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Lately

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Contrary to popular belief, the world has not opened up and swallowed me whole.  Despite my silence in this space, I’ve been out and about, alive and kicking, moving and shaking, grabbing life by the horns (or whatever).

I’m not so delusional to think that my absence from the internet has ruined anyone’s life.  But my mom said that she misses my blog.  So I’m saying hello.

A few weeks ago, I completely paid off my credit card – and promptly cut it up into little pieces.  For me, a credit card has been a crutch to help me live beyond my means, and I just grew tired of having my money already spoken for whenever I would get a paycheck.  I can’t tell you how freeing it was when I got paid the other day to be able to choose where to put my money – which, for now, means throwing cash at paying off my car.  I’m not completely out of debt yet, but after years of feeling like I just couldn’t make any progress, in the last few months I’ve started to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, of course, not having a credit card has some downfalls.  I can’t purchase anything that I don’t have the money for RIGHT NOW.  This means that I’ve had to say no to several travel opportunities, which is tough for me.  For the past two years, I’ve rarely stayed in the same place for more than 10 days at a time, and spent a lot of money flying to see the people who are important to me.  But for now, those days are over – and the only tickets I can buy are more of a “sacrifice” than a “given.”

But as you may recall, commitment means freedom, and in the past few months of generally staying put, I have been growing some friendships here in Denver.  I’ve been social – maybe even too social (for this introvert) – and am learning a new work/life balance.

When walking outside to my car this morning, it was 55 degrees and smelled like spring.  Supposedly, March is Denver’s snowiest month, so we’re not out of the woods yet, but… I can’t tell you how hopeful that scent of dry dirt was.

Dry dirt = hope.  Someday I will write poetry.

I’ve embraced a “sort of vegan” diet as an experiment for a month.  So far, I feel like hell and would wring a cow’s neck for a slice of cheese.  Initially, I gave up meat, dairy, and eggs, but have reclaimed eggs with a vengeance, so I am definitely not living a full-on vegan lifestyle.  I feel very scatterbrained and willy-nilly about this whole thing, and while I recognize that our food system is scarily screwed up, I think that there are a lot of ways to “vote with your dollar” and make better nutritional choices.  I’m not sure that I’ll stick with the whole “no meat, no dairy” thing – but I’m giving it a few more weeks to see how I feel.

I’m late to the party on this, but Whitney Houston died.  What a tragic, senseless ending to a life of a woman who, at one point, had everything stacked in her favor.  Didn’t we almost have it all, Whitney?  Ugh.  It’s just so cliché, and so sad.  I ran across this isolated track of her vocals on “How Will I Know.”  She was incredible.

If you’re wondering about how Toad is doing, you should know that she fearlessly and ferociously chased a raccoon off our front yard the other night. She is a champion.

For those of you who I’ve been out of touch with, I’m sorry. I probably owe 80% of my friends some kind of personal communication. Life is different these days, and I’m just trying to find my stride. In the meantime, know that I’m thinking of you (even if I’m not buying a plane ticket to see you), and wishing that everyone that I loved could live in the same place.

Sundance

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

After six days at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, I’m back to normal life on Hooker Street in Denver – where the upstairs neighbors are loud, cars get stolen from right in front of the house, and Greebs got sprayed by a skunk on Monday.

In some ways, I would very much like to go back to the glamorous.

But in more ways, I am so happy to be home.

Having never experienced such a saturation of famous people all in one place, I have to say that it was bizarre. For all its intrigue, celebrity culture is… unnatural. And from what I observed, often it’s not the celebrity who is strange (in fact, most of them struck me as lovely and normal people), but their handlers; the entourage and staff can make things awkward for everyone else. There’s a lot of “protection” of the “talent” that goes on – and yes, I’m sure it’s for good reason, but when you’re a very average girl from Colorado who drives a Subaru worth less than the painting on the wall and are dutifully abiding by the strict order not to freak out, is it really necessary for someone’s publicist to treat you like trash?

