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Tales from the road

12 Jul

In the car.

DynaGirl:  I’ve got a wedgie.

BigHugs: Don’t say that, DynaGirl.  That’s inappropriate.

Chuck: Where’d she get that?

Mr. T: Probably from me.

DynaGirl: No, probably from me.

Mr. T: I say that, too.

DynaGirl: Yeah, but not as much as me because you’re the one always saying the inappropriate things.

That’s a true statement.


Still in the car.

Chuck: We’re coming up on the cinnamon bathroom.  Should we stop?

Me: Anyone need to use the bathroom?

Goose: Yes!

Me: DynaGirl, do you want to use the bathroom?

DynaGirl: Yes, very much so.

BigHugs: This is the best bathroom in the whole wide world.

Another true statement.


Bedtime, towards the end of our stay.

Goose: Time is mean.  Whenever you’re having fun, it goes by fast.  Whenever you’re having so much not fun, it goes by slow.

Wisdom beyond her years.


And the highlight of the trip.  For me.

DynaGirl: You’re good at painting nails.

Me: It’s easier when you’re not doing it to yourself.  Plus, I’m old—I’ve had more practice.

DynaGirl: You’re not old, you’re middle-aged.


Back to life, back to reality

5 Apr

I’m home.  The trip was good.  Really, really good.  I have no complaints, which is pretty amazing considering I had plenty of complaints before I left.  I mean Disneyland during spring break?  Bah.  Right?  You would think bah!  I had prepared myself (and everyone who I talked to pre-trip) for the worst.  But it wasn’t bad.  It was fun, really.  Really really. 

And you would think that should teach me not to prematurely complain about a vacation.  But no, no,  it shouldn’t.  Because that whole low expectations thing totally works for me.  I’m either pleasantly surprised with things turning out not nearly so bad as I thought or I’m completely justified in having been right about how much it would most likely suck.  A win-win, see?

I won’t bore you with a recap of the trip’s highlights, save one.  One very important highlight.  The highlightiest of highlights, my friends.  Two words: Captain E-fricking-O.  That’s right.  Spring break at Disneyland 2010 included a special Michael Jackson Tribute/Captain EO revival. 

Mr. T was in heaven.  Hea.  Ven.  And at the tender age of 13, he was able to scratch something off his bucket list that he didn’t even know needed to be on there.

Any of you who are not familiar with this 1986 short film of 3D awesomeness (directed by Mr. Coppola, no less), well, I pity you.  And now I will educate you.  Naturally, it won’t be the same without the 3D glasses, rumbly seat interactive theater or happiest place on earth setting—you’ll just have to do your best to imagine.)

And Part II (in which the awesomeness grows exponentially because that’s where the singing and dancing comes in):

And that is my gift to you.

Woooo!  Pelvic thrust.  Pelvic thrust.

There really is something very wrong with me

17 Sep

Tuesday night was supposed to be curriculum night for DynaGirl’s class.  I’ve never been invited to a curriculum night at any of my children’s schools before, so I didn’t know exactly what such an event would entail, but from what I could gather you go sit in your child’s classroom and listen to her teacher tell you what they’re going to be learning that year. 

In theory, this sounds like something I would want to attend (or, at least, should want to attend–I mean, my neighbor AND her husband were planning to attend for their child), but Tuesday night also happens to be a night when Chuck, Mr. T and DynaGirl are gone at church activities, so I would have no one to watch the younger girls, and the invitation clearly stated this was a parents only activity.  Of course, I could have tried to arrange for a babysitter, but as every parent knows, there are babysitter worthy activites and non-babysitter worthy activities, and I guess for me curriculum night falls into the latter category. 

That almost sounds as if my child’s education isn’t a top priority.  Well, if it makes you feel any better, I must have been feeling somewhat guilty and conflicted about that because when the school called Tuesday morning and left a message that DynaGirl’s teacher wouldn’t be holding curriculum night for her class because she had had a death in the family, I said (out loud), “Awesome!”

See, I never would have felt so relieved about it being cancelled if I wasn’t feeling bad about choosing not to go.  Isn’t it reassuring to know that I have a conscience?

