List # 78: Videos for the Fun of It

My Dad finally had his hip replacement surgery, I don't work until 1 tomorrow and a college roommate kidnapped me for drinks at Mad Mex. All of this equaled a little bit tipsy BrassyLibrarian on a completely unexpected Tuesday night.

And here are some videos that describe today. Please, don't judge. Remember the tipsy part.

Riding Solo ~ My College Roommate is calling this my theme song. Tonight was the first time I had ever heard it. I don't know if I'd label it my own theme song but it sure is cracking me up.

Heartbreaker ~ Just gonna go out on a limb and say that since this song features Jay-Z this is Mariah Carey's best song ever.

American Girl ~ Because this has been my theme song since approximately 2005 and Tom Petty would never request that I stop playing it.

So, dear readers, what songs do you like to stumble upon and play loudly when you're tipsy? Unexpectedly or not?


List # 77: When I Wish Remote Controls Were Real

I have this blog post in my mind that I want to write about gifts and bikes and riding on. But quite frankly, it's just going to have to wait.

Instead, I just want to ask for all the prayers and love and good thoughts you can spare to be sent this way. My Dad is going in for surgery again tomorrow. Hopefully to replace his hip, but really they won't know if that will be possible until they get in there tomorrow. My father's journey has been a long one and it's certainly not all documented here on the blog, but he has been awaiting a hip replacement since January (and the story goes on longer than that). Right now he can't work, he isn't making money and I have been helping my family out. A lot.

And so tonight when I came home from work I boiled over with emotion. After spending time with my extended family this weekend I was reminded how different and sad life is without my cousin. I've been asking her to send me a sign that she's around and I've been hoping to see her in my dreams every night. But clearly, I'm missing what I know she is trying to tell me. Because I haven't seen any hummingbirds and my dreams are ordinary. She's out there though and I just have to try and keep my heart and mind open.

I am worried about my Father's health, my Mother's daily strength and the ability to keep my family afloat in such rough waters. I'm worried that one day I'm going to crack and lose my own strength just as much as I worry that I'm never going to be able to break away from this chain of crappy events and start anew. Sometimes it feels like an understatement when I say this year has been rough.

So for tonight, I'd just like remote controls to be real. I'd like to be able to skip channels, fast forward the bad parts and go back to experience the good again.

I'd like the fast forward button to take me to the part of my life where I feel like I've got more good than stress. Take me to the part where I have my own place and throw in a romantic interest. I want my friends and family to be happy and healthy. And maybe I'll be pursuing a doctorate. Hell, throw in a lost 10 lbs too.

I'd like the pause button to stay focused on the clear images in my life right now that show I am loved and cared for. I want it to rest for more than a few moments on my parents laughing and smiling. I want a bike ride that lasts all day in sunny weather.

I'd like the rewind button to take me to a summer day where I was swimming in the pool with my cousin. I want popsicles at night and sharing a bed before life got too complicated. I want to go back to the point where I had someone's shoulder to cry on at 2 am and felt like that person could talk me down from an emotional ledge.

So can someone get on that invention? You'd mean the world to me.

And what about you, dear readers, what would you do with a live remote control? Have you ever felt that almost everything in life was completely out of your control? How do you push through?


List # 76: I'm Saying I'm Sorry

Guilt is coming over me tonight because I am a good and because I am a girl. It's a mix of emotion, love and fright that I just can't shake. And though I started another, much longer, post tonight about my struggles between saying no and guilt this one just came about instead.

I'm not even saying I should be sorry for this little list. I just know all of the points are boiling and I'd like to sleep tonight.

