Miss Woodhouse's Musings

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

Green Day

Things To Do On March 17th:

– Have a beer. Or an O’Doul’s. Or pretend to have a beer.

– Kiss someone Irish. If you’re Irish, con someone into kissing you.

– Wear green! If you are REALLY Protestant, feel free to wear orange.

– Add o’ to the beginning of all your words. O’just o’like o’this.

– Use begosh and begorrah a lot, either seriously or ironically.

– Dye your hair red and get a tight perm (this is for the hardcore celebrators!).

– Watch Riverdance.

– Go buy the new Chieftains 50th Anniversary album and enjoy it!

 

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That Dreaded List

As many of you know, I don’t make resolutions at the start of a new year. There are many and varied reasons for this, too many to enumerate here. However, those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I made up a joke list, which I shall post here with light edits:

1. Delete Twitter and spend newly free time in transcendental meditation.

2. Start classes for my new bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Applied Physics.

3. Open and become president of a local chapter of the Lady Gaga Fan Club.

4. Give up all caffeine. Decaf or die!

5. Memorize the dialogue from all four Twilight movies.

6. Become a hermit and give up outings to Buffalo Wild Wings.

7. Commit to sobriety. So much joking around is not becoming at my age.

8. Renounce blogging, and begin a MySpace instead.

9. Quit reading, cold turkey.

10. Stop teasing my awesome blog readers with this list, and promise to be a better blogger in 2012.

Well, one out of 10 ain’t bad! (Guess which one I’ll actually do???) Please feel free to leave your resolutions, real or imaginary, in the comments. Have a safe and happy start to 2012!!!

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Velocirapture

Gotta love xkcd.

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Pomp and…Whatever.

Happy Graduation Weekend!

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I Pity The Fool

As some of you know, I am a hard-core fan of the book cataloging site LibraryThing. It’s simply amazing.

Well, instead of a photo today (or, one might come later; we’ll see), I wanted to share their last blog post with you all. Enjoy!

Read LibraryThing’s blog post.

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Thanks, Dr. Oz….

He is one of those customers. You all know the type- the ones who make you dread coming on shift. The ones who have complicated orders, make unreasonable demands, berate you as you do your job the best you can, put you through the wringer, and then never tip. We have several of those, but one really takes the cake.

He gets a pound of coffee- a specific blend of decaf Sumatra and regular Sumatra. Always. Okay, fine- half-caf, no problem.

In fact, the coffee is the least of the issue.

If you don’t start scooping it before he even walks in the door, he acts as though you are too dense to draw breath. It doesn’t matter if you stand there and recite the order with him- if it’s not ready when he gets to the register, he has to tell you the entire order. EM-PHA-TI-CAL-LY.

He then watches you like a hawk as you walk to the wall, pull the coffee bags (he never brings the coffee to the register himself), and go behind the counter, scoop, measure, weigh, grind, and bag. Then, he…well, wait a moment.

There’s something you all should understand. I’m a closer- I rarely work before 3 pm. When I deal with this customer, it’s at night- like, it’s dark out night. Now, every store has closers like me, and openers who don’t work past noon. Our store has a highly popular opener- he almost never works much past 11 or 12. NEVER at night. Hasn’t for many, many years. Comprende? Bien.

He (the customer) comes in at night. Every night, he asks if this one opener is working. Becomes very upset when he is told that they are not there. Despite our explaining that his favourite barista only works in the mornings, he still comes in late at night for his coffee. Go figure. Apparently, this opener is the “only person” who can get the half-caf right, is the “best employee ever,” and without them working at our location “we wouldn’t stand a chance of staying in business because no one else can do the job as well.”

The first time we dealt with this guy at night, it was me, a shift, and my manager. We all stood there, slightly in shock. The manager tried to laugh it off with the customer… “Yeah, that employee is pretty popular.”

“NO. You all would go under without him.” (EM-PHA-TI-CAL-LY, remember?)

*blink* O-kayyyyy then.

He left at last, his coffee in hand. We stood there, silently looking at each other. Wordlessly, the shift reached over and pulled off three pieces of receipt tape. Scribbling something on each of them, she quietly pinned them to the inside of our green aprons with paper clips. I glanced at what mine said.

Chopped Liver

The three of us burst out laughing. “That’s so we don’t forget what we are without the morning crew.” my shift declared.

