List # 56: A Few Good Things

I made a secret pledge to myself this week that I would note write about anything sad on the blog. Taking the advice of my dear cousin who says to focus on the positive and change your train of thought when nothing else is working, I'm just going to write a list of happy things this week.

All in all, it's actually been a kick-ass week. But it's also a week that is marking occasions I'm not a part of and sometimes it's hard to forget them when reminders are everywhere.

So I just re-read that sentence and it sounds like I'm talking about the Royal Wedding. Which might appear on the list, but I'm not really considering it a marked occasion I'm not a part of.

Happy Things:
  • A growing story time crowd that is now getting close to the 40 child mark on a regular basis. I rock my new job and I'm not even technically a children's librarian.
  • Young toddlers who like to point out other babies. Seriously, most you probably won't find this amusing at all, but this happens at least once a week and always cracks me up.
  • The Royal Wedding. Yeah, it's annoying that it gets so much news coverage. And it certainly isn't cool to find it interesting. But romance is sweet and the young girl in me who always wanted to be a princess finds it endearing. But don't worry, I'm not buying any memorabilia nor am I getting up before dawn to watch it.
  • Twitter. Is it odd to love a social media as much as I do Twitter? I like having a voice that isn't Facebook. I like that people who don't even know me send love, prayers, hugs and laughs.
  • Wind and rain at night. I love going to bed with the sound of win and rain outside. Though I am not a fan of storms when I'm sleeping alone.
What made you happy this week, readers? I had lots of smiles and I'm hoping for more this weekend.


List # 55: Television Dreams

Sometimes I think I watch a little too much TV, but most of the time I am at peace with my viewing. I have a few shows that I schedule time for, a few that I'll catch up with online if I think about it, and a few that I'll watch On Demand come a weekend with few plans and/or rain and/or a cranky mood.

I have always been the type of girl who likes to have background noise. Perhaps it's because I have a loud family that likes to talk, perhaps it's because even when I'm working my brain works better if it has a distraction from time to time. And it's definitely because the voices make me feel less lonely when I'm all alone.

But just like it takes a lot for me to declare a book a favorite, it takes a lot for me to have a favorite television show too. But again, like books, my favorites are stories I'd like to see myself in. Not just a guest spot, but the staring role in a television show with all the non-essential stress that probably comes from being another person all day.

So, the list tonight? Television Shows I would like to be in:

  • Parks & Recreation. This has become the funniest show on television right now. Let me be Leslie, or Ron's crazy librarian-ex wife. I'd rather be Leslie because she is going to kiss Adam Scott. But the crazy librarian is probably something I could handle.
  • Treme. Because I deeply want to be a New Orleans musician. Or journalist. And hello, I could film in New Orleans. The show needs a librarian. So clearly, they can cast me.
  • 30 Rock. Because I am only a smidgen more put together than Liz Lemon. And that's on a good day. But seriously, can Tina Fey and I be friends now?
  • Samantha Brown's Great Hotels, Passport to Europe, et. al. Because I deserve to spend my weeks traveling around the world and doing all of the things my heart desires but my pockets prevent. TLC can just insert my name into the title, and Viola! I'll take hanging out with Anthony Bourdain any day too.
No reality shows for me. Not that I don't watch them (um, hello Teen Mom) but I don't actually want to be on them. Except for amazing race. For the same reasons I want to be on Samantha Brown's shows really.

What about you, lovelies? Is there a television show you just know you'd be a smash on if only given the chance? Screw the acting degree/training. We'd clearly be Emmy winners.


List # 54: A Good Catholic Girl

I am a Catholic Girl. Actually, scratch that. I'm a Lapsed Catholic Girl who still says silent prayers at night but hasn't been to Confession since the 8th grade and doesn't actually believe in all those silly little ideas the Catholic church has about gay marriage and birth control and all that other jazz.

