with my gynecological exam, thank you very much.

Once again, Tim met Jim at Jim's sister's terribly rustic cabin in Westcliffe, CO. After a couple of days there, the two friends took Jim's "unit" (oh, stop! That's what he calls his RV)


and went off to camp in some God-forsaken place in Gunnison, near the Continnental Divide.

As I mentioned in my post last year about this trip, Jim's sister and brother-in-law are not normal. They built the cabin themselves, she chops wood, etc. They live there completely off the grid (I'm talkin' solar panels and batteries). When they built the thing over a summer, they spent 12 hour days 6 days a week doing it, while camping (and I mean camping, like a tent and stuff). Once a week, they'd make the long trek into town for a proper shower. Need I say more? Told ya: Not normal.

Here's Tim with Jim's dogs and Linda's dogs:

(Actually, the one thing I was jealous about re his trip was that he got to be around so many pets. That's Roberto the DILF facing Tim.)


Tim says, "What defines the Continnental Divide is that rivers that start on the east side of it flow to the eastern US and rivers that start on the west of it flow to the western US." Is he pulling my leg? Then again, I just found out that the thing about toilets in Australia flushing the opposite way is true. Who knew? (Fine, you did. What do you want from me?)


Linda and her husband (I guess Jim knows me well enough by now) asked Tim what I was going to do at home, by myself, while he was away. He told me that after he answered, "She's going to go to her favorite take-out place and get enough food to last while I'm gone so she doesn't have to leave the house, again," much hilarity ensued.

He says they didn't believe him.

One thing I did do while Tim was gone was watch all the chick flicks I'd Tivo'd that I know Tim would never want to see. As you can imagine, I hate going out to movies, although you may be surprised to learn, the least of it is the going out part. I don't like being around people talking, coughing, etc. while I'm trying to hear what's going on. I like to eat my own snacks. Most of all, at my age, I like to be able to pause to go to the bathroom. What really did it was the last movie I saw.

It was Munich. In 2005. (Told you I hate going to movies.) I loved that movie, but at 3.5 hours, there was no way I could hold it that long, so missed a few minutes going to the bathroom. It wasn't just me: I went with a friend who is about 20 years younger than me, and her bladder also couldn't last that long. There's a reason Gone With The Wind included an intermission. So, we took turns and filled each other in. But, still.

Here's what I saw while Tim was gone (and I enjoyed all of them): Something New, Dreamgirls (yes, I only just saw it. Told ya), and Friends With Money.

Here's what I ate.

And, finally: Here's what I looked like after Tim's return.

(Ah... nevermind.)

October 19, 2009

Project Nerd 1, Bear 0.

It's not that we live somewhere in the country. Oh, no. We live in the City of Boulder. Doesn't seem to matter to the critters in these here parts, though. In just the past few weeks, we've seen fox (I know I owe you pictures. What do you want from me? Oh, pictures. OK), raccoon, a mountain lion and now, evidence of bear:


We've been seeing plenty other evidence of bear (if you get my drift), but nothing quite this dramatic.

Tim would like me to note that the bear is so smart, it didn't try to destroy the entire door, just the part around the latch.

Still, by the next day, it was no match for PN:


I guess that means he's smarter than the average bear.

Bring it on, Yogi and Boo Boo!

Yeah, I'm such a name dropper, but I actually did meet Yogi on our QUEEN OF THE ROAD trip, in an RV park in South Dakota:


(He's as nice in person as he seems on TV.)

October 24, 2009

Bear 1, Project Nerd 1 (Talk About Fatal Attraction!)

Dear Cindy Bear,

As Yogi's girlfriend, you were always so prim and proper. What happened? Fine. I suppose I shouldn't have told you and yours to "bring it on," after the tear-the-shed-door-off-its-hinges incident. For that, I am truly sorry.

When Tim and I heard a rustling outside our bedroom last night, little did we know you and your two cubs (they're Yogi's, right? They look just like him) were trying to get into the garage.


Tim says this is going to be much harder to fix than the shed door, because of all the raking and chewing you did. How about just knocking next time?

I'm also very sorry we scared you when we opened the bedroom door, screaming and banging, trying to get you to stop. We won't bother you, again. The noise you made very clearly illustrated how much you value your privacy.

That's why we were surprised when you returned 30 minutes later.

