Sunday, December 28

Sweetest Overhang

Since I've been feeling under the (winter) weather, I've been taking Dayquil during the day and Nyquil at night. Upon taking my evening dose Saturday night, Marilee asked why I don't do - prepare yourself visually - that little shimmy-shake one does when taking vile medicinal concoctions.

Likely from that old commercial that dictates that medicine has to taste bad to be good, I simply replied "I just don't".

I went to bed rather early last night, and consequently got up early - well, early for a Sunday. 7am or so. And let Marilee sleep in. She got up about a half-hour ago, at 10:45am.

Greeting her with the Sunday paper, she said I was acting weird.

"Are you having a Nyquil overhang?"

I gave her a blank stare that lasted several seconds, to which she replied "What did I just say?" followed by "What's it called?"

After I told her, we both went downstairs to flip on the TV and as a result, the TiVo.

She noticed right away that I'd recorded "CBS News Sunday Morning".

"You recorded "CBS Sunday News Morning?"

Another blank stare towards Marilee, which prompted her to stare at the title on the TiVo.

"And what is your overhang from?"

Saturday, December 27

I've Created A Monster

Saturday morning brilliantly stimulating conversation:

"How do you right-click?"

That query was from Marilee.

"See the two buttons below the touch pad?"


"The one on the right's the right mouse button."


Time passes...

Apparently frustrated, she says a short time later "I don't understand how to do this!" and "What does this mean?"

I walk over to her chair where she has a Microsoft help page open. I'm immediately scared.

"What are you tryimg to do?"

"Make a favorite out of Yahoo."

And we need a Microsoft help page for this?

"Click on 'Favorites'. Click on 'Add to Favorites'. Click on 'Create in'. Pick 'Links'. Click 'OK'.

And up pops Yahoo on the Links bar.

"That's it?"

I smile as I sit back down on the couch.

She says "I learned something new today!"

A short time later - I had already sensed that she was staring at me - she says "You've turned me into a nerd."

"What, because you have your own laptop?"


I'm soooo in trouble.

Wet Burritos

Sounds REALLY appetizing, doesn't it?

So said the menu at a Mexican restaurant in San Diego on our recent trip to California. So close to the Mexico border, we decided one night to have a real Mexican meal. It had to be good, right?

In reality, it was just, literally, borderline.

So after Marilee told the attendee what she wanted, "smothered" was lost in the translation for my order. I'd ordered "smothered burritos" at local Salt Lake City Mexican restaurants in the past, and every time, my order of burritos has sauce ladled over the top. Mmmm good stuff.

Even at Cafe Rio, another fave local restaurant, it's "enchilada style". But WET?

After realizing that smothered wasn't doing the trick, I scanned the menu to see what I was missing. Then it hit me.


I haven't been able to get that vision out of my mind since.

Friday, December 26

Over The River And Through The Woods

I'd have to make a guess that every Utah blogger is writing about the weather today. A real, live Winter Wonderland. Last night, the back porch light made the snow sparkle. Positively beautiful, if only because the driving part was over.

OK, so Christmas with the family was awesome. The driving? Not so much.

With two distinct detours - one on 7800 South and another on 4100 South, and not being able to see the road, I'd guess we drove over the Jordan River half-a-dozen times, and went through at least one wooded area. Whether the wooded area was ON the road we were on, I'm not quite sure.

This morning, 7800 South was still closed due to blowing and drifting snow, and last night's closure of 4100 South was from a snapped power pole - the area we were driving in and to had a wind gust of 57 MPH. And today?

Snow shoveling at its worst. At least since I've been in the snow shoveling business. And since we have a corner lot, there's that much more to shovel. Though I don't know how much there actually was out front, I traipsed out back and measured fourteen inches in the deepest part of the yard.

I had a service call in Provo this morning, and while Utah County had snow, it wasn't nearly as heavy as the southwestern part of Salt Lake County.

A second call in the hardest-hit area - West Jordan - made it painfully obvious just how much snow they had: even major thoroughfares either hadn't been plowed or the plow operators just couldn't keep up. Probably the latter.

