March, 2011

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iPhonetastic

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I’m kind of a late bloomer.  I was born 2 weeks after my due date.  I didn’t kiss a boy until it was shocking that I hadn’t kissed a boy.  I still don’t know any rap songs.

But this week, finally, years after everyone else, I got an iPhone.

And it’s the most amazing thing ever.

I fought it for so long, telling myself that I didn’t need the bells and whistles, that I could plan in advance and MapQuest directions and write them out on a a Post-It note, that I could text just as well on a Samsung.

But an opportunity came along, as opportunities are wont to do.  And I’m not too proud to admit when I’m wrong.

I was wrong.

But now?  I am so, so right.

I mean, look.  I can use Instagram to make my sad, empty apartment with an ugly air conditioning unit look so… charming and wistful.

I know – effortless evocation.  Aren’t you so jealous of how awesome and romantic my homeless life is?

[Once again, I make my case for a Sarcasm font.]

What will become of me?  I already tracking my calories, and Facebooking on the go, and playing (and winning) Scrabble.  What’s next, geocaching?

Let’s not get crazy.

Homeless FTW

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I didn’t know that moving my stuff into storage would cause so many questions.

Oh, you and your questions!

It’s really not a big secret – here’s the deal.  My lease is up at the end of March.  I’ve loved this apartment – truly, more than any other physical space I’ve ever occupied.  But parking is atrocious.  It’s expensive.  And given my bizarre neighbors, as well as a landlord who entered my apartment last week when I was out of town, turned on the oven, and left it on for the SIX DAYS until I returned, I don’t know.  It just seemed like the right time to go.

I thought about finding another place right away, but then I remembered that April is going to be crazy.  I’m driving 5 hours away for a dentist appointment.  I’m going to Boston to see Christina.  Julie’s getting married in Kansas City.  And I’ll be in Nashville for the week before the half-marathon (which I will walk, not run – no shame).  Why pay rent for a month that involves a lot of travel?

So, I moved my stuff into storage.

Totally annoying, I know.  It means that I will have to move twice.  That is the pits.

But then, I think of the money I will save.  And because I do enjoy a small cushion of sweet, sweet cash (that, according to my track record, will probably be spent on some random emergency before I even see it), it all feels strangely worth it.

I’ll figure out the next step, the next place, the next home when I get back to Denver in May.

Now we are all on the same page.  It happens to be blank.  But at least we’re here together.  [snuggle snuggle]

These are all of the things that happened this weekend

Monday, March 28th, 2011

It is Monday.  Again.

Monday is a difficult way to spend 1/7th of one’s life.

However, I’ll have you know that the weekend was a raging success.  I moved all of my earthly belongings out of my apartment and into a storage unit – mainly thanks to my mom (who packed my entire household while I worked on Friday), and my dad (who carried everything down 3 flights of stairs on Saturday).

I mean, what would I do without my parents?

Be stuck in this apartment forever until I die and am eaten by wild dogs, that’s what.

For the first time in my life, I rented a U-Haul.  It was 14′ long.  I drove it up and down I-25, and didn’t kill anyone in the process, so I deserve a medal or a certificate or a badge for my Brownie sash or something.

I sold my old car stereo on Craigslist – a dresser, too.  Who’s $100 richer?  [thumbs]  This girl.

When the move was over – and oh Lord, did it take all day – my dad asked me what I was going to do to celebrate.  I didn’t have to think twice: “Go on a walk take a shower shave my legs watch Netflix go to sleep.”  And that’s exactly what I did – asleep by 10pm – what a gift.

The Netflix I watched was “Winter’s Bone,” which, while not exactly feel-good and uplifting, was pretty incredible.  Also, it shows the actual gutting of an actual squirrel, so now I have yet another skill to serve me on the Oregon Trail.  Take THAT, Matt Whitman.

So, that was Saturday.  But SUNDAY?  Was incredible.

First things first, I had clean hair and shaved legs from the night before.  Hallelujah.  I went to church and drank two cups of really good coffee from the coffee table.  Hallelujah again.

After church, I came back to my now empty apartment, changed into comfy clothes, and drove (in Subaruthless) to Evergreen.  This is how happy I felt to be driving (in Subaruthless) to Evergreen:

(By the by, those front seat-covers?  Came with the vehicle and are totally heinous and I’m going to remove them.  JUST FOR THE RECORD.)

Anyhow, I drove to Evergreen to go hiking.  Hiking!  Which I haven’t done since October!  The pine needles… the blue sky… it was like kissing nature on the lips.  With tongue.

