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Bouncing back and living forward

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we can’t always date who we want.

I’ve been both the rejector and the rejectee – and even if it’s mutual, it’s still the pits. Blame it on timing or distance or one person deciding that they’re just not that into the other; whatever the circumstance, love can knock the wind out of you.

I’ve grown really hesitant about writing about singleness online, mostly because sometimes it brings up some well-meaning but largely unhelpful responses (not from YOU, my compassionate friends. But from The Others). For example:

  • Love will find you when you’re not looking. I would wager that 95% of couples I know were “looking” when they found each other – cab light on, antenna up, and putting out the vibe.
  • Just be content with God alone – then he’ll bring you a husband. As if marriage is a reward for the very most devoted. Super lame formula.
  • Maybe you should try online dating. It’s 2015 – of course I’ve tried online dating! A bunch of times. And while I know plenty of people who have had great success with it, I hate online dating more than I hate pickles, which is a lot, which is why I don’t do it anymore. It just doesn’t jive with me. If this decreases my “odds,” so be it.
  • I can’t understand why you’re single. While I know this is usually meant as an encouragement, it insinuates that there must be a “reason” I’m single. What if there’s no reason, except that I am? I can’t give a reason.
  • You should enjoy this time. I am enjoying this time. I am traveling, spending and giving money the way I deem best, investing in friends both male and female, pursuing some passions, learning, moving where and when I want to, and reveling in the delicious silence of living alone. Silence is a gift. Someday when babies are screaming and – God forbid – Caillou is blaring, I will shoot up my veins with the stored silence of these quiet days. I am taking full advantage of this relatively uncomplicated life and living well, as best as I know how.
  • You’re just too intimidating. I can’t tell if that’s an insult or a compliment, but either way, I am drawn to men with guts.
  • Here’s a rough one: Pity.
  • And finally, my favorite flurry of contradictions: You should flirt. You should play hard to get. Stop being picky. Keep your standards high. Look for a guy at church. Look for a guy at a bar. Look for a guy on the top of a mountain. Put yourself out there. Just pray about it. Try harder. Just stop trying.

May I gently suggest some alternative things to say to a friend who happens to be single and hopes to someday not be?

  • I think you’re a catch. That is, if you really do think that. If the person is a schmuck, well, I suppose you’re allowed to say that too.
  • I’m sorry that this feels hard today. Regardless of one’s relationship status, I think we can all agree that some days are great and some days suck.
  • I am so hopeful. This one is especially good when the other person is tired of hoping. I’ve found it really nice to occasionally let someone else carry the hope for me, like a really huge backpack, until I know I can take it back.
  • You’re doing a good job. Period.

These days, I can honestly say that most of the time, being single doesn’t make me sad – because in so many ways, I love it! Even when I experience false starts. When the guy I’d been on three dates with and decided that I really liked texted me when I was at Home Depot to say he thought we should just be friends, or another guy called me before a first date to tell me that God had told him not to take me out (?), or even in the wake of a recent romantic bummer, I’m bouncing back and living forward – which is the healthiest thing to do, no matter if one is single, dating, or married.

We can’t always date who we want. We can’t engineer our lives to manipulate our futures. We can’t speed up time, and we can’t predict what’s going to happen next. We can’t control another person. We can’t “If You Build It, They Will Come” love – unless you are building a brewery.

But we can still choose to be happy. And I’m getting pretty good at the choosing.


The sky is falling, and other tales of woe

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Ever had one of those weeks?

Last Monday and Tuesday, I got four parking tickets in 24 hours. My license plates had expired at the end of March (news to me!), and before I could find an opening in my work schedule to hit the DMV, Denver’s parking patrol graced me. Four times.

I have to say, street parking enforcement in Denver is stricter than any other city in which I’ve lived. No matter the offense, THEY WILL CATCH YOU. I’d say that it’s the worst thing about this town, except then I remember how bad the boogers hurt (those who live in dry climates at high altitude surely understand), and allow the parking patrol to drop a notch on the Worst list.

When I finally made it to the DMV, they slapped me with a late fee and sent me on my merry way.

Late last week, I walked out into my backyard to find Foxy chewing on a chicken bone – just, you know, an instrument of canine death. I mentally accused every one of my neighbors of throwing leftover KFC over the fence into my yard, and cursed them along with their children and their children’s children.

The next day I saw a squirrel summit my fence with a chicken thigh in his clutches, and realized that the bone had likely been dropped by a varmint. I released my neighbors from vindictive mental prison, and instead, channeled my anger into psychic BBs aimed at a rodent – which really gets me nowhere (as opposed to despising my neighbors, which is obviously edifying).

When I was stopped at a red light at Colfax & Speer and I offered the homeless man on the corner a granola bar and he refused it, saying he doesn’t eat “that garbage,” I told him that his sign (“Anything helps”) was a lie. And as he walked angrily and aggressively toward my car and I frantically reached for the button to roll up the window, I thought, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

On Sunday, May 11, it started to snow. On Monday, May 12, it was still snowing. And just as my soul was withering up to die, my kitchen ceiling caved in* – as did my will to soldier on.

