Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Adieu 2014

This has been such an odd year. It started quite horrible, still recovering emotionally from my October 2013 car wreck and dealing with frozen water lines in my mobile home. It got worse when I came home from a national tournament in April to find my house half flooded.

Then, it got better . . . I sold my mobile home, had the money to buy some new furniture and moved into the apartment of my dreams. It should have been the start of things looking up. But I have been stuck in a middling-funk for the last several months, and it's taken a toll.

Part of it is health related. I started experiencing neck and shoulder spasms some time in the summer. They became progressively worse until my neck was in constant spasm. This meant I couldn't move my head side to side. Strong pain killers didn't touch it. Muscle relaxants had no effect. I went to doctor after doctor and no-one could tell me why this was happening. I got put on several medications for nerve pain, started traction therapy with a physical therapist (which was such a disaster I ended up in urgent care with such pain they almost sent me to the ER.) Finally - FINALLY - I was referred to the pain clinic. And I finally have started to get some answers. My doc at the pain clinic is pretty sure my muscle spasms are directly related to my car accident. The car accident that happened 15 months ago. I got a LOT of chiropractic care after the accident, and the doc theorizes this kept the muscles (that were traumatized by whiplash in the accident) from seizing up, but once I stopped the chiropractic visits, the muscles (which were scarred with tears from whiplash) froze up, refusing to move the way they are supposed to. A combination of trigger point injections and myofascial release therapy is just starting to give me relief. I am hoping that this will lead to a decrease in pain, which I really think will help my funk.

I'm not in the mood to make resolutions for the new year. But I do have some plans for how to make 2015 a more joyful year. Because I'm really, really missing the joy. So, here are my plans . . .
1. Be purposefully more positive. The plan to start this? Blogging every day of January, focusing on things I'm grateful for.
2. Get in more purposeful exercise. I feel better when I'm exercising regularly. The plan to start this? Actually having a plan/schedule that I set up to work with my semester schedule.
3. Decrease my fast food consumption. This will force me to cook and eat from home more often, which ends up being more nutritious and makes me feel better. The plan to start this? Planning menus in advance and making regular trips to the grocery.
4. Connect with friends more regularly. The plan to do this? Make sure I'm making the call to connect rather than waiting on the call.

That's it. That's all I've got for now. I really want 2015 to be the year I re-discovered effortless joy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Sloth Wedding

Last weekend I went to the most lovely wedding. Former forensics students got married at the Como Conservatory in the Twin Cities. The venue was simply stunning.
See? Just stunning! There were many forensics alumni there, and it was so great seeing everyone!

I love this woman, a former student who is now a friend for life!
I know I was there for the wedding, but the coolest part of the day was cocktail hour, because there was a sloth. A sloth! A SLOTH!!!

I'm not even embarrassed to admit that I burst into tears when the sloth arrived at the event. You guys - the sloth is my spirit animal!! And I never, ever thought I would be just several feet from one!
(I have no clue what weird thing my hair is doing here.)
He was so adorable, and spent the hour slowly munching on carrots & celery. He eats upside down. UPSIDE DOWN!! He was just the most adorable thing I've ever seen!

The wedding & reception were magical, right down to the beautifully decorated tables.
Yes, that's a gin & tonic. I drink them year round!
And I was so happy to ride to the event with the amazing Morris family. K & R are one of the few couples I know who are more in love with each other now than when they married.
It was a truly magical day! Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Miller, for letting me be a part of your special day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Frustration

For the last several months, I've been working with several doctors, trying to get some relief from my almost constant neck stiffness and pain. X-rays show I have some cervical spine degeneration, but not much that explains my symptoms. I was sent to a Physical Medicine specialist (BTW - I thought all medicine was "physical" - call me surprised) who prescribed physical therapy traction and put me on a seizure medicine that helps with nerve pain. The goal with PT is to work up to being able to stand 20 pounds of pressure in traction so I can qualify for a home traction unit.

Fast forward to yesterday. In PT, I had started with 10 pounds of pressure and was gradually working my way up in terms of tolerance. Until yesterday, the most I had had was 15 pounds. The physical therapist decided to bump me up to 20 to see how I tolerated it.  When I sat up after treatment, my whole scalp felt like it had been injected with Novocain. My mid-back muscles were a little crampy because there was so much pull on my spine. I was so stiff and sore all of yesterday, but was told to expect that. This morning, I was OK, but my pain and soreness increased through the day, with most of the pain concentrated in my shoulder. It got so bad at one point I shut my office door so I could be teary without causing a scene. Then, tonight in night class, my arms started going numb.

Several hours later, after tests to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack or stroke, the doctor determined my muscle spasms were so severe they were impinging nerves in my shoulders. I'm now at home with REALLY strong muscle relaxants and pain killers. And I'm so incredibly frustrated.

Why can't this body just work the way I need it to?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bliss

I spent yesterday and today at a tournament with this amazing group of students.

I sometimes can't believe how lucky I am.

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's Peter's fault

Dang it! I was so engrossed in watching Peter Pan (which I kind of loved) while wrapping Christmas presents last night, I completely forgot to blog. Gah.

