Monday, December 29, 2014

2014

Each year when I sit down to write the New Year wrap-up post, I begin the process by reviewing what I wrote the year before. It gets me in the mood to reflect. And it's always fascinating to me to review the emotions I expressed the prior year.

One of the best things about writing this blog, and writing so regularly, is that it's a really effective way for me to preserve my states of being and to track the evolution that comes with growing up. As I sat and read the 2013 post, the flood of 2013's emotions came back to me.

That was a hard year. In many ways, my very hardest. And when I reached its conclusion, I remember thinking that it was a miracle that I survived it. I know those words sound dramatic. But for me, at that time, they didn't even begin to capture how torn apart my soul felt after everything I had experienced in Palau and its aftermath.

I knew that 2014 was going to be a different story. It had to be. Because I felt like I began it at rock bottom. And true rock bottom is a firm boundary, comforting in its limits that at least appear to mean that things can't get worse.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Driveway

I think my house was initially built with horse and buggy in mind. At least, that's the only way I can explain the driveway. It's exceedingly narrow, and I don't really know why because there is definitely room on one side to expand a few feet and cut into the front yard.

The driveway is lined on either side with a cement wall that juts up from the ground about two feet. It serves as a retaining wall for the yard area that sits on the other side of it. The driveway is also very long, extending back beyond the house and to the garage that's in the backyard. 

Every single time I have to pull into or out of this driveway I feel like I'm flying that spaceship on Star Wars when they have to shoot perfectly into that one hole on the Death Star while flying down the ship's narrow canyon.

On a side note, I know that that last paragraph made me sound knowledgeable concerning Star Wars. I assure you that this is not true. Please do not contact me for a date simply because you like to dress up as Princess Leia. (Unless you also have lots of money and/or personally know Paul Simon, in which case, obviously do contact me for a date ASAP.) I'm still trying to stop the text messages from last April Fools' Day when Jolyn posted that ad on my behalf.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Top Ten Most Viewed Stranger Posts, 2014

Every time I get on Facebook right now there are a thousand posts that are like "check out Amy's year!" and then you can click on it and scroll through a thousand pictures to see what Amy ate in 2014. And I'm always like, WHY? And then I click on it and scroll through every picture.

Then I thought, why not do the same thing with Stranger?

I've been meaning to start this thing every year where I give you a list of the ten most viewed Stranger posts of the year. But I've just never gotten around to it in the craziness of the end-of-year holidays. And I don't even know if this will be a post anyone cares about. But at Stranger, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

It's been a wonderful year at Stranger. I'll have the full year recap post up next week. But let me just say now, as I've said before, thank you so much for your kindness, your humor, your friendship, and all of the strange parts of you. I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.

And now, without further ado, the 2014 Top Ten Most Viewed Stranger Posts:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Half a Carload

My friend Burke is possibly the greatest human being of our generation. A couple of weeks ago we were talking about how I needed to move for the eleventy millionth time in the last ten years and how much I was dreading the task.

Because you guys. Moving is the absolute worst thing in the history of all worst things lists in the history of the world. It is worse than camping and Glee and when you open the car door and snow from the roof falls down your shirt.

MOVING IS LIKE GOING CAMPING IN THE WINTER WITH THE ENTIRE CAST OF GLEE. Except you also have lift heavy things.

Well, as I was complaining to Burke and pondering how it is that I have conducted my life in such a way that has caused me to have to move between 1 and 4 times a year, every year, for an entire decade, Burke offered his help.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Eli's House

So it's getting late and I just finished the three-hour AMAZING Survivor finale. Did anyone watch it? I know it's not 1998 anymore, but some of us still follow the show. If you did watch it, can we please talk about what happened? Because ev'ybody be screamin' in my house tonight.

Anyway, because it's late, I thought I would just share pictures with you of my house and call it a night. And look. I know. I already posted most (all?) of these on the Instagrams. But not everybody has the Instagrams. Which is a huge mistake because Matt texted me today:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

10 Things I Learn from "It's a Wonderful Life"

1. Flirting should be funny.

One of my favorite lines from the movie is when ol' what's-her-name (the blonde bombshell) is walking down the sidewalk and George compliments her dress. With attitude, she retorts, "this old thing? Well I only wear it when I don't care how I look." Her confidence in that moment makes me want to make her my very best friend.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rebecca's Near Murder

Rebecca was babysitting Ollie at her house on Friday, so I texted her to see how things were going.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I'm in my mostly vacant house, having spent the afternoon and much of the evening here taking care of installations and bids for various projects. It's all kinds of responsibility and it's all kinds of exciting. Although scary. Because GROWNUP.

But things are pretty good, because Ollie is here with me. We're having a sleepover tonight. Unfortunately we have to trek back to my downtown apartment that feels more like a hoarder house every day as I continue my chaotic attempts at packing. I have, probably unrealistic, hopes that Ollie is going to finish the job for me while I sleep tonight.

And now, please enjoy some Pictures and Distractions. (And please feel free to follow me on the Instagrams and the Facebooks).
Living room in my new house. More pictures to come next week.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Six Chairs

Eli: Hi. I would like to buy this table and six of these chairs.

Lady: Great! Let me make sure we have enough in stock.

Eli: No problem.

Lady: Let's see . . . hmmmm . . . well we only have four of those chairs.

Eli: Ok. Do you know when you'll have more?

Lady: No.

Eli: Can we order some? Is that a possibility.

Lady: Nope.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How to Become a Grownup

Megan texted me and told me to show up at some address on Monday at 4:00. I didn't really know what would be happening but that was more or less par for the course in this process. Buying a home is as confusing as insurance, as stressful as talking someone off a ledge, as unsettling as getting lost at the grocery store as a child, and as intimidating as starting a new job. ALL AT ONCE.

I arrived at 4:00. Some people sat around a small table with me while a man handed me one paper at a time and told me to sign and initial in a thousand places. It felt like an assembly line. Except instead of making trinkets, we were signing my life away and becoming significantly poorer.

I'm told I'm supposed to stop saying that. That I'm not becoming "poorer." I'm just transferring my assets and "investing." I put "investing" in quotes because I'm not convinced that's a real word. I don't think I've lived long enough to believe in it yet.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The First Doctor's Appointment

Remember how eleventy years ago I told you that I had set up an appointment to see a REAL doctor because my friend at work told me that you aren't a grownup until you start having regular checkups with the same physician? And then when I called the doctor's office to make an appointment they were like, "our next available time is in 97 years on a Tuesday at 1:00 AM." And I was all like, "I'LL TAKE IT!"

Well my phone freaked out the other day with a notification that said, "GO TO THE DOCTOR AND KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON!" And that's when I remembered that I had made an appointment for that very day.

On a side note, I have started adding the reminder "AND KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON" to most of my calendared appointments, just to be safe. It's done wonders to help me keep my "stop unnecessarily taking my clothes off in 2014" goal.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Happy Friday, one and all. Tonight I saw Rebecca and her sister hauling her bed out of my home. Now it's quiet.

TOO quiet.

I have a feeling I'm going to come home to find a severed head in the refrigerator tomorrow. A simple message from Jolyn Metro that I haven't been forgotten. But until then, we wait in silence and suspense.

And we enjoy your Pictures and Distractions. (Please feel free to follow me on the Instagrams or the Facebooks, if your heart so desires).

I think I want to use this as our engagement photo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rebecca's Shopping Cart

Tonight I came home from work to find a shopping cart in my apartment. Not the most ridiculous thing I've come home to. Not by a long shot. But still, I didn't really have time to deal with complication today.

Eli: No.

Rebecca: What?

Eli: Why is there a shopping cart in my home?