I believe in a higher power, but I don't believe that there is one particular god that reigns above all else. I believe in love. I believe that if we put good things out in the world, good things come back. And I do believe that we should do unto others as we would have done unto us. I believe that whatever higher power is out there comes to each & every one of us in a different way. Because we all have different journeys and we all have different needs, but each one of us needs love.

And all of this is quite different, but not vastly different, than all the lessons I learned in 8 years of Catholic School. For I was most definitely attended Catholic grade school from first to eighth grade. And in honor of Easter & my Catholic roots, tonight's list are things that happened in Catholic School:
  • In the Fifth Grade, one of the 2 Billy's in our classroom threw thumb tacks onto the ceiling. He probably got a detention for this, but I don't really remember. And since I had 2 younger brothers that attended the school, I can let you know that as of 2005 they were still stuck up there.
  • Our school community was small, with lots & lots of children. Being that I lived very close to the school (and had 2 younger brothers with lots of friends & my parents were friends with their friends) I was the hired babysitter for many of the younger kids at school. I loved babysitting. I modeled myself after The Babysitter's Club and always had a craft or game that I brought with me. Babysitting was the best job ever, all through high school.
  • I graduated with 33 kids in our 8th grade. And we were together, in one room, from the 3rd grade on up.
  • Just because I didn't technically attend "middle school" doesn't mean I missed out on ridicule. Pretty much bullies happened in the 7th grade and I was awkward, my family had little money & girls were mean.
  • I didn't skip out on school the day my littlest brother was born when I was in the 4th grade. Not only was I nerd who loved school, but the best substitute ever: Mrs. Gergich (??) was filling in for our regular teacher. And she occupied us telling stories of Mount St. Helen's erupting and was the tiniest little thing ever.
  • My grade school best friend & I played Barbies clear on up to the 7th grade. I was okay with that then & I am okay with that now.
  • My 4th grade math teacher was arrested on suspicion for inappropriately touching his students. This didn't actually happen until I was a junior in high school and he had only taught out our Catholic school for one year, but boy, was that still a scandal. And come to think of it, I don't actually know what happened with that story.
  • I never received detention (I never got it in public high school either) and was only told to stay inside for recess twice. The first time in first grade after my best friend & I finished our work early and were, apparently, being too loud when making paper snow flakes at our desks. And the second for fiddling with ballerina earrings my mom made me during 5th grade math class. I was really worried they were going to fall out, a fear that still haunts me with earrings today as I'm constantly losing them.
  • I never had to wear a school uniform.
This trip down memory was really fun actually and I'm going to stop here so I can save some stories for later. I hope everyone had an Easter holiday filled with love and smiles, even among the rough spots in life. And tell me in the comments, lovelies, what are your most vivid memories of grade school? Did you go to Catholic school? Private? Or were you one of those Public School CCD students who always stole things out our Catholic school desks?

Much love, as always


List # 53: The Night Of

My Dad had surgery today. And unfortunately, it was not a hip replacement like we had all hoped. Instead, they found what is probably infection left over and could only put in some type of spacer for now. And we'll just have to wait & see.

I'm in no mood for talking to the open Internet tonight, so:

1. So much waiting & seeing. I don't know how much more anyone in my family can handle.
2. Having to be strong, and the be one your parents can rely on, without having someone to rely on yourself is just about the hardest thing.
3. I want so much to call but really only want a call to come to me.
4. If only I could win the lottery, some stress would just be a little less.
5. At least Parks & Recreation is still funny.
6. And at least I am most thankful for working with a wonderful group of women.
7. And at least I am thankful for such great friends near & far.

My beautiful cousin says she believes in love above all things. And I do too. I try so hard to put love out into the world and can feel the love surrounding my family. But sometimes it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is so far & away it's almost impossible to see. Even with new glasses.


List # 52: The Night Before

My Dad is having surgery tomorrow morning. And though I don't really want to talk about it much tonight, I am asking for love, good thoughts & prayers sent my family's way. We won't know what type of surgery they are doing until he gets into the surgery room tomorrow, but we are hoping for a hip replacement and one that goes well. I'm actually not quite sure how everyone in family will take it if other news happens...so please, send all kinds of positive energy on over.