I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Starbucks for assisting with my Christmas shopping this year. Partners had a week of getting a 40 percent discount and I finished my Christmas shopping in one day. Christmas this year is sponsored by Starbucks :-)

Today I'm off to UW-Stout for a forensics tournament. It's one of my favorite tournaments of the year because I get to spend time with my dear friend who hosts the tournament, and we commute - which means I get to sleep in my own bed and not a horrid hotel bed. Also, we listen to Christmas music in the van on the way home each day. Yea!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Words


Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. As I have watched the events of Ferguson, and now NYC evolve over the last few months, I have tried to imagine a time when I felt threatened by another person (cop, neighbor, pedestrian) just because of the color of my skin. I cannot think of a single, solitary example. I do not know the anxiety that someone with a different skin tone, a different accent, a different hair texture feels when they are observed, questioned, harassed based only on those things. My white privilege reaches out and chokes the words I want to say, because I am terrified I won't "say" the right thing. But my white privilege also means I am more likely to be listened to. More likely to have credibility. More likely to be believed. And so I must use my privilege to shout loud and long  . . .

would someone just give me the words?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Long day

When I left for my 8 hour teaching day this morning, I wasn't sure if I'd survive. I'm happy to report that at some point in the day I "turned a corner" and am starting to feel better. Even my grody sausage fingers from my psoriatic arthritis flare are a bit better.

The best part of today was getting the mail. After some tutoring from a friend on how to get a red lip to stay on longer than 5 minutes, I ordered some lip pencils and viola! The perfect red lip! Now, I just need to wear it with something besides the ratty Packer's jersey I use as a swimsuit cover up when I'm heading to the hot tub.
 
 
Speaking of the hot tub . . . it has become my winter addiction. After spending the day in a freezing cold office (which I try to heat up with not one but TWO space heaters) getting in the hot tub for 15 minutes each evening has been soothing for both my body and soul. And having discovered the secret underground passage through the parking garage to the other building means I don't have to go out in the cold! Now, if only I could manage to have a hot tub actually IN my apartment.


Monday, December 1, 2014

I'm Baaaaaaack

I've been planning for a while that I would start blogging again in December, and not only that, I would blog every day of December. This was a great idea until I came down with the flu 2 days ago. (And yes, I got my flu shot in October - so WTF???) I feel like a train hit me. In fact, I've been sick with something for the past month. First it was bronchitis, then a cold that turned into a possible sinus infection and now the flu. I'm so sick of being sick.

Not only do I feel rotten, but I didn't even get to use my Thanksgiving break to put up my Christmas tree. I was bribing myself with getting to put up my tree once I got all my grading done. Guess what? I still have a set of papers and a set of speeches to grade before that happens. But even then, I feel like death so I don't even want to put up the tree at the present time.

This is a crappy way to re-committing myself to blogging . . . but I guess I'm just keeping it real . . .

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Holiday

I was so excited for my Ohio holiday, partly because I would have time to blog. And there were (are) many, many things I wanted to blog about. Unfortunately, my mum has internet just one tiny step up from dial-up and I couldn't pull up blogger.

Grrrrr . . .

So, I'm making a list of the things I plan to blog about:
1. I have magical powers
2. Swimming
3. Cookies
4. Cheerleading
5. Pride in my nieces & nephews
6. Gratitude

But I'm not planning on blogging about any of these things today because I hit the road at 4am to drive back to Wisconsin. And I am EXHAUSTED.

Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Later . . .

Things I have decided I will deal with "later" . . .

1. Wires & cords. They are all knotted willy-nilly beside electronics and drive me crazy. I know I could neatly organize them so they would be well hidden, but I'll do that . . . later . . .

2. My pantry. It is huge and deep, and I have the beginning of organization, but I still don't know exactly where things are. I'll organize it . . . later . . .

3. The wii. The wii box itself is set up all pretty next to the TV. However, nothing is plugged into it. I'll get it set up . . . later . . .

4. The shelves in my closet. I have TONS of shelf space in my closet, I'm just not sure how I want to organize it. I'll figure it out . . . later . . .

5. Towels. I never realized how many I had until I had to fit them into a tiny closet. One person doesn't need 27 towels (yes, I counted) so at some point I'll need to weed them out. . . later . . .

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sbux Culture

Here are some unofficial, unwritten rules and norms I've learned about Sbux culture in my short time working there. . .

1. If you don't like your drink, we will re-make it for you. Even if you've already drank most of it.

2. If you order a triple half-caf grande breve latte with  2.5 pumps of caramel, half a pump of Oprah chai, half a Spenda in a Venti cup with 3 pieces of ice, and then get irritated when I ask you to repeat the order to make sure I got it right, well, I'm going to call you a jerkface in my mind, but smile until you are uncomfortable at the drive-up window.

3. If the drive-through line is slow, it's probably because some dunderhead ordered 8 Frappuccinos.  We are just as irritated as you are, because it's ruining our drive-time average.

4. 99% of my drive through conversations start with "Isnt' this weather great?!" If I try anything more complicated, I slow down the line.

5. Yes!! We will grind your beans for you!! And ask any questions you have about coffee!! We aren't "experts" (unless we are wearing a black apron, then we ARE an expert who has had extensive training) but I can guide you through picking a coffee and brewing method that works with your taste and your lifestyle. Seriously, this is not an advertisement - I can actually do this!

6. A free rewards beverage will seriously get you ANY beverage you want, for free. Yesterday, a silly boy came through the drive through and ordered an iced venti soy latte . . . with 15 extra shots of espresso. Normally, an iced venti comes with 3, so he ended up with 18 shots, a miniscule splash of soy and no room for ice. I predict he is still suffering heart palpitations.

7. Partners have some pretty funny tricks they pull on each other. I like to put ice down people's backs. One partner stuck her hand in her pocket to find soggy bacon. Another partner has had her pockets "whipped creamed." And unless you are very careful, a partner may add a shot of peppermint syrup to your humble glass of water, which is gag inducing.

8. Double bag the trash. It is a MUST in the Sbux world. Otherwise, when you take out the trash, you risk being doused in old coffee grounds and sour milk.

9. Knowing there are surveillance cameras EVERYWHERE, I sometimes do a little dance for the entertainment of those who may be watching.