Rebecca: Because I'm using it to move out!

Eli: You're moving out right now?

Rebecca: Yes. INTO MY NEW HOUSE!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Food Assignments

It's not a secret that in my family I am not trusted with bringing even remotely complicated food assignments to family functions. It's also no secret that I'm very sensitive about this.

Usually, Cathie will send out some email about a big family gathering. She'll inappropriately use an excessive number of emoticons. The font and color of text will change mid-sentence multiple times. She'll tell us how much she loves us all. And then she'll include some assignments for my sisters and me to bring things. It often looks like this:

Krishelle: Creme brulee and the heart of a unicorn baked inside of a hand-crafted pygmy sculpture.

Krisanda: Home-aged cheese and nine-layer wedding cake in the shape of a dove.

Micalyne: Gold-laced duck and forty handmade sushi rolls.

Eli: Chips.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Halloween, 1995

I should be 100% way too embarrassed to share this photo with you. But I just can't help it. It is too horrifically glorious to keep it all to myself. It should be against the law for me not to share it with you.

This weekend, my childhood best friend, Sam, came into town to be with his family. (He may kill me for posting this--I'll have to deal with the consequences later).

I met Sam when I was about eight years old. He and I were the same age, our birthdays only twenty days apart. Almost instantly we became inseparable and remained that way for many years to come. To this day, he is the one person on God's green Earth who knows me best. In fact, I think he may be the only person in my life who knows every one of my secrets.

He is the wisest and most loyal friend anyone could ever have. Besides Bob and Cathie, he's also probably the most responsible person I know. He's never been anything but a wonderful friend to me, and I love him as much as I think I could love anyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Buying a House = Complicated

I don't know where this month is going. I expected it to be a pretty quiet one and foolishly thought that my job was going to be peaceful and simple.

It was not.

It was a jealous mistress. NOT THAT I KNOW WHAT THAT IS, CATHIE.

And what's more, as it turns out, buying a house is the most complicated transaction in which one can engage. Having never done this before, I have been surprised to discover that exactly eleventy trillion things can go wrong with a house.

You guys. I'm not kidding. I had an inspection company come through and look at every piece of dust in the entire property and give me disconcerting assessments about exactly how many seconds I probably have before any given thing explodes and takes out half the neighborhood.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November Regrets

We're in that really weird time of year right now where the days are short and the dark nights feel disorientingly long. I never can quite get used to the time at which it gets dark in Salt Lake City. Night after night, as the darkness sets in, I think it's much later than it is.

I believe it's 10:00, although it's only 6:30. I'm ready to climb into bed on a weekend night even though the same time on a week night would see me just leaving the office.

There's something so strange about winter night time. The darkness. The cold. It makes the world stay inside. The streets are quiet. Peaceful, yet lonely. And it's always odd for me to think that those same streets at another time of year but the same time of day are bustling and hustling and alive with excitement of a much different season.

Now, in November, my city streets are contemplative. Dead. Simple. And as the year starts dying down, I always become more reflective. Sort of like, probably, the elderly person at the end of a very long and active life.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

You might have heard that there's a puppy named Ollie that is an exception to my be-afraid-of-all-animals rule. You might have also heard that Ollie lived with me for a week and then was STOLEN from me.

Well, as you might have expected, today's Pictures and Distractions are quite Ollie-focused. YOU'RE WELCOME!

Please enjoy. (And please follow me on the Instagrams because I also post pictures there of a dog that doesn't belong to me. Because I'm healthy like that.)
Ollie in his new clothes I bought for him!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Five Little Pumpkins

Ollie just left me and I'm not pleased. Matt showed up like a thief in the night to take him away. Rebecca and I knew our time with Ollie was winding down, and so we snuggled with him and said our goodbyes. It felt like he was about to be put down.

Then Matt showed up AND RUINED OUR LIVES.

Ollie freaked the Hell out when Matt walked into the apartment. He was already riled up because we have spent the last several days not letting him have sex with everything in sight. Though he tried. He tried with the furniture, with the floor, even with every single one of our guests.

NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS CATHIE!!!

We felt a little bad not just letting him have a few nights o' fun because he has a scheduled neutering tomorrow. (Please send me as many emails as possible concerning animal cruelty).

Monday, November 17, 2014

How To Win Cats and Influence Felines


If you are reading this it’s because you’ve seen the light. You know that the destiny for you is one full of fur-balls, felines, and Fancy Feast. You’ve asked yourself, “how do I get started? How to I transition into this new and exotic world of mass cat care?”  WELL GOOD NEWS. Because this pamphlet is for you!   

The first thing you should know is that people will try to stop you. They’ll try to stop you from performing a very important function that the rest of society needs you to perform. A noble function. A function for which your malfeasance would cause chaos in the streets.

The haters will tell you that as soon as you adopt those first dozen cats, you have kissed your social life goodbye. They’ll tell you that what little chance you had of getting married and having “real” children has gone out the window.

Don’t listen to these people.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Parenthood

I had it on my calendar for a couple of weeks. If I wasn't so lazy, I would have made a paper chain to count down the days.

A Couple of Weeks Ago

Eli: Hello?

Matt: Hey, it's Matt. Do you think you could watch Ollie on--

[Screeching car brakes sound]

Matt: Oh, hi. How did you get here so fast?

Eli: WHERE IS HE!? GIMME!!!

Matt: I didn't mean right now. I was wondering if you could watch Ollie in a couple of weeks when I go out of town. I'll be gone for--

Eli: EVER?!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I looked out my office window today and saw the thing I dread most: a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

And so it begins.

Someone please give me a reason to live.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions. (Please follow me on Instagram even though I take terrible pictures.)
Good to know that I may not be too old to have Cathie push me around in the cart. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"Why do so many weird things happen in this house?"

The night before Halloween I decided to try on my two costumes that I have rotated every single year since I was about 15. One of these is a hippie costume, complete with bell-bottoms and a flower child shirt. The other is Bob's Navy uniform, circa 1972.

The only time I ever feel really fat is when I try on Bob's Navy uniform every year on Halloween.

It was late and Halloween night was less than 24 hours away so I pulled the costume out. I quickly realized that I was stuck in it and needed some serious help. So I frantically ran to the front room and found Rebecca, who was on a work-related phone call with some clients in India.

Eli: HELP ME!!!

Rebecca: [Whispering] Why is there a very tight shirt on your head?

Eli: No time to explain! Just help me get it off!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Next Big Move

Is everyone sitting down? No? A few of you are standing? Can you get into the sitting position? I'll wait.

. . . [I put my hands up, they're playin' my song and the butterflies fly away . . .]

Sitting now? No? Some of you are being really difficult right now. Fine. I'll just tell you, but if you faint and break bones because you were standing rather than sitting, DON'T COME CRYING TO ME.

You guys. I, Eli W. McCann, am in the market for buying a house. I know. Pick your jaw up off the floor. This is such a grown up thing to do and in most ways I am not really such a grown up.

I didn't think anyone would take me seriously when I mentioned that I wanted to buy a house because I think you have to have gone through puberty before the government will let this happen. Also, I haven't been doing really well with my plant, O2, this year and he's sort of always been the "well if you can take care of this first, we'll see" tester for whatever responsible thing I hope to accomplish one day.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

EXPERIENCING THE GRIPS OF HELL!

You guys. I found something that is worse than CAMPING. It's worse than surprise camping. Even worse than camping for more than one day.

IT'S WORSE THAN ALL OF THE KINDS OF CAMPING.

It is called Ragnar. It is an unholy abomination in apocalyptic proportions. The people who came up with this idea should be imprisoned. Everyone who has talked another person into doing the race should be tried for crimes against humanity. They should change the name of the place where Satan dwells from "Hell" to "Ragnar."