That said, I had such a blast. It was a very cool opportunity – something I would never have otherwise had access to, as it was heavy on the wrist bands and badges and credentials. My team was offering our product as part of a gifting suite (you know, where the already-privileged get more stuff for free), and it was a treat to see so many faces that I recognized from television, movies, and music.

And on that note, here are my Thoughts and Opinions on People I Don’t Know At All.

Helen Hunt is stunning. I’ve always thought of her as “average-to-pretty,” but in real life, she is positively luminescent.

I hope to age like Blythe Danner more than I hope to age like Neil Young.

Kirsten Dunst is cute, but not as cute as Greta.

William H. Macy is a 60-year old hipster – and he somehow makes it look cool.

Emily Blunt has flawless (no, really – flawless) skin.

Michael Cera has a mustache. Oh dear. Even without a mustache, I kind of can’t do the Michael Cera thing.

I thought that Lake Bell was Amanda Peet. Good thing I didn’t say that out loud. She was very sweet, and generous with her smile.

The All State guy is a presence. I mean, we’re talking about President David Palmer, people. I wanted him to record my voicemail message, but couldn’t get up the guts to ask him.

The most beautiful person I saw all weekend was Melanie Lynskey. Yes, the friend from “Coyote Ugly.” Yes, the friend from “Sweet Home Alabama.” Yes, the eternal friend-in-the-background who I wish all the spotlight she could ever want. Given her company at Sundance, she might seem a strange pick for “most beautiful person,” but I stand by it. She was absolutely lovely, in a very accessible way.

The nicest person I talked to all weekend was Kevin Sorbo. You know him as Hercules. I know him as tall and strapping and – by comparison to everyone else around – supremely normal.

Elijah Wood is as Frodo-ish as you would expect Frodo to be.

Kate Bosworth is sharp around the edges – all knees and elbows and shoulder bones. I hope she eats a hamburger soon.

The two people that I really, really wanted to lay eyes on but never did were Liv Tyler and John Krasinski. Actually, I DID see Liv Tyler – but it was only from behind, and the only thing I thought was, “She has skinny calves.” So.

I came home with some awesome free swag of my own, a love for Park City, and solidified friendships with my co-workers. All in all, I say SUCCESS.

And now, back to real life: emails, working out, and eating things other than “blackberry braised venison” and “lime-butter scallops” and “lamb three ways.” So – that’s a bummer.

All of the things I have to say

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

All of you over-achieving, perfectionistic control freaks out there, raise your hand.

I mean, I can’t be the only one, right?

I have a really hard time when I can’t do something perfectly, which is unfortunate because I can do basically nothing perfectly.  And lately, I’ve been doing a lot of things, which means that I’ve been confronted with imperfection all over the place.

My spiritual life is not perfect.  My diet is not perfect.  My money management is not perfect.  My exercise routine is not perfect.  My sleep habits are not perfect.  My relationships are not perfect.  My abilities are not perfect.  My heart – oh, my heart – is far, far, far from perfect.

Not a single one of my efforts is perfect.  And I really hate it.

I have so much that I want to say about this, but I can’t even write about my imperfections perfectly.  Gah.  Gahhhhhhhhhh.

– – – – – – – –

This was my bed last night.

I stared at it, and wished that it would just fix itself, but it didn’t, so I just moved my computer and slid underneath it all and went to sleep.

– – – – – – – –

Now it’s the morning.  All of the stuff is still here on top of me.

– – – – – – – –

On Sunday, I was on a walk, and I walked past a realtor hosting an open house.  I wound up going in, just because I’m nosy and take any opportunity to snoop where I wouldn’t otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

I didn’t expect to fall in love with this house, but I did.  Like, deep, soulful love.  Like, I was mentally arranging my furniture.  Like, I was imagining backyard parties and the perfect hutch for the dining room.  Like, the combination of the hardwood floors and the interior brick walls and the incredible range in the kitchen was lethal to my Dave Ramsey-loving self, and all of a sudden, I was trying to figure out how to pull together $389,000 before nightfall.

