Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I will forever and always be jet-lagged for as long as I live. I've been home now for about five days but I feel like I've been dead for about twenty years. What's scary is that since my birthday happened during the whole trip mess, I can't tell whether I'm tired because of what I just put myself through in Eastern Europe or if this is what it feels like to be thirty.

Someone please bring me some prune juice and a cane!

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:

My niece, Kate, who can always make me smile.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Krakow and Auschwitz

After spending a few wonderful days in L'viv, Brandt and I boarded the midnight train to Krakow, Poland. (A superstar, but he didn't get far). The train was mostly empty, and moments before it departed we wondered whether we were going to be completely alone.

I figured that the current crisis in Ukraine has probably diminished travel in the area generally, including train travel throughout the country and across its borders. I especially figured that western visitors would likely be totally absent, besides the ones who don't care about their lives, like us.

Then we heard the strong accent of a 70-year-old woman from Philadelphia, a transplant, we later discovered, in "Flarida."

"Beau! At least put some underwear on if you're going to sit in there with the door open!"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Candy from Strangers

You guys. Traveling from Krakow Poland to Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of God Bless America, was probably the most arduous journey anyone has ever taken. I'm including even the time the Mormon pioneers crossed the plains and had to eat doilies to stay alive. Did the Mormon pioneers have to take a train and then have THREE layovers before making it to Salt Lake City?

I DIDN'T THINK SO.

We had to fly out of Warsaw, which meant we had to frantically get ourselves, via a four-hour train ride, from Krakow to Warsaw to catch a 6:00 AM flight. Then we flew across the world and stopped in every country along the way. I'm pretty sure we even had a layover in Palau at one point. I could tell because when I got off the plane I immediately started sweating, I gained 30 pounds, and Leotrix attacked me.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

L'viv Surprise

We've escaped the war zone in Ukraine for the less dramatic Poland. Brandt and I rolled in on the midnight train last night. Actually, maybe that's misleading. The train left L'viv at midnight, traveled the twelve or so feet it takes to get to Krakow, but took four centuries to do so. This was because the people at border crossing from Ukraine to Poland acted like we were trying to go to Afghanistan to sell drugs.

Not that I know what those are, Cathie.

We were alone on the train with the exception of an older couple (age 70 or so) who had also been wandering around Ukraine for the last few weeks and were royally FREAKED OUT to be taking an all-night train anywhere. The woman could be heard from time-to-time screaming at her husband, "at least put some underwear on!"

We loved them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

From L'viv

Look. I know. It feels like I've abandoned you for borsch and bobushkas.

It has been an incredibly crazy week. One of the most fascinating of my life. And there is so much I want to tell you and so many photos I want to share and so many typos I want to commit so someone can publicly shame me for being an idiot.

But it has been difficult to get to a computer and write. At this moment I am typing this on what the kids are calling a "Nook" and it is taking forever. Plus I'm 30 now and everything takes longer when you're 30 because OLD.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Walk Through Kyiv

We landed in Kyiv Ukraine on Friday afternoon after twenty or so hours of traveling. Brandt had never been to this part of the world before and didn't know what to expect. In a way, I didn't either. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we had been obsessively checking the news every day for updates on the unsettling situation in Ukraine, wondering whether going was really a good idea.

A few months ago I wrote about what has been going on in Ukraine this year. We've seen it on the news, day-in and day-out, since the beginning of 2014. The turmoil started when a few peaceful protesters in Kyiv's center square were brutally attacked at the orders of one of the world's most corrupt presidents. The response to those attacks was swift, and in the coming days, thousands, and at some points hundreds of thousands, stormed the streets.

The fighting between the protesters in Kyiv and the group hired to put an end to things turned the center of Kyiv into a horrific war zone, so dramatic that the photos we saw online looked like something out of a sensationalized Hollywood movie. Then, finally, just a couple of months ago, the president was forced to flee Ukraine or stay and answer for his crimes against humanity. He fled.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thirty

Thirty years ago this coming Sunday, Cathie gave birth to a screaming ten-pound baby. The story has been exaggerated so much over the last three decades that nobody really knows what happened anymore. But if you listen to her tell it, blood was pouring down the halls of the hospital and a homeless man from the street ultimately delivered me using a spatula and rusty whisk.

Here I am now, thirty years later. And it's so so strange to me that thirty years have gone by. THIRTY. That's the age Danny Tanner turned on that episode of Full House when he couldn't say the word "thirty" without stuttering ("I'm turning th-th-thirty"). And you guys. Danny Tanner was SUPER old.

I'm not super old. I'm just this young dumb kid who still doesn't own anything and has to call his dad every time he uses insurance because CONFUSING.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Speeding Ticket

Sunday, 11:30 PM, on the way to pick someone up at the airport.

