DISCLAIMER: I'm a little behind in my blogging... so these next entries will be what most of you will consider L O N G. Ultra, uber longer. Oh, and because of the length, it's not super edited either, which means you are free to skip them. But you'll be missing out on fun, entertainment, anecdotes, and classic David Moments.

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To get the full summer experience, we have to rewind all the [expletive] way back to JUNE. Yes, I do know that was 5 months ago. I had fun, gimme a break! :P

I won't cover WIFYR, because let's be honest, that would take WEEKS. So we'll start with the 2009 Hulet Family Reunion. I have a ridiculously huge family. And every two years we get together to party, hang out, and just spend time. Because we love each other. Well I have apprehensions about such events, but usually go (when I can). My parents were host family this year, so I was doubly expected to attend.

The first night is always just a kind of gather and relax while everyone gets here. The evening culminated in the Family FHE, which was put on by the Daly Family. Love my cousins Ter and Kelz, but let's be honest. Our family IS WEIRD. The games we played... are used in Single's Wards and are awkward THERE. Here... they just shouldn't even happen. Pass the orange with your neck? Pass the lifesaver on a toothpick? Use your feet to pass a banana? No, no, no. This violates every law of family non-togetherness ever established in the history of the world. Here's a prime example of how I felt about the evening:


SO. AWKWARD.

[insert missing pictures here]

Day 2 - We decided to hike Tony Grove and try and reach Mount Naomi which would provide a stellar view of the whole place. BigBro and I brought our GPS' to grab caches on the way, of course. Some of the cousins and one of my aunts got interested, so we taught them what it was all about. We ended up getting stopped by massive amounts of snow when we were about halfway so we just ate lunch. But I hiked. I climbed (and got yelled at by my mom for having Ry and 'Stas follow me up cliff faces... I can't control your kids!) But I did it. I refuse to let my accident like a mark on my life. When we got back down there was one more cache we wanted to grab, which led us much further than we were expecting... back up. LOL Everyone else almost gave up, but I kept going, and then they came because it was close. Good times.

[insert missing pictures here]

On all our down-times many of the younger cousins (and I) enjoy playing Frisbee, Ultimate style. I played even though running was not an option. I couldn't. Leg hurt too bad, which frustrated and annoyed me. But I played anyway. Saying we had a mosquito infestation up at the lodge would have been a gross understatement. Those things were like ants on crumbs! It was absurd. We practically bathed in repellent and still got eaten.

[insert missing pictures here]

There was also intermittent cards. Hearts with the sibs, euchre with the aunts and uncles, etc. Those are always fun and relaxing moments. But it wasn't all perfect. There are relatives that make me nervous, and I won't put anyone on blast, but there were people I avoided because I was angry with the way they marginalize some of their very own children. I don't want to get into that here.

Wednesday we organized a service project. The little kids stayed at the lodge and made puppets for the Logan Head Start, while the rest of us went to clean us some decommissioned campgrounds being converted into wilderness protection. We were assigned into groups and then set off. SEVEN people KNEW I was in their group. Well, we got trash bags and went about it. I was having a great time, acting like I was finding treasure, and jamming out. After a while things got quiet, and I just enjoyed the peace of the forest and surrounding area. Eventually I made my way back to the cars wondering where everyone was... oh wait! There were NO CARS.

EVERYONE HAD LEFT.

Yes, you read that right. I was FORGOTTEN by my entire family! Everyone regrouped and my own father (who was in charge) asked "Is everyone here?" And not one person in my group said ANYTHING. Not to mention the part where I'd ridden UP with my father!!! Please tell me why'd I go in a different vehicle? So I was naturally wounded, hurt, and pissed. I mean, it's my own family!

Eventually a car came rolling back and I was taken back. No one offered me any consolation. No, in fact, they tried to make it MY FAULT! "Well, you didn't stay with your group." "We thought you went in a different car." "Why didn't you pay more attention when everyone was leaving?" This only increased my sense of distraught indignation. My own family treating me like this. I went back to my room and broke down crying. The family was going into town for lunch and then on to Minnetonka Cave for the rest of the day's activities. My mom came in and asked if I would please come with them, to which I, feeling defensive as I always do when hurt or attacked, rebuffed her. I didn't feel like doing anything but crying. I didn't even want to be at the reunion anymore. Instead of stopping and saying something conciliatory or affirming, my mom simply harumphed, "Fine, have it your way" and stormed out.

