List #243: Things That Happened in April

It's been a busy month. And in a few days, I'll be able to pack up a blue carry-on piece of luggage and head on a plane for a few days away. I don't like to say that I deserve a vacation because we all work hard and we all have stress. But really, in April 2014 left little time for relaxation.

Here's what happened in April:
  • Battle of the Books, with 93 children and all of their families
  • Easter Storytime, with 115 children and all of their families
  • Author visit, with 100 people in attendance.
  • Easter with my family and the boyfriend's family
  • A trip to Phipps with my college roommate
  • Out-of-town grandmothers paying a visit
  • A dinner in Market Square where the bomb squad showed up
  • 3 mile walks around Schenley Park
  • Storytimes
  • Said goodbye to my grandfather
  • Planned a first birthday party
  • Made these hats
  • Planned all of the library summer programs
  • Went to my first Pirates game of the season
  • Hosted a first birthday party
  • Went to bed before 10 pm more nights than I care to admit
  • Took Nyquil
  • Ate too many lunches at my desk
  • Joined a new committee
  • Did not clean the house
  • Got a bill from my shady old landlords
  • Washed so many loads of laundry
  • Read a little
  • Cried a few times
  • Let me emotions run wild
  • Missed some friends
  • Celebrated birthdays other than the first
  • Celebrated great news with an old friend
  • Starting weaning a baby from a bottle
  • Dyed Easter Eggs
  • Wished I had a new phone
  • Felt exhausted. 
And so when the plane wheels lift up later this week, I'll push my chair back just a bit, and relish in the fact that this mini-vacation is at least, somewhat, deserved. Now, let's get through the last four days of April. And bring on May.


List #242: Grandpap McNally

My mom's father passed away in December. He was sharp as a tack until his very last day, and passed away in his sleep overnight. He was 88 years-old, a member of the Navy, a Duquesne University graduate, father of 15 children, grandfather of nearly 40 grandchildren, and great-grandfather to 12 great-grandchildren. He was an accomplished man, but his greatest accomplishment, which he would surely tell you...was his family.

When my grandmother passed away from cancer just months before I was born, my mom (the middle child) was already out of the house. Though the death of her mother happened at a very young age, she was starting her own family and wasn't living at the family house anymore. But there was a house full of children and teenagers who were suddenly without a mother to take care of them. My grandfather was a single dad who took care of everyone. He loved singing, and laughing, playing cards, and was always generous.

My grandfather wasn't the kind of guy who took you out on weekend trips or hosted sleepovers at his house. There were too many of us, quite frankly. But he knew all of our names, where we worked, who we dated, and more. There was never a time that I talked to him where he didn't ask me how the library was doing. And he always laughed at stories I would tell about working with the public. He had a jolly Irish laugh. I will miss him, surely. But his was a life of celebration, no matter the circumstances. And that is something I will try to remember.

This past weekend my family got together to have a celebration of his life. It seemed fitting that the weather was gorgeous and that over a hundred people came out to join in celebrating his life and sustaining his memory. Most of our family, even those far away, were able to come. Plus friends and other people he met and enjoyed along the way. It was worth the wait to say goodbye to him in this manner. And I can only hope that when my time on this earth as run out, that my legacy leaves such a mark.

James P. McNally

My cousin and her husband put this video together. And I love it because I love seeing how beautiful and charming my grandparents were as young loves. I love seeing my family through the years. And how much my grandfather loved us all back. 


List #241: Lunchtime Obsessions #2

It's a pretty dreary day in Pittsburgh though I suppose a normal spring one. Gray skies, rain, temperatures that can't quite reach warm. I didn't wear tights today and I'm now regretting that decision.

But it is lunchtime. And I am on my lunch break. And I have been obessesing.

