Friday, June 30, 2006

The bad with the good

In all, yesterday was a great day at work. Met some interesting people, talked to more customers about the developing book club, and of course made some excellent drinks. There are a few customers I'm going to go into more detail about. Three annoying customers and one awesome customer. I'll start with the annoying ones, so I can end on a good note.

1. The lady who corrected my grammar
This woman was totally cool at first. She, her husband, and her son came in and ordered their drinks. Then, she mentioned something about going to the Starbucks at Barnes and Noble and how she had an unfortunate experience there. So I explained that those Starbucks aren't technically "real" Starbucks. They're called licensed stores, which means they can use the name, but the employees don't actually work for Starbucks, they don't have the same rigorous training, and their standards aren't quite as rigid. At one point, towards the end of my explanation, while I was getting their change and was a tad distracted, I said, "They don't have the same training as us." She immediately jumped in, loudly, with, "You mean we. They don't have the same training as we. It's WE." This woman corrected my grammar, like I'm an imbecile. No, I don't expect her to know that I was a college english teacher for a few years and that after that, I was an editor. But, even without that knowledge, what kind of asshole would say that to a total adult stranger? YES, I realize that she is correct in that I should have said 'we' rather than 'us.' But for god's sake, I was counting back her change, not writing an essay. What a bitch.

2. The lady who thinks she's further to the left than I am
The only thing that could offend me more than someone correcting my grammar is someone who accuses me of being further to the right, politically speaking, then they are. I'm always further left than the person I'm talking to!! Doesn't everyone know that by now??!! ;)

So this other woman came in, ordered a drink, then started drilling me with questions about various Starbucks corporate policies and how the company works with their growers, etc. She was looking for ways to prove that Starbucks is unethical and immoral, and that I personally have no philosophical, ethical, political, or social awareness since I work for Starbucks. I answered her questions to the best of my ability, though of course I don't know every detail down to exact numbers. I do know, however, that I would not be working for a company that didn't uphold extremely high ethical standards. I told her this and she snorted. See, I researched all this before I even applied for this job. I'm the one who would rather cut my own foot off than spend one penny at Wal-Mart. And I haven't shopped at JC Penny's since they started that hideously chauvinist ad campaign years ago with the frazzled, retarded looking father, glaring at his son, saying, "Where is your mother?" as if he hates to "babysit" his own kid, and then they show the wife/mother running around JC Penny's in an orgasmic state, as if the second she has any time to herself, all she wants to do is go shopping. And don't even get me started on Sprint, the Fox network, or the auto industry.

Anyway, when I couldn't provide all the information she wanted, she looked at me like I work for the Bush administration or something equally disgusting, said something about how she can't believe she's a "social anarchist" and is "standing in a place like Starbucks," and then stormed out. I should note, however, that she took her drink and sat peacefully at one of our sidewalk tables for a couple hours having what looked like a lovely conversation with a friend. Apparently, she's not above that.

3. Guy who tried to break a $100 bill
Not much to this one. He came in and bought a $1.80 cup of coffee and wanted to pay with a hundred. We don't typically allow that, though if we happen to have the cash in our drawers at the time, we can occasionally make an exception. I had enough, technically speaking, but it would have left me with no twenties or tens, and very few fives. So I asked him if he had anything smaller, and he glared and said, "No, of course not. Why wouldn't someone be able to make that kind of change?" So I went ahead and took it, giving back most of my bills higher than singles. I don't care about that so much as his attitude. What an ass.

4. My wonderful new friend
I've made friends with an awesome older woman, probably in her mid-sixties, named Henni. She comes in every day for an iced mocha and is always reading a different book. So we have a running conversation about literature, and wow is this woman well-read. Since I've been reading Jude the Obscure, we've talked a lot about Thomas Hardy, who she also loves. But I'm beginning to think she's read everything ever published....and has read libraries of criticism about it all, too. Yesterday, she came by when I happened to be sitting at an outside table on my lunch break, so she sat down and we had a great conversation. She's super damn smart, has been all over the world, and feels the same ambiguity towards this town that I she totally relates to some of my current frustrations about living here. Fortunately, I snagged her for the book club, about which she is terribly excited. Talking to Henni makes me happy.

So that was my day in a nutshell. People are funny.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

oh no

God, did that last post come off wrong, making me sound like an elitist bitch? (I'm imagining Karen from Will and Grace.) I hope not, because that's not what I meant by feeling weird around people providing some service for me. I meant that I feel uncomfortable around a lot of people I don't know and typically avoid conversation because of it, but when it's someone like a hair stylist or phone person, I feel twice as uncomfortable because it's one-on-one and because I see what they're doing as a favor to me, and so I feel even more obligated to be ultra friendly and conversational.

Ok, now I know I'm completely insane. And everyone reading this does, too. Well, I'm ok with it if you are.

