As I write and reflect upon this past month I’m reminded that I live a charmed life.  I many friends and loved ones and the best job in the world.  It’s always hard to cram into a few paragraphs all of the wonderful things that I get to do a regular basis.  This blog is written mainly for myself to reflect upon down the road.  For that reason I try to list every detail but often I leave out the sentiment.  Each smile of a new friend.  The heartache shared by people I converse with.  The moments of glee when I turn a non-believer into one are too many too count.  I’m thankful for all that I have.

We started off the month by visiting my grandparents in Edgewood.  We had a nice lunch and visit and memories always rush back when I enter their home.  On their homestead I have had many Christmas’ and other family get-togethers.  I’ve fished there, shot fireworks as a kid, road dirt bikes, hiked in the woods, saw my first armadillo, etc.  Mainly I remember lots of laughter.  After our visit my wife and I returned home and prepared for our trip.

On the 4th of July we flew to Seattle and were greeted by a new friend named Craig.  We checked in to the nice Hotel Vintage and then Craig took us out to see the sites, have dinner, and then onto a friends home on the lake.  His friend was an old war vet who worked on the last plane that ever flew in WWII.  We watched a video about it and the rest of the crew.  The plane crashed in the ocean and was recovered.  I can’t think of a better way to spend the 4th, our Independence Day, then with a man who helped make those freedoms possible.  The icing on the cake was a spectacular fireworks show that we watched while on a ferry boat heading back towards our hotel.

The next day we took in much of Seattle at stops like Pike’s Place.  It was quite an interesting market place.  To walk through it you literally had to stand shoulder to shoulder with people.  We witnessed the fish tossing and many other things the market had to offer.  I was even pleased to find a magic shop inside who was promoting my upcoming lecture.  After that we had a nice clam chowder at a nearby restaurant.  The chowder was so popular that we waited in line over half an hour with others to try it.

From there we ventured onto the Experience Music Project museum, better known as the EMP, right next to the famous Seattle Space Needle.  It’s a music history meets sci-fi museum.  It’s a little pricy as far as museums go but we had a good time.  The museum is  hard to explain so I found this video (click here).  Afterwards we had a nice dinner and returned to the hotel.

The day we hopped aboard the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship and set sail on an Alaskan cruise.  This was our 4th cruise and we had a good time.  The food, shows and other amenities are always nice.  However the ships beauty paled in comparison to our ports of call.  Our first stop was Juneau.  We had scheduled an excursion in a sea-plane to fly over some glacier and eat salmon at a lodge near the wildlife but all seaplane rides were cancelled.  We scurried and found another excursion that took us to a hatchery for salmon.  We also stopped to see an epic glacier and then went onto a salmon bake.  Parts of the glacier were the brightest blue and amazing to behold.  The salmon bake was good once we found a heater to sit under and we made some friends.  I performed a little magic for them and they actually paid me so I can mark Alaska off of my list of states I’ve performed in.

Our next stop was Skagway.  There we took rubber raft riverboat ride down the Chilkat River.  It just happens to be the world’s largest eagle preserve area and we saw about 40-50 of them that day.  The ride was fun and the young lady steering our craft got a workout carrying her eight passengers.  The water was so shallow that many times we’d all have to bounce up and down on the craft to get out of a shallow spot.  The eagles sat near the river and would walk up to the water and grab a fish.  The hunt was nothing majestic like I had pictured in my mind, with eagles wings spread far and swooping in to catch their prey.  It was educational nonetheless.

Our next stop was Ketchikan where we had planned to just walk around but happily we booked a seaplane adventure instead.  We flew over many misty fjords and landed the plane on a glassy still lake.  We each hopped out onto the planes flotation supports and took in the beauty.  We hopped in the plane to fly back and hoped to see bears along the way but saw mountain goats instead.  We then walked about Ketchikan and took in many shops.  We wanted to bring home some sculptures we found in some of the art shops but we reasoned that we simply didn’t have a place for them.

However our art needs were met on the ship.  As I kid I liked to sketch, and we both are always drawn to museums when we travel.  The ship offered many art auctions which are always fun because you get to learn about different styles of works and become familiar with modern day artists.  We were lucky enough to win three pieces of art by attending and we actually bought a piece.  That piece should be delivered soon.  It’s called Blue Moon Over Venice by Marko Mavrovich.  I loved the colors used, the style, the beauty of the night time scene, but also the hidden message.  The gondola depicted is passing under a bridge of particular note.  Read more about the Bridge of Sighs here.