  • Snyder of Berlin's Cheese Curls.
  • Fountain Coca-Cola. With freshly squeezed lemon.
  • ICEEs or Slushies. I may prefer one, but I will take either.
  •  Finding the perfect pair of spring shoes. Since I haven't spent money on shoes in years.
  • Making party hats.
  • Tacos. Only because my cravings haven't been realized.
  • Getting Radley cat to love his new cat tree. He likes it but doesn't love it.
  • Wishing I could guest host Saturday Night Live.
  • Defending the How I Met Your Mother season finale.
  • Going to be unreasonably early.
  • Blackberries.
  • Watermelon.
  • Katy Perry's Dark Horse.
Happy Monday. And indulge. 


List #240: Ya Jagoff

In case you you didn't know, my hometown of Pittsburgh is a lovely hometown. People are always willing to lend a hand or meet a new friend. And so doing something like a blog swap among local bloggers is simply an example of its charm.

Today's post comes from John at YaJagoff and is part of a special day of shenanigans from a bunch of Pittsburgh bloggers. You can see my post over at the lovely Emily Levenson's blog where I wear my heart on my sleeve and discuss life as an unexpected mother. I've met both John and Emily a few times in real life, and let me assure you, they truly are two of Pittsburgh's finest. But all of the bloggers in today's April Fool's excitement are a fun group of people, so be sure to check the bottom of this post for the links. 

John's Actual Bookshelf

I originally set out to write a list of books that I’ve read and the associated Jagoffs in each of them.  However, I looked at my bookshelf and realized that the list of real books I’ve read is shorter than the list of people with flip-phones in 2014.

My "step back and punt": make a list like Shannon usually does, that gives some personal insight. My list, “What in the World is on My Bookshelf?”   I’m not a complete ig’nernt Jagoff (Pittsburghese for dumb idiot) when it comes to reading.  One of my favorite books is Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged  and recently, I read an unbelievably enlightening book, Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith. 

And now for my, “What in the World is on My Bookshelf?” list.

Top Shelf:
  • EMT and Paramedic training books
    • Some I read while training as a paramedic years ago – Not so many years ago, though, that any of them recommend bloodletting with leeches.
    • One contains a few chapters authored by me.
    • One has me cartooned into it.
    • Most of them used as references when I was teaching new paramedics and EMTs.
    • Large beer glass – I’m certain that I drank lots of beer during my paramedic classes.
Middle Shelf:
  • Books I have enjoyed enough to keep:
    • The World Is Flat
    • Willies Way
    • Why Things Break
    • The Great Game of Business
    • The Tribune Review’s pictorial book of “Summer With Stanley” featuring the Penguin players 2009 summer with the Stanley Cup.
    • The Idiot’s Guide to Wine
    • A cement handprint from one of my kids – I dropped it once and its cracked, please keep that our little secret.
    • My grandfather’s borough council President gavel from the 1940s.
    • Package of Dura Max flame-shaped light bulbs – I have absolutely no explanation for this.
    • City Paper from July, 2012 – It contains a feature article by editor, Chris Potter, explaining why the Pittsburghese word Jagoff is NOT a swear word!  It’s there because I’ve finally stopped cuddling it at night when I go to sleep.
Bottom Shelf
  • Made To Stick a very, very practical marketing book.
  • Collection of books on gardening and home remodeling – These are merely “Scan and Dream” books given my complete lack of handyman skills
  • Menopause Without Medicine – Even more difficult to explain than the light bulb package on the middle shelf
  • Cement handprint from my other kid (that fact that one is on the middle shelf and one is on the bottom shelf does not give insight as to one being a favorite as far as THEY know)
  • Bottle of High Traffic Carpet Cleaner – Given the amount of dust on the bookshelf, this CLEARLY is not a high-traffic carpet area, so its presence is yet another mystery.  I’ve contacted Cyril Wecht to investigate!
Thanks for reading this.  Have a great April Fools’ Day! For me, it’s a Holy Day of Obligation so watch out!

If you have questions about other stuff on the shelves, comment below. Or if you want to share what's on your own bookcase, let us know!

And if you'd like to check out any of the other fantastic set of eclectic blogs involved in today's Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event, links are below:
Yum Yum PGH