So, for these following things I'm sorry:
  • I'm sorry that I yelled at my Dad tonight. His request was a simple one but the stress of being the oldest girl, being the good girl and finding my own time was too much for my emotional state tonight. I love him so much but sometimes the stress and inconvenience of having a helpless, sick parent can be too much.
  • I'm sorry that I had to tell a parent no at the library. I don't like telling people programs are full, even if all the policy and registration numbers tell me I shouldn't.
  • I'm sorry that I didn't sit in the living room and really talk to my parents this week. They are fun and caring and I shouldn't always be quick to be alone. I know I will miss them one day.
  • I'm sorry that I bought that yellow purse the other day. I wanted a yellow purse, and it was at a consignment shop, but the strap is more broken than I realize. And I see other purses that I like better.
  • I'm sorry that I don't read many books that are recommended to me. It's nothing personal. It's just that my tastes are eclectic and particular at the same time. And my list is always growing and growing. I promise you I'll try to get to it soon.
  • I'm sorry that I don't write letters like I used to anymore. I don't know when I got out of the habit (perhaps when I finally quit Hallmark?) but I miss writing to my friends even more than I miss the cards that used to come for me.
  • I'm sorry that one day I'll be compelled to write personal stories about us to share with the world. I can feel it growing inside me and our struggles are just going to have to be written. Perhaps they'll be disguised as characters in a book, but I just know it might happen.
  • I'm a little sorry that I already share my life with others on here. But not entirely because this writing project has given me so much voice and strength this year that I cannot imagine how life would be without it.
  • I'm sorry that I don't always respond to every comment. It's my intention and I love that many of you leave really touching things here, but the day gets away from me and sometimes, I'm just at a loss of words.
  • I'm sorry that I like bad 90s music just as much as I like listening to public radio. This isn't going to change, but I apologize to all those men and friends who have to listen to me sing Third-Eye Blind and Jewel in the early morning/late night hours.
  • I'm sorry that I ate the last sugar cookie.
  • I'm sorry that I really want to see The Book of Mormon but don't really care to watch South Park.
  • I'm sorry that my love can't fix you. Just as much as I'm sorry that my love can't fix all of the troubles in the world than can have me up late into the night crying and laughing and feeling completely helpful and helpless at the same time.
So, lovely readers, what are you sorry for? Have you ever begged for forgiveness? Or had someone come begging to you?


List # 75: On the Horizon

There are a few things that I have come to learn about myself in my adult years: I like to keep busy, I like to have goals and I like to have good things on the horizon.

These traits are part of the reason why my first year graduated from college found me sad and depressed. They are the reason why I can't say "no" when asked to do something for family/friends/work. And I've learned the hard way that it's just built into my character. I may love downtime, but I get too much of it on my plate at one time I become sullen and sad.

So let's just say I was a little worried about this single summer that was going to be bogged down by Summer Reading Clubs, programs at the library and no vacations. But thankfully, life happened and my overwhelming need to worry about things I cannot control was once again proven ridiculous. Of course I would have fun things lined up for the hottest months of the year.

And so tonight's list is just a few things I'm looking forward to doing between now & August:

Bike ride with friends.
Go on dates.
See all of my story time regulars.
Swim at my aunt's.
Family Graduation Parties
3rd of July parties.
See out-of-town friends
Marry my library friends.
The beginning, middle and end of Summer Reading.
Head to the West Coast.

And a few things that could mean more changes for this girl. And let's add some happy unexpected things as well.

So, dear readers, what are you filling up your calendars with between now and August? Care to pencil me in your plans?


List # 74: Books for Summer

This past weekend I finished two books that I had started earlier in the week. They were great reads (The Story of Beautiful Girl and My American Unhappiness) and each time I read more than one fantastic book in a row I immediately start to worry that the next few things I pick up aren't going to hold my interest. Because though I am almost always reading something, even a librarian gets in reading ruts.

I made pledge to read at least 45 books this year (not counting picture books) and so far I've 22. Time to get my Summer Reading on between this goal and a little contest we have among library.
So which books are a top priority this summer?

1. Exes and Ohs by Sharon Lester
Because I want to write my own book about past relationships. I want to write the book about the good girl who works hard and doesn't get the man but keeps on going. I want to tell my wacky and heartbreaking tales and show that it's okay to be like me.

2. A Visit from the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan
Because it's been on my list since last year. I've taken it home then had to return it by the due date. And I know I'll be rewarded when I actually get invested.

3. I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl by Kelle Groom
Because I love memoirs and stories of addiction and loss. Because the cover is just so pretty.

4. My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock
Because I am trying to do things that scare me all of the time in my life. It's a force that I'm trying to take seriously this year and let's just say that it's really hard.

5. The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
Because the author found me on Twitter and seems like a very sweet woman. She even complimented my blog. And because birds have been a source of connection between my mother and myself each summer. And because I am always looking for the hummingbird.

6. The Greater Journey by David McCullough
Because I still haven't given up my dreams of visiting Paris. And in my true dreams, I'm visiting Paris at the turn of the century. Or with Ernest Hemingway.

