When waiting is done right

Tonight was the last night of the quarter for me, and marks the fact that I have only one more quarter left until I graduate! Of course since I finished the final exam tonight in one of my classes early I decided to go to Happy Hour with my roommate. Happy Hour is one of the best restaurant events. But it most certainly can be done poorly. When done right, it’s a great way to try new (inexpensive) drinks and meals all for the price of one normally priced meal (sans drinks).

Tonight was an exceptionally happy hour.

We went to The Keg in Lynnwood because their Happy Hour is available until 7pm. I decided to try what ended up being a delicious Orange Martini (fresh squeezed orange and Absolute Mandarin Vodka) and my roommate choose a Cabernet. Both were on the Happy Hour special lists. And while we were both hungry, I was not entirely sure what sort of meal option I would consider. So after perusing both the bar menu and the Happy Hour menu, I asked our waitress about the Keg Dog. It sounded interesting and it was cheap. She said they were delicious and she said that if I didn’t like it “we won’t charge you for it.” I had never heard this policy so I thought, well I can’t go wrong so I’ll try it!

Throughout the night our waitress (and man do I wish I had gotten her name now) made jokes, about her fanny pack, about the creative kitchen meals they have made to the stolen credit cards that she keeps getting on Mondays. She was very honest and personable at the same time. It was very refreshing in a world of speed and urgency!

Once our food was brought out I tried the gourmet hot dog. The bun was just way too much. It was very good, but the ratio of bun to dog was way overpowering and the dog got lost in the sea of bun. It wasn’t something I really complained about but instead made a candid remark as she commented on the left over bun bits on the plate. My roommate and I continued to enjoy our evening, with the occasional drive by remarks from our waitress when she arrived with the bill and said “I told my manager about the bun to dog ratio and he took it off the bill.” I was shocked. Two drinks, no actual complaint and one meal cost me $10.00 ($16.00 after tip).

What an amazing evening. Cheap, relaxing and refreshing after a long and stressful quarter!

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A prescription of thick skin

I am 32. A woman. And have been overweight since childhood. I require thick skin. As a woman, especially as a child who fought the weight battle, I must have thick skin. All too often many don’t realize really how sensitive people in my place are or might be. I know I am not alone in this world nor am I the only one who requires this life-long prescription.

This post is a rather sensitive area and so I will tread carefully but I am sure you will understand my point.

Having required thick skin since childhood I often put on a brave front, resort to laughter when jokes or teasing occur and even provide grace to many who joke around about various subjects that might be a bit more sensitive for me. And I’ll be honest, I am usually the first one to laugh at my innocence. My mind doesn’t wander into the preverbal “gutter.” More often than not my thought processes are simple and at face value and when a well placed “that’s what she said” joke occurs I am not usually the one to realize it but instead be the one turning beat read (which isn’t hard for me) and laughing in embarrassment.

Last week however was a difficult night. It was the first time I felt so embarrassed I was reminded of being that overweight kid picked last for any kind of sport in elementary school. It was the first time I have ever wanted to leave a class early because of the embarrassment I felt.

It was simple. I presented my blog to class. A blog I am honestly not that proud of, simply because I do not like to write. It’s not that I that I think I suck at writing. It’s just because I don’t like the process of writing. Maybe that’s a reason I should write more… food for thought. I was so nervous to read my own writing to the class I skipped over the title of my blog, originally called “Beauty Below.” Instead, I presented that information towards the end after I briefly read my Kernel Panics Create Nerd post. As soon as I said that a few people including my instructor informed me they thought it was sexual in nature referring to… well I am still not quite sure. And I don’t really want or need to know. Of course I appreciate the feedback and immediately started giggling out of embarrassment. I said thank you for the information, I would not have thought about that and said I will change it. I explained that what it meant to me and that I’d come up with something different.

After I sat down others presented their blogs, and it wasn’t until a couple presentations later that my blog was brought up again, but not in an encouraging way. It was used as a sexual comment. I had already felt embarrassed. The continued use of my blog as items of sexual content saying things like “now that’s beauty below” and softly saying “beauty below” I was mortified.

Now that I look back I can laugh, but I am still not sure I feel comfortable going back into that room ever again.

Yes I realize it was likely said out of candor and playful banter, but it was egged on by my instructor and then continued by students in the course which made it worse. I felt so ashamed. They didn’t realize I would take it in this way, or be so embarrassed. I thought I finished elementary school years ago!

