Miss Woodhouse's Musings

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

Snow!

This is my obligatory post on snow. Not that I’m a big fan of the cold wet stuff myself, but seeing as how we’re all having trouble remembering the last time our city was covered in white, a few words are in order.

First- that whole “no two snowflakes are alike” thing is a myth. I swear I totally saw twins out there, but I couldn’t grab my camera in time.

Second- snow makes people do stupid things. Case in point- I never wander around my neighbourhood. I just don’t. However, throw a few snowflakes in the mix and I’m tramping around like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Because of this, my friends and I had a snow ball fight in a complete stranger’s driveway. It rocked!

Third- snow fall reveals what kind of people we work for. Chick-fil-a decided to close the night before the storm hit. Starbucks had employees in at 4:30 am as usual before letting them out around 3. The state schools decided to close down today, and sent out a text to let students know. My university finally decided to close down, but no text message- just a hard to find news article.

By the way, this is the same university that woke us all up at 5am the first day of spring break last year to tell us that classes (that we weren’t having) were delayed two hours (which didn’t matter because we weren’t having class- spring break and all that). Oh yes, and not just one text, but texts and phone calls until we acknowledged receipt. More than one phone was hurled across a room that morning; but I digress.

Fourth- snow days are uninspiring on weekends. Just thought I’d point that out.

Fifth- impromptu snow parties are fun. Add fire, cookies, and coffee and you have a winning day!

Sixthly, enjoy some of my pictures, because it really was a nice change from the norm.

My backyard:

Back fence 5-6″ deep in snow:


Well, we did have a lot of fun. Enjoy whatever winter weather you have right now, and snow long until next time!

(You didn’t really think that I could make it without one bad snow pun, did you?)

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Powerless

At precisely 1:54 this morning, my entire neighbourhood lost power. Those of you readers who know me well will gasp in shock, as you realize that this is right in the middle of prime study time for me. One minute I’m happily reading tweets and looking for a blog plugin for the English club (and yes, working on an English paper), the next minute everything around me went dark.

To be honest, my first thought was “oh, Mum is making a statement about the lateness of the hour.” Then, I realized that she couldn’t have turned off the lamp beside me without me noticing her doing it. Then, my internet connection disappeared.

It’s one thing to lose power during the day. You have to keep your fridge and freezer closed, interior rooms may be a little dim, and the radio will fall silent. Really though, it’s not much of an imposition. Losing your power at night is a whole different ball game.

For one, I can’t see anything. I mean, the ENTIRE neighbourhood has no power- this includes street lamps. Two, I stupidly didn’t charge my phone for the last 48 hours, so I’m down to a sliver of battery and I need my phone to wake me up in the morning. Thankfully, I did charge my iPod so it’s my portable lighting device. As for my laptop- well, I obviously don’t have internet, but I’m on powersaver and typing this right now. I’m good to go for another hour or two.

This whole incident is just bringing home how much we rely on things that most people don’t even have. It’s automatic to walk into a dark room and reach for the light switch. You expect that when you open the fridge, a little light will pop on. When I turn on my iPod, I expect to see my wifi signal. When I plug in my phone, I expect it to charge. When we look outside, we expect to see the porch lights on the neighbour’s houses.

However, right now in Haiti, there are people simply wondering if their house is still standing, if their neighbours are still alive, and if they will be able to find any sort of food. Bodies are being discovered with sickening regularity, each body representing not only a life lost, but also a family destroyed. I’m sure that they aren’t worrying about charging their cellphones, or surfing the web on their iPods. I’m sure that all they want is their family and friends to be alive, and to know where to find food, clothing, and shelter.

My house is still structurally unchanged- even my alarm system is still set thanks to back-up batteries. I have plenty of food and water in my fridge and garage. My family is all around me, safely tucked into their beds. My phone may be low on power, but there are two more in the house all ready to go. Despite my lack of internet, I’m still sitting here typing away on my laptop.

