Tuesday, December 29, 2015


As this wet and now snowy year winds down, I continue one of my favorite Stranger traditions. In the days after Christmas each year I start compiling my frustratingly-vague and probably obnoxiously-boastful list of the year's happenings.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

People of the Gym

We all fall within one of these designations. ALL OF US.

January Man/Woman:

This is someone who comes to the gym in January only. This person can be seen wandering the floor, politely using half a dozen machines incorrectly and dangerously. He/she shows up the first Monday after New Year's Day and comes very consistently for that whole week. He/she shows up once or twice after that in January, and then usually never again for the remainder of the year, although there is sometimes a cameo sometime around the beginning of the summer.

King Kong:

This is a very large round man with enough testosterone to power a small city. He is usually heard before seen. He lifts extremely heavy weights off of the ground and then drops them onto the floor. Repeatedly. He also often screams when he does this. Between each action, he walks in a small circle, arms out on each side, looking menacing. It isn't clear what King Kong's goal is, but it's usually best to just stay out of his way.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Top Ten Most Viewed Stranger Posts of 2015

As the year starts to come to a close, I decided to bring you another year in review. I went through Stranger's posts of 2015 and picked out the top ten posts most viewed by you. There were some surprises. And it was definitely interesting to look through. And you guys. I know. The year isn't over yet. But I'm just going to post this because I don't have any intention of writing anything good between now and December 31.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Concerts

Every December my family goes to some kind of Christmas concert together. We all look forward to it greatly, even if the concerts sometimes turn out to be terrible.

Actually, attending phenomenally-bad musical productions is my family's absolute favorite thing to do together. About 12 years ago, for example, we were required to sit through all two hours and thirty minutes of The Gristmill Pageant in Tooele Utah, which you did pronounce incorrectly unless you live in this state. It was an entirely lip-synced presentation about the founding of Tooele Utah, which is not something about which many people have ever wondered.

The play revolved around a very old grandma (read: a young woman in a grey wig) sitting in a rocking chair at a family reunion, telling all of her grandchildren about how Tooele came to be. The lights would periodically flash to center stage where the ensemble cast would dance and lip-sync the story grandma was telling.

Of note, one of the children performers, a young girl, in a teenage-angsty voice, proclaimed at the beginning of the play, "Grandma, Iiiiiiiii'm bored. When do aaaaall the cute BOYS get here?!"

She asked her grandma this. AT THEIR FAMILY REUNION.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Tonight I was at a concert with my family. Part-way through Cathie asked if I wanted any gum. Then she opened her purse and it was filled almost to capacity with Trident. The only other thing I saw in there were two lemons.

Keep us guessing, Cathie. Keep us guessing.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
Mr. Pants was helping me with laundry.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


You guys. The worst thing that can ever happen happened today. Snowmageddon hit Salt Lake City. WHERE I LIVE.

Bob woke me up this morning with his routine phone call he makes to all four of his children throughout every winter, informing us that it snowed and asking us not to live our lives by going outside or doing anything whatsoever. Cathie can usually be heard in the background yelling redundant instructions.

I informed Bob that I would probably just work from home if it really was all that bad and he congratulated me for my wisdom with a tone in his voice like he was considering nominating me for family member of the month, which is a really difficult thing to win in any family in which Cathie resides.

I looked outside and discovered that more snow had fallen over night than all of last winter combined. I actually don't think that's an exaggeration. Can I get an amen from any of my SLC brothers and sisters?

For reasons I spent the remainder of my day trying to figure out, I decided to attempt to drive to the office rather than just work from home, which was a perfectly viable option.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

The other day I wrote about how I'm basically Oprah now because I was on the news. I shared the link to the news broadcast. Well one Stranger, Logan, suggested that everyone troll the comments section of the news link. If you haven't looked at the comments recently, go look now. This is all reminding me of that time nearly three years ago when you all brilliantly trolled that TMZ article asking to help identify Britney Spears's new boyfriend.


You Strangers rock my world.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions.
I was criticized for keeping my phone in my front pocket like this so I posted this picture on the Instagram to ask for everyone's thoughts and then I got attacked on Instagram for buttoning my top button and now I don't have self esteem.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


You guys, I had my five seconds of fame yesterday.

I was wandering down Main Street, minding my business, politely singing Jenny From The Block quietly and to myself, when I was abruptly pulled aside by a news man with a microphone. 

He asked me if he could interview me and I was all like "OMG PAPARAZZI I CAN'T GO ANYWHERE" but then he asked me what my name was and I realized that this wasn't a celebrity interview so I was really offended. 

It wasn't a huge surprise that I was selected from among the masses because first of all I was having a pretty good hair day, but second, I was the only person on that stretch of sidewalk who wasn't still drunk from the night before. NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT DRUNK MEANS, CATHIE.

I've never turned down an opportunity for attention so obviously I agreed and subtly shifted so the camera would be on my good side.

Then the interview started.

Monday, December 7, 2015

When Cathie Gets Bored

Bob and Cathie came to my house on Saturday to dump a bag of Christmas decorations on me. Cathie knows that if she doesn't engage in this annual ritual, very little to no Christmas decorating will happen in my home. And Cathie considers such a thing a violation of all Ten Commandments, an undermining of the rule of law, and disrespectful to the Constitution and Magna Carta.


Failing to approach the Christmas season with enough cheer to power a small country is as serious a sin as murder in Cathie's eyes. If Cathie was God, at The Great and Terrible Day of the Coming of the Cathie, the only thing she would consider in separating the wicked from the righteous would be whether the person's holiday decorations were put out early enough during each of the last five years. I'm pretty certain that she could be attacked by terrorists during dinner time and not have any hard feelings about it as long as she was aware that the terrorists had a nice Nativity set in their living room.

She marched into my home carrying so many black garbage bags full of various Christmas decorations that it made me wonder if her vehicle somehow violates the laws of physics in the Mary Poppins bag kind of way.

Cathie and I don't have the same style. We decorate differently. At least, that's how I describe it. According to her, my taste is "wrong" and hers is "obviously correct."

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I texted Rebecca yesterday to tell her that I decided not to eat gluten this week in order to prove to her that gluten allergies aren't real. She responded that this didn't make sense and that my not eating gluten could never prove that there is no such thing as gluten allergies. I insisted she was wrong about this. But now I'm starting to second-guess myself because I haven't eaten anything that tastes like food in four days and I'm starving and angry and I can't see or think anymore OMG THIS MUST BE HOW REBECCA FEELS ALL THE TIME!

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
John Michael got me to go to my first ever tailgate party. Apparently there was some sort of sports game event after. It was very cold. I complained a lot. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Sweaters

Recently I told you about how I went to IKEA even though it is the worst place in the history of all places and I'm even including the DMV in that.

That night was chaotic. Matt and I broke every single law of every country of the world just trying to get that couch home so Matt could put it together without any help from me whatsoever.

I didn't share with you, however, the most ridiculous thing that happened that night. This was because in the middle of all of the IKEA madness, something else happened and that something else deserved its very own post.

Matt had texted me in the morning that he had scheduled a very special adventure and he told me I needed to wear a nice Christmas sweater for it. I didn't know exactly what this adventure entailed, but he had already offered to pick up my IKEA couch and put it together and then take me to the airport later that night to catch a red eye flight so I figured I should just do whatever he asked at that point.

