Miss Woodhouse's Musings

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

Don’t Hurt Me

Have you ever sat back, looked at the East Coast, and wondered what exactly we do during a hurricane? Do we sit huddled in a corner waiting for the roof to cave in? Do we count our copiously stockpiled provisions? Do we go surfing?

The answer is that someone, somewhere is doing all of those things. But we don’t stop there! No no, we don’t take the hurricanes lying down. We go out and beg them to leave us alone!

What? You don’t believe me? Oh, then you need to watch this. For reals.

(And in case you were wondering, this video will be featured on national TV tomorrow morning! Ah, the rewards of boredom.)

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Stormy Weather

Just thought you all might like to know what’s going on right now at my place. It’s fascinating. (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

Narration in the first video; I’ll add more as the night goes on….

7 pm:


One last video- listen to the epic thunder in the background- that was really impressive.


The Front Fell Off

To show that the oil spill is on my mind, I thought that I’d share one of my favourite videos. It’s only a few minutes, so enjoy!

Yes, I know that this video is not from this oil spill, and that it is not meant to be taken seriously. It’s still fun though!

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A Different Kind of Streaming

Friday Frame-Up is back again! This picture is from Christmas break, when our family visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky. I’ll write a blog about the visit over the summer, but for now I’m just going to share a photo from the outside landscaping. When you walk out the back doors of the museum to the grounds, there’s this long staircase leading down to the gardens. Running beside the staircase is this little stream that burbles over rocks. Even with how cold it was, the sound of the trickling stream was nice and soothing.

So, without further ado, the photo:

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind….” -John Donne

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Stormy Weather

“Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky, stormy weather….”

The Friday Frame-Up this week is a two parter. I saw these clouds over by the county line about a year ago; the picture quality isn’t great (my old phone camera was only 1.3 mp), but the clouds are dramatic enough to make up for the poor quality. So, here’s the dramatic close-up!

Now, in order to appreciate the atmosphere, you have to see the bigger picture (so to speak!). Man, sometimes I crack myself up.

Pretty cool, is it not? There’s one thing that they say in our area: if you don’t like the weather, wait!

So, I know it’s been quiet around here, but take heart dear readers! The semester is almost over and I’ll have the freedom to blog some fun stuff over the summer. One week, three days…bear with me.

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Branching Into Spring

This week’s Friday Frame-Up features the photo I currently have as my desktop background.That is, the background on my newly updated Windows 7 operating system laptop. Man, I still love saying that! (and for those of you following along at home, yes this means my laptop is back!)

The photo is from a few springs back, a picture of one of the crepe myrtles in the front yard. I took this from the second floor, looking out the window during a rain storm. If you look closely at the bottom of the berries, you can see droplets of water suspended. It’s pretty cool.

Anyway, enjoy. As usual, click on the picture to see it full size!

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Nothing That Is Not There

Warning: this post contains the musings of a university English major. Read at your own mental risk! :) –Miss Woodhouse

For the few of you out there who do not yet know about my feelings towards American Literature, I have some very strong ones: I don’t like American Literature. I’m currently taking an American Lit class only because I would LOVE to graduate sometime this century.

Nonetheless, I believe in giving everything your best effort as much as you can. So, let it come as a little shock when I say that reading the poetry this week was almost bearable. Almost.

I found myself somewhat taken with a poet I have not ever read, Wallace Stevens. In particular, I really enjoyed his poem entitled “The Snow Man.” I’ve reprinted it here for your reading pleasure:

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place.

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

This last stanza really captured my attention. The poem, though nicely balanced and arranged, is somewhat bleak. The landscape described is blank, desolate, frozen, and harsh (did you notice how Stevens used the words “crusted”, “shagged”, and “rough” to hint at harshness without coming out and using the word?).

The speaker in the poem reveals how he is looking at the world- not only is it harsh, but he hears mournfulness and misery in the sound of the winter wind. For some reason, these thoughts displease him, and he yearns to think like a snowman. In his mind, the snowman can see things as they truly are without the bias of human presumptions. Everything leads up to that final line as the speaker declares that since the snowman is himself nothing he can see the “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.”

It doesn’t seem to bother the speaker (as it bothers me) that in looking to the snowman for an unbiased view of the world, the speaker is effectively placing his own bias on what he imagines the snowman to see. In reality, the speaker can find nothing worthwhile in the world around him, and the snowman becomes merely a vehicle by which the speaker can justify and rationalize the perception of meaningless life.

Life may be nothing, but for the speaker, nothingness must actually exist. If nothingness is not real and tangible, then the speaker realizes that he is most likely missing out on something huge in life. This appears to scare the speaker, thus he chronicles his winter quest to justify (ironically) the existence and purpose of nothingness. He creates this blank landscape, finds a blank “mind”, and creates a situation where nothing actually exists. He thinks that this will make him happy, that if he can achieve this goal he will no longer hear mournful wind and see harsh landscapes. Everything becomes nothing, and nothing is everything. The only problem is that this world that the speaker creates is quite…well, depressing.

So, I’ve shared how I read and interpret this poem. Why don’t you all take a moment or two to jot down in the comments what you see in the poem? I promise to respond!

Thanks to this transcript of All Things Considered for affirming that my interpretation is not completely off the wall!


Working 9 to 9

Well, what a week at work! For those of you who do not live and die by the movements of the little green goddess, Tuesday was free pastry day (!) and some of the Southeast was upgraded to a new POS (point of sale= register) system. Oh yes, and have I mentioned that our new manager isn’t officially at our store yet? I’ve not seen her in weeks.

So here we are- the rogue store. We control our orders, our work hours, our products, our reports. We’re not even able to get a hold of our District Manager. Good thing that they can trust us- well, most of us. But I digress.