WHAT THE RAGNAR WAS I THINKING WHEN I AGREED TO DO THIS?!

The race was in Vegas, a solid six-hour drive from Salt Lake City. We drove south on Thursday evening, the six of us on our team.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Eli McCann: World's Leading Environmentalist

You guys. I done be savin' the world up in here!

Because yesterday I finally put my foot down for the environment. And America. And righteousness. Hashtag 'merica.

There's this place at the food court in the building in which I work that has great food. I frequent this place because it's convenient and relatively healthy. But every time I go there, I feel a stabbing pain in the center of my tree-hugging soul. This is because they hand you your order in a completely and totally unnecessary plastic bag.

It drives me crazy. They wrap my tiny sandwich in paper and then place it in this ridiculous plastic bag so I can carry it for 20 seconds and discard it. So I always tell them I don't actually need the bag. They give me a confused look, pull the sandwich out of it, and then sometimes throw the bag away anyway.

I feel like I'm living a version of that Dr. Seuss book where they chop down all the trees to make an elevator button. Or however that story went. (I'm too lazy to verify on the googles). 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Peer Pressure

A long long time ago

When the proposed date still felt so far away

A conversation happened

James: I know we don't know each other well but you run, so would you like to do a relay race with me in a few months?

Eli: [Distracted because there was some cheesecake at home he was trying to get to] Huh? Yeah, whatever.

James: Really? Don't you want details?

Eli: Fine. It's all fine.

James: Ok, but it's in another state.

Eli: I really need to get going.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hospital Bokhdan

Happy Monday one and all. We had a great time at The Porch this weekend. It was great to see some of you there. A huge thanks to Kyle for recording and uploading it for us.

Some of you have heard parts of my Ukrainian appendectomy story. I decided this weekend to tell that story in full, with an update that I hadn't yet shared on Stranger. The update had to do with my return to Hospital Bokhdan in May of this year, ten years after I had my operation. I've been meaning to share the details of that experience from this year but hadn't gotten around to it. I thought that The Porch would be a good forum for it.


And now, below, is the full video of the story from The Porch.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Dear Salt Lake Crowd, please don't forget to join us at The Porch on Saturday night at 9:00. The only thing better than Halloween is Halloween PLUS The Porch. Oh, and also Paul Simon, cheesecake, when you realize there is another pack of string cheese in the fridge that you forgot about--ok, so there are a lot of things that are better than Halloween. BUT COME ANYWAY. (FB link).

Happy Halloweeeeeeeen. I don't know why I said it like that. I think I was hoping that it would help you read that word in a creepy voice. But I guess putting all of those extra letters wouldn't necessarily have that effect. Maybe you just read it like how people say "cheese" for pictures. Which isn't spooky at all. But it does make you smile.

So YOU'RE WELCOME FOR EITHER MAKING YOU SAY "HALLOWEEN" IN A CREEPY VOICE OR GETTING YOU TO SMILE.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions. (Please feel free to follow me on what the kids are calling the Instagrams.)
With my favorite Australian at the Women's conference.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dentist Appointment

Announcement: I'll be telling a story on The Porch at 9:00 on Saturday night in Salt Lake City. It's the best story from my life--one some of you have heard, but with some new details and updates that nobody has heard yet. So please come join us if you can and be sure to say hi after. I've already promised to dress super slutty for it. FB event link is here or go to The Porch's site for info here.

Conversation at my Dentist Appointment Today Which I Wish was as Exaggerated as it Seems

Dentist: Welcome back. How have things been?

Eli: Well I tried to do an Ironman but it got cancelled BUT IT'S OK BECAUSE THEY CAN'T CANCEL YOUR DREAMS.

Dentist: Oh. Sorry to hear that. Any pain since your last visit?

Eli: Not really any pain. Well, besides when my toenail fell off after a marathon in July. I named it "Tami."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Giving Back

A quick announcement: I'll be telling a story on the Porch this Saturday evening at 9:00 in Salt Lake City (link to the FB event and link to The Porch's site). I would love to see you there. And I promise to wear something extra low cut and revealing to make it worth your while. (NOT THAT I KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, CATHIE).

That time of year is approaching. Pumpkins are being carved. Turkeys are being slaughtered. Christmas lights and music have been ubiquitous for about three months already. And your schedules are about to be bombarded with holiday madness.

WELL LET ME ADD ANOTHER THING FOR YOU TO DO.

A family friend introduced a unique and simple way to "give back" last year when she told us about a little project called Pioneers of Peace. At the behest of Cathie, my family participated in a small challenge and had a good experience doing so. It's a particularly good way to get children involved in giving and feeling like they are playing a role in doing good for the world.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Eli and 1,000 Women

So I'm a lawyer and as a lawyer there are a bunch of requirements I have to meet every year in order to be able to keep practicing law. These include attending eleventy million legal training classes and submitting certificates of completion with the state bar.

As the year has been winding down and as I've realized that I have not been so diligent at finding opportunities to attend these classes, I started to frantically look for available classes about a month ago.

You guys. I was too busy earlier this year. Because TV. And laying on the floor eating candy.

I mentioned this to my friend Annie at work, who as usual was so on the ball that she basically had every single legal education opportunity memorized, categorized in her mind alphabetically, and was probably asked to speak at half of them. She told me that she was going to a great weekend conference in Park City in October and that I should "totally sign up and come too!!!"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

By the good graces of God, Matt got very very sick this week. He asked me if I could come to his place and take Ollie for a day or two, since he didn't feel up to taking him outside every few hours. When I showed up 14 seconds later, Matt was sitting on the center of his bed, hunched over, and looking like the girl from The Exorcist.

And I was like, "poor Matt. You look awful and WHERE'S OLLIE!??!?" And then I gathered all of Ollie's things, took him home, changed my number, and Rebecca and I entered the Witness Protection Program for good measure.

Rebecca works from home and all throughout the next day I kept getting texts that would say, "Snuggling!" "Playing!" "Sleeping on my lap!" and then occasionally, "LICKING! WHY THE LICKING!?"

Unfortunately Matt found us after he got feeling better and came and took our happiness away.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions. (Please follow me on Istagram because PUPPY.)
This is the happiest you'll ever see me. I wish we could say the same for Ollie. ONE-SIDED. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Pomelo Project

I've alluded once or twice to my dear friend Rebecca's innate desire to save the world. While I wish she would devote the same amount of energy toward SHUTTING THE FREAKING KITCHEN CUPBOARDS, I have to admit it's pretty admirable.

Rebecca Lambson: Attorney, neuroscientist, saves the world, has a fake gluten allergy, ruins all of Eli's pans. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rebecca Rates Eli

Rebecca: And GUESS WHAT ELSE?!

Eli: No. I don't have time for this. We said we were going to be getting work done right now.

Rebecca: I know. But the pillow barrier fell over.

Eli: Huh?

Rebecca: I put up this large pillow to block my view from you. But then it fell over.

Eli: And?

Rebecca: Well it was working really well. I wasn't tempted to distract you by talking when I couldn't see you. Because I'm basically like a horse and if I can't see you sitting there, I think you're probably not there.

Eli: I am so concerned about you.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Ollie Freeway Barf Massacre

You guys. You know how I don't love animals? I mean, it's not like I hate them. It's just that I don't understand them.

When I was a child, we had a number of animals at our house. For example, there was the Queen of Colors. But obviously that wasn't a positive pet experience.

Then I had a bird named Feathers who was mean as Hell and I think may have actually just been a reincarnation of the Queen of Colors. Feathers used to attack anything that was put in his cage. One day he accidentally got out and flew to my closed bedroom door, pacing back and forth in front of it for a good two hours while seven-year-old Eli sat at the far end of the bedroom crying and waiting for Bob and Cathie to come help.