10. A tip for cleaning empty whipped cream containers . . . always release the pressure with the nozzle before opening the container, or this happens:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hotel Life

I have finally figured it out . . . living here feels like living in a hotel. I take an elevator from the garage to my floor. There is a pool, hot tub, workout room. There is a chair, table and decorative vase that sits outside the elevator on each floor. There is a lobby with over-formal, but comfortable chairs. If it weren't for the cats, I'd be almost convinced I'm living in a hotel. . . Except for the lack of maid service!

I've spent the last week emptying out my storage unit. I've taken several more trips to Goodwill and have a new pile of boxes that need to be opened and stored. The good news is, I've gotten rid of enough stuff that I should be able to fit my bike in my storage area here at the complex. I was really hoping to have EVERYTHING unpacked and settled before going on holiday to Ohio, but I'm not sure that will happen.

When I think about the coming school year, I get overwhelmed. August 1st is when I've decided I will switch into "beast" mode with school prep . . . but of course, that is also the first day of my vacation . . .

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Desk

Friday, I tackled putting together the 250 pound desk I'm now writing from. Since it is upright and supporting the things I have on it, I guess I did OK putting it together. I came away with several new bruises, a smashed toe and a gash on my leg, but I still consider it a victory.

The desk started like this:

And 12 hours later, I had this:

And I have to say I absolutely love it. It's going to take me a while to organize all my "stuff" in and on it, but I've already discovered it's the perfect place to blog from.
 I feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw, writing while I look out my window. Except I'm not writing about sex. And there is no hot guy who might throw stones at my window to get my attention . . . but there is that potential . . .

In other news, I think the cats have finally accepted that this is home as they have stopped pooping just outside their litter box. Silly, jerkface cats . . .

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The unpacking continues . . .

I keep thinking of things I want to blog about, but I keep getting distracted with unpacking.
I've been working on one room at a time, and slowly, slowly the piles of boxes are diminishing. I love having "real" bedroom furniture, except that I think I need a step-stool to easily get into my bed. I'm waiting to hang anything on the walls until I get some of the stuff I have in a storage unit. However, I have managed to successfully become addicted to vinyl wall clings. This is my favorite so far . . .


Unpacking the 1940's transfer-ware I collect (E&R American Artware) I discovered the first casualty of the move. Good thing I have another just like it!
I just finished up an 8 day work stretch at Starbucks, and since I have tomorrow off, I'm going to attempt to put together my new desk. It is huge and has about 1000 parts, but I'm going to consider it a giant, 3-D puzzle. I really hope I don't screw it up!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Moved

I can't believe the move is done. It is surreal being here, in this beautiful apartment, surrounded by boxes, boxes and more boxes.

By the time Monday evening rolled around, I was ready. Everything was packed and there were piles of boxes everywhere.



We have had such a late spring/summer, I wasn't sure I'd get to see any of the lilies bloom before I left. But these opened just in time for me to enjoy them.
I had hired movers, and they showed up just after 8am. It didn't take long for my home of 16 years to look like this:


It was so odd to see it so empty. With a bit of sadness and a lot of relief, I said goodbye to this home. Then, it was off to the new place!

Pause for an advertisement: If you are in the EC area, I cannot recommend "No Whoops Moving" strongly enough! Rod, Paul and Michael were AWESOME. They had everything moved and in my apartment by noon!

Then, I was on my own. It was a relief and just a little intimidating to be faced with this:




On Wednesday, I picked Tonks & Luna up from the vet, where they had stayed for 2 days during the move. THEY WERE SO PISSED AT ME!!! Poor kitties. When we got home, they prowled the apartment, yowling, for nearly 2 hours. They were so confused! They finally calmed down and slowly decided they might like this place.


I'm very slowly unpacking, working my way through the dozens of boxes and trying to fit the contents of my old home into my new home that's 400 sq feet smaller. Ufdah. Even though that's overwhelming, it is really nice to be home.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Goodbye, house.

One sleep. That's all I have left in this home. After a week of bittersweet memories, mile-high anxiety and finishing up packing, I've had lots of time to analyze my emotions. And I've come to the realization that in order to enjoy the relationship I'll have with my new home, I'm going to have to break up with the old one.

It's like when you are dating someone, and you have a really good time for a while, but then things change and you realize you should end it. But you don't. Because you are more afraid of the unknown than of being unhappy. That is what my relationship with this home has been for the past few years.

So . . . to my home: Thank you. You have sheltered me, provided warmth and comfort, and given me a safe space to live and grow. However, you've been a pain in the ass in the last year, so we are done. I'm taking my stuff and moving to greener pastures. I'm terrified of the unknown, but I know it will be healthier for me than staying with you would be. I wish you the best in your future relationship, just stop being such an asshole and maybe she'll stay.
This chapter is concluded . . . but I have lots of pen and ink for the next one.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pause

Interrupting this blog silence to inform my 2 followers that posting will continue with regularity after July 1st.

This move is killing me. Emotionally and physically.

6 days . . .

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Oops

When I arrived at Sbux for my 5am shift, I was ready to have a great! day! I was ready to be confident! And efficient! And friendly-without-being-creepy!

Too bad I wasn't scheduled to work today. Oops. My bad. I thought tomorrow was my day off . . . turns out, it was today. Well, I made myself a skinny-caramel-latte-extra-hot-with-3-sweet-n-lows (which was delicious, if I do say so myself) and headed home. But not before I hit a cement girder while backing out of my parking space. Seriously. I can't even blame bad luck for this. It was sheer stupidity on my part.

By the time I got home, it was getting light out, and when I inspected the damage (to the front left bumper & quarter-panel) it was definitely noticeable. Some scraped paint, the metal bent just a bit - DANG IT. Bad enough I knew I'd need to get it fixed, but not bad enough to make me panic.  I figured it wouldn't be more than $500, so I'd pay out of pocket rather than submit another insurance claim. I spent the next 2 hours googling auto-body repair places, and at 8am set off to get an estimate.