The phone guy

I want to leave early for work so I can sit and read for a few minutes before I have to clock in, and I'm all ready to go but I've sort of locked myself in my room. Well, not really. But my parents are having all sorts of changes done to their phone line, security system, and internet access, so there is some weird guy from the phone company out in the kitchen...which is where I need to go before leaving for work. And my dad is helping my brother with something, so the phone guy is in there by himself, which means that if I go in there, I'll have to chat with him. I hate doing that. It's nothing against people from the phone company. Rather, I don't like talking to people I don't know, especially if they're in my house for anything. I know, I'm insane for that. It's that introvert thing. And my own personal weirdness. It's like when the movers came when I was getting ready to leave St. Louis. I felt all weird around them, like I should either help with the moving or at least entertain them with brilliant conversation. Or when I go get my hair cut or something, and I feel like I should have lots of interesting conversations with the hair person, when I really just want to zone out into my own world. Now, I know that they don't necessarily want conversation either, but it's still this weird feeling I get when I'm with people I don't know who are providing some sort of service for me.

But I suppose I should be an adult about it and leave for work, just I had planned. And it won't kill me to say hello to the phone guy. Oh, wait, I hear my dad and brother back downstairs in the kitchen, which means I'm no longer obligated to make small talk. Yay.

I'm too old for this.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More silly internet quizzes

According to this one, of all the Harry Potter characters, I am most like Snape. I beg to differ, as I don't think I have a "frosty exterior and a bitter temper." However, I thought it was interesting that in terms of percentages, my score was a tie between Dumbledore and Snape...rather contradictory, don't you think?

Here's what the results say:

You scored as Severus Snape. Well you're a tricky one aren't you? Nobody quite has you figured out and you'd probably prefer it stayed that way. That said you are a formidable force by anyone's reckoning, but there is certainly more to you than a frosty exterior and a bitter temper.

Albus Dumbledore 85%

Severus Snape 85%

Harry Potter 80%

Draco Malfoy 75%

Sirius Black 70%

Hermione Granger 70%

Remus Lupin 55%

Ginny Weasley 55%

Ron Weasley 50%

Lord Voldemort 15%

On the other hand...

I also took a quiz to see which Jane Austen character I most resemble. This one says I am most like Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Since she's one of my favorite literary characters ever, I quite like this outcome.

Here are the full results:
You scored as Elizabeth Bennet. As one of Austen's most beloved characters, Elizabeth Bennet represents what most women would like to become: strong, independent, and loyal. Of course, she has her faults including a stubborn will of iron and a clinging to first impressions. Overall, Lizzie is bright and lovable...something to admire and aspire to.

Elizabeth Bennet 66%

Emma Woodhouse 59%

Marianne Dashwood 59%

Elinor Dashwood 53%

Jane Bennet 38%

Charlotte Lucas 31%

Lady Catherine 16%

But seriously, how could one person test as being like both Snape and Elizabeth Bennet? Oh, wait, maybe it's because these tests are full of crap and only people who are truly wasting time take these quizzes! Yes, that must be it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Thoughts from my day off

I didn't have to work today, so I slept until 11:30, had lunch with my mom, took a nap, read, went for a walk, talked to Kathy on the phone, played with my new cell phone, caught up on some email correspondence (though not all of it), and now here I sit. It wasn't a very productive day, but it was nice.

We had a major thunderstorm this afternoon, which is almost a daily occurrence during the summer in South Florida. Murphy hated it, as he hates all storms, so he was glued to my side while he panted and shook like mad. After the storm, I took Murphy and Maggie for a walk and saw the most vivid rainbow I think I've ever seen. I was able to take a couple pictures, which I think turned out amazingly well considering I used my phone:

Not bad, eh?

I'm going to try to go see A Prairie Home Companion after work tomorrow. I've been dying to see it ever since I first heard it was in production. I've always loved the radio show and am curious about how it's been adapted to screen. I've heard good things, even about Lindsay Lohan of all people.

Also, I'm trying to start up a book club at work, for customers and other baristas. There are a few reasons for this. First, I want to find a way to bring some of our customers together and boost our presence in the neighborhood, since we're a new store. Also, I have talked to a handful of customers who seem like they'd love something like that. And I have to be honest, I am dying for some sort of cerebral interaction with people. I absolutely love the fact that my job doesn't require me to use up all my creative and mental energy at work, because it means I can use that energy for my own purposes. However, this town does not offer much in the way of collaborative literary or creative experiences. So I suppose I'll have to create some opportunities myself. Anyway, this book club is still in the very early stages of existence, as I'm only now letting people know and finding out who and how many people would be interested. Then I'm going to have to decide which book we'll read first. I wanted to wait on that decision until I have a good idea of who will take part. I'm pretty excited about the book club, as I've never coordinated something like this before.

I really really really hope I can get some good literary discussions going...

And if that gets off the ground ok, I may also look into coordinating an open-mic night sort of thing in the store. Maybe weekly or monthly, depending on the interest level. Who knows, though. Perhaps I'm overestimating the neighborhood's interest in such things. Wish me luck.

That's about it for me today. Not much else to report on. Well, other than the fact that I leave for Italy in just 16 days! I'm going with my mom and sister. We're going to visit Rome and Florence, and I plan to eat during the majority of my waking hours there. And drink truly fabulous espresso.

But for now, I'm going to bring this to a close and go read more of Jude the Obscure, which so far is beautiful, though terribly bleak. Not that I expected otherwise from a Hardy novel.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A non-update

Ok, I'm in a much better state of mind than in my last blog update, which is good. I've been doing more research on my move to England in January and I'm in the middle of a great book. And work is lovely as always.

And I no longer feel like a freak of nature for having moved back in with my parents for a few months. It happens.

