Thursday, July 18, 2013 | By: Brianna


"I haven't seen one of those in forever," she said, smiling and pointing at the neon orange and cream bead gecko I had attached to my car keys.

I stopped fumbling in my purse for my wallet and the correct change for my Tylenol and looked up to smile back.  I explained that I just found the gecko buried in a closet, but I loved it, which was true.

"I used to make those all the time," she continued, taking the ten dollar bill, the only thing I had in my wallet under twenty and above one.  She was quick about ringing up the change and handing it over, not even glancing at my penguin boxer shorts or the pink and white socks I had chosen to wear with my black clicky flats.  "Have a good night!"

I pushed the door open and left the building, shaking my head.  At 1:30 in the morning, this woman was not only awake, but smiling as she worked the front counter of a gas station and served nacho creations to the night owls in town who made comments about how a "pog would really make my day right about now."  As I turned the key in the ignition of my beat up mini van, I shook my head, still awestruck that I hadn't been judged for my strange apparel, my appearance in a gas station well after daylight hours purchasing only painkillers, or the fact that I was quite clearly not from around here.  Pulling up to the parking spot labelled specifically for me, I thanked whatever guardian angel had chosen to watch over me on this not-so-great night, sending me someone cheerful, positive, and even a little nostalgic.  Because just as much as the Tylenol, that was something I needed.
Thursday, July 4, 2013 | By: Brianna

More Things I've Learned at Home

Even when you're at home, out of school, you learn some things.  And seeing as I'm going to be leaving home for a job in Nebraska, it seems fitting to post this now.

1.  The people who go to free library or community events are typically the same age as your grandmother.
2.  If you knit for long periods of time, your fingers can seize up.
3.  Marshall Field's will always be Marshall Field's.  The walking tour guide said so, so it has to be true.
4.  You may follow your stomach down Epic Lane, and find yourself on an Epic adventure you didn't expect.
5.  Go to the House on the Rock in the summer.  Or go in the winter, freeze your toes off, and get a personalized tour.
6.  The creepy people will find you.  And they will talk to you.
7.  "Oh, you must have a teen at home.  Oh--oh, you just like reading...well keep reading..."
8.  The day you want to go to the library to get a movie, they will be closed.
9.  Sometimes you need to bring a bodyguard.
10.  There are significantly more interesting things to do around the city that aren't necessarily advertised or Google-able.
11.  Storytelling is beautiful.
12.  Pre-screening interview?
13.  They're your parents, so they're going to ask you where you're going and when you're going to get back.  You'll be lucky  if they don't ask who you're going with so you don't have to say, " one..."
14.  The days when you write a to do list and accomplish all of your tasks will be your more fulfilling days.  Make more of those.
15.  The cheese curds are good.  The service, not so great.
16.  "Don't mess with her, she doesn't have a pancreas!"
17.  Right hand turns on red lights are more important than the life of a pedestrian (she says after basically being hit by a car, thanks lady!).
18.  You've been to this building multiple times, you know that the elevator goes to the 8th floor, and yet you still insist on taking the stairs up to a locked door and getting lost.
19.  Not all people will understand your sense of humor and you need to be okay with this.
20.  Sugar does not alleviate caffeine jitters.
21.  Keep on writing your e-mails the way you do, because it's awesome.
22.  Sometimes being 22 is rough.  Other times it's great.  Find the in between.
23.  Demon wine.  Never again.
24.  Irrationality.  All over the place.  All the time.  And that's okay.
25.  I can't remember what I did for fun when I was 12, and I guess that's going to have to be okay.
26.  Trekking up and down all the stairs in my house is an ordeal.
27.  Interesting people are few and far between.
28.  If you bring someone to a party with you and share a drink with them, chances are the people around you will assume you're "together."
29.  NaPoWriMo exposes you to interesting poets and poetry sites if you're inclined to take a gander.
30.  Always be prepared to cry during a Doctor Who episode.
31.  Okay, so insufferable and cruel characters can turn out to be endearing and clever.  Thanks for proving me wrong, Logan Echolls.
32.  When given a number of songs to include in a playlist, you may exceed this number.  By a lot.
33.  Make change.  Yeah.  That's a pun.
34.  Carry cash.
35.  The El is awesome.  The end.
36.  Chances are there is parking where you're going.  Although 95% of the time it will be permit only parking or you'll have to pay.
37.  You'll remember the knot when you get there.
38.  You may expect to see a lot of slave Leias at the comic con, but chances are you'll only see one, and her boyfriend will be dressed as...himself.  Disappointing.
39.  Be careful who you're talking to when you joke about stealing something off a person's table.  That person just might be the writer.  Oops.
40.  Stairwells.
41.  Honesty and a lack of secrets bring you closer to a person you didn't think that was possible for.  If that makes any sense at all.
42.  "We deserve to be more than 'just' anything."
43.  Painting yellow over gray takes far more coats of paint than you originally anticipated.
44.  The thing you will miss most about college is the community.  Specifically the creative community, but also the school family.
45.  When you come home, you'll realize that having a roommate was really kinda nice.
46.  Sometimes there is an unspoken deadline.
47.  Poems sold from a gumball/vending machine are the best poems.  Well, best poems for the fifty cents you pay for them.
48.  That person you met once is now following you on all social media outlets, and you just want them to go away.
49.  There are some people who you really want to be friends with, so when you finally do make friends, this is a huge and worthwhile accomplishment.
50.  The opinions of some people matter more than the opinions of other people.
51.  Poetry readings in an apartment or a bookstore, infinitely better than poetry readings in large spaces.
52.  The poet recognized your face too, you don't have to feel dumb for not recognizing him at first.  Oops.
53.  "Are you sure you can live in a small town?  I mean, you are from Chicago..."
54.  My room will always get significantly worse before it's even close to being clean and straightened.
55.  Sometimes doing the right thing is more difficult and hurts more than doing what's easy, but in the long run, it'll all be okay.

"Puttin' on a cowboy hat and a pair of boots doesn't make you country; Like puttin' on a ball gown and heels won't make me Cinderella."
- Kellie Elmore