It was more than $500. I must have been living in Delusionville, because the estimate was $1500. Now I was officially in panic mode. I raced across town (not really - I drove like an old lady lest I do something dumb like, oh - total another car) to my insurance agent's office. He immediately put things in perspective by reminding me that at least I hadn't run over a person. Or a donkey. (Not kidding, that was a part of the conversation.

I was very close to having a psychotic event, so I stopped at the grocery so I could pick up medicine - AKA Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. I may or may not have eaten most of them in 1 sitting. Don't judge. It was MEDICINE.

. . . Deep Breaths . . .

I'm kind of proud of myself. Not for injuring another car, but for keeping it together when I could have so easily fallen apart. I guess those months of therapy paid off.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Intruder

OK, so, the woman buying my house is named S. She is probably mid-60's, a bit frail, but very nice. Her friend and caretaker, also named S. (Let's call her S2) lives down the road from me. Last week, S2 stopped by the house to tell me something - I honestly don't even remember what it was - and when I didn't answer the door right away, she called my name through the window. It just so happened I was taking a nap after work, but, whatever. It was odd.

Today, I was in the back putting in laundry when I think I hear someone calling my name. I move to the front of the house and there stands S2, in my kitchen. What. The. Fuck??? Who does that? Who walks into someone's house that they've only met 2 times??? As I'm hustling S2 back out the front door (because, WHY ARE YOU IN MY HOUSE?) she's telling me S's daughter brought some stuff by to put in the shed (I had told S that was fine to do) and wondered if they could take a peek at the house. Uhm. No. No you may not. Because 1. It's still my house and I get to decide who comes in. 2. If I had some advanced notice I would have cleared some packing boxes, put away my unmentionables that are drying in the shower and put away the dishes that are in the drying rack. and 3. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN MY KITCHEN???

Yes. I was a bitch. I should have been kind and gracious but I was honestly freaked out that this woman just walked into my house. If I had been napping, would she have explored the house until she found me in bed? Would she have raided my cupboards and made a cup of tea while waiting for me to wake up? It's just so preposterous.

I guess the lesson is that I'm going to have to keep my front door locked and bolted for the next 28 days to avoid S2 just making herself at home.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Improving

Today was the first day I felt like I could actually make this Sbux gig work. I didn't feel like a complete idiot, so that's an improvement.

Today, after setting up the pastry case, I was assigned "front support." This meant I was responsible for taking orders for all the café customers, and providing "support" for drive through orders. Here's where it gets tricky . . . We all wear headsets, which allow us to hear drive through orders and also allow us to talk privately with each other. If I'm across the store and a customer has a question I don't know the answer for, I can talk into my headset and any other partner can provide the answer for me. It's kind of like being telepathic. Or crazy. Because sometimes I'm laughing at something a partner said in my headset, and the customer in front of me has no idea what's going on.

We all hear the drive through orders, which can make life confusing when I'm trying to listen to the customer standing in front of me. I have to tune out the headset to fulfill the "live" customer's order. When I'm done with that, I need to remember to start listening again. This is the hardest part for me!! The other part of front support is to grab items from the pastry case (and heat them up, if needed) for drive through orders. If I'm not taking a café order or grabbing a food item, I'm checking the hot & cold bars to see if there are any pitchers or blenders I can rinse. But I still need to be paying attention to drive through orders. I can't stress how difficult this learning curve of multi-tasking listening and action is for me. I think it's because I still have to think through each step of each routine as I do it - it hasn't become second nature yet.

But today . . . today I did OK. For the first time I felt like I was an asset rather than a liability to the team. And that feels really, really good. Now, let's see if I can do the same thing tomorrow . . .

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I Am the Diversity.

It's not surprising that the Sbux store I work at has little diversity - after all, this is Wisconsin, and unless you are in Milwaukee, you're not going to find much racial diversity. We are a bunch of white people, pullin' shots and takin' names.

To be more specific, the employees are mostly 18 - 25 year old white kids. Most of them have been walking upright for only about 20 years. I've been walking upright for nearly 50. They have ankles and knees that easily bend, and don't have to consider the fact that if they get down on their knees to clean out a fridge, they might not be able to get up.

Today, I came very close to quitting. It is hitting me that I cannot hope to keep up with these young whippersnappers. Just using the word "whippersnappers" ages me another 10 years. Maybe it's because I'm not confident, maybe it's because I make dumb mistakes (like brewing decaf into the Pike coffee cube), maybe it's because every time I turn around I have to ask a 19 year old how to do something - but I started wondering if I could really do this.

So, I did what adults do, and spoke with my manager. I need to preface this by saying my manager, L. is AMAZING. She is somehow hyper-aware of what every person is doing and what they should be doing. She jumps in and works the bar (espresso bar, that is) or cold bar or support - whatever - she doesn't just delegate (though she is good at that as well) but she is ankle deep in the crush of rush, just like all of us regular baristas. So, I sat down with her and told her I thought this might be a young persons job. She reassured me that I was doing well, and I told her I didn't want to be the slow, old lady that everyone else had to compensate for. Her reaction floored me.

She likes that I'm not the norm. She thinks it is good to have someone far outside the 18-25 check-box. She told me I added some diversity to the store's cast of characters. And that stunned me, because my first thought was "I'm just another white girl, working at Sbux, what's the big deal? Then I realized it wasn't my race, but my age that was the added diversity.

And in the flash of a moment I felt 100 instead of 48. Maybe it's because I work with college students, but I have always processed and sent messages from the mindset of someone who is "young." When did I become old? Seriously. I don't know when it happened. Did it creep up on me like the silver hair that has been replacing the ebony strands with more and more frequency? Or is this the exact moment I become old? When I can clearly see the distinct and vast difference between me and a group of 20 year olds? No, it's not about me - it's realizing how others see me. I'm not going to be mistaken for a 20 or 30 year old barista. I'm going to be viewed as older. My co-workers won't see me as a peer. They won't consider me as a friend. They may even be wary of my intent . . . because I am so different.