This customer has made us feel the same way every visit since that night two years ago. We treat him nicely, but there is still a tenseness to the transaction.

And then, a miracle. They came in the other night, and I immediately started scrambling for the coffee wall to pull the pounds I needed, calling to him as I ran “half-caf, right?”

“No, just regular.”

I swear, I stopped dead in the middle of the café. The shift behind the counter halted too. No? NO? NO!?!?!??!?!

“No,” he continued on. “I was listening to Dr. Oz, and he said that the process used to decaffeinate coffee is worse for you than the extra bit of caffeine. So, it’s just a pound of regular coffee now.”

Do you know how much FASTER his order goes without the measuring and scooping? Without having to assure him that yes, it was the right amount of caf and decaf? Oh, bliss. This is a change we like.

Thank you, Dr. Oz.

 

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Amanda

Sometimes, something so weird happens at work that I just have to shake my head and move on. And then start thinking about it again. And shake my head.

Take the other night, for instance. I’m out in the cafe, restocking the RTD&E (cold case) with sandwiches and juices from our delivery. BIG crates of food. Anyway, I’m sitting on the floor arranging the food so that it 1) looks pretty and 2) doesn’t restrict air flow. Not as easy as it might sound.

While I’m doing this, a young couple walks in and goes to straight to the comfy chairs to stake them out. I look up to say hi, but they are deep in chit-chat and I don’t want to interrupt them. I continue to stock the case. A few minutes pass, and they come up to the counter to order. As they walk by, the guy looks down at me and says “Hi, Amanda!”

Um, what?

I suppose that must be what the look on my face said, because the guy stopped and did a double take.

“You are Amanda, right?”

“Um, no. I’m not. Sorry.”

“Oh my gosh! You look just like her.” He turns to the girl with him. “Doesn’t she look like Amanda?”

At this point, the girl now starts examining me closely (remember, I’m still sitting on the floor. Can anyone say awk-ward?) “She totally does!”

So, I laugh it off. Weird. I have doppleganger. Cool. I knew that I had one named Lauren a few years back, and when I first started working for Starbucks there was a super popular girl at a local highschool who looked like me too. I think her name was Brittney or something like that. Anyway, for a few months I rehearsed saying “No, I didn’t go to _____ High School, sorry.”

But, that’s not the end of this story. I continue with my restocking and cleaning, but at this point I’m behind the bar. Guy and girl continue to stand in between the register and the handoff plane, staring at me and whispering and waiting for their drinks.

It’s just your imagination. I tell myself. There’s no way that they are still talking about me looking like this Amanda chick.

Boy, was I wrong. Another girl walks into Starbucks, and heads right towards the future hosts of Look-A-Like. As soon as the effusive, requisite Hollywood hugs and air kisses were complete, they start whispering. All of a sudden, I hear across the bar “Oh my gosh, she does totally look like Amanda! Are you guys SURE that it isn’t her?”

Apparently, new girl agreed with her friends’ discovery, and I swear never have customer drinks been made so slowly. The last thing I heard as they finally meandered away was “That is just so crazy! They look so much alike!”

So, Amanda, though we’ve never met, I feel like I already know you.

Although, I sort of hope we don’t ever meet.

That would be too weird.

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What, With All The Ballyhoo….

It’s December 15th…1939, in Atlanta GA. The town is abuzz; Gone With the Wind is having its world premier. And, according to The Last Night of Ballyhoo, a silly little 22 year old Jewish girl is trimming a Christmas tree (!) and dreaming of being Scarlet O’Hara…and a novelist…and at the premier…and of going to Ballyhoo.

What is Ballyhoo? According to Lala (no, seriously), it’s a two week long celebration for young adult Jews in the South, held at the end of every year. At the last night, there is a huge ball- to miss it just isn’t done. So, Lala and her mother Boo (yes, seriously) are determined to find someone to take her to Ballyhoo. Lala is determined to turn into Scarlet O’Hara. Her uncle has hired a new young Jewish boy from up north- maybe he will take her to Ballyhoo. Her aunt’s daughter is coming home for the holidays- yup, that’s going to cause some trouble.

And everyone is more than a little snarky.

