Cheese

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Tug

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Well, what can I say. There you are, chugging up the hill, successfully pulling the heavy load – and then in one brief moment, the balance shifts, and the load is pulling you.

Life is a cosmic tug of war.

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So, tug.

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Laughing Cow now makes blue cheese wedges.

If you don’t like blue cheese, you won’t like them. Then again, if you don’t like blue cheese, it’s time to accept the fact that you just don’t have good taste. Then AGAIN again, Laughing Cow is made of “cheese product” – so why do I admit to loving it anyway?

– – – – – – – –

Tug.

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Do you know Holly and Meagan? If you don’t, you should. I (finally) met them in person on Sunday night, and they are the deep sigh of relief you breathe when you realize your soul is safe.

It’s a rare thing for me to fall head-over-heels in love with people so instantly. We’re already scheming ways to see each other again.

– – – – – – – –

Tug.

– – – – – – – –

I am not in control – even when I think I am, I’m not.  I cannot force the world to spin a certain way, nor can I force anyone else to act or think or feel any way other than the way they are going to act or think or feel.

But I always have a choice for me.

– – – – – – – –

Tug.

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“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Christopher Robin to Pooh

Steered in a positive direction

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

For as much as I love cheese – which, trust me, my devotion is infinite and everlasting – I rarely eat grilled cheese.  Chalk it up to just another childhood overdose – I never eat peanut butter & jelly, either.  Grilled cheese lost its appeal before Clinton took office.

Which is why it was shocking that yesterday, I had the chance to eat a grilled cheese for lunch – and I jumped at it.  Like, I literally sprung out of my chair and made a beeline for the kitchen.  See, my co-worker Delaney is a dazzling maker-of-all-foods, and she brought a griddle!  To work!  To make grilled cheeses!  And if this woman makes something, it is a guaran-freaking-tee that I will love it.

I’m serious.  Remember how Ritz Cracker Cheese Sandwiches are my secret shame?  Delaney has actually taken these bite-sized wonders and made them into a gourmet snack.  She shakes some sort of herby goodness all over them, and I swear, they could be served to the Queen of England.

After experiencing this woman’s brilliance yesterday, I can positively say that I am back in the saddle when it comes to grilled cheese.  She has renewed my hope, my faith, my confidence in the sandwich.  Thank you, Delaney, for pointing me toward the truth.

Now, to make my own.  I’m looking for grilled cheese tips, if anyone has any…

Paging Doctor Parsons

Friday, November 14th, 2008

There is a client who frequents the office. I know his name, and respectfully call him “Doctor _________.” Because he is a doctor.

Except no. No he isn’t. Today, my co-worker said, “Why do you call him ‘doctor’? He’s not a doctor.”

Why did I think he was? What did I mis-hear, or mis-interpret, or just make up? I HAVE NO IDEA. I am completely delusional. I stopped him today and said, red-faced, “I’m really sorry – it’s been brought to my attention that you are not, in fact, a doctor. And I don’t know why, but I’ve been calling you ‘doctor’ for so long… I feel silly.”

And so he told me the story of a woman he once met years ago, and how she insisted upon being called “doctor,” even though she just had an online education certifying her with a “Doctorate of Transcendental Meditation.”

If that works, then I declare myself to have a “Doctorate of Cheese.”

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What are your weekend plans? I want to know. From ALL of you.

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.

Capitulation

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

I give up.

Regular string cheese is so much better than the light version.

Alabama Bama Bama

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Alabama. How can I possibly encapsulate my brief time here into a blog post?

After an 8 hour drive from South Carolina, I arrived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of University of Alabama and the man, the myth, the legend: Mike McEvoy. McEvoy and I first met in the fall of 2004 while on the Student Leadership team at the Inn, the college group at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. I was the worship leader, and he was the resident UW football playing man’s man. We hit it off from the beginning.


McEvoy is down here in his second year of starting a college ministry through Young Life. I was excited to know that I would get to hear him speak at Club – but then imagine my excitement when he asked if I would sing! This officially makes The Big Trip double as my nationwide tour.