And to top it all off, now I have a scratchy throat.

I'm going to take it easy this weekend - as much as I can - so as to not exacerbate whatever my body's trying to tell me.

And the rest of the white and drifted snow can just sit there until the spring thaw.

Wednesday, December 24

Bailey The Unknown Reindeer

Found this video this morning from another blog. Don't know where the video was taken, but that there's some serious powder.

And that's Bailey, I presume, having a hell of a good time!

Monday, December 22

There's That Four Letter Word Again

I don't much like shoveling snow. Then again, who does? This morning, though there twern't any new snow, I had to shovel what had become a cement-like layer of ice that had formed from the last two (or three?) storms. One, which fell while we were in California, and two additional snowfalls since.

And why would I want to get rid of the layer of ice? Simple:

Marilee had a nasty fall (not to be confused with autumn) last Monday at work, and has been house-bound since. And since we didn't need to have her fall again (not to be confused with winter), I decided this morning would be a good time to get rid of said snow.

Bad idea.

Because now, instead of a layer of snowpack to walk on, which, as anyone who's had to shovel snow can attest, that snow affords much more traction than ice - is much more treacherous than walking on plain snow.

And since my snow shovel is rather flimsy when it comes to removing ice, well, it's time for a new one.

Lest anyone fall on the underlayment of ice, and lose their traction.

And be IN traction as a result.

Sunday, December 21

I'll Have That With Frys

On our trip to California, there were a couple of things I really wanted to do - go to a Bob's Big Boy and go to Fry's. As it turned out, we only got to do one of the two...

When I left California twenty-plus years ago, one thing I've really missed is Bob's Big Boy restaurants. And the Big Boy hamburger. Not to mention the Silver Goblet chocolate shake. Marilee remembered Bob's as well, and we really were looking forward to the delicacies.

I'd last gone to a Fry's on my last trip to California; I got my current Bluetooth headset there. I'd gone on the pilgrimage with my cousin Erin, and we spent more time than I'd care to admit going up one aisle and down the other ad infinitum. For at least two hours. After I left for home on that previous trip, Erin took my aunt Mary Lou to Fry's, and she was even more impressed, if not overwhelmed. So naturally, I wanted to take Marilee on our trip.

Having already left the southern part of California, and concentrating on the drive, I'd pretty much forgotten about both destinations. But when we'd gotten off the freeway to go to the factory stores in Barstow, there was Bob's Big Boy!

We split a Big Boy hamburger, and all the memories of that comfort food came flooding back. I picked up a Big Boy bank (to save for our next trip?) and we were off for Las Vegas.

And Fry's?

Interestingly enough, there just happened to be a Fry's on the southern edge of Las Vegas. "HEY! There's a Fry's!" I think I must have startled Marilee with that one. But since we were on a mad dash to get to the Mirage, and avoidance of the aforementioned volcano, I didn't again think of Fry's until we'd gotten into Utah.

Oh well.

Of course, now knowing that there's a Fry's in Las Vegas, we'll just have to add that to our itinerary.


Saturday, December 20

Rustic Charm

From the Heidelberg Inn in Solvang:

Eating out in Solvang is a treat. Danish goodies galore, from bakeries to traditional restaurants. And Spanish influences too, from the original settlers of the region dating back to Junipero Serra and the California Missions.

The rustic charm is evident from the photo above; most if not all of Solvang caters to this same ideal of a quaint Danish town.

The windmill at the entrance of the Heidelberg Inn is a landmark, and the food is more than you'd expect.

And with numerous wineries, don't miss out on the wine tasting rooms in the area.

You just might have to spend an extra day to take it all in!

Friday, December 19

Ah, There's The Reuben

So said the menu.

The gastro-intestinal clot above is a Reuben sandwich. But completely unlike any Reuben sandwich I'd ever eaten. I'd seen this mountain on some cable channel or other in the past month or so. And yes, it was called a Reuben. However, when I think of a Reuben sandwich, I think of this:
That's the Reuben from Arby's. And it's oh, so tasty. But that mountain?