DCFS should have a record of that unexplained two-hour wait.

Then we had an adorable dog named Winnie whom I loved with every fiber of my being and who hated me with every fiber of hers. That dog bit me every single day of her untrained spoiled existence.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

So the other day I wrote about how I decided to sign up for Ironman Boulder. And in that post I explained that trying to prepare for and get to Ironman Lake Tahoe was an exhausting experience, in part because I had to drive "halfway across the country." And you guys FREAKED THE HELL OUT in the comments and on Facebook and in emails to me. Because SLC to Tahoe is apparently NOT halfway across the country. And it is offensive to anyone who has ever driven halfway across the country that I made such a claim.

Which got me thinking: I exaggerate an exceptional amount on Stranger. I think somewhere around 10% of what I say is literally true. And for the most part, everyone just rolls with it. But I finally found your breaking point. And that breaking point is overstating how far I had to drive to get somewhere.

AND I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN. (I love you guys. I seriously wish you could have seen how giddy it made me that several of you called me out on this. You are wonderful.)

And now, your Pictures and Distractions. (Please feel free to stalk follow me on Instagram)
It is amazing the amount of crap Ms. Hannah Rose gets me to do.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Step One, Fail an Ironman. Step Two . . .

You may have heard because I think I mentioned it a little while ago but I tried to do an Ironman this year. You may have also heard that that Ironman did not go, let's see, how do we say this, super well.

As a matter of fact, the Ironman Lake Tahoe race was cancelled just a few minutes before it started because only YOU can prevent forest fires and, well, you failed. Because there was a forest fire. And they canceled the Ironman.

I didn't really care at all because it's not like I trained for it for a year or drove halfway across the country with everything I own in order to compete.

Oh wait. I'm thinking of a different thing. I actually DID train for an entire year for this one race and then drive halfway across the country to compete in it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Who Will Die First

Eli: Who do you think will die first?

Nic: Rebecca.

Eli: Uh . . . what?

Nic: I think Rebecca will die first.

Eli: I meant between you and me.

Nic: Oh. I thought you were asking who would die first out of everyone in the world.

Eli: And you picked Rebecca? Out of everyone in the whole world?

Nic: Yeah. I mean, it's possible that other people will die before her. But I could see her going pretty quickly after that.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Neighborhood Watch

Remember a little while ago when I got trapped inside my elderly neighbor's apartment because I was incapable of just minding my own business? Well I'm currently attempting to develop a reputation in my building for being the guy that gets involved in anything that looks like a problem, only to ultimately make the problem worse or more dramatic.

So that's how Friday night happened.

My friend Burke and I were heading out the door to grab some food after our Friday afternoon workout. I live in an incredibly large building. It's like one of only four man-made things you can see from space. There must be somewhere around 200,000 people living in this building. The make-up looks like this:

Families with children: 20

Eli and Rebecca: 2

People over 95 years old: 199,978

Contraband cats: 30,000

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Eli: Are you guys watching Survivor?

Cathie: Is that the one where they are all naked?

Eli: Uh . . .

Cathie: Oh. I'm thinking of Naked and Afraid. Disgusting! But not as bad as Dating Naked. Now that one just grosses me OUT! Kayaking naked? WHY WOULD THEY BE KAYAKING NAKED?!?

Eli: Um . . . ok.

Cathie: Every single time I see it I just want to throw up!

Eli: Why do you keep watching it?

Cathie: NEVER YOU MIND!

(Note, Cathie then explained that she meant that she keeps accidentally coming across it and can't change the channel fast enough to get away from the nudity. NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS).

And now, your Pictures and Distractions. (Feel free to follow me on Instagram).

Ollie loves me so much. It's just that sometimes he doesn't know how to show it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Survivor Party

I host a Survivor party every week where I invite some known Survivor fans over to my house to watch the most recent episode and then spend the next two hours gossiping about it like we personally know every single person in the show. Wednesday nights during Survivor season are easily my favorite.

They also put me on a schedule of weekly party-host anxiety spells. I have this issue that probably stems from some kind of insecurity that I don't have the time to see a therapist about right now because TV. The issue is that I feel a LOT of pressure to make my house the hippest place in town. When I invite people over, I do so under the cloud of overly-dramatic daydreams in which I imagine those people leaving my home DAYS LATER, with tears of joy in their eyes, saying things like "I never thought I would walk again." Or some other nonsensical but inspirational thing. Then they leave a super good review on Yelp and nominate my hair for employee of the month at Shakee's.

So every single week I try to win the hearts of the Survivor-Party attendees through the universal language: FOOD. And every single week, I fail. I don't know what my problem is. But I can't seem to put out treats that people will actually enjoy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scary Movies

This weekend I went to my friend Burke's house and we had nothing to do so obviously we turned to destructive behavior. Like DRUGS AND VANDALISM!

Not that I know what those are, Cathie.

Ok, so we didn't turn to drugs and vandalism. Partly because even if I wanted to turn to drugs, I would have absolutely no idea how to get any. Like, I think you just go the alley and say something like, "hey man. You got the hook ups tonight?" And then you have to do that sneaky handshake thing where you exchange money for a little baggie. But then I wouldn't really know how to do the drugs once I got them home.

I would probably just end up putting them in a blender and making a smoothie. But then I would get too scared to drink it because what if they were poison drugs?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Yahoo! Answers XI

It's been a long time. And I know you guys have been dying to know the answers to the below questions. So I went to Yahoo! Answers. YOU'RE WELCOME.


Question 1: Is it infidelity if I'm married but I kiss my cat a lot? If it makes a difference, the cat is married, too.

1. No, it's ok. Love is love, even if the rest of the world doesn't recognize it. ~JenWales

2. I think you might be a crazy person. ~HotPeppers

3. It depends. Is your husband giving you the attention you need? What about the cat's spouse? Are you in open relationships? Do you use tongue when you kiss? Are the feelings mutual? It's basically impossible to answer this question without a LOT of detail. ~Trailman

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Jolyn returned to the United States of God Bless America and a few days ago I FINALLY got to see her.

Jolyn: Eli Whittle McCann. WHY have you insisted on sharing pictures of Tami on Stranger?

Eli: Because she's pretty!

Jolyn: People should be able to sue you over this. I'm not kidding. SUE you.

Eli: Shhhhh! She can hear you!

Jolyn: And she always pops up when we least expect her. If you insist on showing Tami pictures, AT LEAST include a warning.

So . . . WARNING: This post contains Tami pictures.

And now, for the five of you who are still here, your Pictures and Distractions: (Please feel free to follow me on Instagram where I do NOT share very many pictures of Tami. Or join us on Facebook. Or just go back to your cats wearing clothes website you were looking at before this one.)

We're making progress. She was willing to BE in a picture with me. That's progress. Right?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Dog Calendar

There's this calendar in the break room at my office that has truly given me a reason to live. It's a dog calendar created by some organization that places therapy animals with people who need them. Every month features a different picture of a dog.

But I don't love this calendar for the pictures. It's the ridiculous quotes printed on the calendar for each month that make my heart sing with joy.

Hashtag, for clarification, I'm not making fun of organizations that provide therapy animals. Hashtag, I'm just making fun of their calendar. Hashtag, please don't send me angry emails about this. Hashtag, but if you do, include pictures of therapy animals wearing clothes. Hashtag, I still don't understand hashtags. Hashtag, twice up the barrel, once down the side.