At what point do we take jokes too far? Where is the line of constructive criticism, playful banter and embarrassment? Aren’t we adults? Is there a new kind of prejudice? Is there a difference between friendship, classroom or professional banter?

Blogging is difficult for some (especially me)

My friend told me on Monday about her time spent journaling all day and I found myself jealous of this fact. I wish that I was someone who could spend time writing, journaling, blogging, etc. But I have never been this type of person.

Over the past week I have dealt with a broken computer and an inability to blog. And because of that, I will admit I am somewhat ok with this… after all, I struggle with blogging. I tried to blog a year ago, but failed miserably. I found that I was often overly critical of my writing or even what I wrote and questioned if I should even continue to write.

How do we find topics to blog about? How does one begin a themed blog? Isn’t that sort of necessary in today’s blogging world? These are all questions that are constantly going on in my mind and almost over running my entire thought process when it comes to writing in my blog.

Dexter: the manliest cat to roam the earth

When I first found Dexter he was behind a set of apartments in Joplin, Missouri. I had just moved there for work from Washington, and was severely missing my home town. When I picked him up, he immediately put his arms and head over my shoulder and fell asleep purring. He was clearly in need of a home and some love. He was a cream color tabby with cross-eyed, blue eyes… a clear sign he was part siamese. I knew then that I had to take him home.

After taking him home it didn’t take long to discover he had not been properly trained by his mother. What a stench! He didn’t cover up his poop and began to be known by my friends and me as “stinky man” or “man-pooh.”

On top of Dexter’s man-pooh, he was a long cat with his own personality. He was always trying to eat your food and beg like a dog. He often refused to jump up onto things for fear of what ever was up there so he was constantly climbing me, the bed or even the counters just to get up. I recall a time in which he got stuck on the roof of my house and was so afraid of getting off the roof that he flopped on my head because he knew who I was and that I wouldn’t let him get injured.

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After a year or so I thought Dexter should have a buddy. I decided to take Molly home. Molly, a Shih Tzu, was only 3 months old when I brought her home. At first Dexter was nervous and afraid of Molly but they became fast friends. Molly and Dexter learned to wrestle with each other, cuddle and even groom each other. It was because of this relationship that Dexter was not afraid of dogs, instead he wanted to go outside to go to the bathroom (which made his man-pooh much less noticeable) with Molly.

His personality and behavior will always be missed.

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My customer service expectations may be too high, or are they?

Over the past month I have had to visit various stores and call several companies for a variety of reasons. In that time I have experienced everything from deplorable to excellent customer service. I have to say though, that I am a huge critic when it comes to customer service. I have spent my entire work career in some sort of field that involves customer service. I have even had the privilege of training customer service for a few years.

So admittedly, I may be an extremely harsh judge of customer service skills, but to me it’s simple. Listen to what the customer has to say, acknowledge it, and find a resolution for the situation. For whatever reason this is difficult for many companies and their customer service. Maybe it’s the people they hire? The people training the new hires? Or maybe it’s the company and how they treat their employee’s? After all, doesn’t customer service behavior dictate upper management and ultimately the company as a whole?

Without giving information as to who these companies were let me give you a brief rundown. One company had their representatives blind transferring me between other representatives as well as putting me back into the queue with no notes on my account, and after having asked for a supervisor said I couldn’t speak with one. I was forced to repeat myself for the same person because he wasn’t listening to what I was saying from the moment the conversation began. And when that person didn’t understand my situation and I asked to talk to someone else, the supervisor called me a liar. I was in complete disbelief.

In another situation I had to take my computer in to the local computer store for support and received the best support from two different representatives. I was treated with respect, and told how to fix things myself and given honest opinions when it came to the value of fixing my old computer.

For me, there is a huge difference in service. And clearly we should expect the latter. Why is it that my experiences of customer service have been so significantly negative compared to the customer service I had regarding the computer problem? Are my expectations too high?

Kernel panics create nerd

My computer has been nothing but a pain in my               (you fill in the blank). For the past week, I have been thwarted by every error, software and hardware problem that has been presented to me by my old white Apple Macbook. Anything and everything that could go wrong with my computer did! Each time I worked hard to find ways of resolving the errors as quickly as possible due to the looming school assignments but to no avail. This was one of the worst nightmares coming true!