The thing he scheduled was at a store called West Elm in downtown Salt Lake City.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bob & Cathie

Tonight I stopped by Bob and Cathie's house for dinner. They had placed some leftover rolls in the oven to warm them up. I walked into the kitchen and:

Cathie: I think the rolls are done. I'm going to take them out of the oven.

Bob: Cathie, they aren't done. I just put them in. They can't possibly be warmed up enough.

Cathie: Bawb, they are done. They've been in there for several minutes.

[Bob then splits a roll open]

Bob: Put your finger in the middle of this. This is ice cold!

Cathie: That's because you don't have feeling in your fingers anymore!

Bob: Touch this! Eli, get over here and touch this roll and tell your mother that it's cold!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Some Things Never Change

Rebecca came into town last week and it's a good thing she did because I miss her and this living across the country business isn't funny anymore.

Her flight landed at 11:55 PM. WHEN IT IS ILLEGAL TO BE OUTSIDE.

She asked me to pick her up at the airport. The moment she asked I assumed that her flight was going to get in at the most inconvenient time possible. Because Rebecca would never land in Salt Lake City, demand that I pick her up from the airport, and do so at a convenient time.

I actually think she called the airline and somehow convinced them to schedule her flight for "whatever time will put out Eli most."


I texted her and informed her that I would not leave my home to pick her up until she called me and informed me that the plane landed. Because I was absolutely convinced that if I arrived at the airport at the scheduled time, I would discover that the plane was delayed 27 days, or Rebecca didn't make her flight, or the flight never existed in the first place, or Rebecca never existed in the first place, etc.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Girl with Pigtails

140% of all posts on Facebook right now have something to do with refugees.

It's been an interesting few months to watch this debate unfold. It's a confusing debate to me. A nuanced and complicated one. And one that has made my heart hurt.

In recent days a lot of folks have had a lot to say about whether or not refugees from war-torn places should be welcomed, allowed, or refused entry into the United States. Some of these folks are in positions of power and might have more of a say than others.

An alarming number have emphatically demanded that certain groups of refugees be refused entry into our communities. The reasons for this vary a little. Some claim that if the refugees are allowed in, at least some of them will commit acts of terror on the rest of us. Some are certain that allowing refugees into the United States before we have completely eradicated this country's homelessness problem is inappropriate. There's also this really fascinating argument floating around about refugees consuming our coveted resources.

The response to so many of these concerns seems obvious.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Matt texted me yesterday and told me that Stranger "looks like Microsoft 1995" and that this was unacceptable and I should be ashamed of myself and shouldn't show my face in public anymore. He pointed out that half the gadgets don't work, the fonts are unacceptable, and the whole thing is completely devoid of color and happiness. Then he told me he is going to "fix" it.

Matt is an insanely talented artist and graphic designer and I'm lucky to have him because I don't know how to Internet OR computer OR art. He started fiddling around with some things last night and we accidentally saved the changes so if you're wondering why everything suddenly looks a little different, that's why. And you can expect to see a very dramatic remodel in the near future. Please be as vocal and angry about these impending changes as possible.

If there's one thing Strangers share, it's our refusal to accept any kind of change whatsoever. Also, oatmeal cookies and a hating Glee.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
Don't worry. Many more pictures from this ridiculous photo shoot will be coming your way soon. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Not Far from the Tree

Recently I was in the car with Matt and Wade. I was ranting about how my mother will reluctantly agree to allow me to bring something to a family dinner party but then when I show up, I find out that she made her own version of my assignment "just in case" and then mine inevitably gets sent home with me, untouched. I was complaining about how she doesn't trust me and how offensive this is. The car got quiet and then Matt and Wade said some variation of, "um . . . that's what you do to us."

I am my mother's son. I admit it. For the last four birthday parties Wade has offered to make the cake and each time I have stepped in and made it before he had the chance. It's a control problem that I inherited from Cathie. One that was proudly displayed at family dinner on Sunday.

Cathie: We are very excited to have everyone come for Thanksgiving this year.

Eli: That reminds me; we need to make food assignments.

Cathie: Ok. I think Krishelle should bring [something complicated], Krisanda should bring [something complicated], Micalyne should bring [something complicated], and Eli . . . um . . . you could do . . . corn? Like in the microwave? Do you know how to do that?

Eli: Are you kidding me, Cathie? Corn?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

30 Things You Start Saying By Age 30

1. "I wonder if there will be somewhere to sit down at that party."

2. "Do their parents know where these kids are/what they're doing/what they're wearing/what they're saying?"

3. "I am going to take the most amazing nap when the weekend starts five days from now."

4. "Let's leave this event 20 minutes early to beat traffic."

5. "Why can't all parties start at 7:00 and wrap up by 9:30?"

6. "You just can't beat that curbside appeal!"

7. "I might have actually enjoyed the concert if they had turned the music down to an appropriate level."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

You guys. Mr. Pants is coming to sleep over at my house starting tonight for the WHOLE weekend! He is so excited and has been texting me all day. We are going to stay up all night and gossip about other dogs.

Mr. Pants is currently my most healthy relationship in my life. And no, this isn't "sad," Bob and Cathie. Hashtag love wins.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
With Rebecca and Skylar in NYC.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This is What Friendship Looks Like

I got to spend a great deal of time with Corey in New York City over the weekend. Corey is one of the closest friends I've ever had. I can't call her my best friend here because Lee will freak the hell out and accuse me of calling too many people my best friend and for not including him in that.


Corey is the smartest person I've ever met in my life. Her brain works at levels I can't comprehend. She is also extremely charismatic and the most strong-willed person I've ever known. Because of this, she sort of always finds a way to get exactly what she wants in life and I am totally convinced that one day she will be ruler of the Earth so I'm trying to stay as close to her as possible.

Corey and I met in law school. A few weeks after law school began in 2008, we competed against each other in a mock negotiation competition. We had never seen one another before setting foot in that room and for the next hour we yelled at each other so condescendingly that the moderator had to intervene.

We immediately became frienemies. We recognized that we had nearly identical personalities and senses of humor, but we were both so stubborn that it seemed impossible for us to live peaceably.

Monday, November 9, 2015

IKEA is Where Happiness Goes to Die

I’ve mentioned to you before that the stairway to my basement is basically one of those caves from The Descent. To get through it, you have to lie upside-down at a 45 degree angle, suck in your stomach, and have someone slowly lower you in using a rope tied around the feet.

This is unfortunate for many reasons, not the least of which is that there’s actually quite a lot of good space down in the basement that I would love to use, but for the fact that I cannot get anything other than doll furniture into the area.

My laundry room is in the basement and when the people from Lowe's finished their 3-hour washer and dryer delivery process, they told me this was the “hardest” delivery they had ever done and that if I ever sold my house I would probably just need to abandon anything in the basement and start over somewhere else. They also said something about how great my hair looked but I'm so super embarrassed about that so I won't mention it here.

I’ve been scouring the Earth for furniture that might work for the area, hoping desperately to find a pill that turns into a couch if you just add water.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I'm about to get on a red eye flight to NYC (prayers be with me). Matt has spent his evening wandering the valley with me collecting IKEA furniture and then putting it together in my basement (for IKEA furniture is the only furniture I can get down my 1925-era hole-in-the-wall staircase). He also forced me to participate in a family photo-shoot, for which we actually dressed up and posed in front of a professional photographer. I'm now feeding him caffeine to keep him awake so he can give me a ride to the airport. Mr. Pants is digging food out of my garbage can. I'm too tired to stop him.

