Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Because 8 is just wreckless...

I found this sign at the entrance of a non-descript parking lot near our house. I love it so much that one Sunday on the way home from church I made Roo pull over so I could take its picture.

The Authoritative history of Annie and Roo: Part IV

Six signs you should say yes when he asks you to marry him:

Sign 1: He takes you to Italy.

There are some places–-the men’s bathroom at a roadside truck stop, for one—where, if someone asks you to marry him, you may need to seriously consider saying no. Italy, however, is a pretty safe bet.
In 2004, Roo’s very gracious, very generous parents were taking their son on a trip to Europe and I was lucky enough to be the friend he got to bring along. We had been dating for about ten months…

Sign 2: For dinner, you find yourself in a charming Tuscan farmhouse that has been converted into a restaurant…In fact, he could take you to a charming Tuscan outhouse that has been converted into a restaurant and you’d still be on the right track.
It’s Tuscany.

Sign 3: Your soon-to-be fiancé is not laughing diabolically without any apparent reason.
Chances are, if he were actually a maniacal supervillain bent on marrying you only because it served as part of his greater plan to destroy the United States, he would be pretty pleased with himself right now.
At dinner that night, Roo was acting awfully strange—goofy, awkward, and fidgety—but he never let out any diabolical, supervillain laughter. So I knew I was safe.

Sign 4: He follows through despite unforeseen circumstances.

Unbeknownst to me, for the week we’d been in Italy, Roo’s mother had been carrying my engagement ring around in her fanny pack everywhere we went, just so that Roo would always be prepared should the perfect moment suddenly arise. As we were eating dinner, I noticed Roo’s dad make a secret “meet-me-in-the-men’s-room” motion to Roo, and they both left the table abruptly. When he got Roo alone, his dad informed him that he had already tipped the accordion player to serenade us so Roo could propose. Roo hadn’t necessarily planned on doing it that night, nor had I expected it at all, but he decided to go for it anyway. There’s no turning back once you tip an accordion player…

Sign 5: You are in a garden being serenaded by a strong-smelling accordion player

Roo came back from the men’s room and asked me if I wanted to go for a walk—a strange thing to ask a woman while she’s in the middle of eating ravioli. He led me out into a pretty little courtyard, sat me down on a stone bench, and cut right to the chase—he told me he loved me and that he wanted to marry me and then asked if I would marry him.
In the half second before answering, I weighed my options. I thought about the inside of my closet door at home, covered in cut-out magazine pictures of all the places I’d planned to visit before settling down and getting married. I was sure, after all, that my dreams of traveling the world would surely be hampered by marriage—that marriage, though important and meaningful, made for a fairly boring life. But I looked around and thought, “hey, look where I am. I made it to Italy. This can be enough for me. And there is no one I would rather be bored with than Roo. Plus I love him.”

Sign 6: You say yes even before seeing the ring

I, of course, said yes. At which point everyone emerged from the restaurant to congratulate us—Roo’s teary-eyed mom, camera in hand, Roo’s dad, our tour guide, our tour guide’s son, the accordion player, the accordion player’s mom was probably there too…

I was shaking and laughing a lot, still in shock from deciding upon the new and happy direction my life was about to take.

One Sign you made the right choice by saying yes:
(you mean, besides the fact that you get to have a Star Wars themed wedding reception?!)

He makes your dreams come true.

Italy & Romania 2004

England, Scotland, Wales - 2005
Victoria, B.C. - 2006

France and Alaska - 2007
New York - 2008

Turns out married life is not as boring as I'd imagined.

Friday, February 20, 2009

An Important Warning...

I used to think the only people who had dangerous jobs lived 100 years ago.

Or that they worked in the meat processing industry,

Or that they were just overly ambitious...

But I was wrong.

I am one of those people. And I am reminded of it every day by this grave warning on my keyboard:

(some experts believe that the use of any keyboard may cause serious injury)
Serious injury.
According to some experts, I am just lucky to have lasted this long.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

All We Wanna Do Is Rock...

Here is a picture of our band, MIMIC, at our first gig:

[Left to right]: Dieter, Bors, Annie, Sven, and Roo

Okay, here are the real pictures:

Here are Jesse (lead singer), Roo (bass player), and Ryan (lead guitar) rocking the cultural hall at the ward Valentine's dance. Jason also rocked on the drums and I am the token female keyboard player. We had a pretty good turn out and I think everyone had a blast. We were happy to see the dance floor full for the entire evening.

Here I am trying to figure out how to play the keyboard.

We are called Mimic because we only play covers of songs. Our set list includes everything from Van Morrison and Roy Orbison to Weezer, Green Day, Coldplay, Tom Petty, The Strokes, Billy Idol, Cindy Lauper and more. Basically, if we all can say, "Hey, that's a cool song" then we'll play it.

