Post Star Wars Thoughts -or The Evolution of a Child Nerd.

I'll admit that I was kind of skeptical about the new Star Wars movie when I first heard about it in the works a year or so ago. I have never been what you would call a true Star Wars nerd, though I did have my time.

I remember being 6 or 7 and for some reason, first hearing about Star Wars on the radio... It might have been NPR? I don't know, it's kind of blurry; all I know is that my interest was piqued at a young age. I pumped my dad for information about the story, and please-dad-don't-skimp-on-the-details-about-Princess-Leia. He drew me and my sister a picture while trying to explain her unique hair, because (though it's crazy to imagine now) once upon a time I didn't know what that looked like. His picture looked like Princess Leia had corkscrew drills protruding for her head. My mother quickly corrected him and explained the true nature of the iconic buns. I believe this (along with American Girl Dolls' Kirsten) may have contributed to my now deep rooted fascination with awesome braided hair.

The Post Nanowrimo Report

So, I did NaNoWriMo this year.
I stayed up till midnight on October 31st and then every day from November 1st through the 30th, I woke up early in the mornings pushed my self late at night,  said no to TV and books and carved those 50,000 words out of the created time.
Last night, I wrote the words that I knew would push me over the finish line, and when I pasted them into the word count validator, the count read 50,001. By Nanowrimo rules, that's an official winning word count. So, I did what WriMos all across the world had been doing all night long as midnight slowly crept across the globe. I put down my computer, and celebrated. All of a sudden, the tiredness that had plagued me when I had started my evening out at Starbucks and followed me home to my writing spot on the couch, left my body as the rush of adrenaline from completing my marathonic writing goal flooded in. I broke out the sparkling grape juice and toasted in mason jars with my sister. "To putting books on shelves!"
I printed out my kitchsy (but oh so sweet!) certificate, proudly instagramming, and tweeting the moment to my fellow WriMos on the interwebs with the hashtag #nanowinner2015.

and then I went to bed. I had to work this morning after all.

my favorite things - august 2015

Look at me, writing this post on time! woohoo! The fact that it *is* on time mirrors how life has been lately... i.e. fairly well organized and put together. I've recovered pretty much 100% from the craziness of the summer, and tomorrow I start back with my Fall library routine. I've done this once before, so I can only do it better this time around!

this is my fight song

Dear Reader, I have a confession to make. 
Last week I considered quitting my job. Yes. That job. The one where I'm a children's librarian. The one that I've long dreamed of and worked for and actually miraculously have. 
It was a moment (ok, more like a couple of hours) of panic, in which I was struck with the reality of full-time working state. I did the math and saw 40 hours per week, times 51 weeks come out to 2,040 hours of my life devoted to one single building, one organization, one job. In the short span of my half-lived life, that is a record. I thought of two thousand plus hours and panicked, because with a number as large and grand as that under my belt, surely I should have done some Great Good thing in that time. I panicked because in  flash vision to the possible future, I saw thousands more hours piling up around a self that looked exactly the same as the self I am now.
During my quiet planning hour, I couldn't help but cry a little as I jotted out the hours of my day to come. I spun wheels in my brain, trying to figure out an  escape plan--where I would go, what I would do--all the while, scared of even the escape. After all, look how hard it was to get here. I felt trapped between the fear of growing stagnant and the fear of starting over from scratch. 
But I stuffed both fears away--I had to-- in my back pocket, and started my day. Because that's what you do when you're an adult. 
Then, a funny thing happened. 
As I worked in my space - my cheery yellow-walled children's room - vacuuming and tidying, the simpleness brought me back to a level of calm. Doing work had caused me to remember my heart in all of this. 