But with all of this worry & nervousness, today has been a day of moments. I keep listening to music and it is one of the days where each song on my iPod brings back a flash of memory. I have always been a girl with a flashbulb (oh my, will today's generation even know what this is) memory and you tell me a time, a place, a day and I could probably recall one specific thing about it: what I wore, what you wore, what song was playing or was popular at the time, what class assignent was pressing, etc.

So tonight's list are three songs I that always pop a memory:

1. Cheeseburger in Paradise, Jimmy Buffet: For my Dad. Not that he is even a ParrotHead. He isn't. But this song reminds me of Saturday afternoons as a young girl, dancing around the dining room table in our old house in Brookline. Wearing a white tank-top and sunglasses. Cause I was the epitome of cool and my parents were always in favor of letting me be kooky and awesome.

2. Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson: Traveling out of my Greek hometown for the last time. Wearing capris that were too big because I was the skinniest I have ever been in my adult life and a red & pink shirt. Sitting in the front seat of the bus and trying not to close my eyes because I didn't want to miss seeing the sights for what just might be the last time. And I remember thinking about how this song was singing about why I left in the first place. And how deep down I was hoping, upon hope, that coming back was the right thing to do. I still take the long way around. Traditional girl, non-traditional ways.

Wagon Wheel, Old Crow Medicine Show: Car trips to the woods of West Virginia, sitting in the front seat next to the best person I thought I knew. And knowing, deep in my heart and in my head, that he loved me with all of his heart. Loving him even in my fingertips and soaking up the sun and the future that was ahead on the road. Road trip to Kentucky, and feeling a part of another's family; all the bruises and rough spots that come with the people we grow with and love, even if it's hard. And the trip back to Pittsburgh, understanding that even if I got jealous and even if I didn't always feel myself he was still there, like a rock who could match, what I thought, the endless love that I could pour out for him.

So tell me, lovelies? What songs throw you back to a moment that you just can't escape? Do you play these songs just to feel that moment again? Or does the song cast you back unexpectedly in the middle of an afternoon and have you feeling like that point in time is just. within. your. grasp. If only your arms were a little longer and you could reach a little further.

Because I do both. And thank you, ahead of time, for sending love to my family tomorrow. We need it and appreciate it.


List # 51: What I Would Talk About

I'm pledging this week to make blogging a priority again. I think it fell by the wayside over the past two weeks because of a busy schedule, and then again due to sadness. I spent a lot of time crying at the end of last week. For a variety of reasons, some legit and some probably not, so don't you worry your pretty little heads about me too much. I'm trying hard to get back to focus.

So tonight's blog post is inspired by my book club's April read. For those of you who don't know, I started an online book group a few months for all different types of women who love books, but live all over the world. We're aptly named Book Babes without Borders and meet & discuss over on GoodReads. This month's selection (picked by the lovely blogger & hockey-obsessed Brenna in NYC) is The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver.

I won't divulge too many details here (I'm saving my discussion for the message boards, ladies. So let's get on it) but the whole premise of the book is exploring two sides of a very crucial decision. I love that we, as readers, get to see the main's characters two roads and how they bend for good and bad. I love that we get to hear how conversations are played out in different scenarios. And I love how love sometimes means making bad decisions and living with regret.

Here's what I would talk about it if the fates aligned:
  • Glenn Beck leaving Fox. Because I haven't been discussed this with anyone else.
  • May 1st and all that comes with it. Because yes, I know it's a loaded day.
  • Trips abroad. Because they are inevitable and exciting and I was always ready to cheer.
  • All the stuff we haven't been able to tell anyone else. Because that just is.
  • Apologies. Enough said.
  • Italian Ice vs. Ice Cream. Because it's one of life's greatest debates.
  • Mistakes. And love. And the future. And hope.
  • Birds on the trail. Because I just like pointing them out.
  • Every tiny detail we missed in 2011. And stay up talking until the early light.
  • All the things you'd want to say. Because you have the nicest voice & it well...yeah.
I know it's the influence of the book talking, but lately I can't help but ponder how we make all of these decisions in our life in minuscule moments that we usually can't even remember. How one word, or one action, totally changes the course of our life and suddenly it becomes so incredibly hard to go back.