I didn't quit today. After my shift, I came home to shower and soak my feet in cold water. The increase in circulation makes me feel younger, yet the need for a nap makes me feel older. I guess that means I am just right.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tomorrow, 1 of 2 things will happen . . .

I will either cry or quit. And by cry, I'm not sure if I mean literal or figurative crying. My Starbucks training officially ended, but the only thing I am 100% positive of knowing is how to make my favorite drink. Everything else is a crapshoot. I would recommend you go to the Clairemont location tomorrow if you need a Starbucks fix, because I will be screwing up all the things at the Hastings location.

Here are some fun things I've learned in the past week . . .

1. The learning curve gets worse before it gets better. Right now, I'm at the point where I've tried to cram so much stuff into my brain that it is all jumbled and difficult to recall. When someone orders, it's like trying to find 2 pieces that fit in a 1000 piece puzzle.

2. Epsom Salt foot baths after work are mandatory. My knees and back are doing pretty good . . . but have a lot of pain in my feet. Especially my left foot and ankle. Once I get moving I'm fine, but once I sit down it stiffens up. Here's to hoping I get used to standing on my feet soon!

3. THERE IS NO SECRET STARBUCKS MENU! No matter what Buzzfeed or the interwebs wants you to believe, there really isn't a secret menu. And yes, there are people who come and want to order something from the "secret menu" - I've already learned to control rolling my eyes at them. If you have the recipe, we'll make it - but otherwise, no. Just no.

4. I am the old lady at the store. Literally.

5. Tomorrow I work at 4:30am (we open at 5), so I ate dinner at 5pm and am going to bed by 7:30. See? Old. Lady.

And since I only have 30 minutes until bedtime, I'd best review my recipe notes (FROM the actual menu - BECAUSE THERE IS NO SECRET MENU!)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

L.

I am elated. My grading is done. Done Done Done. Grades are submitted and I have another 24 hours of breathing room before my online summer class starts. I am celebrating with a Sex & the City marathon, re-reading the Hunger Games, making a master to-do list for the next 6 weeks and 3 days . . . and reminiscing . . .

I've been puffed with pride today because one of my forensics students was chosen to give the commencement address. So proud of the woman she has become. I've never told her, but she reminds me, in some ways, of my college roommate, L. I was one of those lucky, lucky freshpeople who was randomly paired with a roommate they actually liked. L and I were opposites academically - she was always dedicated to her business major homework, and I was rarely dedicated to my education major homework. But we were alike in so many other ways, and we grew to be great friends. We pledged the same sorority, sang in the traveling chamber choir, loved Bon Jovi, and dated our way through the male population at our tiny, private college.

After college, I went to grad school and L got married and started growing into her career in insurance. She had babies, I got a master's degree. As I worked through my first "real" coaching/teaching job in Missouri and then moved to WI and started building my career, we didn't talk as frequently. But when we did, it was like no time had passed.

Twenty-six years ago, we both graduated from Defiance College. (L's GPA was MUCH higher than mine!) Twenty-six years. And yet I can pick up the phone and our conversations pick up where we left off 3 or 5 or 8 months earlier. I can call her when I need support. I can call her when I need to laugh. I can call her and just listen. I am far removed from the woman I was who graduated college 26 years ago, but L is my touchstone, and can always bring me back, reminding me that there was a time we were young and thought we were invincible.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Brain Hurts

I knew there would be a learning curve. I had no idea the curve would actually be a mountain. My brain hurts trying to remember how many shots of this and pumps of that goes into a drink. What gets whip and what gets drizzle. Hell if I know, though my guessing is getting more accurate. Here are 3 things I learned today:

1. There are a bajillionty drinks to memorize. And it's not just knowing how to make a drink, it's knowing how to code the cup and call the beverage to the barista. Espresso drinks, frozen coffee drinks, frozen drinks, smoothies, refreshers, teas, iced teas, hot chocolates. There is an exact order of steps to be followed, a perfect way to code a cup and call an order. And it makes sense, because that's how I know my beverage will taste the same whether I'm getting it in Wisconsin or Ohio. But CRIKEY it is hard.

2. Listening is crucial. When someone comes in ordering a chai tea soy latte, extra hot, no water, no foam with 2 equal sweeteners - DANG that's a lot of stuff to remember. Then I have to translate it to a cup, and then translate it to a register, then call it. Your patience is appreciated while I take 3 times longer to make your beverage because I'm desperately trying to remember everything.

3. I will still have great stories to tell. Today, I met a bunch of partners I hadn't met before. One of them comes walking up to me and he's a former student! I give him a big hug and ask him how he's doing . . . and he asks what my name is. I'm like "I had you in class!" Apparently, he has a twin brother. It was his twin who was in my class. Do I know how to make a situation awkward, or what?

Tomorrow I work an 8 hour shift. Good thing I splurged on really good work shoes!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Making Magic Happen

I always thought I was a "high maintenance" Starbucks customer. My Grande Skinny Caramel Latte Extra Hot with 3 Sweet-N-Lows always made me feel a bit obnoxious. But now, after just 1 day of training, I'm realizing that's a pretty tame order.

These are the 3 big lessons I learned today (besides learning how to make an Americano, a Cappuccino and a Latte)

1. Behind the counter, there is true magic happening. Granted, it is tightly controlled chaos. There are specifically assigned jobs/stations/responsibilities, and the pace is maniacally hectic - but every partner (that's what we are called - I totally dig it) works with one another. Being in front of the counter (or in the drive-through) as a customer for years, I never realized just how many things had to fall in place for my drink to be perfect every time. I honestly don't think physics or beverage science or people-traffic patterns can fully explain how it all comes together. It is some serious magic making.