Then I just walked back to the Hooker House.

– – – – – – – –

Starting tomorrow, I get to do something really cool.  I get to fly to Sundance Film Festival and call it “my job.”

You know I’ll report back on any celeb-encounters.

An open letter to Kim Kardashian

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Dear Kim,

This note must come as a surprise to you seeing as how you’ve never even heard of me – that is, unless you saw me on the cover of Disc Makers.  That’s right, Kim: I, like you, am a bona fide cover girl.  We are on the same level.  Recognize.

But even if you don’t pay attention to who I am, don’t worry, Kim.  The feeling is about to get very, very mutual.

Your rise to fame through sex tapes, reality television, and Playboy led you straight into a role as a genuine socialite – which basically means that you’re out and about being famous because you’re out and about being famous because you’re out and about being famous.  Oh sure, you have a perfume, and a fashion line, and a sunless tanner, and a really, really horrible song – your name is your brand, and you work it, Kim.  You work it like your “Fit In Your Jeans By Friday” workout series.

But none of this is why I’m writing to you today.  It’s not your fault that you are beautiful, ergo rich and famous.  People shouldn’t hate you because you have a hot ass, no matter how much you flaunt it – and it’s certainly not a crime to have money.

No, Kim. I’m here to talk about yesterday’s announcement that after 72 days of marriage, you are filing for divorce.

Your August 20th wedding to Kris Humphries was all the gossipy rage – the E! network even did a 4-hour special on the literally made-for-TV, $10 million affair.  That very price tag seems to be a slap in the face to your alleged support of movements such as the “Kiss Away Poverty” campaign, but I digress.  As if the dollar amount on the wedding wasn’t outrageous enough, you and Humphries reportedly earned – profited – an additional $18 million simply to engage in the white gown event.

And then, 72 days later, you ended it.  It’s despicable.

You make a mockery of marriage – something that I, for one, would very much like to experience, but for one reason or another has eluded me thus far.  You cheapen what I hope for, and frankly, it’s insulting.  Myself aside, I know so many people who are currently fighting tooth and nail to stay IN their marriages – because their promises meant something, and because they see their relationship as something more important, more essentially vital, than a mere opportunity for self-promotion.

I hope that I do get married someday, Kim.  I hope that I have the privilege of having a daughter.  And if I do, I can assure you that I will do absolutely everything in my power to teach her that people like you are not the ones to be admired and idolized, no matter how beautiful, no matter how powerful, no matter how wealthy you may be.

Instead, I will point her toward the true hero women:

Lacey, who just returned from spending a month in Haiti, caring for people with so much less than what we have

Greta, who on a teacher’s salary, devotes so much of her time – both work hours and personal hours – to planning, grading, and investing in her student’s lives

Christy, who through her work with Dave Ramsey, passionately educates young people about the importance of making wise financial decisions and avoiding debt

Emily, who has opened her heart and her home to an ever-shifting cast of foster children, devoting her time, energy, and finances to providing these kids with stability and love

Carin, who is channeling her grief over losing her precious son by starting the Ben Towne Foundation, and raising over $1 million in the past year to fight pediatric cancer

Ashley, who welcomed baby Zion as her own, and is raising the most amazing boys

I know women living with devastating medical diagnoses, and fertility concerns, and bone-crushing loneliness, and not enough money, and the death of big dreams – all with grace and aplomb.  These are the heroes.  These are the women that you and I should aspire to be.

You will carry on with your media circus, and probably continue to gain money, fame, and Twitter followers.  But you have a huge privilege, Kim – something that not everyone has – and that’s a platform.  Please use it for something more substantial than your own selfish gain.

Until then, I’m no longer paying attention.