You guys. This organization apparently went out to the people who have therapy animals and asked them for quotes about how they feel about their therapy animal so they could include those quotes on this calendar. AND I FREAKING LOVE THESE QUOTES.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Lost Journal Series, Part X

It just seemed like it was time for another edition of The Lost Journal Series. Video and text below:



January 12, 1995 (10 years old):

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Source of Eli's Anxiety

Remember that scene from The Sixth Sense when the kid is sitting at the kitchen table and the mom walks away for a second and when she returns, all of the cupboards and drawers are inexplicably open?

Well if I knew how to create what the kids are calling "gif," I would stick those few seconds from that scene here, entitle the blog post "What It's Like To Live With Rebecca," and call it a day.

On a side note, I just spent 20 minutes googling "how to make a gif." Well, truthfully, I spent about one minute googling that thing and then 19 minutes watching this cat gif.

You guys. I swear to you. Yesterday I looked away for one second. Not even one second. Half a second. And when I looked back toward the kitchen, EVERY drawer and cupboard was open and Rebecca was sitting on the couch eating some unnecessarily-gluten-free pile of sawdust, staring at me like she hadn't moved all day.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend, Strangers. I'm back in Salt Lake City, remembering what it's like to have responsibilities. AND I DO NOT LIKE IT.

Why do I have to be the only one who feeds my cats? Does Rebecca do nothing around here?

Please enjoy some pictures from this week's Ironman/Tahoe/Napa trip and some weekly distractions.

(Please feel free to follow me on Instagram so you can see all of these pictures TWICE).
Tahoe just after the race was cancelled. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

After Shocks

A few days have passed since Ironman Lake Tahoe. After they announced that the race had been cancelled, we were told to wander around to the various places where we had dropped off all of our gear the day before to gather it up. When I picked up my running clothes bag, they handed me a t-shirt and medal that said "finisher" on them.

And I was like, "EASIEST IRONMAN EVER!"

Seriously guys. Sign up for an Ironman that gets cancelled last minute sometime. They give you all of the proof you need to show others that you did it, you don't have exercise AT ALL, and you can eat as much ice cream as you want in the next couple of days.

The smoke blew in and covered the whole area by early afternoon. It was clear that cancelling the race was the right decision, although disappointing for everyone. I think they just cancelled it mostly because they didn't want the smokers to have an advantage. Because what kind of message would that send to the children?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ironman Lake Tahoe, 2014

We made our trek west bright and early Friday morning for the Lake Tahoe Ironman. A couple of months ago I asked Nic if he would be willing to come along as my support staff for the race, and he graciously agreed. This stuff is interesting to him, an avid road biker and swimmer, although he thinks anyone who does Ironman races is crazy and he emphatically explains (to anyone who asks) that he has no interest in engaging in something so “stupid, thankyouverymuch.”

I met Nic through road biking earlier this year and it was through this sort of thing that we bonded so it was good to have someone come along to Tahoe with me who knew a little something about what I would be doing and could help me prepare for the race.

Bob and Cathie drove out to Tahoe as well, arriving a day after us. We had to get to Tahoe a little earlier to begin the logistics nightmare that is Ironman race preparation, including an intensive check-in process, the packing of half a dozen colored bags with supplies and clothes, dropping the bags and bike off at various locations, and then spending the rest of the day experiencing terrorizing realizations that something didn’t get packed or did get packed but into the wrong bag.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I am a few hours away from taking off for Ironman Tahoe. I sit in my apartment tonight with all of my belongings spread out all over the floor. My now four-hour effort to pack for the event I've been dreaming about for 15 years and training hard for for nearly 12 months has stressed my enlarged hear out. Rebecca sits across from me, chatting my ear off about things I'm not paying attention to because all I can hear inside my head is:

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

I'm told you can follow the race live this Sunday through an Ironman app or by typing my name in on the Ironman website. I'll post details on the Facebook Page as I have them.

Seriously, truly, thank you all so much for you kindness and support over the last year, and beyond, as I've worked toward this goal. I feel incredibly blessed to have felt so much love from you all as I've trained and written about this experience. I hope you all know how much it has meant to me.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions (please follow me on Instagram for more out of focus pictures):
Matt's My puppy, Ollie.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Day of Reckoning is Upon Us All

First of all, WHO THE HELL WROTE THAT SUPER DRAMATIC POST ON SUNDAY!?

Second, you guys. I am leaving for Ironman on Friday morning.

FRIDAY MORNING.

THAT'S THE DAY AFTER THURSDAY! AND THURSDAY HAPPENS ALMOST EVERY SINGLE WEEK!

I DON'T EVEN KNOW IF I'M MAKING SENSE ANYMORE!

Ironman is a logistics nightmare. I have to check in at the Tahoe race by 5:00 PM on Friday but because my job has recently turned into the neediest thing since me, I can't leave for the 9-hour drive until Friday morning. Which means that we are going to leave at like 4:30 AM just to be safe.

FOUR-THIRTY. AY. EM!!! WHEN IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO BE AWAKE!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Mormon Crisis and the "Gay Question"

A few years ago the nation recognized a new phase for my community. They called it "the Mormon Moment." Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, a number of significant events took place that put Mormons in the spotlight, largely in a very positive way.

I think it began around the time of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. It built up over the course of that decade. Members of the church seemed to be in the spotlight everywhere. Music, politics on the highest level, movies, reality TV, business, etc.

And for us Mormons, this was incredibly exciting. The generation just below me is probably the first generation to not really remember a time before the "Mormon Moment." In their lifetimes, the church and the culture that trails it has always been relatively well-known in America. But I remember a time when it was almost shocking to hear the word "Mormon" on TV.

There were never any movies about Mormons. No characters in TV shows that shared our faith. And in fact, back then pretty much every Mormon could proudly list all of the "famous" Mormons in existence since the beginning of time. These included Donny Osmond and a slew of people who were not actually Mormons but who kind of seemed like Mormons and so someone started a rumor about them and the rest of the community just latched on. Because this was before the Internets when you could go somewhere to verify.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Oh. My. Gosh. Next week at this time I will be driving to Ironman Tahoe.

YOU GUYS!!! WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!? One minute I'm doing an interpretive dance in my Snuggie at a park and the next minute it's already almost time to swim, bike, and run for an entire day.

By the way, I've been wanting to say for a while that I have gotten really terrible at responding to your emails. This happened about one year ago when I got back from Palau. I used to respond to them all but I just can't keep up with them anymore. I want to let you know that I'm sorry and I still love you and I think about you all the time and imagine what you would look like in overalls. (Don't ask). Really, truly, thank you for all the emails you send. I read every single one of them and appreciate them all, even if I don't respond and tell you so.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:

(Please join me on Instagram for more pictures.)
With my people at the Greek Festival. (HI TRACY!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Results for the Ol' Ticker

So I went to the cardiologist this morning and they ran 100,000 more tests. Then the doctor came in and went over the results of my holter monitor that held me prisoner for 48 hours last week.

Doctor: Your test results look pretty good.

Eli: Well I studied VERY hard.

Doctor: Your sleeping heart rate is averaging around 35 beats per minute.

Eli: Laaaaaaazy.

Doctor: Your resting heart rate is averaging around 45 beats per minute.

Eli: Go on.

Doctor: Then there are some spikes here and there where your heart rate jumped to about 169 for a while.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How to Survive 48 Hours Camping in Civilization

Last week I went to the hospital for one of my heart tests. I wanted the ambulance to come pick me up and take me there because, I'm sorry, but I thought that was their job. But apparently it was "too expensive" and "unnecessary" and "Eli, please stop calling this number. It's only for emergencies." So I just had to drive myself.

Which brings me to my next point: if they aren't using ambulances to take people with enlarged hearts to the hospital, WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY EVEN FOR.

