Sunday, July 26, 2015


I decided to run away for the summer.
Get away from the heat of the Vegas desert and the irritation of the Vegas people.

Even if I hadn't decided to be a bum in my parents' basement for the summer, I would for sure have been home for one of my favorite weeks of the year:

I don't really know when it started. Since we've lived in Idaho, I don't think we've ever been anywhere for the 4th of July. We've partaken in the hometown events, first off the river, then on when we got our first boat. It became a tradition at that point: hit the Rupert parade then out on the water for the rest of the day, coming home just before dark to watch the city fireworks from our front lawn.
And then at some point a bit of these traditions changed: my mom's sister and her family would come up for the whole week leading up to the 4th--and, some years, a half week after. With cousins at ages similar to most of my younger siblings, it became a week of river days, night games, and fun. Most years, especially early on, mom's other siblings came up with their families, and it was like a mini family-reunion. We ate all the meals together, played boardgames and camp games, had long, deep, late night discussions, and partied it up on the river.

The finer details of the week sometimes change:
some years we can't spend the 4th on the river cos dad's working
or we go to the golf course to watch the fireworks
or fewer family members come than usual
But there are certain things that never change.

We always spend most of the time on the water. We always eat at least one dinner at Guadalajara's. We always see the latest summer blockbuster movie, all together as a family. We always go and cheer on the endless smalltown parade. 
We always have a great time.

This year was no different. 
It's no ocean, but I can't imagine a summer without some river time. 

Three of the Perkins siblings ;)
Sibling tube ride! 
I can't believe we convinced these old people to do this...but it was sure fun watching them scream!

Me & Q at the end of the last day of boating fun

We spent most of the week on the water. We went to Guadalajara's. We saw Inside Out (and, consequently, sang the Lava song for dayyysss). We went to the Rupert parade and cheered on our favorite entries. We played night-tennis. We played fruit basket and Big Booty and had BBQ dinners and s'mores for dessert and crepes for breakfast. We laughed together and talked together.

But this year, we finally did something we've talked about doing for years: we watched the city fireworks from the water. 
We've wanted to do it every year, but sometimes dad was working or the weather was really bad or we had boat troubles or everyone was too tired and just wanted to go home, but this year, we really did it. It was cold and a little stressful for dad, but I, personally, loved it. There was such a sense of community, a bunch of boats dotting a section of the river right underneath the fireworks display, all joined together, close enough that you could hear the other boats' oohs and aahs. 

At the end of it, most of us were sunburned and exhausted and a little ill. We had spent a LOT of time together, but still cried a little when everyone left. 

I love the 4th of July.
Not just because it's America's birthday :)
but because it's River Week.
A failed attempt at a panorama pic. I think it just sort of sums up the spirit of River Week ;)

A Supernatural Sunday

Recently uploaded all of my phone photos to save them on my computer
and realized there are a bunch of things I haven't written about.
Things I'd like to remember
and what better place to post a memory than here
So here goes post 1 of a bunch of things that happened a while ago.

I have a theory that the things we love--the things that become important to us and a part of our personalities--aren't just influential because of the things themselves,
but more because of the things we associate them with. 

Speaking musically, it's an actual thing. It's the reason "Music Therapist" is a real job. There are countless studies on how music impacts the mind and how it can bring about all sorts of physical, emotional, and mental healing. Directly applicable to the point I'm trying to make, music therapy has proven incredibly effective when working with those suffering Alzheimer's. 
It has the power to help you remember. 
It becomes important to you, not just cos it's a great song with a killer beat and sweet harmonies, but because it reminds you of something.
A time, a place, a person. 

I see no reason why this idea can't be applied to other things.
It may not be as potent as a favorite song, but I believe things like a favorite movie or show or book can become just as valuable, just as meaningful.

It defies all reason that I should love a show titled "Supernatural."
Me, the 20-something year old who is still a little bit afraid of the dark.
Me, who as a 16yr old spent the night in my parents' room after watching 10 second clips of Bravo's 100 Scariest Movies Ever.
Me, whose overactive imagination has led to plenty of great nightmares.
As a self-proclaimed chicken, I will be the first to admit that a show that features episodes centered around Bloody Mary, the Hookman, and Wendigos should not be high on my list.

