Monday, July 31, 2006

Loch Lomond

A couple of weeks ago one of Josh's fellow MTh mates, Susan, took us to Loch Lomond. It was a nice retreat from the city. The drive alone was lovely, aside from the overly fertalised fields we passed. I promise you, in all my years driving through fields I had never smelled anything quite so strong! Anyways, it was a lovely day trip and there are more pictures on flickr.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Americans cheating?!?

I was reading on a website dedicated to Starbucks baristas about customers who try to cheat the system. They order drinks in a way that makes it cheaper, such as a hot chocolate with a shot of espresso (really a mocha) or an espresso in a venti cup with extra, extra foam (really a venti extra dry cappaccino). Most of the people on this website are in America. I posted that we have never had this kind of problem. The VERY day after I posted this, on two separate occassions, Americans came in and did this. One ordered an espresso in a grande cup and asked for extra foam, another asked for a tall drink in a grande cup and added extra milk from the bar.

I definately agree that Starbucks is expensive, but if you insist on these drinks every day, you have to pay the price. And do they really think they are pulling the wool over our eyes?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I like it!

Well, I have 'sort of' run two shifts this week. I am scheduled with another supervisor because I am still training, but I am in charge of the shift (I carry the keys, I am the only one with access to the safe, I am in charge of breaks). Today Narda said, "I forgot what it was like to be a barista. It is so boring!"

Anyways, I have not run into anything complicated yet and I am enjoying it. The time seems to go by quicker because there is more to do. In fact, there is no longer enough time in the day to get everything done that I wanted to do!

I am supposed to get 'signed off' next Wednesday. Then I will be running shifts all by myself!

Monday, July 24, 2006

A perk

Starbucks is hosting the Edinburgh Jazz Festival. They had a jazz night for us tonight and gave us free tickets for some of the concerts. So, Josh and I get to see Salsa Celtica in a couple of weeks! It is a standing concert, so we are gonna have to learn salsa real quick!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Streets of Edinburgh

I just found this cool site. This guy is taking pictures of the streets of Edinburgh. I came across it when I was looking for flats. This will be a good tool to help me see what a neighborhood is like.

Some streets you can look at:

Milne's Court
Baker's Place (where I work)
Northwest Circus (the street right before I get to work)
Mound Pl. (Josh's university)
George IV Bridge (where we go to church and the way I go to get groceries- the church is covered with scaffolding)
Chambers St. (on my way to get groceries)
Victoria Terrace (on my way back with groceries - notice a pattern?)
Fleshmarket Close (just an example of the closes so common on the Royal Mile - sort of like where we live, there is a sort of passageway between some of the buildings. Sometimes it opens up to a courtyard or quad, sometimes it just goes through with doors to flats or shops in the passageway.)

I could list tons more but I am sure you are already bored.

Maybe now I can mention roads in this blog and you can look them up! :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


That is how frustrating is said. Emphasize the second syllable and take out the 'g' and the second 't'.

Anyways, I do enjoy looking for a flat...for a time. I like to see inside other places. I like to look at the pictures on the internet and get all excited when I see a big kitchen (big meaning a few feet of counterspace, a decent sized fridge/freezer, and ample storage?. After actually seeing some of these places in person it gets frustrating. It is rather sickening to see what your money gets you. I think our price range is also just the right place where everyone else is scrambling to get as well, so by the time I say we would like to view a place it is already taken. Well, I will keep up the search. Our lease ends 6 weeks from Saturday.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I didn't get to finish my original post, so go look at the next post, first.

More downhill to work. Almost there!


I like this neighborhood. We hope to live somewhere nearby very soon.

Walk with me...

A couple of weeks ago I was ready for work a little early so I took my camera with me to snap some early morning shots. I didn't capture anything spectacular, but I thought it might be fun to let you see what I see on my way to work:

This is what I see heading down the mound. The imposing silhouette is the Scott monument.
Next I round the corner to a nice view of the castle.
Prince's Street to the left.....and to the right.
Then I climb a wee hill and find a stunning view of the Firth of Forth and the hills across the way.
A cute restaurant.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Teach us to count the days

Everyday is a journal page
Every man holds a quill and ink
And there's plenty of room for writing in
All we do and believe and think
So will you compose a curse
Or will today bring the blessings
Fill the page with a rhyming verse
Or some random sketching
Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
Cuz somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much
Everyday is a bank account
Time is our currency
So no one's rich, nobody's poor
We get 24 hours each
So how are you gonna spend?
Will you invest or squander?
Try to get ahead
Or help someone who's under?
Teach us to count the days...
Has anybody lived who knew the value of a life
And don't you think giving is all
What prove the worth of yours and mine
Teach us to count the days...
Every day is a gift you've been given
Make the most of the time, every minute you're livin'
Chris Rice

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Quote of the day

"When we think of the wisdom of the world, we think of someone really smart, like Gandalf." Andy in a Bible study comprised of MTh students, studying James 3.

