Miss Woodhouse's Musings

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

Change Is In The Air

*peers around the blog*

*taps microphone*


Um, is this thing still on?

So, I know it’s been a while since you all have heard from me. A long while. A VERY LONG while.

In my last post, I talked a lot and vaguely about different paths and which one I should take. Basically, I had a decision to make in April: sign another year’s teaching contract and remain a Shift Supervisor at Starbucks, OR take a leap of faith, stop teaching for now, and pursue an Assistant Manager position with Starbucks. It was a really hard choice to make. I LOVE teaching, love my students, and love being in the academic world. Teaching is so much of my life and passion that the mere idea of just stepping away for a bit was devastating.

When all was said and done though, it became evident that teaching just wasn’t in the cards for next year. You guys have no idea the amount of pain and tears that happened during March and April. Once the decision was made it couldn’t be undone, so I threw myself into the last few months of my teaching career. Back in January the drama teacher had asked me to come alongside her class and help instruct on Shakespeare, since they were doing three parodies of his works. When those plays were finished, I was asked to stay on with drama and help out on the final production. It was a crazy, crazy time of dancing, fighting, and jumping off of cliffs (in a theatrical stage sense!), and I loved every moment of it.

You haven’t lived until you’ve watched a bunch of high school students try to talk over heavy rain on a tin roof.

With production finished, the next big hurdle in life was prepping for final projects and graduation. That took up just about every spare moment that wasn’t already consumed with Starbucks. Crayzhay.

The last day of classes was very sad. My students are awesome though, and they passed around this lovely little journal that anyone at the program could sign. I keep the little leather journal by my bed…such an encouragement! We also hung out in my classroom for most of the morning watching Jane Eyre and talking about Doctor Who. They are such good little Whovians!

It was hard going home that day, but I had a plan. I sat down at the computer, and applied for an Assistant Manager position in the next district over. An opening had come up the week before, and for the first time, it felt right. So, I applied. And interviewed two weeks later. And interviewed again two weeks after that. And three days later, my new District Manager called and offered me the position!!!

Can we all just stop and freak out about this for a moment????


Thank you, that feels much better.

On July 29th, I start my new position, at my new store, in a new district. It is all exciting, but all nerve-wracking as well. In addition, we also lost our Regional supervisor last month (and I am so sad about that, you all have no idea), so we have a new one taking over this week too! So much change, but I think that it is all for the better.

These past few weeks have felt very productive. I’ve finished a lot of personal development training, helped train our newest barista, and participated in a veritable bevy of coffee and tea tastings. Tea tastings…are a revelation. I cannot wait to see the effect that Teavana has on Starbucks!!! We need some more tea materials in the store, I’m just saying.

Open tea bags…Chai, Zen, and Calm.

So, what else is new? I think that is enough for now. The next 10 days will fly by, I’m sure, in a whirl of book clubs, nursery duty, phantom shifts, food service tests, normal shifts, and otherwise crazy schedules!!!! I am very excited to see where the next chapter of my life leads me.

Here goes everything!

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Collection of Thoughts

Gentle Readers,

* Teaching Tinturn Abby ito my class went much better than teaching Songs of Innocence and Experience. I will admit, this is a first in my teaching experience.

* I think Farm Fresh employees hate their lives. I can’t blame them at all.

* They found Richard III’s bones while building a car park. There might be irony enough in that for a whole blog post, we will see.

* Though I never would have ordered it on my own, pepperoni and pineapple pizza with cheese stuffed crust is quite yummy.

* When “It’s your thing, do what you wanna do” comes on, you have to sing along with it. That’s a rule.

* If you are going to preach about pitching tents, make sure to say pitching tents. Still laughing about that, D!

* Midsomer must be an awful place to live. So many murders…thanks, Mystery!.

* Josh Groban’s new album came out today, All That Echoes. Go. Buy. Listen. Repeat.

Until tomorrow,

Miss W


Romance Or Something Like It

It’s rare that my classes fall on a holiday, so I was so excited last night when I realized that not only was my British Literature class meeting on Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t have to report for jury duty!!! This meant I was free to deviate from our study on the Romantics (which aren’t as romantic as the title would have you believe…but that’s a post for another time) and give the kids a whirlwind tour of how England’s famous writers created the Hallmark company. Erm, excuse me. I meant to say “Valentine’s Day.” Same diff?

So, we all have the basic idea that Valentine was some sort of martyr/saint/good guy, right? What you may not know is that there are actually *three* Valentines in the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia (yes, there is such a thing): one from Rome, one from Terni, and one from Africa. Their lives had nothing at all to do with love, romance, poetry, or hearts (except for the fact that theirs stopped beating because of their faith in God and their dedication to the gospel). In fact, there’s absolutely no reason why Chaucer, while writing a poem to commemorate the engagement of Richard II, would reference Valentine…but he did so.

It’s actually a lovely little poem called The Parliament of Fowls that I enjoy reading very much. It’s also 5 hundred million or so lines long, so I’ll just post some pertinent stanzas.

