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Thirty-onederful

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

I turned 31 on Sunday, and my sister Becca and brother-in-law Mike treated me to the best possible thing we could imagine: a live performance of Miranda Sings.

I’ve talked about Miranda Sings before, and her live show did not disappoint. She started the show as Colleen Ballinger but changed into Miranda right on stage – and people FREAKED OUT. It was brilliant, and seriously one of the best things ever. We didn’t catch the transformation on video, but someone in Atlanta did:

Anyway, that was my birthday. Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit how much I love Miranda Sings, but I’m in my 30s so I really don’t care what anyone thinks.

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When I was in Nashville, my friend Jen presented me with an envelope, and this was inside:

Jen MADE THIS. Can you even handle it? Toady and her 3 legs? I was so moved, and humbled to have such an amazingly talented, kind-hearted friend. The second this girl opens a web shop, you’ll be the first to know.

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I ran across this article yesterday, and I really liked it. I buck against discomfort all the time, but maybe being uncomfortable is not the worst thing in the world.

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I watched “The Bachelorette” in its entirety this season, and as of last night, it’s over. For all of the “drama” they hyped it to be, it was a total snooze-fest. No spoilers here, but I should have known it would end so boringly.

Sort of like this post is.

30. Thirty. 30!!

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

“Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of 30.”  -Robert Frost

I may be less than a day in, but I can say with confidence that I love my 30s. Today has been the best ever – breakfast with a full house of guests and sisters and friends, flower deliveries, coffee deliveries, furniture deliveries, good words, party prep, and messages from friends all over the world… including this:

Can you handle it? I can’t. I can’t handle it. I am the luckiest girl in the world, and don’t deserve the friends that I have – but will shamelessly and gratefully take every minute that they give me.

I wish I could tell you how loved I feel today, but I just can’t.  It’s the best day.  My heart is bursting.  I am overwhelmed and thankful and happy, and I just want time to stand still.

Thank you, dear readers – near and far, known and unknown – for being a part of my life.

20 things learned in my 20s

Monday, July 30th, 2012

It’s the final week of my 20s, y’all.  I’m running down 30 like a lion runs down a gazelle, or, in the case of “The Lion King,” a wildebeest runs down Mufasa.  [Wah, wah – killjoy.]

Nothing against the 20s, but can everyone agree that they are some weird years?  Don’t get me wrong, the 20s haven’t been all bad – most of my best stories thus far happened in this decade – but I am ready to move beyond them.

However, I have learned a thing or two or twenty in my 20s.