Let me tell you, you think life’s bad, and then your roof collapses*.

I’m leaving tomorrow for a work trip to Minnesota, and 12 hours after I get back, I’m leaving for a week in Nashville. My roof has one job – to keep everything out – and it’s failing. Work is busier than ever. I’m exhausted. There’s a lot of uncertainty in my life that I’m trying to beat back and not give the power to, but it feels impossible. I find myself craving things I don’t need – new clothes and new shoes and plane tickets to take me far away – but I know that they’re just misplaced desires. This ache can’t be fixed by money or things or security or control, all of which are just a fist full of water – the tighter I hold on, the more they slip through my fingers.

“You sound really stressed,” she said. And it was the best possible thing someone could offer – a simple acknowledgement that life feels out of control right now.

My throat got tight. “I am. I’m really stressed. I wish that just one thing was easier right now.” And then, the heart of the matter floated right up to the surface. “I need to find a way to be happy.”

And I’m not talking about a “look for the silver lining,” “there’s always something to be thankful for,” “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” kind of happy. I’m talking about laughing in the face of life’s trials and letting them roll off my back like a wet duck – because life’s too short to dwell on the nonsense. Do I trust that there’s a story bigger than I can see, and that it really doesn’t matter if the sky is falling, because my security lies somewhere other than my circumstances?

This is the question I’m asking myself today – because the older I get, the faster life goes. I don’t want to miss it.

*Very dramatic terms to describe a mere leak – although yes, thank you pessimist friends, I agree that the roofer is probably going to tell me, “There’s no such thing as a ‘mere’ leak.”

It’s okay to be happy

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

I’ve spent a lot of years getting okay with sadness.

While we live in a culture that tells us that, through various forms of self-medication, sadness is to be avoided at all costs, I have learned that sometimes, you just need to feel sad.  Lean into the pain.  Don’t do anything to try to change it, just fully experience it.

And why shouldn’t I feel sad?  For me, the last 5 years have held their fair share of death – death of dreams, death of relationships, death of people.  If it isn’t happening to me, it’s happening around me – although, I’ll be honest and say that these days, it’s happening to me… more than I’ve asked for, more than I imagined could hit all at once.

I’m really good at the sad.

I’m realizing that there are no happy endings – no game-winning home run, no swelling music as the couple kisses, no cowboy riding off into the sunset.  Until the good Lord comes again, we are existing in a never-ending series of ups and downs – just as soon as we seem to find our footing, the world tilts.  Despite our most wonderful moments, we will never “arrive.”  We will never figure it all out.  We will never seal the happiness deal.

Depressing?  Maybe.

But in a small way, this also feels like freedom – freedom to stop waiting for the happy ending, and to experience the happy right now.

How many times have I postponed any given occurrence of happiness, in favor of that elusive “someday” happy ending?  Brushing off a compliment because I’m waiting for the day that I’m skinnier.  Paying no attention to the moment because I’m waiting for the larger event.  Questioning my worth because I’m waiting for the day that I’m truly loved.  Ignoring any good because I’m waiting until there is absolutely zero bad.  Disregarding the many gifts in my life because they do not yet include a) a husband, b) a house, c) a baby, d) a larger purpose, e) any sense of security… the list goes on.

I’m going to go ahead and keep hoping, because good things are surely in store – but I need to remember that happy endings are smoke and mirrors.  As long as we’re on this earth, we will never be fully satisfied.  It’s time to feel the freedom to seize those happy moments – because all we’re promised is today.  Grab that happiness by the jugular, and enjoy the shit out of it.  Laugh without feeling guilty.  Be silly without feeling stupid.  Feel happy without any nonessential qualifiers.

If you need to feel sad, by all means, feel sad.  But if you’re lucky enough to have a reason to be happy, don’t wait.  Be happy now.

Holy Môlé

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

The best LÄRABAR that ever existed was Cocoa Môlé – but earlier this fall, they retired the flavor, so I gnashed my teeth and tore my sackcloth.

But late on Friday afternoon, Miranda pointed me toward an announcement on their Facebook wall:

We just uncovered 35 boxes of Cocoa Môlé (16 bars/box). It’s the last of the stash and everyone here agrees that we should give them away. Since we only have a small amount, we’re asking that you share with us an ‘Ode to Môlé’ – a video, a song, an illustration, something that demonstrates how deeply you care for that lovable Cocoa Môlé. Good luck!

So on Saturday, I wrote a little song.

And yesterday at work, Miles and I made a little video.


Holy Môlé from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

I hope “Holy Môlé” is stuck in your head all day long.  And I really, really hope they send me a box.

How’s my living room looking?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Rather complete, these days, thanks for asking.

Have you seen that girl?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Lately, I’ve been missing this girl:


The one who smiled genuine smiles, no matter how crooked.


The one who went adventuring, even when it was scary.


The one who believed good things.

The girl who walked 10 miles at a time in the name of exploration.  The girl whose heartbreak inspired action.  The girl who wrote letters and songs and silly poems and messages in the dirt on car back-windshields.  The girl who aimed for “story” instead of “security.”

But last weekend, I found her again for a little while in Boston.