Unfortunately, I can't write a proper blog update right now, as it's time for me to get ready for work. But I'll be back with a full update later tonight or tomorrow. I work until 1 tonight and I'm off tomorrow, so it will likely be tomorrow, rather than tonight before I can write much here.

In the meantime, if anyone is looking for entertainment online, look at my sidebar and visit some links. I particularly like the Worst Album Covers. Seriously one of the funniest things I've ever seen. It will ruin any hope you had of concentrating on serious work for the day.

More later...

Friday, June 23, 2006


What the hell am I doing right now? I'm 31 and living with my parents! Every now and then, this fact smacks me in the face and I'm horrified by it---not by my parents themselves, but by the fact that my life has become so fucked up that I had to move in with them. At age 31. So many people I know and once knew have significant others, homes, steady careers, maybe even kids, are rooted in communities, and are even close to paying off their student loans--while I, on the other hand, have none of those things. Not one.

But don't be confused here; this is not a blog about self-pity.

I am thankful that I don't have those things at this point in my life, as this is the wrong time for me to have them. Most of the time I legitimately feel like there is nothing but opportunity ahead of me and that I am lucky to have such freedom to explore this opportunity. This is exhilarating and I love it, even if we live in a culture which lies and tells us we are failures without a home, family, and career. But this freedom I love can also mean confusion. Solitude can mean loneliness. Exploration can mean rootlessness. I do love my freedom and solitude and all that, and for the first time in my life, I am honestly making the best of them, or at least working on it. However, the flip sides of those concepts--confusion, loneliness, rootlessness--do surface at times and make me feel like the only person in the world who is floating around in space with no companion, no home, no known future. And at times, things get the best of me and I do feel like a failure for it. I hate when I let that doubt into my mind.

Fortunately, on all levels I know this is not true, that I am most certainly not a failure and that I have lots going for me, that I am in more control than it sometimes feels and that even if I'm not in total control of everything...who cares?! I don't have to be in control of every part of my life every second of the day.

I'm damn smart and interesting and have a heartbreakingly amazing life ahead of me and have already led a pretty great life thus far. And anyone who doesn't see that or doesn't want to be part of my life can just go to hell. I have chosen the life I have right now. I chose to leave St. Louis. I chose to move in with my parents, knowing it would be temporary. I chose to enter a phase of uncertainty, a phase intended to clear my head a bit, to catch my breath. These are active choices, not consequences. I take full responsibility and feel pride in all my choices.

So why does it all still make me feel bad sometimes, like having made these choices shows some sort of flaw on my part, like I'm the only person who is confused and lonely and rootless?

I don't know why. But it just does sometimes, and tonight is one of those times.

Once in a while I'm wrong

I was going to write some snarky message here about how so many people mispronounce espresso, adding that darned x to the word. I even planned to include the phonetic spelling to prove my point. So I went to the dictionary (online of course) to get the exact phonetic spelling, and it seems I stand corrected. While we at Starbucks--and most other respectable coffee shops--do not pronounce or spell the word with an x, apparently, that is a legitimate option. Here is Encarta's phonetic spelling:

es·pres·so [ e spréssō ] (plural es·pres·sos) or ex·pres·so [ ik spréssō ] (plural ex·pres·sos)

Ok, so yeah I was wrong. But, hey, I'm woman enough to admit it.

Still, I hate when people add the x. It's just uncivilized and it annoys the hell out of me.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Silly Quiz

So I just took an online quiz to see what my major should be (I thought I'd check now after collecting tens of thousands of dollars in student debt for getting a BA and MA in English). Turns out I should be an English major! Huh...who knew? The quiz also says I suck at anything remotely mathematical or scientific. Yep.
Here's what it told me:

You scored as English. You should be an English major! Your passion lies in reading, writing and expressing yourself creatively, and you hate it when you are inhibited from doing so. Pursue that interest of yours!


Philosophy 92%

Sociology 83%

Theater 83%

Journalism 75%

Anthropology 58%

Art 58%

Mathematics 50%

Psychology 42%

Engineering 33%

Biology 25%

Chemistry 25%

(created with

Alright, it's definitely time for me to do something more constructive with my day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How to Speak Starbucks

I didn't work today, and I don't have to work tomorrow, which is wonderful. As I mentioned here a couple posts ago, I had worked a late shift and a ridiculously early shift back to back and got less than two hours sleep in between, so yesterday was sort of a blur for me. But today, I slept until 1 pm. It was great. Of course, now my clock is all messed up because it's after 11 and I am wide awake and will likely be up for several more hours. Oh well. No work tomorrow either.

So anyway, yes the new store has been open almost a week. Saturday was our official first day of business, though on Friday we opened the doors for a "Friends and Family" night, which meant we could all invite people to come check out the new place and get free drinks. Of course, this also meant that pretty much anyone on the street who wanted to come in could. We had a great turnout. The store really does look great. It's all so pristine and clean and new, and I have this bizarre need to protect it from getting messy and developing that "used" look.

Also, the neighborhood is so happy we're open now. The next closest Starbucks is 8 miles away, and all the other places in this area are mostly bars. There are some cool places around, but if you didn't want alcohol, you were pretty much out of luck until now. Now that they have a place for coffee, people are happy as shit. (Why did I write that? How happy could shit possibly be, really?)