As I listened to Mike give a talk on a portion of the Sermon on the Mount, I just felt so proud to be his friend. He is an engaging speaker with substantial things to share, and funny. He is working so hard with this new ministry, and putting so much time and effort into getting to know students. And he’s doing an awesome job. The students adore him and swarm around, longing for dating advice, and he has this gift of making every person feel welcome and valued. We had some awesomely hilarious conversations with kids after Club at Wendy’s over Frosties and fries.

As for Alabama, it proved itself to stay true to many of my preconceived stereotypes. For example, I heard Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” no less than THREE times in one afternoon. I don’t think I’d heard it even once in the last two years in Seattle – and thank God.

McEvoy took me to dinner at a shanty called Nick’s in the Sticks, which is basically a lean-to burger joint out in the middle of nowhere. I ordered a cheeseburger, and it came slathered with American cheese; come to find out, American cheese is the only kind of cheese Alabama knows. As we waited a long time for our food (remember, Mike reminded me, this is the South – no one is in a rush), I watched a team of miniature Budweiser Clydesdales pull a model wagon round-and-round on a Lazy Susan hung from the ceiling. And I learned the difference between the Atlanta Braves “A” and the University of Alabama “A.” Don’t mix them up.

At the Young Life gathering, one kid told me that I look like a backup singer from Steely Dan. Only in Alabama would an 18-year old kid know to liken me to someone from Steely Dan. Oh, and “not the young one,” he added. Awesome.

We also went off-roading in McEvoy’s 4-Runner. All over the CAMPUS LAWN. How much more redneck can you get? I felt so authentic.

I met a woman named Lurleen.

The Alabama flag was modeled after the Confederate flag. And I’ve seen many, many of both.

Alabama:
Confederate:
But I also witnessed a beautiful Southern sunset last night – yellow, peach, and slate washed across the vast sky. I was embraced by a group of students that I didn’t even know, who all want to be Facebook friends. I was given an air mattress and a pile of brand new washcloths to use. And I spent quality time with a dear friend.

Alabama, you have not seen the last of me.

Something I should probably not admit

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Last night, I flew from Seattle back to Nashville. If there is one thing that I love about Southwest Airlines, it is the little travel snack box that they pass out to passengers. It is here, and only here, that I allow myself to indulge my secret shame.

Ritz. Cracker. Cheese. Sandwiches.

Oh yes, you know what I am talking about. The crispy, buttery, mouthwatering flavor of Ritz Crackers, coupled with cheese that has a texture akin to the dust from a moth’s wings. The packaging boldly claims, “MADE WITH REAL CHEESE!” but I know better. There is nothing legitimately “cheesish” about the filling, aside from the color – and even that is a bit too complex a shade of orange to be genuine.

I do the math, and I realize that each sandwich is worth 33 calories. I tell myself, “I will eat just one,” but it never turns out that way. I borderline inhale all 6 sandwiches, bringing me to a grand total of 200 calories of poison.

Crackers? Try crack.

And that is why I fly Southwest. Ding!

The end of ignorance

Friday, August 24th, 2007

I recently purchased a small wedge of Parmesan Reggiano cheese from Trader Joe’s – just enough to put a little taste onto my salads. And then eat the rest by the crumbly handfuls.

Last night, I looked at the ingredients on this particular variety of cheese, and they were quite simple: part skimmed raw milk, cheese cultures, salt, animal rennet.

Rennet? thought I. What on earth could that be?

A little internet action later, and I learned the truth:
rennet: curdled milk from the stomach of an unweaned calf

I… I’m sorry, come again?

Yes. CURDLED MILK FROM THE STOMACH OF AN UNWEANED CALF. This is so much worse than the day that I learned that the addictive taste of Dr. Pepper came from prune juice. My world has been shattered. I have absolutely no desire to know how one would go about actually procuring, um, rennet. I am thoroughly horrified.

But sadly, not enough to stop me from consuming it like a ravenous wolverine. That loves cheese.