Monday, October 30, 2017

It's A Classic!

When I was in high school I read nearly zero books and I've been feeling guilty about this for mumble mumble cough years. So guilty that if I knew where my diploma was I would probably send it back with an apology note and some homemade pumpkin bread because Cathie didn't raise me in the wild.

My ability to fake preparedness has been both one of my greatest assets and one of my biggest hindrances. What this meant was that when Mrs. Voorhees was like "what did The Scarlet Letter teach you about humanity" I could be all like "in a way, isn't the fact that the literary letter was scarlet so symbolic of every inadequacy felt by man in a literal sense?" and Mrs. Voorhees would be all like "A! PLUS!" but then when I got into the real world and someone was like "name one character from The Scarlet Letter or you'll die" I just had to die.

So it's not good that I didn't read books.

There were some exceptions to this. I read To Kill A Mockingbird, and have since reread it a number of times because I believe that if I love it enough, Atticus Finch will have to appear in my life and grant me three wishes. The nearly-perfect Atticus Finch. Not the racist one. And if you don't know what I'm talking about DO NOT FREAKING READ GO SET A WATCHMAN.

You have been warned.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I have a work thing this week in Chicago, or as Bob and Cathie like to call it "DON'T GET MURDERED." I'm staying with my childhood best friend Sam. He's an orthodontist and apparently they get up at negative elventy o' clock in the morning for work because he was long gone by the time I rolled out of bed.

I realized that I had totally forgotten to pack my computer charger and underwear when I got out of the shower and tried to get dressed and quickly finish drafting something that needed to be filed in court today. And so, totally unfamiliar with the city and desperately wanting not to get murdered because then Bob and Cathie would be all like "SEE WE TOLD YOU" and that would be super annoying, I ventured out onto the streets.

Thirty minutes later I found a store that sold both a universal charger AND underwear.

Checkout Woman: 9:00 AM and you out buyin' underwear and chargers.

Eli: And I found both in the same store! It's a Halloween miracle!

Checkout Woman: We have fresh-baked goods, too, if you're looking for breakfast.

Eli: Shut up. You had me at hello.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Personal Assistant: Apply Now

One of the reasons you shouldn't be friends with me is I will turn you into my personal assistant.

Look. It's not like the job doesn't pay. It pays exceptionally well.

Not money. No. It doesn't pay money. But what it pays is much more valuable than money.

Take, for instance, yesterday when Matt texted me 17 pictures of a bleeding mole on his back and asked me if I thought it might be "stage 7" cancer.

A normal person would have ignored these texts. Or at least educated him on how many stages there are. And then blocked his number before he sends more close-up shots of his least appealing body parts.

Not me. Matt is on my staff and so he is entitled to his salary.

So I texted him back and fed his fears. Because that's what he wants. Not someone to talk him off the ledge. But someone to ask him when his appointment is with the dermatologist and then tell him that next Monday is probably too late. Then I forwarded all of the pictures to Skylar without any context.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Escape Room

Jolyn's birthday is next week so we decided to have a birthday thing for her. Skylar found what the kids are calling an Escape Room and signed up 8 of us basically without asking.

Do you guys know what an escape room is? Ever done one?

What it is is this place on the bad side of town, down an alley, up on the third floor of a half-abandoned office building. You feel like you are going to an appointment with your pediatrician in 1991. It even smelled like an appointment with my pediatrician. Interpret that as you will.

Then a guy with a Metallica shirt and black eye makeup comes out and tells you in a monotone voice that he's going to lock you in a room and you have 60 minutes to find four keys and the combination to get back out of the place. Just like my pediatrician.

Also, ours was Halloween themed or something so our room was pitch dark and he told us he had cameras in there and if he saw anyone pull out a phone for light we would be "punished" and considering that we were on the bad end of town I absolutely read a lot into the word choice and so resisted the urge to pull my phone out for the entirety of the time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


I have this monthly ritual with G-Mac. I go pick her up and drive her to my parents' house where we have dinner and gossip about all of the latest dating scandals at her assisted-living center. Then I drive her back home and walk her to her door, arm-in-arm. On more than one occasion she has yelled out to geriatrics we've passed in the hallway, "have you met my new booooooyfriend?" And she says "boyfriend" holding out all of the Os just like I typed out.

Sunday was a G-Mac dinner day, which meant that it was something of a "perfect storm" Sunday because once a month Bob and Cathie have all seven of their grandchildren over for dinner as well and this month the G-Mac Sunday happened to coincide with the grandchildren Sunday.

By the end of the night my anxiety had a headache. Yes, you read that correctly.

G-Mac and I both took turns saying the safe word ("GETMEOUTOFHERE!") and then promptly got up and left before she could build enough of a case for elder abuse.