my favorite things - july 2015

I realize that August is now well under way, and that I missed June entirely, but if one gave up just because one has failed before... then... why do anything at all?
I'm mulling on a post, which I thought was ready last night, but proved not to be. It needs a little more time. So for the meanwhile, I bring you my favorite things from July:

trinkets and baubles

I was fourteen or fifteen the summer I had mono. I stayed in bed for hours upon end, read lots, watched movies, and slept endlessly.
I also made fairy crowns. Copper wire, stripped from a broken vacuum cleaner by my brothers found its way into my hands, and I twisted and shaped it into a couple of different headpieces -- rough, organic and whimsical.
I was in the heart of my period of staunch belief in fairies then.
 I watched Fairy Tale, the story of the Cottingley Fairies, and was entranced. I checked out of the library every Cecily Mary Barker book I could find, poring over the illustrations of darling child fairies. I built fairy villages in the wood behind the house, the North Florida variety, constructed of pine straw and pine twigs, and all the other salvaged pine bits  I could glean from the warm forest floor. My sketch books were filled with tiny butterfly-winged fair-folk, and my letters to girlfriends signed sarahfairy. 

So I've grown up a little bit and don't exactly wear my fairy wings out in public anymore (okay, so I never actually *did* that; its a metaphor) but I have this one crown still. Most days my bedside lamp wears it regally on its shade, but the other day my roommate Hannah  saw it sitting there, and cajoled me into a fairy-crown themed photo shoot.

She's magic with light, and it was a dream to sit for her.
A photo posted by Hannah Russell (@hannahmeredithphoto) on
I do believe in fairies; I do! I do!

my favorite things - may 2015

Since last month's faves wrap-up post, I've thought a little more about how specifically I want these monthly things to work. So I've come up with a few categories which may or may not appear every time. They are: Entertainment/Music - Food - Life Practice - App/Program/Website - Craftsy. Now, Without further ado... Here's my favorite things from May.

Swinging Mindfullness 101

After a having slightly mental moment at work today, in a week full of such moments (that will only become more frequent as summer reading approaches) I escaped the library for my lunch hour with only two goals:
1.) to eat my lunch in the peace of my car where no one can find me, and
2.) to find a swing and swing on it.

I've found that my greatest stress reliever is to get on a swing and pump for dear life- to kick those legs out and back, out and back, exercise those abs, and just fly.

My theory on swinging is simple. When you get on a swing with a brain full of mangled up tangled up thoughts, a couple of things happen.
First, you automatically begin to feel like a kid again because, obviously, you're at a playground where most 24 year-old--or grown-ups of other ages--don't go alone (unless you're Leslie Knope of course). Second, as you pump up, higher and higher, thinking those mangled up tangled up thoughts, an amazing thing starts to happen.  You begin to think less and less about your thoughts and more and more about your swinging. How high can I get? Is this swingset anchored properly? Has anyone ever flipped over the bar? You're being, just being, ever so perfectly in the moment.  Once you've realized this state of being, you can then begin to imagine the thoughts you had been thinking untangling and slipping away. Its as if the physical force of pumping your arms and legs draws the problems away from your brain on the backward swing, then flings them far, far away-out through your toes and into the soccer fields-on the forward swing. A little extra kick at the peak never hurts.
10 minutes of this, and you'll be doing fine. You can go back to the demands of your life refreshed and happy.

I dare you to try it!

