February, 2011

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Waterfalls and bloody rat murder

Monday, February 28th, 2011

I’m in Haiti, and have so many things to say, I don’t know what to tell you first.

At the Miami airport, I witnessed a woman in a full-length denim jumpsuit with a zipper from the crotch to the throat.

I suppose that’s a good place to start.

- – - – - – - -

My sister Sarah speaks Haitian Creole.  I knew that she had learned the language since she moved here, but it’s a different thing to actually hear her interact with Haitians.  She is so capable, at one point, she explained in Creole to a man named Altime what I do for a living – which I can barely explain to people in English.

Then, in English, she asked Altime, “How are you?”

And he proudly answered, “I am 36-years old.”

- – - – - – - -

We heard about a group of people going to a waterfall, so we decided to join them.  We rode in a “canter,” which is basically a small U-Haul with benches in the back, and about 30 of us crowded into the closed box.  The 90-minute drive up the mountain on the pot-holed road was among the most uncomfortable things I have ever survived.  At one point, sweaty and clammy and jostled and car-sick, desperate for a perspective-shift, I thought, “At least it’s not the Holocaust.”

Yeah, Annie.  At least.

But we arrived at the waterfall, and climbed to the top, and then waded back down, one slick rock at a time.  It was beautiful and lush, and the cold water felt good on our dirty feet.

- – - – - – - -

I met Pierre, Sarah’s precious little friend.  His eyes tick-tock back and forth like a Kewpie doll, and he makes sounds like E.T., and then he looks at Sarah and smiles like this:

He is around 2 1/2, they think, and was abandoned by his mother back in September.  Sarah and her roommate Diana took him in until they were able to place him at the Hope House, an orphanage operated by Mission of Hope.  He has something similar to muscular dystrophy, so his limbs are contracted, and the cyst on his brain means that his cognition will never be much beyond what it is right now.

But that smile…

It is impossible to not fall in love with him.

- – - – - – - -

On Saturday night, as I slept peacefully, Sarah and Diana killed a rat in the bedroom.  It involved a PVC pipe and splattering blood.  I never heard a thing.  What champions.

- – - – - – - -

I left a personal storm behind in the States, and while it feels strange to be away during this time, I am thankful for the distance and perspective.  I am also thankful for you, your kind words, and your sweet friendship.

Tonight

Friday, February 25th, 2011

I am leaving for Haiti tonight – on the heels of the saddest week of my life.

The situation involves more people than just myself, so I won’t say much.  But this is something that began all the way back here – and now, over 8 months later, my heart is torn down the middle like a paper valentine.

I will be boarding the plane tonight a hollow shell.  I could not have planned that the timing of this trip would coincide with the events of the past few days.  I am raw and fragile and physically shaking, and easy as blowing on a dandelion, I come apart.

But I have been shown such kindness in the last few days – from friends and co-workers and even a few strangers.  Thank you for purchasing my songs, and as of today, fully funding my trip to Haiti.  Thank you for your emails and phone calls to tell me that I’m cared about.  Thank you for taking responsibilities off of my plate so I could focus on the crisis at hand.

And as inconsequential as it may seem, thank you for reading these words today.  It would have felt dishonest to not share the state of my heart as I leave – and it’s a really big deal to be able to share a little sliver of one’s struggles, even if just through writing.

Despite all I have lost this week, I am blessed.  I really am.  Next time you hear from me, I’ll be at Mission of Hope, blogging with a Haitian accent.

Talk about my booty on the internet?

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Don’t mind if I do.

And in case you think I’m a fraud because I’ve said I’m not training anymore, I ran 5 miles on the treadmill last night, and 7 outside on Saturday.  So, see?  I’m still doing my thang (although last year at this time, I was running 12 miles, so YES I KNOWWWW).

East Nasty really is something special.  If you live in Nashville and are a runner – or have any interest in becoming a runner – these are some of the greatest folks you could ever meet and run with.  They meet on Wednesday nights at 6pm on the corner of 11th & Holly in East Nashville – I think you should go.  Tell them Booty Girl sent you.

The final countdown

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The week is here!

I leave for Haiti on Friday night (taking the red-eye, which surely sounds more romantic than it actually is), and will be in Port au Prince by 9am on Saturday morning.

I can’t wait to hug my sister, and probably some other people, too.  Who knows, I might be a hugging machine, extemporaneously throwing my arms around strangers.  Hey, I’ve heard that Haitians are joyful – I might as well drag myself out of my usual sour funk and join in.