This didn't make me feel any better. My thoughts instantly went back to the Family Reunion 2 years earlier in Seattle when I'd gotten in a fight with my brother, then was screamed at by my parents, at which point I withdrew entirely. I was invited to join them in a tour of Seattle and the day's activities, but I opted not to go. Which only made me feel worse once they actually left and I was all alone and they had fun without me. They didn't care if I wasn't there and a part of the family, they went on their merry way. I've never felt entirely included, and the present was no different. So there I was faced with a choice. I could repeat Seattle (at least this time I had internet and FB as a small consolation), or I could go. So I threw on a jacket, grabbed my ipod, shoved the 'phones in my ears, turned it all the way up, and got in the car. This didn't entirely absolve the situation, but I was there at least. When we got into town, we got in line to order lunch. I spied a convenience store and was badly in need of some cough drops and a giant Dr. Pepper to help me feel better. So I went to get some. When I got back, my mom exasperatedly said, "See? This is why you get left places! You can't just disappear like that!"

Wow. I walked 20 feet away. They WATCHED me the WHOLE TIME, and then I'm "disappeared." I don't know if even therapy can save this shambles-of-a-relationship. I was just stunned, and ate my lunch in silence.

The cave was pretty, but I mainly shuffled along in the back and pretended not to care about anything - because I didn't. That night I took refuge in my room and watched So You Think You Can Dance as a way to forget where I was and who I was with.

[insert missing pictures here]

Thursday we went to Bear Lake. The family rented a boat and 3 jetskis, and let me tell you that out there on that lake, wake-jumping and going as fast as humanly possible, all by my lonesome, I found peace once again. It was an amazing day, and I loved every minute of it.

[insert missing pictures here]

That night they had a bonfire, but I missed it... I think I was playing cards? I don't remember. Maybe I was watching dance again, yeah, I think that was it. And finally, they had a slide show of the reunion which I enjoyed, though there were still wounds that I knew weren't going to be resolved. And the next morning the reunion broke up and we went home. I was glad it was over. The highlight for me was being alone on a jetski enjoying the wind in my face. The rest... well, I don't really ever want to talk about it. Again.

July hit pretty quick after that, though of course, we hit the club. That's pretty much become a staple, but I don't know if I've ever talked about it, so I'll blurb quick. Basically every Thursday (we can), we go Goth Clubbing in Downtown SLC. We dress up, do the eye make-up and then dance the night away. It's so non-judgmental and the music is so conducive to freedom that it's really therapeutic and a great time is had by all.

Then it was July VNV Nation and Boys Like Girls in concert. Sleepovers, parties, BBQs, hot-tubbing, went to the movies, watched Dance, spent time with friends, and of course, applied for jobs. I wasn't always diligent about it, but I didn't ever completely not do it. There just sometimes wasn't much in the way of availability. I think this is also around the time I started playing Twilight Princess.

And then, on a whim, I joined Pink for the first road trip of my summer (but nowhere near my last!) out to Cali for Hottie's wedding. This was interesting since Hottie and I had not spoken in quite a while (long story, and personal, sorry no details here!). But I decided that it was her day, and all our differences aside, I wanted to be there to celebrate her. Pink and I had a blast in the car looking at the sights, chatting it up, and of course, listening to good ol' Goth music. We got in late Thursday, then spent the majority of Friday in San Francisco where I showed Pink the awesomeness that is Rasputin's. We went to Chinatown and really just enjoyed our day in the city. The next day was the wedding, and I realized to my incredible dismay that I forgot MY PANTS!! X.x Of all the things. MY PANTS. God bless the fact that Pink's in-laws had a son who happened to have suit pants that fit me. So what if he's only like 17? If it fits, it fits! The wedding was grand. And I won't lie, I looked amazing.



The reception after was just as fun. Hottie was super excited to see me and I was glad I could make the day for her. We danced the night away, ate candy, and I even got a tie out of it (the orange paisley tie! Because let's be honest, I needed that tie to go with my paisley shirt!). Don't you agree?



The next day we headed back to Utah, since Pink had to work on Monday. But it was a fun, fast trip, and Hottie got married! Celebrate!!!

Then I had four days of relaxing, Zelda, job hunting, cooking, a dinner party, and playing with friends in Provo before it was time to gear up for the next trip. The Nicholsons invited me to go on Family Vacation with them. I debated staying behind, but in the end couldn't pass up the fun that would surely ensue.

We piled in the van and drove to Wyoming, stopping at the Cheese Factory for lunch where I got my first taste of what S calls "Squeaky Cheese." It wasn't that bad! For most of the ride I watched movies and/or helped the kids, and did crossword puzzles or read (though I have no clue what book I was reading at the time, lol. Maybe Epoch?

The first night we went to Yellowstone and watched Old Faithful, took pictures by a waterfall, and walked around the park a bit. I won't post all the pics here because there are too many, but I'll give links to the photos on my Facebook you can check out (even if you don't have Facebook, you can look at these).