Not to be dramatic, but can you say guv'ment conspiracy?!

I showed up bright and early to get something called a "holter monitor" strapped to my body. Homegirl be all like "go ahead and take your shirt off" and I was like "HOW DARE YOU!?" Because Cathie used to always say that if you just give it away without a little chase people stop wanting it. And I recognize that that might not apply in this situation but it's a universal rule I try to follow at all times just in case.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Return of the Rebecca

Living-in-sin Rebecca is now back from Paris. I know this because yesterday as I was leaving for a dinner party, she burst through my door and startled me so much that I nearly dropped the carrot-apple salad I was carrying.

Rebecca: GUESS WHAT!?!?!?!

Eli: AHHHH!

Rebecca: Sorry. Is this a bad time?!

Eli: DON'T YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE A HEART CONDITION!?

Rebecca: Hahaha. Anyway! So I JUST bought a new car!!!

Eli: Um. Welcome home from Paris. Close friend and former roommate whom I haven't seen in like four months.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Year Later

The date sort of crept up on me. It seems odd, but it's true, that I left Palau, the Land of Coconuts, one year ago.

Gosh I've thought a lot about that place in the last year. I can barely comprehend that I've been away from it for as long as I was there.

During this year away from the tropics, and the mole rats, and the isolation, and the church kids, my emotions and feelings on Palau and the experiences I had there have evolved so rapidly and dramatically. There are moments when I am jerked awake at night in a sweat after dreaming that I'm still there. In those moments, I lay in bed, breathing heavily, and remind myself that the pain and stress I experienced in the equatorial Pacific is long gone.

But then I have experiences, too, that draw my mind back to the simplicity of life. The beauty. The wonderful people. And in those moments, I miss it. And I almost wish I could have it back.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Eli Finds a "Regular" Doctor

Receptionist: Dr. So and So's office, how can I help you?

Eli: Yes. Good day. I am looking for a doctor.

Receptionist: Um . . . ok. Any doctor in particular?

Eli: Well, I'm not sure. You see, my coworker gave me this number and he said I could find his doctor here. Well actually he's not just a coworker. He's also my friend. I need to stop calling my friends by other titles because it can sometimes be offensive--

Receptionist: This is Dr. So and So's office. Is that who your friend referred you to?

Eli: I'm not really sure. I don't remember the name he said. And I'm really nervous because I didn't know that people had regular doctors until just recently and I'm not sure if this is like tryouts and I just really want you to like me.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Trying to STAY THE HELL CALM

First, in response to your general concern about Friday's post, in which I told you that apparently someone trained in the ways of medicine thinks I'm dying, I want to give you a slight update and a little more info.

I'll be going in this week for my first of two heart tests (the other one will be next week). Some of you have very kindly expressed your concern about my continuing to train for the Ironman, which is now less than three weeks away. #WHATTHEHELL! #howisthispossible #Squeenofcolors #whatarehashtags?

The doctor told me to continue to train like normal but to stop immediately if I felt funny at all during anything that I do. Unless the tests over the next two weeks tell me that I shouldn't, I'll move forward with the race.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

BREAKING NEWS!!!

Look. I know. This is supposed to be a Pictures and Distractions post. I know the rules, you guys. Can everyone please stop yelling?

I can't do a Pictures and Distractions post right now because I have BREAKING NEWS.

This is just like when you get all excited to watch your favorite show and you turn on the TV and find out that they are doing 4 hours of hurricane coverage instead. Or worse. The World Series.

And I know. I'm acting like Stranger is CNN now with all of this "breaking news" talk. Well maybe Stranger should get a little more credit for being an incredible news source than it currently receives. Stranger is still the only news outlet that covered Leotrix, after all.

Take that, MSNBC.

On to the breaking news. Yesterday I told you that I was panicking because YOU GUYS! BED BUGS!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What the Hell do you do about Bed Bugs!?

Last night a friend called me pretty late.

Friend: OH MY GOSH!!! I THINK I HAVE BED BUGS!!

Eli: Don't call me! What if I get them from you!

Friend: You can't get them over the phone. I'm just calling you for moral support.

Eli: Oh. In that case, let me look at everything on the Internets having to do with bed bugs.

Ok. Look. I know I tend to overreact. I know I have a bit of a problem in this area. Let's please set that all aside for a second and allow me to tell you what happened today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Flight of the Black Hoody

Last night I was in my office until 1:00 in the morning.

I'm not a workaholic. Not trying to convince anyone that this is something that happens to me often. Usually I have a very predictable schedule. But every once in a while the 1:00 nights happen. And last night was one of them.

I was sitting in the dark office, thinking about how strange it is that I've been in that dark office for nearly a year now. I still feel like the "new guy." And compared to some of my colleagues, I very much am the new guy.

Maybe it was because it was late and I was tired and alone. Maybe it was because of the lightening storm I watched out of my office window, a natural occurrence that tends to give the sense that bigger things than us happen. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I've had so many big life changes recently that I've been weathering more aggressively than usual, but my mind started waxing nostalgic and sentimental. Contemplative and maybe a little somber too.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tan Lines to be Proud of

You guys. The Ironman is now four weeks away!

FOUR!

That can be counted on one hand! Unless you're my eighth grade shop teacher who only had three fingers on each hand.

I remember showing up to the first day of class and seeing how many fingers he had and thinking, "your fingers were chopped off? Really? So cliche."

But then I ended making a damn impressive wooden Model T Ford truck out of that class so my attitude changed entirely. Well. Truth be told I didn't make an impressive Model T truck. Mine was a total disaster. The wheels were uneven and I thought I could fix it by sanding down two of them. But the wheels were specialized rounded pieces so I have no idea why I thought this would work. Then when it came time to take the trucks home, I just picked a different one that went unclaimed but looked pretty good and that's the one I brought to Bob and Cathie.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

So the other day I wrote that post about how SweatBlock has completely changed my life since parents have stopped pulling their children away from me in public. Then SweatBlock saw the post and reached out, creating a promo code for Strangers who order it. Then at least one of you (HI LEE!!!!) accused me of selling out. WHICH I WOULD HAVE GLADLY DONE HAD SOMEONE TOLD ME HOW BEFOREHAND. But you guys. I didn't have the foresight to sell out. I WISH I HAD SOLD OUT. I had never communicated with SweatBlock before writing that post.

But I thought you would be interested to know that SweatBlock emailed me today to say that already the response from that post in terms of sales has been almost as good as the response they received when they appeared on Dr. Oz. Which can lead one only to conclude that you Strangers are sweaty beasts.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions. And yes. I am in every picture. I just like myself that much.

With my best friend, Corey, in San Diego.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Elevator Almost Killed Us

The other day I saw what Annie looks like when she thinks she's about to die. Annie is my close friend at work who I caught wearing a Ring Pop last week.

I asked her if she wanted to head down the street to grab a mid-morning treat. We hopped onto the elevator and began our descent.

Annie was regaling me with stories of her baby or some court hearing or something else. I wasn't really listening because I was distracted by her gnawing on the candy necklace hanging around her neck.

Then, suddenly, somewhere around the thirteenth floor, the power went out and the elevator came to a screeching halt. The lights were out and the elevator became so dark that you almost couldn't see the hand in front of your face.

And Annie Quinn Wilson, super mom, afraid of nothing, defender of the universe, SCREAMED.

Monday, August 18, 2014

SweatBlock is Like a Father to Me

You guys. My life has changed.

First of all, I want to just take a moment and recognize that this entire post is going to sound like a commercial. BUT, aint nobody be paying me for this. They SHOULD. Because I'm about to dedicate an entire blog post that will be read by eleventy million people all to one product made by some company that I had never heard of and just discovered. All because MY LIFE HAS CHANGED.

