Tag Archives: Vacation

Angry Elk, Rogue Newts and Battlestar Galactica

I’m finally home from my 10-day family vacation. All in all, I’d say it was a success… except for the trip home, which included a dead car battery at 2:00 am and someone trying to feed me a Philly cheese steak.

Hiking along Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains

The Olympic Peninsula turned out to be a great place to visit, although I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see more woodland creatures. On one of our hikes, we were warned numerous times to stay at least 100 yards away from any elk. Apparently the elk were getting annoyed with hikers and had resorted to charging people down. I’ve seen similar behavior in Buster when he was young and spry, and I remember bits and pieces from “The Horse Whisperer,” so I was confident that I’d be able to connect with the angry elk and come to some sort of truce. Unfortunately, we did not come across any elk so I did not get to test my theory.

Newt Warning

On another hike, we saw a poster that said, “WATCH OUT! Newts on the trail!” I’m not sure what’s so dangerous about a couple of rogue newts, but I imagine they were running some sort of pickpocketing business to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.

When we weren’t in the mood to hike, we took day-trips to various towns along the Olympic Peninsula. On our day trip to Port Townsend, my sister and I stumbled upon a local brewery. Since we are both working on the beginnings of modest beer bellies, we wanted to go in for a beer tasting. My mom, trusting our judgment, gave us a couple bucks and sent us in to get a few bottles. Once inside, my sister and I decided it was of the utmost importance to support local businesses, and so we took it upon ourselves to contribute to the “Buy Local” cause by purchasing a gallon of home-brewed beer. It came in handy later that night when my Grandma made us all sit down and watch “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

We spent the last 3 days of our trip in Seattle. I finally got my wildlife fix at the Seattle Aquarium, which is by far one of the best aquariums I’ve ever visited. I have a slight obsession with aquariums/marine life in general, and I seem to have a twisted relationship with sharks. I refuse to swim in murky water or the deep-ends of pools for fear of being attacked, but I can’t tear my eyes away from Shark Week.

When I was little, I wanted to be a marine biologist and work at Sea World. My favorite tune was the Free Willy song by Michael Jackson, aka “Will you be there?” I didn’t understand the words, so I’d walk around singing, “Hold me, holy bologna,” instead of whatever they really say in the chorus. I distinctly remember my mom calling the phone number on the screen at the end of Free Willy, but I’m not sure if we ended up adopting a whale or not.

Mermaid rescue mission at the Seattle Aquarium

While we were at the Seattle Aquarium, I fantasized about working for Sea World, perhaps doing their advertising or event planning. On my weekends off, I’d saddle up a sea lion or whale and ride until my wetsuit began to chafe. I’ve always loved the sea lions, even though they scare me. When I was little, I leaned too far over the sea lion exhibit at the Louisville zoo. I dropped my pacifier into the water. It was traumatic.

The next thing we did while in Seattle will go down in history as the nerdiest thing I’ve ever done. My family and I were exploring the Seattle Center when we stumbled upon the Science Fiction Hall of Fame museum. My dad loves science fiction. When I was younger, he’d tell me and my sister bedtime stories about black holes, giant space worms and other imaginative alien creatures. It’s a wonder I’m not more screwed up than I already am. My sister and I grew up watching Star Trek episodes with him, so we both have a solid understanding of spaceship protocol and a deeply rooted appreciation for the Syfy channel. That being said, we were all fairly interested in buying tickets to the museum but couldn’t decide if it was worth the steep entrance fee.

A dream come true.

Our deliberation came to an abrupt halt when we saw a certain advertisement hanging outside the museum: they had a Battlestar Galactica exhibit. I almost peed my yoga pants when I saw the face of Captain Apollo smiling down at me. He’s my newest crush. If I was still in school, I’d most certainly make a Captain Apollo collage for my binder and/or locker. Since I’m supposed to be an adult now, I settled for making him the desktop background on my Mac.

Nerd Alert! Me with a Battlestar Galactica Viper

Anyways, the exhibit was awesome. I won’t go into great detail as I’m sure only a small portion of the population shares my Battlestar Galactica obsession. But I will say that I now have several photos with the actual spaceships used in filming the series. Jealous? I didn’t think so, but oh well.

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Creeping on the Cullens

I might have sounded a little negative in my previous blog, but the Olympic Peninsula is actually incredibly beautiful. The weather is cool but comfortable, and the air is so clean that I rarely have to hit my inhaler. I’d consider moving here, but I’ve seen a lot of dreadlocks and I’m not quite ready to make such a large commitment to mountain men. My mom, who always speaks like she’s narrating a 19th century romance novel, keeps using uncomfortable words to describe everything. We saw a submarine the other day, and she described it as “utterly wonderful.”

