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Penny Annie's

October 26th, 2007

Many, many moons ago…

Before I pledged my troth to the country doctor…

Before my uterus was shattered four times in a row by the exact same model of bald, blue-eyed, baby boy…

Before I had the wisdom of motherhood and could force children to eat their sweet potatoes, and film them while doing so…

Before I understood the dementia that accompanies each birth, as the holes in your head, where the babies come out, never completely heal…

Before I fell in love with the steady, rhythmic, calming sounds of a ceiling fan on medium speed…

Before I blogged…

There was Penny Annie’s

Back then, I worked as an administrative assistant at the Lawrence Arts Center in Lawrence Kansas, which was located in the Old Carnegie Library directly behind Penny Annie’s.

I would skip the light fantastic in my cute office girl outfits of corduroy skirts and second hand plaid jackets…or fabulous thrift store cardigans with pearl buttons and sweet pleated wool skirts. I would flit over to Penny Annie’s on my lunch break, order a tuna fish sandwich or a chicken taco salad and sit down to eat by a sunny window overlooking busy Massachusetts street.

As I ate, I watched the world pass by. Executive types in dark suits and sunglasses driving by in their SUV’s. Young moms pushing strollers loaded down with babies, shopping bags and sippy cups. Under-employed secretaries with master degrees in economics or anthropology, buzzing by breathlessly on an errand for their blustery bosses. College students ambling along aimlessly, the light of youth and fun still dancing on their unworried faces. Middle aged housewives with expensive hair cuts and manicures flocking from shop to shop, the sun glinting off their streaky blond highlights. Business men and women in crisp white shirts, walking briskly down the street as if in a tunnel, focused on a distant horizon.

I watched them all and wondered…

What would become of me.

Then I shrugged, wiped my mouth on a paper napkin, bought a half pound of sour watermelon candy, and went back to work.

I just finished reading the Life of Pi by Yann Martel It truly was a good book, but I was a bit confused by a few things. First, being a person that is generally interested in religion, I really liked how the boy practiced the varying forms. But somewhere in the book, the religion thing puttered out. I mean clearly being trapped on a life boat with a Bengali tiger may make the practicing of all four major world religions at the same time a lesser priority, but for me I think it may have become a greater priority. I am not complaining, I just wonder what happened to the religion? Seems to me like ritualistic behaviors often become more pronounced during times of stress, and not sort of glazed over. Then again after 200 days aboard a lifeboat with a Bengali tiger, maybe one ceases to believe. Then again waking up every day on board a life boat with a Bengali tiger is a miracle, so how could you cease to believe? Then again, after two hundred days aboard a life boat with a Bengali tiger, you might come to think of that as normal – and no longer a miracle. Even if the Bengali tiger is you, and the hyena is a french chef. But I digress.

The ending was unfortunate wasn’t it? I believe in fantastic events. I think they happen every day. I so want to believe there was a tiger on that boat. In fact – there was a tiger on that boat. That’s all there is to it. Tiger on board!

I do wish the story was knitted a little more tightly. It is almost like two books. The story of Pi in India with religion and the Zoo and the other story of Pi on a boat with a Bengali Tiger.

It is a book that I will think about for a long time. A story that will stay with me. A book I will encourage my sons to read at some point. A book that my husband and I will talk about and that will get discussed at family events and cocktail parties and cookouts. I will be standing in the middle of the deck with a plateful of potato salad screaming – A TIGER WAS ON BOARD…A TIGER WAS ON BOARD – while everyone else quietly sips their margaritas and avoids making eye contact with me.

A visceral book, yet gently confident and full of surprises just like Pi – the boy that WAS most certainly on the lifeboat with the Bengali Tiger.

Pioneer Woman Exists?

May 21st, 2007

I am trying to decide if Pioneer Woman is real or not. Is it possible that this blog is manufactured to make the rest of us try harder? Have the computers taken over blogdom and created the perfect blog to try and control our minds? I know, I may sound like a paranoid schizo – but someone has to ask the hard questions. I have two critical pieces of evidence that may cause you to also have spasms of doubt about her actual existence.

1. Marlboro Man – Believe it or not Marlboro man actually lives or rather lived just up the road from me. That’s right – the real Marlboro man – the original and true Marlboro man lived out the rest of his days right here in my part of the country on a ranch outside Westmoreland. Here are some pictures of him, for those of you who have to see to believe. His name is Wayne Dunafon pictured with the black hat and the horizontal striped shirt

So clearly Pioneer woman’s “Marlboro Man” is an imposter. Do you think she knows? Should someone tell her?

2. The comments – I just cannot accept the number of comments she gets every day! I can’t wrap my pea sized brain around 89 comments – 120 comments, 1000 comments! Impossible! It is a trick. Someone is making this up. Who are these people that leave thise comments? Have you ever read them? It reminds me of one of those coaches shows after a big victory

Caller 1 – “Hey coach – great game, the team looked good,

Coach – Thanks, what is your question?

Caller – Just wanted to say great game coach – keep it up!

Coach – Thanks and now to Caller 2. Hello?

Caller 2 – Hey Coach – Great game…The team was INCREDIBLE!

Coach – Thanks, I appreciate that – do you have any questions?

Caller – 2 – You’re the greatest coach ever! Rock on dude

Coach Okay – so now lets go to caller 3

Caller 3 – Coach – YOU ROCK!!!

Coach – Wow – thanks – Question?

Caller 3 – We are going to kill everyone team in our path! Destroy them. Love the defense man. Perfect game

Coach – Yes – well we tried something new tonight…

Caller 3 – You ARE AWESOME!!!

Coach – Thanks

And so on and so forth.

I am a huge fan of her site. And I will continue to be a fan even if it turns out she doesn’t even exist.