While we were staying at the Mirage, and this one particular night, not wanting room service, we decided to partake of restaurant food. In-house was one Carnegie Deli - apparently a duplicate of the Carnegie Deli in New York City.

And as it turns out, the cable channel was doing a report on THE Carnegie Deli in New York. But I didn't realize it at first.

Underneath all that cheese is tender corned beef. And some tasty sauerkraut. And no, I didn't (or wasn't able to) finish it.

That's no space station, it's a moon!

Thursday, December 18

There, It Doesn't Snow

Sunday morning after Saturday's storm:

The temperature in Santa Barbara during our California trip was in the 50's; the temp outside Sunday morning was 25.

I miss the 50's.

Wednesday, December 17

GOOD Evening

This was one of the shots in Santa Barbara before the batteries died on the Olympus.

December 5th. About 5:30pm.

The image itself is quite grainy, I'll admit, but there are a few particularly noisy spots on the image that, if you were to ask Jenn, are spiritual in nature. In nature, I think they're flies.

This time of year, I really hate trying to gauge just when sunset (and, to a lesser extent, sunrise) occur. There's either too much light or not enough. With all the cool scenarios to think of - the boats in the morning, the lights at night, the seagulls - I could spend an eternity in a place like this and just take photos all the time.

And, hopefully, sell some of them to keep myself in batteries.

Tuesday, December 16


I don't know if you can tell how popular a place is, particularly a "natural" area, by how well-worn the ground is.

The dirt trail going to and from the trail to Nojoqui Falls is well-packed - there aren't many places where you might lose your footing. The trail is fairly wide in most places, and other than veering off the trail to get a better photo, or just sitting on a bench to take in the beauty affords your fellow hikers plenty of room for navigation to take it all in.

But watch your step! Those aren't twigs and branches on the ground in the above photo - they're roots that have come to and above the surface.

And there aren't many of these bridges to get yourself over the stream that runs down the little canyon - thankfully they're rustic enough that they don't deter from the natural beauty of the area.

Look everywhere on this hike. There's much to see.

Just under the surface.

Monday, December 15

Not A Tropical Rain Forest

...but considering there's moss growing on the rocks adjacent to the falls, tropical works for me.

Another from the hike to Nojoqui Falls:

Rainforest? Not so much.

Sunday, December 14

This One Has People

Back in the 70's, I went on summer vacation with my Aunt Eleanor, Uncle Lysle, and Cousin Jody. We'd gone on this particular vacation with an ultimate destination of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. From Southern California. Quite a drive, considering the freeway system back then was nothing to what we have now.

One route we took up I-15 had moose (at least I think they were moose) off in the distance. Since all I had back then was a 110 camera, it was hard to tell. Hell, it could have been a herd of Great Danes for all I know.

After the photos were developed, and again seeing my relatives, upon seeing the moose/Great Danes, my Aunt Eleanor asked "Where are the people?"

I've kept that question with me all these years, and try my hardest to limit the number of people in my photos. Apparently, to her, there's no such thing as a photograph, only snapshots. And snapshots have people.

This is another shot from my series of Santa Barbara sunrise photographs. It's a panorama, stitched from three separate photos.

I hope you like it. Aunt Eleanor would.

Saturday, December 13

Sunset Gulls

Late afternoon seagulls, Santa Barbara:

Friday, December 12

On The Falls Hike

On the hike to Nojoqui Falls in California:

Santa Barbara Sunset

This was from the night before we left for Las Vegas on the way back to Utah.

Methinks I caught the sun at just the right time.

The surf helped too.

Thursday, December 11

Volcanoes And The Jonas Brothers

Not necessarily in that order.

I've said recently when it's not a good idea to travel on an "ordinary" vacation. Primarily, one such post said not to travel anywhere on Thanksgiving weekend. This post is not so much when to travel, but when not to stay in Las Vegas.

Oh, we'd done the typical where to stay and what shows could we see bit before. But this is more for what shows or events are happening in Las Vegas and where NOT to stay.