The other day at work, someone ordered this (I'll quote them, pretty much word-for-word):
"I want a latte, the largest size you have. Can I get four shots, but only two with caffeine? And make half of the milk soy and the other half of the milk skim---but make all the milk really hot. Oh, and don't let any of the foamy part into the cup. Oooh, it would be good with some flavoring. Do you have toffee nut?"

So in Starbucksland, the person at the register--within about 2 seconds--translates this into Starbuckslanguage for the person working the bar by calling out:
"I need a half-caf, quad venti, toffee nut, half soy, half nonfat, extra hot, no foam latte."

And then the bar person confirms that she heard the order correctly by calling it back:
"That's a half-caf, quad venti, toffee nut, half-soy, half nonfat, extra hot, no foam latte."

And that's not even the most complicated drink I've gotten, not by a long shot. It cracks me up.

Starbuckslanguage is very strict. When we call a drink, we have a specific order in which we call various details about that drink. If you've ever looked on a Starbucks cup, you've surely seen the little boxes down the side. That's the order we go in, but that doesn't include the iced option, since iced calls for a different kind of cup entirely. So if someone wants a cold espresso drink, the word iced must precede everything else.
Here's the list:

So the drink itself (latte, mocha, macchiato, etc) comes last. Once the bar person calls back the order for confirmation, she marks the cup accordingly and then makes the drink.

Ok, then. Now you know how to order your drink at Starbucks. I guarantee that if you ever go in and order it exactly the way we call it, the register person will crack some lame joke about how you know the language, etc. Unless they're really really busy, in which case they'll just be thrilled to no end that you were an easy customer.

Aren't you glad I provided this lesson? My job is so fun (and that's not sarcasm)!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


On Saturday night Chris, Emily, and I had originally planned to get our drink on at a club in Ft. Lauderdale, but instead we decided to stay closer to home and go bowling. Much cheaper and I'm sure led to much less embarrassing behavior (unless you count my bowling score as embarrassing).

This is Christine and Emily. They're fun:

My bowling feet:

We don't know this guy in the neighboring lane, but we're pretty sure he was bowling in his underwear. Don't those look like boxers?

I found this display near the bar in the bowling alley (yes, believe it or not, I was in the vicinity of the bar). I don't know who this ball belongs to or how it came into existence, but I suspect this person has too much money and time for her/his own good:

My high score for the night was 102. That's one of the only times I've broken 100! Oh well, the vodka cranberries were nice and strong.

There is no x in espresso

The new store is great. The neighborhood loves having us, and our customers are sweet. blahblahblah. I'll elaborate on this later today.

For now, I have to complain about being tired. I closed last night, which meant I didn't get out of there until after midnight. And I open today, which means I have to be there at 5:15 am, in approximately half an hour. And in between these two times, I came back to my grandparents' place where I'm housesitting, desperate for sleep, only to find that their front door has two locks--both of which were locked--but I only had one key. I was locked out. It was almost 1 by this point, both dogs (theirs and mine) were inside the house needing walks very badly, and I had to be back at work four hours later. I couldn't reach anyone who might have the key I needed, but my dad came over and fortunately was able to get the lock open with his credit card. Hmm...

Once inside, I couldn't get to sleep to save my life. Last time I looked at the clock it was almost 3. My alarm was set for 4:15. It's now 4:49. I have to get going or I'll be late for work. Good thing I'm surrounded by caffeine at work, because I'm really freaking tired. And possibly grumpy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday night rambles

Had a pretty low-key day, which isn't a bad thing. I mostly hung out with my family for father's day, and now I'm at my grandparents' place, house and dog sitting for the week while they're on vacation. This is my first night here. They have a cute place and an adorable dog named Mabel. They also have a cat, whose name I cannot remember to save my life. She is a cute little cat and I would love to pet her and let her sit on my lap, but I am terribly allergic to cats, so ever since I got here earlier tonight, my entire face has been leaking...runny nose, watery eyes, sneezes, the whole thing. And it's about to get worse because I'm using their computer and the cat apparently likes to curl up for naps right on the keyboard (the one I'm currently typing on) when nobody's using the desk. It's going to be bad. I probably should have told them about this allergy, which gets worse every year of my life, so they could have my sister or one of my cousins watch the house instead of me. But that would mean giving up an entire week of living alone. Seven days of quiet, total control over what's on tv--if it's on at all. Seven days of not feeling obligated to talk to people anytime I'm home. Seven days of pretending I have my own lovely little place. No cat allergies are bad enough to forfeit all that!

I went out with my friends Christine and Emily last night and had lots of fun. Took some funny pictures, which I planned to post here tonight, but as I said, I'm using my grandparents' computer right now and of course my pictures are on my computer at home. So that blog update will have to wait til tomorrow.

Ok, on a totally different note, I have a new plan for my time here and my plans for the near future. I've decided to move to England, for at least a year. It's something I planned to do ages ago while in college, but never did for a number of reasons. You know how sometimes it becomes easier to forget about dreams, or worse yet, to convince yourself that your dreams have changed, in the name of practicality or..."responsibility"? It's certainly something I'm guilty of, and of course one of my hopes this summer is to try to remember what my real dreams are and then to pursue them. Well, I still very much want to live abroad, especially in England. I want this for pure experience, but also because I'm not thrilled with our own country these days and it sure would be nice to get out of this ethnocentric cesspool for a little while and have a life elsewhere. And if there was ever a time in my life when I could do this, it's now. Or, in about six months, after I've worked out some logistics and saved some money. I wonder if I can transfer to a starbucks over there..!?!

