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.