Tim, deciding you're no average bear, said we should store our garbage in the furnace room in the basement, but I was afraid you'd take that as an invitation to enter the house. No offense, but after what happened between Yogi and me, I just don't trust you around my husband. So, I did some research and feel it's only fair to warn you that we're placing ammonia-soaked pick-a-nick baskets in some of your favorite spots this evening. Please don't get mad, again. It's just that... we kinda like our doors. Seems you do, too. (Did you know our neighbors have even nicer, tastier ones? Promise! I wouldn't lie to my all-time, absolute favorite cartoon character.)

Speaking of Yogi, this isn't a jealousy thing, is it Cindy? Look, I know while at Jellystone, I slipped away from Tim whenever I could, so Yogi and I could be together...


But, Yogi loves YOU. It was just a fling. I don't mean anything to him. Tim's gotten over it. Why can't you? What do you want from me, already? (In addition to my doors.) I'm also sorry I posted this:


I didn't mean to rub your impressive nose in my muzzling in on your den. I'll make a deal with you: I'll destroy the picture, if you leave me, mine and our doors alone. I'll just have the memories. (And, what memories they are!)

If it makes you feel better, you should know that back then, I was two-timing Yogi with my own beast at the park:


On the bright side, this entire episode finally provided an answer to something that's been puzzling me: Why we're seeing so many more critters of every stripe and spot this year than we ever have before. Well, after researching how to disuade you from coming around, I realized that this is the first fall we've spent at the house since Miles died two years ago. He used to pee all over the yard. Ammonia. Who knew he was a working dog?

Or, that you'd be afraid of poodle pee.

Wishing you a restful - and long - hibernation,

PS - You carry those extra pounds you're having to pack on this time of year quite well.

November 17, 2009

Cook It or Kill It?

When Tim came home last night from grocery shopping (yes, he does that, too), I unpacked this:


I reached for my phaser and set it to "kill." (If you doubt I always have it at the ready nowadays, you haven't read the recent entries about the wild, ferocious animals traipsing through our backyard.)

Fortunately, Tim told me to "stand down." "Fortunately," because he had other plans for this mutant mushroom that I still maintain could have sucked out our brains while we slept:


Good thing I'm not responsible for our sustenance (or much of anything else, I know you're thinking) around here.

December 7, 2009

Come On PN, Light My Fire

How much wood could a boychick chuck if a boychick could chuck wood?

Sometime during the renovation of our house, Tim decided we needed to install an energy-efficient stove in the fireplace. He was all excited that it would "burn clean" - whatever that means.

I did warm to the idea, however, when he said it would allow us to burn wood all winter and heat the house to levels not allowed me since before our marriage.

Oh, the deprivation!

I have to admit, the stove, plus the extra roof insulation we put in, really does the trick. In fact, since I have a home office and can deduct utilities, after sending off the info to our tax guy, he told me to recalculate, "unless you're sitting in the dark and cold all winter."

I'm sure if Project Nerd had his druthers...

Anyway. I wouldn't have agreed to the whole stove thing if I had known I was expected to participate in the wood-gathering process.

Tim got a permit to chop down (dead) trees for wood on BLM land. He asked if I wanted to come.

D: Why would I want to do that?

T: We could spend time together. Outdoors.

D: Why would I want to do that?

T: Well, there is the part where I cut my leg off with the chain saw. So, it sure would be nice to have company.

What does he want from me? Our cell phones don't work out there, I don't know how to drive his truck, and didn't he remember I'm a shrink?

D (in case of accident or injury): Gee, sweetie. How does it feel to have your leg severed?

After he agreed to treat me to lunch, I agreed to go. He seemed surprised.

D: (Magnanimously) It's the least I can do.

T: Oh, so you've done the calculation?

What a guy.

Once we got up to Nederland, the nearest "town" to the area we were headed (and even weirder than Boulder. Doubt it? How about the annual festival to Frozen Dead Guys?) Tim announced he wanted to stop at the grocery store for donuts. He figured he needed the sugar for fortification. It's apparently part of the tree-cutting ritual. Who knew?

The woman at the check-out was quite impressed that he'd actually written the price and number of donuts on the self-service bag. She said she could tell he wasn't from around there.

Since Tim was driving, I needed to nagavate... er, navagate. Needless to say we missed several turns, undoubtedly because he insisted I use the BLM map. Let me tell you, those forestry service people have about as much conception of forests as I do. What's with all the squiggly lines? While I was busy trying to read the thing, Tim employed one of his favorite tricks and turned into exactly where he wanted to go, saying "Let me pull off the road, so I can help you with the map." By the time I look up to growl, "I don't need your help," I realize he doesn't need mine.



He actually looks like he knows what he's doing.


