June 20, 2008
How could I forget to mention Julian and my most memorable vacation highlight? We took a detour to Balboa Island, where many favorite scenes from the great Arrested Development show were shot. Think of all those moments of Gob visiting the frozen banana stand on his segway and making yachts disappear – all filmed here. We were hoping to find the banana stand from the TV show, but no luck. The whole banana stand concept was based on the famous frozen bananas from Balboa Island though. We went to hunt down a frozen banana and found 2 competing shops a couple doors down from each other, both claiming to be The Original Frozen Banana. That’s a mystery! We bought ourselves up one. Julian was extra-impressed. Unfortunately, my mouth-cage was not liking the idea of a rock-solid-frozen-banana, so I’ll have to take his word for it. He offered to chew pieces off for me, but I have to draw the line on that one. Thanks anyway!
On a side note, I think I want to vacation in Balboa Island someday. It looks more like a New England town, with quaint little multi-million dollar houses lining private docks, made to look like English cottages. You know those ones that are overgrown with foliage and have little doors that open up only on the top half? So cute!
June 20, 2008
Although I’ve been writing online in one way or another for the past 14 years, my blog in this formal setting is a whole year old! 126 posts later puts me at a shocking post every 3 days or so, on average.
Note to self: Maybe I should make my posting every third day more consistent instead of having massive posting stretches and burning out? Yes, yes. I will work on that! I’m all for the resolutions, you know.
June 20, 2008
A couple Sundays ago we drove to Kearney, Nebraska and back. We’ve been making this trip back and fourth each year when it’s time for Sylvia to leave for the summer. This year I got a snazzy new Garmin GPS Navigator for Mother’s Day, so we decided to follow it’s plan home, even though it had us taking an unfamiliar route. It may have saved a little time and was certainly more scenic – it was absolutley more memorable. While driving through one stretch, a bird ran into my window, which left me in quite a hysterical panic. After crying and crying I realized I didn’t stop to check if the bird had died or if it lay suffering (sad face here). Julian tells me it was probably instant, but I don’t feel any better. Next time (hopefully never) I’ll respond better. Then after a bit more driving, we ran across a sign that read “Last Chance – 17 Miles.” Hmm…Last Chance for what? I’m still curious. We’re home, so it wasn’t as worrisome a threat as I first perceived, but I’ll have to do some research on how they came up with that name!
June 20, 2008
Before we left town my Mom sneakily asked each of us what our favorite type of pie was, then in celebration of all the birthdays she will miss, she made each of us our favorite pie! Julian got a homemade banana cream pie, Sylvia got a berry one, I got my mom’s famous apple pie and for Aidan she made her very first Pecan Pie ever. All served with the unbeatable Tillamook Ice Cream of course (that I can’t find anywhere in Colorado! We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory last time we were in Oregon and the experience – especially their fresh ice cream – is an experience to make the whole trip for alone!)
Thanks for the pies Mom! I wish we could have taken them with us!
June 20, 2008
I always look forward to Summertime to catch up on things at home. Work and school fill a lot of my time during the year, so it’s nice to get a break from school sometimes, as I am doing right now. The kids also spend some time with their other families, which is great fun for Julian and I. We stay up late, run to a store at 11 at night with out worrying, go to a movie when we feel like it or keep the surround sound up all night. Aww, what bliss…
As much as I like a break, I miss the kids too. This time a little more so since I am reflecting on the milestones they hit this year. Aidan graduated from Elementary School and Sylvia is moving from Junior High to High School. Yep – I have no kids in grade school anymore and that is making me feel quite old. It is also making me feel like I better experience everything I want to experience with them in now, before they are gone. All while they keep telling me, “Okay Mom, whatev!*” (My parents are laughing….I know…)
*Therapist Dave (TM)
June 20, 2008
Julian and I were worried that we waited too long to take the kids on the Disneyland adventure. We kept asking “Are they too old? Did we ruin the whole experience??” We can now say that we absolutely did not. Our kids are 11 and going on 14 and we all had the best time! I think they were the perfect age to be able to go on every ride and remember so much about the trip. They still seemed enthralled with every attraction. Maybe I’ll stop giving my parents a hard time for leaving me at home during the Disneyland trip when I was a toddler and only taking my older brother Chad.
