Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Mobile Spider

When we first got to Palau, we noticed a gigantic spider perched in the center of a large web near the stairs leading to our apartment. The spider was high above even Daniel's freakishly circus-level reach.

Daniel hates spiders, like any good and decent person does. His fear of them I would classify as "above average," however.

I have a very average fear of spiders. But because of my understanding of the true and evil purpose of snakes, an understanding that some also call a "fear," I am able to show some empathy for Daniel's feelings on the matter.

Hear that, Daniel? EMPATHY. It means not trying to force Eli to get closer to the most venomous snake in the world because "it looks cool."

Ugh. Why do I bother? He doesn't read Stranger anyway.

Journey Back to a Dot

Last night I made it back to the land of coconuts. Daniel picked me up at the airport at 8:15, drenched completely in sweat, just like he was when he dropped me off at the same spot over two weeks ago. After 34 hours of traveling, it was comforting to see a friendly face again.

My sister Krishelle and I got to the Salt Lake airport early Sunday morning after Bob and Cathie dropped us off and told us to be careful and not to talk to strangers. It's like Bob and Cathie don't even know me sometimes.

Krishelle was able to work out her schedule to return to Palau with me and spend a few weeks hanging out on the beach, diving, and rolling her eyes at all of mine and Daniel's lame jokes. I wasn't looking forward to the long flights, but was happy to have a close friend go with me.

Friday, April 26, 2013

An Evening with Jolyn


Ok, first of all, I know! Today is supposed to be a pictures and distractions post. I know the schedule guys. I'm the one who created it. And now I'm practically ruining your childhoods. Even though your childhoods have already happened for most of you. I'm basically going back in time and ruining them for you. I'm heading back to Palau in 2 days. I promise I'll get back on schedule next week. It's been a little crazy around here lately.

Late last night I met Jolyn at a coffee shop in Salt Lake City. I believe that someone should probably try to pass a piece of legislation that makes our meeting up with one another illegal. Every time I spend what should be a pleasant evening with Jolyn, I end up waking up the next morning screaming as everything that happened finally hits me.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Guatemala Video

Happy Wednesday, all. I actually thought yesterday was Wednesday until about 3:00 PM when I met up with Jolyn and she informed me that it was Tuesday. So I'm feeling very confused today. Partly because I still don't really know what day it is because Jolyn lies to me whenever possible. But also because I thought I already experienced what I'm experiencing now.

Anyway, Jolyn didn't lie when she said that she put the videos up from The Porch event last week, so today I give you those. Jolyn says that they get blurry in a couple of places and she's very sorry for that but that the audio is fine and "nobody needs to see you clearly anyway." I passed on to her that we are all very disappointed and will probably never forgive her so you don't have to tell her yourself.

Jolyn had to split the video into two pieces for reasons that I didn't really understand (I was still thinking about the fact that it was actually Tuesday while she was explaining it to me). You can find Part I here and Part II here, or play below.



~It Just Gets Stranger

Monday, April 22, 2013

Autocorrect Problems

One of the most frustrating things about making a short trip to the U.S. is my lack of cell phone. I have my old U.S. phone with me, which I'm able to use for Interneting whenever I'm near what the kids call "the wifi." But I still can't call anyone. So I have been using the phone to contact people through Facebook chat extensively. This, in addition to being severely out of autocorrect and text predictor practice, since my Palau phone is a 2001 Nokia with T9 texting, has caused problems.

I'm very good at T9 texting again, by the way. You guys are all going to come running to me when your smart phones give out and the world has to resort back to T9 texting and I'm the only one who can remember how to do it.

Anyway, I give you a small sampling of my more embarrassing mistakes over the last week. Most of my autocorrect and text predictor problems happen with Daniel because I don't care to proof-read what I'm writing to him as much as I do with other people.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Search Party

Guys. I know. I'm the worst person you've ever not met. I can't believe I've gone a few days without checking in. You've probably all been wondering if I'm dead. Have you sent a search party out for me? If you did, it's not a very good one. Because I haven't been hiding at all and they still haven't found me. And they seriously should have just contacted my family because my family knew right where I was the whole time. I think you should look into getting a different search party. However much you're paying this one, it's too much.

But I'm not dead. Trust me. If I was dead, you would hear about it. Because when I die, it's going to make national headlines. Not because I'm famous, but because I will die doing something incredibly weird. Mark. My. Words.

The reason I haven't checked in is because the Twice Up the Barrel Tour in the United States has been very full of . . . everything. And I just haven't quite found the time or energy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The DMV

On Monday I went to the DMV to renew my license and to register my U.S. car.

Rather, I was taken to the DMV by Bob. My parent and guardian.

Bob was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to drive me over there, since I couldn't drive my own car as the whole reason we were going was to register it and get a valid license.

Guys, I swear I was 16 years old that day.

Bob and Cathie are helpful people. They can't help but be helpful. They're not bossy. They're not know-it-alls. They just step in and help out whenever they see an opportunity.

