Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Occasionally I catch my 9-year-old niece on Facebook chat and on a good day, I'm able to get her to chat with me for a few minutes. Unfortunately she usually seems to be too busy to chat for long. But I cherish these moments. Speaking of Facebook, have you liked the Stranger Facebook page yet? No? Go ahead and do it now. We'll wait and we won't talk about anything important while you're gone . . . ok guys, they left. What do you really think about them? At first I wasn't really sure because they were wearing that shirt and oh shhhhhh! They're coming back. Hey welcome back! Thanks for liking the FB page. Now on to today's post.

Eli: Hey there baby cakes!

Kaylee: I can't talk to you right now. I'm very busy.

Eli: Too busy for your favorite uncle!?!?!?

Kaylee: Yes. Love you.

Eli: Can I just tell you one thing before you go?

Kaylee: What?

Eli: Did you ever know that you're my hero?

Kaylee: ok.

Eli: You're everything I wish I could be.

Kaylee: I know!!!!!!

Eli: Oh and I. I could fly higher than an eagle. You. You are the wind beneath my wings.

Kaylee: You are weird Eli and I don't understand you.

Never were truer words spoken. And now, your weekly pictures and distractions:

Sometimes I want to scream at Palau. But other times, I remember that I live in a place where I can drive for a few minutes and then play all day in cascading waterfalls in February. During those times, my life seems pretty awesome.

The 8 Letter F Word

Daniel and I have assignments with the local Mormon church group to teach lessons and plan activities for the teenagers on the island. This means that every Wednesday night we are frantically organizing something. We started feeling guilty for constantly doing activities that teach absolutely no life skills whatsoever so we've been trying to be more thoughtful lately.

I do not want to be responsible if these kids don't know how to play Angry Birds because we never taught them anything useful.

So yesterday Daniel conducted a CPR training night. A huge hit.

He brought the dummies that he uses to teach his First Aid class at the college and walked everyone through the steps. The kids mostly just sat in quiet shock because those dummies were the MOST horrific looking things any of us had ever seen. They looked like they came straight from a Hannibal Lecter movie. Plus the baby dummy's face kept falling off.

When the demonstration concluded, one little girl walked up to me, pointed at my arm, and said, "what's all that stuff on your skin."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First Birth Ceremony

Last week my good friend Deb invited me and Daniel to something called a "first birth ceremony." I had only ever heard a few things about this, and immediately the moment that I did hear about it I knew that I was not to leave the island until I was witness to one of these.

When the typhoon warnings came through in December, my first thought was, "NO! I HAVEN'T BEEN TO A FIRST BIRTH CEREMONY YET!" Oh. That thought, of course, actually came after all of my thoughts about hoping that everyone was going to be safe, etc.

The reason I have felt so strongly about attending one of these is because this is the explanation I got about what it is:

After giving birth to her first child, the mother is treated to all sorts of allegedly painful therapy treatments, including getting splashed with boiling water. This apparently goes on for days and days. At one point her skin is painted and she is dressed in traditional clothing. She is then presented to family and friends who dance around her and give her money at a huge vibrant feast.

Guys. Who the heck WOULDN'T want to attend something like that?

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Conversation with Daniel in the Car

Daniel is basically the supreme educator of Palau right now. Between the classes he teaches at the community college, at church, and with the additional tutoring he does with some students in Palau that need a little extra help, he's been very busy in the education department lately.

I try to be Daniel's surrogate parent whenever possible because yes he's technically a grown-up but not one who can keep himself alive without some monitoring. *See everything I told you about him thinking it's ok to eat eggs that have been left out. Granted, I require monitoring myself, but fortunately it is in completely different areas than those in which Daniel needs extra help.

As a result of my parenting duties, I often take every opportunity I can to have condescending teaching moments with Daniel. These usually backfire, because he's too sarcastic and quick-witted for his own good. Today I give you one example.

Yesterday's Conversation with Daniel in the Car

Daniel: Tutoring actually went really well today. Lots of breakthroughs.