2. A gallon of milk is H.E.A.V.Y. And when you lift one again and again and again, heck - that's a workout!! The job is much, much more physical than I had imagined. It's not just standing for a 6 or 8 hour shift - it is constantly moving for that shift. And the space behind the counter is small -  seriously much smaller than it looks. So not only is everyone getting a workout, but everyone is touching everyone All. The. Time. It was disconcerting at first, but after my ass (or arm or boob or hip) got bumped into about a dozen times, I stopped paying attention. I wanted to make a joke that it's the most action I've had in months, but - it was my first day, so I'll save it for another time.

3. I am going to smell like coffee. After work, I stopped at Great Clips to get a haircut. The following is the conversation between my stylist and another stylist: 

My stylist: "Is someone brewing coffee?"
Other stylist: "I don't think so, why do you ask?"
My stylist: "Because I can smell coffee brewing."
Other stylist: "I don't smell anything."


Yep, it was me. I came home, showered, and swear I still have the faint aroma of coffee coming from my pores. Its weird, but there are worse things I could smell like!

Can't wait to learn more tomorrow . . .


Saturday, May 10, 2014

53 Sleeps

That's how long I have until I move. Every day it sinks in a bit more. I really glad I have so much time to move. Sorting through 15 years of stuff is a bit overwhelming, so it's nice to be able to take it slow. Today I spent an hour going through sewing patterns, and have about 40 ready to send to Goodwill. I also went through my coat closet and found several coats, hats and scarves to donate. I'm using the rule that if I have not worn or used something in the last year, it goes. Some stuff I'm selling on Craigslist (bye-bye stamping supplies I haven't touched in 2 years) and some of it just isn't worth the effort, so it gets donated.

I'm hoping to sell about half the furniture I have before the move. Some of it is old and not in great shape (my couch) and I'm ready to replace it. Some of it I simply won't have room for (file cabinets) or want to replace with a different style (computer armoire needs to go so I can get a more traditional desk that can double as a sewing table.) It's such a pain posting stuff on Craigslist, and an even bigger pain dealing with people who are wishy-washy about whether or not they want to buy an item. I did sell my daybed, and have a tentative meeting on Tuesday to meet a woman who is interested in buying my stamping stuff. This week, I hope to get my couch, chair & ottoman photographed and listed.

As I was packing up coats, I realized that I can actually start packing up most of my clothing. Working at the phone answering place, I had to wear business clothing to work. This summer, I'll be following Starbucks dress-code, which means I will have no reason to wear pantyhose between now and next fall. WOO-HOO! A summer of T-shirts and yoga pants sounds fabulous!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Committed

Well, I've signed the lease, so it's official. I have an apartment. And if I had any doubt about whether I was doing the right thing, that doubt was put to rest when I found out that instead of a North facing apartment, I could have a South facing apartment. I know, not a big deal, but the South view is even better!!
I got to do a walk-through of the apartment and it's even bigger than I imagined. I'm towards the end of the building, furthest from traffic, so that's good. The cats are going to go crazy with the view out the huge deck door.

Eight weeks from today, I move. It's still surreal, but sinking in. Holy cow.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

When Everything Works Out

Yesterday, I posted my mobile home for sale on Craig's List and put a "For Sale" sign in the front yard. Two hours later it was sold. WHAT?!?!?

I spent most of Friday getting my house in shape to sell and taking lots of pictures.


Saturday morning the sun was shining for the first time in a week and I was able to get some nice outside pictures.
It took forever to write up an ad for Craigslist. I wanted to be as transparent as possible about the water damage, but also wanted the ad to work! Here's what I came up with:

This 3 bedroom, 2 bath mobile home is a 16 X 80 1982 Blair. The mobile home was appraised at $12-14,000 and I was planning on selling it this summer. Last month, a toilet overflowed in the smaller bathroom, flooding the bathroom and guest bedroom. Servicemaster came out and professionally dried out the 2 affected rooms, pulling up carpet and capping off all the water lines in the bathroom. This professional dry-out cost $1700.

Part of the reason I'm selling this at such a reasonable price is that repairs (estimated at $2000-$3000 for bellypan repair, floor repair and new carpeting) will have to be made. The home is livable (I'm living here now) so repairs could be made over time while it is owner occupied.
This home sits on a corner lot in the Hillcrest Estates mobile home park. There are no neighbors on any adjoining lots, and the neighbors across the street are some of the nicest people I've ever known! Lot rent and taxes are $300 a month and include water and trash/recycling pick up. There is a 1 car garage, which is pretty special since the park no longer allows people to build garages. There is also a large storage shed. The mobile home has central air and a brand new water heater was installed in November.

Sale of this home includes:
1 car garage
Shed
Appliances: Stove, Refrigerator (2 years old!), Washer and Dryer (10 years old, used by just 1 person)
BRAND NEW water heater!
Mulching lawn mower (3 years old, paid $300 for it!)
Patio table & chairs (not shown in pictures because I haven't gotten them out of the shed yet)
Lawn hoses
Yard tools: rakes, gardening equipment
Roof rake
2 large storage cabinets
Window blinds

Other features of this home includes TONS of cabinet space in the kitchen, ceiling fan in the kitchen, step-in shower in the master bathroom, walk in closet in the master bedroom, display shelves in the kitchen, new back door (2 years old), and an open floor plan.

I have secured an apartment and will be moving July 1st. I'm a very motivated seller! Please take a look through the pictures, then give me a call or text (715-XXX-XXXX) or send an email to set up a time to come look at it.

