(Bosom) Friend Fridays

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(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Lacey Gault

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I can’t believe I haven’t told you about Lacey.

This girl is a VIP in my life, a hall-of-famer.

Two years ago, I went to church.  It came time to “greet the people around you” which, let’s be real, is my least favorite time of the service.  Usually I plan my bathroom break around it.  It feels like junior high all over again – standing up to greet someone, only to be met with the possibility that MAYBE NO ONE WILL TALK TO ME.  Or if they do, MAYBE I SHOULD BE WEARING TIMBERLANDS.

But on this particular day, I turned to the girl sitting next to me, and she had the warmest smile and most genuine manner.  We introduced ourselves, but instead of then moving on to greet other people, wonder of wonders, we continued talking.  She was nice.  She was cool.  And beyond being a stunner (which she obviously is), Lacey is warm, funny, and real.  She told me that she had recently moved to Denver from St. Louis, and that she was a nurse on a bone marrow floor.

She made an impression.  Because of this girl, who I didn’t know from Adam (or Eve?), I signed up to be a bone marrow donor that week.

Not long after we met, Lacey and I made plans to grab a drink at a local bar.  We thought we would have a beverage, catch up, and then make it home at a reasonable hour – but this was NOT TO BE, friends.  It was NOT TO BE because we were… recruited to be in a music video.

I can’t even explain how it happened, but one minute we were sitting at the bar, and the next minute we were in a dark basement surrounded by a bunch of yoo-hoos, pantomiming a club scene, continually standing where we shouldn’t be.  The “director” (I use that term loosely) kept yelling at Lacey, “Tall girl! Move!”

I am mortified to confirm that yes, this music video exists out there on the internet – but due to our vow of secrecy, you will never, ever find it.

Lacey and I have steadily grown closer over the past two years, meeting for wine or walks, talking about everything from faith (belief and contention) to body image (we are girls, nice to meet you) to dating (obviously).  Lacey is the kind of person that makes people feel good about being themselves, and despite her insane social schedule (the girl is popular), is never too busy to look you in the eye and ask the important questions.

She rocks the red lipstick.  She can wear a romper and make it look cool.  She is equally comfortable in a dress or on a mountain.  She is compassionate and wise and up for anything.  Denver is lucky to have her – I am lucky to have her – and my faith in the greeting time at church has been renewed.

(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Carl Hartung

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Lo, the long-dormant series revives – and for one of the best.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Carl Hartung.

I met Carl at a wedding in Seattle in August of 2007. I had sung during the ceremony, and found myself sitting alone at a table during the reception. The man must have felt bad for me, because he introduced himself and we talked for almost an hour. It turned out we had a plethora of mutual friends and a lot in common – that is, aside from the fact that he is a bona fide genius and I just like to talk about my feelings.

Great guy, great conversation – but I moved across the country 2 weeks later, and never saw Carl again.

That is, UNTIL. (Can you handle the suspense?)

Actually, there wasn’t much to it. I moved to Nashville, got a temp job, started calling myself “the Temptress,” and spent my long days of no professional responsibility emailing anyone and everyone I could find on Facebook. Eventually, this led to a message to Carl – and wonder of wonders, he wrote back. I responded, and he wrote back again.

Folks, I’d found myself an email buddy.

In the years since our correspondence started, I’ve spent plenty of time with Carl in real life – but I feel like we really got to know each other through those emails. He would tell me about his scholastic endeavors, how he was traveling to Kenya and Cambodia and India for research, how his thesis was coming along (into something that wound up absolutely brilliant, I might add). I would tell him about… gosh, I don’t even know. Probably how much I hated my haircut and what I was feeeeeling in my hearrrrrrt.

Carl is remarkable in a lot of ways. Like I mentioned, he is wicked smart. The guy just finished his doctorate in computer science, capping off… 27?… years in school? Carl, that is ridiculous. If I’m ever on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” you will be my lifeline.