Eli: Yeah? What do you mean?

Dear Vague Facebook Status Poster

Dear Vague Facebook Status Poster,

I'm writing to you today because you keep leaving vague status updates on Facebook. I can only imagine you are doing it so others will ask you for details. Details that you never seem to give, even when asked.

I need you to stop. I need you to stop for you. For me. For everyone.

Have you ever heard of the term "cry for help?" That's what you're doing. You're crying for help. And you're doing it in a way that has been identified and mocked time and time again.

I need to make something clear, because it might not be clear to you. A "cry for help" is not a positive thing. I mean, it does bring some attention, but I'm guessing you prefer the kind of attention where people think good things about you. If that's the case, the cry for help isn't taking you anywhere you want to go.

When you leave a status update that says, "I never thought I would be this angry!" you imagine that people are audibly responding at home, "GASP! What could possibly be going on!" You hope they will comment on the post "what happened girl?!" which will only prompt you to leave more vague comments in response, like, "oh, certain people. I'm so frustrated."

I'm on to you. I know your moves.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

This has been one of my favorite weeks in Stranger history. TMZ, Above the Law, Urban Dictionary. Good times, thanks to you guys. We're like one big happy dysfunctional family together. And I love it.

The homegirl who wrote the Above the Law article about Britney Spears took issue with how I characterized her article yesterday and commented on the post. But we responded to her and were all like, "twice up the barrel, once down the side!" And she was all, "good point." Because twice up the barrel, once down the side is always a good point. And now I want to be her friend. Because I read her stuff and she's not so bad. Staci? You still around? Stranger welcomes all. Except for the Queen of Colors. And snakes.

And now, your pictures and distractions.

Daniel playing in a waterfall.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Rarest Gem of All: Fresh Produce

Your work on the TMZ Britney Spears article has been amazing. Even Trixy, June Snapple, and Jane have all commented. Shea pointed out today another article about this whole mess that asserts that the "mystery guy" is allegedly a lawyer. I like to think that our efforts with TMZ had something to do with this latest rumor.

But today's topic: You know I don't like to complain about anything. But now that you've gotten me on the subject of complaining, I guess I'll let you know about another one of the top five most terrible things about my current situation. You twisted my arm. I HATE HOW YOU GUYS ALWAYS GET ME TO TALK ABOUT STUFF I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT.

Guys. It is basically impossible to find fresh fruits and vegetables in Palau. This is the most nonsensical aspect of my largely nonsensical life right now.

You know I love Palau. Despite all of my complaints, I really do love it. Palau is like an annoying little brother. Sometimes frustrating. Always in my face at the worst possible times. Has questionable drinking water. And yet, I would be totally sad if it got blown away in a typhoon. My analogy may have fallen apart a bit. I don't know, because I've never had a little brother.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Couchsurfer Emails II

My good friend and life coach Shea saw a new TMZ article asking readers to help identify a man in a blurry image with Britney Spears on Valentine's Day and suggested that we all let TMZ know that it might be me. Many of you have been leaving hysterical comments on the article. TMZ is going to know our Stranger community before too long as a force to be reckoned with.

Last week I posted some of my responses to the couchsurfer requests of late. I had a bad couchsurfing experience recently so we are taking a break from hosting travelers for a little while. Rather than simply reject couchsurfer requests, I have been getting creative with my responses. Below are a few new ones. Enjoy. As always, I welcome you to share this post and others with the world.

*Note: many of the request emails I get are very long and detailed. I have condensed or paraphrased several of the initial emails below for your convenience.

From: Tyler
To: Eli
Subject: Trip to Palau

Hi Eli, I'm coming to Palau next month and need a place to crash. I see you live in Palau. I'm assuming you live in Palau the country in the Pacific? If so, I need a host for 3 days.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Conversation About Star Trek

One of you got "twice up the barrel, once down the side" added to Urban dictionary. Strangers. I love you. One day we're going to take over the world. First thing we'll do: slaughter all the snakes.

