Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Vacations at any time of the year are great aren't they? But when you get to go somewhere different, do something fun and the weather is great, it just makes it a little better!

I recently enjoyed 12 days off in a row...the longest I've ever taken other than "between jobs"! I started by attending a family reunion in Washington state. My dad, step-mom, older brother, 16-year-old niece and husband flew to Seattle and had just enough time the first day to visit Pike's Market Place and watch the sunset at the Space Needle. The next day, it was off to Port Townsend on Puget Sound where the rest of my relatives were gathered at a cool old fort that has been turned into a camp of sorts for youth groups, football camps and family reunions such as ours! We stayed in a beautiful century old house, "officer's quarters" and other than no electrical outlets in the bathroom and us women having to "fix our hair" in the dining room with the mirror over the fireplace mantle, it had all the modern amenities and comforts of home! We spent the next 3 days there getting re-acquainted with cousins we only get to see every 3 years.

Besides the "visiting" the highlight had to be going whale watching! It was a 4-hour cruise where we saw 2 "pods" of Orca whales in the wild! On the way back to port, we cruised near what they called "eagle island" where we did see 3 bald eagles and a two-ton nest, one of the only places in the world the birds nest on the ground! It was also home to a lot of sea lions, that looked like rocks from the distance! As we got closer though, a few swam out to greet us. They are so cute!

We made many more memories with the family and visited Seattle one more time before we flew back home.

Then on the second half of my vacation, we traveled to visit my little brother and his family in SD. You may have heard that Sean Penn is directing a movie in Carthage, SD. Well, that happens to be about 8 miles from my brother's farmstead and my sister-in-law is Principal of the small grade school there which the "movie people" have taken over during filming! We laughed because a new parking sign proudly displays "Director Parking" right over my sister-in-laws "former" parking spot! Although the county deputies were quite busy keeping areas of the town "closed" to shooting, we did get to see a scene shot with Vince Vaughn at the elevator! The movie also stars Emile Hirsch who we did get to see later when we were invited to the production supper! My niece was brave enough to go and ask him for his autograph which he politely gave her, my only "brush" came when Vince Vaughn carried his dinner plate to his trailer and walked behind my chair, and I sat three tables away from Sean Penn while he ate! Even though we stood for 4 hours on main street "waiting" for another scene to be shot, we got tired and left at midnight. The flood lights they used to light the street could be seen from my brother's farmstead however! It was a very cool experience, and I understand my brother was chosen as an extra for a bar scene they shot. He "worked" from 4pm to 4am...and said he hasn't been up that late since he was in college! Oh, the movie by the way is called "Into The Wild" and will be out next year! It'll be fun to see how much one week of shooting actually will make it into the final version!

That pretty much wraps up my essay on what I did on summer vacation! Hope you had fun reading it!

-Lilly