  1. Suitcases.  Do not own a gigantic suitcase.  You will be tempted to fill it up completely – which means it will weigh over 50 lbs. and result in a penalty fee at the airport.  Invest in a smaller bag to keep yourself in check – you won’t wear all of those shoes anyway.
  2. You can’t do everything.  Growing up in America, kids are taught that they can do anything.  And while it’s true that we have a tremendous amount of options and opportunities open to us, it’s important to remember that we cannot pursue every path.  Even the most abundant life involves choices – and saying yes to one thing oftentimes means saying no to a plethora of others.  This is okay.
  3. Learn what’s worth the investment.  Good concealer is.  A good sports bra is.  A good set of knives is.  Wine glasses, bangle bracelets, and sunglasses are not.
  4. Wherever you go, there you are.  When faced with the temptation to run – from a city, from a relationship, from a job – don’t count on the change of circumstances to fix your problems.  Three or six or nine months down the road, you’ll wake up and realize that you’re the same person dealing with the same stuff.  Tackle the real issues – which are probably with yourself, anyway.
  5. Don’t drink & Facebook.  Just don’t.
  6. Hang curtains.  It ain’t home until the curtains are hung.  As one who has moved a lot (a lot a lot), I’ve realized that fastest way to make a room feel “finished” is to hang curtains.  But you won’t find me wielding the drill – it’s good to have an excuse to talk to boys.
  7. Most conflict is fueled by fear.  When someone attacks you, it’s safe to say that in some capacity, they’re probably afraid.  Let this knowledge give you grace for that person.  On the flip side, when tempted to lash out, inspect your own heart for insecurity.  You’ll probably find it.
  8. You can either be right or be happy.  Have enough humility to not have to be right all the time.  I’m working on this one.
  9. No muffin tops.  Listen up, ladies: I have it on good authority that men do not care how much you weigh, nor what pant size you wear, nor any other kind of “number” you attach to your self-worth.  Take care of yourself.  Exercise in a way that feels enjoyable.  Eat colorful produce.  And then buy clothes that actually fit, no matter the size.
  10. Student loans are not “free money.” They are not.  You will pay – for a very long time.
  11. Dating.  I’ll just go ahead and say that 90% of dates are a waste of a Crest Whitestrip.  But that doesn’t mean that they’re a waste of time.  Sometimes you meet a good one, and sometimes you feel understood and seen, and sometimes you connect and talk and think and laugh, and sometimes you get kissed like the angels sing, and it’s… the best.
  12. A dog is a big responsibility.  But worth it.
  13. Nothing is unforgivable.  Growing up in the church, I was taught in a round-about way that certain sins are worse than others.  These days, I do not believe that this is true.  We are never past the point of forgiveness, and never too far gone for grace to hit us like a tidal wave.
  14. Don’t mess with your cowlicks.  You will not win.
  15. Dreams are important.  Pay attention to them, make time for them, foster them, and grow them.  The best dreams are the ones that you’ve had since you were too young to know your so-called limitations.
  16. Don’t let money be an obsession.  Be a good steward of your cash.  Watch where it goes, and be aware of how you’re spending it.  But good grief, sometimes it’s okay to spend the extra $4 for guacamole on the side.
  17. You cannot change your body.  Oh sure, you can gain or lose weight.  But your height?  Your hips?  The shape and length of your legs?  Those are here to stay.  Get nice and comfy with them – because no amount of dieting or running or stretching is going to change your basic body structure.
  18. Being single is hard, and being married will probably be hard – just like being single is great, and being married will probably be great.  No matter what relationship status you find yourself in, there are going to be tough parts and great parts.  There’s no use in playing the “grass is greener” game, because once we reach “the other side,” I’m pretty sure we’ll find that it’s all just grass.
  19. Trust your instincts.  You’ve lived long enough to know when to go with your gut.
  20. And finally, it’s okay to be happyIt’s okay to be happy!

I know that 30 is just a number, and that Saturday, August 4th will be just another day, but I can’t help but think that this birthday signifies the beginning of a new chapter.  It’s a cause for reflection – for looking back and remembering, and then looking ahead and hoping, and ultimately, feeling so thankful for the good gift that is my life.

How a kitchen appliance reminded me of magic

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I find it harder and harder to believe in magic these days.

Life isn’t easy, you know.  It can be full of tough things.  We learn to suck it up, because no one is going to come along and fix it for us.  Right?  We’ve waited and waited, but with no imminent rescue, we eventually make up our minds to stop wishing, and just do what we have to do.  It’s a long and lonely road, but after some time, we learn to just walk forward – head down, no questions.

Do not want.  Do not need.  Do not wish.  Do not hope.

And this doesn’t leave room for much magic.

I have to tell you: lately, I’ve been living without hopes or expectations.  Time has taught me that expectations, however small, will eventually lead to disappointment – so instead of hoping for good things, it’s easier to just take whatever life deals you.

But my birthday brought me a little magic.

Beyond the fact that I saw a black bear, and climbed Mt. Princeton, and sat on a tailgate of an F-150 drinking PBR and talking about Rebecca Black and O.J. Simpson with a new friend, when I got home I had a huge package waiting for me that said it was from “Your Fan Club.”

My fan club.

And I opened the envelope, and realized who it was from: so many of YOU.  People who I know and have met only thanks to blogging.

And in the box was the hot rod of kitchen appliances: a bright red KitchenAid stand mixer.

