Friday, March 29, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Tonight we had a little party on the beach. Daniel has been doing an internship with the Attorney General of Palau, an American woman who has taken Daniel under her wing recently. Yes, Daniel is doing EVERYTHING one can do on this island right now. I do not understand how he has enough time in the day for all of it.

Anyway, at the party tonight the AG approached me and told me that he's doing a great job and they are so lucky to have him in their office. I then asked her to please let me know if there is anything I can do to help him at home. And as she walked away I realized that I now know exactly what it's like to go to parent-teacher conferences. It's so fulfilling to have a 25 year old man-child.

And now, your pictures and distractions:

Sunrise from my apartment.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

About that . . .

So about that whole marriage case at the Supreme Court. I'm typically pretty silent on Stranger about controversial current happenings. I think this is because I never wanted Stranger to be a forum for those kinds of things. Because for heaven's sake friends. We should have SOMEWHERE to go on the Internets where people aren't screaming at each other about these issues because they're too busy talking about their fear of chickens and cats and snakes and accidentally getting naked in places where they were supposed to be fully clothed (last time I'll ever go to THAT pharmacy!).

And I'm not about to change course on that. So don't worry. No long ranting post today about the arguments and the Supreme Court and all the people caught in between. But I'm a lawyer. And a Mormon. And an American. And I've been working for appellate courts and offices that practice appellate litigation for the past three years. So naturally I'm interested in the process and the discussion and my place in it all, or my perceived place in it all.

I've read amicus briefs for each side that were filed with the Supreme Court. The vast majority of the arguments made by both sides, as far as legal matters are concerned, I thought were utter nonsense. But I don't blame the lawyers for trying.

While We're on the Topic of Embarrassing Stories

Right before lunch today I got the mass text that "fresh" produce had graced the land of Palau.

12 seconds later I was walking down the street toward the grocery store at a brisk pace when the Stormtrooper zoomed by with Daniel at the wheel, looking like a 6 foot 6 version of the wicked witch of the west on her bike. He has stopped "wasting time" picking me up when such text messages are received. I found him at the store about 10 minutes later, his arms full of half-rotted onions, peppers, and garlic, a look on his face like he just won the lottery and he didn't know who to thank first.

What has become of my life?

I got a bottle of water and then asked Daniel to drive me back to the courthouse. During the course of the 3 minute drive I opened the bottle and spilled water ALL over my lap. And magically, it went in exactly all the right spots it needed to in order to look like I peed my pants.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Someone is a Liiiiitle Selfish with His Clothes

Yesterday I got back from the beach, took a shower, and then threw on the first clothes I could find in a pile of laundry that hadn't been folded yet. Daniel was making a quick trip to the grocery store and I wanted to go with him because I don't think he should go places alone. Daniel is very late for everything and is rarely in a hurry to get anywhere except for on the rare occasion that I need him to wait a minute. This was one of those rare occasions, and I was rushed by the impatient screaming and key jiggling coming from the front door.

We got into the store and that's when it all went down.

Daniel: Why are you wearing my flip flops, which are a full SEVEN sizes too big for you?

Eli: Because I can't find any of mine.

Daniel: And my shorts?

Eli: I don't know. They were just sitting there and they looked comfy.

Daniel: And my sunglasses?

Eli: Sharing is caring, Daniel.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Body Scrub

There's a place we all go for massages and haircuts (sometimes one can experience the massage and haircut simultaneously---which is very strange) near my apartment in Palau. All of the services there are very inexpensive and the people are sweet. On Saturday Daniel called to set up some appointments.

I heard him ask for a massage for me and a "body scrub" for him. I don't like it when Daniel experiences something without me. When I was a kid and Bob and Cathie posed the "if all your friends jumped off a cliff" hypothetical, I remember thinking "obviously I would jump off too. Who wants to be left alone on the cliff?!"

In any event, the Bob and Cathie hypothetical has never proven to be that helpful in my life. Because in reality, I've usually been the friend who jumps off the cliff. But only after tying a rope around my friends' legs so they have to come with. Because who wants to jump off a cliff alone?

