List #122: What a Difference a Year Makes

2011 was many things. It was Tough. Heartbreaking. Challenging. Adventurous. And, well, Happy.

A Collage of Happy in 2011
It's easy to sit back on New Year's Eve and feel overwhelmed about life. But I refuse to enter the new year with a cloud over my head. And I'm going to be proud of what I have accomplished and what I have done. It was a very momentous year, after all.

What did I do right in 2011?

  • Pretty Girls Weekend, NYC, February
  • Spending a lot of time with my two favorite babies
  • Embracing the warm hugs of friendship when they were needed the most
  • Winter Walks, Spring Walks, Summer Walks, Fall Walks
  • Becoming an "ordained minister"
  • Marrying friends
  • Professional conferences and presentations
  • Tweeting
  • Attending PodCamp6
  • First dates 
  • What comes after the first date
  • Collecting a new wardrobe
  • Wine country: Chautauqua and Willamette
  • Deleting contact information from a cell phone
  • Defriending
  • Keeping memory alive
  • Crying and not crying
  • Seattle & Portland, Kappas West Coast, August/September
  • Creating a blog
  • Writing and more writing
  • West Virginia,Wild and Wonderful Librarians, October
  • Made new friends: real and virtual
  • Sporting events from college football to professional baseball, football and hockey
  • Protecting family
  • Christmas in the city, NYC, December
  • Cutting my hair short
  • Growing my hair long
  • Reading
So dear readers, what did you do right in 2011? And all the best to you in 2012. Looking forward to sharing the journey with you.


List #121: Because We All Hope for Better

A cliche for this time of year: 


  • The days between Christmas and New Year feel so long and weighted. As if each breath you take might be the one that bursts.
  • We're all hoping for a year a little better than the last. Because sometimes, beneath the graying skies of winter, it's easier to remember what stings instead of shines.
  • Loneliness is everywhere. And even when we surround ourselves with people and love and places and things, it can creep in through the tiniest of cracks.
  • Wishes of health, peace, love and fortune are packed deep in our hearts. For our families, our friends, ourselves. 
Just maybe, this year, just maybe.


Letter #29: People in My Neighborhood

Sometimes I feel lost when trying to write a new post. I've been blogging for almost a year and so much in the past year has changed. It can be tough walking the balance of what to share and what to keep close to heart. So became the inspiration of the guest posts. And since yesterday Maggie was the brave, kind soul to submit something to me first...I now have to use her post as an inspiration for my own.

So today, my own little letters to the people in my own personal neighborhood:

Dear Neighbor's Dog,
You really need to stop with the barking before 8 o'clock in the morning. It's just really unnecessary to bark at every passing car, or every child on his or her way to school. You're vicious looking, despite the tail wagging, so no one is going to come invade your yard anyway. Yes, I do know that your owner is really at fault and not you. But I thought if I could talk to you directly, maybe you'd stop and save her the pain of dealing with annoyed neighbors.

Dear Bus Drivers,
I appreciate your hard work everyday. I always try to exit out the front door so that I can tell you thanks and to have a good day. You are usually pleasant and happy and sometimes, you even compliment my jacket or my footwear. I like you most when you don't smoke on the bus before people board though; don't think we can't tell when you do. I wish you nothing but trouble-free roads in 2012.

Dear Patrons,
Each day you bring new excitement to the library. I love that you are passionate about books, learning, current affairs, and whatever is that you care about at the moment. Even when you and the library don't see eye-to-eye, know that we want serve you the best that we can. I can't wait to see what the new year brings for all of us: books, movies, programs and conversations.

Dear Neighbor who has been Living on my Parent's Street since I was very little,
You're a staple of my childhood. A beacon of my neighborhood. The neighbor who could always be counted on for extra sugar. And the neighbor I always had to deliver desserts to during the holidays, who gets leftover food from my Mom when she knows it's something you enjoy. You've had a rough year, you're in your 90s and yet you keep on going. I hope that I reach to be your age. I hope that I can care for my spouse the way you cared for yours. I hope that I am, one day, the friendly old neighbor you have always been to my family to someone in the neighborhood I am destined to settle in middle age.

So dear readers, who do you love and look forward to seeing in your neighborhood? Or are there people you'd just rather avoid? 

P.S. One of my Twitter Friends Jaci was inspired by this post and is setting her own goal in 2012. Go on over and check out her book blog. You won't regret it. Maybe we can all recommend some great new reads for the new year.


Guest Post #1: The Adorable Maggie from A Drop in the Three Rivers

A few weeks ago I asked my readers and favorite bloggers if they would be interested in writing a guest blog here at Librarian Lists and Letters. One of the first people to respond was a Maggie from over at A Drop in the Three Rivers. Maggie and I met at PodCamp Pittsburgh 6 this autumn. We were both newbies and nervous about not knowing anyone, what to wear, and generally everything else. We tweeted about it all week and the PodCamp alums assured us that everything would be fine. And quite surely, they were right.

This is Maggie. She loves Pittsburgh down to the core of her bones. I asked her a few questions:
Q: What should readers know about you?
A: Everything you need to know about me can be summed up in three words: I love Pittsburgh.

Q: Why do you blog?
A: Reason one? It's because I want to think. My brain moves so quickly sometimes, that I can't keep track of what I'm thinking. Typing my thoughts and arranging them in a coherent way for my readers helps me to sort out my thoughts and feelings for my own benefit, too. Reason two? I'm a writer. Always have been, probably always will be.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in 2012?
A: I'm looking forward to everything 2012 has to offer! Namely: Enjoying my birthday. My niece's second birthday. Continuing to understand what it means to be an adult, single, professional lady in the city. Visit friends in NYC and Philly. See the West Coast. I'm also hoping to make it the first time in my adult life that I have one single address during a calendar year (no moving!).

And so, Maggie's Lettesr: odes to the people she sees everyday. Perfect for this week of holiday joy, thankfulness and love amid work, deadlines and early mornings. A little tribute to the people who make our life when even we don't always know it. For better and sometimes, for worse.

Dear Mailman,
How did you get so cool? You seem like you're my age, with your chain, headphones and loose-fitting mailman pants. If I had to guess, I'd say that your iPod plays Nirvana and Chris Brown and that you're not ashamed to admit that you listen to the occasional Britney Spears record. Pre-Federline only, of course.

Dear Nice Auto Mechanic,
I really appreciate the days that we say good morning (or afternoon) as I walk into the office. In fact, I'm not looking forward to this winter when your garage door is closed. Don't take this the wrong way, but you have a really great smile. It brightens my day. I bet people tell you that all of the time though.

Dear People Who Throw Their Cigarette Butts Everywhere,
You know, I ma all about finding to appreciate in everyone. I'm sure you have other great qualities, but your carelessness ins't one of them. Please stop flicking your cigarette butts willy-hilly. Did you know that you'er hurting our poor trees? You're also hurting my poor quads--someone's got to pick them up and put them in the trash during clean-up days! I propose that in 2012 you made the big life change. Keep smoking if you must, but put those butts in a receptacle, please.

