November, 2008

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Trick or Turkey

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

It’s still Thanksgiving in Kansas City. It’s not too late for a video!

It’s over 6 minutes long, but I’m not apologizing. Like you have anything else to do, anyway. Watch it, because it’s probably my finest creation to date…

Who let the dogs out?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

I did. Or at least one. I let the dog out.

While the Handy Graham is in Pennsylvania with his family for Thanksgiving, some of us Nashville stragglers are splitting dog-duty. It seems that this boy cannot turn away a stray, and last week, he found a delightful little red mutt that we are all still trying to name. Any ideas?

This morning, after I dropped off Julie at the airport at 5:30am, I headed to take care of the Dog That I Call Jasper For Now. And after he scarfed down his food, I sat on the kitchen floor and he crawled into my lap and we snuggled for an hour. I was saying things like “Who’s a good boy? Who? Yes you are. YES YOU ARE!” It was great, and terribly animal-nerdy (which is a Parsons’ trait). Then I put him in the backyard, and headed home to get ready for work.

Tonight, my friend Josh is dropping me at the airport, and I’ll fly to Kansas City to be with my family for the holiday weekend. Apparently, Micah (5) is learning to set the table, and Tyler (3) cannot stop talking about pie. It’s going to be a good Thanksgiving.

This year, I’m thankful for my Nash-life. I’m thankful for the friends who have surrounded me here – for being my airport rides and my running buddies and my emotional contacts, making the fuzzy things clear. I’m thankful for the friends who live far away, and yet still find ways to love me and encourage me across the miles. I’m thankful for a job that pays my bills. I’m thankful for a church that feeds my soul. I’m thankful for my trusty steed of a Honda that hasn’t broken down in over a year. I’m thankful for Whole Foods Market, and the fact that they’re serving free samples of stuffing and mashed potatoes all week. I’m thankful that despite that fact, I still fit into my black pants (booyah!). I’m thankful for musicians so much better than me. I’m thankful for magical blog moments, like happened yesterday. I’m thankful for the opportunity to pursue the things that I want to pursue. I’m thankful for a coffee pot with brew-pause, so I can pour myself a cup before the pot is full. I’m thankful for the cooler weather (sweet Mother of Pearl, am I ever thankful). I’m thankful for the chance to spend the morning snuggling with a sweet dog. I’m thankful for family members who, despite our idiosyncrasies and freakish moments, totally love each other. I’m thankful that the idea of spending the holiday with my family is a welcome, warm-fuzzy thought. I’m thankful for grace, because Lord knows that I need it.

And I’m thankful that this list could go on and on. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Dear Annie Parsons

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Dear Annie,

Last night, your mom sent me the sweetest email. She told me that you are 13, and found my blog when you Googled your own name. I think it’s so cool that you have continued to read my posts, and that from hundreds of miles away, we are connected. It’s like I have a friend that I never knew about. If my friends Paul Zimmerman-Clayton or Elliott Eicheldinger were to Google their names, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t find blog friends. So you and I are lucky.

First off, you have the greatest name. My parents thought about naming me Molly, but Molly Parsons sounded too much like Dolly Parton, so they went with Annie. My real name is Anne, but I’ve never been an “Anne.” In fact, I’ve decided that if I ever get married, I’m going to drop my middle name and officially change my name to Annie Parsons [Something] – that way, I can forever be called “Annie P” or “AP,” two very frequent nicknames that I’ve grown fond of.

And if I never get married, I might do it anyway: legally change my first name to “Annie.” And then maybe add some awesome name to the end, like Annie Parsons Fox or something. Or maybe I’ll just change my name to Octavia?

So, not knowing anything about you aside from the fact that you’re named Annie Parsons and you’re 13 and you read my blog, I’m wondering what it is that I could say to you — or to any other 13-year old who might happen across this post. I don’t claim to know much about this world or this life, but if I could go back and talk to myself at 13, this is what I would say.

Learn to use chopsticks. Somewhere, someday, you’ll be glad that you know how.

Read a lot of books. Books are amazing, and there are way too many good ones to ever read them all. I recommend A Little Princess and The Secret Garden and A Wrinkle In Time.

People will tell you that there’s no such thing as magic, but they’re wrong. Keep your eyes peeled for beauty. Don’t let anyone steal your imagination.

Sometimes it can be hard to be nice to the people that we love the most, but be nice to your family. Love them. If you have siblings, they can be your best friends. So can your mom. So can your dad. I didn’t realize this until after I moved away from home at 18, but I wish I had learned it sooner.