So I immediately yelled, "make that TWO body scrubs." And I said it in the voice like I was really confidently upping the ante in Poker. Daniel made the reservations, and then ended the call.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Last night I popped some popcorn. Daniel took a handful of it and then dropped it into his full glass of ginger ale.

Eli: What are you doing!?!?

Daniel: Huh?

Eli: You just put popcorn in your ginger ale!

Daniel: Oh. Yeah.

Eli: Why!??!

Daniel: I like it soggy.

He then stuck his freakishly long fingers down the glass, pulled a few kernels out, and offered me one.

And now, this week's pictures and distractions.

Mr. Daniel. Notice the shades of farmer's tan on his left arm.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Amazing Phrases

One Stranger, Sammy, recently sent me the content of a text exchange she had with a friend, which was spurred by her use of "twice up the barrel, once down the side." This is a nice demonstration of the power of such a phrase.

5:44pm, Mar 19 - Maude: I see. Kind of like, twice up the barrel, once down the side.
5:45pm, Mar 19 - Charles Robicheaux, III: Go on...
5:47pm, Mar 19 - Maude: Well, it's similar to over the tally and passed the shoot. You know?
5:47pm, Mar 19 - Charles Robicheaux, III: You know I don't.
5:48pm, Mar 19 - Maude: Okay, so it's out through the window and shut the door.
5:49pm, Mar 19 - Maude: But more specific.
5:49pm, Mar 19 - Charles Robicheaux, III: You're making this up as you go along, aren't you?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Goodbye, Dear Friends

Sister and Elder Johnsen at my apartment for dinner on their last week in Palau.

On Monday night two of my closest friends in Palau left the country forever. And I was not a happy camper about it.

I haven't mentioned the Johnsens very much on Stranger. I'm not really sure why. They have been a huge part of my life in Palau but from your perspective that probably doesn't seem to be the case.

Guys, does that make you wonder what other things I'm engaging in that you haven't heard a word about? Are you suddenly worried that I have a rock collection? Part of a boy band? A secret writer for Glee?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Trip to Hell

I'm finally ready to talk about it.

As you all know from yesterday's post and Friday's pictures, I went kayaking last weekend. It was fun, even though Daniel apparently wanted to get a friend divorce from me because I wasn't "doing anything to help!" in the two-person kayak.

We obviously have very different interpretations of the word "help." I, for example, consider the amount of singing I did at the top of my lungs to be of great help to everyone.

Anyway, you guys. Are you sitting down? Do you have a heart condition? Did you take your pills? I need you to be in an ok state before you read this next part. I don't want anyone to die of fear.

Are you ready? Ok. I'm just going to get it out there. It's like ripping off the band aide really fast.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Friend Divorce

A few items of business today. First as I mentioned a week or two ago, I will be coming to the U.S. soon. I would like to formally warn all of the malls and everyone who sells burritos to be prepared for me. Because I'm not going to go easy on them. It's about to get real, malls and Mexican restaurants of America. I will visit all of you. And then I'm going to use the hell out of my parents' dishwasher.

Second, I have decided to go with Steph's suggestion (and a few others) of naming my visit the "Twice Up the Barrel Tour" and I think we'll refer to the portion in which I'm going to DC the "Eli Goes to Washington" segment of the Twice Up the Barrel Tour. Thank you Jennifer for the Washington suggestion. And thank you everyone for helping out with this very important decision.

Third, during the Twice Up the Barrel Tour, I will be performing at (on?) The Porch. The Porch was kind enough to invite me back for their April 18 show in Provo Utah. Last year I had a great time telling stories at two of The Porch's shows and those people have been so kind and inviting to our Stranger community. I hope some of you can make it to the April 18 show. I would love to meet or reconnect with you all. I haven't decided which story I'll tell yet but I have some ideas. And I promise, none of them involve my cat hoarding problem. I will keep you all posted on the specifics and will let you know when tickets are available on The Porch's site.

And now,

A Very Enlightening Conversation with Daniel this Weekend

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I hope you all had a wonderful week. I had the day off today because it's "Youth Day" in Palau. I'm not sure exactly what I was supposed to be celebrating, but I got to go kayaking with some friends. At one point we got incredibly close to a snake that was climbing a wall. I may have freaked out. As it turns out, I can move VERY fast in a kayak. I can also scream very loudly. I don't want to talk about it any further.