Old Faithful

Public Pics - Yellowstone

While we were at Yellowstone, we got ice creams and apparently the people working there don't pay much attention. Sp was enjoying his cone and then suddenly found himself eating paper! The paper holder had come off the previous cone, and girl behind the counter didn't notice and just ice cream'ed over it. Pretty funny. That night we stayed at a hotel in Cody, WY. I was hungry so S let me take the van to Wendy's where I had a very fun phone convo with Turtle. :P

The next day was more driving. We stopped off at Devil's Tower, which was pretty cool. For a rock. Hahaha

Devil's Tower

Public Pics - Devil's Tower

After some quality time at the DT (hahaha) and playing in the Gift Shop we got on the road again. Ended the day all the way over in Rapid City, South Dakota where I could now proudly claim I'd been to that state! Ha!

Third day we decided to visit Crazy Horse cuz people tell me it's awesome and I should see it. But no. It's like 4% completed. AND they wanted to charge us like $27 just to drive closer. Yeah, no. We took a brochure and went on. That's not to say that when it's done (if that ever happens) it won't be freaking extraordinary. But right now? 4% isn't very impressive, sorry! Next stop was Rushmore! Yeah. Had a great time running around with the kids and taking pictures. After we did Rushmore, we wandered over to Keystone, home of the Thunder Mountain Gold Mine where we had a tour and then the kids panned for gold.

Mt. Rushmore


Public Pics - Rushmore and Thunder Mountain


Then it was back to the hotel to relax, have dinner, and spend the evening swimming. Good times were had by all!

Next day we were able to visit the Badlands (which I was so EXCITED ABOUT!) and it was gorgeous!!! We drove around, took pictures, visited a couple of trails, and on our way back we stopped at Wall Drug. Here's the thing about Wall Drug. The whole time we were driving to Devil's Tower (and South Dakota) we kept seeing these completely RANDOM off-the-wall signs for this place Wall Drug.

"Wall Drug has free ice water."
"Wall Drug now has an expanded backyard."
"The picture of Health - Wall Drug."
"T-REX. Wall Drug."
"Homemade Pie. Wall Drug."

We saw probably 20 more, but I don't remember any others, sadly. After a while, we were really beginning to wonder. What the HECK IS this place? Well, turns out it's pretty much a sprawling shopping center disguised as a city. And we aren't the only ones to "see the signs."

Purportedly, Wall Drug has over 500 miles (800 km) of billboards on Interstate 90, stretching from Minnesota to Billings, Montana. Likewise, Wall Drug spends an estimated $400,000 on billboard signs every year. Holy Bajeeze! Anyway, we stopped in so I could get a deck of cards for Erynn and S&S went jewelry hunting. All the kids were pretty much asleep, so they waited in the car while we made the quick stop. Oh, Wall Drug. There's even a reference to Wall Drug on the Apples to Apples card for Billboard. Now THAT's advertising.

After our stint in Wall, we arrived at Jewel Cave National Monument and took a tour. It was much more exciting that Minnetonka had been (sorry family!) and I had so much with lil' Si. After the cave, we took the scenic route through Black Hills National Forest with the plan of seeing Mt. Rushmore at night. The road was long and winding. And there were so. many. deer. Like 75? I think that's how many we counted before we got bored. At one point at the top there were wild donkeys going right up to all the cars, and we had to be careful driving. They came RIGHT to the windows, wow!

On the way down Sp started to get carsick. He'd been that way before, so I didn't think much of it. But he commented that he was going to write a letter to the President petitioning him to take out all curves in the roads so everyone can only drive straight. I said I fully supported him in this measure and wanted to see the letter when he wrote it. Sarah giggled in the front seat and told Sp that he was too funny and needed to start a blog to document all his hilarity.

The 8-year old wasted NO time in chiming in on the matter: "Yeah, Sp, start a blog. So we can put it on FAIL BLOG!" Now that? Funny.

We were busy laughing when the inevitable happened and Sp lost it. Poor kid. I was trying to help him with the plastic bag which wasn't functioning too well - most of it ended up on his shirt - but then I was getting it on my fingers and *I* almost lost my dinner, so I had to stop. The poor kid probably blocked it from his memory, but what a trump-all embarrassing moment story! He was mortified.

Well we finally made it to Rushmore,but there were like 8000 people, so we had no place to sit and watch their cool show. So we piddled around til they turned on the lights and we could get pics, then get out of there. Back to the hotel to pack, and get everything together for the drive home the next day.

Badlands


Jewel Cave


Night Rushmore

Public Pics - Badlands, Jewel Cave, and Night Rushmore

Not much to tell about the drive home. It was long, lol We did stop at Martin's Cove and Independence Rock, in honor of Pioneer day. At Independence Rock there was a sign outside that had atrocious grammar. I got so incensed that in my complaining and wild hand-gesturing I didn't realize how close I was to the barbed wire fence... until a piece of my arm was on it and I was staring in amazement at the resulting gash. Wow, blood. I still have a scar on my wrist from it. Stupid fence. Stupid people who can't write properly causing me to lose control of my faculties!!!

I wasn't home very long from that vacation. Pretty much one night. Enough time to catch up on laundry and some So You Think You Can Dance, before I was off on the road again.

But that will have to be next time. Much more summer fun is in store...

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