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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.



Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Welcome to my new little corner of the cyber-sky!

For those of you who are wondering, “How did Annie get her own website?” I must be honest and say I HAVE NO IDEA. When it comes to technology, I operate on a need-to-know basis – I surround myself with people who are only going to tell me what I need to know, and not another word.

Bless you, you geniuses.

To get this site up and running, I am indebted to:

- Lauren at WebExHosting, who spent hours creating this site, hauling over all of my blog archives, and making my dreams come true. She is my Web Fairy Godmother. Bibbity-bobbity-boo.
- Seth, my graphic designer friend with the best head of hair of any guy I know. He helped me with the masthead in exchange for a double batch of Monster Cookies.
- Ashley, my ultra-talented sister-in-law, for capturing my fabulous chair (and me!) in that sunny Kansas field.
- Emily, the closest thing I have to a little sister besides my little sisters, who designed the sweet paisley logo.
- God, for creating the internet.

So look around, and let me know what you think. Things might get tweaked here and there early on, but overall, I think it’s quite “Annie Parsons,” don’t you? Look at the top of the page – TABS! And come back all the time. You can find me here Monday through Friday, steady as the sun.

Celebrate good times, come on.

W is for Writing

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Last night, I returned from Kansas City to Nashville and, upon depositing my suitcases at home, put a beer in my purse and drove to my old apartment to clean before my lease is up. And as I sipped on Red Hook and Swiffered the floors, I thought of what I’ve been learning about writing.

I thought about how writing songs is like working on a jigsaw puzzle, turning a piece this way and that, trying to figure out how it might fit – and when it doesn’t, trying it in a different place. Sometimes I start with the edge pieces and work my way in; other times, I begin with the lower left-hand corner and have absolutely no idea what might be forming… until suddenly, with a single certain piece falling into place, the big picture is made clear. That is an exciting thing – the brief moment of warmth in an otherwise desolate landscape.

I thought about how there is an art to attempting to live buoyantly and passionately, yet still having eyes to see and words to tell of darkness and hurt – for that is so much of the world that we live in, and it’s important that writers tell the truth. My favorite songs are sad ones; how can I write sad songs and still be a healthy and contented person? I want to figure that out.

I thought about how miraculous a privilege it is to birth something into the world, to bring forth a scene, a song, an emotion, and then step back and view it – something where there once was nothing.

I thought about how the practice of writing has made me more aware, more observant, with quivering ears attuned to any truth worth telling. And I thought about how the biggest gift that writing has given me is a greater appreciation for other people’s astounding words. I’m a better reader. I’m a better listener. And I love good songs even more than I did before.

I thought about the times that I have wished to write like Greta, or Allie. I thought about my deficit of poetical bones. (See? Super dumb sentence.)

But then I thought about how Stephanie called me out of the blue one day, and told me that something I had written brightened her otherwise dreary afternoon. And I had the distinct feeling that if my words could make a small-town Colorado housewife smile, then I was on the right path.

And I thought about the time that Duane encouraged me to change one of my songs – to revisit it, to perhaps rewrite part of it. And when I listened to his advice and did it, it WAS better. I became a better writer.

I thought of the card waiting in my mailbox last night from the friends saying, “We believe in you,” and how those words are worth more than any amount of money.

And I thought about all of you, continuing to land on this blog day after day, even when you know it’s a weekend and I won’t be writing, even when all I talk about is hair dye and shower curtains and bra shopping, even when I feel sorry for myself and am convinced that the sky is falling… you listen: strangers, many of you, giving me a moment of your attention each day. I am so grateful – because your permission that I be a person in process has given me the freedom to grow.

Writing is the only thing that I know I want to do for the rest of my life (that, and get as many shoulder rubs as I can). And I suspect that the more that I write, the more I will figure out that the real value lies in the doing of it. Even if nothing ever “happens.” Even if there is never a song published, or a book released, or a memoir read aloud on “Oprah.” I’ll be glad for the moments spent writing, stringing words together like beads on a thread – for it is in these moments that I feel like I might actually be living up to something.