Dear Post-Gazette Salesman,
Your smile is also nice, like my friend the Mechanic up there. You're a really nice salesman, I think.Not only do you usually remember that I do get the PG delivered to my home every morning, you never push anyone I see into buying it. You're always pretty cheerful and you have awesome Steelers-related wares on your PG table. Thank you for your consistency.

Dear UPS Guy,
The first time you remembered my last name, I felt like a real employee at my office. I've been around so that the UPS guy knows my last name! You probably don't know that your memory (really, something you have to do for your job) made not only my day, but my week. Then you have waved at me in the pizza shop?! It was great to see a friend that day. You rock, UPS man.

So dear readers, who do you see in your daily routine? Share what you'd like to say to them in the comments! Or volunteer to be a guest blogger!


List #120: The Best Things Found Under the Tree

I think as adults we all sort of miss the Christmases of our childhoods. Waiting for Santa, not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve, the large pile of presents under the tree. And for me, one of the best parts of Christmas is the nostalgia and traditions.

So for nostalgia's sake, I'm going to relive some of my favorite Christmas gifts throughout the years. No reason to worry be worried about what we don't have, or what we never had, but rather remember the sweet moments when someone knew you well enough...whether that person was a parent, a friend or Santa.

Barbie Dining Room Table Set
I will gladly admit that I played with Barbies way later than it was fashionable for a young girl to be playing with Barbies. I didn't give them up until the end of 7th grade and up until that point my gradeschool best friend and I loved to make elaborate homes for Barbie and carry out bizarre family plots where mom and dad dated other people and the grandmother kidnapped the children. I actually think going to Catholic school and having our families be pretty drama-free made our imaginations more vivid than they needed to be. So scoring this awesome Barbie dining room set (probably in the 4th grade) was a pretty amazing gift. The table actually had a lady susan! And in the 4th grade I thought lazy susans were the epitome of kitchen chic. It's probably safe to say that I pretty much loved getting anything Barbie-related at Christmastime but this dining room set was top notch.

Board Games
Growing up there were two things you could count on getting as a Christmas gift in my house: pajamas and board games. Each year myself and my two brothers would each get our own board game and the family would be expected to play each game at least once over the Christmas Break. We had the classics: Battleship, CandyLand, Operation, Monopoly, etc. But then we also had far more trendy and kitchy too: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, New Kids on the Block, Gooey Louie. They key to board games for Christmas was never asking for a specific one and being surprised when you unwrapped yours. Pretty sure this tradition is why I value playing board games with friends and significant others as an adult. 
If you were a girl in the early 90s, the Caboodle was essential to your life. It was with a Caboodle that you could organize all of your growing girly hopes and dreams, store your lip glosses, hide your secret notes and generally feel more grown-up than you were. And when my parents wrapped one for under my tree, I was in heaven. The one pictured is the exact one I got. And I was thrilled. I twas bigger than the Caboodles my friends had; more space for very important pre-teen items! I could take it to ballet rehearsal! Oh, Caboodle you made even a geeky girl who loved books and dolls feel cool. Also, for those interested Caboodles still exist
Leather Jacket
I was a high school student in the mid to late-90s. And in those years, leather jackets were a fashion statement. I can't remember if this was just something at my school, if it was girls as well as boys, or if this was an all-around national trend. But my family didn't have a lot of money in those days and I actually wasn't even sure I wanted a leather jacket. So when I opened one up on Christmas morning circa 1996, I was stunned. It was awesome. And boxy like this one and stopped at my hips. I wore it with a plaid scarf and a leather purse and it's nothing I would even imagine wearing now. But back then? I loved it.

And of course there are many more gifts from childhood that I fondly remember: a bike, a stereo, stirrup pants. But perhaps they'll make a future list. For the rest of this Christmas I'm just going to count my blessings and try to think about love. And perhaps, just perhaps, I'll find that wallet I've been wanting under my tree on Sunday.

So dear readers, what was one of your favorite Christmas gifts from your younger years? Share with us in the comments.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


List #119: What We Talk about When We Talk about the Beginning

In the beginning there is swooning. Lots and lots of swooning. From the simple things like learning this new person has seen every episode of The West Wing, just like you. Or perhaps you discover, in an early late-night conversation, that they too don't like the texture of cottage cheese. You'll smile because this means you'll always have the perfect show to watch on rainy evenings and you'll never have to spend your morning spooning white lumps into your mouth.

And during the first night you spend together, you barely sleep a wink. Too worried that you're going to snore, afraid you won't balance the sharing of sheets properly, too nervous that they'll be a light sleeper. You'll curse yourself for early morning workdays and perhaps say a silent prayer to no one in particular that this person doesn't flake out.

Tiny compliments will begin to be told. And then, tiny secrets to follow. They'll unfold over text messages and emails sent in the middle of the work day. You'll be smiling when you least expect it. And then have a flash of worry hoping they are experiencing the same. But somehow, you both keep coming to meet in the middle and you'll learn to push through the panic.

"We'll see," you just keep saying to yourself. "We'll see."


List #118: Best Books 2011

'Tis the season for year-end lists. A personal favorite of mine. And I've been spending more time than I care to admit reading The AV Club and Cracked laughing, reliving some 2011 moments, and learning about more than a few things I missed.

But the lists that I most anticipate? Best of the Best in books, of course. I love it. I love scouring the lists and finding the books that I read. I love arguing over books that I didn't enjoy. I get pleasure when I find out my library already owns the majority of the list and I love the excuse to buy a few more when our collection is incomplete. I'm a geek and my geek-method of choice is the printed word.

Of course the list-making librarian has some of her own favorite lists:
The NY Times lists in both fiction and non-fiction and gives notable titles as well.
Kirkus for their professional worthy reviews and children's lists (my favorite picture book made their list but more on that later).
NPR and their genre-sensitive, fun-loving recommendations, that will please just about every reader.

But oh, lists from prestigious places can be bloated. They can celebrate the same authors over and over again. Or leave out the humor and only focus on the stories that gut your heart.

So for today's list, I give you my top 5 books of the year. I read 45 books so far this year (completing my goal with about 2 weeks to spare) and these are at the top.

Finished in January
Why I Read It:  Levithan has a tradition of writing books for his friends for Valentine's Day; a fact about him that I find so endearing I wish I could do the same for my own friends. This book of short dictionary entries tells the tale of a relationship; what we think about and what we discuss when we talk about love. 
Why I Loved It: If you're been following my blog since the beginning you'll know that my own long-term relationship ended on the first working day of 2011. I was bruised, lost, confused and feeling rather hopeless. Levithan let me relive the ups and downs of a relationship without making me feel badly about myself. He showed me that love isn't easy and gave me hope that the one out there, the one I hope wants to stick around, would understand where I was coming from.

Finished in February
Why I Read It: Reviews caught my eye when I first ordered this title for the library. But it took a coworker gushing and coming into work angry about it for me to really become interested. And then of course, it's because I've always loved Hemingway. I think of him fondly, memories of him and me staying up on snowy evenings at my liberal arts college, introducing me to the heart of American fiction. 
Why I Loved It: It left me with the strong desire to punch Hemingway in the face. It's as if his behavior gave all American men the excuse they needed to treat their women wrongly and chalk it up to experience and life and walk away without feeling regret. Hadley and Hem? Their love was pure and visceral and the one true. Without her, he wouldn't have been Hemingway. But in the end, sometimes that's not enough. And sometimes, the strong women needs to hear that and needs a reminder that it's okay to save some love in your heart for them, but to still walk away.