Please note: I will only accept CASH payment. No other forms of payment will be considered.

With about 20 pictures in the ad, I posted it on Craigslist and put a "For Sale" sign in the front yard at 3:30. I took a deep breath. Then, of course I pulled up Facebook on my laptop and started writing a post about finally getting the ad up on CL. In the middle of writing the post, my phone rang. Someone was interested in the trailer and wanted to know if she could come by at 6pm to take a look at it. I told Person A that would be fine. Cool. Someone interested!

About 5 minutes later, I got a text from someone who said they were very interested in the trailer. I texted back that someone was coming to look at it at 6, but I would be home until then if they wanted to stop by. Person B said they would come around 5.

Ten minutes later, a car pulled up in front of the house. It was a woman who said her friend (Person C) had called from Chippewa Falls and wanted her to swing by and take a look. So, I gave an impromptu tour. She loved it, and immediately left to go pick up Person C so she could take a look.

A short while after that, I got a call from Person D, who wanted to come by on Sunday to take a look.

By this point, I was freaking out. I had prayed that my house would sell. I had no idea God would answer my prayers so quickly!

Around 4:45, Person C and her friend got to my house. I gave Person C the tour and she decided on the spot that she wanted the mobile home. No haggling over price, she said she would pay the full asking price. As she was writing a deposit check, Person B and his brother showed up. I told them I had accepted an offer but could give them a tour in case Person C changed her mind. Person B really loved the house and was bummed it had sold.

By 5:30, I had a check in hand, had taken down the "for sale" sign, and removed the ad from Craigslist. I HAD SOLD THE TRAILER!!! I tried getting in touch with Person A to let her know I'd already sold the house, but she didn't answer. So, at 6pm, she pulls up with her husband and (adorable!) son in tow. I told her the trailer had already sold, but I could give her a tour in case both Person B and Person C changed their minds. Person A also really loved the trailer, and was sad it had sold. I was sad I didn't have another home to sell because she and her family were so nice!

After they left, I got a text message from Person B. He wanted me to know that he would be willing to pay $1000 above the asking price if I would reconsider my agreement with Person C. I had to give him credit for being so aggressive, and the money was tempting - but I couldn't go back on my word. I had prayed that my home would be found by someone who really needed it and would benefit from it. Person C is an older, rather frail woman. Her best friend (the woman who originally came to tour the house) lives 2 streets over and Person C is thrilled at the idea of being so close to her. She is the person this home was meant for.

I can't believe I sold this home so quickly. I could probably have gotten more money for it, but the price I set sits well with my conscience. And Person C is aware of the repairs that will need to be done. So I'm feeling really, really good about all of this.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Good News

Want to know something kind of sad and pathetic? I have been so conditioned by bad news over the last 6 months that I have a really, really hard time accepting good news that comes my way. I got 2 pieces of REALLY! GOOD! NEWS! on Monday, but I was so convinced something horrible was going to follow the good news, I was afraid to tell anyone. But I think I'm ready now . . .

Good News #1: I got my DREAM apartment and am moving July 1st! It's 2 bedroom, 2 bath, has a balcony, allows cats, includes all kinds of amenities (indoor pool!) and is fancy.

It's a serious grown-up apartment. It's nice to know I have 2 months to purge & pack. I'm currently boxing up clothes, realizing that I have a ridiculous amount of clothes & vowing to not buy another item of clothing until 2020. So far I've taken 3 large boxes of clothes to Goodwill. I'm putting some things on Craig's List in the hope that I can de-clutter and have less to move! So if you know of anyone who would like to buy an oak dining set, a really cute day-bed or a ton of craft/scrapbook stuff - send them my way!

Good News #2: I got my DREAM part-time job!! I was so sad to learn that the phone place I've worked at for the last 10 summers isn't hiring seasonal help. Knowing I needed something part-time, I took a chance and applied at Starbucks.
I have seriously wanted to work there forever - and not just because I love their coffee. I know nothing about "pulling shots" or mixing drinks, but the job appeals to my left-brain sensibilities. I get a kick out of learning a series of tasks and then figuring out how to efficiently and effectively complete them. Which happens to be what a barista does! When I got the call on Monday that I was being invited to be a member of the "team" I could barely control squealing with glee. Yesterday I had my introductory meeting, and it was AMAZING! I got my official Starbucks apron, had my first coffee tasting (Caffe Verona - wow - so good!) and got a store tour. I'm incredibly nervous about learning a whole new job, but that is tempered with knowing that it's an atmosphere that already feels comfortable.

So much good news. It's hard to believe it's my good news.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Decisions

Decisions. Lots and lots of decisions. Decisions have been threatening to overwhelm me since returning from nationals. It hasn't helped that the bronchitis I was lucky enough to get has made doing anything quite difficult.

But I am starting to make some decisions on what the future holds for me . . .

For starters, I'm moving. Hopefully June 1st, but if I find an apartment I love that isn't open until July 1st, I'd move then. But the point is. I'm moving. I could wait until I sell, but that would just continue to keep me in limbo - and that's not a healthy place for me to be. I've prayed about this, and it feels like the right decision.

And I'm selling this mobile home. For cheap. It has repairs that need to be made, but I'm selling it cheap enough that a person would still be able to afford the repairs. I don't know how long it will take to sell, but again, I'm going to have faith that it will sell when the time is right.

I've been doing some online apartment searching and will start calling around on Monday. I have 4 absolute requirements: 1. Must allow cats 2. Must have garage 3. Must have washer/dryer hookups 4. Must have A/C. Then, I have some "preferences" which I would ignore for a great place, they are: 1. Is on 1 level (no stairs) 2. Has a patio or other outdoor space 3. Has additional storage space.

