List #258: Don't Ever Say This to a Woman

Twice in the past week I have found myself in situations where someone who doesn't know me (or only knew me as a teenager with pimples and a bad sense of style) has asked some very personal questions without much basic tact. Both times it left me confused and baffled. And both times I felt that the way I did answer their questions were not the best way I could have answered.

And sadly, because I'm a woman. And because I made some choices in my life that probably confused a lot of people. And because I didn't get married before I was 28. And because I have a career in a field that some people feel is outdated. And because I lived abroad. And because I had a few failed relationships. And because of so so many other things. This wasn't the first time I had to hold my feelings inside in order to come off pleasant and polite so as not to offend someone.

I just wish people would use a little more common sense. Don't ask questions you wouldn't want someone asking you. And be mindful not just words, but how they are worded, when they are said, and where they are said can make all of the difference. Sometimes it's not a matter of what you're asking but more how you say it and what kind of answer you're expecting. Words have power. Be aware of that power.

I'm not saying that I'm perfect. I'm sure I've hurt others' feelings by how, what, where, and when I chose to speak certain words. But honestly, I do try to be mindful of people's situations. And working with the public does give me a good sense of how many walks were are all taking in life. But still, just because I feel like maybe some us need a lesson on what not to ask or say, I'll leave a few examples here.
  • When are you going to get married?
  • Why don't you have a boyfriend?
  • When you stop looking, it will happen.
  • Oh, you don't want to be in a relationship.
  • Why don't you want kids?
  • When are you going to have kids?
  • You'll feel differently once you're married.
  • Why don't you have children?
  • Have you tried Match.com?
  • Why would you want to go back to school?
  • Oh, I don't believe in taking out loans for school.
  • You pay how much in rent?
  • You should really just buy a house instead of rent.
  • Why does your child have different colored eyes than you?
  • Your child looks nothing like you or your partner.
  • Oh, did you adopt?
  • You won't understand until you have children.
  • Oh, be glad you don't have kids.
  • You couldn't possibly understand unless you're a mom.
  • Did you guys have in vitro?
  • Did you use a surrogate?
  • You won't understand what it's like to be tired until you have a baby.
  • I'm just busier than you are.
  • Why don't you breastfeed?
  • Why do you use formula?
  • Oh, did you sleep with the mailman?
  • When are you guys going to have another baby?
  • When are you going to get engaged?
  • Why did you want to get into that career?
  • Oh, it's not like you work or anything.
  • It's hard to understand unless you're in a relationship.
  • Why did you get divorced?
  • Why did your partner get divorced?
  • Are you pregnant?
There are probably way more, I'm sure. So if you have one, please feel free to share it here. And remember, just take a second to listen to what you're going to say, and how you're going to say it, before you let the words slip out of your mouth.

Be kind, friends.


List #257: 33 Things at 33

On this day in 1981, I was born. I'm the oldest of three three children and the only girl in my immediate family. I always loved that my birthday was in September. I was usually one of the first people to celebrate a birthday in the school year, my birthday was never one of those forgotten summer days, and the weather was always perfect for an outdoor party in my parents' backyard.

And this year, on one very hot and not-so-seasonal September Sunday, my birthday was just as nice. Filled with lots of love from my two favorite boys, lots of laughter, and dinner with family. And the day ended with some quiet time, the How I Met Your Mother boxed set, peppermint tea, and blankets.  Even if I did cry in the middle of it all, the day was nothing short of all the things I enjoy the most:  great stories from good friends, peels of laughter from a toddler, kisses from a boyfriend, and a home-cooked meal and conversations with my family. 

Here's what I was thinking as 365 days passed:
  • Even if the mother dies, I want Ted Mosby to find happiness.
  • This house is a horrible mess.
  • When can I eat tacos?
  • Giggly babies are the best babies.
  • Oh wow, everyone is having more babies.
  • Why does my boyfriend's nose sound like a foghorn?
  • How soon can I go visit friends in far away cities?
  • Oh goodness, Cat! Leave me alone!
  • I really like making out.
  • I wonder how early the baby will wake up in the morning.
  • This book really isn't so great.
  • I've been underrating a beach vacation for years.
  • I have nothing to wear in this closet.
  • Sometimes, I just don't want to hear your voice.
  • This man is the best man.
  • How many times is too much to listen to one song in a row?
  • Chris Pratt. Tom Hiddleston. Chris Pratt. Adam Levine. Chris Pratt.
  • I'm so very lucky to have met someone who actually likes to cook.
  • What should I order at Starbucks today?
  • Asking if I (or anyone else) had in vitro, adopted, or used a surrogate is not okay.
  • My fantasy football team is crap.
  • I don't think I care about the Steelers anymore.
  • When can I watch the Pens play?
  • Please don't watch porn in public.
  • Oh, pretty and expensive houses!
  • Why am I crying?
  • Why is 90s fashion a thing in 2014? 
  • I miss my friends.
  • I miss my family.
  • I should probably make those doctor's appointments.
  • Which book should I read at storytime?
  • Am I getting old?
  • Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon a life that manages to include a whole lot of funny and a whole lot of love.
Really truly, it's been a lucky and wonderful year. I'm hoping for some adventure, love, luck, health, and a few good travels in the year ahead. Here's to all of those things and more.


