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A spacious place

Friday, August 12th, 2016

About a month ago, I stubbed my toe so mightily I broke it.

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This is not an unusual occurrence for me. I suppose I walk with a lot of force? And into things? Is there honestly a better explanation for why one frequently stubs toes?

Last night, I was heading to the living room to watch Michael Phelps win all of those gold medals when I slammed — slammed — my right pinky toe into the foot of the couch. It might as well have been a sledgehammer to the foot. Pain shot up my leg like an electric current. I collapsed onto the couch and SCREAMED INTO A PILLOW, no words, just one long primal shriek muffled by a cushion from Target.

Remembering it this morning I giggle — because sheesh Annie, overdramatic much? It was one of those moments that made me grateful I live alone; no one should be forced to bear witness to such hysteria (although I will say that it did hurt like a mother-truckin’ cuss word). Foxy came running down the stairs and looked at me, then turned around and retreated back to her safe corner in my bedroom.

Today while out for a walk, one of Foxy’s feet collided with a large landscaping rock. I heard the hit, it was so hard. She stubbed her toe! We both froze, and then she curled her paw up underneath her, refusing to put any weight on it. She looked straight into my eyes, a big fat “What just happened?” and when I reached down for her, she willingly jumped into my arms like a toddler.

I carried all 40+ pounds of her for several city blocks, and wished for some giant to do the same for me.

Life is barreling forward — I’m wrapping up my job, heading into an unknown future, and while all I want to do is watch the Olympics and read my stack of books and have someone lift me up and carry the load, I’m moving too fast and running into things and screaming into pillows, a dog my only witness. It’s like the walls of my life are pressing in on me, the clutter tripping me up.

In many ways, this past year has been difficult. It’s been crowded and messy. The Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces” comes on the radio and I want to cry, because is there any better cure for spiritual congestion than space?

A week from today, Foxy and I are going to hit the road for a while. We’re going to drive around and go on some hikes and share a string cheese every day. I’m in search of space, both physical and mental, landscape and soulscape. By the time I get back to Minneapolis, I plan to have an answer to the “What’s next for you?” question.

In the meantime, I’m taping this verse to my steering wheel:
“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” —Psalm 18:19

Mousetraps

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

When I was in high school, a traveling magician came to perform at my church.  I can’t remember if he had some evangelical message that tied in with his magic show, or if he was simply a man trying to make a living turning tricks in front of anyone who would watch – but regardless, there he was, right between the American flag and the Christian flag, onstage at First Presbyterian in Montrose, Colorado.

At one point, he requested a volunteer to come up onstage for one of his acts.  Thinking that I might have the chance to get sawed in half, I quickly shot up my hand.  And since I was the pastor’s daughter, yes, OF COURSE I was the chosen one.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t going to have the chance to pick a card any card, or be the recipient of the dove that he pulled out of a top hat.  The magician presented a mousetrap, locked and loaded, and then demonstrated how its spring-rigged action could snap a pencil in half.  And then he told me to stick my fingers in it.

What.

So there I was, in front of God’s holy people, being admonished to trust a crazy traveling magic man with my extremities.  But I couldn’t back out.  So I stuck my fingers in the trap.  And with a wave of his wand or his scarf or whatever it is that he did, with a resounding thwack, the mousetrap came snapping shut.

I still have no idea how – but it didn’t touch my fingers.  I was standing there, right beside him, terrified that I was going to wind up with nubbin digits – and I still cannot explain how that mousetrap was able to clack shut without catching me.  But in any case, I screamed a scream that if you listen closely, you can still hear echoing from the year 1998.

Suffice it to say that I have been terrified of mousetraps ever since.

Fast forward to last night.  I was at the gym when I got Becca’s text saying that there was a mouse in our laundry room, and would I pick up some traps on my way home?

Sure I would.  And I’d get some black widow spray, too – because you guys, it’s the END TIMES at our house.  We are being overrun by demons.

At home in the kitchen, I carefully read the instructions and baited a mousetrap with peanut butter.  Visions of severed fingers dancing through my mind, I nervously pulled back the spring-loaded wire.  It locked into place.  I smiled, proud that I didn’t need a man or a parent or a magician to do it for me.  Holding my crowning glory of a baited trap, I walked toward the laundry room.

And right there in my hand, it SNAPPED SHUT, just grazing the side of my finger and catapulting the blob of peanut butter onto the kitchen wall.  Once again, I screamed like the end was nigh.

Judging by the current state of pests at our house, it just might be.