(Lets not kid ourselves…I’m not going to be over it).
Unfortunately, we were so busy being entranced by Disneyland, I think we took the least pictures there. I do need to give a shout out to the RideMax program we purchased before visiting Disney. For $15 we were able to tailor our day to maximize our ride time and still have lots of free time. You can enter the day you want to visit and then choose all the attractions you want to see and ride, RideMax will then print you a schedule that makes sure you get the most ride time in. I swear by it. Our average wait time for everything was less than 10 minutes and we were even able to fit in many more attractions than we expected. I was worried “the schedule” would make us rushed (Sylvia rolled her eyes thinking she had the biggest geeks as parents the whole time too). We may be geeks, but we got plenty of time to sight-see, take in rides and relax and I really credit RideMax! Plus, who doesn’t love small business??
(This picture is me visiting Disneyland when I was 7! You can see the few Disney pictures from my more current trip right here.)
June 20, 2008
This, my friends, is a picture of pure happiness. So much happiness in fact, that we forgot to snap a shot before we were done devouring our eats. Tucked away in Hollywood is a lovely street full of Ethiopian restaurants and shops. We researched ahead of time and decided on Messob for dinner – Bono’s favorite meal in the area. (I know, I know…I need to get over all the paprazzi talk – I just got into the hype I guess!) Anyway! This dish was amazing. We brought my mom along and gave her a good pat on the back for humoring us and joining in this first Ethiopian experience for her.
When I mention Ethiopian food as one of my favorite cuisines people are always shocked. After decades of hearing about the starving children in Ethiopia every time we didn’t eat our vegetables people just figured the entire culture lacked their own dishes I guess. That is unfortunate because it is one of the most uniquely delicious meals I have ever known and I crave it regularly. You’ll find places if you go looking. I have to travel to Denver for my fix, but it is always worth the trip.
June 20, 2008
When we first started planning our trip to California, Julian and I thought we had a lot of “down time.” We wanted to maximize our vacation. We had about 10 days to play with. We purchased a Southern California Citypass from Costco that gave us 3 days admission to Disneyland, Seaworld passes, San Diego Zoo and Universal Studios. Worried that wouldn’t fill up our time, we decided to buy Hollywood passes as well that gave us a Starline tour of celebrity homes and hot spots, Wax Museum tickets, a Red Line Tour that showed spots where famous movies scenes were filled and a tour of the famous Kodak Theater (home of the Oscars and American Idol, of course). Apparently we are vacation rookies because we had so much to do that our down time was scarce and we ended up having to drop the San Diego Zoo and the Red Line Tour from our schedule. Even so, we had a great time. Although, if I were to do it over I would check out the San Diego Zoo before Seaworld, which was not anyone’s favorite due to the upselling and crazy prices for crappy food.
Hollywood day was exciting! We started out with lunch at Phillipe’s, home of the french dip sandwich. My mom had been dying to try one and it was well worth the effort. We followed that with the wax museum and our tour of the Kodak theater. Unfortunately no picture taking is allowed in the theater. We got to hear all sorts of silly facts about the Oscar event though. The theater is actually located in a mall, down a crowded and not so attractive street, so on Oscar night everything is closed off and the red carpet rolls out. Stars then do their walk and end up going through a mall that is covered in drapes so we viewers can’t see any of the Hello Kitty and Coffee Shop store fronts. That cracked me up. The theater itself has some tricks too. Backstage areas are dressed up and as soon as stars receive their Oscar they are escorted to the freight elevator! Of course, this is lined in linens for the night and a chandelier is hung from the ceiling. We were able to walk the stage and sit in the seats, so that was fun.