But no matter how smart he is, he is grounded in reality, and can easily talk about Lady Gaga or dating or how beer is brewed. He knows pop songs on the piano. Whenever I’m in Seattle, he willingly meets me early in the morning to walk around Green Lake and catch up. He was actually in Colorado this past week, and joined a group of some of my friends to climb a 14er (his first), putting up with my inane questions along the way (“Is ‘a zillion’ a real thing?” “Do you believe in life on other planets?” “Have you ever choked somebody out?”). I bet he could solve a Rubik’s Cube.

I’m going to be really honest here. I’ll be 30-years old this summer, and 23-year old me would have been horrified to know that I would be single at 30. Sweet little 23-year old Annie…

But here’s the thing. I have incredible guy friends – no, not a ton, I’m not THAT girl – but I have a handful. They teach me and challenge me and, in a way, really take care of me. I am so grateful for the freedom to engage in these guy/girl friendships – because I know that this can change when someone enters a relationship. I have an opportunity that my espoused girlfriends may not have in the same capacity, and that is to learn from and engage with single men on a very real and honest level.

Carl is one of those friends to me. And I am better for it.

(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Graham Stoner

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Sometimes, you find a friend that you didn’t even realize you needed until he’s there, fixing things around your house and giving good hugs.

I hired Graham Stoner (aka Handy Graham) off the internet in 2008.  He had just been voted Nashville’s Best Handyman, and shoot.  I needed a handyman.  Simple as that, our friendship was born.

Sometimes, girl-guy friendships can be weird – but immediately, Graham and I had a real-deal bond.  Here we are, back in 2008 – before the years of hard livin’ got us down.

A few days after we met, we went camping with a very random-yet-awesome group – and that’s when I introduced Graham and Hunter.  They’re now best friends.  I definitely (and pompously) take credit for this match, and feel like it might be the #1 reason the winds of fate blew me through Nashville – just to link those two together.

I love them.

If you know Graham, you know that he’s something great.  He is funny and personable and helpful and smart.  He’s good at basically everything he tries.  Running?  Fast.  Music?  Skills.  Cooking?  The man can use a cast iron skillet.  For his 30th birthday, I made a list of 30 great things about him – and it was kind of the easiest thing ever.

Earlier this summer, I got a phone call from Graham.  He told me that he was moving – to Colorado.  COLORADO THE STATE IN WHICH I LIVE.  I smiled so big I thought my face was going to crack off.  And on Sunday, when I saw him in Denver for the first time, it was that deep soul-sigh of relief – one of my people, my main people, close by again.

So Hunter, you’re next.

(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Charlie Hardin Murphey

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I have this list of “favorite” friends – not necessarily “closest” friends, but the ones who, without fail, make my world happier whenever I see them.

Charlie Murphey is one of those friends.

I mean, look at him.  A V-neck cardigan with nothing underneath.  If you know Charlie, you know OF COURSE HE WOULD.

I got to know Charlie when I lived in Nashville, and all of Nashville can attest to the fact that it’s impossible to not love him.

Trust me – I tried.  It didn’t work.

Besides being funny, loyal, and the perfect blend of sarcastic/sincere, this bearded-wonder has probably my favorite voice in all the land.  He is pure talent, and while a lot of singer-songwriters are lost on me, Charlie just can’t be.

Under the name Charlie Hardin, he’s currently raising money for a new record, and I wouldn’t point you toward him unless I loved his songs so much.  If you have a few extra bucks to pledge toward this project, he’s offering some sweet rewards.  I wish I had $5,000, because I would really enjoy a theme song for all things Hooker House.

I also wish I had $5,000 because, hey – free money.

(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Greta Weisman

Friday, July 29th, 2011

If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know about Greta.  I mean, she has her own tag and everything.

Greta is the most delightful little pixie of a friend – she loves bubbles and snowflakes and fairy tales and red lipstick and goat cheese and sand dollars and road trips and songs and cowboy boots.  When I have an insignificant thought – such as, “I think ‘bureau’ is the most beautiful word” – I tell her, and she loves it, and she gets it.

It’s such a good thing to have someone who gets you.

Now, you all know that I’m a stodgy curmudgeon.  Greta is very, very different from me.

She cartwheels…

and frolics…

and twirls.

I don’t really do any of these things.  But still.  Somehow, she gets me.