Also, Rebecca just called me to tell me some absurd thing, probably about her fake gluten allergy. In the middle of the conversation she happened to disclose that she is currently in New York City (for reasons unknown). I told her I was about to catch a flight to her city and she insisted in her excited high-pitched Rebecca voice that we will be spending the morning together.

My life feels weird right now.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
Mr. Pants made a new friend! Meet Gunner.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Filling the Cup

Last year I told you about a service opportunity linked to The World Food Program wherein my family participated in a challenge proposed by Pioneers of Peace (FB link here) to take the month of November to collect household change into cups. Throughout November each year, my siblings, nieces, nephews, Bob and Cathie, Tami, etc., drop change wherever found into red cups. We then count the change on Thanksgiving and donate whatever we've collected through this link.

We are surprised each year to cap out at somewhere over $100, which is a meaningful donation to an organization that purports to be able to provide meals for impoverished children for only 25 cents a piece. Apart from helping starving children, it has been a wonderful and tangible opportunity for the kids in my family to participate in a service opportunity, one that we have seen help them gain a powerful perspective on selflessness.

Last year several Strangers participated in the program in November and left comments with Pioneers of Peace, sharing their families' experiences. I was grateful, as I frequently am, for the incredible community we have here of Strangers helping Strangers, wherever they may be.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trick or Treat

This Halloween was my very first ever Halloween as a homeowner and I cannot possibly overstate how excited I was about this. But I'll try.

Remember when you heard they are doing a Netflix season of Full House and Kimmy Gibler is coming back? You guys. I was FOUR TIMES more excited than that.

I was excited about this because I have always wanted to give out candy to Trick-or-Treaters from my very own home because I have always known that I would be SO good at this.

I would say all the right things. I would compliment every child's costume. I would play spooky sounds and decorate the entryway of my house with creepy decorations. I would make sure the aroma of baked pumpkin goods wafted out of my home. WAFTED you guys!

I learned all of this from watching Bob and Cathie for so many years turn their place into the house to avoid if you don't want to get stuck on someone's front porch for ten minutes while the female part of Bob and Cathie (dressed as a witch) forces you to pose with your friends for various pictures and the male part of Bob and Cathie (dressed as a white dad) makes every possible joke he can think of about your costume.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Last night I was talking about Fabio, as we all do a few times a week, and I asked my friend Skylar,

Eli: How old do you think Fabio is?

Skylar: Gosh. This feels like one of those "guess how many marbles are in the jar and win a prize" questions.

And I'm telling you, this felt like a very accurate statement. Because is Fabio 85 or 30? Or 50? Or did he live in another era entirely and have absolutely no overlap at all with my life?


I really wish I knew how to Internet and find out. This is important.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Why didn't anyone tell me I looked like a Methodist preacher at The Porch!?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Porch, Fear

Excuse me. But I guess I'M A TECHNOLOGY GENIUS! Because I just basically technologied all over the entire Internet to bring you today's post.

A while back the three most recent Youtube videos of my stories on The Porch were tragically deleted from the Internets. I went to Facebook to ask whether any Strangers out there happened to download these videos (if that was even possible). Stranger David, who shall rule the land with Alanna for all eternity, then emailed me with the audio files of those videos. He and his friends had downloaded the audio to listen in their car on a road trip.

I didn't know what I was supposed to do with this information, so I just kept it in my inbox for several weeks, hoping for effortless enlightenment.

Then, last weekend, I finally became fed up with my own incompetency, so I read the entire Internet and learned everything possible and I'm basically Lucy from that awful movie wherein Scarlet Johansson is able to use 100% of her brain capacity which obviously means she is an all-knowing immortal being who is everywhere and nowhere at the same time JUST like Catholic God.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

[Please come to The Porch this Saturday night in SLC. Jolyn promises to give a 25-second hug to anyone who wants one. Find info here.]

I think I am the most tired any person could be. This long week is finally coming to the end for me after a few very intense and long meetings and one significant court appearance this afternoon for the sweet client who passed away earlier this year. There is a 92% chance I will fall asleep tonight and stay in bed until November 21st. I'm going to pass out a sign-up sheet for you each to take turns stopping by to feed me and switch out my bed pan. I'm handing it to The Suzzzzzzzzzzzz first and expect she'll proceed to pass it through all of the Strangers in order of height and age.

It is the very least you people could do. Don't make me have to lecture and guilt trip you. I have a very large picture of Jesus ready to show you if needs be.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
The crew at Arches, with Delicate Arch in the background.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


[Quick Announcement: We will be back at The Porch in SLC this coming Saturday. It's a late show (10:00 PM OH MY GOSH HOW WILL WE STAY AWAKE). Please come and bring your friends and grandmas. It's a new location, in case you've been before. Info is here.]

You're not supposed to put glass in the blue recycling bins provided by the city. I have no idea what happens if you do put glass in them but the lid of the can given to me has very explicit instructions about this in the form of large pictures showing glass bottles with an X through them.

Recycling is a mystery to me, generally. I don't believe in it. I mean, I do it. I believe we should do it. I want to believe it is a real thing. But conceptually, it doesn't make any sense to me and somewhere deep down I don't actually believe that anything productive is happening with anything I'm recycling.

Also, I feel like they aren't very clear about how much you are supposed to clean the items you recycle. Like, what if there are still remnants of food in the container? Does that render the donation worthless? Does the food compromise the entire system? CAN I GO TO PRISON OVER THIS?!

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Last week was John Michael's birthday so we decided to throw him a Halloween-themed birthday party at my house because I refuse to treat any of my 30-something-year-old friends like they are any older than 9.

I decided it would need to be a small intimate gathering and quickly invited Matt and Wade. John Michael moved to Salt Lake City earlier this year from some place in the south where they give everyone two first names and legally require you to call them by BOTH names even though the rest of us get by just fine with only one. Because he's newish in town, he's still assimilating and getting to know people.

I know that he's made various friends while living in SLC, but I don't really know any of them.  Matt and Wade were really the only two people I knew John Michael knew and so they were the only two people I knew to invite to his birthday party.

I was having some birthday party planning anxiety leading up to the big day because who has ever heard of a good birthday party with only four people. But I didn't want to invite people John Michael didn't know because that seemed inappropriate too.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend, one and all. I'm lying on the floor. Eating candy.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
The dining room in my old house is ever coming together.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Let Them Eat Cake

On Friday night I went to Matt's house. I like going there because WHAT IF MR. OLLIE PANTS, but also because, as a southern gentleman, Matt always inexplicably has a fresh batch of gumbo to offer.

I'm not kidding about this. It doesn't make any sense to me. I've never actually seen him cook it, but every time I'm there, at some point he'll jump up and ask, in a Southern accent that is about 14 notches more pronounced than he usually speaks, "how 'bout sum guuuuuumbo!" And every one of those words is somehow stretched out to be 17 syllables each. And then he feeds the gumbo to me and talks about how the "south shall rise agaaaaaiiiin."

Matt is constantly engaged in exactly 200,000 home improvement projects. Every single one of them gives me an excessive amount of anxiety, mostly because I don't understand them. I've mentioned before that he has this confusing ability to do any project around the house that needs doing. Yes, he makes a ridiculously large mess in the process, but Matt is an insanely talented artist and graphic designer so with an eye for this sort of thing, whatever he touches always ends up looking like something out of a magazine by the end.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Y'all. Lee emailed me about the relative finder thing to tell me he finally figured out how to use it because apparently he didn't really know how to Internet. And I was like, "genealogy was soooooooooooooooooooooo last week, Lee." And he was like, "talk to the hand." And I was like "stop trying to make 'fetch' happen."