One of my most anticipated events was the celebrity tour. I don’t normally follow star headlines. I don’t read People and fan sites or keep track of anything like that, which is probably why this tour seemed fun to me. We were a little disappointed to find out that the tickets we purchased were not for one of the snazzy double-decker buses being shown on the fliers. Instead, we were escorted to a backstreet and put on a shuttle bus much like the ones that escort you from the airport to the Comfort Inn. I got over this quickly though because it was hot-hot outside and the covered bus protected me. (But as a warning – maybe check what type of ride you’ll be checking into before purchasing your tickets for a Hollywood tour). The tour started out fun with a trip down Sunset Boulevard. Our driver was the Wikipedia of Hollywood and pointed out all the celebrity owned restaurants and clubs, then we entered Beverly Hills and Bel Air. We looked at house after house after house after house. This was entertaining for about the first hour and a half of our supposed two hour tour, but I guess our tour guide gets lonely and really likes doing tours because he went on for count them: 3 1/2 hours! Sylvia started to panic and whispered, “I don’t think he’s going to let us off the bus!” I was starting to wonder myself… I think an hour of house Oooing and Awwing is kind of fun, but after that you end up saying “Okay, I get it. They’re much-much wealthier than me. That’s lovely. Let me go home now.”
I am happy to add that our zoo passes didn’t go to waste. My adorable nephew Shane flew into town only a week after we left, so my parents got to take him on the zoo adventure!
(P.S. That’s Julian proudly standing on the Kodak Theater Steps with his complimentary post card from the tour. You can check out all the pics from Hollywood in all their repetitive splendor right here.)
June 20, 2008
This year Julian and I planned our first official vacation with quite a chunk of time off. In the past we have always went to visit my family in Oregon for trips, but it was time to take a real trip. (Of course, my parents moved to California, so we still got the family time in). On day one we visited Universal Studios. This was lucky planning on our part, because besides the new Virtual Simpsons Roller Coaster, the infamous Universal Studios Tour ride was the highlight of our time there. I say “lucky” because the big Universal Studios fire started two days after our day there, destroying many of the sites we got to see. We strolled down the Desperate Housewive’s Wysteria Lane, drove through the wreckage of War of the Worlds and King Kong, viewed the set of Truman Show that was ironically meant to look like a set and parked next to the Back to the Future Cars. I hear the tour bus wasn’t shut down for long though. Even during repair time, they had it back up and running.
Photo opportunities are often at Universal Studios – Aidan had a fun time climbing into Jaws’ mouth. You can see all the pictures (including those from our entire trip) here.
I keep finding myself saying “On our next trip to California…” Well, on our next trip to California I’d like to tour MGM and other studios. They don’t have the popular theme park like Universal, but you can arrange tours of them as well.
May 28, 2008
Remember this post. I know, I know. Written over a month ago, but still one of my most recent entries. Do you hear the excitement in the Zelda trailer news?? That was legitimate, I’m afraid. And all for an April Fool’s joke. In one sense, this makes me feel so much better. The trailer was so-so bad that I didn’t want a movie to ruin the good Zelda name – it is more than a slight, passing interest for me. (I’m a big fan of the Zelda games you know. See Aidan’s Halloween costume I designed and made from scratch here.)
Sadly, this wasn’t the dumbest thing that made me feel gullible that day either. I fell for Google’s newest feature that advertised the ability to past-date emails. I had visions of always winning those first-person-to-respond games at work, but no luck! Next year I hope to be better prepared. It certainly can’t get much worse.
P.S. If you’re liking the video game and pop culture costumes, you can see my kid’s dressed up as Mega Man and She-ra here. Enjoy!
May 27, 2008
I know my poor blog has been neglected. Hits have still been coming, but I’m afraid my regular readers have gotten lost in my lax posting. Alas, I will try to redeem myself. With school being wrapped up and some vacation time ahead of me, I’m feeling more ready to share news with the nets! Stay tuned.
P.S. Behave in the comments friends. I just received word that the top-dawg at my work is a fan of my blog – how flattering and nerve-inducing all at once! Everyone say hello.
April 8, 2008
Still a year away, but two words… Zelda Movie! It looks hella cheesey, but I can’t help but be excited. Check out this trailer!