Finished in August
Why I Read It: Once again, reading reviews of this book before it was published struck me. Also, the cover is exactly what it should be. And most importantly, I love realistic fiction that takes on the voice of many.
Why I Loved It: It's the type of book that lets its readers get so close that you feel like you're stepping into the pages. Because finally, I found a book that showed women of my age that "you know what, love and life is hard and it might not turn out the way you expect it to but your'e going to be okay anyway." Plus, Close's prose are artwork. She weaves her story through characters and years with gentle yet realistic emotion.
Finished in November
Why I Read It: Three things: 1. I love Kelly Kappor 2. I love memoirs and essays from single, career-minded women. 3. Reading celebrity essays/memoirs is my guilty book pleasure of choice.
Why I Loved It: Because I think Mindy Kaling and I could be friends. She's smart and funny. She loves her job and she has horrible dating stories but doesn't give up. Sometimes it's nice to know that you aren't alone.
Finished in November
Why I Read It: It had been floating around the library for sometime but never quite made its way home with me. I am drawn to stories of family dysfunction and personal crisis.
Why I Loved It:  Tropper is alternatively hilarious and heart-breaking. His writing style feels fresh and tight but lacks the pompous air that sometimes hangs out around this type of novel. The family in this story seems completely unreal and unreasonable, but yet you'll find yourself and your family members in almost every corner of the book. Also, this novel has "future-indie-film" written all over it.

So, dear readers, share your favorites and why you loved them in the comments. We'd love to hear what you spend your year reading!


Letter #28: Christmas Cards I Did Not Write

I'm in the process of writing and sending over 30 Christmas cards.  It's not a lot by some people's standards, I know. But for a single girl with not even a cat to take a photo of and send off in the post, over 30 cards is enough. All that's left is to gather up a few stray addresses and put them in the mail for Monday.

But what about the cards I won't send? A few messages that aren't going out in cards this year.

Dear Friend on the other side of America,
Thank you for calling in the wee hours of the morning and holding your cell phone up at that concert. Thank you for explaining to your wife how this is a friend's theme song and thank you to her for understanding even if she's never met me. Our friendship is a quirky one and I appreciate you knowing just how much a song heard, even scratchy through mobile lines, would warm me on the inside. Here's hoping your new year continues to be as fabulous as this past one was for you.

Dear Library Patrons,
We have this odd sort of relationship, where we are a part of each other's daily lives but aren't exactly friends. And I hope that when we're closed for a few days the holidays find you warm and loved. You may not know how much I enjoy you and honestly, that's the way it should be. So this holiday season just know that the girl who gives you books sometimes stays up late worrying about you and she hopes that you're looking forward to 2012 reads as much as she is.

Dear Men from My Past,
I thought about writing you a card this year. A simple note to let wish a merry holiday. But I didn't and I won't. Because sometimes being the nice girl has its limits. Ho Ho Ho.

Dear Twitter Friends,
Not too long ago I thought Twitter was best used for finding out when Vera Bradley was having a sale. I didn't understand why I would want to share my life with strangers and I never wanted to the be the person who felt compelled to tweet photos of her day. But then I sort of stumbled upon you during a period of transition, started expressing my feelings and found wonderful people. Sure, I gained followers but I also gained confidence. So thank you for not being Facebook. Thank you for retweets, podcamps, and favorites.  Happy Holidays to you and the wacky families you'll be tweeting about.

Dear Tim Tebow,
It's probably true that no one dislikes you. You're a pretty likable guy and your football season has certainly been a unique thing to watch. I just wanted to wish you a Merry Little Christmas. And ask you, do you have one of those statues of Santa praying before Jesus in your house? If not, I'll pick one up for you at a craft fair for next year.

As Always,
Lots of Love.


List #117: What I Want Under the Tree

What do I want for Christmas this year? Up first, the big ticket item and the one more than likely to be purchased by family members.

The Impractical:
The iPad2: I'm not actually really sure what I would do with an iPad2 because I love my MacBook Pro and I already have 3 iPods (though truthfully the shuffle has long been lost the gods years ago and the touch is just a weird piece of technology that I haven't used since graduate school). I just invision my life being a little cooler with an iPad. Perhaps blogging would be easier. And I'd have full intention of using it at storytime. I'd be that cool librarian.

The Practical:
A New Wallet: Because my Vera Bradley one isn't cutting it anymore and just doesn't suit my style. It's been beaten and bruised over the last two years. Dropped in the snow, sitting on the bottom of my overcrowded purse. I even managed to douse it in salad dressing on a fateful day in January. It's time for a new one in hopes of a better financial new year too. Preferably a Fossil, long wallet that has some vinyl on it for protection. 

So dear readers, what are you wishing Santa would bring?


Letter #27: Things I Want You to Know, Part 5

Dear Girl in line behind me at Starbucks (approximately 8:05 this morning),
Thank you for tapping me on the shoulder and telling me you love my outfit. You went so far as to tell me that I look really pretty; you knew that an unsolicited comment can make a woman's day. I hope that your kindness is repaid later today.

Dear Avett Brothers,
I appreciate your songs and about love and hate and everything in-between. I like spending my mornings with bearded men who understand that we're all a little complicated. But that nothing is as complicated as it appears.

Dear Barista at Starbucks last night (approximately 5:15 pm),
I was there having an after-work chai tea with a friend. Wrapping up on a tough year for both of us and looking ahead to what the new year might offer. You don't know me, because I'm usually there in the morning but even so, when I joked about you not knowing the cup size that really didn't warrant calling me a bitch. Yes, I heard you and yes, I should have reported your ass. But it is Christmas and my friend didn't want me to waste the time. But now I kind of regret my decision and hope that you get better customer service skills under the tree this year.

Dear Christmas Cards,
I wish that more people sent you. You're one of the best things about the holidays. And I hope that one day someone will want me to sign his name on ours, together.

Dear Saks Fifth Avenue (New York City),
Sure, I could probably get the same service in our Pittsburgh location that will be shutting its doors soon. But when a single girl walks into those revered 5th Avenue doors and walks out with a brand new lipstick she kind of feels as if the world might change in that instant. One day, I hope I can walk out with a brand new pair of shoes.

Dear Man at Starbucks,
Though I have a feeling that you're not the type of man who embraces Christmas carols, I'm sure you're the type of man who hangs lights outside, to please the one who shares your bed, without griping. If we don't get to bump into each other, and share a small smile, before Christmas I can only hope that the new year is started with you and your head tattoo.

Happy Holidays.


List #116: Single Girl Christmas #2

December is for nostalgia. We've got Santa and decades of ornaments. There is time off for preparing, twinkling battling it out for classy and gaudy, gift wrapping and giving and receiving. December is watching the same television specials we watched twenty years ago and baking the same cookies as our grandmothers.