An update on yesterday's don't eat that story: my friend Brian informed me after reading the post that he too tried to eat the "cookie" when he and his wife Hillary were at the coffee shop the other day. Fortunately for him it fell apart in his hand before he put it into his mouth. But he verified that it was coffee grounds, which were set out for decoration. After his attempt to taste it, Hillary reportedly asked, "who are you? What kind of a person eats stuff that's sitting on a table to find out what it is?!" And then, pointing to a baby nearby, "not even that baby is trying to eat it!"

I'm that kind of person, Hillary. I am.

In other news, I have a serious problem following plots of movies. For this reason, I am the worst person EVER to watch movies with. Daniel has basically forbidden me from talking during movies and I try to respect that because he wears a size 17 shoe and that intimidates me. But the other day we tried to watch the latest Star Trek movie (my first ever exposure to Star Trek). And the following conversation happened.

A Conversation Between Eli and Daniel About Star Trek and Harry Potter and Other Things

Eli: Hmmm . . . hmmm . . . sigh . . . oh dear . . .

Daniel: WHAT.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Don't Eat That

Happy Monday, Strangers. First of all, there has been some confusion surrounding the phrase "Twice up the barrel, once down the side." We need to all be on the same page here so I'm going to try to explain. It's complicated so stay with me.

"Twice up the barrel, once down the side" is a phrase I invented last week and it may be used anywhere in any conversation. The phrase works amazingly well because it sounds like a real thing and nobody wants to question it because they'll seem uneducated by doing so. It's the same thing like when I'm at a party and someone makes a joke about sex and I'm all, "HAHAHAHA! EXACTLY!!! EXACTLY!!!" but really in my head I'm all, "what?! What are they talking about!?" and then I'm all mad because Jon Scoville did NOT teach me about that at scout camp in the '90s.

So when you use "twice up the barrel, once down the side," the same thing will happen.  And the beauty of it is, you can use it whenever you want and it can mean whatever you need it to mean.

So, next time someone starts talking with you about baseball and you have no clue what they're saying and then all of the sudden they ask you a question? "Well, like I always say, twice up the barrel, once down the side. AMIRIGHT!?"

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pictures from My Phone & Weekly Distractions

Thanks for the great week, strangers. This morning I woke up to one new couchsurfer request on, with the following message:

Hi Eli,

I'm hoping that a friend and I can surf your couch this April if it's available. We're really hoping to go on this trip, and you seem like a totally great host!

A few things:

We can bring a large dog for you and your friends to BBQ. Want us to bring any special sauce?

We're happy to bring you and your roommate some lice shampoo. Do you have a brand preference? I'm happy to get you some name brand stuff, maybe Rit?

We're also totally fine with the 7 pm curfew and 5 am Bible studies. We're early to bed/early to rise kind of people.

We also love kids! If you have kids we would love to play with them while you're at work. Maybe if there's a kids there we can take it with us to do things with him/her like clean stables and walk your products to market.

We're also open to all Palau has to offer, and if that includes a crime scene in your house, we're all for that!

While we're very open minded and very excited for this trip we do feel that we must be fort coming with you about one minor issue. We're German and we expect A LOT! So let me know if your couch is available!

Love always,

PS, Stranger is my favorite thing in life

Courtney. You can TOTALLY stay at my place. Twice up the barrel, once down the side.

And now, pictures:

Boating through the beautiful Rock Islands on our way to a nice long day on the beach.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cathie's Number One Valentine

A package came in the mail the other day. Guys, the best thing in the entire world? Getting a package. No wait. The best thing in the entire world is actually when you get on Hulu to watch the latest episode of your favorite show and you find out that you somehow missed a week and there are TWO new episodes and ohmygosh this is why I'm alone again on Valentine's Day.

But the second best thing in the world? Getting a package. Especially when you're away from home.

