Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Perhaps too much gingerbread made me sick?
Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas (and Happy Holidays to those who don't celebrate it.)  I am celebrating the invention of DayQuil and Chloraseptic spray because I have the flu and apparently have given it as a gift to the rest of my family!  Oh well, even as we sit around the table tonight and tomorrow coughing and blowing our noses, I am still glad that once a year we can come together to honor our family traditions and the love we have for each other.  I hope that you and your family & friends are not only healthy but use this time to spend it not on expensive gifts but on the time you have together.  Life is too short not to tell that person you love them even when they have Kleenex stuffed up their nose and resemble the Heat Miser from "The Year Without Santa Claus."

Merry Christmas.  Happy Hanukkah.  Happy Kwanzaa.  Happy anything else! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Home Depot Holiday Power Tools Do-It HERSELF Workshop: Nov 21st at 6:30pm

DO-It HERSELF Workshop/Seminole - 
FREEFUN & FABULOUS Way To Home Improvement!

This month's Home Depot Do-It HERSELF workshop will be all about POWER TOOLS!!!  We will use various power tools including a drill press, sander, and nail gun to then make easy birdhouse ornaments (bird not included.)  This will mostly be an active workshop of everybody trying out the power tools and assembling the pieces of the ornament so come ready to participate and once again, be artistic with paint!

In order to prepare the art materials and food & beverage for everyone, please RSVP here (*making sure to sign up for the Seminole store for mine if you are local.)  We will also have giveaways, refreshments, and plenty of time for you to ask our experts about any of your current home improvement projects or gift ideas.  Remember, this is absolutely FREE!!  And just a heads up that there will be no DIH workshop in December but we will be back on in January.

Hope to see you there but if not, have a happier holiday...with POWER TOOLS!!!

Operating a Drill Press to make holes
in the birdhouse ornament.
Making ornaments is easy with the right
power tools and instruction!
The finished product after using a combination of
Behr & Martha Stewart textured paints! (bird not included)
My holiday-themed DIH workshop display at the store.
Power tools make great gifts...for EVERYONE!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Home Depot Halloween Do-It HERSELF Workshop: Oct 17th at 6:30pm


It’s the Halloween Do-It HERSELF Workshop 
at The Home Depot!

The front door on wheels that I helped build & paint
so we could go Trick or Treating in the store!
I am having a blast planning and executing the Do-It HERSELF Workshops at my Home Depot, I just can't believe a month has gone by already!!!  Anyway, this Thursday, October 17th from 6:30 - 8pm, we will be learning Front Entrance Updates (like how to install a lock and other door accessories), then we will use that door to Trick or Treat DIH-style throughout the store to gather the materials for a fun and easy art project to decorate your front door for the fall holiday season.  I thought this would be a great way to get to know the store and have a little fun in the process.  I mean, why should the kids have all the fun this Halloween?!?

In order to prepare enough art materials and food & beverage for everyone, please RSVP here (*making sure to sign up for the Seminole store for mine, otherwise you can attend your local Home Depot, although not every store is doing what I am doing...OK, most aren't.)  We will also have giveaways, treats, and plenty of time for you to ask our experts about any of your current home improvement projects.  Remember, this is YOUR workshop - it is absolutely FREE - so please join in on the fun! 

I hope to see you there!

The Do-It HERSELF Workshop/Seminole:
A FREE, FUN & FABULOUS Way to Home Improvement!
This month, we will be making these wood pumpkins,
ghosts & Frankensteins out of 4x4s, all for FREE!
My DIH Workshop display at the store.

Monday, October 7, 2013

RIP Edgar Allan Poe!