And today my thoughts were wrapped in nostalgia. My morning was spent creating holiday magic for children; a twist on a library event I first started last year. The evening spent shopping with my mom and watching Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas; our mother-daughter tradition we had hoped would fill us with cheer. And our conversation drifted us to the sad: missed loved ones, those less fortunate, Christmases spent by hospital beds, the lost magic those children from my morning possess. Quite honestly, I think we were both holding back tears as we weaved in out of racks at Macy's and shuffled the crowds of Apple. Sometimes, Christmas isn't always fun as an adult.

So, for my second single girl Christmas list, I'm giving you a few my adult memories (or not-so-memories) that warm my heart and make me proud.
  • I remember watching Elf for the first time with a college roommate and laughing so much I think we were in tears. And tonight I'm grateful for laughs in all the right places, no matter where I'm watching. No matter who is watching with me.
  • Rhodes, Greece. An old man who couldn't understand the mass, a Creche that even blew me away, an unconcerned taxi driver. 
  • I remember grabbing the Christmas gifts she made us on the night that every thing changed. My memory wants me to believe it was out of protection, not spite. But she's not here anymore and no part of her heart should have been left in his clutter.
  • How many times has my Dad cried on Christmas Day? The count has been lost. 
  • I cannot what remember what I gave last Christmas. And the absence of memory is worth so much better than I could have hoped.
  • Christmas Eve dinner, in a garage with a wood-burning stove and sexy women posted on the walls. This is our family, this is our book, and love fills the room.
So dear readers, what are your adult Christmas memories? Which ones make you most proud of where you've come from and how far you've traveled? 


Letter #26: Librarian Seeks Guest Bloggers

Dear Bloggers of the 'Burgh and Beyond,

I've got my fingers crossed that you're itching for something new to tackle in 2012. When January comes upon us I'll be quickly approaching my one-year blog anniversary and I want to shake it up just a bit. 

See, I started this blog to help with my emotions when the best person I thought I knew (at the time) walked out on our relationship. I was lost, I was scared and it was winter. But throughout the last 12 months this blog has grown to be so much more. 

But lately? I'm feeling as if I'm slowly hitting a wall. It's not that I've run out of things to say, it's just that I don't always want to reveal everything in my current situation. Can I say I've been on dates? Sure. But tell you the dirty details of each one? Or talk too much about a situation that is new? I'm too cautious and my lips don't kiss and tell. And this may be a librarian's blog but I've never been one to tell library secrets. I just like alliteration and love that I am a librarian.

So here is what I'm hoping. I'd love to have some bloggers guest write a list or a letter (or both) in the new year. You can write about anything: lists of Pittsburgh crushes, the books you always meant to read, your favorite swoon moments from the opposite sex. And letters dedicated to your favorite jeans, an ode to the boy from high school who isn't on Facebook, an angry message to your burnt toast. I'll post it on my blog, give you and your blog some love. We may even throw in a Q&A if you're interested.

In addition? I'll write my own list or letter that reflects yours. You wrote a letter to your first pet, Celery the Guina Pig? I'll write a letter the aquarium fish I got as a First Eucharist present. Get personal. If you write a list of all the things members of the opposite do that make you swoon on a first date? I will too. 

All I ask is that you have a blog, keep it suitable for work, and are willing to set up a post due date. We'll work together and have fun, I promise. If you're interested leave me a comment below with your name, blog link and email address if you'd like. Or just send me an email directly with your blog and idea.

Remember, the original title of this blog was "New Year, New Things" a mantra I whispered to myself all hours of the day when I first started this adventure. I'm hoping for some new inspiration soon.

Brassy Librarian

List #115: Anniversary

Happy Job Anniversary to me! Today marks one year at my new library. My library is small; a suburban branch near the city that gets lots of traffic and many old men who like to read the newspapers in the morning. It's kind of been a magical professional year for me. And I don't know where the next year will take me, but I will fully admit and sing from the hills that I am one lucky for woman. Because I have found a profession, a career and a job that I love with all of my heart.

Anniversary Reflections:

  • Since starting at my library last December I have been in the paper four times. Three as features in the local papers and once as a highlight in the Post-Gazette for a program we ran this summer.
  • I presented a poster at a pretty big library conference this fall.
  • Our children's section is under major renovation and it is a project that thrills in me in such a geeky way.
  • I have business cards. And on occasion, I get to hand them out.
  • I love that my desk is a place that I can hang photos of American libraries, my favorite babies in the world, friends and family.
  • Program numbers, increased. New storytime options introduced.
  • Hearing people in the community talk about the great things my library does and having the pleasure of knowing that's me who is partly doing it.
  • Wearing heels to work for the first time in my professional life on a regular basis and loving how I feel.
So, thank you awesome professional year. Thank you, library gods, for giving me a wonderful place to work with amazing coworkers. Thank you, job, for brining the good and giving me clarity in a year that wasn't always. I appreciate you and look forward to building with you more.

So dear readers, is it about time that I quit calling my library "new library?" What is one of your favorite professional moments of the last year? Share in the comments!


Moments: Yia Mas!

Once upon a time I lived in Greece. It was years ago. Before YouTube was invented, before wireless Internet was the standard, before everyone we knew had a smartphone and connected their life to Facebook. I worked at night, teaching classes to eager and not-so eager students. I tried my best at the New York Times crossword in my town's square, drank Nescafe and ate Happy Hippos. I went to the beach on the weekend and drank hot chocolate next to the sea when the weather was cold.

And when dinner was to be had, or you wanted a cheap buzz, the man with the golden key was always to be found. Retsina. Wine that tastes like pine. An acquired taste I don't even register anymore even years after my last glass.

Who knew that when I left my little Greek town that people laugh at when I reference it would be years before a reunion. I never thought that the decisions I was making at the time might set me adrift for awhile, might make me feel lost. And yes, who knows if I'd be me if I'd have stayed or said no the job offer I had upon my return. But what I do know is that a good meal, with a good friend, over a bottle or two with Malamatina is worth the trip to Astoria.


List #114: Single Girl Christmas

Some of you might be shocked when I tell you that I'm in a Fantasy Football League. And love to see my competitive side shine through. It's al all-girls league started 5 years ago by the a college/Greece friend who loves sports a *little* bit more than your average Pittsburgher. I know a few of the ten women involved in the league through college but others I'm just meeting this year. 

And it was one of them, a strong independent lady living in PA's favorite neighbor, that inspired the notion of "Single Girl Christmas." We don't have to worry about the lavishing the big bucks on a significant other and their extended families and it is the season that brings along the blues with the joys, so why not treat your self and put some holiday cheer in your own life. 

So, buget be damned, I'm heading to this place tomorrow evening. For a little bit of Big Apple Christmas. I'll be visiting our Fantasy Football Commissioner, partaking in an ugly Christmas sweater party and going to see the Rockefeller tree. I hear it hails from our homestate this year. 

