August, 2007

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A duo

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

For those of you who have not had the pleasure, allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite friends, the delectable Ms. Miranda Drost.

Miranda and I have been on a simultaneous long-time quest to become the “Coolest Women Alive.” We are continually congratulating each other on our moves of bad-assery, from excellent haircuts to simply telling it like it is. She is the only person I know who walks as fast as I do – a 6 mile lap around Lake Union? An hour and twenty minutes, tops. Many a time, she has come to my rescue when I have been drowning in tears and red wine. We are each other’s cheering squad, fan club, and “cooler than a boyfriend” companion. She makes strong Mojitos (my hero), drives a Mazda 3 (double-hero), and has bitch-slapped a lecher at the Matador (cue the confetti). I recommended my financial advisor to her, and in turn, she convinced me that a bikini wax was worth a try. What are friends for, anyway?

Miranda once asked me, “Between the two of us, who would be Oprah, and who would be Gayle?” I answered immediately: “I would be Gayle. You are definitely Oprah.” Miranda has always struck me as the go-getter, the hot verbal genius slaying all the men, the charismatic wise one who belongs in the spotlight; I am content to be the trusty sidekick. So you can imagine my surprise when she responded, “NO! YOU would be Oprah – I’m just the tag-along friend.”

What? Are you serious? I have never thought of myself as a star, and if given the opportunity, will always choose to be the flower against the wall as opposed to the girl center stage. For crying out loud, why else would I want to be a backup singer?

But you know, in the dazzling unremarkable film “The Holiday,” Iris says, “You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life.” And in a way, I think she’s right – we are only given our own lives, and our own selves. This is it. This is what I have been given, and this is what I have. I should wholeheartedly pursue the passions of my heart, and open my eyes to the everyday gifts that surround me… without comparing myself to others, and without hiding behind insecurity. I, as Annie, am not perfect… but I do have good things to offer. And I’m always going to be a better “me” than anyone else.

But Miranda would still be Oprah. :)

Bookworming

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

What better way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon than to wander aimlessly through a Barnes & Noble? When I walk into a bookstore, my heart and my spirit soar to lofty heights: Words! In books! About anything! Organized by category! And usually there’s a peanut butter cookie somewhere nearby, too.

Today, as I perused through the stacks and volumes of various titles, I came across some winners. A quick sampling of my favorites:


An amazing collection of poignant patterns, including the ever-popular “Bite me,” appropriate as a kiss-off to the ex-boyfriend, or a throw-pillow for newlyweds.

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The perfect coffee table book for all the NRA members out there.

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It never ceases to amaze me how huge the Romance section is. And Lindsay Armstrong seems to be particularly gifted – I can totally see how this book would appeal to women nationwide. It’s just so relevant.

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That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: Winnie from The Wonder Years is now an author. My favorite thing about this book involves the captions on the front: “How to survive middle school math,” “Fractions, decimals, percents, and more,” and “Do you still have a crush on him?”

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I cannot look at this without thinking of this.

When it was all said and done, I left the store with one small purchase: The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays. Laugh if you will, but I plan to spend the evening devouring it.

The end of ignorance

Friday, August 24th, 2007

I recently purchased a small wedge of Parmesan Reggiano cheese from Trader Joe’s – just enough to put a little taste onto my salads. And then eat the rest by the crumbly handfuls.

Last night, I looked at the ingredients on this particular variety of cheese, and they were quite simple: part skimmed raw milk, cheese cultures, salt, animal rennet.

Rennet? thought I. What on earth could that be?

A little internet action later, and I learned the truth:
rennet: curdled milk from the stomach of an unweaned calf

I… I’m sorry, come again?

Yes. CURDLED MILK FROM THE STOMACH OF AN UNWEANED CALF. This is so much worse than the day that I learned that the addictive taste of Dr. Pepper came from prune juice. My world has been shattered. I have absolutely no desire to know how one would go about actually procuring, um, rennet. I am thoroughly horrified.

But sadly, not enough to stop me from consuming it like a ravenous wolverine. That loves cheese.

