January, 2009

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Claiming my heritage

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Today, I’m wearing all black. My high heels are caked with mud from my front yard. I feel significantly un-cute. I’m in a bad place financially – but this is no one’s fault but mine. I haven’t gotten enough sleep. I’ve made some really terrible decisions. I’ve slacked on my running schedule this week, and over-achieved at consuming calories. I forgot to take an allergy pill this morning. My to-do list feels overwhelming, and my brain feels like a wimpy, deflated balloon.

I am in jeopardy.

I am so tired.

And when I get tired, my mind starts playing tricks on me. It starts trying to convince me that I am a total loser, and that everything is falling apart. And everything just MIGHT be falling apart – but I am not a loser. Even when I act like one. I’m not.

I’m a child of the King. So I refuse to act like an orphan.

My ideal world (in iambic heptameter)

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

If everything were up to me, I tell you what I’d do:
I’d always have a good hair day and never have the flu.
I’d sleep in ’til whenever and I’d stay up ’til it’s late,
My bank account would overflow and then I’d celebrate.
I’d eat whate’er I wanted and I’d never gain a pound,
And since red wine would not stain teeth I’d never have to frown.
My temp job of a year would not turn out to be a tease,
The boss man would not tell me that they’re in a hiring freeze.
My family and my friends alike would live in the same place,
We’d see each other often but we’d still maintain our space.
I’d find a boy who loves me who would lift my heavy bags,
But I don’t want a man that I can tranquilize and tag;
For I am strong and I am not afraid to take a chance,
But I don’t want to be the one who has to wear the pants.
Some coffee in the morning, conversation late at night,
And in between, I’d write and write and write and write and write.
I’d grow in truth and knowledge as I walked from year to year,
The love of God would feed my faith and starve away my fear.
The sun would shine when I was glad and hide when I was glum,
And everyone would know that without ME it’s just AWESO.

All the good things

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Every morning at work, I park the old Honda in a garage, and then walk down 3 flights of stairs, across a little driveway, between some dumpsters, and then let myself in the back door by the loading dock using my key card. It’s not glamorous – especially when someone consistently leaves his or her fast-food trash in the stairwell.

This happens frequently – I will find a Wendy’s bag and a jumbo cup sitting in the middle of a stair. Just sitting. It almost looks like someone left it there for later, except… ewww. Apparently there is no janitorial service in the stairwells of the parking garage, because the same Wendy’s bag will sit there for days, and days, and days – hundreds of business people stepping over it every hour.

Last night after work, I saw the same trash I had seen in the morning. Except now, there was a Post-It note on the cup that said, “Whoever the slob is that left this, pick it up and throw it away.”

This morning, it’s still there.

I don’t know whether to be annoyed at the slob, or at the passive-aggressive note-leaver. Currently, I am equal parts both.

- – - – - – - -

This morning, I received an email from a friend. My inbox view gives me a little preview line of the message, and this is what the preview read:

“Oh yeah, I decided you should be a columnist for a music magazine. You already have a killer body”

I did a triple-take.

And then I opened up the actual message, and finished the sentence: “… of work.” Dang it.

- – - – - – - -

I ran 7 miles on Sunday. I’m having lunch with this Annie today. Jeremy and Ashley come tomorrow. Sarah gets married on Saturday. Megan’s playing the Bluebird on Sunday. I’m recording with Josh next week. Greta just bought a ticket to come in 2 ½ weeks (squeeeeeeeee!!). I have my favorite plan ever for Valentine’s Day. I love my friends. I love my roommates. My car keeps starting. My coffee pot percolates every morning. I had delicious soup last night. I bought new fuchsia sheets for $12 at Target. In the midst of a lot of uncertainty, I am choosing to be grateful for all the good things – and there are many.

I just looked back on the entry I wrote one year ago today, when I had finished my 4 month road-trip, was less than a month into my life in Nashville, didn’t really know anyone here, and had just returned from a weekend visit to Seattle. And I am happy to say that, even through the hard times and anxiety and fear, yes, it’s good.

Z is for Zimmerman-Clayton

Monday, January 26th, 2009

This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The triumphant, final alphabetic entry of Z – “zed” if you’re Canadian, or “izzard” if you’re Old English. And I know what you’ve been thinking: “Annie will probably talk about zebras. Or zest. Or zero.” But those are all too easy.

So then I started looking at unusual words that start with Z, and found some fantastic new terms:
zizz – a brief nap (only the Brits would call a nap a “zizz”)
zaftig – pleasantly plump (I’m looking forward to the day when “zaftig” is en vogue)
zonelet – a little zone (of course! how cute!)
zyzzyva – a South American weevil (this one will make me the Scrabble champion of all time)

But then it dawned on me: I have this friend. His name is Paul Zimmerman-Clayton. And he is worth blogging about.

Because there was this one time when our internet freakishly disappeared, and I, not knowing the difference between a modem and a router and a toaster, crumpled into a heap on the floor. “It’s hopeless!” I wailed. “We will never have internet again!”