For this was on Saint Valentine’s day,

When every fowl comes there his mate to take,

Of every species that men know, I say,

And then so huge a crowd did they make,

That earth and sea, and tree, and every lake

Was so full, that there was scarcely space

For me to stand, so full was all the place.

Saint Valentine, who art full high aloft –

Thus sing the small fowls for your sake –

Now welcome summer, with your sun soft,

That this winter’s weather does off-shake.


Well have they cause to rejoice full oft,

Since each a marriage with its mate does make;

Full joyous may they sing when they wake;

Now welcome summer, with your sun soft,

That this wintry weather does off-shake,

And the long nights’ black away does take.’


And with the cries, when their song was done,

That the fowls made as they flew away,

I woke, and other books to read upon

I then took up, and still I read always;

I hope in truth to read something someday

Such that I dream what brings me better fare,

And thus my time from reading I’ll not spare.

The rest of the poem is a bunch of birds talking to each other about love and classic pairs of lovers. As one of my students said, it’s like Narnia. If you have the time, Norton has a lovely rendition online in the Middle English. Delightful!

The next major writer to start a Valentine’s tradition is Edmund Spenser, writer of The Faerie Queen. Do you know what he started? Here’s a quote to give you a hint:

She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

Did you figure it out? Oh yes, the much maligned “roses are red, violets are blue” verse! I’m as big a fan of plays on this as the next person, so it made me laugh when the lovey Ponderiss shared “Roses are red, violets are blueish. If it weren’t for Christmas, we’d all be Jewish.” I laughed for a good 5 minutes over that one.

Shakespeare? He didn’t neglect the fad either. In his famous Ophelia scenes (where she runs in and out of court singing songs, throwing around flowers, and generally running mad), she sings a Valentine’s Day song!

To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.

England continued on in this same vein for the next several hundred years, making them one of the most dedicated countries when it comes to this holiday. Did you know that in the 1700’s they even had Valentine factories??? Whole factories that churned out nothing but ornate, flowery Valentines. It’s a pretty cool idea.

So, there you have it! A whirlwind tour through the beginnings of Valentine’s Day! What did you do to celebrate this year?


The Birthday Bard

It’s poetry in its purest form- browsing Books-A-Million brooding about the Bard’s birthday. Think I used enough “b”s in that sentence?

But yes, you read that right. Today is supposedly William Shakespeare’s birthday (I subscribe to the 25th, but that’s a story for another time), it is indeed the anniversary of his death, and it is also St. George’s Day, the patron saint of England.

‘Tis a lot to take in.

Therefore, friends, Romans, blog readers, lead me your ears! For indeed I am a friend of the Bard, a fan of his witty sayings and dramatic tales of star-crossed lovers. Forsooth, even I turn a blind eye to his obvious copying of others’ tales, and his shameless borrowing of his own best-loved plot turns. For what great a man he was, still to be revered ev’n in this modern age in which we live.

Yet, my meager words cannot express the genius of this great man; actor, poet, playwright. Let us all instead divert our attention to a different vein; let us turn to the words of the man himself, and let us listen to his thoughts near the end of his life. For it is said that the character Prospero, that wizard and magician banished so many long years on a deserted isle, is meant to be Shakespeare himself, a means by which the Bard expressed his feelings and a plea to his devoted fans:

“Now my charms are all o’erthrown,

And what strength I have’s mine own,

Which is most faint….

…Now I want

Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,

And my ending is despair

Unless I be relieved by prayer,

Which pierces so, that it assaults

Mercy itself, and frees all faults.

As you from crimes would pardoned be,

Let your indulgence set me free.”

–The Tempest

So, then, dear friends, ‘tis nobler indeed to laud the life of a man who spent his time well, and did so faithfully devote his hours to writing for the entertainment of many.

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So Here’s What’s Happening

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve blogged something substantial, but please don’t give up on me! Truth is, I have about 8 blog posts started, but I get distracted and haven’t had the time to finish them. I will, I promise!

It’s finals week. I know that everyone who has ever been to college is probably shuddering right now- brings back bad memories, does it not? To make it worse, my school is on the quarter system, so I go through finals week 5 times a year. Yeah, it’s not fun. So here’s what stands between me and Spring Break:

-Write 500ish words on Christians and the spirit world.

-Respond to 2 other people’s opinions on Christians and the spirit world.

-Write 2-300 words on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Respond to 2 other people’s opinions on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

-Write a 7-9 page paper on Dickens’s use of children and their effect on Scrooge’s character in A Christmas Carol.

-Write 2 formal essays encapsulating everything I’ve learned about Victorian literature in the past 8 weeks.

-Take a reading proficiency quiz.

-Take a two hour exam on a month’s worth of reading materials on cults (the last test crashed on me half-way through, so this may do the same).