Anyway. Apparently Lee figured out how to Internet and as it turns out he is related to some of us so you might want to go back and check. Apparently he and I are 12th cousins once removed and he is now calling me "Cousin." You guys. I can't carry this burden alone. (Burden AND Privilege, Lee. In case you're still reading. Love you! See you at the family reunion!)

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
When you're at a dinner party and everyone starts talking about a current event you've never heard of.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Selfie Generation

I recognize that I'm about to sound the like the oldest man on the planet. And I also recognize that everything I'm about to say has probably already been said by someone who has conducted scientific studies and has actually researched these issues.

It will probably be easiest to absorb this post's information if you imagine me sitting on my front porch holding a rifle on my lap and intermittently yelling at children to get off my lawn.

I've had a lot of conversations over the past couple of years, usually with my crankier friends, about the changes we've seen in the last decade that seem either to be caused by or demonstrated through social media. There appears to be a new level of narcissism and attention-seeking that is magnificently displayed on the Facebooks and the Instagrams and the Snapchats and an array of other social media outlets I know so little about that when they are referenced I usually think people are talking about food.

I've heard the generation one or two steps below my own sometimes referred to as the "selfie" generation. It's often thought of as a group that is obsessed with attracting social media followers and obtaining as many "likes" as possible on every post shared. They thumb through their own Instagram feed, implicitly double-tapping on every photo without really looking at it, aware that liking each post is expected by the followed and a requirement for guaranteed mutual liking.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Facetime with Rebecca

Eli: Becky, I need your help.


Eli: I know. That's why I called you. What the hell are you eating right now? It looks like Elmer's Glue. 

Rebecca: [Takes a large bite] it's a special kind of yogurt. It's VERY healthy.

Eli: When was the last time you ate something that tasted like food?

Rebecca: August 21, 2004.

Eli: I'm impressed with your specificity but I also feel the need to point out to you that you accepted the premise of my question.

Rebecca: It's easier than arguing with you.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

This has been one of the strangest weeks in Stranger history. And I'm including (you know what's coming) the time that all of the angry moms on the Internet screamed at me in one unified terrifying voice FOR JUST TRYING TO HELP.

As you know, I made a joke about how we are probably all related because hashtag my big fat Mormon family. Then swingwise made that group on relativefinder.org and over the next day or so hundreds of you joined the group and obsessively started engaging in family history work. (Is "hundreds" an exaggeration? Swingwise? Do we know how many people are in the group? Lee gets mad when I exaggerate and sometimes it's scary. Because I think he's a dad.) Anyway, I never imagined that Stranger would become a family history blog. But I guess I also never imagined that I would be able to assault tens of thousands of people with pictures of my toe's photoshopped hair. Hashtag blessed.

Also, Jolyn was just at my house and she answered my phone when a telemarketer was calling and I overheard her tell the person that "no, Ellie McCain is not available right now but he will be at exactly 6:00 AM tomorrow." So that was nice.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
Sonita and I danced the night away until way past our bedtimes (11:00). 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


So the other day I posted that thing about my family reunion and how my grandma wanted to go clubbin' with me and I made a passing joke that my giant Utah Mormon family is so huge that I'm related to all of you and WHY WEREN'T YOU AT THE FAMILY REUNION. Well then people started suggesting that we all create a group on some genealogy website. And I immediately started twitching because I suddenly had eleventy flashbacks to that one time all of my smart ass cousins simultaneously shared this video on Facebooks, tagging all five million members of our family. And then I had that awful song stuck in my head for A MONTH.

Well. The Strangers then came through. Swingwise, specifically, bless his little heart.

I hesitated momentarily but then went to family search and created an account so I could join the group at relativefinder.org. And it was amazing. The page shows you everyone else in the group and ranks each group member according to how closely they are related to you.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Family Reunion

I have like 14 family reunions every summer because I come from several incredibly active gigantic Utah Mormon families. So, I belong to eleventy different groups that plan family reunions every year for all seven billion of the world's inhabitants who are descendants from every one of my pioneer ancestors that multiplied and replenished the Earth one-hundred and fifty years ago.

I'm not kidding about this. If you were born in Utah, there is a 150% chance we are first, second, and third cousins. Simultaneously.

My grandma's dad was married to and procreated with one woman for several years until she died. Then her sister stepped in and started helping with the children until eventually just marrying him and birthing several more children. I didn't really think hard about this until recently when I realized that some of my grandma's siblings are also her cousins. Then I tried to draw the family tree to see what it would look like and it basically just turned into the labryinth.

Every time anyone starts talking about my family history I can hear that song "I'm My Own Grandpa" playing in my head.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Rebecca texted me at some ungodly hour this morning to inform me that she can't leave to go back to Washington DC until she sees me. So I told her that I'm going to hide so that she has to stay here forever. But then she reminded me that if my goal is to keep her here so I can spend time with her, hiding so that she has to stay will undermine my objective. So I reminded her that she told me she can't leave until she sees me, but if I see her, that will have no effect on whether or not she leaves, WHICH MEANS (stay with me here): although I needed no more motivation for it, I have just discovered yet another benefit in my life to stalking.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
Eli and the Pantses at Survivor party. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Birthing a Mattress

I've basically been sleeping on one of those Flintstone beds for the past few years. Just a very uncomfortable slab of bumpy rock. Except, worse even. If I so much as contemplate rolling over in it, the mattress squeaks so loudly that it sets off car alarms in India.

If you've ever hear car alarms going off on the other end of your customer service calls late at night, it's probably because I blinked in bed in Salt Lake City.

Y'all. I'm an insomniac. I think this is one of those chicken/egg things because I'm not sure whether I'm an insomniac because my bed is from 1745 or if my bed feels like sleeping on top of a pile of rocks because I'm an insomniac and therefore unable to get comfortable anywhere.

Various friends have conducted aggressive interventions with me over the years, demanding that I upgrade to something called "a grownup bed." They do this as though I still sleep in a race car bed, which is kind of offensive but OH MY GOSH NOW THAT WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT DO THEY MAKE THOSE IN ADULT SIZE?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Kentucky Clerk

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you've probably heard more than you ever wanted to hear about a Kentucky county clerk named Kim Davis.

Lately, everywhere I go there seems to be conversation about her. People can't stop talking about her since she was arrested for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses. She was refusing to do this because, according to her, she was acting under God's authority, which apparently takes offense to the Supreme Court's recent ruling on marriage rights for same gender couples. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hippie School Emails

Recently I met someone who works at something called a "Montessori" school. He gave me a very long explanation for what this is but basically it's just a place for rich hippies to send their children. So naturally the Snapples had to start emailing a bunch of these schools about the education of their child.

Our victim here sent an email to the Stranger account after the end of this explaining that as the emails became more ridiculous, she googled "June Snapple" and found Stranger. I may have to start a new cover.

From: June Snapple
To: Private School
Subject: Connections

To whom it may concern,

I have recently moved into the area and my gifted child and I are exploring education options. My gifted child has very specific needs and demands the highest caliber of education. Your institution boasts of out-of-the-box new-age progressive approaches. I may be interested in encouraging my gifted child to choose your institution as well as making sizable donations. Can you please help me understand your institution's views on free love?