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…”

I can't believe it has been a year since I decided to honor Edgar Allan Poe with a rock n' roll tribute by mashing up his Raven poem with "Hard to Handle" by The Black Crowes (to see blog post, click here.)  I have performed it numerous times over the past year and it remains my favorite of all of my literary parody songs.  When I look back, I can't believe how far I have come not only as a performer but also as a designer/stylist.  I now have an Edgar Allan Poe/Raven print fabric that I have made into an entirely new Raven outfit that far surpasses the one I wore in the video.  I still wear the original wings and play my styled-up librarian purse guitar, but there is something really exciting about wearing an entire outfit that I made myself.  I am also so thrilled that people have fallen in love with my Poe/Raven line of wristlet purses and cosmetic bags.  Just the other week, I had a customer request the Raven print in the larger style purse with the bamboo handles and it looks even more incredible!  So for a limited time, I will offer that purse for sale as well.

“Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer…”

As I spend less time on stage performing and more time writing my book that I am determined to finish by the end of the year, I am reminded of how some of us really do get better with age and experience, while others allow failures or heartbreaks to stump their growth.  Perhaps I am focused on age right now because I am approaching a certain number in a couple of weeks that I just don't believe - even when I look at my birth certificate!  I am far too young in my heart to be that old!  When I look in the mirror or at my life on the pages that I write, I am so happy that I have been able to overcome the failures and mistakes I have made with courage and bravery, not fear and anger.  While some women see wrinkles, I see battle scars.  I am a survivor, if nothing else.  

“Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter…”  

Thanks to the tragically sad, real life story of Edgar Allan Poe, who died in 1849, alone at the age 40, penniless, talented beyond belief, and perhaps as a result of alcoholism and drug abuse, I now choose to live my life completely sober without striving for money, fame, or the applause of my peers.  Instead I just choose to LIVE.  One day at a time.  To the fullest.  Wherever that journey takes me.  Nevermore, will I regret that I am not more than what I am at this very moment.  I am enough because I am still here, moving forward, taking hits as they come, and that is what matters most to me.  As I honor Mr. Poe today, I hope he is finally at peace, leaving the demons he once fought on those fabulous poetic pages.

“Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

"The Raven is Hard to Handle" (2012)

"The Raven is Hard to Handle" (2013)

Edgar Allan Poe/Raven Bamboo Purse
Purchase it here

Edgar Allan Poe/Raven Wristlet
Purchase it here

Edgar Allan Poe/Raven Cosmetic Bag
Purchase it here

Monday, September 16, 2013

"When Homer's Away, the LADIES Will Play"

Today marks my 6-month anniversary of being the unofficial librarian at The Home Depot!  It's funny how just wanting a part-time job with health benefits (and men!!!), has resulted in me basically being a librarian with power tools!  From taking my book fabric and sewing it onto my orange apron to helping customers find information in the store to doing arts & crafts at the Kids Workshops, I have come to realize that once again, a librarian doesn't always have to work at a library to make a difference!  Plus, I am so grateful to my management, co-workers and customers for absolutely embracing me and my creative personality - because the truth is, not everybody can handle a funny redhead wearing an outfit made entirely out of tools!

Thursday, September 19th / 6:30 – 8 pm
Installing Tile – Wall & Floor
*Giveaways *Refreshments  *Projects *Experts
FREEFUN & FABULOUS Way To Home Improvement!

This week, I am proud to announce that I will begin hosting the monthly Do-It HERSELF workshop, where I will have yet another incredible opportunity to use all of my talents in design, information sciences, public relations/marketing, and comedy – so if you thought I was funny in the library, wait till you see me with hardware and tools!  This month, we will learn How to Install a Tile Backsplash and Tile Floor, plus I will have a fun art project for using that leftover tile.  We will also have giveaways, refreshments, and plenty of time with our experts about any of your home improvement projects.  So if you are in the Tampa Bay area, please join in on the fun!  If you aren’t, you can still go to your local Home Depot and participate there and just like those library events, it is FREE!!!  Please sign up here (making sure to sign up for the Seminole store - zip code 33772 for mine, or you can put in your zip code for your local Home Depot to attend that one.)  

"When Homer's Away, the LADIES Will Play..."