Sometimes they make me--I mean, they let me sing. This is me performing the heck out of "I'm Just A Girl" by No Doubt. I am still perfecting my Gwen Stephani swagger. I also plan to do push ups while singing like she does...one step at a time, though.

Highlights of the evening include:

  • When they asked us if we could just turn the music down, for the older crowd.
  • When the oldest man in the room did the Charleston or some other Depression-Era dance to The Clash
  • Getting paid in junior bacon cheesburgers

We sure had fun! All we need to do now is trash a hotel room and crash our tour bus and we'll be full-fledged rock n' roll stars.

P.S. if you are looking for a (relatively inexpensive) live band, we are up to playing anywhere, anytime. Just let me know!

Annie's Featured News Story of the Day:

Fake Foreigner drummer allegedly steals Corvette

AP CLEARWATER, Fla. – Authorities said a transient man convinced a woman that he was the drummer for the rock band Foreigner, stole her Corvette and then crashed it. Police said a 48-year-old man befriended the woman at a Tampa hotel, claiming to be Cory James, the drummer for Foreigner.
The band has had more than a half dozen drummers over the years, none of whom were named Cory James.
The two met up later at the Clearwater Hilton, where police said the man conned the valet into giving him the woman's 2002 Chevrolet Corvette without her knowledge or consent. He crashed a short time later and ran off, and police say they used a dog to track him down.
The man faces multiple charges, including grand theft auto. He was being held on $27,900 bail.

My first question: Foreigner? Really? Of all the bands to fake membership with, you chose Foreigner? I guess "Feels Like the First Time" must still be pretty big in the transient community...and with lonely Tampa women.

Secondly: Dude, you had the choice of over half a dozen different, ligitimate drummers to impersonate and you still couldn't come up with one of their real names?

Third: Cory James? Really? Of all the fake names to choose, you chose Cory James? I would have chosen something like Kent Fang or Monty McSlade.

Fourth: Just visualize this line and try not to laugh: He crashed a short time later and ran off, and police say they used a dog to track him down.

Better luck next time, my transient friend.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Authoritative History: Part III

The First Kiss

Remember that scene in Back to the Future after George McFly won the love of Lorraine by telling Biff to "take his damn hands off her," and they are slow dancing in the Enchantment Under the Sea gymnasium, and they decide they are each other’s destiny ? Then Lorraine says, “Aren’t you gonna kiss me, George?” And George bumbles around like an idiot before finally kissing her and saving future?

“I’ll tell them I was like George--totally awkward.” said Roo one Friday. We were on our way to have dinner with his family before going to see Back to the Future at an outdoor venue, and since in the short time we’d been dating (maybe two weeks) we’d become the source of much good-natured mockery (because we still lived together) we were sure there would be much hounding over whether or not we’d kissed yet. So Roo was preparing an answer to fend them off—even though we hadn’t actually kissed yet.

Maybe you’re wondering how it is that Roo still lived in my house even though we were in love and as good as engaged—how my protective father and conservative mother allowed it. Well, after our trip to California, the four of us got together for a what-do-we-do-now summit. Over chips and salsa, we determined that Roo shouldn’t have to move out—he was just starting a new semester of school, plus we all liked having him around. The parent's trusted us. We laid down some ground rules and steeled ourselves for the raised eyebrows that our situation would cause among neighbors and relatives. Did I mention I was a senior in high school at this point? Except for a few minor snags, this arrangement worked really well. In fact, we were just like every other dating couple except when he picked me up for a date all he had to do was stand in the kitchen and call, “Ready?” And when the date ended at the doorstep, we both went inside and watched the Late Show in our pajamas with a bowl of Chex.

Anyway, that night—the kiss night—we finished dinner and were on our way to the outdoor movie. Roo drove while I was trying to reign in my giddiness, for I was sure Roo was trying to tell me something with all that kiss talk in the car earlier—something like, ‘get the chapstick ready, my love, because tonight is the night.’

Back to the Future is good, but Back to the Future on a giant screen in a park when, despite it being September, the night air is still thick with summer—then it is really good. Watching it with my head resting on Roo’s chest—that made it great.

So as we watched the movie, I was sure that right when Lorraine said, “Aren’t you going to kiss me, George?” Roo would sweep me into his arms and kiss me for the first time.

That part approached.

Annie: [uh oh! I can hear Roo’s heart beating faster! He's getting nervous! Here it comes!]
Back to the Future: [George and Lorraine kiss, Marty doesn’t dissolve away, the dance ends, they go back to 1985, and Biff is waxing George’s car]
Roo: [this movie is dang good. I’m gonna watch it again when we get home.]
Back to the Future: [end credits roll mockingly by]

The park is left crowdless and I remain unkissed as we make our way back to the car.

I was hurriedly putting together a contingency plan. My first strategy was to cuddle up against Roo while we walked, real affectionate and, I think, obvious.

He just keeps walking.