I would walk 500 miles...

Well, not quite that much, but it feels like it.

I reckoned that last week I walked over 42 miles. That not including the hours I am on my feet at work and small walks here and there. That comes to an average of 6 miles a day! Of course, this was not an average week. I had a lot going on, but one does tend to walk a LOT in this city and don't even realize it (as Narda and I were recently discussing). And, wherever you go, you can count on going uphill.

To say the least, I am exhausted this week! I am off today and tomorrow and I desparately want to stay inside and nurse my sore legs and feet. I already had to drag myself out to get some groceries and I am just about to head back out to see an estate agent (ah, the joys of flat hunting!).

Dear corn

I just got back from the grocery store. I was excited to actually see corn! Maybe I just haven't been looking too hard, but I haven't seen corn here until today. It was 2 ears packaged together. I was too excited to look at the price. I just saw that it was 50p off. When I took it out of the bag at home I saw that it was £1.49. That is nearly $3 for 2 ear of corn! That corn is very dear. I miss the 10 for $1 sales at Dominicks.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A staff night out

One of our customers recently completed a novel in our store and gave us a very generous tip for a staff night out. So, last night we went to Pizza Express!

Click here to see the rest of the pictures on flickr.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Repressed feelings: bullying in the workplace

This is me being vulnerable, so I hope it is helpful for someone.
I had a supervisor training this past Saturday. The first thing we spoke about, and the longest time was spent on harrassment. And of this, the majority of the time was spent on bullying. Gosh, I wish I had this term a few years ago.
Bullying is something that happens often in the workplace and it can often go overlooked. We began our discussion with the question, "What should you do if someone tells you they are being bullied?" One of my fellow supervisors-in-training jumped in and said, "Talk to them. Get their story. Find out if it is true or not. Blah blah blah." I was screaming inside 'NO NO NO!' Our facilitator said, "I want to go back to when you said, 'Find out if it is true or not.' That is not for you to determine..." YES YES YES! You MUST validate their feelings. Feelings are real and they cannot be denied. We were told over and over, if someone is doing something that makes someone feel offended, hurt, upset, etc, that person needs to stop doing what they are doing to the offended.
So, about the repressed feelings, I realized that I had some scars. During this discussion I felt myself withdraw. I could hardly speak. My pulse was racing and my heart was pounding hard. I wanted to cry. I had been through all this and I felt like there was no justice made.
A few years ago I was having a very difficult time with a boss which began nearly when he became my boss. It began so subtly and progressed so slowly that I did not even recognize it until 2 years later during a company given training on (ironically) harrassment. Harrassment was the only term given, but it included things like belittling, extra workload, singling out. By this time I was depressed, I dreaded going to work, I couldn't enjoy the things I once enjoyed. I wondered if I should take action. I union advised me to. I drew up every incident that I could think of (but how do you put into words every little look, jab, body language that happened over 2 years?). They said there would be an investigation. There was a meeting with 4 administrators and little ol' me and my union rep. I was attacked from all sides, bullied in my own meeting! Though I had what I wanted to say written down, I could hardly express myself. I tried to keep composure, but I was a wreck.
Oh, did I mention that this was a HUMANITARIAN agency??
I found out that there really was no investigation, other than the incidents which I had turned in to the union (I was not told that this would be the basis of the investigation. This was only a rough draft.) I asked, "What about Josh? What about the other team members?" I was told that Josh could not be interviewed because he was my husband. What!!!! For the last 2 1/2 years it was pounded into my head that he was not my husband on the job, he was my co-worker!! And the other team members were not interviewed because I did not name anyone as a witness because much of what happened was in private and I couldn't say if anyone overheard anything. Tell me, would this stand up in a court of law? I was told that the harrassment charge was unfounded and, oh, yes, could you sign this paper saying you agree with the outcome?
No, thank you.
After this was my annual review, which he did not have the guts to give to me himself. My first review with him was glowing, this one gutted me. Hmm, do I smell retaliation?
Josh recognizes that there was justice. Almost immediatly he was pulled from our program and put in charge of another. I could not work there any longer though. My spirit had been quenched. I was very, very sad to leave my clients, but I could not work for this agency any more.
They asked me in the meeting what I wanted to see happen. I said I did not want the guy to lose his job. I just wanted him to stop doing what he was doing and maybe go to some anger management or leadership classes. This was just laughed at and I was told our managers recieve good training from the agency.