Whatever it is that you love — whether it’s piano or art or softball or ballet or whatever — keep doing it. Practice a lot. You have this window of time to learn and grow and improve, and you’ll be so thankful someday that you took the time to stretch yourself.

Try not to gossip. It might not win you popularity points, but it will win you friendship points, which are so much better.

It’s fine if you haven’t kissed a boy yet. It’s TOTALLY fine. I didn’t know that at 13 — and as I watched my friends get kissed, one by one, I started to feel like I was an ugly snail, the one that no one ever wanted. And trust me, it took me a long time to get kissed. Like, a lot more years past age 13. But then it happened, and it was great, and it didn’t matter how old I was.

And finally, things totally get better. I don’t know, Annie — you might be the most popular girl in your class, and feel confident and beautiful and completely awesome. But at 13, I sure didn’t. I felt awkward and clumsy and never knew what to say or how to be “cool.” I wanted people to like me (and yeah, of course I still do). But once I got to college, I realized that most people were starting to discover that they’d much rather hang out with those who are interesting, and kind, and uniquely themselves.

So if you’re feeling super lame today, don’t. Just keep being exactly who you are. It’s a good thing — I know it.

Love,
Annie

R is for Rest

Monday, November 24th, 2008

This weekend, I was overwhelmed with a wave of… I don’t know. Shame? Guilt? Regret? I was knocked off my feet a few days ago, and since then, it’s been a deluge of memories and hauntings and disappointments.

I don’t know why I was created the way that I was – wired to both express and share, even at the risk of rejection or judgment. A few people who are close to me have recently suggested that maybe I should be different. Maybe I shouldn’t share so much. Maybe I should present a different picture to those around me. Maybe I should keep a lid on the truth.

But I just don’t know how.

Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with trying to make people like me, to be something good, to convince others that I’m someone worth knowing – whether it be through acting a certain way, or looking a certain way, or doing something noteworthy, or being associated with All Things Awesome. We all want to be liked, right? But ultimately, it comes back to the fact that I just am who I am. It didn’t change when I moved 2,500 miles away. And no amount of finagling or maneuvering or tweaking of the Annie Parsons Package is going to change who I am – who I was created to be.

The people that I like the most are at rest with who they are. Contented, humble spirits. Quiet, unassuming souls who love easily. I want to be one of those people.

So. Stomping down insecurity. Being exactly who I am, and trusting that “Annie” is the best thing I could possibly be. Humbling myself. Praying for the grace to stand in truth, acceptance, and hope. And knowing that my ability to love others will be a direct overflow of the love and care lavished on me by a God who is always faithful. He’s ready and waiting to transform my heart, heal the things that I’m afraid are beyond healing, and give me rest.

Ode to the boy who works at Whole Foods Market

Friday, November 21st, 2008

I’m in the grocery store of dreams
No less than once a week
To sample cheese and hummus dips
And try to sneak a peek
At you, the tall and scruffy boy
Who works the checkout lines;
You scan the produce and the bread
But sadly, not the wine
(For Tennessee is far too strict
Regarding grocery sales:
No wine or liquor on the shelves,
But only Pumpkin Ales).
You’re cute and quiet, have good shoes,
And always wear a smile,
I wait in your line even if
It’s backed up for a mile.

The end.

Broseph

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Internet, have you met my brother Jeremy?

One half of The Parsons Photographers (along with his super-fly wife Ashley – or Ashlug, as we call her, since initiation into the Parsons family includes receiving a name that sounds like a flesh wound), dad to the Sparking Wonder Boys Micah and Tyler, recent half-marathon runner, awesome musician, lover of “Arrested Development” and “Flight of the Conchords,” creator of Photoshop majesties like this:

Here’s the thing (okay, “the things”) about Jeremy. He’s 2 ½ years older than me, and when we were little, living in San Jose, CA, we shared a room. He had the top bunk, I had the bottom. One night, he tied a string around his ankle and dangled the end down to my bed; “If you get scared in the middle of the night, just pull on this and I’ll wake up,” he said.

He was always so much nicer than me. I recall biting him one time. And shoving my sister Becca up against a wall. And locking baby Sarah in the minivan in the summer heat. I was slammed doors, screamed threats, dramatic tears, rolled eyes. He was kind words, genuine laughs, rides to school even when I made him 20 minutes late, shuffling out to the truck in a blaze of hormonal glory. As we’ve grown into adults (at least – I have), he has been the phone call when my heart has been smashed by another boy, or the YouTube video link when I need to laugh, or the guitar player when I couldn’t do it myself.

He is unflappable – so laid back, he’s horizontal – and tirelessly committed to his wife and boys.