The new POS rollout was severely under-promoted. They told us to go watch a five minute training module, which I did. According to the module, the way I ring up drinks changes drastically. This is not a bad thing. Our old software was a pain, but this looks user-friendly and pretty to boot.

It all seemed straightforward.

This is where things started to go wrong.

By the time I got to the store on rollout day, Thursday, the shift looked puzzled and exhausted. Apparently, the new system changed not only our POS, but how we open the store, clock in, markout product, do deposit, check sales, moniter tills, clock out, and close the store. And oh yes, there were no instructions on how to do any of this new stuff.

Have I mentioned yet that we don’t have a manager? Thankfully, the helpdesk called the store and walked us through the new system. Crisis somewhat averted. It will be a long learning curve. One of my shifts pointed out that normally when there’s someone new in the store, all the other partners know what to do and can help. Right now, we’re all learning with no one to show us how it’s done.

Anyway, all that and I haven’t even gotten to my 9-9 story! It all starts the morning after rollout (and keep in mind that we maintain a steady stream of customers and still aren’t comfortable with the new system):

Friday, March 26, 2010

9am– showed up at store to do some tutoring. Helped talk the register person through a few orders.

10:30– tutoring over, go in the back room to help a partner troubleshoot the training module.

11:30– asked to clock on early in order to help out the two shifts.

1:30– third person on the floor leaves, rest of the afternoon will be two people on the floor. Of course, we get slammed.

3:30– new shift comes in to replace the old one. They cannot figure out how to close out a till. They finally realize that the till doesn’t exist. Whew!

3:45– the new system is SKU based. Guess what? Starbucks just took the SKUs off all our packaged and bottled merchandise! Fun times.

4:00– My replacement is stuck in traffic.

4:30– finally can clock off. 

4:45– leave the store, fielding questions and comments from coworkers as I go.

6:30– call the store to ask a partner a quick question. Realize that shift is near tears. Ask what is the matter- apparently a customer just threatened to call corporate on her and the barista for not putting whipped cream on his chai. He took names, got his refund, and stalked out. Uh-oh.

6:45– stay on hold while shift tries to call someone in authority. Have I mentioned that we can’t get a hold of our manager or district manager?

7pm– Mum and I run into my Starbucks on our way to pick up dinner. Mum brings little bags of candy to the shaken shift and baristas. Morale is somewhat restored. Corporate is finally called, they now know what is going on. They agree that the baristas did everything right, and they say they will defend their actions. DM and SM are still unreachable.

8pm– just finished dinner. Shift calls, nearly in tears again. Cleaning tablets for the machines were zeroed out of our order, and we have none. Their third person just left the store, and they need the product ASAP. Not cleaning the machines tonight will result in the espresso machines locking up in the morning. Not good.

8:10– other stores aren’t picking up the phone. I get in the car (in the rain) to find product.

8:30– product gained, head to the store. Still raining. Still can’t find our manager.

8:45– give grateful shift the cleaning tablets. Notice, sitting at a table, the barista who is clocked off. He locked his keys in the car. In the rain. At the gas station near our store. In front of the pump. *headdesk* Listen to his story, offer him a place to stay if needed.

8:50– Take shift up on offer of free drink.

9pm– Return home. I need a few days off!

So there you have it- that’s what just my day looked like. I’m not alone. Almost everyone at our store is giving 200% to keep things running smoothly. So, the next time your barista looks a little stressed, keep in mind that they may be having a day like this themselves!

Have a good week, and drink more coffee!



It’s photo Friday! You know what that means- now is the time that I tell a Starbucks story… wait, that’s not right. Let me try again.

It’s photo Friday! Today I wanted to share a picture from the botanical gardens nearby. I had the chance this fall to spend a full day wandering around the gardens for the first time, taking a few hundred pictures. Most of them are pretty good, too. This particular picture comes from the end of the day. The sun was setting, and rain clouds started to fill up the sky. The garden, which had been so sunny and bright all day, now looked drab and dreary. Trust me, a drab pond looks even drearier in the twilight.

What to do, what to do? Solution: switch to black and white shots. That improved the overall tone immensely. What had been shades of drab now turned into clearly defined shades of gray. I really love how the foreground detail morphs into a blurred background. Wish I knew how I managed that! In all though, a nice ending to a nice day.

As always, click on the picture to see it full size- the detail is better. If I put it up that big on here, it would take forever to load the page!

Flower in the Pond

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I’m A Little Flaky

My paper is coming along quite nicely, thank you for asking. Since I need a tiny brain break before I start belting Christmas carols at the top of my lungs, I thought that I’d get my Photo Friday post done early. So, this is not the best representation of my photography, but there’s a lot going on here. First, the photo:

Told you that I was flakey!

Now, the story:

1. The snowflake was drawn in the amount of time it took for my university’s Blackboard link to load. Come on guys, let’s get the system running better, yes?

2. I took the picture while waiting for the discussion boards to load. Really, people?

3. This shows off my mad snowflake drawing skills- also know as “Look! Miss Woodhouse didn’t mess up a design with straight lines!” It’s a big deal for me. Drawn with blue marker on a skin canvas.

4. It’s really hard to take a picture of your own hand.

5. This is as close as I will ever get to a tattoo- afraid of needles and all that.

6. We had snow all day yesterday, which is why I wanted to share this crazy picture with you today! At one point the sky was mostly blue with one dark cloud off to the side. However, that one cloud was snowing, and the wind was blowing it all around. For all practical purposes, it looked like it was snowing out of a clear blue sky. Very Hollywood. I tried to frame it, but the weirdness didn’t translate well to photograph form.

7. My brain is now rested, so on to finishing my paper! Have a great Friday.

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