Had we done our homework, we would have realized the MGM Grand was not the place to stay on the way to California. Too, had we done our homework, we would have realized the Mirage was not the place to stay on the way back to Utah.

I don't know who the Jonas Brothers are. Still don't. But every teenybopper this side of the Mississippi knew, and they knew they were going to be at the MGM Grand the DAY we checked in. For only one day. Two shows. One show was letting out as we checked in and one was just about to start. Unexpectedly, we were trying to find a parking space between shows. Yeah, good luck with that. And we hadn't yet figured out the whole "Do we really need to take ALL of our luggage to the room in one fell swoop" and "where the HELL is the entrance to the hotel" two-step.

By the time we were on the way back to Las Vegas, we'd figured out the bare essentials to put in only ONE suitcase. And that valet parking is the only way to go.

Before we left Santa Barbara, early-morning TV provided us with a scary scenario. One of KTLA's reporters was on-scene for what was to happen that afternoon. The Mirage (yes, THAT Mirage) was going to be unveiling their newly-remodeled Volcano. And when was it to be unveiled? Yes, you guessed it, at exactly the same time we were to be checking in.

In a scene from a poorly written "I Love Lucy" show, you've never seen two people move so fast. We couldn't move fast enough to get out and on the road. I barely had enough time to run down to the beach and get the photos I wanted since darkness had set in the previous evening just as the batteries died in the camera.

And we almost made it, but for a "quick" stop at the outlet stores in Barstow.

Arriving in Las Vegas, we heard the roar from the volcano, newly erupting, just as we realized the main entrance to the hotel was cordoned off!

An hour later, we were in our room. And fifteen minutes after that we were asleep.

Learn from our mistake. Check what is going on at the hotel you plan on staying at, even if you have no interest whatsoever in what that show or event is.

Johnny Lovato

Johnny Lovato is 84 years old.

He started his business 66 years ago. At age eighteen.

His shop is at 1900 Rosecrans Street in San Diego. It's one of those nondescript buildings you'd probably just drive by without taking much notice. I did. Twice. Back from the street a bit, the only identifiable marking on the building is a barber pole. A classic, red-and-blue striped barber pole, spinning maniacally. That, and the neon "Johnny's Barber Shop" in the window.

Yes, Johnny Lovato is a barber in the classic style.

He's been in this same location for forty years. The previous 26 years he was downtown, but moved out when the hippies of the day made the area un-workable. That would have been 1968 by my calculation. Man hadn't yet set foot on the moon, but Johnny knew he had to get out of there. To 1900 Rosecrans.

I spent what seemed like an entire afternoon talking to Johnny as he worked his magic on my hair. It was only an hour or so, but consider this: how long was your last haircut, let alone how long has it been since you've been to a REAL barber? We're not talking a salon, or a chain-store hair-cutter, no, a real barber.

He had many stories to tell, about being in that downtown San Diego location, about how his clientèle has dwindled, how he was a big draw during World War II since all the other barbers had been drafted. There he was, fresh out of high school and he literally was the only barber in town.

So how dows a guy from Salt Lake City happen to be searching for a barber in San Diego, California? Since I was to meet Marilee's parents the next day, she wanted me to be as spit-shined as possible - that meant visiting a real barber for a shave and a haircut. Well, beard-trimming anyway. We were staying at the Sheraton in San Diego, so I did the natural thing and asked the concierge for a recommendation.

Johnny's Barber Shop was the answer.

A real Barber. With a barber pole.

Wednesday, December 10

Here's Looking At You

Our room at the MGM Grand last week had several cool amenities, several of which were mounted on the walls of our room.

Very cool photos of movie stars which, I'm sure, were stars of many MGM movies adorned this wall. I'm not sure who the actress is on the left, but I'm fairly well certain that Marlene Dietrich is on the right.

While both photos were amazing to look at, there was a problem with the photo on the right which isn't at first obvious. Particularly from the angle shown above.

After we walked around, checking out the trappings of a ritzy room, we realized something about the photo.

From every spot in the room, Marlene was staring at us.

"Do something about it." was all Marilee had to say.

I had to agree.

