Bizarre

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My first trip to a casino

Monday, September 28th, 2015

When I moved to Minneapolis on July 3rd, if you would have told me that I wouldn’t leave again for 84 days, I would have keeled over dead.

In the last five years, I’ve gotten used to the pattern of skipping town roughly every other week: some business, some weddings, a lot of adventures. My suitcase was always packed, I had a separate set of travel toiletries, and both airline and hotel status. So it simply didn’t strike me as a possibility that the journey from Colorado to Minnesota would be my LAST TRIP EVER.

At least, that’s how it’s felt. After nearly three months of remaining within an hour radius of the city, I was going stir-crazy. It’s a cool place and all, but sometimes a girl just needs to get out.

Even if it’s to a casino.

My good friend Joey drums for Scotty McCreery (you know him, you love him), and a few weeks ago he let me know that they were playing a show in Minnesota at the end of the month. “Too bad it’s four hours from Minneapolis,” he said.

My escape had arrived. “I AM COMING.”

Which is how on Friday afternoon I found myself driving north on little back highways en route to the Shooting Star Casino. Have you heard of Mahnomen, Minnesota? Me neither – but I’m here to tell you that it exists, and I’ve been there.

This was my first real experience of a casino, and it was everything I feared it would be, everything I hoped it would be, everything I dreamed it would be. Smoking is allowed (it seems like everyone knew this to be true: casinos allow smoking. But I DIDN’T KNOW! Life is full of wonders). The food was wretched – avoid the Whispering Winds restaurant – and the people-watching superb. The drinks were weak, but hey, they were $4.

When I looked at Mahnomen on a map, I couldn’t understand how this show would draw very many people; there just isn’t much up in that area of the state. But I sorely underestimated the devotion of Scotty’s fans: the place was packed.

Women young and old go crazy for Scotty because 1) he’s talented, and 2) he’s darling. Throughout the show, he would occasionally fling a guitar pick out into the audience, at which point there would be a mass stampede of estrogen toward a tiny sliver of plastic. At one point he threw a pick in my general direction, and I got body-slammed by the woman next to me, her head straight to my clavicle. She never did find it, and after the show when the lights came on, every woman around me dropped to their knees to crawl all over the carpet looking for the missing pick.

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After the show (which was FUN – these guys are so good at what they do), I got a front row seat to the drunken-fan malarkey that reaches beyond Scotty (tucked away on the bus) to his backing band (out amongst the casino commoners). From the relatively harmless girls wanting to take selfies with each band member to the older woman in a Shania t-shirt making gauche jokes about the name of her town (Climax, Minnesota) to the sad man who bumped into my barstool moaning, “I’m fat, I’m lazy, and I just lost it all,” Mahnomen was impressively inebriated.

But the thing I will always remember about this night is how much I laughed. There was so much to laugh about – and it made me realize how little I’ve been laughing lately. Between the combination of my quick-witted company and our comical surroundings, I just got to sit there dissolved by the funny, like Alka-Seltzer in a glass, bubbling until there was nothing left except feeling better.

The guys left on the bus at midnight, and I stayed in a questionable but free-of-charge room at the attached hotel. I awoke to the faint smell of urine (not mine) – a most appropriate ending to the most bizarre adventure – and drove home with a smile on my face.

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We all juggle a lot of things – our jobs and our homes and our families and our health. We watch our weight and our bank accounts and our mouths in certain settings. We work like crazy with the promise of vacation only to have a hard time powering down our minds and our screens, leading us to wonder if time is the new money. Life can feel like our own personal snow globe, turning and shaking and making it tough to remember which end is up.

But then we kick off early on a Friday afternoon, and drive like mad to the middle of nowhere just to see some familiar faces – because our people are what matter. And to me, that’s what friendship is: taking the time, buying the gas, and heading to Who-Cares-Where just to see your friends, just to laugh really hard for just one night. Just to be reminded who you are.

And if it can happen at a northern prairie casino with bad drinks and horrid lighting, it can happen anywhere.

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A little good Fortune

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Anyone who knows me knows that a professional publication would be an unlikely place to find me. I wear yoga pants to work. I tell my manager about my feelings. I’ve never had a career path or a 5-year plan. My degree is in music, for crying out loud.

But somehow (you know how), I wound up employed by one of this year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For – and wonder of wonders, I was recently contacted by Fortune Magazine to chat about how I got my job.

The interview is here – check it out for a glimpse of me being hashtag totes profesh. Maybe that music degree came in handy after all?

Wrong number

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Here’s a text I got last week.

Seems… sensitive.

False alarm

Friday, May 4th, 2012

I am spending the weekend in Boston with my dear friend Christina. Boston is one of my favorite cities, and Christina is one of my favorite friends, so in other words, everything is wonderful.

Before I boarded my flight on Thursday, I got an email from Christina saying, “Hope your flight leaves on time and that you’re not sitting next to another trademark weirdo” – bizarre plane-interactions seeming to be par for the course for me.

When I found myself seated next to a nondescript, completely silent gentleman, I was overjoyed. The 4-hour flight was without incident and without conversation – which equates to a hearty “hallelujah” from this introvert. We descended quietly into Boston, and I stared out the window at the clear night sky.

But as we taxied to the gate, something happened. Something surprising. Something shocking.

In the dark and silent plane, the man next to me suddenly yelled at the top of his lungs, “IT’S SNOWING!”

My head was suddenly on a swivel. Where do I look? Outside! At the man! Around at the other passengers! Back outside! Every person on the plane had turned to look at my row-mate, who was staring blankly ahead, ignoring all attention and acting as if nothing had happened.