But unlike the book, I can't see what would happen if one tiny bit of life changed. It's just is how it is. And hope that somewhere along the way, you stumble upon a decision that straightens you out again. And you send out as may positive vibes that you can that someone out there is piling on the decisions that brings them beside you.

So what do you think, lovelies? Can you imagine your life playing out differently because of a decision? Do you think of how your future is going to play out because of the tiny decisions you made today? And do you worry like me? There have got to be more than just the Book Babes thinking about this out there.


List # 50: Where I Want to Go

A few of my friends are getting ready to embark on new journeys in their lives. And I'll be honest, this has me insanely jealous. I could use a fresh start right about now and the thought of picking up and packing up my bags for a new city & new adventure sounds so perfect. Oh, Wanderlust you seem to never really go away.

But I'm firmly planted here. No vacation days until December means no major trips. Weekends only. And a new-ish, fun, awesome job that I love means I'm staying put. Very Thankful.

So I get that my list is filled with lots of places that appear to have greener pastures. It's just that very little has gone the way I thought it would this year. And sometimes it helps to just think beyond, instead of think it's all a test to make me stronger.

Where I Want to Go at This Moment:
  • A spring trip to Ireland with a tall, dark & adorably cute guy who wants to drink a few pints & explore the countryside.
  • France, with a gaggle of my closest, single girlfriends. I really feel that if I'm going to explore the city of romance, I need some like-minded and able women to eat cheese & oogle Frenchmen with me.
  • Spain, with all of my close friends. To eat tapas and have lazy afternoons.
  • Las Vegas, with my cousins. To gamble and drink and sit by a pool with books in hand, while we laugh the afternoon away.
  • A weekend beach getaway with my mom. Because she needs peace & quiet too.
  • An early morning walk to the Acropolis with the person of my heart. To show things I have seen, to see what has changed. And then off on a ferry to a quiet island and a trip back to my hometown.
  • A fancy schmancy job in a big library in New York City. Because I feel at 29 this is a city I would like the chance to conquer before time runs out. Though ideally, I'd just like to take my current job & coworkers and transplant us there for a bit.
  • But really, really, really want go to away over Independence Day. And this is the one that I can make happen. Who wants to go on a holiday trip with me? Or let me visit them? I'm serious.


List # 49: National Library Week is a Real Thing

Happy National Library Week! Yeah, I'm willing to bet that unless you're one of my librarian friends (both real and virtual) or you saw my Facebook post earlier in the day, you didn't really really know it was National Library Week. It's not one of those holidays that Hallmark makes cards for (I know this as fact. I used to work at a Hallmark store for many, many years).

Actually I'm willing to bet at least one of you doesn't believe Librarians or are libraries are a "real thing" anymore. Though if you follow that school of thought, just hang out in my library for a day. We're young, we're fun and though we may wear a cardigan or two, we don't smell like mothballs or wear buns.

I promise I'll never *shush* you.

There's not much I can do in a short little blog post to describe to you exactly what I do every day. Or how much my job is community development or just how much we impact neighborhoods and help people access information. It's actually probably not what you'd want to read about anyway.