Greta spent the last 3 weeks in South Africa, and just returned to the States on Wednesday.  Getting a text message from her when she landed was like getting a beer after a long hike, or a breath after a long submersion.  SHE IS BACK.  Finally.

I have several best friends, but Greta is the Best Friend.

If you know her, you love her.  Three cheers for Greta Weisman!

(Bosom) Friend Monday: Laura Nelp

Monday, April 11th, 2011

We haven’t had a (Bosom) Friend Friday in a coon’s age – and let’s be honest, it’s not even Friday.  But if there’s anyone worth resurrecting this series for – even on a Monday – it’s Laura Nelp.

Laura and I met when I was in 6th grade, and she was in 7th.  We had the same birthday, so it was instant love.  We spent all of junior high talking about boys and singing songs from “Les Mis.”  But now that we’re older and wiser, we spend all of our time talking about boys and singing songs from “Les Mis.”

Since graduation from high school, our lives have taken us in very different directions.  Case in point: while my biggest responsibility is making sure I check the mail every day, she is mom to the three most beautiful towheads on the planet.

That’s Kate, Annabelle, and Wyatt.  Are you dying of love?  I am.

And apparently, just this morning, Wyatt asked his mom why he doesn’t have “cousins from Aunt Annie.”  I know, buddy – I know.  WORKING ON IT.

Oh, and as if having birthed three precious wood sprites wasn’t enough, here’s the other thing: after kids, Laura is the exact same size as she was in high school.  She is styling and sassy and totally hot stuff.  Some people

It’s an amazing thing to remain close friends with someone for the majority of your life.  Laura and I have seen each other through some major life changes, in the past and presently – and what comfort to know that a friendship will remain.  I am so grateful for our history, and how it propels our friendship into the future.

(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Ginger Morby

Friday, October 15th, 2010

This weekend, I’m flying to Phoenix for Ginger Morby’s wedding.

Small detail: I have never met Ginger Morby.

I became blog-acquainted with Ginger and her sister Valerie eons ago, and then we started emailing, and – yes – even Facebook video messaging.  If you are wondering how I could grow to like someone enough to travel to their wedding solely through video, well, I submit to you this:

See?  Wouldn’t YOU go to Ginger’s wedding, too?

Let me tell you a few things about Ginger.  Obviously, she is hysterical – but she is also incredibly wise (and I don’t give out that title lightly).  In some of my saddest moments, she has sent encouraging words, good words, true words – words that have made all the difference.  She’s also talented: last year, she auditioned on a whim for a production of “Camelot,” and was cast as Guinevere – yes, the lead.  And then, last month, she won an ARIZONI for Best Actress of All Time (or something similar).  When she was in middle school, she wrote a story called “36 Hours Till Daybreak,” which is just as awesome as it sounds – you can read parts of it here and here.  She loves and quotes “Waiting For Guffman.”  Once, she was a Facebook profile for Halloween.

And last year, she sent me a video message telling me that there was a guy.  And that he came out of nowhere.  And that after cooking dinner one night, they were doing the dishes, and she had a soapy plate in one hand and a dishtowel in the other, and he kissed her like she was Julia Roberts, and that she hadn’t stopped smiling since.

I am thrilled to say that tomorrow, I’ll be hugging them both for the first time.

(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Hunter Lane

Friday, October 1st, 2010

On my 25th birthday, I was hanging off the back of a boat on Lake Washington, all barfy and miserable.  But without that wretched experience, I never would have met the boat owner – who later, after I moved to Nashville, put me in touch with Hunter Lane.

And now that I know Hunter Lane, I would do it all over again.

I know, I know – who am I, Nicolas Sparks?  So DRAMATIC.

But truly, here’s what I love about Hunter: the man is consistent.  He knows what he likes, and he sticks to those things.  Hunter likes running, beer, baseball, canoeing, girls, and grilling out – any combination of those things results in him being happy.

He is one of the most loyal friends I know – steady and reliable and kind.  In a crowd, he doesn’t look around for someone better to talk to – if you are someone that Hunter cares about, he gives you the time of day.  He has helped me shop for running shoes and hiking gear, hung pictures on the walls of the JAM House (may she rest in peace), and tried to make me a sports fan – to no avail, but still.  He is a really, really wonderful friend.

