Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Hard to believe, but my little blog has now been around for a year. In some ways I feel like I’ve been blogging *forever*, and in other ways it really seems like just last week that I stayed up until 5 am creating the blog. (Yes, I started creating my blog at 5 am. This explains the mixing of references from Jane Austen and Douglas Adams. For those of you who laid awake at night wondering, now you know.)

Some of you have been with me from the beginning- you know who you are and I love you all dearly! Some of you are newer to the blog, and I’m so excited to have you here! I hope that you all enjoy the randomness here.

The best way I can think to mark the occasion is to provide you with links to posts from the last year that I am particularly happy with the way they turned out. If you’d like, enjoy this little blast from the past!

General Posts:


You Can’t Go Home Again

It’s the End of the World As We Know It…and I’m Not Feeling So Fine

Investing in the Generations


Off the Grid

Rolling Down the Beach With A Guide To the Galaxy

Nothing That Is Not There

Droid Wars



Starbucks Posts:

“Tis the Season To Be…Hmmmmm???

Working 9 To 9

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye

Twelve Hours and Counting

The Craziness At the Bottom of the Coffee Cup

Starbucks Drama


Starbucks Nightmares And A Dream Come True

Every barista will tell you: there’s little worse than the inevitable Starbucks nightmares. Mine started two weeks into my training. Not to be boastful, but I picked up the training very quickly in comparison to the usual course of Barista 101. I attribute this fact to my amazingly dedicated learning coach, and the fact that the whole store jumped whole-heartedly into my training. As a result, I struggled very little with the process.

Except for those Caramel Macchiatos. I just couldn’t get them made correctly. This was ironic, because they have always been my favourite “go-to” drink. Lattes? Perfect. Cappuccinos? Foamy. Mochas? Well stirred. Americanos? Mellow. Caramel Macchiatos? Too heavy or too light. Arg!

As my certification loomed, the nightmares started: night after night I dreamt that I was making a tall Caramel Macchiato, and that it wouldn’t turn out correctly. I’d make them over and over and over and over in my dreams. Even when I mastered the drink in real life, my early struggles would still haunt my dreams. Time and time again the customer would send their Caramel Macchiato back over the bar- too foamy, not sweet enough, too much milk, too much espresso…these nightmare customers were impossible to please.

Finally, they stopped. For two years I’ve not dreamt about Starbucks at all.

That is, until last night.

I didn’t realize just how stressed I’ve been at work lately. Quasa is prowling around my district (for those of you unfamiliar with the company, imagine the harshest, meanest, most stringent health inspection you’ve ever heard of. Then quadruple it. That’s a general idea- it’s really terrifying.), we just totally rearranged our frappuccino station for the millionth time, the new wifi standards have resulted in a full cafe almost all of our open hours, our 1,000 piece weekly roasting plant order is now coming on Friday afternoon instead of Wednesday morning, one of our espresso machines keeps breaking down, our fire exit light is out and they don’t consider fixing that a “priority”, our Siren Sign won’t turn off (which makes it look like we are open all night), we have two new partners in the store, our food and milk delivery comes while we are still open for business, and Simphony continues to kick us in the rear ends. Little things, but taken all together they are super stressful.

The nightmares are weird.

I don’t remember much, but I do remember making frappuccinos on the hood of my car (please don’t ask). Much of the dream centered around unhappy customers, and my attempts to make them “enthusiastically satisfied.” The only thing worse than ornery customers in real life are those dream customers- you just can’t make them happy. In my dream, I was trapped at the bar for hour after hour making drinks, and not getting anything accomplished. Even my drinks were horrible. Silly non-real customers; not that my brain will accept that fact that they are figments of my own imagination….

I woke up as exhausted as if I had worked a six hour shift instead of sleeping safely in my bed for the past six hours. It’s just ridiculous!  My first thought was to have some chamomile tea before bed to calm my brain…but wait! That reminds me of Starbucks. Warm milk? Nope, that brings work to mind as well. Listen to music? No, I’m always haunted by the incessant repetition of our HearNow music selections. So, I’m open to ideas! Send them my way!

Okay, deep seriousity aside…I’ve got AWESOME news!

It’s a dream come true- you can now pay with your Starbucks iPod/iPhone/Blackberry app in corporate stores! Yay! I’ve been waiting over a year and a half for it, and now it’s here! (Still waiting for an Android App, if there happen to be any Starbucks Corporate people reading this. Pretty, pretty please?)

Wait, what?

You don’t know what I’m talking about?

Oh dear, dear….

I’ve only *just* started downloading the Blackberry App, so let’s talk iPod/iPhone. The App is free from the store, and looks like this on your homescreen:

Isn’t it cute? So, you download the app, and then sync it with your Starbucks.com account by signing in. You remember your username and password, right? Good!

Once you sign in, it will sync all the cards and reward information from your account. For example, here’s what my cute little designer minicard looks like on the app:

First off, it looks just like my card!!! *Squee* moment! Okay, coming back down. See my total? If you touch that you can refresh the card’s balance, reload the card, or see transaction history. The other buttons do cool things too, but let’s just focus on the the round button with the blue button that says “Touch to Pay.”