Nojoqui Falls

No, I don't know who these people are. Not that it really matters, since the object of this photo is not of the people, but the waterfall in the background.

Nojoqui Falls is about six miles outside of Solvang. Part of Santa Barbara's County Parks System, Nojoqui Falls is one of my favorite destinations. From the photo, you can see that up above it's relatively bright, but down near the bottom it's fairly subdued; sunlight doesn't get down that far due to the overhead canopy of trees.

In the past, I'd been up the fifteen-minute-walk distance in the heat of summer, but you'd never guess it was warm. I trekked up there on our day in Solvang with a light jacket on, and it was still a bit chilly.

With benches along the route, there's a bit of respite if you get winded. And since the last time I'd been up the trail was twenty years and 50 pounds or so ago, the benches were a welcome sight!

Another post will have some forest scenes from the walk. If you happen to need a break from driving, and even if you're not heading into Solvang, stop by the falls. It's just off Highway 101 on Alisal Road.


Getting off I-215 last night, we both heaved a sigh - but I'm not sure if it was a sigh of relief or of sadness. Our mega-vacation was about to end.

Chris was at the house awaiting us, as was Taylor, of course. And our multitudes of animals - Bambi, Lexie, and Princess. I'm sure they must have thought we'd abandoned them. They were all beside themselves. And Sundance began a cry/wail until Marilee accorded her some attention as well.

I spent a bit of time with Molly and Sherman; I'll spend more time with them today - I'm taking one more day off to tie up some loose ends I really should have done before we left.

Sleep came easily to both of us; we went to bed rather early. Lexie had her 11:30pm wake-up potty to attend to, and I was tempted to go outside late (early?) to find a cat wailing in the night. But then the wail turned into a squawk. Or was it a quack?

No, actually, it was a goose.

This was the view this morning when taking Taylor to school:

Yup - that there's a goose.

I called Animal Control after getting home, but they said someone wouldn't be able to come out till 10am. Mr. Goose must've known I was calling, since he had waddled away when I went back outside.

Figures - would have been nice to find out if this was the Golden Egg goose. After Las Vegas times two, a golden egg would be a nice surprise.

Monday, December 8

It's Only An Illusion

Late Monday afternoon and we're in Las Vegas.

Strange feeling that we were just here.

Yes, we were, but it was only nine days ago. This time we're at the Mirage.

We decided, early on, that we'd "use" our economic stimulus payment from Uncle Sam to pay for our trip; if you've wondered how we could afford the trip, now you know.

From a visual standpoint, this room at the Mirage is top-notch. The service, on the other hand, will be spelled out in the none-too-stellar review we'll make on Expedia's website. Hell, we could do an entire nit-picking on our hotels over the last week-and-a-half.

Next vacation - whenever that may be - we'll be less absolute and allow for a bit more leeway.

In the meantime, we'll enjoy our last night of extravagance.

Sunday, December 7

If This Is Sunday... must be Santa Barbara.

Now THIS is nice.
Right across the street from the beach!

HDTV, refrigerator, and microwave in the room. And since I picked up an eighteen-pack of Guinness in Dana Point, the cold Guinness will be a treat.

We're now at 1400 and some-odd miles, and have two legs to go, to Las Vegas and then home. Our vacation will be over far sooner than we'd like.

Sunny Fields

It's Sunday, and we're now in Solvang.

Solvang is a little town Near the Santa Ynez mountains - think inland from Oxnard. If you don't even know where Oxnard is, then think up the California coast from Santa Barbara.

Founded by Danish immigrants in 1910, Solvang (meaning "sunny fields") has become a very special place where old world charm and customs have been successfully linked with the American way of life. (Text partly from the History of Solvang from the Elverhøj Museum).

My family (up until the late 1970's) always came up to and through Solvang on the way to another family retreat in Pismo Beach. Unfortunately, due to time restrictions - not to mention distance - the last two times I made it to Solvang were in 1980 and 1986. Now twenty-two years later, time has taken its toll.