That's exactly what happened at that DMV on Monday when Bob stepped up to the counter before I could, pointed at me, HIS TWENTY-EIGHT YEAR OLD SON WHO DOESN'T EVEN LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, and said, "my son here needs to get his car registered. What do you need from us?"

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stuff Cathie Has Said

Prayers and best wishes go out from Stranger to all those affected in the Boston Marathon disaster today.

Not to repeat myself, but in case you missed it, tickets for Thursday's show at The Porch are available here. I am told they are selling quickly. Can't wait to share a story on stage with you all in just a few days in Provo!

And now:

Stuff I've heard come out of Cathie's mouth since I've been in the U.S.

"What have you been doing in Palau? I mean, besides eating everything in sight." [Then she looked me up and down.]

"What if I said that YOU pooped in YOUR underwear?! How would that make YOU feel!?" [I woke up from a nap to hear this said to my 3-year-old niece. I have yet to think of a context for this that isn't funny.]

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Back in the U.S. of A.

I need to be quick today because I have spent 987 of the last 72 hours on planes and I am CRANKY. Ok, not really that cranky. Because I stopped sweating for the first time in 6 months. And how can you be cranky when you've stopped sweating for the first time in 6 months?

The trip from Palau to Salt Lake City went without too much drama, although it did require 4 flights, 3 long layovers, 2 days, and a partridge in a pear tree.

When I got to the airport in Salt Lake, I immediately started shivering and I have not stopped since.

About 38 seconds after landing, I messaged my sister Krishelle and demanded that she escort me to the nearest mall where we wandered for 3 hours just staring at all the stuff that there is to buy in this wonderful world.

Stuff is incredible. Guys. Don't take stuff for granted.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

So I got the full story on the cat pee thing I mentioned yesterday. Basically Daniel had to sit in this house for 4 hours while various animals (mostly cats) jumped all over him. At one point, a stray snake wandered through the place. Not a pet snake. Just a snake from outside. According to Daniel, most of the animals defecated on him at one point or another. During the course of this, he was also force-fed questionable food. I don't know though. Sometimes he exaggerates. And if there's one thing I can't stand, it's when a person exaggerates while telling a story.

In other news, I'm about to get on a plane. And then another plane. And then another. And then 45 more. All the way to Salt Lake City, Utah where I will wear sweaters and wander around the malls crying. Out of happiness. Let the Twice Up the Barrel Tour BEGIN! I hope to see some of you at The Porch next Thursday (should have ticket info for you soon), or just wandering around the streets. Look for me. I'll be the one NOT sweating for the first time in 6 months.

And now, your pictures and perhaps the best weekly distractions we've ever had.

Daniel took a work trip out to an outer island called Peleliu and snapped some shots of the aftermath of December's typhoon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cat Pee! Everywhere!

We had the kids last night, just like every Wednesday. Note: I like referring to our Wednesday night church activities with the teenagers this way because it sounds like a joint-custody situation.

And it also gives me an inside peek at what it would be like to have children with Daniel, in case he ever needs a reference. And if anyone ever calls me and asks me about whether I would recommend having children with Daniel, that conversation will probably go like this:

Person: Would you recommend having children with Daniel?

Eli: HELL NO.

Then the person would probably ask why, and I would immediately tell them about what happened last night.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cure for Anxiety?

I'm sitting in my office right now, full all the way to the top with anxiety.

Eleventy million things to get done at work before the Twice Up the Barrel tour to the U.S., which starts in about two days. Also an infinite amount of other things to get figured out before then as well.

I thought people moved to tropical islands to never feel stress or anxiety ever ever again? What the crap guys?

Sometimes I wish I could slip back into the care-free days of childhood. Just for a little while. Then I remember that when I was a child I had to go visit Betty down the street. She was 197 years old, give or take. She sat on her front porch in her wheel chair and forced the neighborhood kids who were sent to visit to sing songs to her for 2 or 3 hours at a time. THEN, as a "reward" for doing so, she would remove her prosthetic leg and show us the stump.

Every single time this happened I was unable to eat for the next 12 hours.

What is a Hobbit?

Last night I was forced to watch "The Hobbit." I did not then, nor do I now, have any idea what was happening in that movie.

Eli: Wait just one damn minute. How old is Dumbledore?

Daniel: . . . In Harry Potter?

Eli: No. I know how old he is in Harry Potter. How old is he in this?

Daniel: He's not in this.

Eli: Ok Daniel (condescendingly). And I guess THAT guy right there with the giant beard is Santa Clause?

Daniel: That's Gandalf.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Haircut. FOR WHICH I DID NOT GET NAKED.

I went back to that place where I had the infamous body scrub recently.

I know. What the crap, Eli. How could you go back to a place where you had humiliated yourself that much?

Guys. I have a lot of practice. I went back to high school every day for 4 years.

I needed a haircut and the Daniel School of Hair has burned me way too many times so I've resorted to leaving the house again for my trims.