June Snapple

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Keys on Main

Every time I hang out with my friend John Michael I end up in an odd situation that takes a surprising amount of time to exit. Friday was no exception.

I had gone over to his house mid-evening. He was watching a football game. I nearly died of boredom the moment I arrived. Because sports. And so after an excessive amount of complaining, the sports were turned off and we ventured on to Main Street to a place called Keys on Main.

Keys on Main is a piano bar that just happens to be one of our favorite spots in Salt Lake City because for some reason the moment we walk through those doors the filters that normally stop us from engaging in embarrassing behavior completely shut down.

I'm not sure exactly why this is. I think it must be partly because we never ever see anyone there we know. The place is usually full of bachlorette parties and groups of people who came in from the suburbs for their semi-annual night on the town. The people who live among us, our neighbors, don't go to the piano bar. I'm not sure what my neighbors are doing instead of going to the piano bar because they apparently don't invite us to their things. But they are definitely not at Keys on Main.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pictures from my Phone and Weekly Distractions

Rebecca is in town. I know this because she stormed into my house today, rearranged everything in it, told me every possible fact about her life, and then left in a huff. She says she'll be around for a few weeks and "WE'RE GOING TO BE ROOMMATES AGAIN!"

I'll let you know what all of this means if I ever find out.

Also, no, I'm not sorry that almost every picture this week is of Mr. Ollie Pants.


Here are your Pictures and Distractions:
Mr. Pants in the car!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Roll-top Desk

It was Labor Day on Monday so Matt, Ollie, and I decided we should labor.

We made a stop at Home Depot, where all 7 billion of Earth's inhabitants were wandering the aisles at exactly the same time. This did not discourage us, but it did make our "quick trip" take about four times longer than we planned. And Mr. Pants was not pleased about this. But he got to ride in the cart EVEN THOUGH I ASKED FIRST. Apparently I was "too big" and "no, I'm not pushing you around again. It's embarrassing." 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Praise Be To Alanna

I have been relatively clear here that I am basically incompetent when it comes to technology or what the kids are calling "The Internets." And this is pathetic because I have maintained this blog for nearly 8 years now (OH MY GOSH YOU PEOPLE ARE GETTING SO OLD). I have also kept up a relatively active social media presence. 

But you guys. I don't know what I'm doing. This site is a mess. My life is a mess. Everything is a mess.

And every once in a while someone will freak out and send me an email or leave a comment that says something like "YOUR IN-TEXT ADS ARE RUINING MY LIFE AND YOUR HAIR ISN'T EVEN THAT GOOD TODAY!" And then I cry for a while and search the entire internets for "what the hell are in-text ads and how can I destroy them." And then the internets provide me no answers so I eat a bunch of candy and snuggle with Mr. Ollie Pants and forget about this.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca

By way of brief update, we made our way to Puno, Peru, and set sail on Lake Titicaca. Also known as the North Pole. Because it is so freaking cold all of the time always. You guys. I think my body has been cryogenically frozen just from walking around outside this week. I'm asking not to be brought to until everyone responsible for Glee has left this Earth. 

Machu Picchu was magnificent. Even more so than I ever imagined. Also, I am totally convinced that all of the buses in Peru were made by the same people who make the buses in Harry Potter. You know. The ones that can twist and morph into whatever size is needed so they can fit through cracks and drive sideways across cliffs. Because I can't think of any other way to explain how I have gotten to or from anywhere in this country without my body ending up at the bottom of a very deep pit in a burning pile of automobile. 

Speaking of which, we returned from Machu Picchu last night and immediately began an all-night 9-hour bus ride with the stinkiest backpackers that have ever wandered this planet. Be ye warned. The smell will likely hit your home in the next 24 to 48 hours (depending, of course, on the winds). 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

High in Peru

I write to you now from somewhere around 12,000 feet high in the middle of nowhere Peru. And I mean "high" in terms of altitude. And not in terms of inebriation. Although don't think the opportunity hasn't arisen. Last night I was accosted four times by men who got in my face and acerbically offered me "weed cocaine." NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS, CATHIE.

Actually, if they truly were offering me a singular substance called "weed cocaine," and not those two things individually, I definitely really don't know what that is. But I have a feeling it's not my style.

It sort of felt like an after-school special every time it happened. I was compelled on each occasion to blurt out "NO THANK YOU I'M HIGH ON LIFE!" But instead all I could will myself to do was close my jacket more tightly with one hand and wave the other while indignantly saying "NO. THANK YOU." As though I was a classy broad on the receiving end of an improper proposition in the 1930s. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I was standing in line at Starbucks on Thursday morning to get some pumpkin bread BECAUSE THIS IS AMERICA AND I CAN EAT PUMPKIN FLAVORED FOODS WHENEVER I WANT SO BACK OFF. I somehow accidentally pocket Facetimed Rebecca and she answered before I could disconnect.

Rebecca does this thing when she Facetimes where she holds the phone really close to her face so that only about 60% of her face is visible on the screen. While she's very beautiful even up close, this is always alarming at first. She also talks VERY LOUDLY on the phone.

And so, suddenly, giant Rebecca face appeared on my phone.

Rebecca: ELI, I HAVE MONO!!!!

Eli: [Mouths "sorry" to all 40 people who are now looking at him] uh . . . hi, Rebecca.

Rebecca: MONO!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Someone mistakenly parked in my assigned spot in the underground parking at the office and then left the country for the rest of the month. I informed the relevant people and they temporarily assigned me to park in a previously unassigned spot until the offender returns and moves her car. Unfortunately the spot they assigned me to is a handicapped spot, so every day when I pull into it and climb out of my vehicle, I get dirty looks from whoever happens to be nearby and I keep finding myself implicitly wanting to limp as I walk or otherwise act like I'm in pain rather than attempt to explain the truth.

I can't be sure, but I think yesterday morning I saw a woman try to take a picture of me as I was retrieving my gym bag from the car. I am SO going to end up on America's Most Wanted over this.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
I stole this from Mr. Pants's Instagram account. Because I need you to see how he looks after getting out of the bath.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Ten Most Annoying Instagram Posts

I'll start this off by admitting that I am a regular and unapologetic offender of at least some of these things on my own Instagram account. BUT THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT OK DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO!!!!

1. Gratuitous selfies that have nothing to do with the caption:

OMG my totes BFF Tami comes back from her trip today i have missed her so much these last two days ahhh!!!!!!!!!!!! #loveher #bestfriend #myperson

Sunday, August 23, 2015


A friend had told me that Cleveland is apparently only like 20 minutes from a town called Kirtland and when I heard this I acted like I had won the lottery because I would be going to Cleveland in a few days and Kirtland is an old Mormon pioneer town so I immediately assumed that every day in Kirtland must be just a huge Pioneer Day and OH MY GOSH WHY DON'T WE ALL LIVE IN KIRTLAND!??!??!

I arrived in Cleveland bright and early on Thursday morning after spending the night on two red eye flights. I abruptly retrieved my rental car, located Kirtland on my phone, and ventured onward.

You guys. I was so excited to see this place that I drove to it before even checking into a hotel and after flying through the night.