24 // Things I know about myself and life

  1. I can pick up my life and move to a new place, and survive it. I've been doing this involuntarily my whole childhood, and did it on my own this past year.
  2. I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to. 
  3. I will not do anything I don't really want to do. (As far as things I have a choice about goes, that is.)
  4. A secret about everyone else's jobs: "Deep down, everyone is just faking it till they figure it out, and you [and I] will too." Thanks April Ludgate.
  5. I will always try to avoid taking multiple trips from my car, even if it means dropping a bag or groceries or two on the way in.
  6. Talking to people is hard, but usually worth it.
  7. I'm always going to think the best of people, even though most of the time, they're going to fail me. It's nicer to think well of them, though, no matter what. 
  8. I'll never forget X random awkward thing I did in Middle school (or yesterday) and I'm always gonna cringe at myself for it. but that doesn't mean I'm not working on not letting my pride define me. 
  9. I'm always gonna dread Mondays, and feel sick on Sunday nights.
  10. Being alone on a Friday night is amazingly freeing.
  11. Being alone on a Saturday night is the
  12. Begin alone on a Sunday night is  the worst thing since lima beans.
  13. Life is too short to read mediocre books. 
  14. Every vegetable is better doused in olive oil and roasted.
  15. Hearing screams of "THE LIBRARIAN IS HERE!" is the closest I'll be to being a rockstar.
  16. Design matters and so I'll always care about book covers.
  17. If I go without coffee, I will have a wicked headache, no matter how I try to deceive myself into thinking I'm not caffeine dependent.
  18. There's always gonna be someone who doesn't care to hear what I have to say.
  19. But for everyone of those ^ there's someone who does care.
  20. I'll never know whether I'm a feminist or not, cause the word "feminism" --like the word "dating"-- means different things to different people. yes, I'm your kind of feminist. but not yours... oh bother. just don't ask me. 
  21. All lives matter. end of story.
  22. I'll never be able to stay away from a library.
  23. Spending money on the artists/authors/musicians/causes you love will always be worth it.
  24. I'm never gonna understand grace this side of glory.

000s - Generalities

I don't remember a time when I didn't know how the Dewey Decimal system worked. It falls into the same black hole as the time before I could read. My mom encouraged me to memorize my first Dewey number--741.5, comic books. Specifically, Sunday funny-paper collections.

I've lived and breathed and absorbed information organization for over 15 years of my life, and only a small part of that time was intentional. The point is, I feel innately built for library work. This stuff comes naturally to me. So when, like this week, I find myself in the position of training a new hire on library things, I find myself at an impasse. I've only ever worked with people that knew as much, or more than me in most matters of the library. My first instinct is to assume that what comes naturally to me, must be also ingrained in the minds of those I work with as well. Not so much...

my favorite things - april 2015

In an effort to breathe a bit of life in to my blog again, I'm trying to restructure here. You should expect another routine template redesign in the next couple of weeks (I can't go a year without a redesign apparently... I'm just really addicted to making pretty things), and possibly the introduction of a more themed approach. I find that I am more motivated to create when I have structure and organization, and pretty little checklists in my pretty little notebooks to check off. So, this post marks the inauguration of a monthly wrap-up feature, in which I'll share with you what I've been excited about, obsessed with, or otherwise into in the past month.

Exit 1, Posy at the Ballet, and other otherworldly things.

I went into the Orpheum tonight channelling Posy Fossil from Ballet Shoel. Seeing Swan Lake has been a dream for a while, probably ever since the days when every library visit included me bringing home at least one anthology of ballet stories, and one photo-essay day-in-the-life-of-a-ballet company book.
The first ballet I ever went to was the Atlanta Ballet's production of the Nutcracker at the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta. It had been a treat from my roommates parents to her and I, and I'll never forget the magic of that night, which was perfectly encapsulated by the little girl who started twirling in the aisle the moment Clara entered the forests of the Nutcracker's kingdom and the gentle snowfall began over the audience. I, being too grown up of a girl to join her with out judgement, instead cried with happiness, at her, at the snowfall, at the sheer magic of it all.

This is my heartbeat song and I'm gonna play it

Dear Friend,
First things first, I'll have you know that there are some things that can only be said like this, in a typed epistle, addressed to you, the nonexistant, but somehow very real, construct of my imagination. I remember when I discovered that the words would pour from my fingertips, even as they filled my brain to overflowing, when you were born--slowly becoming and gathering shape of your own even as you borrowed traits from others. You and I are very much the same, which is why I find you a good audience. When I don't know what to say, and yet I want to say things, I say them to you. So, Thank you.

