June was full of new things. I went into the month with a clear plan of what my one new thing was going to be, but my plans are like my book plots, they always work out differently than I expected. I guess that’s because the people in my life, like the people in my head, have their own ideas about how things should go.
The Plan: Go hang with my family in Indiana. Simple enough.
The trip opened with a visit to one of the coolest structures in the US. How many structures look this interesting from any angle?
This was my favorite photo, snapped out the car window on the way out of town.
On to Indiana. It’s always awesome hanging out with my sister and her family who I don’t get to see anywhere near often enough and I always love spending time with my mom who also flew out to Indiana for the week. However, since I’m sure you don’t want a blow-by-blow of the family visit, we’ll skip to the highlights.
For a portion of the trip, we went out to stay at my brother-in-laws family’s property out near the Shawnee National Forest.
There was the ‘civilized’ hunting cabin complete with showers and working toilets where we ‘roughed it’ for a few days.
And the not-so-civilized hunting cabin complete with a room of death (which I opted not to show here out of good taste) and some questionable eraser board art (which I also opted not to show because I write some young adult and it’s more fun to let you imagine what a pack of brave hunters settled to drinking and playing darts after a long day of chasing vicious deer around the countryside might come up with to draw on their eraser board).
Yes, the image is sideways and blurry. Just pretend you’re a drunken hunter.
This is where I discovered video. My mom had purchased a tiny video camera to take videos for my grandma who couldn’t come. I promptly commandeered the camera and began shooting a zombie flick, because that is so much more interesting and who's grandma wouldn't prefer some excitement in their family films.
For the sake of my loved ones (I don’t wish to be disowned), I will not share most of those videos, but here is a little bit of the setting that inspired my film project.
The creepy deserted cabin. Somebody needs to hide from zombies in this place. (Although they'd be lucky to make it this far without being sucked dry by ticks. We almost didn't.)
A fine array of victims. My little niece is the survivor, though I haven’t quite worked out how she gets away and continues shooting film once we’re all dead.
Outside of filming and creating impromptu ice sculptures
the entertainment included shooting clay pigeons and various dishware from previous marriages (not mine). This was beneficial to the movie as it meant that, by the time the zombies arrive, we would obviously be out of ammo. I’m better off not shooting a gun anyway as the video below shows. Though, to be fair, I did hit my target. If you're bored enough to watch the whole thing, you can see my sister vaporizing a plate that I didn't even have time to acknowledge was there when I went back to filming.
Nope. Not a gun person. Give me a sword. When everyone else runs out of ammo, I’ll take the stage.
We also visited the remarkable Garden of the Gods
where my sister and niece became lost briefly and our array of imaginative brains had them lying dead at the bottom of some beautiful cliff. Fortunately, that wasn't the case. They were eaten by zombies! (Okay, not really.)
From there, we moved on to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana,—I know, I thought he lived at the North Pole too—a theme park with plenty of insane wooden roller coasters like The Voyage designed to give you whiplash, a vile headache, and drastically compress your spine. Truly, a great deal of fun. The Pilgrims Plunge, the world’s tallest water ride, provides an exciting transition into the water park side, Splashin’ Safari, which boasts a wide array of delightful water rides from the mellow Bahari River to the Mammoth, the world’s longest water coaster where we shared our boat with a woman who clearly expected to die there.
Unfortunately, by this point in the trip, my mom and I were already both very sick and getting sicker, hence the lack of photos. Some nasty virus that people from Indiana are apparently immune to as no one in my sister’s family got sick. It was still a good adventure.
A few other new things in June:
My iaito, fresh from Japan and barely used, still, because I’ve been sick almost since I got it.
To answer your question, yes, it is.