I'm a history nerd. I was a history major in college. I have been known to venture far off the direct route on road trips just to visit places that once had a historically significant building near them. I'm one of those hippies that goes to a spot where an important thing happened and gets goosebumps because OH MY GOSH CAN YOU FEEL THE ENERGY!!!?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

This week I ventured off to Cleveland. Before doing so Bob and Cathie informed me that I would certainly die. I didn't take this very seriously because they always tell me these things when I go anywhere in the world (with, ironically, the exception of war-torn Ukraine, which they seem to have accepted as the safest place for me to go).

But alas. I was not killed in Cleveland. Fortunately. Or unfortunately, depending on how much you like or dislike me. I was, however, told by a woman on the street that I have "the best hair on a white boy" she's ever seen. I'm not kidding you about this. This actually happened. I thought for a second that she must have been a Stranger, but she gave no other indication that this was so. I think she just genuinely gave me the best hair compliment anyone has ever received. And I'm going to ride this high for a full decade.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
New Edison bulb string lights for my old patio (thanks, Costco!).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Flat Tire

Ring ring

Eli: Yes, sister?

Krishelle: Well I don't know what else to do. Everything is a mess.

Eli: Want to go back a little and give me some context?

Krishelle: I'm under an overpass and I'm probably going to die here and no one will help me and . . . just a sec . . . [clearly yelling to someone else] no, thank you sir! I just have a flat tire. But my brother is going to come and help me . . . no, really . . . I don't need any help. He's on his way. Thank you, though!

Eli: You have a flat tire somewhere?

Krishelle: Not just "somewhere." I have a flat tire on my car.

Eli: And you don't know how to change it?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Water Heater

I went for a run this weekend even though I made a solemn promise to all of you and to the universe that after Ironman Boulder I would never exercise again. But as it turns out, my body be doing crazy things lately.

I had a hard time figuring out what was going on at first. I felt this unbelievable amount of anxious energy, like I could run up a mountain, crab style, like the Exorcist girl. Also, I've been insanely hungry. ALL THE TIME ALWAYS. If you guys saw how many jumbo bags of peanut M&Ms I've gone through in the last 14 days you would probably start petitioning to have me on the next season of My 600 Pound Life.

I knew this couldn't be menopause because I've never gone through puberty. Naturally, then, I assumed that this was all because of disease and so last Thursday I took 5 minutes and jotted out a very simple will.

Mr. Ollie Pants will go to Matt, Jolyn gets my wig collection, and everything else goes to Bob and Cathie. I also gave very strict instructions to Young Wade to go through my whole house and get rid of all the "not that we know what that is, Cathie" paraphernalia before anyone can come over and start going through my stuff. Like, for example, my slutty outfits.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I got a haircut today NOT THAT I EVER NEED A HAIRCUT BECAUSE MY HAIR NATURALLY GROWS TO THE PERFECT LENGTH AND THEN STOPS. Anyway, I walked the four blocks from my office in the middle of the afternoon to Ashley at Array Salon (shout out!) and it was eleventy thousand degrees so by the time I got there my whole back looked like I had just gone down a water slide at a disease-ridden water park.

Well, they make you lay down at this place I go to so they can wash your hair before they cut it, which is good because if they didn't my hair would literally never get washed. But today it was mortifying because when I got up from the bench, there was a big sweaty wet mark where my back had been and homegirl had to clean it off

You guys. I'm trash. And I'm running out of places I can still go to.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
Matt's birthday party.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Best Assistant Ever

Brianne: Did you notice that I folded all of the clothes scattered about your office and put them in neat piles?

Eli: That large stack of sweaters is all mine?

Brianne: Yes. They've been collecting here for about 2 years.

Eli: Oh. I didn't notice I had clothes here.

Brianne: You didn't notice the 6 sweaters, 5 pairs of pants, 4 pairs of shoes, 2 suits, and 9 shirts that were laying on the floor and that you've had to step over ever day for many months?

Eli: I try not to look down. It seems snobbish. 

Brianne: Well, if you would have looked down every once in a while, maybe you would have noticed the several opened packages of cookies and 3 rotting bananas next to your desk.

Eli: Cookies?!

Brianne: I threw them away.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


There was this big golf tournament with the firm and some clients last summer and I had experienced an excessive amount of anxiety over this because I, Eli Whittlebottom McCann, do not golf.

You guys. First of all. I think golf is the most insanely boring activity that has ever been imagined by the human brain. And this is coming from someone who spent his childhood wandering fabric stores with Cathie.

I do not understand it. I have tried. I really, truly, have tried. But I just do not understand how anyone can engage in this activity by choice and call it "fun."

Every time I express these feelings, Bob is somewhere off in the corner, holding a golf club, one tear silently rolls down his right cheek.

Look, Bob, I wish we could bond over this, too. But I just can't. You have golf and I have laying on the floor after work eating candy until it's time for bed. We don't have to have all of the same hobbies.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Now that Ironman training is really, truly over for the first time in several years, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself anymore. I mean, there's eating and TV, of course. But I don't know what order to do those things in.

I did, however, spend my evening yesterday peeling and chopping mangoes with Anna and Emma because Craft Lake City is baaaaaa-aaaaaack. We will have our usual schyzophrenic Polynesian/Argentinian food stand on Friday and Saturday at Gallivan Center downtown. If you're attending the free festival, (I think it's free?) please stop by and say hi. Tami misses you.

And until then, your Pictures and Distractions:

I somehow got locked in the room I was staying in at Sam's house. I sought help, unsuccessfully, from Young Wade until I finally had to take the door off the hinges using objects I could find in the room. Note the time stamps on the above texts.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ironman Boulder, 2015

Young Wade and I stayed with my childhood best friend Sam who lives just outside of Boulder. I dragged Young Wade out of bed at the witching hour on Friday morning so we could make the eight-hour drive from Salt Lake City. If Young Wade ever speaks to me again after the number of times I required him to be awake before most people even got to bed this weekend, he shall be given an automatic Nobel Peace Prize.

On Friday and Saturday we wandered to and fro, checking into the race, packing the many gear bags, and dropping things off at the transition areas for the Ironman that would begin bright and early Sunday morning.

Bob and Cathie rolled into town Saturday afternoon after texting me 300 times throughout the day to ask whether I was staying calm. Hashtag worried parents.

The questions were fair. I have been less-than-calm in the last few weeks, although I’ve tried desperately hard to fix this. As you know, Ironman has been a very long and often terrifying and devastatingly disappointing process for me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

Young Wade and I shall set sail for Boulder, dark and far too early Friday morning. Years of anticipation and preparation, disappointment and frustration, all culminate to this weekend. My stomach is full of butterflies and my legs are bouncing with nervous adrenaline.

It's been an emotional week as I've reflected on the path to this point. I'm tired and changed in ways I hadn't anticipated when I first set out to prepare for an Ironman in 2011, totally ignorant and without an accurate sense of the respect this process was due. But I've carried on, and gained that respect, at a great cost, and now I'm pretty proud of myself for paying it.

Feel free to follow my progress on Sunday on the Ironman Boulder website. I'm number 1574.

Until then, enjoy some Pictures and Distractions:
Mr. Pants, majestic. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Heart Monitors

I wore the heart monitor for ten long days, just like I was instructed. I slept with it. I ate with it. I watched an excessive amount of TV with it. It's basically the longest and most healthy relationship I've ever had. If it could have provided Bob and Cathie grandchildren there would have been pretty much nothing left to look for in a lifelong companion.

But like all relationships I've ever known, the time came for me to take it back to the doctor last Thursday.