Coming up rosey

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

On my kitchen counter sits a Mason jar. In this jar you will currently find the bridal bouquet from a wedding that I recently attended; how I wound up with the bouquet is beyond me. If there is anything at a wedding that I hate more than the unity candle, it is the bouquet toss – at first mention of it, you will find me switching my ring to my left hand and walking toward the bar for another glass of wine, face aloof and firmly unsociable. Nevertheless, last weekend I found myself getting out of my car and walking toward my house at 2am with a gorgeous bunch of flowers in hand. The girl who actually caught the bouquet must have forgotten them in my freshly bumper-stickered vehicle.

Not that I’m complaining. The flowers are quite lovely, actually. Multi-colored roses that could only have been genetically engineered, they are complicated shades of pink, orange, and purple. And when is a girl going to refuse roses? The same day that Ann Coulter joins the Dixie Chicks, that’s when.

But seeing these roses in their contrived existence reminded me of a late-night talk show that I recently caught featuring supermodel Heidi Klum. She told Jay Leno that a botanist in her homeland of Germany had recently designed a rose specifically for her; never mind that she has yet to plant it in her California yard – those pesky border patrol laws keep the Heidi Klum Rose imprisoned in Deutschland.

Eventually curiosity got the best of me, and I looked up the Heidi Klum blossom. I mean, what does a flower patented exclusively for a supermodel look like? It would have to be glorious, magnificent, divine, right? I found that it was small, and purple, and kind of bushy. Apparently, its real selling point is the fragrance, an “overpowering scent” according to some. But really, the best quote regarding the Klum bloom came from the fashionista herself: “I hope all fans of gardening like the Heidi Klum Rose so that it will still bloom when my personal flowering time is over.”

Well, my pretties, when MY “personal flowering time” is over, there will not be an Annie Parsons Petunia to carry on my grand legacy of winsome appeal. My image may not be perfect. I might not inspire men to write sonnets or carve sculptures or paint masterpieces or compose ballads or engineer roses. No, there will never be a Hootenannie blossom to carry on my memory.

But hot damn, will there ever be LEGENDS.

A sticky situation

Monday, August 20th, 2007

Several nights ago, I dropped in on a local brewery. A friend (who will remain nameless to assure the preservation of his job) was working the nightshift, and invited me over to the east side for a free beer. After a 10pm tour of the facility, a quick nose-around in the gift shop, and a couple of pints, I came across a brewery bumper sticker.

You see where this is leading.

The next morning, I walked out to find “FRESH BEER” slapped across the bumper of my car. I don’t know what possessed me to think that this might be a good idea, as I have never put a bumper sticker of ANY sort on my 1990 Honda. Because apparently it’s too classy of a vehicle?

But alas, what’s done is done. Maybe I should just allow my car to be “that car.” My friend Kristen thinks it would be a great idea for all of my friends to bestow bumper stickers upon me before I leave on The Big Trip, and pioneering the effort, has offered one that says, “Watch out: I have PMS and a hand gun.” I now welcome any and all stickers – hopefully ones that will counteract the trashy start I’m off to. Although I’m not sure that “posh” and “bumper sticker” can co-exist in the same sentence.

It starts with bumper stickers. But before you know it, I could own a pair of jeans with P-H-A-T emblazoned across the ass.

Changes looming

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Perhaps it is this murky, rainy weather. Maybe the fact that I am wearing a black turtleneck in August. Possibly the reality that Katie Freeze wrote me a deliciously morose song to record for my demo on Thursday. Whatever the reason, it is beginning to feel a bit autumnal – and am I ever glad.

In recent years, I have learned to embrace the summer. I no longer hide underneath layers of clothing, terrified of blinding people with my pale skin. I have come to understand the joy of barbeques, sunshine, and my bold freckles; everyone in Seattle is cheerful and buoyant in the summer months. I get it. The warmth and the outdoor activities are a welcome change from the grey gloom of winter.

But on the day in late July when the boots are once again for sale at Nordstrom, deep down inside, I rejoice. Blame it on my naturally somber disposition, but I love the cozy melancholy of the darker months.