Being the booknerd that I am, I fully believe in life being a series of chapters. 
There are chapter openings and closing chapters and things that manage to bleed in-between.
And sometimes there are things that come to be associated with those events, those closings and openings, so if I were to tell the story of why this show has become one of my absolute favorites, I'd have to paint the picture of that awkward time in-between. That limbo where you're not quite ready to give up the old chapter, and absolutely terrified to begin the new. 

My story would begin in the month of June, in a top-floor Vegas apartment. I don't think I will ever be able to forget the smell of that apartment, though I don't have any easy way to describe it. I guess it'd be a mix of easy rice (stove-ready, Mexican blend flavor) and heat--I've lived in heat before, but no one ever tells you the way a Las Vegas summer heat has a fragrance. It's probably because it's difficult to describe, but if you've experienced it, you'll know what I mean. And if I had to try and describe the scent that accompanies my memories of that place, the heat would play a large role. 

When I think of this time, this transitional period, I remember living alone, both with a roommate and without. I think of twin beds pushed together in a half-occupied room and two electric fans attempting to assist the AC with its job. I think of crappy apartment complex gyms and checking the locks on the doors once, twice, three times, four. I think of easy rice, chocolate-covered-strawberry Sonic shakes, and Advil tablets.

The beginning of June saw the end of my 6ish month 'internship.' The end of that internship saw the beginning of my now-career, and with that came a million different worries, a billion tons of stress. Licensing issues and unfriendly government workers; apartment hunting and roommate seeking. The beginning of June found me in fairly rough state: countless nights of teary phone calls home, hundreds of desperate prayers, warring feelings of independence and loneliness. The beginning of June saw my first root canal, the first time I had really had to make a doctor's appointment by myself. The first taste of what I have come to accept as 'real adulthood.'

And finally, the beginning of June saw tragedy rock my place of work. The loss of a young, sweet life one day before freedom. The beginning of June brought the phone call that night in the Target parking lot, the explanation, the loss of words. The beginning of this particular June saw a place that should have been filled with relief and celebration laid low with disbelief and sadness.
I didn't lose enough to claim this tragedy as my own, but I can't separate it from this time, from the memory of this moment. It will always be linked.

At the beginning of June, I was looking ahead to an excess of time between the end of my internship and the beginning of my career, and there was still a fortnight (I've always wanted to use that word) before I would move home for the summer. Frequently laid up with impressive jaw pain, I decided I had nothing better to do. With 7 seasons available on Netflix and a frankly alarming internet fanbase, I thought Supernatural at least deserved an audition.

Within the first 5 minutes, I was regretting my decision to begin this Supernatural journey at night. Lights were turned back on, door locks were checked (again) and promises were made to at least finish the Pilot episode before deciding.

Long before the end of that first episode, I knew I was hooked. Hooked--on a show that initially spent its time revisiting childhood horrors and urban legends. For a girl who can't even hear the word "Poltergeist" without feeling a little nervous, to fall so hard for this particular show seems a little remarkable. And, lest you think I suddenly kicked my scaredy-cat ways, I will admit I had nightmares. Thanks to this show, my irrational fear of camping seemed less irrational and I quickly renewed my conviction to never play "Bloody Mary" or live on ancient Indian burial grounds or walk the halls of anything that is now or was ever associated with the criminally insane.
BUT....those brothers. The Winchester brothers on their never-ending quest to save people from the unknown, the evil, the supernatural (see what I did there?). The humor and the heart of the show, the family bond. I loved it. Almost all of it. So much so, that by the time I moved back home for the summer, I was well into the second season. 

And so began an obsession that I have since proudly turned into a family affair. Upon resolving to play catch up in time to be a member of the slightly intimidating 'fandom' during a currently-airing season, my jump into Supernatural happily coincided with TNT's decision to rerun the seasons, in order, every day, for 3 hours. I used up lots of my parents' DVR space, and, slowly, drawn in by my obsessive tendencies, I introduced my family to the Winchesters. Not all at once, but a little at a time. My mom. My dad. My brother. Then, working outward, a few cousins and an aunt. A younger sister was shown age-appropriate episodes, and my network for Supernatural references was established.