Working Kids Workshops with Will.

With HD Southern Division President
Ann-Marie Campbell.

In my outfits, I am often called the Flo
(Progressive commercials) of The Home Depot!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Wearing my new Nancy Drew collection -
maybe she can uncover the mystery of why
I am still an unemployed librarian!

In one week, I will be going back to school (for yet another degree), so I'm having a BACK TO SCHOOL SALE to pay for tuition!  

All literary bags marked down 25% or more & includes FREE SHIPPING! 

Rare Books Wristlet Purse
Was $30, NOW $24!
Cats & Books Fanny Pack
Was $30, NOW $20!
Rare Books Bamboo Purse
Was $50, NOW $40!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The First Ever Stand-Up Librarian Poem!

OK, this is cool.  Someone from my Palm Harbor event last month wrote a poem about me and it is so adorable that I had to share it.  Thanks Claudia - that was incredibly thoughtful & creative!!!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrate Your Fireworks

Proudly walking in my town's Fourth of July parade
in my Fireworks ensemble.

Maybe you reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it's time you'll know
You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July…”
- "Firework" by Katy Perry

Not to quote an overplayed song by Katy Perry from 2010 but I just made an entire outfit out of fireworks fabric and it seemed an ideal time to play it.  It’s weird how you can hear a song hundreds of times but never actually listen to what the lyrics are.  Today, the words mentioned above caught my ear and seem to sum up the journey I have been on.

As I mentioned and wrote about last year (to read that blog post, click here), July 4th is the anniversary of my eliminating alcohol from my life.  It is crazy to think that it has been two whole years without a margarita or glass of Pinot Noir but in truth, it has been one of the easiest things in the world for me.  It really is true that “when it’s time, you’ll know” because I really don’t think about it at all except when I look for change in my wallet and find the two-month recovery chip that I got from attending an AA meeting in 2004.  I don’t really know why I hold on to the chip because in actuality it represents failure.

Now as I look at the big 2 stamped on the gold coin, I am reminded that two-months used to be all I could ever commit to before getting extremely bored.  Jobs, relationships, gym memberships, diets, you name it - so perhaps my problem was never with alcohol, it was in being bored with everything else!

On July 4, 2007 that all I changed when I met a person that I wanted to commit the rest of my life to, which resulted in me stupidly putting his dreams before my own.  Sadly, he ended up only wanting to devote a year and a half of his life to me.  One of the last things he gave me was a sterling silver heart pendant with our initials on one side and that July 4th date on the other.  While I wore the broken heart he gave me for years, I never once wore the pendant.

Two years ago, I intentionally chose July 4th as the date to quit drinking so I could prove to myself that I was worth committing to even if nobody else was willing to.  As I look back at that failed relationship and all of the other things in my life that didn’t work out, I now know the important lesson that when you commit to the health and well being of yourself first, all of the other things will soon follow. 

In addition to having an incredible year of over seventeen performances as the Stand-Up Librarian, my literary purses and headbands are still selling well, and I have a part-time job that offers me health benefits…for the first time in five years!!!  Did I mention that I am also a volunteer librarian at one of the most eccentric libraries on the planet?  Almost forgot to mention that I am finally a member of a gym…and actually go! 

Oh, life is pretty good when you “ignite the light” and while Prince Charming has yet to ride up in his bookmobile, the designer in me thinks that tarnished heart pendant could easily be made into something far more fabulous!  

Happy Fourth of July everyone!  Celebrate YOUR fireworks....

Due to the winds today,
that pinwheel on my hat is really spinning!
My 2-month AA sobriety coin &
heart pendant both represent past failures
that I have since overcome.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Let's SHELLabrate SHOWS!