Enough of the prelude. There are Things to say! I've found that I'm classically conditioned to want to write when there is weather other than nice. In all honesty, I hate simply "nice" weather. (Which is why, best beloved, I must move to London) Simply "nice" weather--balmy weather--is weather without spice. It is plain mashed potatoes with no butter and salt. It is emotionless to me. Give me the all day drizzle, the gusting winds, the bedtime thunderstorms, and I'm happy. In fact, it flips this little switch, that plays a little song that goes, "if you're happy and you know it write a post..." Sometimes I actually get about to actually writing. Other times I pretend like I'm gonna and just enjoy the endorphins.

Life is too short to read mediocre books (and other thoughts from a rainy Saturday)

This rain makes me happy-sad.
I want to go back in time--just for the day--to a Saturday in the Townhouse, the kind where I'd wake up long before Jor, my roommate, and be sitting there in my Lucy-chair,  having had a million and one wonderful thought-adventures by the time she opened her eyes across the room and sleepily said good morning. I'd give her a minute to actually wake up before hopping into bed with her to explain some tidbit about Byronic Heroes or Christina Rossetti's poetry that I'd just read. She always loved how awake I was first thing in the morning. (This is sarcasm; oh, for ironic punctuation to be standardized.)

But no time travel for me today; my Tardis key is lying cold on my dresser, no lovely vworp vworp 
noises coming from the living room. I've been trying to figure out what to do with myself today. I have a nightstand full of library books, but none have really captured my interest as of yet. I'm contemplating making a Bag of Shame, where I can hide the books I've started but haven't wanted to finish, until I can take them back to the library. I hate not finishing books, but if I've learned anything from my recent burnout of YA Dystopian genre fiction, its that life is too short to read mediocre books, so I've been teaching myself that is okay to put that lifeless book aside for the one that feeds my soul.
Sadly, the one book I really crave reading right now is out on loan to a friend. But as soon as it comes back home... *sigh*

I Love... (the snowy day edition)

-the untouched morning sidewalks, my boots making the first prints.

-the Laura Ingalls spirit of can-do and resourcefulness that never fails to rise up in my imagination when presented with a challenge... like an iced over vehicle.

-the rushing feeling of life that follows

-the sweet, silent grey sky that never once lifts, the deserted streets, and how the two combined make for the most  wonderful feeling of having the world to yourself.

-an icy parking lot, and slidey boots, to entertain oneself with while one's car defrosts.

-the relief of breaking free of the ruts and gaining traction again, moving forward, headed home.


-icicles: on gutters, benches, bumper and mirrors.

-sheets of clear glass-ice, broken off and held in hand. Fairy window-panes.

-the silence of cold, the hush of snow, and the far-off rattle of ice.

-snow days, and returning home on them.

(your Soundtrack for the day)
Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” 
― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Fighting Dragons

The mother with the black eye walked into my little queendom with her little boy, and asked, "is it alright if we're in here?"
I was surveying my craft tables and the handful of preschoolers making their fire breathing dragons. We'd just finished reading about Knights and damsels and dragons. "We've just finished story time; You're welcome to join us!" I cleared a spot for her and her son at the table and they began working together. 

The other families dispersed for lunch, and I would have cleaned up then gone on break as I usually do at noon, but something held me back. I kept working around the children's room as the mom and her son played on the children's computers together. She kept glancing at me and I tried to have my welcoming face on. Finally she spoke to me, adjusting the headphones on her little boys ears to make sure he was absorbed in his game. In not so many words as gestures and quiet references, she made it clear that she needed help. Really unsure of what to do, I went to my director for assistance, and together wet tracked down the contacts for the local women's care center, and other agencies. 
I was afraid of scaring away this woman by asking the questions I needed to ask, but I chatted, slowly getting what we needed, and gave her the numbers to call. She took my offer of using my desk phone, and I took her son to play with puzzles on the other side of the room.  When they left an hour later, going to meet the women's care worker, I went to lunch, and cried, heartbroken for this women, who couldn't have been much older than myself, relieved that I'd been able to do something to help.  Our print-tech, who's normally antagonistic toward me (in the most friendly manner) found me in the workroom and asked it this was my first time dealing with an abuse situation. I nodded affirmation. He was quiet, then said "you did good, Sarah."  

