Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sometimes they really make you smile

I have been telling a few of my customers that I will be leaving soon. They frown and say that I will be missed. Two-grande-skimmed-cappuccinos came in today. When I told her about my leaving she stuck her lip out and said, "You are the best cappuccino maker in Edinburgh! What shall I do!?"

Thunder! Could it be?

I thought I heard a low rumbling noise and thought, "Is that thunder?!" I have only heard thunder a couple of times since we moved here. And I think I have only seen lightening once. I sometimes forget that it exists. So I ran to open our french doors. Sure enough! It is thunder! It sounds like it is many miles away, but it still brings up those memories of sitting on the front porch to watch the rain storms in the summer. I love that fresh smell and the feeling of the cooling mist from the rain.

The thunder is becoming a bit more frequent and the clouds are very gray overhead. Maybe we will get a storm! Naw, it will probably just pass right over.

It is strange what a different view we get from our windows. The windows facing south reveal a very gray, stormy looking sky. Very ominous. The windows facing south show a bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds.

MTA: I just saw lightening and the thunder is getting louder and more distinct! It smells like rain! :) Only, I hope it's not raining in 4 hours when Josh has to walk home.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rude customer of the month award

Customer comes in. I was actually in a pretty light-hearted mood for my first day back from holiday. I greeted her with a smile, as I always do, and said, "Hi, there! What can I get for you?" Not smiling or greeting me she says, "I want a coffee." Still smiling I say, "Ok, what size?" Rolling her eyes, shaking her head, and flailing her arms about (clearly this is a tough question) she says, "I don't know! Small!" STILL smiling I say, "Ok, a small drip?" (No, I wasn't calling her that) She says, "Yeah, an americano." For those of you who are not coffee drinkers or those of you who only have YOUR drink and don't know what else exists, an americano is espresso with hot water. So I say, "Oh, you would like an americano?" This is appearantly too much for the customer because she begins convulsing and saying, "Whatever, whatever! I just want coffee! What is it you are talking about!? Just give me coffee!" Uh-oh, I have one more question for her and I am not sure she can handle it. "Are you sitting in or taking away?" She screams at me, "Taking away!" So I give a look to the girl on till and proceed to take a tall cup over to the columbia shuttle (drip coffee).

I start to get the coffee. I hear a customer come in and she greets the rude customer by name. I recognise her voice as tall-single-shot-black-americano-in-a-grande-cup-and-skinny-blueberr-muffin (Yes, that is how we know our customers). After a moment I hear Maria say, "Which kind of muffin?" And she stares Maria down and litterally screams, "I SAID A SKIIIIINNY ONNNNE!" So I stop what I am doing and stare her down. Maria very politely says, "Which kind of skinny one?" and actually starts to list them. She said blueberry so Maria goes to get it. I am still staring at her and she looks at me, then quickly looks down. I am tired of being treated like crap and I am trying to think of what to say to her. Maria is flustered and grabs a plate to put the muffin on. Rude customer is about to pull her hair out and hisses "I SAID I am TAKING AWAY!" Regular customer and I make eye contact and she looks a bit bewildered. She talks to rude customer. Rude customer says she is having a bad morning. This is my cue. I bring her coffee over to her (not including the addition of saliva that I wanted to make) and say, "You ought not to take it out on us. We are just trying to get you what it is you are wanting." She shouts at me saying that she just wanted a skinny muffin. I say that we have several skinny muffins. And she declares herself the winner of this battle by wobbling her head around and shouts, "WELL, I didn't know THAT!!" and turns to regular customer.

Day 4

Finally, chapter 4 of the story of my parents' visit!

Calton Hill is a lovely place to get great views of the city. The views rival those from Arthur's Seat. Well, it's practically right NEXT to Arthur's Seat, but you don't have to huff and puff your way up there. There is a nice little drive way and we were perfectly happy to take the taxi up.

This is one of the most popular, if not THE most popular views of Edinburgh. Too bad there was still just a wee bit of haar hanging about, but the views were still lovely. My dad was inspired to break out into a photo shoot with my mom. :)

After this we took a wee walk down Prince's Street and over to Prince's Street Gardens. It was such a lovely day and everything was in bloom!

From there we went straight to the Queen's palace, Holyrood to make sure we had plenty of time to see it (we spent too much time in the castle on Friday and they were closing by the time we made it down the Royal Mile). Unfortunately they don't allow pictures inside.

This one was a first for Josh and I. I am not much for wealth and glamour, even if it is the royalty, but I really enjoyed the history. In one of the rooms it is said that one can still see the blood stain that was spilt by David Rizzio, the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots. Here is a brief story of what happened:

I'm not sure I spotted the place of the stain, but I had a good guess.

Outside the palace is Holyrood Abbey, founded by King David I. Here is a link to the story:

It was lovely to walk the gardens of the palace. I could just imagine myself as a courtier in centuries past.

After the palace we made another trip back up the the castle. The photographer in my dad wanted to get better shots over the walls. No, not with the cannons! Though I had my canon. I am so not funny! Like I said earlier, there was still a wee bit of haze, but the views were WAY better than the white wall we had to look at on Friday.