Afterwards, I drove straight to Karmen‘s house, where she served me green grapes and crackers with cheese.  Then we walked to a little stationery shop, and I spent $20 on some cards that I cannot wait to send.  Then we walked some more, and we talked about life and love and other enigmas, and I was reminded why I am so incredibly thankful for a friend like her.

Oh, and this whole time, I was wearing that same baseball cap.  Just so you can get a visual.

Eventually, I made my way to Target (girl’s gotta get her eyeliner and Wheat Thins), and then home.  I heated up leftovers, and thought about some new song ideas, and wound up eating some of the aforementioned Wheat Thins with goat cheese on top.

By that time, the sun was setting.  A phone call to someone I am fond of, and then time to go to sleep – in my apartment which, yes, I am still camping in until March 31st.  Hey, I paid my money – I’m going to eke out every last cent.  I am a total squatter – sleeping on the floor, the necessities in a suitcase or two, bottle of half-gone Pinot Grigio in the fridge.

Welcome to my life, y’all.  Pleasure to have you.

No rest for the weary

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I am having a hard time feeling like The Real Me right now, since The Real Me thrives on routine and nesting and eating the exact same thing for breakfast every morning.  But 2011 has offered no rest for the weary, and no predictability for your truly.

The past few months have been a rough go for The Real Me.

The Real Me likes walking 11 miles a night after work by herself.  The Real Me likes having all of her clothes hanging neatly in the closet.  The Real Me likes a balanced checkbook and a good night’s sleep.  The Real Me likes home-cooked meals.  The Real Me likes independence.  The Real Me likes quiet moments and clear skin and a big glass of water.  The Real Me likes to be home, wherever I have most recently dubbed it.

After weeks and weeks of travel, I am home today.  I am home tomorrow.

And then on Saturday, I am moving all of my stuff out of my home and into a storage unit, and becoming homeless – again.

It’s only for a season, and there are a lot of very good and valid reasons that I’m doing this.  It’s the right choice, and I have to remember that, like many of my seemingly manic decisions, I am, oddly enough, choosing it.

But The Real Me is just so damn tired, and hasn’t packed a thing, and will stay up all night tonight and tomorrow to pack my home away into boxes – boxes that I do not yet have.  The Real Me will cry and swear before it’s all over.  The Real Me will live uncomfortably, and pray that she doesn’t wither away in the midst of it all.

Brownies, dog poop, and grace

Friday, March 18th, 2011

These days, I am jolting from one crazy big thing to the next.  Many of these things are good, wonderful, amazing things.  I mean, I flew to Haiti for a week of snuggling babies and expanding my vision.  I wrote songs about Larabar and spent a weekend under the palm trees.  I bought a car that I adore and pretty much want to write a love song about.

Truly, my life is like a fresh pan of brownies.

With a little bit of dog poop in it.

“Oh, it’s just a tiny bit of dog poop,” you say.

Um.  I’m sorry.  But even just a little bit of dog poop in the brownies has a way of tainting the whole batch.

There is a lot of insanity going on behind the scenes in my personal life these days, and it’s starting to creep into every corner of my world.

Yesterday in the Denver airport, I had a complete emotional meltdown.  It was borderline obnoxious: there, in front of God and TSA and everyone, tears dripping from my chin, struggling with the feeling that I’m not good enough, that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not in control.

“But Annie, you’re not in control,” you say.

I knooowwwwwwww.  AND IT’S THE WORSTTTTTTT.  [gnashing teeth]

But I’m learning that grace is defined by necessity; it doesn’t mean a thing unless we need it.

And oh my stars, do I ever need it.

I am so thankful for the people in my life who are extending grace to me right now.  I know that I don’t deserve it.

But I suppose that’s the point.

Announcing…

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

It’s been a long time.

I’ve searched and searched.

I’ve been scammed.

I’ve been disappointed.

I’ve been tempted to give up all hope.

But yesterday, my dreams came true.

Because when it comes to a car hunt, you can’t just be ruthless.

Be Subaruthless.

My pretty friends

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

I have a few things to tell you about – not because anyone asked me to, but just because I think they’re awesome.

– – – – – – – –

First off, my dear friend Ginger (yes, the Ginger I met only at her own wedding) has a new website – gingerciminello.com – and it’s pretty amazing. She is embarking on what I believe is a true calling on her life – to speak to and write for teenage girls.