He’s also a kickass photographer.

Jeremy is currently traveling the Southwest in a “party like a rock star” tour bus along with 11 other professional photographers as a part of the Mammoth Men. You should check out their antics, and their amazing photos.

Here are Jeremy’s images from the trip. I’m blown away. And lucky to have such an amazing big brother.

Something’s gotta give

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What was WITH me yesterday?

Maybe you could tell from the blog, maybe not – but I seriously lost my mind for a few hours in the afternoon. Upon further introspection, I blame it on the fact that my life is completely out of balance.

I spend 8-9 hours each day in complete solitude at a desk. Those of you who have come to visit me at work know that I’m not joking – it is dead silent. No one – no, seriously, no one – is around; everyone else works back behind a heavy glass door, and I rarely see a soul. As a strong introvert, I’m probably able to handle this kind of isolation better than most. But… I while away the hours over-analyzing the lack of purpose in my life, and exploring the vacuous far-reaches of the internet – which, by the way, I’m pretty sure that I found the outer limits. I have now seen the entire World Wide Web.

Then, when the whistle blows, I leave work and rush off to a variety of social engagements, throwing myself into “extroversion” mode, and staying out way too late most nights.

It’s like jumping from a hot tub into a snow bank, rolling around, and then jumping back in: TOTALLY PAINFUL. Extremes are not good – and currently, I feel like a pendulum swinging back and forth, back and forth. It’s clear to me that something needs to change.

It would be awesome to have a real job. One with a salary and benefits. One in which I’m contributing to something. One that I like. One in which I am saying more than “Thank you for calling…” and “One moment, please.” One that utilizes my gifts – because I have them! I do have gifts.

Not to knock the temp job, because as far as temp jobs go, this one is pretty sweet. But ultimately, it’s not a good thing for a girl’s main goal each day to be “post a blog.”

Who wants to hire me?

No, for real. The search is on. Let us pray.

Snapshots

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

UPDATE:
Mom just emailed and said that I sound “edgy” today. I feel edgy.
But not in a mean-spirited, “ding-dong, flaming sack of dog crap on your doorstep” kind of way.

More of an “I’m about to drink an entire bottle of wine and go blow all my rent money at Anthropologie, so help me God” kind of way.

Interventions (or bottles of Syrah) accepted.

– – – – – – – –

In recent conversations about dating, I have said to several people, “I’ve dated boys. I’m kind of in the market for a man.”

Last night, a friend said, “Define ‘man.’” And then I kicked him in the face. Because I don’t know what I mean by “man.”

– – – – – – – –

I want to be with someone who I’m crazy about, who is crazy about me.
I want to be with someone who is interesting, who is interested in me.
I love crushes, and I hate them.
But I’m glad to know that I am capable of having one.

– – – – – – – –

If my life ever flashes before my eyes, I hope that one of the highlighted memories will be the moment I turned my Honda east on I-90, leaving Seattle for the unknown, equal parts terrified and liberated and devastated and thrilled, having no idea that that feeling would remain with me for the next 14-months and counting.

– – – – – – – –

On the elevator…
Me: Don’t you hate awkward elevator interactions?
Him:

– – – – – – – –

I am convinced that one of the Top 3 Things About Heaven is going to be the fact that I will not have to count calories.

– – – – – – – –

Here is what I would like today:
– To leave work early
– To crawl into my bed and stay warm
– To take an Excedrin Back & Body capsule
– To have someone pet my head
– To take a nap that lasts 15 hours

Q is for Quotidian

Monday, November 17th, 2008

This morning, I am in a quagmire. I made a quick video on Saturday, but am questioning the decision to share it. The thought of broadcasting my quirks – my quaint qualities within a quadrangle – makes me queasy. I quiver, quaver, and quake at the quandary I am in. Perhaps I should have quelled my quips and remained quiet.

But I am on an alphabetic quest. And I can’t quit now.

Rather than quashing my efforts, I will set aside my qualms, avoid quibbling, and fulfill this week’s installment of the A-Z quota. So queue up, and behold the quixotic glory of a quintessential quotidian weekend in the life of this queen.

Thus quoth Annie Parsons.


Quotidian Saturday from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

I THOUGHT I smelled rodent…

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

I share a front stoop with my next-door neighbor. As I approached my front door today after running errands, she and 2 men were hauling in a gigantic plywood-and-wire cage, approximately 6’x4’x3′.

Me: “What is that?”

Her: “This is a cage for my flying squirrel.”

Ladies and gentlemen, without even trying, I have found the first candidate for my squirrel club.