You know, I think that I’m pretty lucky. Because, when you look at your life in the big, world picture, you come to realize that every frustration and setback is nothing when compared with the suffering of others. So instead of mourning my lost study time, I’m going to shut this computer off, get into bed, pray for the people of Haiti, and thank God that all I have to worry about is a low cellphone battery.

It’s really not so bad being powerless.

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Where Everybody Knows Your…Drink?

I love Starbucks. I think that I’ve made that clear by now, but it’s worth reiterating. I love Starbucks. I loved being a customer, and now I love being on the other side of the counter. It’s a job that really doesn’t get boring- if there’s not customer drama, then there’s partner drama. Sometimes there’s both.

Each drink is like an adventure. Will the customer order the drink according to standard? Will they mix it up? If so, how? Will you have to walk them through the options? Will they walk you through 15 modifiers? Whatever they want, however they say it- each drink is an adventure.

Even so, it’s sometimes nice to look up, see a familiar face, and know instinctively what that regular customer is going to want. Some of our regulars order the same drink season after season, so it’s fun to tease them about mixing things up and ordering something completely contrary to their norm. The look on their face when you try to do that is fun as well! Some customers change according to the weather, or the seasons, or the time of day. Then it’s fun to make a guess at which drink they want and see how close you are.

We take our regulars seriously. When we don’t see one for a while, we worry. We ask each other “have you seen______?”. When they return, we welcome them back enthusiastically. The regulars who are kind, courteous, gracious, and funny- they make the job worthwhile. Thanks guys!

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Can You Guess?

I got something very exciting in the mail today (yes, neither rain, sleet, snow, nor gloom of night can keep our wonderful mailman away!). I could just tell you what it is, but what would be the fun of that.

So, here’s a clue:

(Disclaimer: none of these images are mine. However, none of them have credits either. Just sayin’)

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Raining Sideways

The big news of the day is…it’s raining! Ah yes, though our little area of the country thought that it had been spared by the hurricane fairies, they decided that they just couldn’t go a season without stopping by. Add a bit (translation: a LOT) of north easterly wind, and you have yourself one wet, windy, miserable day.

You also have a day where university is cancelled. Yippee! I wasn’t looking forward to trekking across campus in this whirlwind of water and dying leaves.

You also have a day where girl’s night is cancelled. This…is disappointing. We were going to hang out and be all English-geeky and play word games. It, apparently, will have to wait. *sigh*

I also cannot have my Starbucks espresso. This is inexcusable.

I must say though, that looking out at this horrible weather has made me appreciate what benefits I have. I have a roof over my head, and a nice comfy bed on which to study (on-line classes don’t get cancelled for inclement weather, even if your internet keeps cutting out). I have this little laptop to write my papers, and being an English major, I have many books to read should the power *touch wood* go out.

I have my family safe at home, and we plenty of food and water should this turn into a worse-case scenario (it won’t). I have my cell phone and my puppy close at hand. So yeah, I think that despite being stranded at home, I’m pretty lucky.

I tried to take some pictures of what’s going on outside, but they aren’t coming out too clearly. So, close your eyes and imagine with me…

Picture a fall day. Add dark clouds; no, more dark clouds than that. Now, picture a heavy, steady rain. Drop the temperatures down into the low 50s. Envision leaves in various stages of colour-changing dropping with the torrential rain. Make sure you imagine the rain pooling in the dirt, and bathe everything in a grayish haze. With me? Good, just one more thing.

Add wind. Lots, and lots, and lots of wind blowing- vertically. Picture the rain and leaves blowing at mach force…but sideways. Yep, that’s our weather!

I’ll try to come back later and add a picture….

Update:

So, apparently there are power outages all up and down my stretch of the coast. So, I’m taking the few precautions I can- everything is charging, batteries nearby, etc. I must say though, I’m a little unnerved that this song just popped up on my iTunes playlist. As if the storm and lighting candles weren’t creepy enough on their own…. It’s like Vincent Price meets Alfred Hitchcock. *shivers*

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