Plan B: I slow down. I start lagging behind with my hand tightly around his. He asks me if I’m okay. Not the reaction I was hoping for so I move on to Plan C.

Plan C: I stop and say smilingly, “Aren’t you going to kiss me, George?”
Roo is taken aback and laughing awkwardly. He bumbled a little then said, “Uh…ok.”

So we kissed for the first time in the dark park, serenaded by Huey Lewis and the rolling credits of the movie.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Another Rooism...

Roo likes to talk about kangaroos. So yesterday while I was cutting his hair, he was going on and on about the general awesomeness of kangaroos. Hoping to catch him in a trap and expose his vanity, I asked him why he likes kangaroos so much (suspecting it had something to do with his own name…).

Annie: Why do you like kangaroos so much?
Roo [defensive]: well, can you think of anything better than a kangaroo?
Annie [condescending]: I don’t know…maybe Peace.
Roo [sassy]: yeah, well does Peace have a pouch?

(ah snap)

Since Peace is not a marsupial, my argument was rendered invalid, and I had to accept the general superiority of Kangaroos over Peace.

Monday, February 2, 2009

An Authoritative History of Annie and Roo: Part II

How we stopped being "just friends":

As the summer wore on, a few…irregularities caught my attention about my new best friend:

1. In crowds large and small, we tended to make eye contact across the room—the kind of eye contact that feels magnetic, impossible to break, and as though your insides are on fire (in a good way…I’m not talking heartburn here.) This never happe
ned with any of my other friends, it was a phenomenon specific to Roo.
2. I also never imagined I would turn down a date with my secret high school crush in order to hang out with my friends. But I did when Roo was my other option.
3. When I went to the movies with my other friends, I would concentrate on the movie more than the feeling of our elbow touching on the arm rest. This was not the case with Roo. “Seabiscuit” would not have been nearly as enjoyable except that it allowed for lots of elbow-touching dwell time.
4. At night we’d watch Star Wars outside on his laptop, and the best part of the evening was when he reached over to cover me with the blanket. I would have been annoyed with any other friend for blocking the screen just as the Death Star was about the get blown up. But I didn’t mind so much with Roo.
5. One Saturday towards the end of summer, after a long day of painting the deck together, I went into my room and found the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen: a leather-bound, gold-leafed, lovely copy of “David Copperfield”, my favorite book. The note inside said, “Please don’t get me anything in return. –Roo”. I hugged him for the first time that day.
6. Of all my friends, Roo was the only one I was hopelessly in love with.

Unfortunately, any course of action beyond friendly association was fraught with complications. He was four years older than me and lived in my basement, after all. And since neither of us dared to do anything about it, fate had to intervene in the form of food poisoning.

We planned a vacation to California—my parents, Roo, and I. We’d stay at Roo’s parents’ home, go to Disneyland, the beach, and a John Williams concert in Hollywood. I was so excited! I was excited the month before, I was excited on the drive down, and I was excited when we finally arrived. Then my excitement turned into nausea which manifested itself on the bathroom rug of Roo’s parents’ guest bathroom. I got the most horrendous food poisoning ever heard of and consequently spent our entire first night there huddled on the bathroom floor trying not to die.

The next day was to be our Disneyland day. On top of feeling death’s icy hand violently man-handling my insides, I felt guilty for being sick. Roo and I had been so excited for Disneyland. We both loved it and had been talking about it for a month. And there was no way I was going to disappoint him, so when I finally emerged from the bathroom, pale faced, sleep-deprived, and hardly able to function under my own power, I straight-up lied to everyone and declared that I was perfectly able to go to Disneyland.

I made it through the front gate before I threw up in the prettiest flower bed in the happiest place on earth. They all tried to convince me they wouldn't mind if we just went home, but I was determined--I would be riding Splash Mountain that day even if it killed me...and the likelihood of death occuring was ever increasing. My mother consented, then advised, "You better hang onto someone. You look like you're going to tip over." Who should conveniently be standing next to me but my good friend, Roo. He offered his arm with a smile, and had I been physically capable of smiling, I would have smiled back.

We spent the whole day that way, arm in arm, except for the times I'd have to find a flower bed to throw up in or a bench to lay on. I'd never had someone's arm to hold before. And suddenly everything about Disneyland became even more magical--the rides were more fun, the colors much brighter, the fresh fruit much tastier (on the way down, not so much on the way back up...). Roo sat and watched the fireworks that night with my head resting in his lap, stroking my hair. I couldn't see the colored explosions above, but I felt the resonating bursts inside my heart all night. Meanwhile, Roo lost all feeling in his right foot.

At the end of the day, the score was

Annie: 1

Though the nausea wore off, the need to hang onto Roo did not. I went from holding his arm to holding his hand. And at the end of the trip, we looked at each other and said, "what now?"

So I told him that I was in love with him, and that I would be forever and he agreed.

Then we decided to start dating.