Side note: One of the first times I visited the Daniel School of Hair was in Salt Lake City last year. The next day my friend Isabel asked me if part of my head had caught fire and if I tried to put it out with a lawn mower. If Daniel tells you he knows how to cut hair and offers to prove it on your head, RUN AWAY!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

Thanks to all of you who have voted for Dean and helped him in his Ironman quest. If you haven't read yesterday's post yet, I'm referring to this thing that I would still so appreciate you voting on, if you have not yet. And by the way, why haven't you read yesterday's post? I never get behind on your life!

Speaking of yesterday's post, I told Daniel that I shared his love for old woman things. He asked me to pass on to you that he's proud of his choice of books and movies. And I was all, "maybe you should get your own blog and tell them yourself!" And he was all, "maybe I should stop doing your laundry every week!" And I was all, "BUT THEN WHO WOULD DO MY LAUNDRY!?"

Anyway, Daniel is proud of his choice of books and movies.

And now, your pictures and distractions. And by the way, I think I'm going to stop calling them "Pictures from my Phone" because most of them aren't even from my phone anymore and I just feel like I'm lying to you. And I feel like you can tell.

Daniel bought this incredible Palauan wood carving recently. NUDITY.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

25 is the new 60

First, a quick favor. Last summer I posted about a family I know, the father of which was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year. Dean is a three-time Ironman and a really great guy. He is trying to get into the Kona Ironman world championship race this year, a dream of his. Typically the way one gets into Kona is by completing an Ironman with a very competitive time. But Kona also reserves some spots each year for people with inspirational stories. Dean submitted a short video here and if you would hop on there for two seconds and vote for him, I promise to do a five minute interpretive dance for you the moment you're done.

K, I'll wait for you here by myself while you all go do that.

Da la da da la . . . 'cause I'm a genie in a bottle . . . the right way . . . don't go chasin' waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the--

Oh! You're back! Thanks for doing that. I wasn't singing. That was probably the radio that you heard.

Ok, and now for my five minute interpretive dance:

 [dancing]

Whew. That was hard work. What did you think about the part where I mimicked a tree that caught on fire during a snow storm? I knew it was a risky decision but I sort of just went for it last minute.

And now,

A Conversation About How Daniel is Actually an Aging Woman

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Working in the Garden



Last Saturday I experienced 4 hours of back-breaking labor in the garden behind the church. The Mormon church building in Palau sits on a beautiful piece of land that overlooks the ocean, which you can only see when a typhoon blows through and temporarily knocks out the trees. One very sweet lady, Evangeline, has taken it upon herself to turn this land into a flourishing garden, to which she has tended largely herself and from which she has obtained and given out unbelievable amounts of bananas, potatoes, pineapples, and a bunch of stuff I didn't know existed until I got to Palau.

Evangeline is now very pregnant and her pregnancy is apparently a "high-risk" one. Not to be culturally insensitive, but after visiting the hospital here recently, I have to say that every pregnancy in Palau should be considered "high-risk." This developing country still has a little way to go as far as its health care system is concerned. And if I happen to become pregnant while here, I will book the next flight to any major city as soon as possible.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools' Day

Ok, first of all, some of you are SO mad that yesterday I didn't say a single thing about April Fools' Day.

What the heck, Eli? How lazy can you be? You don't even deserve to be called an obnoxious jerk anymore.

I have a couple of pretty good email chains going on right now with unsuspecting victims and I thought one of them would be ready to post by yesterday, but I was wrong. And somehow in the stress of the day, I completely forgot to play 5,000 life-ruining April Fools' Day jokes on people, other than pushing Daniel down three flights of stairs while he was holding a bunch of knives. But he seriously can't take a joke so it wasn't even that funny.

And actually, I hope to play a great one on Daniel later this week. He doesn't know how to read a calendar so he never knows what day it is anyway. So what I need from you all are some ideas. Did any of you pull off any good pranks? Any good ones from past years? You can leave your ideas in the comments. Daniel won't see this because he STILL doesn't read Stranger. Which means we can gossip about him and he'll never know. Psst! I heard that Daniel still wets the bed!

Messy Room

It's Monday in Palau. Easter has ended. The gigantic loaves of Ukrainian Easter bread Daniel spent 9 hours baking yesterday mostly remain in my kitchen, untouched. He says he didn't mean to make so much. But the recipe just kept calling for more and more flour. And eventually, we had enough bread to feed the entire country. Our day was exactly like that episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy accidentally bakes so much bread that it comes out of the oven and pins her against the wall. Except our day had way less domestic abuse.

I'm feeling a little down today. Low energy. Maybe I'm coming down with a bug of sorts. Lohan will not be happy. Or maybe it's just one of those days. I've been having some extra stresses lately, and I think I'm also feeling the effects of knowing how much stuff I need to get done before I head to the U.S. at the end of next week.

Whatever it is, I'm so wanting to climb into a comfy bed and shut out life for a little bit. I'm also, contradictorily, feeling like going for an ultra-long run. Sometimes I think my soul is schizophrenic. Can that even be fixed? Heavily medicated? What? Cheesecake is the cure? WELL, IF YOU INSIST!