So there it is: my plan for at least the next year to year-and-a-half of my life. It means hanging out here in Florida a few months longer than expected, but I guess it's a trade off. Just after the new year, I'm off to England. Of course, I'd never be able to afford London, so I'm looking into some mid-sized cities, like Bristol or Leeds or Manchester. I'm super excited about this and am determined to make it happen--and I know I can.

Oooh, and maybe while I'm in England, I can follow JK Rowling around to make sure she doesn't get hit by a bus or fall down some elevator shaft or encounter some other horrible tragedy that would prevent her from finishing book 7. I mean, really, are they keeping her safe over there? Do they know that she is perhaps the most important person right now and that a whole bunch of us would be super annoyed if something happened and we didn't get the Harry Potter conclusion? Can't they just put her under house arrest or something until she's finished writing? (I don't really know who I'm referring to with "they." Everyone in the UK? Her publisher? The kids she keeps having which are surely sucking up valuable writing time?)

Now, however, I must scrub my hands and hope to avoid a ridiculously bad allergy attack from cat germs on this keyboard. Then, I need to walk Murphy and Mabel. And then I'm going to start reading a new book. Well, new for me. It's hardly new though. Jude the Obscure, by Thomas Hardy. When I was in graduate school, I read and wrote a brief paper about Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles and loved it. It's such an amazing novel. The Stonehenge scene at the end is honestly one of the most beautifully written scenes in literature. In my humble opinion, of course. I remember that the first time I read it, the details of the setting, the honesty, perspective, and character nuances in the scene actually made me gasp out loud. So anyway, I've always meant to read some of Hardy's other novels and hadn't gotten around to it before now.

By the way, that Sarah Waters novel I bought a few weeks back was awesome. It might be her best yet, in terms of style and skill.

I hate finishing a really good book because then I'm sad that it's over, that I can't be in that world anymore. I've always thought it's terribly unfair that we can't read some books for the first time again.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

He didn't know we weren't open yet

While setting up the new store today, we found the tiniest, cutest little lizard clinging all alone to the corner of a shelf:

The little guy is on my co-worker's wrist here. Look how small he is!! (Yes, it's another blurry cell-phone picture, but that's all I had with me at the time.) There are lizards all over the place here. You can't step outside without seeing at least three or four scatter across the patio. So not everyone here is as impressed as I am by the lizards, and certainly my co-workers weren't even slightly moved by this one. So when I insisted that Brandon hold him while I take the picture, before I released him into a little stretch of grass, they all looked at me like I was nuts. But how can you not think this is cute?!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The New Store

My store is finally opening this weekend! For those of you who don't know, I was hired to work at a brand new Starbucks, though there were some problems with the electricity and some permits, so the opening date was pushed back several weeks. In the meantime, I did my training and have since worked most of my shifts at the downtown West Palm store---as have most other baristas hired for the new store. Last we heard, it would possibly open on the 24th, but yesterday the city called my manager and told her the permits had gone through and the store was ready to open anytime. So she immediately called in for the shipments of all supplies and gathered the troops. We worked all day yesterday and today unpacking boxes, unloading supplies, putting things in their new homes, prepping the entire store... It's going on all week, until we open Saturday.

Yesterday I set up the espresso bar and the frappuccino area. Today I did the display shelves throughout the cafe. Tomorrow we're going to sanitize every single thing behind the counter. And Friday we'll receive the first shipment of milk and pastries, which means we'll be a fully functioning Starbucks!

It's been like putting together a huge 3-dimensional puzzle, because the supplies we got--including the display material--were all sent from Seattle of course, with strict guidelines about where everything goes and how it can be displayed. But everything comes scattered, disassembled, and not clearly labeled. So first we unpacked everything, then we checked the guidelines to determine what each little piece is and where it belongs (often it's a guess or process of elimination), then we assembled individual things that needed to be assembled, and finally we pulled it all together.

It's fun to know that long after I've moved on from that store, I will always be one of the few people who helped put it together and get it running.

Oh and seriously about every 10 minutes, some clueless looking person would wander in and go stand at the register and wait to order a drink and then look surprised and a little personally hurt when we told them we don't actually open til this weekend. (We had to keep the door unlocked for some construction people who were still wandering in and out occasionally.)

We are all so excited about the grand opening, because I think everyone is anxious to be in our own store, rather than trying to wedge ourselves in with people at the other store. They are awesome and I wish I could still work with some of them, but they all showed amazing patience and remained cool when they trained us while surrounded by about a million customers.

Oh I am so tired though, and I have another early morning tomorrow. Thank god for the fact that once we open, I can go back to my afternoon/night shift and sleep in later.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Daily Show makes me happy, even though I almost never get to watch it

Check this out to see Jon Stewart being his usual brilliant self while defending gay marriage (or rather, basic human rights for gays and lesbians) in an interview with that right-wing jackass windbag crapface sad-excuse-for-a-human-being William Bennett.