April 4, 2008
For one night only (are you hearing the Dreamgirls here??) the best talk-radio show in history is bringing their program to select theaters across the nation. On May 1st you can view This American Life and it’s charasmatic host Ira Glass on the big screen. Tickets go on sale today and my town is on the list! I keep thinking I need to rush to the movie theater right now for tickets, afraid they will sell out. I don’t want to miss my chance. Last year This American Life made their program into a show on Showtime. I almost added Showtime to my cable subsription just to watch it, but that didn’t pan out. Ira Glass at the movie theater will be quite a treat. See if he’ll be visiting a theater near you by following this link. For those of you not familiar with the program, I highly suggest giving it a listen. It plays on public radio stations through PRI. Many fantastic authors contribute and share stories for the show, including the infamous David Sedaris.
For Colorado folks (specifically Colorado Springs), you get an extra treat. Ira Glass will be speaking at Colorado College on June 14th. The tour site says details are still in the making, but my impatient self found out that tickets are now available through their local radio sponsor KRCC. Better yet, since it is membership-drive time for KRCC, you can get VIP tickets to the show for becoming a member (along with some other snazzy incentives!)
April 3, 2008
I know feeds have been the hip way to stay in touch with blogs and news for quite some time, but I only recently started using my Goggle Reader to view sites. This was somewhat accidental actually. I stumbled upon a blog called The Art of Manliness. It caught my interest and mentioned a free ebook called Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008 (of course I found this intriguing!), but a subscription to the blog was required before I could download the file and thus my fascination with Google Reader began. The ebook is certainly worth a read and The Art of Manliness will stay on my Google Reader along with 49 other blogs and sites that I had been increasingly behind in reading before now. Google Reader (and other feed readers) let you subscribe to blogs so that all posts are chronologically updated in one place as they arrive. Of course, you can also view posts by site or by tag, subject or any other way you think up. At first I thought this massive list of sites would be overwhelming, but it turns out to be exactly the opposite. I can easily keep up with my favorite readings without the frustration of going from site to site. I can also easily read new posts only as sites are updated, rather than spending my time revisiting sites that don’t update very often. Another cool feature is that your contacts can easily share stories with you. A couple of my friends set up their Google Readers as well, so now I can check out what is catching their interest. Definitely worth a try! Of course, Google/Gmail users can conveniently set up their readers by clicking the Reader link while logged in. Non-google/gmail users can…oh wait…do those people still exist??
April 2, 2008
A few weeks ago my daughter decided to become a vegetarian. She has made this decision a few times before, but never stuck with it. Usually Julian and I humor her, wanting to be supportive. We alter her meals for a few days and then she decides she wants a cheeseburger. This time she seems to be in it for the long-haul – so much that she has begun talking about becoming Vegan. At that point I had to tell her she would have to wait until she had her own paycheck to cover her grocery bill. Julian and I will continue to support her vegetarianism as long as she is interested, though we’ve had to get pretty creative with her meals. With warm weather approaching, we decided to start up the BBQ last week and prepared some teriyaki chicken kabobs. Sylvia’s kabobs were tofu chunks marinated in teriyaki sauce, then dipped in toasted sesame seeds. I thought they looked pretty gourmet, but Sylvia wasn’t as impressed. If anyone has recipes or vegetarian tips to share, I would appreciate them for sure!
I’m considering hitting my mom up for her 101 Tofu recipes cookbook. My mom was always ahead of her time and had us kids eating tofu and the like long before it was cool. We went on a tofu diet for a stretch of time. Not to lose weight…I’m not really sure why actually. Maybe she’ll comment and enlighten us all. Anyway! We experienced things like Spaghetti with Tofu chunks (instead of meatballs), Tofu fish sticks (where it was more like Tofu-Tofu sticks), Hot Dogs (where the dog was replaced with Tofu) and Tofu fudgsicles for dessert! Mind you, Tofu fudscicles will run you around $6 a box in a specialty food store now. Of course, they are now made with silken tofu that is perfectly blended in with the fudge, so you wouldn’t know the difference between one of those and a jell-o pudding pop. My mom wasn’t going to let her new tofu diet trump her more important value of being frugal, so she must have just bought packages of firm tofu in bulk. Note: this meant tofu fudsicles had a more chewy-chunky quality to them – yummy? (Love ya Mom!)