So, Single Girl Christmas Gift 1 Objectives:
  • Locate holiday joy. This December doesn't quite feel right and probably won't because we're all still missing a dear family member so much that it can hurt. But I think channeling my inner Elf might stir some jingle in me.
  • Relax. The next few weeks at the library are packed full of programs and responsibilities. This trip isn't about packing in the sites as it is about getting out of my routine and enjoying someplace different.
  • Embrace 30. My host for the weekend is celebrating her 30th birthday this week. I see wine and the best decade yet to come in our future.
  • Treat Yo Self 2011. I'm quickly approaching my year-job anniversary. I've conquered personal challenges. It's time to enjoy a reward.
  • Reboot. Perhaps it's time to recharge my batteries before the next challenges, worries and adventures make their way into the next 365 days.
So, dear friends, do you support Single Girl Christmas? Will you be celebrating yourself? And if so, please give us your secrets!


List #113: My Favorite Muppets

Last week, sometime before The Muppets debuted in theaters, Jezebel posted this opinion piece about how Kermit was a truly terrible boyfriend. When I first read the piece on a friend's Facebook page, I nodded my head in agreement and immediately reposted it. Yes! Kermit was the reason why my relationship history as an adult has been so flawed! Yes! Kermit ruined men for me.

But then someone quietly reminded me that Miss Piggy wasn't a picnic herself. She was a self-centered, demanding drama queen. Nothing like the woman I want to be in a relationship. Occasionally she's has some wild feminist streaks that I loved even as a little girl, but she was never my favorite Muppet. And in fact, if memory serves me correct she basically tricked Kermit into marrying her.

I've pretty much been OD'ing on all things Muppets since Thursday afternoon: soundtracks, YouTube clips of the Muppet Show, Sesame Street memories and even a few things Fraggle Rock. So, with that in mind I give you my top 3 favorite Muppets:

Fozzie Bear: Men who make me laugh have had my heart since I was a toddler. Remember, when McDonald's had plush Kermit, Miss Piggy or Fozzie that you could get durin one Christmas year. Miss Piggy was unavailable everywhere and that was quite alright with me, I wanted Fozzie and nothing else.

Gonzo: I love Gonzo because he is absolutely weird. And for all of the criticism some Muppets get for the supposed sexual orientation, Gonzo always seemed to escape the fray even though he loves chickens. But really, Gonzo had my heart when I saw A Muppet's Christmas Carol, the best version of the Dickens' story ever produced.

Count Von Count: If I'm only doing a top 3 I had to include a Sesame Street character. Though I've always been partial to the Muppets from the Muppet Show, I did love me some Sesame as a small child too. And really my favorite is the count. He probably wasn't my favorite when I was younger, though I know I was never scared of him. And I basically hate math today. But he's so goofy and lovable and plays some really awesome tunes.

So dear readers, care to share your favorite Muppet? I know you have one!


List #112: 'Tis the Season

I don't know where we go to the point that the day after Thanksgiving is bigger than the day itself. It feels to me, somewhere between 2001 and 2009. Because I laughed when my Greek students told me that Thanksgiving was just a day in which Americans prepared their stomachs for Christmas. And now I'm not so sure.

And sometimes, it feels like you have to completely disown Christmas anymore. That there is no middle ground between the love and hate. But here is a confession: I actually really like Christmas in general. I like buying gifts for others. I like wrapping presents. I like sending Christmas cards. And I don't want to hide it.

In the year that I have so wholeheartedly dreaded the holidays. In the year that I so very much anticipate laying to rest and starting fresh, I'm going to take pleasure in what I enjoy. Because now that they are here, they don't seem so frightening. Sure, look closely and you'll see the cracks of bittersweet. But I am, afterall, still trying to kick the sh*t out of life.

Top 3 Holiday Things I will Enjoy:
Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas: My ultimate favorite Christmas movie. A sucker for Jim Henson and his Muppets. A sucker for sad stories. This has everything I could ever hope for in a Christmas movie. I remember, before DVDs and the wonder of Amazon, trying to scour the list of holiday programs to see when this would be on. A holiday tradition between myself and my mother. Oh, and I will judge any potential man on his knowledge and opinion of this film.
Christmas Cards: Sending Christmas cards in the mail will never be an dying art in my world. Perhaps it's the fact that my dad works for the Postal Service, or that I worked part-time at a Hallmark store for years, or that I've been writing letters to various pen pals, camp friends and foreign-country living pals for years. Either way, I just love writing cards. I love penning personal messages, I love coordinating stickers and I love seasonal stamps. 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: I remember Mrs. Fiori, my fifth grade and possibly favorite Catholic school teacher, reading this book aloud to us between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But flash forward a few years and I find myself a junior at Allegheny College and Barbara Robinson is speaking to my class. Turns out she's an Allegheny Alum and I just want to burst and let her know how much this book  entertained me as a child. And so this Christmas season, I'm going to take my autographed copy and get friendly with the Herdmans once again.

So dear readers, what holiday activities are you going to seek out? Is there something special you treat yourself with every year that you keep a bit secret? Share in the comments! 


List # 111: Happy Thanksgiving

Because it's Thanksgiving 2011. It's the start of the holiday I've been dreading, but lately feel it might not be as somber as I originally thought. And because there is a lot of thanks to give.

The Serious:

  • Health. Because without it we can't live the life we have or reach for the one we want
  • Family. They may annoy me, but are some of my biggest cheerleader's in life.
  • Friends. I always knew I had some pretty kick-ass friends, but 2011 taught me that I have friends who will always look out for me and treat me like family.
  • Professional Growth. I know I'm one of the lucky few who truly enjoy going to work every day. My work is my passion and I'm thankful that I can continue to challenge myself and grow.
  • New Adventures. Just the nervous excitement of something new is enough give thanks.
The Not-So-Serious:
  • Books. For giving me a world of escape and entertainment, more so than anything else since I was about 3 years old.
  • Cardigans. The librarian style of choice for years.
  • Lip stick. Because wearing lipsticks makes me feel sexy no matter what else I have on.
  • Slipper Socks. I'm not looking foward to months of cold, but I am looking forward to comfy goodness on my feet.
  • Hot Baths. And a good book? There is nothing else that makes me feel right.
  • Jon Stewart. The funny, hot guy who can always make me laugh.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I can only hope that you and yours have a happy day of over-eating and family.  Tell us, what are you thankful for this year?


List #110: The Things We Talk About When We Talk about Late Nights

That space of time when you're pressed up against another body in bed. Warm heat radiating on a brisk autumn evening, winter breaking through on the outside just about ready to settle and stay. Blankets twisted around your legs. Faces inches apart, breathing in sweet musky air.

Each word spoken a measured statement. Nothing is leaving your lips without contemplation. Small breaths taken in between each sentence. Your arms going numb as you're afraid to shift and chase away the comfortable. Words escape the mouth you can't help but kiss.

An off cuff statement, loaded with allusion and hints. This is not the time to ask what was meant. And as you both drift off to sleep you can't help but think about its implications and slowly smile. This other being, leans over your curled self, pecks your cheek and whispers in your ear. "I missed you."

And soon light snores fill the room.

 All of that.

So dear readers, do you know these moments? Care to share?