Fortunately, the Senate voted against the marriage amendment that same day. But of course, the homophobes in there are surely already working on a new way to legislate their prejudice. So watch out; it's not over yet.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Suddenly I don't think all people suck

Friends are awesome. I think I might have the sweetest friends ever. Lord knows how they put up with me, as I'm sometimes grumpy and usually completely inside my head, not always letting people in. I occasionally disappear from some of them for weeks at a time, not to be heard from while I work out whatever my latest personal hang-up is. I'm a major introvert (who also wrestles with depression) and need alone time every day in order to survive, so when I have an issue or mood to work out, I usually lock myself up at home and shut everyone out until I'm ready to face the world again. Sometimes it's a weekend; sometimes it's a couple weeks. And every time I do that, the people I care about are always still there, unquestioningly ready to welcome me back to my life. I love them all for that.

While I actually like being an introvert and wouldn't ever change who I am, there are limits to what's healthy versus what can be socially crippling, so therefore this disappearing act is a habit I'd like to alter a tad. To be honest, this blog is a big part of this effort, as it's a way to put myself out there a little more, to not be so painfully private. I'll admit that it's only a baby step, as keeping a blog, though visible to anyone with internet access, still has a sense of anonymity, as it's indirect communication and I don't have to be face-to-face with people who read what I write here, which makes all the difference. But like I said, it is a step, if only a baby one.

In the meantime, people in my life have been so amazing lately. Well, always, but it's profoundly noticeable these days. A lot of crap has gone down recently. Actually, back up. A lot of drama went down a few years ago, and there were a few people who were my rocks, my touchstones, the source of my strength when I needed it. No questions asked, they were there for me. And then recently I've had more confusion and upheaval, and here my friends are again (plus newer ones!), just like before: rocks. I regularly get emails, text messages, phone calls, etc. from people "just checking in."

Take today for example. I was in a slight funk the past day or two (see my previous blog update), and even though I knew that as always, I'd pull out of it, I still hated feeling that way. But before I'd had a chance to talk to anyone or seek comforting words from a trusted buddy, they all seemed to know; they sort of swarmed in from their respective lives and locations (virtually speaking, of course) to give me the reassurance I needed. Without being asked. For one thing, my very very newest friends at work here made today so much better than yesterday, by just being them. I showed up at work still feeling miserable and on the verge of tears (not to mention my crankiness from the oppressive humidity today, but that's a whole different issue:) and within an hour of starting my shift, I felt a million times better. Part of it of course was just being busy, keeping my mind off bad stuff. But mostly, it was the fun I had with my co-workers today, even after I told one of them that I was cranky and depressed and why I was feeling that way. They're awesome. By the end of my shift, I was past my ugly little funk and was enjoying the day and the job.

Also, I got home from work to find a pile of mail from a whole assortment of people who are terribly important to me. I received a hand-written letter from each of the two kids (twin brother and sister) I used to babysit in St. Louis and who I adore. They're almost twelve now, so their letters were great to read. Very earnest with lots of sweetness. I also received a CD that my dear friend Emily in St. Louis had made for me. She put songs on it that she said have made her feel stronger during her own life's traumatic turn of events. There was also a package of three CDs my friend Elizabeth in Cincinnati made for me. And then Kathy sent me some yummy lotions and body wash from Bath & Body Works, as a birthday gift.

All of this came today! It was so much fun, and I swear I almost cried from happiness. Not about receiving material things, of course, but because of the timing and sincerity of it all.

And in addition to this, today I heard from an old friend of mine, who I haven't been in touch with for years. She's doing so well, and she truly deserves that. She also emailed a couple pictures of her beautiful 6-month-old daughter, which made me smile. I love to hear about people who's lives are working out the way they wanted.

I certainly hope my friends know how important they are to me. I try to tell them, but I never know if I say it often or clearly enough. That's another problem with being introverted: I'm never sure I express enough appreciation or concern to people. And while I certainly don't wish unhappiness on anyone, I do hope to find ways to be there for all of them in the same ways they have always been there for me.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sometimes I hate thinking of a title


I'm feeling emotions and having thoughts I've managed to avoid for a few weeks now. Sadness. Foolishness. Loss. Jealousy. Emptiness. Who knows why or how they have resurfaced, but here they are, along with some unwelcome tears.

I don't believe in fate or anything like that, so when I hear someone say that people come into our lives for a reason, I usually don't buy it. Sure, people come and go and sometimes we can learn from various aspects of each relationship and take what we've learned and use it to our advantage in other relationships or other parts of our lives. And often our time with one person is part of a chain of events that leads to something else. But I don't believe that anything is "planned" by some being or destined to happen.

However, just for kicks, I was entertaining this whole notion with regard to my recent ex. If what some people say is true and that everyone I've encountered in my life was there for a reason, then what was the reason for this relationship and breakup? It's honestly been one of the most painful experiences of my life, so what the hell was the purpose? Especially since she has moved on as if nothing happened and has a new life, new girlfriend, and everything's just dandy. I hate to sound selfish, but what the hell was in it for me? I'm the one left feeling like shit, so what was it all about?