List #256: The Time I Was in a Zine

There are some really fantastic bloggers in Pittsburgh. People who are writing with way more frequency than me about everything from awesome places to eat in this city, making art, crafting the mixed tape, living downtown, baking, going to school, finding love, loving pets, being a parent, and so very much more.  And a few months ago, one of them got an awesome idea to put our online writing onto good ol' fashioned ink and paper.

I'm proud to be part of this finished product and really hope that if you live in Pittsburgh, you'll find a copy. Right now you can grab a copy at one of these fine places:

  • South Hills Power Yoga
  • East End Book Exchange
  • Caliban Book Shop
  • CW Press
  • Copacetic Comics Company
With a few more places rolling out as the week progresses:
  • Carnegie Coffee Company
  • ToonSeum
  • Artisan Tattoo
  • Crazy Mocha
  • Espresso A Mano
  • Pavement
  • Roundabout Brewery
  • Wildcard
  • Crazy Mocha
  • Wigle Whiskey
If you do find a copy, take a photo and tag @brassy_librarian in Instagram. I'll send you you're very own personalized book recommendations. And maybe the first person to tag me will get an extra special something too!

More than anything though, please go read the other (and much more impressive) blogs involved. Give a big thanks to Alex at Everybody Loves You for this really was his brainchild and work of love. He's just that awesome.

And here's your bibliography of links:

Thanks for reading!


List #255: Thing I Think About While Watching Sunday Night Football

Like most of America, I'm having a hard time with the NFL right now. And yes, because of some very specific instances that have occurred in the past few weeks, our patience with football is wearing thing. But really, we've been on the appalled by some of their behavior for awhile now.  Even my beloved Steelers have tarnished the black and gold in ways that I can't really reconcile with my fandom. The NFL is making us mad, sad, disappointed, and disgusted. 

But still, I am sitting on the couch on a Sunday night watching my team. I won't pretend to have the answers to fix the behavior of the NFL and its players. But I will admit that I'm one of those fans who is disgusted, but still playing Fantasy Football and watching (at least some of) the Steelers games each week.

A lot of things run through my mind as I watch Sunday Night Football in 2014:
  • I have no desire to pay to see a Steelers game this year.
  • I would not turn down free tickets, however.
  • I really think the Steelers need new coaches.
  • I'm still very thankful that my team doesn't mess with that Cheerleader nonsense.
  • The Sunday New York Times is entirely too much paper to read in one day.
  • Pretty sure Gatorade is my new favorite drink.
  • Ironing clothes for work the night before is both the best and worst thing.
  • 9:00 pm is far too late in the day to be wearing a bra.
  • I will not be getting the new iPhone.
  • Fall breezes at night are the best.
  • I really need to get a fall candle to burn.
  • I spent many many hours of this weekend listening to back episodes of My Brother, My Brother and & Me. 
  • It's possible my entire Fantasy teams will suck all season long.
  • Is there anyone in America that enjoys listening to Cris Collinsworth on Sunday evenings?
  • I am far too old and tired to stay up for an entire Sunday Night Football game anymore.
And with that, let's hope the Steelers can win. 


List #254: The End of Summer

And suddenly it was Labor Day. And September rushed in with humidity and high temperatures and rain storms that flooded patios. 

When I think about Summer 2014 in a few years, I think it will all just come at me in one big blur. Because honestly, I barely remember what I was doing back in June. This summer was filled with so many events that finding the balance between quiet and loud was nearly impossible. Work was too much at times, and home was just as hectic. There are so many things I didn't get to do either by myself, or with the BF, with our little family, with friends: go boating on a lake, walk around the rivers. see more Pirates games, have drinks on a rooftop, swim in a pool, and probably so much more. 

But I was busy because so much of my time was taken up by good things. Sometimes it's good to be busy because it means you're leading a life full of purpose, love, and activity. And that is how I want to remember Summer 2014. 

Summer 2014, I hope to always remember:
  • The long morning and evening walks around my corner of the city. 
  • Family snuggles as the sun rose on early morning.
  • Getting stuck in a rainstorm that broke two umbrellas.
  • Trips to the zoo and amazement inside the aquarium.
  • Unplanned semi-fancy dinners on Friday nights.
  • Falling asleep at an embarrassingly early hour.
  • Growing herbs and flowers on our little concrete porch.
  • Hot nights and glasses of wine.
  • Running around in my parents' backyard for the first time in ages.
  • First steps.
  • Trying to save money.
  • Sunset Beach, NC
  • Dreaming the endless possibilities that our future might hold.
Summer 2014, you were a good one. But now it is September. Oh, how I love September.