It was not snowing.

He wasn’t even sitting by the window.

Eventually, I took a cue from the man and stared straight ahead, too.

Spatula tricks

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

So there I was, minding my own business, when I heard a ruckus.  I walked out of the office to find Gabe darting from the kitchen to the living room – never a good sign.

I walked into the kitchen and found… this:

Oh, how’s that? you ask?  Here, let me give you a better angle.

How this dog does it, I’ll never know.  But I am legitimately flabbergasted on a near-daily basis.

Hometowning

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Hello?   (Helloooo?)   ((Helloooooooo?))

Is anyone still here?

If you’re wondering if the iPhone swallowed me, the answer is NO COMMENT.

I spent the weekend in my hometown of Montrose, Colorado.  I went over for a dentist appointment, since Dan Clader, D.D.S., is my longest term relationship to date (22 years).  After last summer’s debacle of ten cavities, I am happy to report that my complicated teeth are holding steady.  Zero cavities, no crowns necessary, keep on keeping on, and I just might keep my own teeth for a few more years.

While I was in Montrose, my friends Cyrus and Peder had a show lined up at a Mexican restaurant-slash-lounge, and asked if I would be the opening act.

LOOK AT THESE GUYS.

They know that I say this in complete love: they are dirty Montrose at its finest.  How could I resist them?

Peder and I bonded over our turquoise accessories – although his being an authentic bolo tie, it was a little bit more ridiculously awesome than my tame Banana Republic flair.  I played 5 songs, and my dear friend Laura sang with me – more on her later this week.  I saw some people that I hadn’t seen in over 10 years.  It made me love Montrose even more than I already did.

You want to know what made me love Montrose EVEN more than that?

The fire dancer.

Oh yes.  Peder plays with the cutest, quirkiest band Cowboy & Indian, and during their set, through the windows behind the band, a Montrose man was feeling the spirit – and set batons aflame.

Proof:

Hazardous?  Bizarre?  Amazing?  Yes, yes, and yes.

Just another night in Montrose, and just another day in my life.

Up on the roof

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Guess who’s here?

GRETA!

Last night, we were walking around Wash Park, and looked to our right to see… a roof-top band!

They noticed us taking their picture, and yelled for us to come up.

Yes.  They yelled for us to let ourselves in through the front door, go down the hall to the staircase, climb to the attic, and then clamber out the window and up to the roof.

And thanks to my new-found Spiderman climbing skills discovered on Mt. Evans this weekend…

… well.  Needless to say, we bonded.

Yes, I played the trumpet.  No, I don’t know whose lips have been on that thing.  But how could I resist?  It was a real live HOOTENANNY.

Weird things come in threes

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The weirdest thing has been happening lately.

I have been overcome with this gigantic, humongous desire to go to California.

Since when have I craved California?  And not just California – but SOUTHERN California?  This is so unlike me.  I don’t even know who I am anymore.

Other things have been changing, too.  There is the obvious (I run stupid distances by myself on the weekends) – but there are also some new transformations that I feel like mentioning.

Peas ruin everything.  I suppose that I have never been a huge proponent of peas, anyway, but last week, I made the decision that I never want to taste another pea again.

I feel kind of shy.  My introversion has never equated shyness before, but here we are.  I come into contact with a room full of people that I don’t know, and it feels so scary to say hello to anyone.

And… well, that’s all.  I wish that I had three bolded points, because 3 is the best number (um, hello, three notes create a chord, Reduce Reuse Recycle, Three Blind Mice, the Three Little Pigs, and remember a little something called the HOLY TRINITY?) – but alas, I only have two.

But then again, in Vietnam, it is bad luck to take a picture with three people in it – because the person in the middle will soon die.  Three strikes and you’re out.  You have until the count of 3 before I sock you in the jaw.

I think that this blog just became my third point.

Can’t read my, can’t read my

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Before Sunday night, I didn’t know who Lady Gaga was.

I know.  I KNOW.  I am the least cool person in the universe.  You, reading my words right now?  I’M NOT WORTHY.

I had heard of her, but it was sort of like my knowledge of Google Wave.  OH!  I know that! What is it?  Um… I have no idea.

It turns out that Lady Gaga is sort of a big deal these days.  She opened the Grammys in a blaze of freaky glory.  This chick is WEIRD, y’all.  But wouldn’t you know, after one listen to her song “Poker Face,” IT IS ON REPEAT.

This song is from 2008, and somehow, I had never heard it.

Doesn’t matter though – I am GrooveSharking the fire out of this song.  It’s pretty ridiculous, actually – because since when have I liked dance music?  If only my iTunes was up and running, because if I had this song on my iPod, I am pretty sure I could run forever.

Which leads me to my question… what is your favorite guilty pleasure song?  This is a safe place – like a fire station or a hospital.  No shame here.  Maybe a tiny bit of shame.  But not enough to not say anything.

(And yes, I am purposefully not blogging about the final season premier of “Lost” tonight.  Anything that I could write or think or say would not come close to how I FEEL.  Suffice it to say that I am having trouble focusing on ANYTHING ELSE today.)

It’s good to be a Parsons

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

For the past several years, Thanksgiving has been the occasion of the Parsons’ Family Christmas Picture.  We usually get some great outtakes – but never so amazing as this.

theshamingofannie

Does anyone know what’s happening here?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Because I have no recollection of this moment.

But clearly, Swayze was wrong: SOMEBODY puts Baby in a corner – and that somebody is Mom.

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Mom’s cancer treatment starts today – major surgery in Denver at 4pm.  Thanks for keeping her in your prayers.