I shrieked, and then bubbled over, gushing, saying things like, “AND I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO GET MARRIED.”  I have always wanted a KitchenAid mixer, but it’s one of those things seemingly reserved for the espoused – because who would ever be able to justify that kind of money on themselves?

I have burned through hand mixer after hand mixer, only to abandon them altogether and stir things by muscle.  And remember, this is fine – you learn to not wish or hope for anything better or easier than what you have.  “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit” is a popular motto these days.

But every now and then, people surprise you.  They pay attention, and take action, and bring you the happiest shock you can imagine.  They conspire behind your back to bombard you with love.  They choose red because they think you’re “a red hot siren” (OMG).  Their kind words are sprinkled like magic, and all of a sudden, a little bit of hope is renewed.

I am humbled and grateful – not only for the KitchenAid (although it is one of the kindest, most generous gifts I have ever been given), but for the reminder that magic is worth hoping for.

Thank you, friends – you know who you are – from the bottom of my hope-filled heart, and my cookie-filled tummy.

Today

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

I am climbing Mt. Princeton.

And baby Zion is breathing on his own.

That’s basically all I could ask for on my 29th birthday.

I am super grateful to have made it through the past 12 very difficult months, and summoning as much hope as I can for the year ahead.

Something wonderful is about to happen

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

I never thought the day would come, but here it is: I have officially outlived Kurt Cobain.

Today is my 28th birthday.  I’ve waited ALL YEAR for August 4th, and it’s finally here.  Not to make a big deal out of it or anything, but… okay fine.  I am the birthday girl!  Yippee!

I’m so glad to be 28.  The only thing that makes me a little bit sad is that I can no longer refer to my birthday as being “one score and seven years ago” – because that was clever of me, wasn’t it?

Probably not as clever as it sounded in my head.

In all seriousness, sometimes I think that I’m the luckiest girl in the world.  I am surrounded by the world’s best humans – ones that draw out the good, and sit with me in the ugly, and love me regardless.  I have a job that I really like with people that I really love.  I have a body that works and does everything that I need it to do.  I have the sweet serenity of words and books and songs.  I have amazing, life-giving opportunities to pursue the things that bring me joy.  I have a home with hardwood floors and a dishwasher and tall trees outside the windows.  I have an abundance of quiet – which is never to be taken for granted.  I have a humidity-free summer.

A HUMIDITY-FREE SUMMER.

I have nephews who, last night, asked for the story of “Beauty and the Beast” in its entirety, and then wrapped their little arms around my neck and told me that they love me.  And then this morning, sang me “Happy Birthday” with their sweet voices.  And then asked if I was wearing a wig.  And then told me that the man emblazoned across the tush of their underwear was “General Obi-Wan Kenobi.”  And then yelled at each other to stop singing while going to the bathroom.

And for some unknown reason, I have you coming back to this space on a regular basis, reading along and offering more to me than I have ever offered to you through these cockamamie posts.

Most importantly, I have hope in my heart – and hope is just another word for “something wonderful is about to happen.”

So here I am.  28-years old, the luckiest girl in the world, with hope in my heart.  Something wonderful is about to happen.

I am never allowed to complain about anything, ever.

Boomeranging out of the weekend

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Any weekend that includes both this and this –

– is a good one.

First of all, my blog friend Anastasia came to visit.  We had never met in real life before, but that didn’t stop her from driving 600 miles from Kansas City only to have me drag her out of bed at 4am on Saturday to go climb a 14er.

What. A. Sport.  I liked her SO much!  And look at her – a prairie girl on the summit of Mt. Democrat.  She kicked that mountain in the teeth.

When we got back to the car, we had the idea to put a copy of my CD on the windshield of every car in the parking lot.  Unsolicited?  Perhaps.  Presumptuous?  Y’all.  I just wanted to spread the love.  Don’t hate me.

On Saturday night, my friend Hillary was in town, and got the Parsons clan tickets to her show.

Oh yeah, that Hillary.  The one that wins Grammys and is currently on tour with Tim McGraw (she would never brag on herself, so I’ll do it for her) – and the one who also happens to be a sweet friend from my Nash-days, and absolutely wonderful.  It was so good to hug her neck.