Salutations,
Annie

Confession

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

If you think I won’t be reading this, well.  You just don’t know me very well at all, now, do you?

Tom Hanks as Animals

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Do you know about this site?

Please tell me you know about this site.

Not-so-guilty / non-pleasures

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Not-so-guilty pleasure
I’ve had my eye-rolling moments in the past, but I have to admit: Taylor Swift is getting better and better.  On her latest record, “Speak Now,” her songwriting has exploded, without forsaking the catchy hooks she’s so known for.  Judge if you want, but I can’t stop listening.

The only thing that I don’t understand is her dating life.  From the songs that she writes, roughly 50% of her time is spent kissing boys on the sidewalk in the rain.  The other 50% of her time is spent locking eyes with boys across the room at parties with twinkling lights.  Is this what my life should look like?

I AM A MISERABLE FAILURE.

Guilty non-pleasure

Last weekend, I finished the “Twilight” series.  It took me over a year, because the entire process was so painful.  I don’t know why I kept reading – mostly because I just decided to, and once I decide to do something, it’s hard to convince me otherwise.

There are so many things that bother me about these books, the least of which being the “heroine” (can we call her that?), Bella Swan.  A vapid shell of a girl, she offers nothing good on her own – and Stephenie Meyer allows the hot, capable, super-powered Edward to be her only saving grace, literally.

It’s totally pathetic.

Then again, I contributed $10 for each of the 4 paperbacks to advance the vampirific cause, so I guess I should just shut my mouth.

Little trifles

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

In keeping with my track record of “don’t stay in one place for too long,” I’m flying to Nashville tonight for 10 days.  Josh & Meg are getting married next weekend, so I’m going to work with my wonderful co-workers at headquarters until then.

“Headquarters” sounds so official.  I should mention that said “headquarters” houses multiple hula-hoops and a keg.

I just read that Sandra Bullock is 46 years old.  Excuse me?  Not that that’s old – but some people are hot forever.

Sometimes, CNN.com is the most depressing website ever.  Is there ever any good news?  If you know any, can you tell me about it?

Have you seen “The Cove“?  Did you cry like I did?  It reminded me of how broken this world is, and how “salvation isn’t just about ‘going to heaven.’

Different

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I’ve been doing some thinking.  I’ve been crunching some numbers.

To accomplish Tuesday’s boldly declared goal, I would have to walk 10.6 miles a day, every day, for the next 94 days.  And seeing as how I have walked 0 miles since Monday, I’m thinking that 1,000 before Labor Day may have been a WEE bit overly ambitious.

Oh well – I am still going to walk.  I will walk until kingdom come.  And mark my words: I WILL climb at least 6 14ers this summer.  That, gentlefolk, is money in the bank.

– – – – – – – –

A few years ago, I saw Rosie O’Donnell on one of the morning news shows – you know, when I still had a TV and Rosie still had the media’s love and devotion.  The interviewer asked her if she could go back and tell her younger self one thing, what would it be?

I’ll never forget Rosie’s response.  She said, “I would tell myself that everything is going to happen, just like you dreamed – it’s just going to feel differently than what you expected.”

I don’t know why, but I’m kind of experiencing some of that right now.

Swifty

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

You can take the girl out of Nashville, but you can’t take the stage-side-at-the-Taylor-Swift-show-and-THIS-IS-SO-AWESOME out of the girl.

Jenn and I had tickets for the uppermost balcony last night, literally behind the stage.  But my most excellent friend Kelli (SHOUT OUT) back in Nashville pulled some strings, and all of a sudden, a man was tapping us on the shoulder and giving us wrist bands and we were… well, we were this close:

cimg2284

She was bedazzled, to say the least.

This week has been full of some very fun surprises – things I haven’t tried for or asked for or even imagined might happen.  It’s kind of comical, actually.  But surprise is an important element of a good story – and these days, I’m liking mine.

I mean, I wish I knew where this story was headed… but that would ruin the surprise, now, wouldn’t it?