A different kind of highlight

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

After racing my dad to the top of Mt. Roberts in Juneau on Sunday, I spent some time walking around the town.  Which, of course, led to an interesting encounter – because do I ever elude the interesting encounters?

I met a greasy man on a street corner who took one look at me, and immediately, very excitedly – in one breath – said, “How long are you in town? Do you live here?  I’M A ROCK STAR!”

He proceeded to walk me back to the ship, and claim that he is not only a rock star, but a genius, a friend of the governor, and insane.  I believed him on one account.

After hearing that I live in Nashville, he informed me that he is moving to Nashville, and has a goal of getting a record deal by November 1 (“and by the way, do you think you could set me up with Michael W. Smith?”).  He gave me his phone number and his MySpace address, saying that I could spend “several months” on his MySpace page, there is so much to see.  He talked and talked and talked, spewing out eccentricities and grand statements about life, and without skipping a beat, ended with, “You know what?  Meeting me might be the highlight of your trip.”

I high-fived him, because maybe, dude.

But I’m leaning toward the night when the Parsons walked out onto the front deck of the ship while in open seas, thinking we could get some fun pictures, but not being prepared for the amount of SHEER TERROR the wind would bring, and after all of our dresses had blown up revealing whatever we had underneath, and hitting the deck to avoid being blown over the edge entirely, and Sarah’s driver’s license flying into the Pacific Ocean, and everyone holding hands for stability, and screaming our lungs out, and tears streaking our faces… realizing that the entire navigational crew was watching from their windows above.

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No rock star, genius, insane man from Juneau can compete with the involuntary flashing of Polynesian men.

A life goal I wasn’t aware I had

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Over the weekend, I dreamed that I was on an “American Idol” style reality show.  I was one of the final two contestants, and I was sweating bullets – which is awkward when one is wearing an evening gown.

The moment of truth came.  The host made the announcement:

“And the winner is… ANNIE PARSONS!”

The crowd went wild.  I crumpled into a heap on the stage.  I was out of control.  I was crying and screaming and so ecstatic, I couldn’t contain myself.

Because I had just won a 4-year residency at Vanderbilt Medical School.

**UPDATE**

Straight from my fortune cookie today at lunch:

In dreams and in life, nothing is impossible.

Oh, really?

Nicked floor (in the nick of time)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

So there I was, cutting apart the Costco salmon fillet that I had just taken out of the oven.

When I came back from Kansas City at Christmas, my mom took 6 individually vacuum-packed frozen fish and stashed them in various corners of my suitcase – and these precious little gems have been carefully rationed for the past 3 months. This was my last one. I had already prepared a fresh, leafy, green salad, and was slicing up the salmon to crown the top.

Unfortunately, I was feeling a little loosy-goosy.

And before I knew it, the knife FLIPPED out of my hand, cart-wheeled through the air in the most rapid slow-motion known to man – and, with the speed of a feline (and the instinct of a genius), I jumped sideways, flinging my legs and arms wide.

Jesus loves me, this I know:

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The knife – BOOOOOING – landed tip-first in the hardwood floor. RIGHT WHERE MY FOOT HAD BEEN ONE SECOND EARLIER.

Good thing Mel was right there, always prepared with her camera. I did not move. This was the moment, LIVE.

Oh my word, I need medical insurance.

M is for Magic

Monday, October 20th, 2008

(A word of caution:
Prepare yourself not for art, or beauty, or wisdom, or humor, or insight…
but simply for an explosion of my heart.)

Remember this mysterious, ambiguous entry?

I received an email this morning:

Annie,
Congratulations! You’ve passed our audition process…

And on June 21, 2009, I’ll be fulfilling one of my biggest dreams and playing at the Bluebird Café.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!

I am completely speechless.

I wish I could say that I rocked my audition, but… I didn’t. No, really – I DIDN’T. I was certain – sure – POSITIVE – that I wasn’t going to make it. I have never felt nerves like I felt that day; I could barely play my guitar, which is bad since I can barely play my guitar ANYWAY. I messed up the words to my song. I was freezing cold. I was shaking so badly that I couldn’t think straight. I have been nervous before, but have always been able to reason myself out of it. This time, I was completely out of control – no amount of self-talk or deep breathing or sheer force of will could calm me down.

I never in a million years expected to have made the cut. To some one else, this might not feel like a big deal. To me, it’s an answer. It’s confirmation. It’s hope. It’s the entire world.

I cannot believe it.

Dream your dreams, kids.