Thanks to a surprisingly quick and repeatedly interrupted conversation with my sister and mom, I might have an answer. They reminded me that for years before this relationship, I had deliberately stayed away of anything that resembled an emotional connection with anyone and was perfectly content, in fact, I was bent on the idea of staying single for the rest of my life. But then this relationship started and slowly those walls crumbled. I enthusiastically let them crumble and I fell hard for this girl. And just when I understood how to feel certain emotions again and actually craved sharing my life with another person, she told me she didn't feel what I felt and then she ended the whole thing. So there I was, left with these feelings I'd unleashed for the first time in years and with the desire to have a life with someone, but the person who'd tapped into all that was gone.

So my question was, what the hell was in it for me?

Answer: the ability to love again and the desire to open my life to another person. She might be gone, but the capacity for those two wonderful concepts--which I lacked before her--are still here for me to keep forever, for me to own, to share when I meet the person worthy of them.

I still don't believe that she was "destined" to come into my life so I could reclaim the ability to love. But entertaining that whole concept, out of desperation to understand my life right now, made me realize that a couple good things did come from this whole emotional trainwreck. Having recognized the way my time with her changed me, I know beyond a doubt that there will eventually be a proper and deserving recipient of my feelings and that I will have better relationships in the future because of this recent heartbreak. In the meantime, I'm remembering all the truly good things about being on my own.

Yet somehow, despite this epiphany, I've had a slight, temporary emotional relapse tonight. Fortunately, this happens with far less frequency lately, and I am sure that the unpleasantness will eventually subside completely.

All that will remain at that point are my love and my life. And that's all I really want anyway.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Random Thoughts, Opinions, and Observations

I can't keep one single thought in my head long enough right now to pontificate on any particular thing in detail. So, what follows are some brief, random things floating around in my head.

1. I love my job! I'm exhausted from working last night since we were so busy and I closed, which meant staying til 2. And I'm doing that shift again tonight and tomorrow. But I love what I'm doing right now, and that really surprises me. Who knew I'd love and be good at something so customer-service oriented?? But my legs and ass are a little sore, as I've been at a job for the past few years which required me to sit in a cubicle all day and now, I'm running around making drinks for 7 and 8 hours straight. This is a good thing.

2. I leave for Italy in 33 days!

3. Girls down here dress slutty. I mean really slutty. It could be that my midwestern upbringing is showing itself here and that I'm just a prude. However, I really don't think I'm a prude. I'm a pretty open-minded chick. But I have limits. Girls down here barely wear clothes, and what clothes they do wear are usually skin-tight and ridiculously low-cut. Now, the adults of course have the right to dress however they choose. Personally, I think it's hideous, but whatever. It's their choice. But what gets me are the teenage girls. Where are their parents? Why are they allowed to dress like that?! I wouldn't have been allowed out of the house like that, nor would I allow a daughter of my own to dress like that. I'm talking shorts or mini-skirts that are skin-tight and barely cover their ass cheeks, tube tops that let their bellies hang out and their cleavage wobble around for the world to see, and then super high heels to top it all off. It's ugly, gross, and makes me think nobody down here has any self-respect. Ick. I know it's hot here, but jesus christ, a real shirt, pair of shorts or jeans, with shoes that don't have six-inch heels won't cause heat stroke for anyone!

4. I just bought a couple new CDs that I love. LOVE. The first is Firecracker, by The Wailin Jennys. I've heard some of their music but this is the first CD of theirs I've gotten. It's Canadian folk music, with a hint of southernness mixed with a Celtic sound. The other is Bruce Springsteen's new CD, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. I've never necessarily been a big Springsteen fan. Well, it's not that I don't like him; I've just never thought much one way or the other. But this CD is amazing. Amazingly amazing. Starbucks plays the music sometimes, and I kept hearing it and thinking, "Damn, this is incredible" but didn't know what it was. When I found out it was Bruce Springsteen and got over my disbelief, I bought the CD at work (with my fabulous employee discount), and now I can't stop listening to it. The songs are mostly traditional folk songs, which he rearranged and recorded live with no rehearsals in a three-day acoustic session. I highly recommend it.

5. In 33 days, I will be on my way to Italy!

6. President Bush is the worlds biggest asshole. I wasn't planning to write anything about him here, but I can hear his weasle voice on tv in the other room and it makes me want to pull my ears off.

7. Did I mention that I leave for Italy in 33 days?!

Around Town, Part 2

Views of downtown West Palm Beach from Palm Beach, across the intracoastal:

In downtown West Palm, on Clematis Street. Every Thursday evening is Clematis by Night:

The Harriet Himmel Theater at City Place, near downtown:

A cute little palm tree:

Friday, June 09, 2006

Some Pictures Around Town, Part 1

As planned, I wandered around town yesterday, taking pictures.

A yacht club to which nobody I know belongs:

A sign you don't see very often up north:

A tree you don't see very often up north:

The Flagler Museum in Palm Beach (Henry Flagler is pretty much responsible for the development of Florida at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th centuries, especially the southeastern coast):

More pictures of Palm Beach, along the intracoastal:

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Second Birthday Update

I just ate a ton of Mexican food. Ok, maybe not really a ton, but a lot. And some margarita. So good.... And in a little bit, my sister and I are going back out for some sort of decadent dessert.

Tomorrow is another day off for me, and I intend to make it an extension of my birthday (don't get too jealous of these days off in the middle of the week; I have to work til 2 am Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The plan for now is to get up in the morning and leave the house relatively early so I can wander around town taking pictures. There are some spots along the coast and along the intracoastal (the strip of water between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach) that I've been meaning to stop and photograph. Then later tomorrow night, drinks with friends.