When we got in the car and started to pull away, she told me "children are wonderful. But usually from a distance."


Sunday, October 15, 2017

The World of Spooks

For a long time I have thought about how TV shows from our childhood (I'm assuming every single one of you is exactly my age) are so different than what the kids are watching now.

I think our shows were typically better. I mean, obviously they produced such specimens as every single one of us. You guys. TV raised me. When Bob and Cathie were busy making prank calls to the Home Shopping Network (true), Mr. Rogers was there to teach me how crayons were made.

(Bob and Cathie are my heroes for the above and more)

But do you guys remember how occasionally there would be the "special" episode that was about some real-life problem that was totally traumatizing to watch?

Those episodes stuck with me. To this day I have moments where I think that I had a friend once who stopped eating and then fainted on a treadmill at the gym and then I'm like "oh wait. That was D.J. Tanner from Full House."

Well, there's one show in particular that had a super traumatic episode about refrigerators and a little while ago I decided that I wanted to do a full Strangerville segment on this topic and specifically try to find out how impactful this and other similar examples from 80s and 90s programming was/is on our generation.

I finally did so, with several awesome contributions from you (most of them unwitting SO SUE ME), and I am thrilled to present it to you today in this Halloween episode of Strangerville. It is one of my favorite things I've ever put together (rethinks whole life) and I hope you will enjoy it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I woke up this morning to an angry email from Brianne demanding to know "why the hell" I hadn't shared with you all the story of our annual date, which happened yesterday. Brianne and I go on a very important date every October, date selected weeks in advance, wherein we walk the ten minutes to Starbucks, arm-in-arm, and purchase pumpkin-flavored treats.

We dress up for this event. It's our favorite thing that happens all year. It is the most important thing we have going on in our lives. And I failed to mention it anywhere on the Internet. So I hereby do so in hopes that I do not end up dead by the end of the day.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Autumn in Utah.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Candy From Strangers

I got home from work around 5:30 and it was nice out so Duncan and I went for our evening walk. We like to go to the college campus near our house because there's plenty of room to run off leash there and because Duncan is something of a celebrity among the college students.

Usually the place is pretty quiet during our evening walks. But for some reason it was Grand Central Station tonight.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Worst Movie Ever Made

So last night Anna, Emily, Skylar, and I decided that since it was one of the final "good" weekends of the year in Salt Lake City, we would take advantage of the weather. 

I'm not kidding you about my town right now. It is unbelievably gorgeous. Not to get all basic white girl on you, but I love me some Autumn. I'm like totes pumpkin spice lol rofl leggings warm fire hot cocoa about it and I like totes pumpkin spice don't care.

But this year is extra beautiful. I think it's because we had such a wet winter season last year and that led to a greener spring and summer, which means a more colorful fall. 

Check it out. This is from my run up Emigration Canyon with some friends.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Tonight Lynne called me to see if I wanted to walk over to a city council debate between a few of the candidates in our area. I wasn't home so I told her she would have to go without me and then let me know after what she thought. I also asked if she knew whether one candidate in particular was still in the race and told her that this candidate was an attorney with whom I was somewhat familiar.

An hour later Lynne texted me and said "I just talked to the candidate--you know, your friend--and I told her that we're neighbors and then I gushed all about you and I felt like such a mover and shaker because I never know ANYONE in this town but there I was rubbing shoulders with the who's who!"

Note: This candidate doesn't actually know me. We're not friends.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Celestial Being to Brighten Your Day

Last week I stopped by Adam's house largely because of the celestial being who lives there.

I'm not talking about Teddy, who is still to this day one of the cutest animals that God or whoever is in charge of cute animals has deigned to allow on this Earth.

Did I tell you guys about how when I met Teddy and he was only a few weeks old that I fell to the floor and legit cried as he licked my face and peed on me?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Lantern Festival

About a month ago my neighbor, Lynne, texted me and asked whether I wanted to go to something called "lantern festival" with her. I said yes because the event was a few months away and I always commit to things when they are a few months away because I just assume I'll be dead by then. This is why I have gone camping 14 times in my life.

It's apparently a Chinese thing. I will not pretend to be enlightened or cultured. We were just a couple of very white people driving out into the desert because they were lighting crap on fire and we were bored and we may as well have been wearing Native American headdresses over Japanese Geisha robes for how much HASHTAG cultural appropriation was going on.

That last sentence is exactly how I plan to explain to my future children how I got married one day.

Skylar came with us, too, buying a ticket at exactly the last possible moment. He drove while Lynne and I gossiped about our entire neighborhood, speaking in hushed voices as though people might hear us.

When we arrived it was cold and windy and there were thousands of people who had already been camping out on the gravel field for the whole day.