This is the last week that my three latest recordings will be available for download, so if you want to help support my trip, now is the time.  Thanks to those of you who have been so generous with your support – I am so encouraged by you.

Tom Hanks as Animals

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Do you know about this site?

Please tell me you know about this site.

2 Timothy 1:7

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Sometimes, when life feels uncertain and I feel crazy, it’s good to remember that I have not been given a spirit of fear, but the power of love and a sound mind.

Mid-week update

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

I’m still alive.  I’m here.  But I have been a blogging failure lately.  Let me see if I can catch you up a little bit.

After writing songs in Nashville all weekend, I began my Valentine’s Day by walking into the Nashville office and surprising my co-workers.  “It’s a Valentine’s miracle!” said Emily, because she is the cutest.

I flew back to Denver to find all of the ice and snow melted.  After several weeks of sub-zero temperatures, I’ve welcomed the 60 degree weather like I would a visit from… something… warm… and sunny.

I am suddenly overwhelmed at all that the next few months will hold.  Between now and the end of April, you might find me in Denver, Haiti, Southern California, Montrose, Boston, Kansas City, or Nashville.  My goal to *stay put* in 2011 hasn’t really been coming true.

I am still looking for a car.

Last night, I made mango chicken curry that really didn’t taste good at all.  I’m not too proud to admit utter and complete failure.  The chicken was overcooked and the onions were undercooked, and I accidentally flung couscous all over the kitchen floor (“accidentally” being superfluous, since who ever means to fling couscous?).

This weekend will be a hunting and gathering mission – just call me Sacagawea (unnecessary? Probably).  I’m getting ready for my trip to Haiti, and leave a week from Friday.  Since there is no Haitian mail system in place, we can’t mail anything to Sarah – so I am filling her list of “wants,” including blueberry muffin mix and hot chocolate and toiletries.

Work has been keeping me busy, and when the whistle blows, the last thing I want to do is spend more time online.  So naturally, I’m behind on personal emails and blogging and such.  If anything exciting happens, I promise I’ll write about it – but if I don’t, it’s safe to assume that I’m just plugging along, living quietly, trusting Frederick Buechner’s words that “all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

Game plan

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

On this little blog, I don’t really talk in specifics about my dating life (do I have a dating life? You’ll never know). In the event that any given romantic endeavor doesn’t work out, I can handle my own disappointment – but the collective devastation of us all? That would just be too much.

I actually approach a lot of things like this. Unless something is a “done deal,” I don’t really volunteer much information about it. I have a secret project right now that will be blogged about at some point, but not yet. I have some upcoming plans that you’ll hear about, but not until they are fleshed out a bit more. I have some big ideas and dreams and such, but right now, they’re just that: ideas and dreams and such. Blame it on the fear of everything coming crashing down, but for now, my lips are sealed.

So with that said, maybe it’s a risky thing of me to talk about something that is by no means a “done deal.” But tomorrow, I have an appointment to go look at a car – one that, from the ad, looks like it very well might be “the one.”

And I have no idea how to buy a car.

And my dad is out of the country.

And I’m afraid of making the wrong decision.

Mike already pointed me toward a very helpful video of Cliff Huxtable and his game plan for negotiation. I plan on showing up looking one step above homeless, and talking about the moment that I realized I was poor (when I started eating the heel of the bread). But beyond that, I’m nervous that I’ll overlook the important things.

So, blog readers, tell me. What is a Carfax? What are the important questions to ask? What repairs should be red alerts? And when all else fails, is “going with my gut” as good a plan as I’ve typically found it to be?*

*Except for that time when I spent $400 on a date at a date auction.  But I don’t talk about dating here.

“Point your hand over there”

Monday, February 7th, 2011

As inspired by this man…

… we’ve been working on our dance moves:

Double Dream Girls from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

The best moments are at 2:05 (“point your hand over there!”), 2:42 (“butterfly!”), 2:47 (“freestyle!”), and 2:52 (Becca’s amazing punch).

On colors

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Discussing the fact that blue is my least-favorite color…

Him: “I don’t care what you say.  Blue is awesome, perfect for songs.  It’s the only shade of color that on one side of the spectrum represents extreme happiness (blue skies), and the other, deep pain (having the blues, midnight blue).”

Me: “What about yellow.  Sunshine, and jaundice.”