Paul told me to pull myself together, and led me into the den where the modem and router reside. He told me the science behind them – or at least which lights should be flashing – and then quickly figured out that we had simply plugged them into an outlet that was wired to a light switch. Someone had turned off the light; our internet had no power source. He flipped the switch, and once again, peace, order, harmony, and blogging were restored to our household.

I was Clark Griswold, Paul was Ellen.

On Saturday, he found out that I had never really listened to the Counting Crows – because when they became famous, I was 12 years old and still obsessed with Amy Grant. And I’m still obsessed with Amy Grant. But yesterday, he presented me with my very own copy of “August and Everything After” to love and cherish – and I’m already well on my way. How have I missed out on them all these years?

When I recently found myself in a situation I didn’t want to be in, I asked Paul if he thought I could tell an outright lie to get out of it. He said that he could not endorse lying. I don’t know why. But he was right, and I listened to him.

He plays a lot of Tetris, which is weird. And he likes Robert Frost, which I don’t understand. But he’s studying for the GRE, and tells me about new words that he learns, which makes me want to take the GRE just as a (very expensive) vocab quiz. And he shares my incredibly nerdy love of solfege. And he’s a part of Running Club. And he’s one of my favorite people.

And it’s a good thing that his last name is Zimmerman-Clayton, because if it wasn’t, today you would have learned a lot about zalambdodonts.

Finally Friday

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Holy Mother of Pearl – do you have any idea how happy all of your delurking made me? It was like the clouds opened up and God showered me with Sweet Tarts ALL DAY LONG! Reading your messages made me grin out loud, if there is such a thing – and I know there is, since I did it. I learned of people that I had no idea existed, and heard from people that I knew existed but had no idea were frequent readers.

Thank you for reading this little blog. No, I’m serious. Thank you. Your sweet words throughout the years have been life to my soul, and your companionship, even just through this crazy internet contraption, has been such an encouragement. Plus – so many of you have great blogs yourself! I’m subscribing to all sorts of new ones after your delurking yesterday.

I made cookies last night, and I came up with a brilliant idea. You know how Crisco has started packaging their shortening in little blocks wrapped in paper, for easy measuring? Gone are the days of trying to level 1 cup of Crisco in a measuring cup, which only ever winds up giving you a lardy hand.

(Sidenote:
If I ever form a band, maybe we’ll call ourselves Lardy Hand?

The Lardy Hand Band?

No?)

So here’s my idea: what Crisco has done with shortening… someone needs to do that with peanut butter. Because it’s always the same dilemma. HOW is one supposed to gracefully and easily measure peanut butter without making a huge mess? I want my peanut butter in stick form!

You heard it here first.

Tonight, I am driving to Chattanooga to take part in a Special Edition Running Club. Tomorrow morning, we’ll run along the river, and then Josh’s mom Deb is making us breakfast. Free food has always been the way to my heart, and yes, I will drive 133 miles to get it.

The last time I was in Chattanooga was in September for a wedding. I drove down by myself, and stopped at the Wal-Mart to get a card to go with my gift. And walking out of the store, in front of God and rednecks and everyone, my wrap dress came unwrapped. Just fell open, right there in the parking lot. Let’s hope for better luck this time.

And finally, based on my life every single morning, something I would like to share.

Travel Mug
- a little poem by Annie Parsons
Once
just once
I would like to discover
a travel mug that
does
not
leak

All over my lap
All over my life

Leaving behind
the evidence of
my addiction

and exposing me
as the sloven
I am.

DeLurking Day… late

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

In my hours upon hours of exploring the hinterlands of the World Wide Web, I recently made a grave realization: I missed a very important day. A day celebrated by bloggers worldwide. A day which changes lives, reveals secrets, and promotes honesty… that is, for those who remembered it.

10 days ago, I missed DeLurking Day.



See? Someone even took the time to make a little graphic. Of a man with a frightening grin opening his trenchcoat to flash the world.

Well, Internet, that is what I would like for you to do for me. Flash away.

Tell me who you are! Tell me a little about yourself! For just this one day, delurk – then you can slip back into your shrouded anonymity, I promise. Even if I already know you, say hi. And if you’re going to try to pretend like you don’t read this blog and just walk away quietly, don’t fool yourself: I watch StatCounter like a hawk. I know you’re here.

To get the ball rolling, I’ll ask you a question: what is your favorite hoofed creature? Mine is the horse, followed closely by Mr. Tumnus.

Okay, and if that one didn’t satisfy, here’s another question option: do you have any recurring dreams? I do. As of late, I have been dreaming of three things: dogs, running, and vampires. All three things braid together in the strangest ways.

Fine, one more: if you could be any pop star for one glittering, spangled performance, who would it be? Whitney Houston, without a doubt. And I would be singing “I Have Nothing,” complete with the key change.

If you hate all of those questions and would rather tell me something random, like how many wild goats you think you could take in a fight, or your favorite flavor of syrup, or why you’re choosing to not delurk (haHA, I caught you!), by all means… Maybe I will choose my favorite comment and send a prize pack. When I get my next paycheck.

Happy delurking. I may be late, but at least I’m fashionably so.