This is the part where pretending I'm doing something really important and can't be disturbed comes in handy.


Upon hearing that I had accompanied his son, Bob wanted to know, "Did Doreen help you put the logs in the truck?"

Oh, dear readers. Surely you know me better than Bob does.

Yes, indeed, I stayed in the truck the entire time. Just like I stayed inside while Tim was trimming the tree just outside my office window the other day. Note the rope and chain saw:


Tim explains: I was cutting down a dead limb on a steep hillside, so before I cut the limb, I tied a rope to one end and tied the other end to a big tree in the yard so that when the limb was cut loose, it wouldn't tumble all the way to the bottom of the hill.

Yeah, get all Newtonian on me, with your precious Physics for Majors and lofty Law of Gravity. I prefer Newton's First Law. You know, the one where a body at rest stays at rest.

February 11, 2010

Saab Story

I'm not the most mechanical gal in the world. (Not news to you, I know.) So yesterday, when I got an undeniable, irresistable craving for Sushi for lunch, even though there was still some ice on the road, I had to go.

Fortunately, the Sushi place is only 5 minutes from our house (15 minutes if you walk - I guess) and the roads were largely clear.

Unfortunately, that didn't stop my little, old, '99 Saab from becoming possessed.

When I parked at the restaurant, I took the key out, but the radio stayed on. Huh? Same thing happened when I got home. I'm so unobservent, concrete (and after all, did take physics for non-majors) I just assumed "Hey! Look at that! Car radios stay on, even without any juice! I wonder why I never noticed before!"

When Tim came home hours later, I told him of my wonderous discovery. He promptly ran out the door. (No, I hadn't left the radio on. Even I know not to do that.)

PN explained that since the Saab's ignition was on a column on the floor, sometimes when it's cold outside, the act of pushing down the key to start it, acutally keeps the button down, so even when the key is removed, the thingy itself is still down, electricity still flowing, battery still draining.

Or, something like that.

Anyway, thought that might be useful information for any of you living in cold weather with a similar set up in your cars. Consider this a Public Service Announcement: Your car is not possessed! And, radios don't stay on on their own. (But, wouldn't it be cool if they did?)

February 15, 2010

Tim's Salmon Recipe

Several of you have asked for the recipe I mention at the end of QUEEN OF THE ROAD that's my fave thing Tim cooks.

So, here it is, hot of the presses. (He made it for Valentine's.) You can figure out how to do the green beans that accompanied it yourselves, can't you? I mean, even I probably could. But, don't worry, it won't be any time soon. As Tim says: he's become the wife he's always wanted.

Pecan-Crusted Salmon in a Spinach Cream Sauce (adapted from Atkins Best Recipes)

2 cups packed fresh spinach
1/3 cup white wine
1 large shallot
1 cup cream

1/2 cup pecans (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup Bisquick
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) salmon fillets

Mix spinach, wine and shallots in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes. Cool slightly: puree sauce in blender until fairly smooth. Return to saucepan to heat; add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat over to 350. In a food processor, pulse pecans, bake mix, basil, salt and peer until nuts are nicely chopped. Trransfer to a bowl and mix in butter.

Grease a large baking sheet. Place salmon on sheet. Spread fillets evernly with pecan mix. Bake 15 minutes or until cooked through. Serve on sauce.

Then, serve beaming sweetie.

March 7, 2010

Julie & Julia & Tim

Poor Tim. He not only had to sit through Julie & Julia with me last week, but then, had to make her Boeuf Bourguignon.

'Twas divine.

He said that when he went to our local liquor store to get the Burgundy needed for the recipe, all he could find were expensive bottles.

Tim (to clerk): Do you have any inexpensive bottles of Burgundy I can use in a recipe?

Clerk (snorting): Boeuf Bourguingnon?

Tim (sheepishly): Yeah. My wife just rented that movie.

Clerk: Follow me. I'll show you what I use.

Tim and Clerk (in unison, complete with eye rolls): Women.

If you're wondering how come I'm just getting around to this movie now, I explained in a previous post why I don't go to movies. Let's just say it's been awhile.

And, by the way, I did take a picture of this fabulous dish while it was still in the pot, but after an inordinate amount of time on the phone with tech support (there are no four-year-olds in the neighborhood to ask), I apparently need a new thingy to put in the doohickey of my camera before I can post any pictures.

Glad that's all cleared up.