This package was from Bob and Cathie. Although Bob clearly had little to do with it. Unless he too has started using bright smiley-face stickers and writing in gigantic squiggly handwriting things like, "you are momma's star!" and "XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO [repeated for an entire page]."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Couchsurfer Emails

Before we get started, two quick things. First, the somewhat neglected mommy blog has a tacky craft competition going this week, so please head over there and send in your submission.

Second, I want to thank everyone again for all you've done to share Stranger with your friends through your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, going door-to-door, smearing the blog address with blood onto mirrors in public bathrooms, etc. Thanks to you, we have over 12,000 likes on the Facebook page AND like 12 very disappointed people are following me on Twitter. A couple of friends have been telling me for a while that I need to do a better job of asking people to share Stranger. So that's what I'm doing now: please share this or other posts, recent or otherwise that you enjoy. I'll keep writing if you keep reading and spreading the word. Deal?

Oh my gosh. I just asked you to do 2 things. Being a virtual friend with me is basically like a part-time job. I'll pay you $6.50 an hour and not a penny more!

Because of the German couchsurfer experience last week, we are taking a small break from couchsurfing. This is mostly because of something Daniel said to me 12 seconds after we dropped the couchsurfers off at the airport:

"You will NOT accept another couchsurfer if you want me to still be in your life."

I'm now in the process of declining the 20 or so requests I currently have pending. Because it would be a shame if Daniel exited my life. Who would reach the stuff on the top shelf?

The standard rejection was getting boring. Plus I hate saying no to people. So instead I started accepting them in ways that would make them retract their requests. Below, I include some of my favorites so far:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lifetime Movie Line-Up

Today I got an email from my sister Krisanda. Krisanda is the creator of The First Eye. And this is the sister who made me believe she and I were half Mexican until well into my teens. And the sister who convinced me that we had an older sister named Christina who was killed in a car accident on her way home from a beauty pageant and ever since she has haunted my parents' basement wearing her tiara and singing "I Will Always Love You."

Krisanda is the reason I'm still afraid of basements.

Her email today came with a picture.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I See a Sea Snake

On Saturday a group of people from the Palauan judiciary (where daddy works---I'm daddy in this situation) hopped onto a boat and went out to the Rock Islands for the day.  The Rock Islands are a group of tall rocky mounds totally covered in thick mangroves. They are about the most beautiful piece of God's green Earth that exists. They look like a cluster of sleeping giants in the ocean and many of them contain heavenly white sand beaches.

We went to one of the beaches that sat sort of in a bay that was surrounded by 2 tall islands about 100 meters apart from each other, creating a lagoon/tropical canyon to hang out in. HEAVEN. Yet, just like a good Mormon boy, I believe in opposition in all things. So it wasn't a huge shock when the worst thing EVER happened in that otherwise perfect place.

We spent the day in this spot playing volleyball, barbecuing, and laughing with hysterical Palauans. At one point, Daniel, Hillary, and I decided to snorkel the mile or so around 1 of the 2 islands. And that's when it happened.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I informed Daniel last night that I publicly warned all who read Stranger about his egg problem. He got incredibly defensive, assuming that I painted him in a false and negative light. Then he demanded that I immediately read the post aloud to him. He refuses to read Stranger on his own so any post he is exposed to is done in this manner. I asked him once why he doesn't just keep up with the blog himself and with the wave of his hand he said, "I don't have time for that nonsense."

Let me ask you guys: If you knew there was a blog that was read by tens of thousands of people every day and that very frequently contained posts about you, wouldn't you make checking that blog a bit of a priority?

Anyway, after reading the post to him, which I did very well, I might add, he nodded and said, "No. That's accurate."

Guys. He STILL doesn't think he has a problem. STILL.

Anyway, he did ask me to make sure to clarify that he is not the type of person who normally takes food home after bringing it to a dinner party and the only reason he had those deviled eggs in the back of his car was because those eggs never made it into the house in the first place.


And now, your pictures and weekly distractions.
Homemade meal! Raw beets, some super unhealthy mashed potatoes and a chicken something-or-other.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I'm here to issue you a warning. Consider this a PSA. If the person pictured below offers you eggs that he has prepared, DECLINE!