Cop: Do you know why I pulled you over tonight?

Eli: Is it because my hair looks really good and you wanted to find out what product I use?

Cop: No.

Eli: Oh. Is it because you wanted to compliment me on my excellent driving skills?

Cop: Not exactly.

Eli: Because you have too many cookies in your car and you need to give some away before they go bad?

Cop: I pulled you over because you were going 67 in a 50. Is there any reason you were going 67 miles per hour when the speed limit is 50?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Muv-ver's Day

I have a gigantic extended Mormon family. I remember when I saw that movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" ten or so years ago and there was this scene where the protagonist tells her boyfriend, as if to brace him for something shocking, that she had SIXTEEN first cousins.

And she said this like she was setting a world record on having the most first cousins anyone has ever had in the history of the world.

I was confused. Because sixteen first cousins actually sounded like not very many. So I started counting my own. And you guys. Are you sitting down?

I have over SEVENTY first cousins. This is not a drill. This is not a joke. No, I am not confused. No I am not counting second cousins or neighbors, nor am I counting really annoying cousins twice. Although if I was counting really annoying cousins twice, I would have like 112.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I have some news that is about to change your lives. Well, maybe not change them. But I suspect that you'll be excited to hear this news. Or you'll be at least interested. Or mildly intrigued. Or . . . well if you're not at least mildly intrigued then I don't know why on Earth you even come here. (Note: the answer is BECAUSE WHAT IF PAUL SIMON).

Phone conversation today:

Eli: Hello?

Daniel: I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Eli: Oh dear.

Daniel: Guess who lives in Salt Lake City now!?

Eli: You are going to cause chaos in my life.

Daniel: I'll do my worst!

Eli: The timing is suspicious and I'm suddenly not convinced that you and Rebecca aren't the same person and this isn't some kind of Mrs. Doubtfire situation.

Daniel: Pardonnez-moi?

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
Paul Cyclemon, waiting in transition.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Because Apparently I Think I'm Anderson Cooper Now

So I'm turning thirty at the end of next week. I remember so well when I was 21 and my friend Paula came to town to visit and she told me that she had just turned thirty and I was like, "HOW ARE YOU EVEN STILL ALIVE?!"

Suddenly thirty doesn't sound all that old.

Nevertheless, I feel the need to go through some sort of early mid-life crisis so I bought eye cream a little while ago and also whenever a Spice Girls song comes on the radio I'm all, "TURN IT UP!" because that's what the kids are listening to.

When I found out that Rebecca was going to be moving to Paris, I thought it would be a perfectly good idea to fly out there and spend my birthday in the city of love where I could practice the one French word I know. #HomeAlone

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rebecca's Grand Departure

Last week living-in-sin-Rebecca ABANDONED me for France. Here's the thing. I knew when she moved in with me that there was an expiration date on our cohabitation. She was going to move to France at the beginning of May to live a romantic comedy.

Rebecca is half French and she grew up between the U.S. and France. As a result, she has two native languages, which I would always forget until she whipped out her French on the phone with her mom and I suddenly felt like they were talking about me and how good my hair was looking that day.

Anyway, I was absolutely not pleased that Rebecca was leaving me last week. And I sort of thought, although her departure date was set weeks ago, that she would realize how much fun I am to live with and decide that living with Eli is 1,000 times better than living in Paris.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

St. George Half Ironman

I was so nervous heading down to St. George to compete in the half Ironman this weekend. So many mixed emotions hit me in the weeks leading up to it. There was a lot of excitement, typical of anticipation for a big race. Some nerves. And some fear.

Ironman has been a long-time goal of mine. I decided early in my twenties that I wanted to complete one by the end of my twenties. And here I am. I've attempted the full Ironman once and had a very traumatic experience doing so. And I turn thirty in about two weeks.

Brandt and I were concerned about being able to complete the half Ironman. The St. George course is very difficult. And having not finished a triathlon before and having trained through the winter in Salt Lake City, we weren't really sure how prepared we were. We knew that the final cut-off time for the race was 8 hours and 30 minutes, and having failed to make the 17-hour cut-off time in 2012 when I attempted the full distance, I was very afraid of a repeat performance.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I'm in a car now with Disney Prince Hair Brandt, pointed toward St. George. I'm not driving! Let's all calm down. I don't text while driving OR blog while driving. I only eat, brush my teeth, change my clothes, and occasionally nap. You guys, the half Ironman begins in about 36 hours. I'm mostly freaking out because of the race but also kind of freaking out because Brandt just told me we are out of gas and I haven't seen civilization for a LONG time.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions.
Rebecca bought this lamp for me. Actually, first she bought a different lamp and I told her I wanted this one instead. And she had to venture back out into the rain for it. BECAUSE I'M THAT KIND OF PERSON.