A little while ago I posted this picture on Stranger, much to your delight, I'm sure:

"Sam" Diego

I abandoned you for a few days and now everyone is mad at me and nobody is even telling me how good my hair looks right this second. AND THIS IS THE HARDEST TRIAL I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED.

My childhood best friend, Sam, AKA "POTTY MOUTH," finished his orthodontics residency and has started his practice after eleventy million years in school. In celebration that he has finally crawled out of the hole into which he went when he began dental school, a small group of us met in San Diego to crash on the beach for four days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD JUST LEAVE YOUR NEIGHBORS ALONE!

My next door neighbor is somewhere around 275 years old. She has a sign on her door that says "knock loudly." This sign is also accompanied by a picture of the Nativity.

Note: it is August.

I'm pleased that she's 275 years old and basically deaf. For one, I'm 275 years old in my soul so I just feel like we belong together. But also, it's good to have a neighbor with whom I share a wall who most likely can't hear the shower-singing of songs from The Little Mermaid every single morning.

I'm not going to say which person who lives in my apartment is doing this shower-singing because I don't want to embarrass him. I'll just say that it happens every single day. And it's quite enthusiastic. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

What Not to Wear

I am very lucky to be working side-by-side with my great friend Annie at the law firm. Annie and I were classmates in law school and competition partners in some oral advocacy competitions. She has been one of my closest friends over the years.

Since I met her in 2008, I've come to know Annie as the most efficient and productive human being on the planet. She's always accomplishing five things at once. And yet, she's perfectly pleasant to be around. She's also one of those people who always seems to know exactly what to do in all situations. This freaks me out. But it's incredibly convenient to have her in my life. You might remember her from my very awkward hot yoga experience several months ago.

Not only do we work at the same firm, but our offices are next to each other. We have grand plans to knock out the wall that separates us to have one mega office. BUT, with privacy beads, Annie insists.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Craft Lake City

A few years ago I happened to become friends with several different people who all run catering businesses on the side of whatever it is they do for their day jobs.

Note: I don't really know what anybody does for their day job. I mean, I could tell you where my friends work. I could tell you how long they've been there. I could even tell you what their job titles are in some cases. But I never have any clue what anyone actually does for a living. And, unfortunately, sometimes myself included.

Anna Swayne and my Polynesian friend Emma run food booths at various summer festivals under their little business "Island Hopper." They make unbelievably delicious Polynesian food that accounts for at least 85% of the reason that we are friends.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

You guys. I've been working like a madman this week. One hundred million bagillion hours. I wish I could talk more about my job on Stranger because CRAZY. You guys. What I do is CRAZY. Sometimes rewarding. But always crazy. Maybe I'll give a little more detail soon. But I can't help but think that I might have the strangest lawyer job on the planet.

Because I was working one hundred million bagillion hours this week, I did very little picture-taking with my phone. So, I decided to take a number of Snuggie selfies for you. YOU'RE WELCOME.

And now, your NSFW!!! Pictures and Distractions:

With creepy Christian art in the background.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Boating"

You guys.

I'm starting to sound like a broken record. But oh my gosh. CAMPING. 

A little while ago my friend Nic was all like, "come boating with my family on such and such weekend and it will be so fun and have you been working out and your hair looks like it belongs in a museum!"

Ok. I don't think he actually said the parts that came after "and it will be so fun." But whenever someone starts talking about misery, I just replace in my mind whatever they're saying with compliments. Because self-esteem.

When he mentioned the boating it seemed far away and not like a big commitment so I was like "sure. And thanks. I'm trying a new product to give it a little more volume. IF THAT'S EVEN POSSIBLE!" And he was like, "huh?" And I was like, "never mind. You had to be there."

Monday, August 4, 2014

DID YOU GUYS KNOW PEOPLE HAVE A REGULAR DOCTOR?!

My communication to you about Tami has been a little controversial recently. Some of you have not been nearly as welcoming of Tami photos as you could be. And to be honest, Tami is a little hurt by it. She only shows the hurt through passive aggressiveness because that's just the kind of person she is. But she's hurt nonetheless.

I've been using Tami for purposes of getting attention since she came into being last week. Sometimes I use her as an excuse.

"Tami really wants you to stop talking now. I would like you to keep going. But Tami isn't as patient as me."

More often than they would like, I even text pictures of Tami to friends to remind them of her existence.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

If you're still reading Stranger, you are a crazy person. This week I regaled you with stories about getting locked out of the pool area in a Speedo. I have previously been known to suggest that I might slap your children at the grocery store. I've assaulted you with photos of mole rats. And then, finally, yesterday, I showed you a picture of my de-toenailed toe with a photoshopped wig.

I feel like I'm conducting some kind of online experiment. That experiment is something like "how much weird crap can you throw at complete strangers on the Internets before they all abandon you."

Thank you for not abandoning me. I would be lonely here without you. So would the Q of C. And Leotrix. And Paul Cyclemon. But not Tami. Tami's always been kind of a loner.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
Oh, Emrie. If only I could get you to like me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tami

Since I know everyone is extremely interested in the Pioneer Day Marathon Toenail Disaster of 2014, I'm here to provide you an update! Yesterday, while sitting in my professional lawyer office, aka my dorm room/hospital/place where I apparently think it's ok to take off my shoes and socks and perform surgery on my disgusting feet, a miraculous but horrific thing happened.

My little sister Micalyne had been responding to my frantic texts throughout the day asking what the hell I was supposed to do with my large toenail, which I previously told you was functioning like a car hood. I could raise it up and look underneath it. And it was gross.

Micalyne is the bravest human being I've ever met in my life. And not just because she has changed adult diapers without flinching. I truly don't think I've ever seen her look nervous or scared.

Additionally, despite being the size of a small child, she inexplicably has superhuman strength. If we lived in one of those societies where each family had to give one son to go fight in the war, Bob and Cathie would totally shave Micalyne's head and be like, "this is the strongest son in our family. Don't mind the boobs."

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Community Pool

The Ironman is only like eight weeks away now and I know this is likely not the case, but I think we may have somehow gone through a time warp and skipped like eleventy weeks. Because just a few minutes ago the Ironman was nearly twenty weeks away. And now it's eight weeks away.

Eight is less than twenty, guys.

I know because I put the numbers next to each other and then used the greater-than and less-than signs to compare them and the pointy end looked at the eight.

AND THEY SAY PUBLIC EDUCATION IS FAILING.

I'm having a hard time training right now because my big toenail is like a car hood at the moment since it apparently experienced some intense trauma at the Pioneer Day Marathon last week. Seriously. It's only connected to my toe at the base of the nail. You can raise it to be perpendicular to the toe.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Lost Journal Series: Part IX

Today, enjoy another set of journal entries and video from the The Lost Journal Series. Lots of important thoughts in this one.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Happy Pioneer Day! As proof that Pioneer Day miracles exist, I'm posting Pictures and Distractions a little early this week. Because, as my friend Nic just pointed out, "did the pioneers stop working just because it was the first Pioneer Day in 1847?"

No. They did not. So to honor them, I went through the dozens of cat videos you sent me this week so I could post some of them here.

I ran the Pioneer Day Marathon this morning. It went extremely well, thanksforasking. I ran a 3:34, which was faster than I expected and gave me a good boost of confidence for the now-9-weeks-away Ironman. Also, I think my toe is going to fall off. See picture below, which has not been well-received on what the kids are calling the Instagrams. YOU'RE WELCOME.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions.
Nieces. The one closest to me actually hates me. This picture is a miracle from above. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

That Day

Remember that book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?