Thanks to a few days of rest, I am finally able to give a recap of the last couple of weeks filled with exciting shows and programs...
I played a shell horn to kick off my
"Dig Into Shelling" program.
My first-ever children's program to kick-off Summer Reading at the Seminole Community Library on June 19th was a hit!  I had spent over a month developing the seashell program from scratch, incorporating my own photographs and videos taken over the last year on my beach.  With most kids in the Tampa Bay area spending the summer at the beach, I hoped to educate them about the seashells they would find while also teaching them that live shells (with the animals still inside) should probably be thrown back to live another day.  The designer in me also shared ideas for how to use broken shells in arts & crafts, and of course, just like my adult programs, I performed a parody song honoring seashells called "SHELLabration," where I play an Australian Trumpet shell (which is quite similar to the French Horn I played for 10 years!)  To see some footage from the program, click here.  While I'm sure the kids enjoyed performing the song with me at the end and learning about all of these shells, I know the free shells I gave out was their favorite part of the whole program.  I want to thank the St. Petersburg Shell Club for providing some of those shells (I also gave out ones I had collected as well), in addition to providing most of the giant shells showcased on the display table.  As a member of the Board of Directors, I encourage anybody interested in learning more about seashells to come to our meetings when we start up again in September.  For more information, click here.  Thanks again to Jill Storm and the Friends of the Seminole Library for having me.

I love reading to my audiences so I chose
Seashells by the Seashore for the kids.
I incorporated all of my own photographs
for the program, showing both live
& dead shells found on our local beaches.
The next day, I was back to performing for adults where I was the special guest for the Palm Harbor Newcomers Club.  On arrival, I instantly noticed that my favorite book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was the centerpiece of each table and after commenting about the odds of that happening, I was told they did that on purpose.  I almost shed a tear right there I was so touched.  Nothing brings me greater joy than sharing my love of reading.  I was treated so kindly by these incredible women as they purchased my literary purses or simply offered encouraging words like not to give up or that libraries need more librarians like me.  I want to thank Barb Griffin for reaching out to me and inviting me to perform.

My favorite book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
was the centerpiece of each table - so cool!
The write up on me was awesome -
and yes, we can be fun and funny!
Thanks Barb!
On Saturday, I was back at ARTpool Gallery with my friend Marina Williams to perform at her 80's Pride Prom party.  A huge fan of the 80's and the LGBT community, I just knew I had to make an appearance.  Even with a downpour of rain, nothing could keep us from having an awesome time.  I chose to perform "I Ran (After THE GINGERBREAD MAN)" a mash up of 1982's hit "I Ran (So Far Away)" by A Flock of Seagulls and the fairytale The Gingerbread Man.  Here's a video of the live performance:  

***For a direct link to "I Ran (After THE GINGERBREAD MAN)," click here

Just a couple of "Material Girls"
hanging out at ARTpool!
With Marina Williams,
owner of ARTpool Gallery.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Dig Into SHELLING" Summer Reading Program: June 19th at 2pm!

I am so excited that one week from today I will be doing my very first children's program at the Seminole Community Library to kick-off Summer Reading!  After such an incredible year of touring libraries and book stores performing for mostly adult library patrons and staff, (where I heard many times that I should think about developing a kids program), I am now happy to present "Dig Into Shelling," a children's program devoted entirely to my other passion - seashells! 

I've talked many times about being a member of the St. Petersburg Shell Club (of which I am now also on the Board of Directors), so shelling seemed an ideal topic to share that would incorporate my knowledge and love for seashells, especially since most kids this summer (when not at the library) are probably at the beach!  And just like my adult programs, this event will include a variety of educational entertainment from reading and audience participation to show and tell, and yes, a very special shell song & dance!  Did I mention I am giving out FREE shells!?!    

I want to encourage any parents in the Tampa Bay area to bring their kids to the Seminole Community Library on Wednesday, June 19th at 2pm to join in on the fun.  Due to the popularity of the summer programs, (and the limited space available), free admission tickets will be distributed one hour prior to showtime at the entrance to the Program Room B.  The library will not be able to accommodate large groups from local day cares, summer camps, etc. due to fire code restrictions.  The Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College, Seminole Campus is located at 9200 113th Street North, Seminole, FL 33772.  For more information, visit www.spcollege.edu/SCL or call the Youth Services Department at 727-394-6913.

