Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Nov '06

Photos from Iowa

I wanted to post some photos from our visit to my homeland of Iowa last May. We stayed five days, and it rained four-and-a-half of those days. But it was fun despite the wet, fifty-degree weather.

(P.S. More photos at www.flickr.com/photos/shanloraine)

Here’s us outside the Mississippi River Museum in our winter jackets. I actually didn’t mind the weather; it was just like London! It brought back many positive memories…

us at museum

On our first full day in Dubuque I took John to the Mines of Spain. It’s a beautiful, woodsy park and has the Julian Dubuque monument. But dang, it was cold! And we got rained on. But we took some photos anyway.

Here’s the monument:

And Dubuque as seen from the Mines of Spain:

On our last day, in a rare break between rain storms, I took John on a walk in the pasture behind our house. There’s over 300 acres back there, I think. Here’s the view from the top of a hill. You can see the top of our house smack in the middle.

house on hill

Also on our last day my parents drove us to visit the House on the Rock near Dodgeville, WI. It’s a crazy place. A huge museum built on a rock by this guy who collected all sorts of exotic things from all over. I hadn’t been there since I was a young kid. I had forgotten how musty it smells! And I had forgotten about the many music machines. You can buy tokens and use them to start the music machines playing.

Dad got a kick out of the machines. I’m not sure how much my dad spent in tokens, but it was enough to turn on about every music machine in the place. And there were LOTS! One time, about halfway through the museum, my mom, John, and I were in a room looking at the exhibits when we realized Dad wasn’t with us. We checked the hallways and saw no sign of him. Finally he comes trotting in waving his clenched hand in the air. “Had to get more tokens!”

Here’s my dad by one such machine. (In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have taken a picture of the only machine that featured topless golden mermaids…)

Lastly, here are my parents at the Mississippi River Museum, looking all cute and happy.

Viva la Iowa!

Nov '06

Announcing . . .

Born Sunday, November 26 at 6:35 p.m. at Utah Valley Regional Hospital. Of course the proud first-time parents are my sister, Tara, and her husband Jonathan Oliver.

(Seems like I wrote a similar blog entry just a year ago…)

Nov '06

Fast Franks

As if hot dogs weren’t already fast enough, easy enough, cheap enough, Kraft foods had to make them faster, easier, and cheaper.

Oh, wait. Nope, nix that “cheaper” part.

Introducing Fast Franks by Oscar Mayer:


Now instead of buying a package of ten hotdogs for 99 cents and a package of eight buns for 79 cents (which is about 22 cents per hot dog and bun together), you can buy three hot dogs already nestled in the bun for $3.39! That’s only $1.13 per hot dog!

And instead of microwaving the hot dog separately for a minute and then putting it in the bun, you can just pop in a Fast Franks and 35 seconds later it’s ready to eat!

Amazing. Seriously, give those people at Oscar Mayer a raise. Thank goodness we don’t ever have to deal with hot dogs and buns separately ever again.

Nov '06

Velveeta and Trash Cans . . . in Britain!

I was just thinking about a stand-out moment from my study abroad in London in 2002. We were at a theatre (can’t recall what we were seeing…). During intermission my bunkmate, Melanie, wanted to find a trash can to throw away some wrappers. Only in Britain it’s not a trash can, it’s a bin. And the wrappers aren’t trash, they’re rubbish.

Since we lived in London we were always trying to talk the British lingo so we didn’t stand out so much as Americans. Melanie walked up to a handsome British usher and said in her finest almost-English accent, “Pardon me, where is the nearest rubbish bin?”

She said it pretty fast, maybe to sound more naturally English, but the usher didn’t understand. So she tried again, “The dustbin?” The usher gave her a confused look. Finally, in frustration Melanie said in the most twangy, ultra-American accent you can imagine, “Where’s a traaaaash can?”

It wasn’t British lingo, but the guy got it.

(If you’re reading this Mel, it’s still one of my favorite London memories…) :)

P.S. I saw on an American-to-British Web site (which is supposed to help the British understand what American-English words mean) the following definition of Velveeta:

Velveeta: a toxic orange, pasty, cheese-like product (see “American cheese”) that comes in huge, cheap slabs, snubbed as trailer trash food but enjoyed in even the finest homes. Usu. served melted.

Velveeta box

Nov '06


I got a new lamp for my desk at work. Was slightly alarmed by various warnings in the instruction pamphlet, like:

“Do not look directly at lamp.”
“Keep lamp away from materials that may burn.”
“Do not remain in light if skin feels warm.”
“Lit lamp is HOT!”

I was especially put off by this one:

“Do not touch the lamp at any time.”

Still trying to figure out how to turn the bugger on without touching it . . .

Nov '06

Funny funny

Funny things that happened to me yesterday:

  • Went to an automatic car wash. A truck was already ahead of me, being washed. I entered my money and waited for futher direction. The computer said: “Wash is in use . . . . Please wait or enter more money for more options.”

    So if I put in another buck would the wash shove the truck out before it was done and let me enter?

  • Also went to a wedding last night. The best part was when the flower girl carrying the basket of rose petals walked all the way down the aisle without remembering to throw any of the petals and at the very end the groom’s mom had to stand up and show her what to do with them. She made her walk back up the aisle to throw the petals and the little girl looked like she wanted to cry. And when the bride walked down the aisle a second later her huge train swept up all the rose petals anyway so they lasted on the aisle all of a minute.