Vacation-related this and that

15 Jul

Miracles still happen—This year I somehow managed to completely unpack my suitcase the night we got home from vacation.  The very same night.  I seriously don’t know what possessed me.  I also decided this year that my kids were going to unpack their own bags.  It took them a day or two longer.  I think for Goose it was more like four days, and I was at one point tempted to just do it myself, but then I thought “Am I my children’s luggage’s keeper?”  Besides, it was a good lesson in personal responsibility for her.  Or something.

Dandruff Queen—Monday morning I noticed my vacation fun in the sun was paying off in a spectacular display of scalp moltage. Normally, I wash my hair every other day and Monday was supposed to be my morning off, but I thought I couldn’t possibly just walk around all day as The Human Snow Globe so I’d better take a break from my regularly scheduled hair care routine and attend to that. But then I thought heck, I wasn’t even planning to leave the house so what was the point? Really. That pretty much sums up my entire attitude toward summer.

Vacation: the gift that just keeps giving—I also came home with a match set of mosquito bites, one on each shin.  My irritation has been slightly offset by the gratitude of also having come home with a pair of heels even an industrial grade Ped Egg would balk at.  Seriously, there is no more effective way of scratching your lower shins in the middle of the night than with the cracked and calloused caverns of your lowest extremities.  Silver lining, people.  Silver lining.

Some things are just worth making yourself pee for—As we were driving through Idaho on our way home, just outside of Boise, Chuck asked if anyone needed to use the restroom.  All the kids assured us that they were not presently in need of a rest stop until Chuck said, “It’s the cinnamony bathroom” and then suddenly everyone needed to go.  Rest assured, Cinnamony Rest Stop, as long as there is a Bythelbs alive and traveling in the great potato state, you will never be taken for granted.

This too shall pass—The family we stay with in Idaho and Utah have beautiful homes.  Beautifully decorated and maintained homes, and I always come home with a renewed enthusiasm and determination, all fired up about finishing up the painting job I started last year (there’s ALWAYS a painting job I started last year) and sprucing up the joint a bit.  This lasts for about a week (and then I just go back to being bitter and resenting them for their superior living conditions).  OK, wait, we got home Friday night, it’s now Wednesday morning, so I guess it’s more like five days.  Actually, I think technically I stopped caring sometime mid-afternoon yesterday, so we’ll say four-four and a half.  Still, I have been promised new carpeting when the painting is done.  And it would be kind of nice to get that painter’s tape out of the stairwell and hall (the blue doesn’t really go with my decor).   Who am I kidding?  (That would be in reference to both the idea that I might actually finish the painting and that I actually have a decor.)

The family that mocks together, stays together

In the car somewhere in Utah.

Me: When we were in Hawaii we noticed that the city we were staying in had a big letter L on the side of their mountain just like the G on the side of the mountain where your uncle lives.

Goose:  Cool.  What did the L stand for?

Mr. T:  Lollipop? Lemon?  Linoleum?

DynaGirl:  Lumps in mine oatmeal!

Mr. T:  Lumps in mine oatmeal?

General snickering.

DynaGirl:  What?

Me, with accompanying hand gesture:  Heil oatmeal!

Mr. T, with a Britishy accent:  Theh ah lllomps in mine oat-mail!

Goose:  La-la-la mine linoleum!

Mr. T, with another Britishy accent (that I’m now much too lazy to try to phonetically convey): I traversed through the woods back to my dwelling and found that there were lumps in mine oatmeal.

DynaGirl:  Whatever!


Well, I’m off.  To do what, I don’t exactly know.  Like I said, mine suitcases are already unpacked, and I’m not really feeling up to finishing mine painting today.  Perhaps I’ll wash mine hair.  Also, mine mosquito bites seem to be past the itching stage, so I guess I could always egg mine peds.  What are yourn big plans for the week?

She’s alive!

13 Jul

Man, I’d forgotten how exhausting vacation can be.  We had eight days in Hawaii, then a day at home, then left again for almost two weeks in Idaho/Utah.  Good times were had by all, but I am done in.  One of these days I’ll figure out how to have a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation.  Maybe.  I almost think I’m physically incapable of accomplishing such a feat.

So naturally, my cup of blogging material runneth over, but I hardly know where to start.  Last night while trying to get to sleep I started about a dozen different posts in my head.  I could not stop thinking about it.  It was annoying, actually, because of the exhaustion and the done-in-ness.  And then I finally forced myself to stop thinking about it, but instead I had this song play over and over in my mind.  Not even the whole song.  Just the last line.  Over and over. And over.