As you might have assumed, you touch this button. The card flips around, and shows you a barcode:

Sorry for the blurring, but I’ve got to protect my card! But you all get the idea. So, here’s how it works. You walk into Starbucks, place your order, and tell the barista you will be paying with a Starbucks card. You can then hold your iPod/iPhone under the scanner. It will beep once, and you’ve paid! Hit the “Touch When Done” button, and it will ditch the barcode, give you your pretty card picture again, and automatically refresh your balance.

You can also see how many stars away you are from your next free drink!

Is that cool or what?!?!?!?!?

Oh, and partners, register your partner card. You can scan it for your discount!

It’s genius!

There you have it: nightmares and dreams come true all in the same week. Here’s hoping for a quiet week- both at work and in my dreams!


A Little Bit of Peace


This picture was taken near my neighbourhood park a few weeks ago…right before all the leaves started turning. It’s a cellphone picture so the quality is not what I’d like, but I thought the framing was pretty.


Adding Some Flavour

So, Starbucks released new flavours for VIA this week: mocha, caramel, cinnamon spice, and vanilla.

Now, you all know that I’m not much of a VIA fan, but I’ll do my best! Everyone in our store agrees that mocha is the best, I really like the caramel in warm milk, the vanilla is *really* sweet, and the cinnamon spice needs to be over ice cream or in an apple pie. Whew!

Oh, and because I’m not good with VIA descriptions, please head over to Sarah’s blog and read all about her awesome VIA taste test. What else can I say about the new VIA?


Oh. I know. Guess who got to draw the chalk board? That’s right- ME! Check it out!


Look! I even did better on the Siren this time then I did on the Anniversary sign.

I don’t know who designed this sign, but I love how cute it is. Did you see the sparkles around the word “instant”?

Yeah, that was fun to do.

Okay, that’s enough Starbucks for the moment! Have you all tried the new VIA flavours? What did you think about them? Good thoughts or not-so-good thoughts, leave them in the comments!


Something Squirrelly….

Friday Frame-Up returns! What better way to usher back a blog tradition than with a simple little snapshot of Fall? Enjoy!



It’s finals week! Yay because that means Fall Break is literally right around the corner, and Boo because that means I’m knocking myself out with studying this week. This is the first quarter EVER that I’ve not had a major paper due. It feels weird. It’s also the first time I’ve had a 100 question closed book final. Yikes!

Because I’ve been slammed, I haven’t had much time for blogging. So, I’m just going to steal a post from my teaching blog since it was pretty interesting (if I do say so myself). We were studying ballads; specifically the criterion for a traditional ballad.

Ballads were the poetry of the common people. “Serious” poetry was composed in French or Italian. Ballads were the way for the commoners to record their stories, history, thoughts, and ideas. Since they were not able to write down their stories, it only made sense to put those words to music so they wouldn’t be forgotten. The best ballads are of Scottish and/or Irish descent, and they mimic the highbrow poetry of the time.

In the 1970s, ballads and ballad form returned to music with the help of such groups as Simon and Garfunkel. For example, here is a classic example of a Scottish ballad that is still commonly played today:
So, that is what a classic ballad would have sounded like…what about today? “Hey Jude” is an awesome example of a modern ballad. While you listen, think about our six criterion for evaluating ballads:
1. Impersonal (Who is talking? Is Jude the speaker?)
2. Concentrated (Does it limit itself to one storyline?)
3. Dramatic (Is there conflict implied?)
4. Ironic (Is there a twist in the song?)
5. Incantory (Do the lyrics repeat?)
6. Simple (Is the verse structure uncomplicated?)

Can you think of any other modern ballads that fit the old-fashioned criterion? Leave them in the comments!

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Little Changes

There is a test going on in certain Starbucks markets tomorrow. But it’s a little, teeny, tiny, bitsy, bite-sized test.

We’ve got new mini desserts!

Here’s a sneak peek, just because I love you all. Be sure to go to your Starbucks tomorrow to see if it’s in a test market too!

Mini Peanut Butter Cupcake

Very tiny, but very sweet. Too sweet for me, but then again I’m not *big* into peanut butter cups. (See what I did there? Just checking….)

Red Velvet Mini Whoopie Pie

This is going to become my “go to” snack if we get to keep these around. They are just perfect!

Rocky Road Cake Pop

Um, this is AWESOME, if you like marshmallow. And nuts- quite a few more nuts than I expected.

Lemon Bar

Word of advice, order two. If you like lemon, you’re going to love this! The perfect blend of sweet and tangy.

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake Square

I predict this will be our best seller. Need more proof? Look inside of this little petit four!

Yes, yum. :)

Excited? So am I!


Pain Into Praise

Life is tough- there’s no denying this. Just when we think we’ve got one issue under control, 4 more rise up to take its place. Remember that ‘Whack A Mole’ game? How you could never get all the moles beaten down at the same time? That’s what life is like sometimes.

We can choose to let this get us down; we can choose to be beaten down by the stress of life. Because, you see, if we are destroyed by this life it is our choice. We have a way out- we have a means of relief.

We can choose to cling to God, to cry out and throw ourselves into His arms.

There’s more than enough room for all of us; all we have to do is reach out.

We have to praise Him in the storm of life….