I turned it in. Then, like I was a rat in a lab, they hooked me up to 1,000 other pieces of equipment and had me lay down on table so they could do another what the kids are calling "EKG" which has still not really been explained to me using words I've learned.

Then, still hooked up to eleventy million things, they had me get on a treadmill half naked and run while a monitor showed what was happening with my heart. This was miserable, but also sort of interesting because I felt like I was on an episode of House.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pioneer Day Catastrophes

I hadn't planned on working Friday because PIONEER DAY. The pioneers would not want me to work on the greatest holiday of all time and I'm respectful to their wishes because I was raised right. Hashtag Bob and Cathie grinding their own wheat when I was a child.

But then Thursday night happened. A number of work emergencies popped up and kept me on the phone until quite late. And, as though work emergencies have no respect for bonnets and the Utah state song, they ate most of my Friday as well.

I sat, in my home, working for most of the day, stressed out, filled to the top with anxiety. I texted a coworker to ask whether I could enter the witness protection program to hide from my job but he replied that it's already too full of lawyers and they aren't accepting any more at this time.

The evening came and a handful of friends showed up. I had agreed to host a Pioneer Day party for the non-Utah-born-and-raised heathens in my life so I could teach them a number of pioneer songs and help them understand the glory of Tami's birthday. I put the work down. We cooked absurd amounts of food and enjoyed ourselves in my backyard until exactly 10:25 when Young Wade made a comment that changed everything.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


You guys.

Are you sitting down? Are you in a padded room? Have you taken your Xanax? Is there someone around to restrain you?

You guys!


And now the July 24th Pioneer Day is even more special because it is also Tami's birthday!

I can't believe she's one already. So many hair styles in such a short amount of time.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Emails with a Tickler

Last week one Stranger named Kate sent me the below Craigslist ad:

To: Craigslist Tickler
From: June Snapple
Subject: **Seeking ticklish women!! Pays cash!!**

Dear Craigslist Tickler,

Are you still looking for someone who enjoys being tickled for cash money? I'm in a pickle. A tickle pickle, if you will. And I need some work. Please respond at your earliest convenience.

June Snapple
Herder of Hogs

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Last weekend I went on a much needed road trip to Jackson Wyoming with my home girls Anna and Emma. We also stopped in the-middle-of-nowhere-Idaho on the way to Jackson and forced our friend Jake into the car. I swear to you that I think I consumed over 100,000 calories in three days. I'm going to have to do ten Ironman races to avoid diabetes. But ya'll. The food is good in Jackson.

Anna emailed us last week to suggest some possible camping spots. Woman-after-my-own-heart Emma responded 20 seconds later with a link to the most comfortable resort turned up by the googles. I emphatically agreed. Glamping commenced two days later. Hashtag it's important to keep people in your life who "get it."

And now, your Pictures and Distractions.
High above Jackson Wyoming and the Grand Tetons.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

An Unfortunate Sequel

Doctor: So I understand you have had some new episodes.

Eli: It sounds so dramatic when you say it in that voice!

Doctor: Well your heart started racing and you got light-headed and fainted. That's pretty dramatic.

Eli: I'm sorry. Did you say something? I'm having a hard time focusing because I keep saying over and over in my mind "don't take your pants off until they ask you to!"

Doctor: I want to run an EKG.

Eli: Come again?

Doctor: An EKG.

Eli: No thank you. I've already had breakfast.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The People of Ironman Boulder

Ironman Boulder is now somehow less than three weeks away AND OH MY GOSH WHO IS IN CHARGE OF TIME AND WHY ARE THEY MESSING IT UP!?

You guys. THREE WEEKS.

Wasn't it just, like, yesterday that I was telling you all about how the Tahoe Ironman was cancelled and I never wanted to exercise again but that I signed up for a race that was nearly a whole year away because dreams and goals and all of that garbage? And you guys gave me all of that BS about "never give up on your passion" and "be your own hero" and all of that other nonsense that's easy to say when you're not the one who has to then exercise for the next year? Wasn't that YESTERDAY that that all happened?


I knew I should have made a paper chain counting down the days because then nobody could have pulled this fast one on me. I could have carefully tracked the time and when I suddenly realized that the Ironman was three weeks away I could have surveyed the paper chain and been like, "nope. I've only pulled one link off." And then they would see the chain and be all like, "we are so sorry. The Ironman is far away in the future. Not three weeks away. Your hair is the wind beneath Bette Midler's wings."

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Matthew Pants went to his home state of Mississippi (or, as he calls it, "Miss'ippi") to remodel his house there and sell it. He left Mr. Ollie Pants in my enthusiastic care. Mr. Pants and I have had our ups and downs this week.

Ups: Every moment in which we have gazed into one another's eyes in gentle longing affection.

Downs: 3:00 AM barking at nothing in particular on Wednesday night followed by two hours of dropping toys on my head.

Young Wade tried to take him from me one night so I could "sleep in peace." I acted like he was a social worker trying to take my baby from me. You guys. I love this animal too much.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
With Mr. Pants!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Disneyland Emails II

Last week I posted Disneyland Emails. I had sent emails to a few different places in the massive Disneyland network. The response I got from Aimee happened first, but I also got a response from another person. I wasn't going to post this because it didn't got on for very long, but then I thought that Michelle needed to be shared with the world.

To: Disneyland
From: June Snapple
Subject: My Special Fairy-Tale Wedding

Dear Disneyland,

I am looking to have a magical fairy-tale wedding, but due to some circumstances entirely outside of my control, it is necessary that I request a few special accommodations. With whom should I speak regarding these accommodations?

June Snapple
Flicks for Trix, Founder

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Well Look What the Stork Brought

My baby sister emitted human life from her womb on Thursday. This is her third child. I was ecstatic for little Lucy to come because:

A. Baby sister makes sassy adorable children and I want to keep one.

B. I want exactly 300,000 nieces because it is impossible to have enough nieces and if the sisters have enough babies maybe they won't notice when I keep one.

C. It is 100,000 degrees in Salt Lake City all the time always right now and baby sister should not have to be pregnant in such conditions.

D. All of the above.

And the answer is D. But I'll give credit if you chose A or B. Because mostly those ones.

I was getting confusing texts from Cathie for most of the day while I sat in my office, wondering when it would be "safe" for me to make my way to the hospital.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Did you guys hear that this weekend is The United States of God Bless America's birthday? Party hard, Strangers. Tami and I will be barbecuing if anyone wants to come over. She's in charge of the potato salad this year.

Also, my baby sister is emitting human life from her womb as we speak. Cathie keeps texting me things like "GET YOUR FANNY TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW AND SUPPORT YOUR SISTER AS SHE EXPERIENCES THE MIRACLE OF LIFE!" But I had to watch that movie in tenth grade health class so I'm shuffling papers in my office and pretending to be really busy until I get the "all clear" from Krishelle that the bad scifi scene is over. Then I will swoop in and steal that baby because it's my turn.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
With Mr. Pants on Father's Day

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Disneyland Emails

Did you guys know you can email Disneyland on pretty much any topic and they will respond to you right away?

To: Disneyland
From: June Snapple
Subject: Fairy-tale Wedding

Dear Disneyland,

I am very interested in the magical fairy-tale wedding you offer but due to circumstances entirely outside of my control, I must have some special accommodations. Who should I speak with about these accommodations? I've got a thousand dollars cash money and even more dreams!

