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.