The only term I had at the time was harrassment. So people automatically think it is sexual. When it is not, they think, what's your problem?
Here are two good definitions I found for bullying:
"Persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse of power or unfair penal sanctions which makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable, which undermines their self-confidence and which may cause them to suffer stress"
MSF Union, 1994
"Bullying is a compulsive need to displace aggression and is achieved by the expression of inadequacy (social, personal, interpersonal, behavioural, professional) by projection of that inadequacy onto others through control and subjugation (criticism, exclusion, isolation etc). Bullying is sustained by abdication of responsibility (denial, counter-accusation, pretence of victimhood) and perpetuated by a climate of fear, ignorance, indifference, silence, denial, disbelief, deception, evasion of accountability, tolerance and reward (eg promotion) for the bully."
Tim Field, 1999
Here is some good information on where bullying happens, how to recognise a bully, and what it does to your health. Click around on the other links and find other information on bullying.
If you are or will ever be in a leadership position, take this to heart. Learn how to recognise a bully. You can do something about it. It is not always the person in authority who is the bully. It happens a lot between staff members. Bullying does have lasting effects.
More information from bullyonline:
People who are bullied find that they are:
*forever subject to nit-picking and trivial fault-finding (the triviality is the giveaway)
*isolated and excluded from what's happening (this makes people more vulnerable and easier to control and subjugate)
*singled out and treated differently (for example everyone else can have long lunch breaks but if they are one minute late it's a disciplinary offence)
*belittled, degraded, demeaned, ridiculed, patronised, subject to disparaging remarks
*set unrealistic goals and deadlines which are unachievable or which are changed without notice or reason or whenever they get near achieving them
*denied information or knowledge necessary for undertaking work and achieving objectives
* either overloaded with work (this keeps people busy [with no time to tackle bullying] and makes it harder to achieve targets) or have all their work taken away (which is sometimes replaced with inappropriate menial jobs, eg photocopying, filing, making coffee)
*find requests for leave have unacceptable and unnecessary conditions attached, sometimes overturning previous approval. especially if the person has taken action to address bullying in the meantime
Why do people bully?
The purpose of bullying is to hide inadequacy. Bullying has nothing to do with managing etc; good managers manage, bad managers bully. Management is managing; bullying is not managing. Therefore, anyone who chooses to bully is admitting their inadequacy, and the extent to which a person bullies is a measure of their inadequacy. Bullies project their inadequacy on to others:
a) to avoid facing up to their inadequacy and doing something about it;
b) to avoid accepting responsibility for their behaviour and the effect it has on others, and,
c) to reduce their fear of being seen for what they are, namely a weak, inadequate and often incompetent individuals, and,d) to divert attention away from their inadequacy - in an insecure or badly-managed workplace, this is how inadequate, incompetent and aggressive employees keep their jobs.
You know what? I found it humorous that so much attention was given to this subject during my training for a little supervisor position at Starbucks, yet this supposedly humanitarian agency just brushed it under the carpet, denying my feelings.

Happy 4th, yall!

Sam and Peter were so kind to host our '4th' celebration (on the 2nd) at their place and we were so happy to have Emma with us as well. We served them up American style: so much food you don't know what to do with it. We had hot dogs from Costco (jumbo, American recipe) and burgers. For sides we had taco salad, potato salad, pasta salad, deviled eggs and green Jell-o salad. Oh, yes, and watermelon and homemade lemonade (here, lemonade is carbonated). For dessert we had strawberry shortcake. I believe everything but the meats was new to them. I have to say, when I revealed the Jell-o salad, which I left in the fridge by accident, there was a reaction of wonder and fright. :) There was also a big discussion as to why it is called salad, as they were picturing jelly and lettuce. Hee-hee! So, we're wondering, too. Why do you think it's called salad?
While we were eating we were hit with a barage of questions about American history which Josh and I were embarrassed to say we didn't know the answers to. :( They were tough questions!!
After we found a wee bit of space in our stomachs for dessert we were all sitting around with our hands on our bellies talking of how full we were. Emma said, "This is almost a Christmas full!" Later she said, "So, does it feel like this often when you eat in America?" I said, "Yes! It does!" With wide eyes she said, "REALLY!?" :)
I was sad that we didn't get to see fireworks. That will have to wait until after the festival in August.
Happy Fourth, everyone!