List #156: Librarian on Vacation

There is nothing quite like setting your work email to have an away message when you're gone. Especially when you're out for a splendid vacation.

It'll be a little bit of bliss once this weekend begins. A quality outing tonight, a wedding tomorrow, and then a week of this Brassy Beachside Librarian.

I look forward to sharing my adventures when I return. But for now, just think about how I will be:
  • Reading a book, under an umbrella.
  • Wearing adorable sun hats.
  • Feeling cute in my polka dot suit.
  • Having fun with friends in the ocean.
  • Listening to the waves.
  • Spreading happiness to seagulls with french fries.
Have a splendid week, readers. Happy Independence Day too! I look forward to seeing you upon my return.


Letter #40: Things I Want You to Know, Part 10

Dear Self,
Love yourself a little more lately. You're letting anxiety about the future creep too far in. You're looking in the mirror, at the things you want to fix, a little too intently. You're waking up grumpy before you've even let the day begin. Nothing is going to get easier if you're not going to let yourself ride the wave. You're funny, you're sweet, you're pretty, you're smart, you're competent. Don't let a few bad days at work, a schedule you can't fix, and a future you can't control bring you any more further down. Celebrate the style in your closet. Smile.

Dear Everyone Else Around Me, 
See the above? I'm sorry if I'm edgy. I'm sorry if it's that time of the month  plus a little extra. But every day has a period of murky and I'm on some medication that makes me feel fatigued all of the time. And unfortunately, my day doesn't really allow time for naps. And I'm sorry if you feel like you might need to be walking on eggshells with me, I don't like it either. It's not fair for you and I promise I'm working to make it better soon.

Dear Jess & Russ,
You made this. And I just want to wish you a lifetime of happiness. I'm not overly romantic. But I'm not overly cynical either. And I just really love the simple complexity of your story. And the artwork is amazing.

Dear Air Conditioning,
I'm really glad that I don't have to turn you on tonight. So now I can listen to the usual rhythms of my neighborhood as I start to sleep. With just a fan blowing the air in my bedroom. It's not that I dislike you, air conditioning. It's that I always develop a cough around you and I'd rather it wait. It's nights like these that I'm glad I share a bed only with myself.

Dear NE,
There would be so much to tell you if we were actually talking. And I kind of do want to talk, but I doubt that's the best thing for any party involved. And I don't want to be the one who starts the conversation. But we've got college football playoffs happening, and tiny things that occur in the day, updates on life stuff, concerts that are coming to town, and BOGO Pirates tickets. Plus all of the things that you've got going on and funny things seen around the world, or you know, just on the internet. It's all just there.

Dear Electric Stove,
I don't expect us to be the best of cooking friends. I don't have the interest nor the talent and you don't have the right temperatures. But I do expect us to start getting along and for you to stop doing weird things to my rice.

Dear Atlantic Ocean,
It's been a long time since we last met. Our closest encounters in recent years being from airports and me hovering above you in the sky. But I'm coming south for you soon. With a new swimsuit and books and friends and a family-style vacation. Get ready. You're going to be so excited to see me. As I am excited to see you.

Your Librarian


List #155: When It Almost Vanished

Maybe you noticed that my blog was missing in action for a few days. I woke this past Friday to realization that all of this that I have created here might disappear, because of a little quirk and some ignorance on my part. And I panicked.

I haven't been the best blogger this year. Sometimes I'm just a loss for words. Other times I want to not talk about what is personally going on in my life. And sometimes, well, sometimes I just have too much anxiety about my own future that if I type it here I may scream.

But when I was faced with the possibility that all of my writings and ramblings would be lost without any of my say-so? Well, that just wasn't going to cut it.

I've gone through a lot when I first started this blog on a cold night in January 2011. And I'm bound to go through a lot more as I keep writing. And I still haven't changed my tagline to reflect my current age.

