Sunday, July 18, 2010

•"Read Today: Tooele man beats the odds, learns to read" (
Does this mean the odds are that people from Tooele usually can't learn to read?

A GRAND experience!

Warm chocolate chip cookies, tall cold glass of milk, plush robe…

Sounds GRAND doesn’t it?

But wait, there’s more!

Italian marble bathrooms
17th Century Flemish tapestries
Handcrafted Richelieu furniture

It is GRAND!

My husband and I spent a delightful night here (thanks to my employer who provided us with this gift!)

It was beautiful and glorious and is Salt Lake’s only AAA Five Diamond Hotel.

I sometimes forget what a beautiful valley we live in, but the ceiling to floor window provided a view of the city and mountains that I usually take for granted.

Of course, I immediately checked out the little fridge & being the cheapskate that I am, removed the Evian ($3.50) in order to chill my Arrowhead ($0.25). The tiny, classy bottle of Diet Coke ($3.50) got pushed aside for my 16 oz bottle($0.40) with the proper Coke-bottle-curves.

The Grand America has something for EVERYONE, as evidenced by the thoughtful items for sale in the little cabinet next to the fridge (of course I had to take photos, but only had my phone camera):

FIRST AID KIT $6 (two bandages, two Tylenol™, two antihistamines, two antacids, one antiseptic towelette)

INTIMACY KIT $6 (the contents of this kit are…intimate)

DECK OF CARDS $10 (playing Solitaire is a lonely, expensive business—not to mention, a solitary one)

They think of everything (except the beds in the New Orleans Marriott are much more comfortable) and the best rating I can give it is this one: We will return to this GRAND place—on our own dime next time (or dollar or credit card, as the season warrants).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Team Jacob or Team DJ?

Several teenage girls recently commented that my soon-to-turn-16 son looks like Jacob Black. You know--THE Jacob Black of Twilight fame.

I took it upon myself to do some research and provide comparisons.



Jacob has russet skin, black hair and dark eyes. (a)

DJ has black hair and dark eyes and eats russet potatoes. (b)

[Jacob] tends to wear only cut-off style jeans or shorts, since clothes are often ruined during his transformations into a wolf.

DJ tends to wear only basketball shorts, that are often ruined by paint, solvents, grease, grime, and food coloring during his transformations into an inventor—often combining things such as leaf blowers and swimming pools.

[Jacob] is descended from an ancient line of "shape-shifters" that assume wolf form.

DJ emerges daily from an ancient pile of laundry and debris that annually assumes “clean-room” form.

Jacob is also able to phase at will into a giant wolf

DJ is also able to phase at will into a human-like form with the appetite of a giant wolf.

[Jacob] forcibly kisses [Bella], much to her displeasure, and she reacts by punching him in the face - breaking her hand and not leaving a scratch on him.

DJ forcibly flexes his biceps, trying to break through velcro rope holders, and puts white duct tape on his legs to see if it is stronger than hair, and he reacts by yowling loudly as his friend removes the tape—and the hair grows back within days.

Coincendence???   You decide!

Other reasons to vote for Team DJ:

DJ can tie threads around snakes and take them for walks

DJ can fit a surgical glove over his entire head

DJ can make attractive bike trailers out of 2x4s, plywood, skateboard wheels, and his younger sister.

There are many, many other reasons to vote Team DJ, but time, space, and federal laws protecting children from their parents prohibit me from continuing at this time.

(a) All Jacob quotes were obtained from

(b) All DJ quotes were obtained from his mother

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Random Dam Stuff

We just returned from our annual family vacation to Lake Powell. We go every year except when we skip a year. We’ve tried camping, but the wind and rattlesnakes changed our minds. We’ve tried the houseboat thing, but I’m not sure if it counts as a houseboat when it is old enough to be modeled after the Ark.

We’ve settled on an alternative that pleases us all—meaning me. We drive the extra hour to Page, AZ and “camp” in a hotel room. Long days on the lake, followed by warm showers, hot meals, and soft beds in an air conditioned room—my idea of a vacation.

One of my children’s favorite things is sighting Glen Canyon Dam for the first time each trip. For some reason (which my husband refers to as ME) the children take the visual of the dam as their cue to start on the “dam” comments such as: “That dam bridge is huge!” (which it is).
 As we pass into Page, the pseudo-swearing kicks into high gear as we see:

The Dam Plaza, which contains:

The Dam Bar & Grill (“Can we eat at the Dam Bar & Grill, Mom?”)

The Dam Outlet (“What do you think they sell at the Dam Outlet?”)

This year when we drove into the Dam Plaza, after dark, to eat at Pizza Hut, we climbed out of the Suburban, and a large lumpish thing moved on the park strip, startling us. A man, who at first appeared to have no legs, staggered up, and it became evident he was vertically challenged only by his excessive imbibing. We tried to walk past, but he reached out to me and croaked, “Ma’am?”

It was dark, he was scary, wobbly, and persistently approaching us. My children ran around the boat, and I firmly said “I don’t have anything for you.” He stumbled off towards the Dam Bar and Grill, likely in search of a more generous and less skittish group. Since he appeared to be a resident of the Dam Plaza, we named him the Dam Bum.

Stopping at the Dam Visitor Center, we saw that the National Park Service was not immune from Dam Comments. The Dam IQ sign above, and the Dam Tours sign below are pictures of the actual signage. I would have taken photos of the Dam Plaza, Dam Bar & Grill, and Dam Outlet signs, but I was scurrying away from the Dam Bum.