Letter # 25: Things I Want You to Know, Part 4

Dear Man at Starbucks (not seen this morning. yet.),
I haven't been around lately, I know. And I doubt you miss seeing me like I miss seeing you. But maybe you remember my moles like I remember your head tattoo. I hope November has been keeping you busy and happy. And I hope to see you soon.

Dear Rainboots,
I love your black and white polka dots. I love your slick rubber feel. I love that you make me feel put together even when the torrents are coming down.

Dear November, 
You've allowed me to wear dresses without tights quite a bit. And I'm not sure whether I should love or hate this. Because I want to wear bundle myself in sweaters but I know that I will wary of the snow and the white despair of winter eventually. I will want to cuddle with another and hot chocolate and sleep through your deafening mornings but will not be able too. So I guess I'll take your picturesque version of Autumn, November, and thank my geography for four seasons.

Dear Blog,
I'm sure you've been feeling neglected lately. It's been tough to find a way to write down the proper words lately. I could blame a lack of time, but I'm afraid it's a lack of wanting to write about parts of my life and a lack of knowing how to say things gracefully.

Dear Thanksgiving,
When I lived in Greece my students that you were just a holiday that prepared Americans for the feast that was to come at Christmas. I'm sorry that we're making this true. You're being blanketed in all things red and green and we're quickly forgetting the reflective peace that comes with you. If I could, I would dress myself as a pilgrim and stage a Thanksgiving play in your honor. 

Love Always,



Moments: 6 Months

Laura and me as tiny tots. Approximately age 2.

November 10 marked since months. Since months since my dear cousin lost her battle to melanoma. And for days leading up to this half-year mark I thought about what I would write. I made mental lists of all the things that have happened in six months. But when I sat down to write them it just felt like she already knew them. Even if I'm not an overly religious person, I can admit that I do talk to my cousin, do tell her things and ask for her guidance. Because it's been half a hear, and I can still see the last big smile she ever gave me without even closing my eyes. I can stop for a moment and still hear her boisterous laugh, or even better, her goofy voices and imitations of family members.

So even though I thought I'd have a long list of things I'd say here, I have none. I can't put into words how strange it was to finally reach my 30th and know that no future years will be shared. There is no mention of the funny stories I'd tell her about dating through the spring, the summer and the fall. No reason to feel sorry that we never did get to go on a trip to celebrate that milestone, no chatting about the upcoming family wedding. Because she just knows.

Even if there is nothing after all of this here. I know that I still felt her arms around me as I wept a little on the couch during my last night as 29. How I knew in my heart she was sitting on the couch with me, crying a little bit too. And laughing at how quickly time passes.


List #108: My Librarian Ways

This is me at my desk today on my lunch break. Notice the small pile of children's books on the desk and the filling recyclable  bin on the floor. I'm wearing glasses and a cardigan that makes me feel more like a librarian than any other piece currently in my wardrobe. I may look adorable, but I also look like I should have 3 cats at home named Jinx, Einstein and Purrtrude.

And maybe it's because I have been overcome by a work project or maybe it's because my head is all twisted around a new thing that I want to be a thing but am not sure is going to be a thing or maybe it's because today is my Friday and I just want it to be time for vacation. But I'm worried that I am going to become the stereotype. Or perhaps I already am.

Librarian Concerns and Musing:

  • A work project that has me thinking about categories well after midnight. 
  • Should I just succumb to my old lady hobbies, adopt a cat and call it a lifetime?
  • Do I just drink tea? 
  • 2012 finances.
  • A holiday season I am mostly wishing would pass quickly in the night.
  • Being more than a quiet date, a girl you like but don't bring home.
  • How it's going to be disappointing when I finally reach the end of Friday Night Lights.
  • 2012 living situations.
  • The laundry I must do.
So, dear readers, what eclectic list of ponderings keep your mind from resting? The not-so-serious but just might become serious if we let them sit for too long.


List #107: What I Want to Hear

Waking up this morning was hard. Even though the temperature is suppose to rise and we're in store for another beautiful day here in Pittsburgh, the mornings are chilly and frost is on the ground. Today was a morning when I wanted to succumb to the lazy and lonely and just stay tucked under a few blankets, dreaming about fish and thinking about the future.

Sometimes I feel as if I am constantly learning that I cannot control anything except my own decisions. I accept this on a daily basis, but then every few weeks I just want the universe to take care of me and give me what I desire. Simple things: a massage, a trip a Scandinavian country, a new wardrobe. Not that they would make my life perfect, but a little happy surprise would make a little shinier. And this is not because I'm unhappy. This autumn in my hometown has been one of my best ever. I feel loved, I feel sexy, I feel accomplished, I feel challenged.

I just want things to be easy today. I just want a little gift, perhaps one of the following things could be said to me today, or any day really.

Things I Want to Hear:

  • From a Rich Sugar Daddy: "Why you want to go away this Christmas? Here is a blank check. Make that vacation happen and come back to 2012 refreshed, cultured and happy. I don't even have to go with you...take whomever you please!"
  • From Bill Gates (or any other benefactor): "Your library is the best library. I want to give you lots of money and let you do what seems right. Also, I will double your salary."
  • From a Man: "I really want to see you. I like your face, I like your brain, I like your boobs. Let me buy you drinks/dinner and challenge you to a rousing game of Scrabble/Backgammon/Go Fish."
  • From a Fashion Blog: "We love your librarian style and would like to do a photo shoot with you. We'll also give you $1000."
  • From the Guy at Starbucks: "Well, I got this head tattoo in honor of my solidarity to women's rights.  I shouldn't be judged by my appearance and neither should you."
  • From a book publisher: "We love your idea. Please start writing this book now. We'll publish it in 2012 and you'll do a book tour."
  • From Sprint: "We changed our mind and you're elegible for a new phone right now. Enjoy your iPhone 4s."
  • From anyone capable of giving me an iPad: "Here is your new iPad!"

So dear readers, what would you like to hear from someone today? Funny, silly, serious, contemplative. Please share.


Letter #24: Things I Want You to Know, Part 3

Dear Guy at Starbucks (last seen Friday morning approximately 8:00 am),
What a treat it was to see you on the last day of the week. A perfect way to start the weekend, in my opinion. As if you were a sign that the universe had some treats in store as we wound down the weekday and smiles would be had. You looked groggy, with thick black glasses on the tip of your nose, your beard in need of a trim. I admire the way you incorporate mountain man with hipster. It's sleek and unassuming, a balance to your head tattoo. Keep up the good work.

Dear Barista at Crazy Mocha (Monday morning, Squirrel Hill),
It looks like you're just trying to start a winter beard. Your stack of Vegetarian cookbooks on your designated table look tasty. I'm sure you're an excellent cook and you are most certainly tall. But you have an air of too-cool hipster about you. I'm sorry to say that my latte-loving heart still loves the man at Starbucks.

Dear Halloween,
You will always be my least favorite holiday. I don't understand why adults need to dress up to go out, I don't like scary things and I can buy my own candy. I'll always wear a cute costume for the library storytime but that's it. No matter what you do, you won't be able to make me like you. Nor will you get me to dress up like as a slutty Tootsie Roll. Until we meet again.