Obviously I hope to read more than just 6 books this summer. But I don't want to lock myself into a stiff list. Part of the beauty of being a librarian is ordering all of the new books. Books are some of my best friends all year long but nothing beats reading a book on a swing in the backyard with a glass of iced tea. And it beats watching some of this summer's supposed Blockbusters (seriously, I'm not understanding this new Transformer movie. Why?)

So, what do you plan on reading this summer, dear readers? Any recommendations for me to consider? Share your summer reading plans in the comments! And dont' forget to sign up for a Summer Reading Club at your library. Or my library, if you don't have one :)


Note # ?: It's Getting Better All The Time

This weekend was quiet compared to last weekend's concerts and getaways. It was both peaceful and kind of annoying. There was plenty of time to read and then plenty of time to feel lonely.

But I realized that even though it's still okay to feel like there is someone missing in your life, you aren't consumed by their being anymore. Instead of all day of sadness, it's a single moment. And one breath of loss is better than many breaths of loss.

And though things aren't perfect. Fair from it, actually. I kind of feel happy. And excited about what is to come.


List # 71: Warning Signs

I know that I mull over things for longer than necessary sometimes. I can't help it, but I like to examine my life and question just how I ended up where I am today. Because I'm dead serious when I say that if you would have told 21 year old me, living in Meadville, PA, that I would be a librarian in Pittsburgh before I turned 30 I would have laughed in your face. It was just so far outside of my radar that it wouldn't have even registered. I thought I would be a professor, or a teacher, or be living in some foreign country. And though I have done 2 out of those 3 things, they didn't stick. And though who is to say if I'll be a librarian 10 years from now, I do know I am sticking around for awhile.

But hindsight is 20/20 and looking back, I can identify major life shifts from a few simple moments. Because my brain doesn't rest at night and these are the things I think about. And then they stay with me until I get them out into the open. Seriously, it's no wonder why I've been a light sleeper and talking incessantly since I was 2.

So, 5 Key Warnings Signs in my 29 years (in order of occurrence):

Patio Furniture
My college boyfriend and I sort of fell into a relationship that bloomed out of friendship. It was messy and risky from the beginning. I really did love him, but in the way that we love that first person who understands us before we understand how important support and compassion are. During our first 4th of July, at a lake with some of his friends, we had a serious argument. I can't for the life of me remember what it was about, and it doesn't matter a lick today. But I know that he was really drunk and I know that he threw patio furniture into the lake. I cried, a lot, out of embarrassment, out of fright and out of hurt. We slept in the next car and the he piled on apologies throughout the day. Later, his best friend pulled me aside in front of a jukebox at a bar and told me that I was too good the boyfriend. I remember putting those words into my back pocket and realizing whatever we had going on, no matter how many "I love you's" and sweet nights that it was never going to last. I was just young and foolish and instead walked away with a broken heart right before Valentine's Day.

Librarian Tales
Shortly after I moved back from Greece I met an archive student. I remember a warm Saturday evening out and talking about how I loved teaching but wasn't sure how long I could do it. He suggested library science and I just brushed it off. No one was really a librarian, I was convinced I wasn't smart enough for graduate school, and was worried about tuition. Fast forward three years when I woke up, days away from starting my final year of teaching, and knew in my gut that graduate school was calling. Then came volunteer work, a part-time job, rejections and acceptances, a 4.0 GPA and the career that I love. It just took some frustration and many nights crying before I got the guts to do it all.

Alternative Education
When I was just staring my second year of teaching at the terrible school I cannot name, I was sat down in a meeting and told that I should not be going out on the weekends and dance on top of bars. It was demanded that I not tell people I had a second a job at a card store because my boss didn't want parents to know that she didn't give us benefits. It was stated that I should not go out on dates within a certain, designated radius of my school and that I should not be friends with anyone who was related to school as a parent/community member, etc. Nevermind the fact that I have only danced on top of a bar once in my life in Kos, Greece. Or that I lived over a half-hour from my school's neighborhood and the only time I spent in the town was between the hours of 8 -- 4 when school was in session. Forget the fact that I definitely wasn't friends with anyone in the community nor was I that friendly with parents yet other teachers sold cosmetics to parents while others hung out with parents on the weekends. It was at this moment, sitting across from the school head and her assistant, that I knew I would never belong in such an environment. It would just take a deteriorating year before I realized how much I disagreed with their ethics and lost philosophies. And another before I was completely free.