Out of the slumpy stagnation

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Some days, it’s easy to get stuck in the doldrums of life: wake up, brush teeth, go to work, email, lunch, email, home, run, shower, sleep. Rinse and repeat. That’s why last night it came as such a welcome surprise to be offered a ticket to the live show “Dancing With the Stars” – because anything out of the ordinary is exciting, especially when it involves sequins and a severely faux-hawked Lance Bass.

So yes, that is what I did last night. Andy Merrick and I sat in his company suite, and I had a free can of Michelob Ultra from the fridge, and we swung back and forth between conversation about life and conversation about the mambo. At one point, Toni Braxton sang “Un-break My Heart,” and I was informed that it was the second biggest selling single by a female of all time – right behind, as I guessed and then confirmed this morning online, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. I’m only making a point of writing down this tidbit of information so that someday when I’m the real-life Slumdog Millionaire, I’ll remember back to this blog entry and know the answer.

But today, I am back to the slow and sapping work of being a temp-receptionist.

Sometimes, I think that my spiritual gift must be “discontentment” – it comes alarmingly naturally to me. There is always something more that I… want. Like purpose, or clout, or foxiness, or insurance, or a salary – because as much as I try to deny it, LORD HAVE MERCY, I am tempted by money.

But not today. I’m stomping that American-consumer-culture-devil down. And therefore, I now bring you “Things that AP is thankful for today”:

- A new president
- The return of “Lost” tonight
- Fingernail clippers
- Canned corn
- Windshield wipers
- My family (um, these are totally not in order – I do not value canned corn more than my family)
- Curbside recycle service
- Nordstrom’s generous return policy
- Debbie Barnett’s cooking
- Indoor plumbing
- Legs that I can run on
- Friends who write me long emails and real letters
- Aretha Franklin’s hat
- Edward Cullen
- The fact that vampires do not really exist (it’s the little things, these days, that I must cling to)

Salvation never tasted so good

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Ever since I moved to Nashville a year ago, I’ve been an active attendee of a fantastic little church called City Church of East Nashville. When people ask me why I go there, I always think of two reasons: we sing the Doxology at the end of every service, and the communion bread is the bomb. Of course, there are many other REAL reasons that I love City Church – community, compelling preaching, a mission with integrity, simple and authentic worship – but the Doxology and the communion bread are my joke answers. Although… sometimes, I think they actually might be legitimate motives.

Because guys, seriously, this communion bread is unlike any other bread I’ve ever had in my life. Someone from the church makes it every week, and I swear that somewhere in the recipe is listed “crack.” Dense and delicious, I kind of wish I could make my turkey sandwiches with it. Every week, I try to focus on the SACRAMENT of it all, but – sue me – there is a tiny (sacrilegious, sinful) part of me that is really excited for the taste.

Like this past Sunday.

At City Church, we take communion by intinction – that is, we walk up to the front, tear a piece of bread off of the loaf, and dip it into the wine before eating it. So there I was, my turn, tearing off a piece of Holy Freaking Delicious Bread that also happens to be the Body of Our Lord, and I realized that I had accidentally torn off a really big chunk. But – too late now, my fingers have already touched it. I HAVE to eat it.

I dipped it in the wine. I said a quick prayer. And then, I opened my mouth so wide that I practically dislocated my jaw, shoved in the bread, and walked back to my seat.

It wasn’t until I sat back down that I realized what a predicament I was in. This hunk of bread was so gigantic that I couldn’t chew it without OPENING MY MOUTH, open shut, open shut, chomp chomp chomp. I was crunching on the bread, making audible chewing noises, and when I leaned over to tell Cara what had happened, all that came out was a crumbly mumble, my words masked by the mass of bread bigger than my tongue.

I missed the closing song. I was still chewing.

Y is for Yes

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Did I think I had to go to work today?
Was I pleasantly surprised to learn that I didn’t?
Am I hooked on “Twilight”?
When I read it, do I tell my roommates that I’m “vamping it up”?
Could I live on pizza and wine?
Did I run 6 miles yesterday morning?
Did I want to quit at mile 5?
But did I keep going?
Am I going to run even further next week?
Is my hair growing at warp-speed?
Did I buy a jumper from Wal-Mart for $3?
Am I without a career ambition?
Are my toes and fingers always cold?
Do I need a new car battery?
Do I need a new computer battery?
Am I going to live without both for a while?
Have I made my peace with my baby blue bathroom walls?
Am I wrestling with some really big questions about God and prayer?
Is my blog getting a face-lift soon?
Is there a great new fake news site out there?
At 26-years old, is my favorite question still, “Who do you have a crush on?”

A smörgåsbord of wisdom from a co-worker

Friday, January 16th, 2009

“It is so freezing today.”

“Can you do anything to change that?”

“No.”

“Then don’t worry about it.”

- – - – - – - -

“We have a gas furnace in our new house. Is it better to have electric heat, or gas?”

“Do you have a choice?”

“No.”

“Then don’t worry about it.”

- – - – - – - -

“I have to get an oil change, and a new headlight, and my computer fixed, and new tabs for my car, and refill my prescription, and buy more insurance, and pay SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS to get my bridesmaid dress altered.”

“Can you do without any of those things?”

“No.”

“Then don’t worry about it.”