That summer of Supernatural is forever linked, in my mind, with my last summer of..... there an opposite of adulthood that isn't childhood?
I mean, I wasn't a child--I had graduated college and was well versed in the art of living away from my parents for long periods of time. But I wasn't yet a bill-paying, responsibility-toting adult. 
I'm not really ashamed to admit that I pushed away feelings of anxiety and plans for the fall by
watching 'just one more' episode. It was--to be cheesy--the soundtrack of my summer, but it was a soundtrack that could follow me into my new life in a new place--my new chapter. 

And because of that, I think it will always be important to me.
 This show is forever linked, in my mind, to one of the biggest chapter changes I've experienced so far, and because of that, it also serves as a reminder.
That things are hard,
and sometimes life sucks
but I've made it through this and I can make it through more. 
It's a thing I love, not just because it's a really good show, but because it is associated with things that I will always remember, that I probably should always remember.
Just like a favorite song.
Make fun of that if you want, I won't deny the cheese-factor, but it makes sense to me:)

Fast-forward to March of 2015.
To one of the last months of an incredibly stressful school year,
to deciding that I would give in to my nerdiness just a little
and buy a ticket for Supernatural VegasCon 2015.

Removed from my circle of Supernatural trust, I got myself ready and journeyed, alone, to the Rio hotel; one of those flashy Strip hotels that are not actually on the Strip. 
Being the punctual obsessive-compulsive that I am, I arrived with time to spare; still an hour or so to go before the big panels began. As I made my way deeper into the hotel, past the drinks-girls and gamblers and slot machines, I started noticing more and more people who were definitely headed to the same event as me. These folks ranged from people like me--dressed in normal clothes, but with eyes clearly searching for the directions to the convention center's ballrooms--to the obvious, excited fanbase--dressed in Supernatural t-shirts and plaid--to, finally, the ultimate dedicated fan-extraordinares--those dressed in varying levels of cosplay, including one very dedicated and creative girl who dressed herself as a Castiel-themed Vegas Showgirl. (If any part of that sentence makes no sense to you, don't worry.) It was fun to not be the biggest nerd in the room, for once. 

So with my time to kill, I wandered into the "Vendor Room" and was greeted by this sight:

After a bit of perusing the merchandise (and deciding that I would definitely be getting at least one t-shirt, a mug of some sort, and probably a keychain), I made my way into the main Ballroom. I have to give credit to my friend R from work; she and her sons are fellow Supernatural fans, and they had gone to VegasCon 2014 and returned with favorable reports.
"Even from the very, very back of the room, where the guys look like little specks," she said, "it's totally worth it."
I wasn't in the very, very back of the room, though I certainly wasn't close enough to see distinct facial expressions, but she was right--it was worth it. 

The first panel was with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, John Winchester himself

And towards the end came my biggest claim to fame: Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki came into "crash" JDM's panel, and in doing so, they happened to choose the aisle that was just 3 seats away from me. That's right, folks--I was a few yards away from two of the hottest actors on TV ;) 
Once they were onstage, it was time for a few "family" jokes, before they invited Samantha Smith (the Winchester family momma) onstage for an "awkward family photo:"
a shot I grabbed from the monitors

my actual viewpoint of the stage

JDM's panel finished, it was time for the boys to take over. 
I dunno, I've seen videos of their interviews and panels from other conventions, but to be in the room during one of was just so fun. Pure, nerdy fun. 
I couldn't tell you what specifically was talked about, but I can remember that it was fun. And now, any time I see videos from this particular VegasCon, I can grin to myself and think "I was there!"
Even from far away, it was easy to tell that they are even prettier in real life ;)

And then it was over, and I had other things to do that day, so I bought my stuff, made my way out of the convention center, fought my way back through the smoky casino floors and wandered out into the ridiculous Vegas heat to face yet another week of students and stress and crazy.

But for a few hours, I got to be submerged in the Supernatural world, surrounded by people who maybe loved one of my most loved things even more, and for a person who usually keeps her nerd tendencies locked away and has a fundamental dislike of doing new things alone, it was a crazy adventure that ended up being one of my favorite experiences this year. 

I will absolutely be going back next year. :)


I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to Idaho's capital. Counting occasions and not separate...