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.