Sitting on Bourbon Street, just a few hours after flying in to New Orleans in the dead heat of August, I sat at a table with a library acquaintance, her husband and my ex eating po' boys. It was a spur-of-the-moment vacation paid for on my extremely meager first library-job salary. But the three of them sat me down and told me how much I was worth. They told me I could find a better job in the county; that I needed to demand more money. It was an intervention of sorts and it was tough for me to hear, but very true. This trip turned out to be the beginning of one relationship and the end of another. I was blind to it all in Jackson Square, but the fortune teller was right and soon enough I'd see change and the seeds that I was planting sprout. And it's funny, almost a year later, that the person who I paid for on that trip is working his way into a faint memory while the person who asked me to come has become a leader and great friend.

King of Everything
When I first saw this video on VH1 one fall morning I thought to myself "This is going to be the song that defines our break-up." At the time there were still snuggles in bed and sweet things said but considering those lasted until the morning I walked out the door, that type of hindsight is still hard to find. Yet for some reason, this song resonated inside me. I was already feeling resentful and sad that my needs weren't getting met. Patience only gets you so far and though I was more than willing to stick it out, I knew that eventually I would have to take a stand. And though I've never shared this thought to anyone before, I think those who knew us would understand. They'd understand how someone can be busy making maps and find listening so hard to do.

So dear readers, do you have 5 (or more or less) warning signs in your life? What were they? And when did you realize they were directing your future?


Moments #2: Amphibians

I may have kissed more frogs than many others I know. And I'm not one of the few who found love that sticks early. I took a round about road to my own personal happiness and I'm battling a year that keeps throwing me curve balls.

But if that means weekend trips with girlfriends, date nights out about out, potential fall trips to NYC and hopeful late summer trips to visit a college friend, sorority sisters and fellow independent spirit. I'll take it. I may not have everything I want, but I'm going to enjoy what I do have for as long as I can.

Keep kickin' the sh*t out of life.


Misc # 11: The Song that Launched at Least 10 Tweets

I liked this song on Pandora a few months ago. This week, I think I have heard it at least 3 times. And you know what? I think I kind of like it more now than I did back when it first came out. I get nostalgic for old, almost-forgotten songs. Sometimes the ones that have no emotional attachment, but find their way back into your head for an unknown reason are the best kind.
Surprisingly I mentioned Monday morning on Twitter how much I enjoy this song and so many other people confessed their love. Or at least sang a bit of the lyrics. And well, it just made me smile.

So, dear readers, what songs do you hear on the radio that you forget from time to time, but secretly have a soft spot for? I'm also a sucker for Third-Eye Blind. Come on, share!


List # 70: Between Then & Now

Remember a few days ago when I posted about my favorite songs that remind me of June? Something always happens when I post songs about reminders. I get in this spiral of memories and just keep thinking about the past, how life used to be, how many people in my life have changed and so on. It's not always a bad thing. In fact, this time around it hasn't been bad at all. But always introspective.

So tonight's list? A few thoughts on how things were then and how things are now.

A year ago:

I was in a job that I liked but in a place that I was quickly outgrowing. I love my old library. When I tell people my librarian tale I always make sure to let them know just how lucky I am. It's not easy to get a public librarian job in this town and my old library had my back from the beginning. The people there were my first experience with great coworkers and a great team. My patrons were funny and sweet and prayed for my family when members were sick. But it's a small library with an even smaller budget. I knew, no matter how comfortable I was and no matter how much I loved it, I would have to move on eventually.

I was in a relationship that I thought would last into the distance. We lived together, we shared our lives together and we were committed. We thought we were out of the woods with my ill family and we didn't yet know that we were about to hit a bumpy road filled his father nd brother sharing space. We were happy we survived a year of graduate school, trips had been fulfilled and evenings were spent with bikes. We'd take turns between ice cream and Italian ice and I'd let him have ice cream more than I would have preferred.

I was caught in a space I didn't know how to navigate. I am a patient person. I can wait with the best of them and rarely get uspet about time spent on something. It's the perfectionist in me as well. But I was patiently waiting for something that wasn't coming and was starting to almost cry myself to sleep at night. I gave backrubs and laughs but tickles was wearing thin. I accepted excuses out of love. I became the girl that put her hopes in the future and thought that age and stress were legitimate reasons. I never spoke up too much because it would make me cry and I don't like such strong confrontations.