I didn't feel heroic, didn't deceive myself into thinking I'd fixed this woman's problem. I felt like I'd beaten back a dragon, but this was only round one.  That beast is far from slain.
Come quickly,Lord Jesus.

Living in a Fairytale

I don't live a fairytale life. That's how I was going to begin this post, but then I stopped to think about it. I actually do live a fairytale sometimes, just not the Disneyfied fairygodmothers and sparkles kind... rather its more the three-tests-to-prove-your-worth-to-the-untrustworthy-king-and-a-couple-of-missing-limbs-to-boot kind.

The heroes in those stories were celebrated for their ordinary acts of bravery, rewarded for being kind, selfless, and just. They gave their last drinks of water to old beggar women, without thought of themselves. They were willing to sacrifice comfort for what was right, and didn't expect anything in return. And they were joyful. They sang songs, told stories, and brought the sun. They loved well. They were loved, though maybe not by all, as the wicked are bound to only love themselves in these tales.

Well, Hello, 2015!

In the past couple of years, I had a semi-tradition of sneaking away to a quiet corner as it neared midnight on New Years Eve, and writing in my journal, bridging the gap between the years. I fell down on this tradition last night for several reasons: 1.) my entire house was a quiet corner, as I was completely and 100% on my own for New Years Eve (and okay with it) 2.)I'm battling a cough and 3.) Work was mentally taxing this week as my director was gone, and I had to wear my "I'm holding down the fort and I'm trying to be uber-responsible" hat, so 4.) I fell asleep at 9 pm after eating 3/4 of a pizza, drinking sparkling grape juice, and watching Gilmore Girls.

When I awoke at 6:30 this morning--by complete natural means--I finished the book I'd been reading this week, did a load of laundry, prepped the roast I've determined will be my first dinner and first cooking endeavor of the year, ate the last quarter of pizza, and made a pot of coffee in my Christmas french press. (Thanks mom and dad!) It was then 9 am.

 Since then, I've been here on the couch, enjoying the good smells from the kitchen, and getting my mind in order for the new year. I've never really set down in writing the goals I have each year, but this year feels different. Having the goals visually in front of me will help me see my purpose, and give me something to work at. I'm 23 now. Life is serious. (I joke, I joke.) Besides, I just like making lists and checking them off. 

So, for the internet world to witness and hold me accountable, I present my 2015 goals.

  1. Spiritual - I've found a church I like; now I want to get involved, to own my community and be a part of the local Body of Christ. Starting with Sunday School--as terrifying as that is to me. I need to make friendships outside of the workplace, and outside of the help of my sister... as much as I love those relationships. :)
  2. Academic - grad school is not out of the picture now that I have my dream job. It's more there than ever... but first, the GRE. I'd like to have that under my belt by the end of June... half way through the year, and sooner is fine too.
  3. Financial - Just keep plugging away at that Student Loan debt. I've figured that I can pay it off in three years if I'm frugal and diligent.
  4. Writing - Nanowrimo 2015 - 'nuff said. I'm gonna do it this year. I'm gonna prep and I'm gonna write those 50K words.
  5. Reading - This reading challenge. There's pretty boxes to check off. (it's also in the Reading tab at the top of the page so you can see it bigger)===>

And that's it... pretty much. I like how organized and file-foldered and color-coded my brain feels at the moment. But... lest you fear, reader, that I've lost my heart... I'll leave you with Neil Gaiman's New Years words of wisdom for 2015... because I'm not always going to feel this organized and calm, and I'm gonna forget what I'm doing with my life and this will help me remember the important things.
"Be kind to yourself in the year ahead. 
Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It's too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand. 
Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin. 
Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them. 
Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love." (Source)