If you work in youth ministry, or know of a group that would benefit from a guest speaker, please keep her in mind. I can vouch for the fact that she is animated, hilarious, and wise, and that she lives her life in this truth-soaked kind of way.

Also, isn’t she pretty?

– – – – – – – –

Next. Let’s talk about being gluten-free. I am not. But some people are – and probably some of you are. My friend Nashville Miranda is.

Sad, right? WRONG. Apparently.

Because according to Miranda’s cooking blog, she’s been finding all sorts of ways to eat meals that are flavorful and beautiful and sans the gluten. I haven’t tested any of the recipes yet, mostly because life is whiplashing me around and I haven’t had any time at home to cook – this is probably why I am feeling disgusting these days, too – but Miranda is trustworthy and creative, and I plan on trying her method of spaghetti-squash-in-place-of-everything.

Also, isn’t she pretty?

– – – – – – – –

Finally, my friend Shelby Earl from my Seattle days has a new record out, and GOOD NIGHT, it is wonderful. Do you like Neko Case? Well then. Case closed. Get yourself a copy of “Burn the Boats.”

She has shows the next three days at South by Southwest, and will be in Nashville at the Basement next Tuesday night. And at the Basement, who will be singing harmonies, you ask? Oh. Just me.

You should come bask in her glow, because her voice is heaven and her songs tear you up inside – and because I will give you a hug.

Also, isn’t she pretty?

– – – – – – – –

Sheesh.  My friends are amazing.

The Ides of March

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Whatever it is, I’m bewaring it.

Holy môlé

Monday, March 14th, 2011

The LÄRABAR weekend has come and gone – and all I can say is that I want to go back to the land of palm trees and free samples.

It was amazing.  Basically the greatest ever.

Want to hear one of the (many) LÄRABAR songs we sang (many times)?  Here you go.

We spent the morning in the sunshine, right by the entrance to the convention center, welcoming 56,000 attendees with songs about LÄRABAR.  In the afternoon, we moved inside to the brand booth (one of 3,000), and in between sets, would run around like (free range) chickens with our (happy, healthy) heads cut off, eating as many natural food samples as we could.  Some were amazing, some just needed some gluten or meat or something.

Here were a few of my favorite finds:
Alexia: Spicy Sweet Potato Fries
Svelte: Cappuccino protein drink
Redwood Hill Farm: Smoked Goat Milk Cheddar Cheese

And of course, when it comes to LÄRABAR, I am a humongous fan of:
Blueberry Muffin
Cashew Cookie
Cherry Pie

The highlight of the weekend was singing LÄRABAR songs to Lara herself.  The other highlight was meeting David, the inventor of Cocoa Môlé (I am his biggest fan).  The other highlight was being within arm’s reach of Fabio. The other highlight was when Matt, suddenly possessed with the theme of “natural foods,” accidentally said that our return flight was routed through “Las Vegan.”

The LÄRABAR team was a dream to work with, and I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity (and the new friends).  This will go down as one of those big surprise gifts in my life – something I never could have planned, but am so glad that it happened.

Secret project: revealed

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

A few times, I’ve mentioned the fact that I’ve been working on a secret project.

And each time, I’ve thought, “I’ll tell everyone what I’m doing soon” – but it just hasn’t happened.  I’ve written about things like Zumba and ants and Tom Hanks as Animals instead – because I just couldn’t help it (and really, who could blame me?)

So months have gone by, working on this secret project, and now it’s happening TOMORROW, and I still haven’t even told you what it is.

Well.  Okay then.  It’s time.

Remember when I wrote a little song about LÄRABAR?  And they rewarded me by sending me bajillions of Cocoa Môlé?  Well.

It turns out that LÄRABAR is based in Denver.

And it turns out that they’re really, really nice people – and they like ME, too.

So they asked me if I could come up with some more songs about the brand, to which I replied, “Holy môlé” – and then a resounding yes.

Some fast and furious writing has taken place, and tomorrow, I’m flying to Southern California to perform these LÄRABAR songs at Natural Products Expo West.  Need proof?  Here’s the poster:

I know.  I KNOW.  It’s so fun.

Oh, and you might be wondering who this “Matt Whitman” is.  Well, in addition to being my co-writer for these songs (and they truly would not have gotten written without him), he’s a Louisiana redneck who shoots squirrels and cooks them in gumbo.  He’s also a farmer who knows how to grow vegetables.

All I’m saying is that when the world ends, I want him on my team – because when the LÄRABARs run out, this guy will keep people alive.

More to come…