What About Me by Kenny Rogers , Kim Carnes and James IngramThe most popular videos are here

How did I know it was this song if it was just the last line?  Because it was Ms. Carnes singing it.  Over and over.  And over.  What do you think it means?

So I’ll be back later this week—maybe tomorrow, maybe Tuesday (wait, tomorrow is Tuesday), maybe Thursday, maybe Friday, heck, even Wednesday’s a possibility, but definitely not Saturday or Sunday because those are typically my non-posting days, although, if I’ve learned anything in my short 35 years on this planet, it’s never say never—but until then, here’s a quick teaser of things to come.

Mormons go snorkeling


What the heck was that?

Holy dang, it’s a frickin’ sea turtle!


28 Aug

One of our new favorite spots to hit during our Seaside vacations is Indian Beach.  We’ve been going to Ecola Park for years for its beautiful views of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock, and other points along the coast. 


On our way to Ecola Park, we always passed by the turnoff to Indian Beach.  We decided to check it out two years ago, and now it is one of our favorite places.  It’s beautiful—you walk through a little forested area and come out to breaking waves and interesting rock formations.  The waves break further out, making it ideal for wading with our small children.

It seems to be a pretty popular spot for surfers, too.  This past trip I noticed a pair of surfer chicks.  They were young—maybe very early 20s—and seemed to be in their own little world, talking and laughing and looking like they were having the time of their lives.  They were camped out just a few yards away from us, and I glanced over and saw this:

They had made a rock sculpture surfer, complete with driftwood surfboard.  When they left to hit the waves, DynaGirl and I snuck over to take some pictures.  When we got a closer look, we saw they had signed their work.

I have such fond memories of my BFFs—the ones who I could laugh and cry and be absolutely ridiculous with and know that it was always safe to just be myself.  We were inseparable until time and distance separated us.  The distance is only geographical, though, physical.  No matter how long we go between visits and phone calls or e-mails or letters, when we finally make the contact it’s as if it has only been a day or two—we can always just pick up where we left off and never feel awkward about the passing time.  Other friendships have come and gone, conveniences of our stage in life or situation or location.  But these friendships are a very comforting constant in my life.

I wish the same for Lauren and Emma.  They’re out there somewhere in the waves.

Vacation—the aftermath

25 Aug

It’s been a week now.  BigHugs’ spilling last Monday spilled into Goose on Wednesday and DynaGirl on Saturday.  Mr. T threatened to spill on a few occasions, but thankfully never made good on that threat.

I think I’m on my 23rd load of laundry.  Don’t let me forget to put the towels in the dryer.  I hate it when I have to rewash a load because I’ve forgotten to promptly put it in the dryer, thus causing my load to lose its freshness.

I managed to unpack my suitcase.  And BigHugs’.  And it’s only been a week!  It’s some kind of record, I think.  Of course, Mr. T’s and the girls’ are still floating around their rooms somewhere in some stage of unpackedness.  Can’t they just hurry up and wear those clothes already?  Isn’t that the fastest way to empty luggage—the necessity of covering your nakedness?

The whole Bythelbs family managed to get burned the first day of our trip, which was now two weeks ago.  I’m usually pretty vigilant with the sunscreen, but that first day managed to miss more than a few spots.  We’re still peeling.  Well, somehow BigHugs and Goose managed to escape, but the rest of us…  We’re molting everywhere.  It’s like living in a snow globe.  With skin.

You know the worst place to get burned?  Your scalp.  Because the peeling scalp just looks like you’ve got dandruff on steroids.  And you can tell people (like everyone you run into who you think gave your head a second kind of funny and lingering look), “Don’t you just hate it when your scalp gets sunburned and you have like these super huge dandruffy looking flakes that aren’t really dandruff at all but just peeling skin because I’ve totally had the dandruff thing under control for like forever, but I forgot to wear a hat at the beach because well, actually, I don’t even own a hat…”  And they’ll totally nod with you like they get it, but something’s off in their eyes, and you realize they don’t believe a word coming out of your mouth.  Their heads are nodding “yes” while their minds are shaking “flaked out freak”.  Sigh.  Not that that’s ever happened to me.

Well, I’m off like a dirty shirt to do more laundry and bathe and loofah with a vengeance.  Can you loofah a scalp?  That still has a luxuriously full head of hair?  I’m wondering if that’s wise.  Hmmm…