I'm going to try very hard to avoid being overwhelmed in the apartment search, and I'm praying that I'll know when I've found the perfect place for me and the cats. In the mean time, I'm starting to pack! I got some free boxes at Books-A-Million that are the perfect size and also collected boxes I've been saving for a while from my storage unit. If I pack a little every day, it shouldn't be too overwhelming.
Convenient that I have space in the flooded bedroom for stacking boxes!
One other thing . . . remember when this blog started out as a dating blog? Well, I may have some "date-ish" posts in the near future as I've been messaging a couple of guys on PoF. And I may have asked one out for coffee . . .

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coughing

There is this phenomenon known as "tournament hangover," and it is especially a problem when all the national tournaments are finally over. After a 10 hour overnight bus ride, we arrived back in EC at 7am. I then proceeded to sleep 19 of the next 24 hours. Typical tournament hangover response.

But then, the coughing started. And I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed.

Then I attempted to teach my listening class between coughing fits. Then I went to the doc who diagnosed bronchitis. I was put on a Z-pack & prednisone. I requested Tussionex, which is a super-strong cough syrup that is the ONLY thing that quiets my cough so I can sleep. The doc (actually a nurse practitioner) didn't think I needed it, so she told me to try Mucinex. So I did. And guess what happened all night? I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed. And got pissed.

So I made ANOTHER appointment in Urgent Care so I could get the dang cough syrup. After waiting an hour and 40 minutes, I had to leave and take Karen and a student to the EC airport so they could head to the last tournament of the year. I raced back across town to Urgent Care and waited another 30 minutes for the doctor to see me. My appointment that was supposed to occur at 11:30 occurred at 2:35. But at least I had a doctor who understood the reason I needed this prescription (it could have been the hysterical crying that occurred in between coughing fits.)

So now, I am finally home, back in pajamas, already coughing less a mere 30 minutes after taking the cough syrup. I have so much grading and paperwork and laundry and housecleaning to do . . . but it's just going to have to wait until I am feeling better . . . Until then, I am in bed with my laptop propped up on a pillow and a kitty under my arm, watching a Law and Order marathon courtesy of Hulu.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter

I was honored to be asked to speak during the non-denominational Easter service held between rounds at the National Forensics Association National Championship Tournament. I was asked to address "What Easter means to me." Here was my answer . . .

"I had a heartbreaking conversation with my niece several years ago. She had made the very hard, very brave decision to "come out" as a lesbian to her family. Their reactions left her wondering if she still wanted or needed God in her life, because the beliefs she had grown up with were being used as a weapon. After being warned that she was a sinner over and over, she was exhausted. I remember taking her in my arms, holding her tight and reminding her that we are all worthy of God's love. It was a reminder to me as well, that even though others may judge me, I am the only one who knows where I sit with God.

So, what does Easter mean to me? It's a reminder that we have all sinned, we have all questioned our relationship to God and we have all doubted if we are worthy of God's love. Easter is also a reminder that thousands of years ago, before we all came into the world, we were loved. And God sent Jesus so that we would understand the depths of that love.

Next summer, my niece will marry the love of her life. She and her soon-to-be wife have asked me to officiate. And while I am honored, I am even more thrilled that they want to speak their vows before God, knowing that their love for each other is only possible because God loved them first."
 
After the service, I had several gay students approach me and thank me for my inclusiveness. It made me sad that my words are the exception to what they normally hear. I really, really hope they feel loved.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Answers

I got a call from the claims lady . . . and it's a good news/bad news scenario . . .

The good news is that the insurance company is going to do a flat cash-payout for the mobile home repairs. That means they are sending me a check for "X" amount and I can do with it what I want. The amount is close enough to what I was hoping to profit from the sale, that I'll take it!

The bad news is, I'm still stuck with the trailer. And selling it in the state it's in could be challenging. In the short time I've had to process all this, I came up with the idea of wondering if I could donate it to a charity organization, and maybe take a tax write-off. I asked one of my colleagues about this, and she asked what I would want to sell it for . . . then she said she might be interested in buying it for one of her kids to live in. Since I leave in 9 hours and 13 minutes for Michigan, we are going to talk more when I get back.

The other good news I got was a call for an interview. The place I've always worked summers at isn't hiring seasonal help, and I applied at a place that I have literally dreamed of working at for years. I'm not going to name it because, well, I don't want to jinx anything! My interview is Friday, April 25th and I'm SO EXCITED!!

And now, I'm going to forget about all my house drama and focus my attention on my forensics team, who head to NFA tonight. I'm relieved to not be in as much limbo as I was yesterday, so I can give them my full energy and attention. It's going to be so much fun!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Limbo

Today, Justin from Mobile Home Stuff Store came to figure up an estimate on repairs. While Servicemaster has done a great job with drying things out, they are less familiar with the wonkiness of a mobile home. Justin, an expert in mobile home repair, immediately found several damp areas Servicemaster had missed. I should have an estimate from him in a day or so. Currently, the mess looks like this:

Tomorrow the appraiser comes, so, that should be fun. I'm still doing OK managing my anxiety of being in limbo, but I'm not sure how much longer I can last.

On top of that, I had to go to the doctor today because I thought I had a pinched nerve in my neck or shoulder. Turns out I had 4 pulled muscles through my neck, back and arm - probably from moving furniture out of the flood zone. Since my trusty Vicodin wasn't touching the pain, I got Percocet. I'm happy to report it helped the pain tremendously, but didn't make me sleepy or goofy. At least, I don't think it did. I was told to not lift anything heavy and to ice my shoulder 3 times a day. This is nearly impossible because 1) I have packing to do and luggage to load and 2) I won't have great access to ice on the bus to Michigan.

Oh yea . . . I get on a bus in 50 hours and 16 minutes to head to the NFA national tournament in Ypsilanti Michigan. I'm sure that will be good for my aching body.