Dear Decemberists,
One day soon I'm going to write a book. It's probably not going to be a Young Adult book ala Colin Meloy and I doubt it will become a hipster best-seller. But I'll probably talk about being a single librarian and just maybe you'll buy it at Powell's. And then maybe, just maybe, you could write a song about me? I would be forever grateful.

Dear Tights,
You are the most magnificent thing about cold weather fashion. You're inexpensive, you keep me warm and you even make a gal feel sexy. Keep up the good work.

Love Always,

Shannon, aka Brassy Librarian


Letter #23: On Dating

Dear Dating,

You're hard. Harder than I remember and more complicated than I ever expected. And quite frankly, you're a little infuriating because you really shouldn't be this much of a weight. I'm only 30, my last relationship was only 2.5 years, and dating at this stage in my life is actually completely and utterly normal.  So really dating, you can stop making me feel like a 55 year-old divorcee who hasn't been on the market since the early '80s.

I'm on top of technology. I sleep with my smart phone less than a foot from my bed, am always plugged into gchat, Facebook is a bad habit I can't break and to top it all off, I'm your local librarian--an information specialist. But dear God, dating, social media introduces a whole set of issues that quite frankly, I didn't really have to deal with when I met an older man years ago.

I'm not a second-guessing kind of gal, dating. I feel pretty confident most of the time but you have my stomach doing flips and my mind bugged out.  How much is too much? How can you tell if he's really serious about what he says? How do you get to know someone knew without life getting in the way? How can you balance new excitement without it fizzling?

These are the questions I want to answers to, dating. And maybe a few tips on how to be my wacky self without seeming too aloof, too crazy or too damaged and jaded. A little bit of help here is all I'm asking for.

With Love,
The Brassy Librarian


List #106: Autumn in My Hometown

It's a blustery day in the 'burgh. Lots of leaves will meet the ground today and even though we have been blessed with so many warm days this fall, it's here today.

So let me share why I love fall in this city today. Or maybe, this list is just a few reasons why I'm happy today.

  • I am wearing tights. And rain boots actually, because the forecast is telling me I should. But mostly it's the tights that are really making my morning. 
  • It's October and I'm reading this spooky read:

I hate being scared, but I love this kooky book.

  • I saw Pascal Dupuis at Starbucks this morning. And I'm going to my first Pens game of the season tonight. 
  • Two people at Starbucks this morning have also recognized me as their local librarian. My small library may not be as shiny as the main branch, but I get to bridge connections and have influence in my community every day.
  • Today's storytime theme? Bright orange, smooth and bumpy pumpkins.
  • I'm wearing my favorite sweater, bought on a shopping spree with my cousin Laura
  • From the windows of my library I can see the top of Pittsburgh's skyline. Always reminding me of love, history, acceptance and love.
So dear readers, what is making you happy and warm on this chilly fall day?


List #105: If My Name was Adele

On Tuesday my good friend and fellow blogger, Leanne, took a chance on a personal post and talked about Adele, ex-boyfriends and her current relationship. I encourage you to go read her post, leave a comment and tell her to write more. And then come back here and read my response to this song, moving on, and men.
Leanne is right. This song speaks to all of us women who had to leave a relationship before we were quite ready. It addresses the fear that maybe it wasn't him, it really was us, and that one day he'll settle down before we will. 

And sadly, I've seen this all too often. I know too many good woman (and yes I'll admit myself is included) that have been passed over for someone shinier, easier, younger, sluttier, richer, less put together or more put together. And it sucks. When we get the news that there is someone new in his life, we call up our supportive friends and we scream a little bit. Because even though we want to be graceful and articulate, the news can shake us to the core. At least briefly.

So when I hear this song, do I want to call up my ex-boyfriends like the past women in Leanne's man's life? No. In fact, it makes me do just the opposite. Because even though every ounce of Adele's 21 has spoken to a year of
Breaking up:

Getting over a love of my life:
And even crying over a lost battle to cancer:
I don't want to be the girl in "Someone Like You." I have no desire to be the girl who for whom "it isn't over" down the road. It's over, it's been over and that's how it should stay. Sure, I'll find out news and I am sure that one day I'll bump into a past romance or two. And yes, I expect it and want it to be bittersweet. But I don't want to write love ballads about it. So today's list? What I want to be other than the woman who gets misty-eyed, sad and jealous.
  • The woman who goes out and kick-ass at her career. Proving that strong, independent ladies really do rule the world.
  • The woman who doesn't want to find someone like you. I'll take the opposite, the quirky, the dedicated and open-minded. The whatever you were lacking and the whatever I need.
  • The woman who doesn't wish you harm. But doesn't always wish you the best of the best either. And is okay with understanding her own lack of kindness there.
  • The woman who discovers liberating adventures both in bed and out. Making up for lost time and intimacy. 
  • The woman who knows you haven't forgotten. Because time flies and yes, yesterday was a time of our life. And I know deep inside, the way I curled up in your life left a permanent mark. 
  • The woman who can put her regrets aside. They serve no purpose, bring up too many questions, and contradict my inner beliefs.  
  • The woman who laughs more than she cries. Yes, Adele is right that sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead. But I at least want to enjoy the ride, smile every day and be able to laugh at even what seems like the hardest times.
So dear readers, does "Someone Like You" ring something in your inner core? Or, even more, how do you want to be in regards to your ex-lovers, ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, crushes, affairs? 


Letter #22: Things I Want You to Know, Part 2

Dear Guy Not at Starbucks (approximately 8:00 Tuesday morning),
I wonder what your reaction would be if you knew that you're a small Internet sensation. You seem like an unobtrusive fellow and I think you'd be shocked if you knew how many people were asking for more information about you. You're not here this morning, leaving me to drink my chai tea among a Bible-study group and retired men beginning their day of too much free time. I see you most mornings so I can only hope you're still snuggled in bed next to someone who loves that head tattoo and you.

Dear Solicitor Who Calls the Library,
I may have no desire for your products. In fact, I'm not even certain what you're selling.  But your English accent is dreamy.

Dear Bible Study Group at Starbucks (every morning at 8:15 it seems),
I am not a very religious person and left Bible study back in the sixth grade. Because yes, even though I went to Catholic Grade school, we stopped studying the Bible once I hit Miss Z's class.  In the 7th grade we made cards for the local nursing home and did religious word searches every day. In 8th grade we just wrote essays on saints and studied hard to be confirmed, as if we had a choice. So even though I can't relate to your early-morning dedication, I admire your discussion.

Dear Modcloth, 
I love your clothes and love your shoes. I don't wish to be a walking advertisement for your wares, but could you please increase the amount of items you have for curvy girls? I can promise you that it would be well-received.

Dear New Gentleman,
You may be a nice kisser. But I like that you are capable of politely calling out my bullsh*t ways of putting up walls just a bit more. That is all.

Dear Bobbi Brown Crimson 16,
When I bought you, on a windy February at Sacks 5th Avenue, in New York City I was browsing for something new. I thought you might be a little fling, a wild night, until I settled easily back into my berry-stained lip gloss. How happily you have proved me wrong. Thank goodness for taking risks and red lipstick.