June Snapple
PTA President, 2001 - Present

Monday, June 29, 2015

Eli's Swamp

I know this story is going to sound exaggerated but I swear to you it is not. You guys. I'm a mess. My life is a mess. The decisions I make? A mess. The ways in which I attempt to correct the messes I make? A mess.

This weekend I was exhausted. The Boulder Ironman is now somehow only a month away. Hashtag what the hell. Hashtag I don't deserve this I didn't do anything wrong. Hashtag dark magic.

Because it is somehow right around the corner AGAIN, I have been frantically trying to cram an entire year's worth of training into every single day because I am terrified. I shouldn't be as terrified as I am. I've been training extremely hard. But as you may have gathered if you've read Stranger before, Ironman and I have sort of a rocky history and I'm not really convinced that it isn't intentionally trying to kill me.

So, because of the above-mentioned, I got up every day last week before most of you even went to bed three days before (don't think about that too hard or I'll lose all credibility and then I'll have literally nothing). I woke up early for excessively long training runs or swims or bike rides and by the time the weekend hit, I was no longer a normal functioning adult human. And that's probably how the below happened.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Musical Cars and Meth Labs

At any given time there are eleventy cars in my driveway. This is mostly because at any given time Young Wade owns eleventy cars. I'm not kidding you about this. He has this hobby where he buys cars at auction, drives them for a hot minute, and then sells them.

I have no idea whether this is profitable or whether it is worth the hassle, but he seems to enjoy it. So much so that I get eleventy texts from him every single day with pictures of vehicles and a series of emoticons I have no idea how he accesses because nobody has ever shown me an emoticon manual and BACK IN MY DAY if you wanted to learn how to use something, you had to look at the manual.

Nowadays, everything is just intuitive for the kids. You go buy a phone or an i-thingy or a mac-a-something and there are absolutely no instructions on how to use it. The kids just pick it up and immediately know how to navigate the universe on their touch screen. WHILE DRIVING.

When I was a kid we found out that the library computers had this unbelievable technology where you could tap on the computer screen to navigate the book selections. So we, the children of the '90s, BEGGED our respective Bobs and Cathies to take us. This was only a few years after my entire family gathered around an answering machine one evening, excitedly, to watch Bob nervously record the outgoing message. Then we called Aunt Diana and asked her to call us back to see if it worked and when it did we JUMPED up and down and screamed.

Monday, June 22, 2015


My friend and I were sitting in a bookstore a few hours ago watching a hipster play a violin (quite well, I might add). He interrupted his own music every once in a while to give a very long explanation about how we are all "connected" and something about "use things, love people, and don't mix those up."

This was clearly an event for a crowd I only vacation in occasionally, usually wishing that I could find a way to stay longer. Just like real vacations. And, just like in real vacations, my quick glimpses into hippie-ville are interrupted by these things called REALITY. And RESPONSIBILITY. And sometimes LAZY. 

The hipster went on for while until he was interrupted by the extremely dramatic entrance of a man quoting poetry in his loudest voice and from the back of the room. He sauntered in, yelling words that nobody was listening to because none of us were quite sure whether someone else had called security already or whether nobody had called security because everyone had assumed that someone else had. 

This is why I always call 911 when Glee comes on TV. I never want us to fall in that "someone else is probably taking care of this" trap.

Things I've Heard the Plumber Say from the Other Room So Far this Morning

"Hahahahahahahahaha. Well THAT was unexpected."

"There's one thing I know for sure and that's that you can't beat the price of bread!"

"It wouldn't be a big deal if Mary would just stop feeding everything that walks up to the house."

"I could have been an artist, you know! A real artist!"

"Of course the whole country went to pot when ol' what's-his-name took over. Thanks Obama."

[Lots of drill sounds] "The only difference between me and the dentist is that I don't give you a toothbrush at the end. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

"Maybe if washing machines came with a garbage disposal we wouldn't even need kitchen sinks anymore."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Rebecca has been out of my life for two weeks now and I'M NOT PLEASED. I haven't heard much from her. But last weekend she called me at some probably illegal hour, because that's the only time she ever calls me, and left a very long and confusing voicemail in which I heard such phrases as "flood!" and "excessive water damage!" and "my hair is very pretty!" and "and don't you dare say this is a girl who cried wolf situation!"

I waited 48 hours to text her, asking if she was ok. She responded that whatever the crisis was, she got it all worked out and not to worry.

You guys. Why did it take me this many years to figure out the trick to avoiding Rebecca's disasters?

But gosh I miss her.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
"Bad Influence"

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mega Drought

Dispatch: 911. What's your emergency?

Eli: Ok. So real quick--I'm not sure that this is an emergency.

Dispatch: Eli. Seriously? Again?

Eli: There is water BILLOWING down the street. BILLOWING.

Dispatch: And what is your concern?

Eli: Well, maybe you haven't heard about the MEGA DROUGHT!?

Dispatch: So you are worried that water is being wasted?

Eli: Yes.

Dispatch: And you called 911 over this?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jurassic World: Is America Getting Dumber?

You guys.

I saw Jurassic World this weekend. And oh my gosh. YOU GUYS.


Seriously. Are we getting dumber? Is America getting dumber?!

I know the entire Internets are already full of people complaining about things and tearing apart whatever you love. And I know that I don't need to be yet another one of those voices of hate. But I'm going to be right this minute. Because I sat through all 247 hours of Jurassic World this weekend AND THIS IS MY ONLY OUTLET OK?!

I would warn you that this post is going to be a spoiler for the movie. But I don't think it actually is a spoiler. Because a movie has to have a plot in order for one to spoil it. And Jurassic World HAS NO PLOT.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Last night I returned home from work to find Young Wade curled up in the fetal position on the couch, clammy, and possibly moments from death. He looked like someone with Typhoid fever on the pioneer trail and I wondered for a moment whether we were going to have to leave him behind.

Eli: Have you done anything today?

Wade: Siiiiiiiiick.

Eli: Laaaaaaazy.

I hope the Department of Child and Family Services doesn't take him away from me.

And now, your Pictures and Distractions:
I made a cheesecake from scratch for Young Wade's birthday. And it was the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ms. Painter

The year was 1993. It was a warm Spring day. I was in Ms. Painter's 3rd grade class. Torie Thomas and I were both required to sit at the front of the classroom because, as was noted on our report cards, "behavioral issues."

I was easily influenced by Torie's too-cool-for-school reputation. She had a leather jacket. Her voice was slightly raspy, in the "I beat up kids on the playground" kind of way. My homemade MC Hammer Pants (hashtag Cathie) and practice of wandering the playground talking to myself were no match for Torie's rebellious popularity.

But she chose me. For some reason, she chose me as her class ally. Her partner in crime. Her number two. Her sidekick. I was the Grover Dill to her Scut Farkus. And I was in no position to turn down this relationship.

Torie had started a game with me earlier in the school year wherein we would each take a turn making a beeping sound with our voices during reading time. Each beeping sound had to be louder than the last. The first person to get in trouble by the teacher would lose the game. On more than one occasion, we were both sent to the principal's office.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wake-Up Call

Mr. Ollie Pants stayed at my house this weekend. This was a wonderful thing. Mr. Pants hasn't slept over for many weeks and I have had major withdrawals. Like a heroin addict who suddenly has to quit cold turkey because he ends up in the slammer.


As usual, I scooped Mr. Pants into my loving arms and the two of us fell into one another's souls, forgetting that anyone on Earth existed besides us. We spent the next two hours exactly like this:

Photo shamelessly stolen from Matt.