So tonight's list is just a collection of things I've done in my 3 + years working in libraries. Some are things I won't ever forget, others are the mundane type. The library equivalent of sending memos or talking at the water cooler (do people do those things at real office jobs? I have no idea). I won't say which tasks I found good/bad/hilarious/sad. You can just choose for yourself.
  • I once had to explain to a man why we couldn't add his fines just on to his federal/state taxes at the end of the year.
  • I have helped numerous people write on walls/post photos on Facebook.
  • I once helped an older woman who fled from Nazi Germany as a young girl, locate a book her grandfather wrote that was taught in schools under Hitler's regime. It's currently in the National Library of Germany & the NY Public Library. And we also found a copy for her to buy.
  • I've sat with an old man as he cried about the wife who left him & helped him find lyrics to songs long forgotten but always remembered.
  • I've been called a "B*tch" and "Mean Librarian" in front of preschoolers over fines.
  • I once got asked out on a date after breaking the ice by the ever popular "Do you know the recycling schedule for this town?"
  • I regularly lead one-on-one lessons on how to use eReaders.
  • I have located books based on the following descriptions: "It's green and about Albert Einstein," "It has an apple on the front of it," "Jesus talks to someone in a shed," "It's about the Amish & there is a field on it," and so many more misspellings, wrong authors, crossed plots & paperback confusion.
  • Have had to remind patrons of our Internet usage policy as they browsed less than reputable sites & *sometimes* took pictures with their cell phones.
  • I've laughed with children as they talk about their favorite books & call me "teacher" during Story Time over & over again.
  • The number of times I have answered the following questions are endless: where is the bathroom, what is my email password, why won't my books renew, how do I order something from Amazon, can you explain Craigslist, do you have tax forms, can you edit my resume, show me how to remove double spacing, why is the Internet slow, etc., etc., etc.
And in the end, I love my job so. very. much. Questions for the librarian? Leave them in the comments!


Moments # 1: What Happens When Paths Cross

It's funny to me that just yesterday I sat with a friend over smoothies and mentioned how much I wanted my bike back, but how very much I did not want to send the email asking for it. How funny that I commented that I had not seen nor heard from the best person I thought I knew for weeks and weeks. And how I was quite frightened about having contact for any reason.

Because I didn't send that email last night, but in fact, ran into him this morning. I saw him, from almost a block away, and honestly thought about walking on the other side of the street. Or freezing and letting him pass without notice. But those thoughts were only for a split second. Because I believe in trying to live without having regrets and at that moment, I knew if I ignored our passing I would regret it more than any conversation.

So it happened. And perhaps it was just a moment in the day. For him, for me, or both of us. Or not. And maybe it lingered in his day, just a bit, like a warm but fleeting feeling that you don't know to how to replicate.

Because when I saw his face, I though to myself "Kiss him." But I didn't of course. And the universe has a way of letting us know that emotions cannot be controlled.

Because I still don't understand why we couldn't have given it a shot. I was always in the corner hoping he'd reach his dreams. And without argument, I was in the corner.

Because he was at my graduation and it hurts to know I don't get to see his. This once is pretty self-explanatory.

Because I am angry about something too personal to discuss here.

Because I just miss sharing lives. And catching up, for even a few minutes, just verifies what I've been trying to convince myself isn't true.

Because I know he means it when he says "I love you." But damn it, it doesn't change or fix a thing in this world.

Because every part of my job is worthy & worthwhile & needed. It's community development.

Because as much as I won't miss the antics of a certain someone, I would always deal with it if it meant having you. Seriously? We all have those family members.

And because at essentially the beginning of my day, I was reminded how much of a part of my heart I gave away. And I was reminded that I still miss every damn part of us. And because no matter how much I love writing this blog, there are still things I can never say here because after all, it is an open forum. And because when I think about his kindness I shake wondering if I'll find anything better than that. And because I still want to yell about throwing it all away and how I'm not the one who ignored all of the time. And because yes, you did leave your best friend and I don't have a best friend anymore. And I miss laughing with you.

And thank goodness for busy afternoons.

So dears, what have you felt when your paths cross someone unexpectedly? I dream of the day I might run into an old boss and have the upper hand. What about you?