On a personal note:

-Go to work tonight and Saturday

-Go to Bible study

-Teach music

-Go to class

-Go to the library for research

-Teach British literature

-Attend little brother’s sports award ceremony

-Find and distribute copies of a play my club is reading to seniors next month.

All this to say if I’m not around here much, please don’t leave! Once things settle down we’ll be back to our normally scheduled programming. See you soon!

How about one of my favourite YouTube videos to keep you entertained while I’m gone? Watch it to the end; it cracks me up!

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Romeo loves Juliet… and then they die.

Yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to hear Regent’s president-elect speak on the immortal love story Romeo and Juliet. First, I must say that this experience banished all the doubts I had about choosing Dr. Campo to head the university. The man is amazing! He establishes a rapport with people in a seemingly effortless manner. I introduced myself to him briefly before the presentation, and he spent the first 10 minutes casually teasing me even though we just met. Second, it’s wonderful to have someone in power who loves literature. Going to a Christian college means that quite a few people are very religion/psychology minded. Not that this is always a bad thing, but those are not my passions. Literature is my passion. Thirdly, he gets British literature. ‘Nuff said!

He made some wonderful points about what we can glean from this story, and the things we can learn about love, life, family, and passion. The first word of the play is “two”, so Dr. Campo talked a lot about the duality of the play. Love and hate; reason and passion; reality and illusion. In short, he taught the play as a journey- a reformational journey from chaos to form and order.

I must admit that I’ve never been a huge Romeo and Juliet fan. Not that I don’t love a tragic ending, but I hate people holding it up as the ultimate love story. In fact, I almost didn’t listen to Taylor Swift’s song Love Story because of the Romeo/Juliet lyric angle. There’s just something frustrating about a guy who impulsively kills himself before he knows the whole story. A little bit more patience and a little less impulsivity would make for a much happier play. I know, I know, spoil-sport. Those are my feelings though.

Anyway, it was the perfect Valentine’s Day book club meeting. We all laughed a lot, thought deeply, and really enjoyed our time together.

Nay, I’ll conjure too.

Romeo! Humours! Madman! Passion! Lover!

Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh.

Speak but one rhyme and I am satisfied.

Cry but ‘Ay me!’ Pronounce but ‘love’ and ‘dove’.

Speak to my gossip Venus on fair word,

One nickname for her purblind son and heir,

Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim

When King Cophetua loved the beggar maid. –

He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not.


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Things Better Left Unsaid

Saturday is here, so it’s time for a Starbucks-related story. One of the most amazing things about working for the company is the relationships between coworkers that they foster. We have guiding principles and attitudes that, if followed, make for an enjoyable work experience. However, if you wish for your coworkers to love you, at my store there are certain things that you never say.

–          “I’m bored.” Bad, bad, bad. This phrase guarantees that you be slammed for the rest of the shift and get so far behind in your duties that there is NO catching back up.

–          “Wow, it’s quiet in here.” This line apparently is taught in preschools and junior highs as “cue for you and every friend you know to come in and camp out for an hour or two minimum.” Bonus points are awarded for moms on cell phones with two or more kids under the age of five- chaos is bound to ensue.

–          “Well, the café is clean.” Frappuccino spill in 3…2…1….

–          “The espresso machines are behaving today.” I swear the machines are sentient beings. The last time someone said this they BOTH decided to take an hour lunch break in the middle of an afternoon rush. You haven’t lived dangerously until you’ve told tired elementary teachers that they can’t have their lattes because the machines aren’t working. *shudders*

–          “Okay, good. We might get out of here on time tonight.” Ain’t gonna happen! Just five minutes before you close, 20 people are going to walk in the door and want a drink from every station that you’ve already cleaned. They won’t, however, order anything from the stations still fully functional. This will put you behind 15 minutes, and you will NOT get out anywhere near on time. That new iPhone app must have a five minute to closing warning timer on it.

What power the tongue has! And what a sense of humor the cosmos has! And how annoyed your coworkers are tempted to be with you if you say any of those things! So, we have codes at my store. Most of the time they involve saying something to the effect of “I’d comment on the noise level in here, but I think it’s better not to.” Or, “Well, this must be as good as everything is going to get.” It’s much safer this way…. Just much safer… :)

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A Very Good Place To Start

The best place to start sharing your thoughts is at the beginning, so here goes. Feel free to ignore this post if you wish, but do realize this will start to explain some things I say later on:

Firstly, I am not legally Miss Emma Woodhouse, but I might as well be! I really am a “Miss Emma”, and a Jane Austen addict before it was even “cool” to be a fan of her books. I blame it on a mother who is interested in British Literature. Thanks Mom! Having used Emma Woodhouse for so many groups and websites, there are a great many people who don’t know what my real name even is. I am fine with that.

What else should you know? I am a Christian of 16 years and counting, a daughter and sister, a full-time university student, an avid reader, reluctant writer, “weekend” photographer, part-time music teacher, occasional substitute teacher, a barista for Starbucks, a movie lover, and a technology geek.

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