It all began with a few errors called kernel panics. Can anyone tell me who comes up with the names? Panic in the name of an error does not sound good. As you can see in the photo below (a kernel panic) there is nothing you can do except turn the computer on and off and hope that it comes back up. I was not so lucky. When I turned on the computer all I saw was a dark grey screen and suddenly a set of three sharp, piercing, low octave beeps that repeated over and over again. If you are a student with deadlines then your reaction might be similar to mine. Nothing but a panic. I guess now I understand why Apple calls them kernel panics.

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I had absolutely no idea how to even start researching what could be going on. I had never seen this before, and I didn’t know it was called a kernel panic until someone told me. So where did I begin? Of course I started where I’m sure we all do these days… with a little google search using my roommates computer and my iPhone 4. I think this type of troubleshooting and diagnosis could almost be as dangerous as a mom attempting to diagnose her child using the internet. After all, the internet gives the best and worst case scenarios; it’s either just a cold or it’s stage 4 cancer. So in like fashion, I began to have my own panic attack. Everything I found to point to the logic board, ram and of course the potential death of my entire computer.

Talk about a freak out moment! I had to verbally remind myself to breath.

With major school deadlines fast approaching, it is by no means ideal to be without my beloved laptop. And as a full time student and a part-time employee at Starbucks, I don’t exactly have funds to replace my Macbook. So of course the panic feelings were warranted but where would they get me? So, I began to rack my brain for the troubleshooting steps I used to use on a daily basis in my past techie jobs and continued to google for troubleshooting steps that might be helpful.

“Breath,” I kept saying. “Just breath.”

Ultimately I decided I wasn’t going to be able to get into the nitty gritty details of my computer alone. I ended up calling on the help of the Genius bar at Apple. I ended up there a total of six times in a matter of four days. Talk about frustrating. The frustration was not for a lack of effort on their part, but instead just the way my luck had gone with all of my computer woes.

After spending the first two days working with the Apple technicians, continued errors and no guarantees on how to fix the computer they suggested I start with the cheapest and easiest installation. I began with I successfully replaced my hard drive in my laptop saving myself the $200.00 that it would have cost them to replace it. Afterwards I had their help in getting my computer up and going, to now being stuck re-installing everything on my computer.

The worst part in this whole story, I still have kernel panic errors. I guess my computer woes are not quite over. #$&*#!!!!

The life of a Starbucks Cup

On a Saturday morning a Starbucks cup sits a top another. The Starbucks cup waits patiently for a customer to order a drink. Once a customer orders a drink, a Barista snatches the Starbucks cup. The Barista inscribes the drink on the Starbucks cup. The Starbucks cup is then handed off to another Barista. The Barista accepts the cup and assesses the drink. Once the Barista has determined the drink, he or she begins to pour the milk in a pitcher and putting it under the steam wand while placing the Starbucks cup under the spout for the espresso shots. Once the shots decant into the Starbucks cup and the milk has been steamed the Barista spills out the milk into the cup to stop the shots from continuing to develop. As the Barista settles the foam into the Starbucks cup he or she grabs a lid and places it on the Starbucks cup. Once the Starbucks cup is capped, the Barista calls out the drink to the customer who ordered it. The customer then seizes the Starbucks cup and takes a sip of the scrumptious drink.

Writing

Throughout my entire life growing up I constantly had my nose in a book. I grew up loving the library, a good used book and remembering the smell of an old leather bound book. To this day, walking into a library or a used book store brings up many memories of finding the next good read. 

I had quite the active imagination as a child. I was constantly inventing stories of gigantic scary monsters, strong (and sometimes dainty) princesses and valiant knights. But I always hated to write these stories down. I never felt like I could get all the right descriptions or detail on paper that I imagined. I always felt like writing was never something I excelled at because I could never get the detail to match what I had imagined. 

To me, writing, blogging and journaling all have this issue of never being entirely complete with all the detail I had hoped.

Another factor that really plagues my desire to write is: I am a procrastinator in its’ entirety! I work best the morning something is due with a fresh mind and a cup of coffee with the buzz of a local coffee shop around me. Knowing this, is half the battle. 

Ultimately, I always hate the idea of writing and even the process of writing. But in the end I love having written.