List # 48

Short Lessons I Learned this Weekend:

  • I want an honest-t0-goodness flirt session. With someone who is actually available, not just kind-of available, or available in a different city or any other variation of available.
  • Spring has never been my favorite season. But give me a day like today, with clear skies and multiple walks & good books and I'll boost it up a few points.
  • I miss my bike. But to get it back...well, it just needs to be done.
  • Cramps ruin the best of evenings. But knowing I can sleep in a bit makes it tiny bit easier.
  • New seasons mean new ways to remember. And *sigh* this can be hard.
  • Sarah Vowell is the newest hipster reading. What?! Why?
  • Summer weekend trip. Must happen.

Hope your weekend was happy, readers. It's a busy week in library world, but I'll try to pop in with some true blogging.


Recommended #3

Isn't this just the saddest song that ever did exist?

Also, men with beards. Swoon. Can someone just send a nice guy with a nice beard my way, please? He should also like to read, enjoy Pittsburgh, want to watch Parks & Recreation with me and maybe like to eat Italian Ice in the summertime.

I swear, I'm enjoyable company.


List # 46

A few things I will say...
  • Thank you being a friend.
  • Your books are due...
  • The library closes at 9 pm.
  • We should totally try to find Christian Bale in Pgh this summer.

A few things I would like to say...
  • Facebook games are not a good way to spend the whole of your afternoon.
  • Yay! I just won the lottery & we're going on a trip to...
  • What?! TLC is going to feature me in a reality show about awesome librarians? Hurray!
  • You're giving me this apartment for free?!

A few things I wish I would have said...
  • I don't care what your impressions are but Eat, Pray, Love is not a book about development.
  • I would love to stay an extra year in Greece.
  • You're too short for me, Napoleon.
  • You know, what's going on in the bedroom really isn't working for me.
  • Remember that time you rejected my grad school application? (shows 4.0 transcripts)
And am wondering if we all have more "would" have saids than anything else? Even though I don't chalk them up to regrets it still easy to take up a lot of time thinking about "what if." Tell me, what are your will/like/would's?

(Also, have been thinking about giving each list/letter an actual title. But fear that my Title-writing abilities are actually really lame. Any thoughts? Comments? Tips?)


List # 46

Until this head cold (maybe allergies?) goes away, the posts are going to be short. While I'm a ball of energy on dayquil during the light hours, I'm quickly falling into a deep sleep thanks to its nighttime cousin. Today was one of those rainy Mondays April brings so often, but it's bringing threats of snow flurries/more rain tomorrow so I'm sure that's not helping my poor little head, nose & throat either.

And fitting to the weather, this day was full of little bumps & screw-ups and things just not right. It wasn't a bad day, per say, for this gal. But it wasn't a bright one either. Just another day that gets socks wet and has you wishing for sunshine, just like you did all winter.

Here's what goes hand-in-hand with rain & wind in Pittsburgh:

Showing up to work at the wrong time. Early, at least. But because that's the way the cookie is crumbling today, a split shift was had.

Bad hair. Though not a girly girl by any means (at least I don't think so? But maybe others have a varied opinion). I love my hair. And I can't stand when it doesn't "feel" right on my head. Not feeling right means it doesn't look good, no matter how many times you tell me differently.

Bringing people to tears through social media. Seriously? Last time I checked we weren't in Mean Girls/we aren't politicians/we aren't clones. We're adults, people live their lives. And guess what? Each of us make different decisions. No need to get all selfish/preachy/defensive/you select the adjective.

And the good?

Polka Dot Rainboots. Because they make being outside in the rain enjoyable. Almost.

The Terrible Towel. You can even find it on Dancing with the Stars.

Hell let's just say, Hines Ward. Because the Steelers are really the only reason I'd ever watch (and vote on) Dancing with the Stars. Not ashamed. It's Called Steeler Nation.

3 for 3. And I'm stopping before I start sounding loopier than normal. Oh Nyquil, you're a fine & loyal friend.


Sunday Afternoon # 1

This + Chinese Food + This +Documentaries + a Hot Bath.

Because sometimes other people say what you're thinking better than you ever could. Sometimes an egg roll is just the thing your taste buds are craving. And sometimes you need truth and relaxation.