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