Ok, I know. You're looking at that picture and you're thinking, how can such a kind-looking person possibly do something terrible enough to necessitate these warnings?

You're thinking, I would hang out with that guy and I would take any food that guy offered and feel comfortable that that food wasn't laced with poisons.

Guys. Don't you think I know that? WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING! He's not what you think!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tsunami Watch

The law librarian who works just outside of my office came to my door about 20 minutes ago to tell me that a tsunami is going to hit Palau at 3:00. That's now in 1 hour.

The words she used were horrific. But the tone was apathetic. This is typical for her. And now I sit, wondering whether to trust the tone or the content of her message. Either we're 1 hour away from total destruction and death, or nothing is going to happen. I feel pretty confident that it's not going to be something in the middle.

But in case I do die today, I want to issue my final words and wishes.

First of all, some confessions:

Bob and Cathie, I'm the one who scratched Micalyne's name into the side of the car in the early '90s.

I'm also the one who spilled that bleach on the carpet when I was 10.

All those flowers that got knocked down by the wind the next year? Me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Best/Worst Movies Ever

This weekend I was unfortunately subjected to a movie called "Pitch Perfect." It's basically Glee, the movie. What's more, I had to watch it with friends while there was German fighting in the background. And the occasional interruption for, "can I please ask you for vone small more favors?" Which was NEVER followed by the asking of simply vone small more favors.

But I thought it was time for our collective wisdom to create a best and worst movies ever list. I'll start it, you add to it in the comments. I had an especially hard time thinking of movies for the worst list. I guess I'm in a positive mood today.

Worst Movies Ever:

1. 2012

2. The Day After Tomorrow

3. Any movie with Jennifer Lopez

Monday, February 4, 2013

If You Give a Mouse a Keks

First thing's first: This weekend, my baby sister turned her body inside-out and emitted human life from her womb. She has sort of one-uped everyone on weekend news.

"Oh? You went skiing? A human being who had been growing inside of me for almost a year ripped through my unmentionable areas and will now walk this Earth for decades to come."

In any event, I got an incredibly cute new nephew out of the whole event, whom I'm excited to see some day. My sister told me that as punishment for being in Palau at such a time, she will be sending me a seemingly innocuous video that suddenly cuts to a close-up of the baby's head crowning. I will be digging my eyeballs out with spoons later today to prevent this possibility. (Advice I just learned the hard way: DO NOT google "baby's head crowning" if you're not sure exactly what that means.)

Guys. One of the fundamental rights should be that no person should have a sister who is allowed to threaten things like this.

I had sort of the opposite experience from my sister this weekend. I expelled human life from my womb. And by "womb" I mean apartment. And I did it WITHOUT an epidural. Although I could have used one.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

All day long on Friday (your Thursday) I got updates from Daniel about the status of our current German problem, which prompted me to share this on the Facebook page earlier in the day:

The couchsurfers are both crying right now because there was a mistake and they no longer have tickets on a flight out of Palau like they thought. I think I need to go into witness protection to get out of this situation. Changing my name to Mufasa . . .

Shortly thereafter, Daniel messaged me to inform me that he ran into them at home and they had somehow convinced a man, whom they had already convinced to take them on a boat trip for the entire day, to drive them around the country so they could resolve the flight problem.

They were very distraught because the guy told them they might not be able to go on the Rock Islands boat tour now because of the delay in having to drive them around. And they were shocked. "VHAT!?!? No tooorer?!? But vee vere soo soooo sooo excitedz!!!!

Guys. Daniel and I are going to Hell for our attitudes alone. Whatever. As long as we don't have to host these couchsurfers there, I don't really care.

And now, your Friday pictures and distractions (well, just one picture. Because of laziness. And Internet problems. But mostly laziness):

Ok, and so this one isn't from my phone. It's the most accurate depiction of The First Eye that has ever been created, despite not quite having 1,000 toes. Thanks, Flo, for sharing your creativity. This is the stuff of nightmares.