Hope to see you there!!!!

When I am not at the library, I am at the beach
collecting seashells.
A live Florida Fighting Conch Shell.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Happy 3rd Anniversary Stand-Up Librarian!

Wow, it is almost 11pm and I have yet to acknowledge that today is the 3rd Anniversary of creating Stand-Up Librarian and StandUpLibrarian.com!  

I would say that time flies but it really doesn't in this case as I am completely aware of how long and challenging the past three years have been.  Of course, I am also absolutely astounded and amazed at all of the fun I have had and the dreams that have been realized - especially in just the last year!  So many of the things I have accomplished I never once imagined when I first decided to mash up the words "stand-up comic" with "librarian" to create Stand-Up Librarian after graduating with my Masters degree in Library & Information Sciences in 2010.  Initially, I thought I would write some funny essays online about my adventures in librarianship and maybe if I got the nerve, try performing stand-up comedy again but this time not curse or put people down.  And maybe if I was lucky, someone out there would come to my blog after receiving my resume and see just how passionate I was about libraries and hire me as a librarian!

So, two out of the three happened.  Mostly because writing and performing were within my control if I just faced my fears.  While I have yet to be hired as a "librarian," I have instead been hired for shows & programs as the Stand-Up Librarian, so in a way, that is just as cool!  Plus I look at how much I have learned over the last three years just by simply trying things that scared me to death or thought I could never do again.  I will save most of those adventures for the book I am writing, but thanks to creating Stand-Up Librarian, I have finally become the person I always wanted to be: a person that can keep a job!  Seriously, this is the longest job I have ever had and it continues to make me happy, while challenging me to not only be a better Stand-Up Librarian but a better person.  Two years ago I also made the decision to quit drinking, which as a result has made me much stronger and less stupid.  Regardless of where I go from here, I will always be proudest of that.

Thanks to each and every person I have encountered on this journey.  Some were mean, most were supportive, but ALL have inspired me in one way or another.

Growing up is awesome.

The launch of Stand-Up Librarian on June, 1, 2010 looked like this.
A card catalog & one of my stand-up comedy pics from 2007.  Too dark!

Stand-Up Librarian in 2011 - which is probably my favorite picture.
Notice the book fabric tied around my waist?
It would later become my very first book skirt!

With my move back to FL in 2012, everything changed...for the better.
I got a new hairstyle & started Stand-Up Librarian Designs!

While I have yet to update my Stand-Up Librarian image for 2013
(not sure if I will), this is me today.  I make all of my own costumes,
perform regularly, and finally get to pose next to my very own card catalog!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Life Lessons to Git-R-Done!

I can't believe it is already May 6th!  It has been a busy couple of weeks preparing and performing shows in a variety of different formats, which the artist in me truly enjoyed not only because of the challenges I faced as a performer but the lessons I learned as a result of the process.

On Tuesday, April 23rd, I was an actor in an Old Time Radio Show play that enabled me to use a variety of character voices that I don't usually get a chance to use in my library shows.  I was reminded of how much I enjoy not being me.  It was also fun not to be in charge of the production.  Or the PR for the show.  I didn't even have to memorize the script since it was a radio show performed live on stage!  All I was responsible for was showing up and making sure the four characters I was playing would be entertaining for the audience.  Plus I finally got a chance to wear the Typewriter-print outfit I had made a few months ago since we didn't have costumes. Not only did I make some new friends in my fellow actors, I had a blast just being a member of the cast!