Three weeks from tomorrow, I embark on The Big Trip, which means that in three weeks, it will be The Fall. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. After seven years in this amazing city that I have come to call “home,” The Fall is three short weeks away… meaning that in three weeks, I will be a wanderer. I have experienced the odd sensation of “running in place” for about the past month or so; there is nothing that I need to do to prepare for my departure, aside from simply exist and pass the time doing what I always do: wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, spend time with friends, go to rehearsal, walk at least 6-miles, and of course, now, go to hot yoga.

Life feels suspiciously normal. And yet, potentially life-altering changes are afoot. Simultaneously, I feel a thrill at the possibilities, and an anxiety at the reality of what I’ve chosen to do. Which… is kind of a cool place to dwell. But uncomfortable.

Currently, I am grateful for today, a day that points toward the changing season. I need all the preparation I can get. After all, I am a J.

Utopia

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Perhaps it is futile to aspire toward perfection. Nevertheless…

In a perfect world:
* Coffee and red wine would not stain teeth.
* Gas would cost 10 cents/gallon.
* Jobs would last 10 hours/week, and we would always leave fulfilled.
* Bad haircuts would grow out in one day.
* The black Macbook would not show fingerprints.
* Checking accounts would always stay at a respectable balance.
* I would verbalize every compliment that struck me.
* Everyone would travel and experience the rest of the world.
* That fuzzy, happy, “in crush” feeling would be my permanent state of existence.
* There would be no line at the DOL.
* Everyone I love would live in the same place, and we would play Scrabble and go camping and laugh every night.
* I would always know the right words to say.
* Vegetables would come pre-chopped.
* There would be no such thing as embarrassment, or fear, or insecurity.
* We would get hugs like this every day.

Most insightful interview ever

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

I could put this on repeat play and watch it a thousand times. (Thanks, little sister B-Bec-a-Roo!)


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This one’s for you, Mary…

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

There was once a time that I thought of myself as strong. But I have met my match, in the form of the new agey, sizzling activity known as HOT YOGA.

I am a 5’8″ cardio addict and gym rat. Walking, running, elliptical training, hiking, biking, kick boxing… you name it, I love it. When it comes to aerboic activity, I am confident and gung-ho. However, something has been missing from my workout routine – a little something known as “strength training.”

After having it recommended to me subsequently by my friends Mary, Matt, and Blake, I decided to give hot yoga a shot this afternoon. In case you haven’t heard of it, hot yoga is yoga (all those freaky bendy poses) in a 105 degree, 40% humidity, swelter-chamber. Never having done any yoga before, let alone hot yoga, it would be baptismal by sweat for me. Luckily, I was feeling adventurous, and so I showed up in my shorts and tank top, ready to take on anything.

And I was put through 90-minutes of absolute slogging.

Let me let you in on a little secret about Annie: I like to be in control AT ALL TIMES. I prefer situations for which I can plan ahead, dress appropriately, look cute the whole time, not draw any undesired attention to myself, and always, always succeed. But today, hot yoga shattered that calm, composed version of myself. I did not know that my body could sweat so much; I was unaware that eyelids and ear lobes and ankles and fingers were capable of perspiration. My body was twisted and stretched into bizarre contortions, worked over until every limb was shaking – nay, trembling – from fatigue. My ass has never been so kicked.

And just like that, I am hooked.

Ironically, the reason that I loved the experience so much? The mirrors. For a girl with pretty significant body image issues, I would have thought that an hour and a half of watching myself bend and shake and stretch and grimace – in short, confront my physical limitations – would be just about as appealing as having toothpicks shoved underneath my toenails. But I was shocked and amazed to discover that the opposite was true. Yes, at times I felt weak and inadequate – but simultaneously, I felt strong and amazed at what my body is capable of. Beneath the lacquer of sweat, I watched my muscles in action.

And wonder of wonders, I never once criticized the image in the mirror.

And that is reason enough to return.

Those cryptic First Nations

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Seen today at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC, a caption beneath a carved figure:

The age and use of this carved stone image is unknown. Even its subject is ambiguous: is it a woman holding her child or a man holding his phallus? Or is it both?