I'm going to treat your better, readers. I may not be able to figure out to change that custom header to reflect a new tag line. But I'm going to try and write more. Continue to be honest with my feelings and hope that my story changes for the better as the days go by.

And I hope that you haven't deleted me from your reader just yet. And that you'll stick around for adventures.


Letter #39: Pittsburgh and Dating

Dear Pittsburgh,

I love you. But you're bringing me down. Or at least your dating prospects are.

See, you're filled with hometown people. I, myself, am one of them. One of the 30-somethings that managed to carve out a decent career, and a decent way of life in the hills of their city. Whether it was on purpose, or by accident, or by sheer luck (both the good and the bad), we've settled here. 

For the most part, we love it. We love being near family, love the museums, love the sports, love the location, the weather, love our neighborhoods and our quriky colloquialisms. 

But sometimes, we need a little help. Or at least, this girl does. 

See, Pittsburgh. What is the toughest about you sometimes, is the dating scene. One of your best/worst qualities is feeling like a small town. Everyone seems to know each other, can verify the status of a potential mate within a few degrees of common friends. It becomes easy to feel like you're running out of options.

Plus all of our oldest friends are married, and now they are producing babies, and they don't seem to have any single friends who would be suitable mates. So many people married high school classmates that it leaves the rest of us on the fringe. Just like in high school. And personally, I talk to about 3 people from high school on a regular basis. Two of whom are married and one who is a woman.

And don't get me on the number of students we incubate here. They're lovely and smart, friendly and appreciate this city with emotion but see its flaws just like we do. They're funny and cute. There is so much to share with them. But then, they're just students and are rarely (oh, so rarely) in the position to find themselves in the position of wanting a relationship. 

So I'm taking a break from dating Pittsburgh. I've just run out of ideas. And I'm scared that by taking a break I may be resigning myself to thoughts of buying a cat and all that comes with being a librarian who owns a cat and lives alone. I just don't know where to go anymore. Church? Doubtful my match is lurking there. The bar? I don't like the social scene like I once did.

I'm just a little lost. And I need my space. But I'd like the worlds to collide here, Pittsburgh. And maybe  I'll get lucky for real.

But in the meantime, we need some distance. I hope you respect that decision.


List #154: Let's Go Bucs!

This isn't a baseball post. I won't pretend to know anything more than the basics of the sport. And this isn't a bandwagon "I Love the Pirates" post either. I'm a born and raised Pittsburgh gal. I went Three Rivers when I was young and I go to PNC now. The Pirates will always be my favorite team, because they will always be my home team.

No, instead this post is just about a girl meets summer, likes to go to ballgames, loves that it brings friends closer together, and always picks the winner at the pierogi race.

It's a post about a girl who bought tickets three weeks ago, for a boy and his favorite visiting team team. And how that girl and that boy broke it off before the actual game. And it's also about how the girl paid for them since he wasn't near a computer and she never printed them. And how lucky she is that she has a girl friend who loves baseball.

It's about enjoying summer. And looking forward to two baseball games this week. And I'm willing to bet, two different pieorgi race winners.

This is PNC Park. Everyone knows that it's the best park. And everyone is right.

And it's about how the Pirates have always given the city of Pittsburgh something to cheer about during the dog days of summer. Even when they are doing terribly. Because Pittsburgh is loyal.


List #153: Picking Up Your Stuff

I've hinted around on the blog in the past few months/weeks that I was seeing someone.

He is a nice guy, with a good smile and sweet eyes. He knows how to make me laugh and does often. He's strong but sensitive. He likes to learn and read but he also likes to drink a beer and watch scripted television. He feeds my love of Leslie Knope with Reddit links, and rolls his eyes at Ted Mosby too. He is always up for Mexican food. Or Chinese food. And he laughs at my old-lady habits. I like him. A lot.

But it ended tonight. Officially. After a week of hemming and hawing. After emails back and forth. And two hours on his couch. We both knew when I went to pick up the small assortment of things I'd left at his place, that it was over. But I don't think either of us wanted me to leave through the front door. I know that both of us would have enjoying kissing and being the way we always were together.