Marilee and I are staying at the Kronborg Inn, and I'm sure that in the heyday of Solvang this place was far more, well, Danish looking. But this isn't the forum for making less-than-stellar reviews of - no, I'm not even going to say it. I'll leave that for Expedia's website.

Let's just say we've become spoiled after staying at some really nice four- and five-star hotels over the last week...

Friday, December 5


This ring begs the question "How are rings designed?" Does someone on crack draw a picture and present it to a ring maker (looking away so as to not see the grimace on the ring maker's face) and a ring is produced? Or does some jewelry house (also on crack) design multitudes of crap and say "Take your pick?"

Maybe some ring-savvy person out there can answer the question.

Dana Point

We're staying at the Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa while in Dana Point.

Pretty nice accomodations, if I do say so myself. On par with the Sheraton in San Diego, but there's no battleship in the harbor.

We're going to burn off some calories from room service's great breakfast this morning, and I'll be taking the camera along.

One more interesting note: While it's customary to find certain items in hotel guest rooms, some things aren't as common - at the MGM Grand, in the nightstand was the ubiquitous Gideon's bible. At the Sheraton, there was no scripture reference of any kind.

But here at the Laguna Cliffs, we were surprised to find a Utah reference. While it's true that this particular hotel is part of the Marriott chain, it then becomes no surprise what is in the nightstand along with a Gideon's bible.

Yes, there's a Book of Mormon in there, too.


It's now Friday morning, and now we're in Dana Point. Marilee and I had dinner with her Mom and Dad. and her brother and his wife. Funny thing about Marilee's Dad and brother - while there's an obvious family resemblance, there's another obvious relationship. And with me there, it was thrice the fun.

The Brilliantly Stimulating conversations lasted for quite awhile, with Bob the Dad, Bob the Brother, and me.

It was bobsbs, bobsbs, and bobsbs.

Fun stuff.

Thursday, December 4

THESE People Went On A Cruise

They must have docked overnight.
Beautiful sunrise this morning. Hope "Red sky in morning" doesn't pan out.

Wednesday, December 3

Where We Are

Or I suppose that could read "Where Are We?"

Between San Diego Bay and the airport. Pretty much the gist of it.

That previous photo shows that we're near the bay and downtown, not so much in relation to the airport. So how close IS the airport?
Pretty damn close.

San Diego At Night

Night view from our hotel:

That's Downtown San Diego in the background; foreground is part of the San Diego Marina.


Gilligan Never Showed Up

Or the Skipper for that matter.

The Harbor cruise didn't happen. Marilee had a bit of intestinal distress Monday; she spent the entire day in bed. She was up and around for the first day of her conference Tuesday, though - she's feeling much better.

Monday night I took my Aunt Mary Lou to dinner, a leisurely 40-mile trip inland from San Diego.

But the day wasn't all tending Marilee's sour stomach - I had picked up some travel brochures in the lobby Monday morning and brought them back to the room. After perusing all the things we could be doing, Marilee said that I should partake of one of the activities, even if she didn't come along. So as it turned out, though we didn't go on a cruise, I went a light-year or two on a trip of my own.

Star Trek: The Exhibition is now showing for a limited engagement at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. The tagline "Explore the History of the Future" was all it took to get me excited about going. Props, costumes, models, the works. Even sets from the ten movies and five TV series.

No photography is allowed - major bummer - but they do have souvenir photos available with a typically touristy price.

So if you have the chance, beam over to the Museum. It's in Balboa Park.

Monday, December 1

Thankfully Gilligan's Nowhere In Sight

Marilee had THE most serious expression on her face this morning. "I need to call the front desk!" So after perusing the labels on the phone and showing her which button to push for "Guest Services", I breathlessly awaited her question.

Since I was only hearing one side of the conversation, I imagine the expression on the young lady's face at Guest Services was more than bemused. Marilee said her reply was "About 10am".

Marilee and I are interested in taking a one- or two-hour harbot cruise today, hopefully way before we go have dinner with my Aunt.

The question had to do with the harbor cruise, albeit a bit indirectly.

"What time does the fog lift?"

I'm not going if the ship's name is the "Minnow".
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