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Thursday, August 27, 2009

 

Hello, Seattle!



We just returned from a spontaneous mini-vacation to Seattle. More about that later. For now, enjoy a few photos from our trip. Come back on Friday for a big "fruity" giveaway.













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Thursday, November 13, 2008

 

Stuck in Boise, Idaho

I used to be stuck in Boise, Idaho. Thirteen long years there.

It wasn't the ideal place for us to live, but that's not to say it isn't a fun city to visit. In fact, Boise's a good place to take the family for a couple of days. Just in the downtown area alone, there's plenty to keep you and the kids busy.

I write about a few things to see and do in Boise over at the Uptake blog. Pay me a visit and find out what your family could do if you ever find yourself stuck in Boise, Idaho.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

 

Arches









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Friday, March 23, 2007

 

"The Horror! The Horror!"



"The tranquil water-way leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky--seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness."

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness was on my mind as we made our way from one attraction to another at Disneyland. Your first assumption is that the Magic Kingdom is all sweetness and light, but it is decidedly not. And that realization really hit me for the first time on our most recent visit.

I've been to Disneyland dozens of times as a visitor, but for some reason I never noticed all the death and darkness around. The first thing that clued me in were the skulls. They're everywhere! Snow White's Scary Adventures, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones Adventure, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Peter Pan's Flight... There's even a giant skull rock at the Disneyland Hotel's Neverland pool.

If it's not skulls, it's scares. The Matterhorn features two appearances by a ferocious demon-eyed Abominable Snowman. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride actually concludes by sending you to hell, complete with blasts of hot air and a meeting with Satan himself. Alice in Wonderland is like some sort of freaky LSD trip.

There's only one truly innocent ride in Disneyland -- It's A Small World. But the case could be made that cruising through room after room of singing dolls is actually kind of creepy.

Don't get me wrong. I love every ride at Disneyland, and so do my kids. We went on every one of them last week. Some of them more than once. Haunted Mansion, three times... Big Thunder, four times... Pirates of the Caribbean, six times. We all had a blast being scared and bedazzled by the sights and sounds.

Of course, as you get older you start to think that the best ride is in the little circle at the end of Main Street, next to the statue of Walt and Mickey. There you can find a lovely green bench, from which you can comfortably sit and watch the crowds go by. The way tourists dress and act can be scarier than anything else you see in the park.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

 

The Ultimate Family Vacation

I wanted to take my family on the ultimate family vacation. Plus, my son has done so well with his first year of homeschooling that I felt a reward of sorts was appropriate. I don't know about you, but in our house the words "ultimate family vacation" can only mean one thing: Disneyland.



So off we jetted to Southern California, where the temperature was 97 degrees when we landed. I told my wife, "Aren't you glad I made you bring your shorts?" Luckily it didn't stay that hot, dropping down to the high 80's the next day and the rest of the week. It was nice to be in shorts and sandals the whole time, especially after the long winter.

When I started planning this trip, I knew there was only one place to stay ... the overly-expensive Disneyland Hotel. Why? Because it was on my List Of Things To Do In My Life. Ever since I was a little kid I had wanted to stay at the Disneyland Hotel. So that was my logic in booking a room there. And it turned out to be quite nice. Here's the view from our balcony...



The Disneyland Hotel is old, and showing its age in places, but it's fun and comfortable, and has a very cool pool (complete with pirate ship, mermaids, and skull rock). We stayed in the Marina Tower and all we had to do to get into Disneyland was walk out the lobby, turn left, and walk about 100 yards to the monorail station (I have a whole other post to write about the monorail). Or we could make the 15-minute stroll through Downtown Disney, a jumble of trendy shops and restaurants, to the main gate.

It was like being on a cruise. We never left the confines of the hotel or the parks, only dealing with the outside world driving to and from the airport. For five days we were in a Disneyized fantasy world.

A couple of things about this fantasy world, though... In this world food costs three times what it does on the outside. Also, there are lines for everything. 10 minutes to get on a rollercoaster, 20 minutes to eat prime rib, 2 hours to meet fake princesses! Lastly, this world makes you buy things, like an ear-piercing Astro Blaster for your son, or a frilly pink princess dress for your daughter, that you normally would dismiss as junk. You can enter this place as an avowed non-consumer, but you will not be able to resist the siren call of the Disney marketers. Oh no, don't even try.



I'll have more to write about our Disney vacation over the next week. Plus, I took over 700 pictures... You don't think I'm going to share a few more? All in all, it was a great week. Very relaxing and full of awesome family memories. Most of all, it was nice to just get away from the laundry and the dishwasher.

Oh, and I made a new friend at Disneyland! She was very curious about how many dogs we have here in Idaho...

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