And now, your pictures and distractions:

On a boat to Pelelui to see some WWII stuff.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Cat Got Locked Out Again

Apparently Daniel has started getting up early in the mornings to go for runs. I didn't know about this until the other day when I was eating breakfast, thinking he was still in bed in his bedroom.  To my surprise, he then came plummeting through the front door. Sure that we were being robbed, I immediately screamed and threw a plastic bowl in his direction.

I have a mild to moderate form of On Edge Syndrome sometimes. Once my old roommate Matt came into our apartment without me hearing. I was carrying a bunch of folded towels into my bedroom when he rounded the corner and said hello. I threw the towels at him and fell to the ground, crippled in fear. I couldn't even get my legs to work well enough to run. Then we laughed for the rest of the day.

And I'm sure we all remember this from my last birthday when the Annas hung a manikin head from my bedroom ceiling and then waited for me to come home:


Warning: You shouldn't read this post if you came here for a laugh today. It's going to be super boring. Because it's about life and stuff. Also, it's long.

One friend in Palau recently gave Daniel a book about "tapping." It's this witch-doctor business where you tap different parts of your body to relieve anxiety or fear about something. I know that is not the clinical and perfectly accurate explanation of what tapping is. Somebody reading this is very annoyed. You can explain it better in the comments and also express your frustration about everything else I'm going to say about it as long as you also compliment my outfit today.

When this friend started telling me about this, I started laughing. Because I don't believe in this kind of stuff. And I think it sounds hysterical. I immediately felt like I was being really insensitive and I had the same conversation with myself that I always have when my impulse is to find humorous another person's beliefs: "Really, Eli? Really? You think it's funny that that person believes in this? You're a Mormon and YOU of all people think you can laugh at someone else's beliefs?"

Daniel was much more tactful and asked to borrow the book, which discusses the technique. He read the entire thing in like two days and without telling me whether or not he was a believer, he just told me it was all very interesting.

So yesterday when I got home from work I told him that since he was such an expert on tapping now, maybe we should start to try to fix a few of my problems.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Yahoo! Answers VIII

Good morning, strangers. We're back today with another edition of Yahoo! Answers. People were not very helpful with my questions below. Sigh. Also, Yahoo! Answers deleted almost all of these questions already. Things are not going well for the Queen of Colors's's's Yahoo! Answers account. She is getting pretty twice up the barrel, once down the side about it, if you know what I mean.

Question 1: How do I do a wire transfer to Nigeria? So I just got this letter in the mail and I found out that I'm related to this prince in Nigeria that just died! I feel like I've just won the lottery! I thought all of my ancestors were from Ireland and Scotland. Goes to show how little you know about your roots sometimes! Anyway, they need me to "wire transfer" some money to Nigeria so they can send me my inheritance. Anyone know how to do this???

1. Congratulations on your luck! You will have to give them your banking info so they can cover the initial costs of transferring the money to you. I had a similar scenario happen to me not to long ago, so I know it takes a few months to get your loads of wealth. They will probably take out all the money in your account, this is normal so don't worry. I guess it just costs a lot to get everything worked out over there. Have fun with your new found wealth! ~Elli

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Bold Move

I play the piano. I know what you're thinking. "Oh my gosh Eli! You're like a triple threat! You play the piano, you can walk on the backs of your toes, AND your hair has been looking really good lately!" And you are all writing me an email to invite me to perform at your kid's birthday party. Which I will accept because I have a hard time saying no to things. Especially when cake is involved. And I'm assuming you would let me take home some of the cake because who invites a performer to a party and doesn't let them take some of the cake home?

But guys, I'm not super at it. I'm just good enough to earn myself all kinds of responsibility, but not good enough to impress very many people.

And thanks for the compliment about my hair, by the way. I'm trying a new thing today and I wasn't sure if I was pulling it off.

I made my musical debut at church in Palau about 2 months ago when someone asked me to please accompany a little girl who was going to be singing during one of our meetings. It was a song I had never heard of before and we met a few minutes before church started to run through it together. After going over it once I asked if she needed to practice again. She responded with attitude -- and I mean islander attitude, which cuts you to the core but also makes you really like the person and want to do everything they say for the rest of your life -- "does it SOUND like I need to practice again?"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Daniel drove me into work this morning. This was the entirety of our conversation:

Daniel: Are you cranky again this morning?