It was nice to see her again.


Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Behold, the return of the deadbeat blogger!

I mean, seriously.  It’s embarrassing.  I have been like an unfit mother – one who leaves her kids in the car while she hits up the Safeway for PBR and tampons.  I have abandoned this blog in the parking lot for far too many days – and in the meantime, not written a single word of ANYTHING.

But really, can you blame me?  I was busy fulfilling MY LIFE DREAM.

If you’ve been reading this site for longer than two minutes, you’ll know that I’m a songwriter, and that the jewel of my heart (um, yes, I just called it “the jewel of my heart” – so?) is the Bluebird Café.  Back in October, when I was invited to play there (can we all just squeal one more time?), June 21 felt so far away.  But before I knew it, my parents were flying in, Greta was surprising me on my doorstep the day before (listen – can you hear me scream?), I was trying on 96 different outfits, and then, all of a sudden, staring out at the lights.

This is what it looks like when dreams come true.  (Thanks to Deb for the picture!)


And this is what it sounds like.  (Thanks to AnnieBlogs for recording!)

And here are best friends.


And here are just a few of the most wonderful cheerleaders.


And here are amazing parents.


And here is a man with a mullet in a SweetTarts shirt.


Because this is Hootenannie.com – where the blogs end strong.

A Christmas miracle?

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Today is the day.  TV has switched to digital.

I still have not bought a converter box.  I knew that I wouldn’t get any channels this morning – not that I cared about anything more than “Good Morning America” (“The Today Show” will never compare); still, I flipped on the TV just to see what it looked like.


I STILL GET ABC!!!!!!!  Every other channel has disappeared.  But there in 13” glory were the Jonas Brothers singing for GMA’s Summer Concert Series.

No guarantee that ABC will still be there tomorrow.

Full guarantee that the JoBros will still be ridiculous.

Michael J. Fox

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

For the past couple of days, I’ve been starving for dinner by 3:45. Since my little temp job is from 7:30am-3pm, it’s very convenient – I can heat up some leftover curry that I cooked in the crock pot over the weekend, put on my sweats, get in bed, and watch “Oprah.”

I can’t believe I just admitted that.

Here, I’ll go a step further: yesterday, I also had a glass of boxed pinot grigio.  At 4pm.  In my bed.  With my curry, and “Oprah.”

But y’all.  Did you WATCH “Oprah” yesterday?  How much do we love Michael J. Fox?  A hundred million times.  I’m going to name my first-born after him.  Yes: JFox Parsons.

This man’s attitude and outlook on life is inspiring.  Parkinson’s is causing his body to turn on him, and he has lost control of so many basic physical abilities.  He talked about people staring, and the inability to keep his limbs still.  But he is continually thankful, continually hopeful, and continually positive.  He sees this disease as a gift – the thing that has caused him to appreciate his life, his family, his wife, and everything that he does have.

I have a lot to learn from him.

His quote of the show: “Happiness grows in direct proportion to your acceptance, and reverse proportion to your expectations.”

The plan (or lack thereof)

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

First things first.
Did anyone else notice that they said “hootenanny” last night during “Lost”?  My name was said on national television!  I AM SO TOTALLY FAMOUS!!!

Next things next.
Last night as I was dying my hair, it hit me: I am a responsible and intelligent girl, not one to slack and make bad financial decisions… and maybe it was the ammonia, but… I don’t think I’m going to get a job for a while.

Since I ended my tenure as the Temptress, I have felt a burden lifted – a heavy weight that I didn’t recognize was there, since I was too busy convincing myself to be grateful for a job at all.  But once I walked out of those heavy glass doors, box of possessions in hand, I felt it: I could breathe.

For the last two weeks, I have felt so light, so buoyant, so UNLIKE 2008 ANNIE.  I am realizing that over the past year, I had been so entrenched in the daily grind that I had lost the part of me that I rather like – the part that says things like, “Tell me about your day,” and “How are you doing?” and “I’d love to get together!” and “Yes, 10am sounds perfect,” and “Sure, let’s drive to Pennsylvania.”  Instead, there were a lot of grunts and frowns and silences.

There were also a lot of Facebook video wall posts, which was always a little bit awkward the next day.


Obviously, I cannot and will not stay jobless forever.  I’m too high-maintenance, and I know it.  One of these days, I’m going to snap, and scream, “Give me Aveda!  NO MORE SUAVE!”  But until then, I will be engaging in a season of Survivor: Nashville.  I am allowing my spirit to take a deep breath, living much more simply, and finding creative solutions to my financial problems (and yes indeed, of course, there are problems).

I’m going to take advantage of this time and drive to Kansas City next week to help my family during a period of major transition.  I’m going to spend some days working on my EP.  I’m going to stretch something called my IT band, which I didn’t even know I had – until it got terribly inflamed and rendered me semi-crippled.  I’m going to continue applying for jobs.  And I’m going to hope and pray that the right position will come along at the right time.

A foolish risk?  Perhaps.  Worth it?  I hope.

In the meantime, you should see my hair.  It is dyed.  It is fabulous.  It is foxy.  It is… exactly the color it was before.