And… today is his birthday!  Happy birthday, Hunter – Nashville would be less without you, and so would my life.

(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Meg Allison

Friday, September 24th, 2010

It’s not every friend who has starred on a reality TV show.  But then again, it’s not every friend who writes amazing songs, sings like a bird, and is gorgeous to boot.

Blog, meet my dear second-soul, Meg Allison.

Meg and I met after I saw her play at the Bluebird Cafe in early 2008.  Fresh off the show “Nashville Star,” Meg impressed me with her voice and her knack for writing a great tune (seriously, go listen) – but even more than that, I just thought she seemed like a really nice person.  So I asked her if she would go to lunch – and from that point on, she has been pure sunshine in my life.

Not this kind of sunshine, though.

In case there was any confusion.

After I had lived in Nashville for about 6 months, I was seriously considering leaving.  I was tired and lonely, and wanted to go back to what was familiar.  Meg and her then boyfriend (now husband, ow owww!) Josh sat me down and told me that they didn’t want me to leave.  They just said it: “We don’t want you to go.”  And friends, sometimes that’s all that you need – someone telling you that you’re wanted.  We all just want to be wanted.  And in that moment, it made all the difference: I stayed in Nashville for another year and a half, and I’m so glad that I did.

When I eventually did leave Nashville, I hugged Meg goodbye on my front porch.  We both had tears in our eyes, because we acknowledged that it’s not every day that you find someone who is so easy to be friends with.  Meg and I have that easy sort of friendship – the kind that allows you to be in your sweats on the couch watching documentaries, or in dresses at a pub crawl, or on stage with guitars, or celebrating at a wedding, or on the phone thousands of miles away – and no matter what happens, things between us stay the same.  She is a gift in my life.

Last but not least, Meg was present for the worst/best picture ever taken of me*.

Whooo, boy!  I could look at that one all day!

*After seeing this, you might never visit this blog again – and I understand.

(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Carin Towne

Friday, August 27th, 2010

When I first met Carin Towne, I had no way of knowing what an extraordinary gift I was being given.

We initially bonded over our mutual love of (obsession with?) country music – which, living in Seattle, was a connection we couldn’t exactly afford to lose.  We started going to concerts together, and watching the various country music award shows in her living room, drinking wine and analyzing dresses and performances and bad face lifts.  Carin is witty and sassy and hilarious – my soulmate for discussing all things pop culture and entertainment.  She is an insanely talented musician, actor, and writer.  She makes me laugh until I cry.

And sometimes, she makes me do both at the same time.

Many of you remember Jeff and Carin’s spunky, determined, beautiful boy Ben – I’ve written about him before.  Throughout Ben’s fight with cancer, Carin kept a powerful online journal that was read by thousands all over the globe.  She wrote honest and compelling words about their journey.

In the year and a half after Ben’s death, Carin understandably stepped back from writing in such a public arena, as their family has been living in the reality of round-the-clock grief.  But with the launch of the Ben Towne Foundation, Carin has been posting again.

I’m not just saying this because she’s one of my dearest friends: you need to read her words.  You NEED to.  This woman knows what it means to fight, to weep, to love fiercely.  You can subscribe to her posts through your favorite reader, or sign up to have them emailed directly to you.

To say that I’m excited about the launch of the Ben Towne Foundation is an understatement.  It’s going to be huge.  It’s going to save lives.  And with Jeff and Carin at the helm, it’s a formidable force.  When you hear Carin speak, you can’t help but want to join their fight.

Last Saturday, I spent the day with Jeff and Carin and precious Ryan in Poulsbo, WA.  It was the most wonderful time.  They are the best kind of people – the kind that disarm you with their honesty, and allow you to be exactly where you’re at – even in the worst of circumstances.  They “get it” – mostly because they’re honest about the fact that they don’t “get it.”

They’re moving forward, even when it feels impossible.

Life is sadder than a country song.  But the fact that Carin is a part of mine makes me want to keep singing.