As a b-day gift, my uncle gave me a lovely gift card to an upscale salon here, which was just so thoughtful! Sometime in the next few days, I'm going to use it to do something fun with my hair. I want to keep it long, but I need some sort of change. I'm thinking a new color and some highlights. But what color? Pictures are surely forthcoming.

First Birthday Update

Woohoo! I don't have to work today after all! So now I'm awake way earlier than I would have been had I known I would be off today. Everyone else is at work. I have the entire day ahead of me and all to myself! The possibilities...! And then my family is taking me out to dinner later on.

First order of birthday business: I need coffee and breakfast. Something indulgent and bad for me...donuts perhaps.

Second order of birthday business: Don't know yet, but I'll report back at the end of the day.


Today is my birthday!!!!

I might have to work today, but I might not. I thought I did, but it turns out someone else might have already taken the shift, in which case, I am off. My boss is supposed to call anytime to let me know. When I thought I was supposed to work, I was totally cool with the idea of going in on my birthday. But now that there's the possibility of being off today, I really really hope I don't have to go in.

Will report back later with the verdict...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Light at Midnight

Wow, I just saw the most amazing thing. While driving home from my sister's apartment around midnight, I drove past the beach. I do that a lot at night when I'm on my way home from wherever I've been. The beach at night is peaceful, but in a dramatic way, and this beach in particular is never very crowded at night, and anyone who is there is usually just there to watch the waves and the sky and to smell the salt--which are the reasons I went tonight. While the weather has been beautiful all night, there were huge clouds and flashes of lightning out over the ocean, just above the horizon. It was one of the most profoundly beautiful things I've ever seen.

I stood there in silent awe for about twenty minutes, watching this show in the sky, the flashes of light that silhouetted the peaks and valleys of clouds, this manifestation of energy that exploded every few seconds and crackled across the sky. It was enormous, all of it, this whole scene, almost primal in that the earth was just doing its thing. Not necessarily trying to be beautiful for us humans watching from the beach, but just doing what it has been doing for billions of years without regard for me or any other living creature. The earth wasn't lighting up the sky, outlining a mountain range of clouds so that it would get a standing ovation from some audience or a the admiration of anyone or for any aesthetic reasons. The earth was doing this simply because that's what it does. This was pure power, inconsequential beauty.

I've seen lightning before. I've been on countless beaches. And I've spent lots of time watching the sky while zoning out into my own thoughts. But I've never before witnessed such an astounding combination of these things. Of course, the writer in me was conflicted: I instantly wanted to run home and put into words everything I was seeing before the exact images escaped my memory, but I also never wanted to leave, to stay all night and watch everything my eyes could absorb--so that I'd have even more to think and write about later on. As it turns out, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to describe those moments or what that lightning looked like and how it effected my thoughts and my soul, and maybe that's just as well. Maybe that's something just between me and this planet, a private moment. But even though I can't really find the words to describe the experience--at least not yet--I still wanted to say that I had an amazing few minutes tonight. I am perpetually everything.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Cute Dog with a New Bandanna

A few pictures of Murphy, taken last night---too cute to not post:

Random Pictures Taken With My Camera Phone...and One Minor Complaint

Since these are from my camera phone, the quality and color aren't great. Oh well.

Check out these cool old trees in downtown Lake Worth:

The view from a table in front of Starbucks, taken while I was on a break this afternoon:

Oh my god. It is SO DAMN HOT here. Hot as in "I'm in hell." Not hot as in "wow, that person is super good-looking." It's only June! What will August be like?!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fun People

It's Thursday night, and I really should go to bed soon, but I'm in a weird mood that's a combination of sleepy and restless. Don't know whether I want to go to bed or work out. So I'll update the blog.

Last night I went out with some new friends down here, Chris and Emily (hi, guys!). They are super fun chicks who are also not from here. They moved down from New England almost two years ago. We went to a nearby club and had lots of fun with our rum and diet cokes and laughed at ourselves on the dance floor as we were surrounded by really young, kind of scary slutty looking girls. We felt terribly out of place and very old, but had a blast anyway. It's a gay bar, but I suspect that most of the girls there last night are merely in an "experimental" phase and within 10 years will be married (to guys) with kids, living in the suburbs, and voting republican.

I had actually been to this club once, about two and a half years ago, when I was down here visiting my parents at Christmas. I was with my sister (who is very straight but was a good sport and took me there anyway), and I was extremely intoxicated. Really really drunk. VERY drunk. My memory of this place was pretty blurry, other than recalling that at one point, I went outside alone and sat on the curb in the parking lot and all I wanted in the whole world was to pass out right then and there. And then I threw up. It wasn't pretty. Fortunately, I did not repeat this classy scene last night and stayed relatively sober.

Chris and Emily say there are some other fun places further south (I think in or near Ft. Lauderdale), where the people are closer to our age--mid- to late-twenties/thirties and where we'll feel a little less like geriatrics compared to everyone else. I had a lot of fun with them and was so happy to actually be somewhere other than work or my parents' house. Also, I got to talk Harry Potter with Emily, which always makes for an awesome time.