Saturday, December 28, 2019


Every year when I write my year-end post I try to think about what made the last twelve months "good." There certainly have been years in which that task was harder than others; but even then, I can usually think of a reason the year was valuable. I learned something and became a stronger person, for example.

I'm proud of those times, of course. We become the best versions of ourselves because of storms, not naps. But I have to say it really was wonderful that in 2019 I got to just breathe a little. I kept myself busy, yes. I got stressed from work from time-to-time. But this really was just such a lovely year for me. I'm sorry if it wasn't for you. I know how that is, and I don't mean to brag now.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Top Ten Posts of 2019

I started this tradition a few years ago and I've enjoyed taking the walk down memory lane so I always look forward to it now. These are the top ten most trafficked Stranger posts from 2019. Thanks for making this year so fun, thoughtful, and a little strange with me.

Duncan thanks you, too.

10. Neck Pillow

It was one of the worst flights I've ever had. I was seated next to a couple that was, well, very interested in reading.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

I Don't Understand.

Years ago I told you that I was well into my twenties before it occurred to me that eggs were not a dairy product. I know that seems obvious, but I had just never really thought about it. The eggs were next to the milk and butter at the grocery store so they were grouped together in my mind.

One day in college I was listing dairy products to a roommate for some reason (BYU was wild) and I included eggs in that list. This prompted months of mocking in my house. My roommates would regularly hold up a piece of bread, for example, and say things like "Eli, would you like some fish?" And then they'd all laugh hysterically to themselves.

The point is we were all single and no one wondered why.

That was probably 12 years ago. Sometimes I get into this habit of thinking, now that I'm in my mid-thirties, I probably know most basic things. Like, there's probably not going to be another "eggs aren't dairy???" mix-up at this point in my life.

But then this morning Skylar said something about his shirt being made of polyester and it suddenly occurred to me I have no idea what the hell polyester is. Does it come from animals? Is it made from the same material that gives us plastic? What actually is plastic? Is polyester found in nature or did we make it in a lab.

I have no. idea.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Space Jesus

Today I published an article on The Beehive called "Space Jesus." I decided I wanted to write a humor piece on Temple Square (and Salt Lake City in general) around Christmas. But when I set out to write it it just didn't come out as a humor piece, and instead came out as a reflection on what it feels/looks like to have a complicated relationship with religion (for whatever reason).

It's the most sincere and heartfelt thing I've written in a long time and it's really important to me. I'd love to have you go read it. You can find the article here. And I would really love to hear your thoughts on the topic, whether or not you feel you can relate specifically.

"Space Jesus"

There I stood; swayed, really. I was eight years old, in an ascending line curving up a long ramp into a domed rotunda. My parents insisted we stop by and say hello to the eleven-foot statue up top.

“We came all the way out here for the lights,” I remember my mother saying. “We might as well go inside.”

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Banana Bread

I work at a pretty big law firm (for Utah). There are nearly 200 attorneys spread out over several different offices, plus lots of staff. What this means is there are a lot of people at my firm I don't know.

The vast majority of the people who work for my firm are quite Mormon, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't worry from time-to-time that being a big fat homo wasn't going to cause some drama at work at some point. Fortunately I made some exceptional friends very early on who have been terrific allies in waiting--promising me that if ever I was mistreated, heads would roll.

I've never had to put that to the test because people have been just lovely. There are a few exceptions to that, but none involving anyone whose opinion matters to me.

I have friends in the legal community who will, from time to time, ask me how uncomfortable it is for me, a big fat homo, to work at what is known to be a very conservative and religious firm. They are often surprised when I tell them how pleasant it is--how much I love and admire the people I work with.

No, I don't respect everyone in my firm, but that would be true in any office of this size. In fact, I think it's possible that I'm treated better at my quite Mormon firm than I would be at some place much less so, if for no other reason because the people I work with are aware of the outside perception so they are extra careful to make me feel welcome and loved.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Have you ever let yourself quit something?

We're leaving for Palau in a few weeks and that is feeling very surreal to me.

I've started trying to make plans for some activities while we're there. Snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, etc. 

Palau is known for its scuba diving. People come from all over the world to dive there. I've heard from divers that it is considered by a lot of people to be the best place in the world to dive.

I got scuba certified a few weeks after I moved to Palau in 2012. It was a no-brainer. Almost immediately after arriving in the country I was pushed to get certified so I could start going on weekend diving trips.

And I went. I went diving at least a couple times a month. We saw some impressive stuff. I can see why people love doing it.

But, y'all. 

I'm going to whisper this next part to you so you know I'm treating this like a possibly controversial confession: I don't love scuba diving.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Meltdown City

I told you that knitting has become an anxiety coping mechanism for me but recently it turned into THE MOST STRESSFUL THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE.

I guess I thought I was the world's greatest knitter. Unstoppable. No pattern too complicated. That's why I didn't even bother looking at this one pattern before purchasing it to verify whether it was within my skill set.

I downloaded the five or so pages, a little surprised that it was five or so pages because most patterns for scarves are only like two pages and most of page one is just giant pictures of some woman's kids modeling the finished product in front of a barn.

But then I got it home and pulled it out and this is what it looked like:

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Hi I just took Duncan outside and he didn't want to walk in the snow so he just stood on the patio for five minutes so I walked into the snow to show him it was ok and I pretended to go potty in the yard in hopes this would encourage him to do the same and it did not work and he just stood there and watched me and in the process I stepped in dog poop because it snowed before I could get out and clean up the month-worth of dog poop back there so now it's all buried in snow in places I can't see MERRY CHRISTMAS.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Snuggle times with Mr. Pants

Monday, December 2, 2019

Our Snowy Graveyard

Last week we went to Vancouver Washington for Thanksgiving. Skylar grew up there and all of his family still lives in Vancouver or across the river in Portland so the whole place has become sort of a second home for me over the past several years.

I don't know what possessed us to decide we should try to drive this time. We did this for Christmas in 2017 and the drive from Portland to Salt Lake City through a 300-square-mile blizzard on un-plowed roads was so terrifying that ever since I've been about 25% convinced we may have died and we've just been living a Sixth Sense unfinished business ghost situation. Which would really piss me off considering that I've been going to work and doing laundry for the last 2 years like some alive idiot.

I guess we mostly did it because we wanted to bring Duncan. We invited Matt and Ollie to come along, too, and so we just sort of thought it would be a lovely coming-of-age story about three friends and two dogs who drove across the country and learned some things about themselves along the way.

It all started to fall apart before it even began. Skylar bailed on us a few weeks before we left, deciding that since he was done with school several days before Matt or I could leave work, he would just fly one-way to Portland early to spend more time with his mother. I suggested he sell his umbilical cord to pay for his ticket and he thought that joke was very funny but didn't show it at all and instead glared at me and stomped out of the room and then later his mother told me the comment wasn't appreciated. The point is marriage is going extremely well.