March 18, 2010

A German Queen


You didn't think I meant Emma of Altdorf, Queen of the East Franks, did you? What do you want from me? And, what kind of royal title is Queen of Franks, anyway? In the Kingdom of Oscar Meyer, perhaps? I'll take Queen of the Road any day, thank you very much. Especially since one of Emma's sons was known as "Charles the Fat." (Yeah. Try getting away with that in my kingdom.) Must have been all those hot dog buns.

The German edition of QUEEN OF THE ROAD just came out. It's called, A Woman - A Bus: With Husband, Poodle and 100 Pairs of Shoes Across America. And I thought I was bad at titles.

(OK, and here I'm going all Jewish mother on you): At least the cats aren't alive to see themselves left off the cover!

Seriously though, I do love the way the book looks and feels, as well as the cover art. If any German readers come to the blog, I'd LOVE to know how "Project Nerd" was translated.

Here's what they did with the synopsis (can anyone say, "lost in translation" in German?):

A Manhattan Princess in a mobile dwelling.

Doreen and Tim Orion [Tim just LOVES being called, "Tim Orion"] keep up a wonderful marriage, even when they both are diverse beings. Until Tim had an idea: He wants a refurbished bus to take a trip through the USA.

Until today Doreen does not know how Tim - a true nature lover - talked her into this. Probably with a trick - as at their first date. Nevertheless sits the whimsical shopping Princess [whimsical shopping Princess?] with shoes [I've never actually sat with my shoes, but it sounds like an interesting concept] in a refurbished bus, traveling with her man through the USA, with a giant poodle and two self-willed cats [I think they'd have liked that]. How Doreen between Alaska, tornados [what tornados - was I asleep in the back for that?] and nudist camps [OK. That, I remember] kept her majestic demeaner of "Queen of the Road" to rise above it all. That she did not commit murder therefore, shows how extremely humorous and warmhearted this book is. [Just what I was thinking: Murder might have detracted from the trip.] An American travelogue so entertaining as if coming from the pen of Bill Bryson. [Well, OK. All is forgiven.]

A Royal Wave-Out to the Queen Mother for Yiddish, as well as German Dictionary support, and especially Prince Henry (I almost called him, "The Queen Father," but that's kinda like calling my husband, "Tim Orion") for the actual translation from German to English.

November 7, 2010

Kill Me!

After hanging up from a particularly vexing tech support phone call, I couldn't help exclaiming, "KILL ME!"

Tim, who was in the room next door, sang out, "Be right there!"

December 2, 2010

Good SamariTim

After reading my book, many ladies (and even some gents) tell me that my husband is "too good to be true." And, they say it like they don't believe he really is as I portrayed.

Well, all you naysayers, behold the latest Project Nerd exploit:

Tim walks early (natch) every morning in our neighborhood. It was terribly cold a few days ago and he was just about to turn around when he heard a woman say, "Hello."

Not, he insists, "Hello" as in "Hi, handsome, how are you?" but as in, "Help! I need your attention." (That's why, he says, he didn't just keep turning around.)

He was wearing earphones and a winter hat, so couldn't tell exactly where the voice came from, but couldn't see anyone anywhere and was about to walk away, when he heard the voice shout, "I'm up here! On the roof!"

He looked up and spotted a 60ish year-old woman in sweat pants, t-shirt and no shoes, standing on a small balcony on the second floor of her home. He, of course, walked right over. She asked if he had a cell phone, so he could call someone to help her get down.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, PN asked, "Why can't I help you get down?"

Tim inquired if she had a ladder, but instead of responding, she climbed over the edge of the balcony and onto the roof of her garage. She then insisted she could climb down to the top of the fence from there. And, indeed, she made her way to sit on top of the six-foot fence - albeit in her bare feet with nothing but frozen concrete below. Tim told her not to jump down, and instead, to let him lift her off the fence. She was reluctant, making some derogatory comment about her weight and started to slide forward. Tim grabbed her legs as she reached around his neck, holding her steady and setting her gently down on the ground.

I'm sure all you ladies are thinking, "What's so special? Any decent guy would do that."

Well, PN is not just any guy.

During his fabulous rescue maneuver, he made a special point of turning 180 degrees and easing her oh-so-slowly down, just to minimize her embarassment about her size, in effect, emphasizing that her "weight" was nothin' at all.

Talk about above and beyond.

OK, ladies. Whatcha think now?

About Me
About My Book
Contact Me
Friend me on Facebook

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

 Subscribe in a reader

About Project Nerd

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to What Do You Want From Me? by Doreen Orion in the Project Nerd category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Martinis is the previous category.

Readers is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35