The cast of Fragile Fate, an Old Time Radio-style play.
As I have already mentioned in previous posts, the next night, I performed at McCurdy's Comedy Club down in Sarasota in honor of World Book Night. This was the performance of the week I was most nervous about.  I hadn't done a comedy club in over a year and it was also somewhat of an audition since the owner had never seen me before.  I wanted to make a good impression so I could come back for future shows.  While I only had to do 12 - 15 minutes (which seems like nothing compared to my hour-long set at my library events), it was the pressure to be instantly funny telling literary jokes to a non-reading crowd that scared me.  What if they didn't laugh?  Or worse yet, shush me?!  But the audience ended up being so supportive!  I also got some great advice from club owner Les McCurdy on how to better my act for the clubs, plus an open invitation to return to McCurdy's so I could continue to develop my act.  I learned that even with my years of experience in performing, there is always more to learn if you are open to hearing it.

Performing my literary stand-up comedy
at McCurdy's Comedy Club.
On Friday, April 26th, I was back in my comfort zone doing one of my library events performing for the Leesburg Public Library staff. On arrival, I was instantly approached by a group of friendly librarians on how excited they were to have me there.  One in particular I had met the year before when I performed at the Florida Library Conference where she had been one of the first people to buy one of my purses.  I later learned she also recommended me for this event - a prime example of how just one librarian can make a difference in employing another.  Thank you Alicisa!  This was also the first library event where I kind of hung out with the staff before I performed.  As a result of that personal time with my audience, I was more comfortable and less nervous which I think made me funnier and certainly better able to interact with them during the show.  They also showed their support in purchasing some of my literary purses and going on my Facebook page and telling me how much they enjoyed themselves.  I don't know if it was my brand-new pink Librarian outfit that I wore or the fact that I was 100% myself at that show, but I felt on top of the world!  Like I wasn't just performing for librarians, but entertaining friends.  Thank you Leesburg Library Staff for not only validating my work as the Stand-Up Librarian but for making unemployed librarian Meredith Myers feel like a member of your staff!

The Stand-Up Librarian with the Leesburg Library staff!
And finally, on Saturday, April 27th, I participated in ARTpool Gallery's Crafty Fest.  While I have been making and selling my literary purses for over a year at my shows and my Etsy shop, I had yet to do any type of craft fair so I thought it was about time I tried it out since I am an artist on residence there and could get a free space.  Thank God it was free because I did not sell a single thing in five hours of sitting in the blazing sun!  Now I don't know if was the lack of people in attendance at this thing or that the ones who came didn't buy a single thing from any of the artists making their own stuff, but soon began to dislike being a craft fair vendor!  It's like being homeless and begging for money that you already spent. Seriously, people walk right past your booth without even an acknowledgement of you or your homemade items.  Or if you are lucky, they stop and touch everything on the table making the once organized display now a heap of colored objects and then walk away. Once in awhile, someone will tell you how much they love everything and must have it but then walk to the booth where the girl is selling ripped-up Levi cutoff shorts and buy those instead.  Oh well, so I learned that I still don't like working retail even when it is my own stuff.  The one perk?  Lots of reading!

Stand-Up Librarian Designs being a vendor
at ARTpool Gallery's Crafty Fest.
I often talk about my troubles with letting go of my past and the person I once was or could have been today had I continued working as a publicist.  Or I had focused all of my energy on being just a comedian or just an actor.  I also admit to imagining how different my life could have been if I had hired as a librarian right out of grad school!  But then I stop myself.  Life didn't happen that way for me.  Instead I made a choice to listen to my heart - which stupidly resulted in me trying to do all of it...at the same time! Exhausting?  Yes.  Regrets?  Not a chance.

So after a week of playing a variety of different roles - actor, stand-up comic, Stand-Up Librarian, designer - I have finally learned the very important lesson that the role I created for myself - The Stand-Up Librarian - is the one that brings me the most joy (and surprisingly, also the most profits!)  Like in my favorite book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho that I gave out to the audience at McCurdy's for World Book Night, it is often through the long, difficult journey that you find your treasure...within yourself.

Celebrating MY success with Larry, who I first met over
15 years ago in a Chili's. Create your own opportunities.