Daniel: Do you ever feel like a plastic bag drifting through the wind wanting to start again?

Eli: No. Please not this again.

Daniel: Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin, like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

Eli: I can't do it today. Please no Katy Perry right now. Or ever.

Daniel: [singing now] You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine. Just own the night like the 4th of July. CAUSE BABY YOU'RE A FIREWORK! COME ON SHOW--

It was at this point that I opened the passenger side door of the moving vehicle and rolled out onto the street.

And now, your pictures and distractions:
Some of the church kids watching Daniel teach them about CPR.

Couchsurfer Emails III

I told Daniel that I was making a trip the U.S. next month.

Daniel: How long will you be gone.

Eli: About 2 weeks.

Daniel: Two whole weeks!?

Eli: Yeah. I'm sorry. Are you going to be bored and lonely?

Daniel: Are you kidding me!? [Huge grin] BEST TWO WEEKS OF MY LIFE!!!

And today, the next set of Couchsurfer rejections. Same deal as last time; I edited down some of the initial emails because they were long and boring. Enjoy!

From: Deanna
To: Eli
Subject: Palau

Hi Eli, could you host me in April? My dates are flexible. I would probably stay about 4 days. I really want to go diving.

From: Eli
To: Deanna
Subject: Palau

No problem. Would you like to make some quick cash while you're here? I run a business out of my apartment.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Magical Mystery Tour

As part of my duties with the Supreme Court of Palau, I handle recruiting for the next set of three court counsel to replace the three of us who are currently here until the end of the summer. As a result, large stacks of applications are dropped onto my desk every morning so I can dig through them and look for particularly promising applicants to recommend for the court to interview.

This task can become a little daunting so to liven it up I have started reading all of the cover letters out loud in a provocative voice. It makes each one sound a lot more interesting. Skeptical? Try reading the rest of this post that way. You will not be disappointed.

Having applied for exactly 1,000,000 jobs in the last 4 or 5 years, including this very position, I definitely do not relish in the thought that we must decline so many wonderful people. Every time I place an applicant in the rejection pile, I find myself saying things out loud like, "I'm sorry Sally! I wish I could take you in! We just don't have room for everyone!" And ohmygosh I think I finally understand how cat hoarders feel!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I'm kind of cranky today. Correction: I'm REALLY cranky today. I didn't start that way when I woke up. It just sort of built up throughout the day. And it peaked about half an hour ago when I hit my knee on this same part of my desk that I bump into 75 times a week. I may have thrown a small temper tantrum when it happened. I may have physically abused an inanimate object. I may have hurt myself in the process.

I don't know what I was thinking. I was young! I needed the money!

Prior to that, I lost my favorite pen. I couldn't attach documents to an email I needed to send because the Internet is too incompetent in Palau. Then the Internet broke altogether while I was in the middle of something important. Oh, and it's really hot today. And everything is a bigger deal when it's hot.

Beyond all of that, I'm cranky about some things that I found out today that actually matter, too. I DON'T JUST GET UPSET OVER MEANINGLESS STUFF, GUYS. Bad things that matter sometimes come my way.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Animals that Swim

On Saturday a big group of us decided to go scuba diving. I got certified in October and went scuba diving one time after that. Then I stopped completely because of animals.

Here's the thing about scuba diving. It is so fun to breathe underwater. And to float around and pretend like you're in the Matrix or Superman or Harry Potter or something less embarrassing. But the problem is, there are all these fish down there so it sort of ruins the experience.

When we go scuba diving in Palau, we have to take an hour long boat ride out to the Rock Islands because apparently that's where the cool fish are. Every time we get into that boat the whole time I'm thinking, "actually I just want to play Superman underwater. You could just drop me off at a deep pool." But I'm shy so I just don't say anything at all. Even if it means that I have to go see fish.

Guys, I don't hate animals. I just don't think that we have any business being a part of each other's lives. And especially the ones that can swim and breathe underwater without scuba gear. Ew.