I had one of those on Saturday. Not the book. I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. One of those days where nothing truly traumatic actually happened but a whole bunch of minor annoyances just kept piling up and after a while it started to seem like someone must be playing a joke on me. Like, how can my purse break and pour marbles all over the sidewalk twenty seconds after I trip on a hose that is being used to put out a fire caused by the lightening that hit my uninsured car? Also, why am I carrying a purse full of marbles?

I got up, EARLY mind you, on Saturday to go for a four-hour bike ride. Because Ironman. And because scared.

I hopped onto Paul Cyclemon and began riding. Eleven minutes later, I hit something with my bike and got a flat.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pioneer Day

You guys. I know you are all very excited and you've hardly been able to sleep lately. You've made paper chains counting down the days. You've spent all of your time in the last few months trying to pick out your outfits for the big day. And the amount of thought you've put into your hair! You've done all of this for good reason.

Because PIONEER DAY!!!!!!!!!!

And you know I don't italicize, underline, bold, and capitalize simultaneously unless it's REALLY important.

Pioneer Day is the greatest holiday in the history of all holidays in the history of mankind in the history of the world, matched possibly only by Twice Up the Barrel Once Down the Side Day, which happens later this summer, of course.

For the less fortunate who don't have the opportunity to experience the glory of July 24th Pioneer Day, I'll give you a little background.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Life is Really Something Funny

Occasionally I glance back through older posts on Stranger. Usually I keep this walk through memory lane to the Palau posts, because I find them fascinating now that I've been away from Palau for nearly a year and have untangled a lot of the complicated emotions I had there. I rarely look at anything prior to Palau and I almost never read back over anything I wrote before Snuggie Texts, mostly because I can't stand the way I used to write.

It makes me wonder if I'll feel that way one day about what I wrote in 2014.

But today I happened to click on a pre-Palau post about a time that Daniel and I went with Anna Swayne and Ms. Emma to Moab so I could take Paul Cyclemon on his inaugural spin.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I got four voicemails within five minutes from Rebecca the other day. Each said roughly the same thing: "HELP! EMERGENCY! WHY AREN'T YOU ANSWERING! I'M NOT SAFE!"

I had mixed feelings. There was a little "boy who cried wolf" going on because of the time when Rebecca told me she was "getting attacked in the streets." But also, she's living in Paris, and with each voicemail, the entire plot of Taken ran through my mind. So I called her back.

Rebecca: Hello?

Eli: START YELLING OUT EVERYTHING YOU SEE! TATTOOS, SCARS, OR ANY OTHER IDENTIFYING INFORMATION AT ALL!

Rebecca: Is this a Taken thing? Because I'm not actually in danger.

Eli: But the voicemails?!

Rebecca: Oh. I was just walking home from somewhere and wanted someone to talk to.

In some ways I want to kill Rebecca. In other ways, she is just me in a woman body. And this confuses me.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:

Ms. Hannah Rose, flying.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ten Weeks Is Not Very Long

I looked at the calendar the other day and YOU GUYS. The Ironman is ten weeks away. How did this happen? Remember when I did the half Ironman in May and when it was over you guys were like, "you have PLENTY of time, Eli! Rest for a little while! Take a break! Your hair looks amazing and we all heard that NASA is planning on naming its next project after you because your hair has become the poster child for consistency in the world."

You guys. I remember you reassuring me that the full Ironman was so far away and that I had nothing to worry about.

Well now it's ten weeks away. I knew it was coming up because I was starting to get daily reminder emails from Bob and Cathie.

From: Bob and Cathie
To: Eli
Subject: ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO US?!?!

Son. Have you booked a hotel room in Tahoe yet for the weekend of the Ironman? Your father and I booked ours WEEKS ago and we had a hard time finding a place. We have been bugging you about this and you haven't been responding to us. It's making us very nervous. Why haven't you given us grandchildren yet? Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My first WHAT THE KIDS ARE CALLING CD.

The first CD I ever bought was when I was 12 years old. Jon Scoville was the coolest kid my age in the neighborhood. And he is also responsible for teaching me 75% of what I currently know about sex.

NOT THAT I KNOW WHAT THAT IS CATHIE!!!

Truthfully, most of what he told me about sex is not even true.

NOT THAT I KNOW WHAT IS TRUE, CATHIE!!!

I was at his house one Saturday morning after spending a few very unfortunate days camping with the Boy Scouts of America. Then the following exchange happened:

Jon: Do you like the band Bush?

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Lost Journal Series: Part VIII

Today I give you the next part in the dramatic series taken directly from my childhood journals. Again, I include a video of my dramatic reading of the below journal entries. I tried recording this video many times but I kept laughing at a certain part. Finally I just gave up and left the laughing in. Sorry for being so unprofessional.

THIS BLOG'S REPUTATION IS RUINED!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend. I had a bit of a panic attack this afternoon. I was sitting in my office when suddenly I noticed a brown paper bag on my windowsill. I was certain I didn't put it there. Naturally, I assumed that it had inside of it:

A. A dead rat.

B. A bomb.

C. Poop.

It took me nearly ten minutes to work up the courage to look inside. I swear to you, I thought I had a 50% chance of losing my life over this.

What was in the bag? Bananas. You guys. I need to get some rest. Or start doing drugs. Whichever is easier.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:

Another gratuitous selfie with Hannah at Lagoon to add to your collection. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Lost Journal Series: Part VII

So here I am sitting in my apartment, drinking waaaaay too much NEVER YOU MIND WHAT I'M DRINKING.

Fine. Nonalcoholic black currant juice from the Farmer's Market. But it has a LOT of sugar. Don't tell Bob and Cathie.

And I was trying to decide what to write and then I was like, "you know what, Eli? You haven't done anything from the Lost Journal Series in a long time. Also, your hair looks better than everyone's in the entire world." And I was like, "thank you! But don't insult Paul Simon like that. Nobody's anything is better than Paul Simon's same thing." And I was like, "right. Sorry. Thanks for the correction."

So today I give you several selections from the Lost Journal Series.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Camping

On Friday I went camping. Or should I say, "camping." With finger quotes. Or maybe I should call it something else because I don't want all of my friends to jump down my throat and scream at me again for calling what I did on Friday "camping."

Look. I went into the woods. I sat around a campfire. I roasted marshmallows. I even set up a freaking tent. And when I say "set up a freaking tent" I mean "watched Val set up a tent while I complained that it was hot and that there was nowhere to sit."

No, I did not "stay the night." No, I did not, "sleep in a sleeping bag." No, I don't know why I'm "using quotation marks so much."

"So sue me."

I didn't do any of those things because UNCOMFORTABLE.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

College Admissions Emails

Recently I started emailing several college admissions offices as "June Snapple." This one really tried to help a girl out.

I used multiple email accounts under different names, so pay attention to the email headers.


From: June Snapple
To: Admissions Office
Subject: Help a gurl out?!

Hey-o,

Mi name is June Snapple and Im redy for collage pleeese! can you tell me how to get in to collage and tel me lik wher my locker is and wat i need 4 the 1st day?

June Snapple

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Porch: Korean Bathhouse

It's a happy day. We finally got the video from the most recent show at The Porch uploaded on what the kids are calling "the Youtubes." A huge thanks to Jolyn for filming it and Kyle for uploading it. You two are the wind beneath our wings and we love you with every fiber of our beings. Please get together and make babies already so this world can finally know perfection.

Also, it's a sad week for the United States of God Bless America. Jolyn Metro is abandoning our great nation to frolic somewhere in South America for the summer. AND ON OUR COUNTRY'S BIRTHDAY OF ALL TIMES.

I don't remember where she's going. All I know is that she's going to be gone for way too long. Why do all the people who live in my house immediately flee the country?