We’re staying in a condo pretty close to where Twilight is set. Sunday, we drove through Forks on our way to the Hoh Rainforest. No one is willing to drive me to La Push so I can get my paws on some of Jacob’s half-naked wolf pack friends, but I’m not too upset; from what I saw in the last movie, I’d rather wait until they decide to put a little more effort into their grooming.

When we drove through Forks, I made my dad pull over so that I could have a photo shoot in front of the “Welcome to Forks” sign. I felt very judged by every car that drove by, like a high-schooler caught wearing a LtdToo graphic tee. After about 10 variations of my best Bella Swan pose, I was sure every local suspected me of being an active subscriber of J-14 magazine. I looked like a total preteen Twihard, and the glittery self-tanner I had on did nothing to help my situation. My faux glow sparkled in the sun, just as Edward’s sunlit vampire skin would after a long weekend in Florida.

As we drove through the small Twilight town, I positioned myself so that my good side was facing the window, just in case a Cullen was out-and-about. I glossed up my lips, looked out the window and tried to look depressed and sullen, as I imagine Kristen Stewart would have done (minus the lip gloss). I muttered incoherent sentences in a monotone voice to really seal the deal on my KStew impression. Unfortunately, no Cullens or shirtless werewolves showed themselves. In my state of disappointment, I briefly thought about settling for a rendezvous with Mike Newton, but then I remembered his frosted tips and immediately regretted even considering it.

In regards to Twilight men, I’m not yet sure who I’ll chose as my mate. I’d be crazy to deny any attraction to Edward Cullen, but I have to say that he’s a little too sappy and romantic for my taste. Also, it’s obvious that he’s into pasty white skin, so I don’t think he’d approve of my weekly spray tan appointments. I’m much more looking forward to running into Emmett or Jacob while we’re here. I always like a good meat-head– werewolf or vamp, I’m not too picky. I like the Twilight books way better than the movies, but I can’t complain one bit about any movie scene that involves Emmett in a track suit. I’m still not sure how I feel about Jacob’s extensive jean-short collection, but I’m not ready to rule anything out just yet.

Use Caution, as Children May Shi(f)t in Flight

I won’t be blogging much lately because I’m on vacation. Actually, it’s the first family vacation in 4 years that my sister and I are allowed to come on. When most people think “family vaca”, they think Florida, Hawaii, or somewhere tropical or beachy. Our last family trip was on a cruise…. to Alaska. This year we’re in Washington State, on the North Olympic Peninsula. I can’t wait for our family reunion in Antarctica.

The trip here was quite an experience. I’m a very cranky traveler, so much so that I should probably be prescribed something for it. The flight from Louisville to Baltimore was fairly decent, and I managed not to burst into tears over taking my shoes off for security. However, on our 5+ hour flight to Seattle, things got a little hairy. As we were waiting to board the plane, I scoped out our future plane-mates. A large number of them did not reach my minimum age requirement, and so I knew there would be a high probability that I’d spend the next 5 hours dodging fruit snacks and slobbery goldfish. Before I could ask anyone for some precautionary wet-naps and a few Ambien, our boarding group was called.

My dad held back and let a few families go in front of us. I was surprised by his chivalry, until he turned to me and said, “Better let the kids on first. Then head aft to avoid them.” From the extensive spaceship knowledge I’ve acquired through Battlestar Galactica, I fortunately understood exactly where aft was.

Taking my dad’s advice into consideration, we chose our seats and got settled in. The flight attendants began cracking jokes over the intercom, obviously trying to make up for the fact that the only thing they had to feed us for the next 6 hours were peanuts. My mom sighed and said, “Oooohhh, this is going to be such a fun crew,” as if we were sailing across the Atlantic with the cast of Friends.

A woman plopped down in front of us with a 4ish year-old- girl and an infant. The infant crawled over the seat and looked at me, as if he expected me to give him a treat. I glared at him to discourage this behavior. I wordlessly put in my ear plugs and strapped on my eye shades to let him know that under no circumstances would this sort of interaction be tolerated during the flight.

30 minutes into the trip, things got ugly. The infant had a serious situation going on in his diaper, and unfortunately, since we had taken my dad’s advice, we were indeed sitting aft of the child. After realizing that this woman was not going to be doing anything to fix the situation, I decided I’d best find a way to defend myself. I moved my black silk eye mask down to cover my nose and mouth, pulled my hood over my head and tied it tightly around my face. I stayed like this for the rest of the flight, receiving several questionable glances from concerned passengers and suspicious flight attendants.

I’d like to say this diaper situation was an isolated incident, but it was not. I’m considering reporting this woman to child protective services, because clearly she had her infant on the Master Cleanse diet. Her other child was not as bad, but she did drop a few grapes and sticky snacks onto my carry-on bag. She kept looking out the window and asking, “Are we in the air?” And 5 minutes later, “are we still in the air?” I  don’t see any academic scholarships in this girl’s future.