But it can't be like that. Because I want a full-fledged relationship. And he does not.

And though I know it's the adult-thing, the right-thing, to walk away from this before it gets any deeper. It doesn't make up for the fact that I am sad. It doesn't take away the hurt of someone staring right in your eyes, inches away from your face, his hands on your hips telling you how much he likes you but that he just can't do it. That his life isn't cut out for a permanent relationship. That he can't bring himself to be my legitimate boyfriend.  Because if he liked me enough? If he valued me enough? He wouldn't have let me walk out that door, right?

So I'm sad. I'm not heart-broken and I don't feel that I have anger and malice towards him. I'm just sad that I let myself grow close to someone who can't meet my needs. I'm sad that I had to say goodbye to an interesting person that I cared about. I'm sad that I just can't seem to find someone who likes me enough to make it stick.

And no, it's not my fault that he can't commit. I'm ready. I'm willing. I want to be a partner. I can only control my own actions and emotions. And even though I know all of this. I can't help but be sad.

But I'm not upset that I want to be in a relationship. I've earned it. I'm awesome. Some guy out there should want to fight for me. And not just let me be a place holder of time.

  • I want to be valued. 
  • I want to be a girlfriend.
  • I want to get married.
  • I want to make decisions about having children, or not having children, together.
  • I want to meet his friends.
  • I want to snuggle up under the blankets and laugh about the day.
  • I want to not date for awhile, because I want someone to come after me. 
  • I want to be chosen and loved and fought for and pampered. 
Because I'm worth it. And I don't want to be sad.


List #152: What All Women Should Have by 30 and a Half

This list was popular some time ago on the Internet. It's one of those almost-fluff, almost-life-altering pieces of advice that you could have sworn was being circulated as an email chain letter circa 2002. And one of those pieces you wish you'd written yourself.

But since I'm already 30 and feel that I've learned so much just in the past year. And because I feel like I have so much to achieve from here on out. I'm bending the rules and give us more time to have and learn these things. And hell, if it takes me longer than 30 and a 1/2 that's fine too. Age ain't nothing but a number, right?

So, here's my own spin on what I think everyone woman should have or have learned.

By 30 and a 1/2 you should...

  1. Mourn the loss the of friendships and understand that not everyone is meant to be your life forever.
  2. Be proud of your education. No matter how long it took, no matter where you went, or what you're doing with it today.
  3. Hug your parents as often as you can. They gave you hugs, now give them back.
  4. Have friends in different time zones. So that you can always have a place to visit and always have a friend who won't be sleeping when you need someone to talk to late at night.
  5. Make out on a street corner late at night and still go home to your own bed.
  6. Still own relic from your childhood: a teddy bear, a blanket, a tshirt. Just something to hold on to.
  7. Have 3 songs that cast you back in time and bring emotions to height of memory: one that reminds you of laughter, dancing and friends. Another that brings you to tears, even after all these years. And a final one that reminds you of a time you were loved fully.
  8. Not put up with anyone who doesn't value you, your time, your health, your mind, your heart.
  9. Know when it's more important to put off laundry and dishes and soak in the tub for hours with a good book and a glass of wine.
  10. Push yourself to the next challenge, despite all the butterflies in your stomach, and your logic arguing back.
  11. Believe in second chances. And third chances. But not enough chances that just keep hurting.
  12. Have friends that treat you like family. And then look after those friends as if they really were your blood.
  13. Wake up with a few well-worth it headaches on Sunday mornings. Just every once in a while to remind yourself that it's okay to let loose. And that you've still got it.
  14. Wear whatever makes you feel fucking sexy.
  15. Treat yourself. At least once a month to something you want because you can't take it with you.
  16. Know a few good stories to tell at parties. But that you don't tell just anyone.
  17. Understand how to cry yourself to sleep at night but then pull yourself together in the morning to work hard and push ahead.
  18. Collect a few ex-boyfriends who, when you think about, really make you laugh. No one will ever really understand what you were thinking at 17, 22 or even 26, 27, 28...including you.
  19. Know how to cook one thing really well for dinner parties. Or just know how to bring napkins and wine without dropping the ball.
  20. Have a place in this world that isn't your home but feels more like home than any other place on the planet. Go there. But not often enough that it looses its luster.
  21. Own one really sexy pair of shoes that imply just exactly what you want them to imply. 
  22. Own one really good purse. That is unique and not a carbon-copy of every purse on the shoulder of every woman in America.
  23. Wake up doing something you know in your heart that you're suppose to be doing. Or at least, wake up with the determination to reach that goal.
  24. Possess more than one favorite book.
  25. Wear a shade of lipstick that changes your life.
  26. Truly appreciate going to bed alone. In a bed that's all yours. That you made in the morning.
  27. Try hard not to measure yourself against your peers. There will be good years and bad years.
  28. Know exactly what you'd want to say to that ex-boyfriend, ex-boss, ex-friend if you ever saw them again. And hope that you never see them again.
  29. Appreciate the subtle ways karma can show up on your doorstep. And pay it back in spades.
  30. Wonder what tomorrow is going to bring. But try not give yourself ulcers.
  31. Not be afraid to voice your opinions. Go out on the line and be woman with a powerful voice, the one who may be called names, the one who may seem a bit crazy. But do it with gusto and purpose.
So dear readers, what do you think you should know or have before "30 and a 1/2"? Guys, your opinion is wanted as well.