And then, here we are a year later:

I have the dream job I wanted. There isn't much to say about this other than I am thankful every day for my new library and new coworkers. I plan on staying here for quite some time and am so very excited to have new professional goals laying out on the road before me. Once again, I consider my librarian tale a lucky tale.

I am a single girl kicking the sh*t out of life. I could feel it in the moment when we buried my lovely cousin. I could feel a shift inside of me that was almost like breathing in new air, telling me that there was no time to be spent on people who can't make room for you in their life. And since then I've been okay with letting the past be the past. It's not always easy and I miss that scratchy beard and I miss laughter over ice cream and Italian ice. But there are new people and new experiences that are patching holes and making me smile.

I realize I should never settle for less. Excuses are useless. And hurting someone who loves you night after night isn't fair. It wasn't my problem to confront. And maybe there are different ways of being supportive, but I tried the best way I know how. And this June? I have learned that age isn't always a factor and that some people are ready to tackle problems to satisfy people who love them. I have learned that compromise is harder than is sounds and takes both people to accomplish.

And you know what, dear readers? These simple changes have me feeling energized and excited about what is to come. Sure, there is a list of things I'd like to change in my life at the snap of my fingers. But that list is short. And the summer is ahead of me and so is the rest year 29. And I'm going to keep kicking the sh*t out of life. Because like Leanne Lately has proved and what my life is illustrating, a lot can change in 365 days.

So, readers,what has changed for you since last June? Are there changes you're most excited about seeing shape in the future? No regrets, just looking ahead.


List # 69: I don't listen to Bryan Adams

Yesterday I was sick. The kind of sick that takes over with fever, chills and an achy body but comes and goes. It started at work on Thursday, I stuck out the day and was down for the count on Friday. And I could go on about details, but really talking about spending most of a gorgeous Friday afternoon in bed watching TV shows on Hulu isn't all that exciting.

But then, something extraordinary happened. The Pittsburgh Magazine called and I just happened to win 2 tickets to the 2011 Best Restaurants Party on Monday night. Swanky Pittsburgh event, with food from the top restaurants in the city? Count me in. I'm even going to try to blog a list about it. Which might be challenging because I don't really want to be taking notes at the party and sometimes my memory is not the best when it comes to details involving food & such. But whatever comes out will certainly have brassy flair.

But I have a good feeling about this upcoming week:

Best Restaurant Party: Going to sample lots of food with a good friend in a pretty dress.

Michael Buble: I'm taking my Mom as her Mother's Day gift on Friday. She has threatened to throw a bra on stage. Not that we are sitting close enough to reach it, but her enthusiasm is catching and it's going to be awesome.

Lake Erie & Wine: A girl's trip to Lake Erie to visit some wineries and have a bit of summer fun.

There is also the Three Rivers Arts Fest, friends, sunny weather and a few other things going on too. I feel good vibes coming from this week and it's about time.


List # 68: Songs for June

On my way to the library this morning I heard Closing Time by Semisonic and was immediately cast back to the last few days of high school and everything that came with it. Although I think this actually came out my junior year of high school, and not senior, it reminds me of change. I knew as soon as my junior year ended that I was ready to leave high school and that I was (happily) about to face the beginning of the end.

But really, hearing this song this morning made me think about all of the songs that remind me of this time of year. Early June, the promise of summer stretched out ahead and the feeling that almost anything can happen in three months. And even at 29, I kind of still feel that way about this summer. Here's hoping.

So, tonight's list of songs that are meant for June:

Fiest ~ I Feel it All
This reminds me of breaking out of Montessori for the officially the last time. I listened to this a album most of that last year, but this song is forever June.

Baz Luhrman ~ Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen
Because who didn't graduate in 1999 and NOT get emotional over this speech/song? It actually kind of resonates with me today. And the video is so ridiculously terrible. But funny that in 1999, I could have never guessed in a million years that this is where I would be standing in life today.

Usher ~ Let it Burn
I listened to the Confessions album almost nonstop in 2004. Recovering from my first real love, getting ready to bust out of the country and enjoying young, single, 20s. And I'm not embarassed in admitting that this song used to make me cry my eyes out but feel oh. so damn. good. This was Usher's best album ever and I wish this Usher was still around and not hanging out with Justin Beiber.

And of course:

So tell me, lovely readers, what songs remind you of of June? Are they sweet, sad or totally cheesy? Please, share your June song stories in the comments.