Love Always,

Shannon, aka BrassyLibrarian


List # 105: Wild and Wonderful

Taken at Stone Wall Resort, WV thanks to wonderful librarian friends who planned a getaway weekend in honor of birthdays and friendship. 

One of the librarians snapped this photo of me on Saturday as we walked around the second largest lake in West Virginia.  I swear that it's rare for me to be captured by the shutter solo so often, but in the past few weeks it seems to have happened more than normal. Instead of showing off my librarian fashion-sense, I think this one speaks to my inner core. 

Here is what I see:
  • A woman who has been treated to a grand gesture of love by her friends. A trip in honor of her birthday, amazing friends who don't judge and support, people who care so much about the needs and feelings of others we all brought too much food and wine.
  • Someone who has accepted that life isn't fair. Actually, she may struggle with this from time to time. But she has learned to find a center of gravity that is harder to shake. 
  • A girl who appreciates the pretty. I'm not apologizing for liking a pretty dress and high-heeled shoes anymore than I am apologizing for liking sunshine on a still lake.
  • A crooked smile with gaps in my teeth. Bothering me more than it ever has in my life, I don't think I could change its character even if I desperately want to. 
  • A girl not shy about laughing. Big belly laughs and girly giggles. Bring on the wrinkles.
Do I dare ask, dear readers, what you see in this photograph? I'd love your take on my weekend-affair with nature.


List #104: Quirks and Habits

One of the best things, in my opinion, about getting to know someone is discovering their quirks. Sure, they may be the thing that bothers you the most a few years down the line, but who doesn't love to discover that a new person in your life only uses green highlighters or always puts 3 ice cubes in their drinks. It's a discovery.

But maybe this is because, at my core, I am quirky person. There are lots of little things about me that I've picked up along the way for reasons I can't completely understand.

My most severe habits?
  • I only eat using "short forks." Meaning I only eat using forks with short prongs. I picked this habit up in in Greece; I think ate using the same fork in my kitchen for a whole year and contemplated bringing it back to the US with me. Since then, I've found a few amazing friends who understand this cutlery need.
  • I overdose on songs. Meaning I play the same song over and over and over again until I've worn out its delicious hold on me. I don't mean that I play the top 40 hits like a radio station does until you can't take it anymore. I mean that I've been playing Wilco's Jesus, etc. all October and languishing in its sweet sound and memories. Also, in October I think I play Werewolf Bar Mitzvah at least once a day. 
  • I have to sit facing the way I came in. When anywhere in public, I have to sit facing the way I came to my table. This doesn't mean I have to sit facing the door, just whatever path I took to get there. I'm not a mob boss, I don't fear that people are going to do terrible things to me from behind. But maybe I was in a past life. 
  • I like sleeping with a fan.  And this is a habit that actually comes and goes. I've always had a hard time falling asleep so I like having sleeping patterns. Dark room, blanket on my eyes and a fan whirring in the background. I blame a few exes for the fan thing. I tend to date guys who like white noise and then fall victim to their brand of nightly ritual and since I'm a creature of habit, get sucked in and can't break it myself. 
  • I think about stuffed animals feelings. Okay, so we've all seen Toy Story and been able to relate. But we have some literary character stuffed animals in baskets to encourage creative play at my library. Popular characters like The Cat in the Hat, Elmer and and the Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar. But the characters that "go" together? Berenstein Bears, Elephant and Piggie? I can't separate them. When cleaning up, I always put the family and friends together, so they don't get separation anxiety. 
Does this make me sound any crazier than already suspected? Perhaps, but I like to think these quirks just give me flavor.

So dear readers, what are your quirks and habits? Come on and share. We're all our own brand of crazy. Maybe we'll even find some like-minded souls.


List # 103: Gestures

Grand Gestures: Moments in life where someone goes completely out of their to make sure they know you are loved.  See Say Anything, many moments in the life of Rachel and Ross and more than a few dozen Harlequin romance novels.

A friend and I used to talk about, when we were younger and wrapped up in men that weren't quite the fit for us, how if they could just show us a grand gesture, we'd be smitten. But then experience teaches us that it wasn't really a grand gesture that we needed from those men. Rather it would have been nice of him not put up a fight when I asked him to come to happy hour on Friday evenings. We really hoped they'd stop picking up younger women on MySpace and actually want to have dinner with our families.  Not exactly a grand gesture, but just simple things that happen when you like someone.

So today's list? A few quiet moments that made me swoon:
  • Lighting candles throughout the apartment. And then excitedly showing me your favorite one, mentioning that you hate scents and kissing me in the doorway.
  • Chai tea in the morning. Going to be honest here. If you manage to bring me tea without asking, I'm going to be a ball of mush.
  • Telling me that I'm worth the wait? Yes, I'll take that.
  • Lunch surprises at work. There is little sweeter than afternoon, workday date.
So what small things make you swoon? Because sometimes there is no greater feeling.


List #102: 30 Wears Me Well

Earlier this week I attended a conference for work. An entire conference dedicated to libraries. But when I wasn't sitting in presentations about the Dewey Decimal System (why yes, that still exists and yes, librarians talk about it a lot) I got to explore some of the beauty of Central Pennsylvania. 

Even better yet, I just happened to be traveling with Ms. Clothes Karma a terrific fashion blogger and amazing photographer in Pittsburgh. She's the one responsible for the photos above; perfect snapshots of a happy librarian pleased to be feeling refreshed at 30. 

These might just be the four best photographs I've ever taken in my adult-life. I love that the colors match the season, I love the confidence radiating from my center, I love my boots and the happy in my smile. This is emotion and the attitude I hope to capture for the next 12 months and beyond.  And I'm positive this goal-oriented woman can get it achieve this success.

So, readers, what photo shows you at your best? How old are you, who took it, what are you doing? 


List # 101: Little Things That Annoy Me

Following the popular hashtags #whitegirlproblems #sororitygirlproblems and even #firstworldproblems, today's list are the little things that pop up during my week that I mostly like to avoid. Because all of those problems are my problems too.
  • Forgetting to ask for my Starbucks extra hot.  I know we need to be cautious of lawsuits and I realize that not everyone likes to put a scalding beverage to their lips. But when I forget to add this to my morning order my own mouth does a little sigh of sadness.
  • Facebook telling me to add people I don't like or don't know.  No, Mark Zuckerberg I don't want to be friends with the random kid from my HS who had a ponytail and I never talked to in my life. And even more, I don't want to be friends with ex's new girlfriends or previous coworkers I never enjoyed. Nor do I want friendship suggestions for patrons from my old library who asked me out every week. You scare me, Facebook and I wish I could quit you.
  • Leaving my phone charger at home. It's 2011. How do we not have electrical outlets near every chair everywhere? I am a slave to my smartphone.
  • When my hair does that little flip on the right side. My hairdresser says it's from the way my hair has been growing since I was a baby. I say it's annoying and nothing half a bottle of hairspray can't fix. 
  • Not being able justify streaming Spotify from my phone. I have my budget limits, my friend, but I want music when I want it. And my iPod just doesn't cut it. When did updating my iPod become so much work?
So what are your privileged annoyances? Come on dear readers, help me feel not so guilty over the silly things.