List #151: Put a Smile On It

I spent the afternoon with my parents today. Just me and them and some Chinese food. A little bit of time spent outdoors, a little bit of time spent in the kitchen, and some spent in front of the television introducing my Mom to Downton Abbey. It was a great, quiet, lazy afternoon.

But when we took a little walk to get some Sunday night ice cream, my mom made a comment. "Smile," she said. "You need to smile more. Life will get better."

And then suddenly I felt badly for not smiling. There isn't really a reason for me not to:  work is going well, I'm going to be on television tomorrow, I have pretty dresses, I'm going on vacation in a few weeks. But I just didn't feel like smiling today.  Life isn't bad, not in the least. But there is a lot of not-this-again-is-this-as-good-as-it-gets floating around.

I think I smile a lot. I'm a sunshine friend who always looks on the brightside. Sometimes, admittedly, annoyingly so.

But on the weekend? My smile can quickly fade. I rest. I let my emotions run their course. I cuddle on my couch.

My Mom is probably right. Life will probably get better. It's not a bad time, there have been worse times. But it's still a stressful time.

But in the meantime, I'm gonna try to slap on a smile tomorrow.

What about you, readers, how aware of your smiles are you?


List #150: In the Moment

I work the late shift at the library tonight. Only a few days left to finish up summer reading odds and ends, and I'll be leading the book club tonight (Discussion: Devil in the White City, can't wait). And I am feeling a little conflicted. I had all intentions of being productive this morning. I even set my alarm for a ridiculously early hour.

But then the comfort of my bed encouraged me to hit snooze a few extra times. Current Events sucked me into spending too much time with NPR. Now I'm showered and blogging from my couch in front of my big picture window in the living room. And though maybe I should have taken a walk before I showered, I did pay some bills. And maybe I should have done my laundry, but I'm writing right now.

And in my quest to try and live with a little less anxiety and a little less worry, I'm just going to enjoy the moment. So if that means writing with a towel over my head, music playing, and sun shining in my window.

Then all of this is good.

  • Someone takes my garbage to the curb every Tuesday night.
  • I have bean tacos to make for lunch.
  • Two little owls sit on my window, next to two growing flowers.
  • There is a stack of new books to read.
  • I get quiet every night.
So dear readers, I wish you all a moment of peace today. And hope that it can continue through tomorrow.