I don’t want to give anymore away then that, but suffice it to say it’s a wonderful play. If you have a chance to see it, do! It’s sweet, touching, and so hysterically funny.

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Doing Shots

There’s very little in life that I love doing more than drinking shots. Espresso shots, that is. My coworkers are almost used to my espresso habits; they only blink a few times when I order my number of shots. Night crew likes to give me a hard time about my espresso habits, but at least I’ve trained the morning crew to understand that without shots I am worthless. When I was working mornings on a more regular basis, the shift would start pulling a quad shot the moment I walked in the door. Even last week- my first morning shift in months- he barely blinked when in the middle of blackout I turned and asked him for a couple of shots whenever he had a second. Moments later, there was a short cup full of espresso sitting by my register. Regulation? No. Did I stop dropping every blessed thing I touched? Oh yes. There is method in my espresso madness.

I’m so used to ordering in a place that understands my need to consume a week’s worth of caffeine in a few sips that I find ordering in other restaurants highly amusing. Like a few months ago. I don’t remember where I was- Panera, Books-a-Million, or some place like that. I had already had a lot of milky drinks earlier that day on shift, so I just ordered a double espresso. The very nice lady behind the counter patronisingly explained to me that “espresso” was a tiny amount of very intense coffee, not a “proper drink.” The look of shock on her face when I simply grinned and said “Yep- that’s what I’m looking for” was priceless. Well, not really. It cost me $1.79, but man was it worth it!

A few weeks ago I went out to see a play with my mum and one of her friends (there’s a write-up coming on that play, just so you know. It was wonderful!). I got a triple tall caramel macchiato before the performance, but by dinner afterwards the caffeine buzz had more than worn off and I was having a hard time not dropping into a carb-induced slumber. (There are way too many places to get great bread around here- that’s all I’m saying.) So, while we poured over the dessert menu, I asked our waiter for a solo espresso to get me through the remainder of the meal. Surprisingly, he didn’t register the shock I’m used to seeing. Maybe he was just well-trained, maybe he saw how exhausted I was, or maybe he’s a closet espresso-addict too. Whatever the case, he brought me my espresso with no to-do. It was my mum’s friend that was thrown for a loop by the cute little chunky demitasse in which our waiter delivered my shot to me. It was a great opportunity to talk about espresso, what it is, what makes  it different from coffee, and why you *really* don’t want to order a regularly-sized coffee cup full of espresso shots.

The most recent incident, and the one that made me sit back and muse over my espresso encounters happened last Friday night. We were having an English Club meeting at a cute little cafe, and I was tired. Exhausted. Worn out. Brain dead. I was the designated driver; I needed caffeine. This particular place used to have a honey latte that was amazing, but I soon discovered that it was no longer on the menu. Not feeling up to anything else, I approached the register to order. Nice young guy- a little baffled by our group, but then again we are an unusual assortment of characters. I asked him if they could do a triple espresso, even though they only listed solo and doubles. He looked at me with a slightly startled expression, but said that he could definitely do it. I said, “Okay, good, let’s make it a quad then.” He stopped ringing. He looked at me. The next words out of  his mouth were “I used to work in a coffee bar, and we were all like that. Couldn’t get enough coffee.” YES! A kindred spirit! I responded with “Yeah, I work at Starbucks.” He nodded, rang up the drink, and that was that. No weird looks, no patronising, no incredulity, just pure understanding. And four shots of espresso.

Bliss.

 

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Randomness!

5 *Very* Random Things You Don’t Know About Me (and probably didn’t need to know either):

  1. I used to hate coffee, and would only drink it with a TON of sugar and cream. This was only 2 years ago too…true fact.
  2. I didn’t drink caffeinated sodas until I was 13. I’m making up for those lost years now.
  3. I love shoes from both ends of the spectrum: I love little, cute ballet flats as well as 3-4 inch heels! However, I refuse to wear a 1-2 inch heel. Weird, yeah?
  4. C. S. Lewis’s the Chronicles of Narnia were the first fantasy books I ever read, followed closely by the Redwall series. I’ve been hooked on fantasy ever since! (Don’t believe me? Snoop around my Library….)
  5. I play several different instruments (primarily flute, piano, and violin), and teach music as well. One of my dreams? To play at or conduct an orchestra in Carnegie Hall. Seriously. Look for me in 15-20 years!
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