Thanks for the amazing seats, Hill!  We loved it!

Then, last night, a few girlfriends took me out for an early celebration of my birthday.  They gave me presents and listened to me tell the story about the time I led a revolt in the high school band.  Everyone needs friends who will listen to them tell the story about the time they led a revolt in the high school band.  I feel so lucky to be meeting such nice people here.

Recently, someone I know said something disparaging about Denver, and I found myself getting defensive.  I think that’s a good sign.  I think this place may be growing on me.

Let’s talk about:

Monday, November 16th, 2009

The comments that you left in response to Thursday’s blog
I was blown away by a couple of things: 1) the TRUTH that was so evident in so much of what you were saying, and 2) the HONESTY about something that isn’t easily summed up in a cliché phrase.  I love that so many of you felt free to share a glimpse into your own stories and experiences with that curious thing called Love.

For the record, I am in agreement with many of you: I don’t believe in “The One”; rather, I think that I will wind up with “A One.”  If I believed in “The One,” I would have married JC Chasez when I was 15.

And on a personal note, I loved it when Casey said, “You ‘know’ when your introvertedness doesn’t mind sharing your space with that person.”  I’m pretty sure that in my case, that will be the flashing marquee sign telling me to go to Vegas RIGHT THIS SECOND.

Lord of the Rings
Last week, my roommate Julie told me that she had never read nor seen “Lord of the Rings.”  I think that I shrieked, “WHAT??!?” and then fell down dead.  But after the disbelief came action, and we watched “The Fellowship of the Ring” and “The Two Towers” this weekend.

Have you ever had the chance to watch something epic – something that has changed your own life, something that has become an essential piece of how you view the world – affect someone else for the first time?  It was so, so fun – and I think that Julie is hooked, even though she kept calling Strider “Striker.”

Micah’s 6th birthday

Yesterday, my nephew Micah turned 6.  I saw him last week, and when I asked him about his upcoming birthday, he said, “I can’t wait to turn 6!  When you are 6, you can do SUCH FUN THINGS – like a cartwheel and lose a tooth!”

And my cynical, disillusioned heart melted into a puddle.

Happy as a clam who is one year older

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Becca and Sarah sent me a cute lunch bag, just like I wished for.  It is quilted and floral and insulated and zippered and tall enough for a water bottle.

I bought myself a vacuum cleaner at Wal-Mart at 10:30pm last night.  It’s a 12-volt Dirt Devil, and I assembled it by hand until midnight.

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C is for the Cooking Frenchman, and Cheese

Monday, August 11th, 2008

On Friday afternoon, I returned home from work to find an enormous box on my front step. I ripped into it, and found a birthday present sent from none other than my favorite Greta in the whole world. It started with a birthday card that played “Mmm Bop” when I opened it (she knows me too well), and, among other things*, she included a CD with the words: “With love, from the Cooking Frenchman.”

Intriguing.

I popped it into my computer, and this is what I found:

The Cooking Frenchman from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

Life complete? I have a Cooking Frenchman extending an open invitation to Paris for wine & cheese – so I think YES. My favorite line: “Actually, my real name is Maxime, but people call me Max – and this is very cool.” Max, you fabulous man, you can expect me in Paris very soon.

*And by “other things,” I mean an illegally-shipped bottle of French wine, and a trio of Parisian cheeses that had gone un-refrigerated in the mail for 5 days en route to Nashville. I opened the box, and was OVERWHELMED by the smell.

Now, granted, French cheeses are typically stinky – and the longer they are left out of the refrigerator, the “riper” they become. But honestly. Could it possibly be safe?

Watch and see – that is, if you can focus beyond my angelic halo-glow. Why am I in front of the bright window, and only in one corner of the camera? Oh, the beguiling mysteries of my ways…

Will she survive? from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

Obviously, I blogged today. So yes, I lived. And a mighty congratulations to those of you who succeeded in watching these videos while at work. Lord knows that’s where I’m posting from.