When we were done in the city we went home to prepare for Sam and Peter. We enjoyed their company for dinner. Sam brought over some amazing puddings for the British experience. If I remember correctly, she made rhurbarb cobbler, Bramley apple cobbler, and chocolate bread and butter pudding. It was yummy! And my dad even tried some! Shocking! I think my parents could have sat up all night just listening to Sam and Peter talk. :)

Again, please, Please, PLEASE hop on over to flickr to see the other pictures. I don't think I am getting much traffic over that way. I am not proud, but I do love pictures and I do like to share the wonderful things that we get to see. There are quite a few pages now of photos from this holiday.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Away a few days

Not that I have been posting on here very often, but I just wanted to brag..I MEAN let you know that I will be away a few days. We have decided very last minute to use our holiday this week to go on a tour to the Isle of Skye! I am very excited about this. Yeah! See ya later! ;)

MTA: I must tell you how this came about. Josh was at work and I was thinking it would have been really nice to go away somewhere for our holiday. We were planning Stonehaven, but everything was booked up. We were still going to do it for just a day trip, but I was still feeling like I wanted to go away somewhere. Glencoe is the place I REALLY want to go back to. Of course without a car it is a lot more difficult. So I was looking at tours. We took Rabbie's Trail Burners when my parents were here for just a one day tour to the highlands. I highly recommend them if you will be taking a tour in Scotland. So I looked at their longer tours. They had a 3 day tour to Skye. I didn't think they have any spots left for this week at such late notice, so I was trying to think of ways Josh could just get a few days off work to do something.

So I looked at their calender just for the heck of it, and they DID have something for this week. And they left the next day! I didn't think Josh would go for it. It is expensive, too, and we need the money to move. But we might never get to do it again! And really have'nt gotten to see a lot of Scotland.

So Josh comes home. We chat for a few minutes. Kiss and stuff. He brought me flowers! Then I say "Hey, we can do..." and I hesitate to remember what it was I was trying to say. And without hesitating he says, "A 3-day highland tour." I need one of those little emoticons with the eyeballs popping out of it's head. I went over to look at the computer incase I had left up the tour site. Nope. I said, "How did you do that?!" He had been thinking the same thing! So we chatted a bit about it. The pros and cons. If we should wait until our last week when Josh wont be working. I felt that that might be too stressful with last minute things to be done. So we walked up to the Royal Mile to book in person. :)

Let me tell you, tourist season is in full swing here! I don't miss living on the Royal Mile. It was crazy just trying to get anywhere up there. And the AMERICANS!! UGH!! ;)

Anyways, we are looking forward to leaving in a couple of hours now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

31 July

We will be coming home. Not visiting. We are moving back. We decided that we needed to be with family at this time. I am already going through our things to decide what to take back with us and what to get rid of. It is amazing how much one can accumulate in under 2 years!

An overseas move is a bit more challenging than moving to another city or state. Please pray for us in this transition.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Day 3

Ok, here I go. I am going to attempt to continue my posts about the Feezor/Bougie holiday.

We hired a car which meant, um, we had to drive it. Josh did a fab job of it last time he drove here when we visited 2 1/2 years ago, so I nominated him. :) As we were driving out of the car park I had to remind Josh that as he makes his left turn, he will hug the curb, rather than crossing traffic. He did great.

We had a little bit of a late start, which made the traffic getting out of Edinburgh very frustrating. We were not aware that they were doing work on the Forth Rd bridge on Saturdays - how would we? We don't drive!

We drove up the coast, nearly to Aberdeen, to a city called Stonehaven. Josh and I happened upon it during our visit to Scotland and thought it was so beautiful. There are very dramatic views of Dunnottar castle ruins and cliffs. The haar from the day before was still lingering, but it was not as bad. You could see it sweeping in from the sea, then back out.

Unfortunately, one thing I had forgotten about was all the stairs to get to the castle. Dad was willing to brave the hike, but mom stayed back with Josh to just enjoy the sun and views. Every so often they spotted us as we were looking through the ruins and we zoomed in on them with our cameras.

I am afraid I do not know much of the history of Dunnottar Castle except that it was impenetrable, due to its possition on the cliff, until Cromwell came in with cannons and did the place in.

As we were leaving we noticed a photo shoot going on with the castle as the backdrop. Lovely background. But then we saw the piper, and then a lady in a white dress was walking up. It was a wedding! Nice! She was carrying her heels because she had to walk down into a ravine and then back up again to get to the groom. As we were leaving the haar started to swallow up the ruins. We were leaving just in time. Not good for the wedding, though!

After the castle we drove over to St. Andrews. We spent a little too much time exploring the castle that we arrived just before the castle and cathedral closed. It was still a lovely day so we just walked through the quaint town, took some pictures of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (golfers know how important that is!), and enjoyed the scenary of the beach.

Oh, don't forget to look at flickr for LOTS more pictures (as soon as I get them up). Remember that there is more than just one page. It seems that a lot of people are only looking at the first page. Please, browse through them all! I greatly enjoy comments on the pictures (there is something you can click on under the picture to leave a comment) if you can spare a moment.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Steph posted about this cool ecard thingy, so I decided to do one for my mom on Mother's Day. Here's mine:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Sorry to get your hopes up about another post about my parent's adventures here (I know you are just waiting on pins and needles!!). I remembered some other things I need to get done today. I know it's a bit ambitious, but I was wanting to plan our meals for the next month. I used to plan them for two weeks and it made life easier. No wondering what we are going to have for dinner. I scheduled a grocery delivery for Friday, so I need to get my shopping list in order. I also need to clean.

I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers tomorrow. I will tell you about it later.

The long days of summer

Yesterday I woke up to find a decent amount of sun peaking through the curtains. I figured it must be about time to get up (I get up at 5:50). I looked at the clock. It was only 4:30!! And the sun rises on the other side of our flat! I love these long days. I just wish I was able to enjoy them right now. Last night I noted that at 10:30 there was still a wee bit of light in the sky. :)

I am going to try to work on my post for "Day 3" soon. Hopefully this afternoon. It's been a rough couple of weeks and I am just shattered.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Day 2

Now, since our days were so action-packed I wont have room for all of the photos on blogger, so take a look at the rest on flickr. Just give me some time to get the on there. Oh, and many of my pictures from this day were deleated, too, so I am using a lot of my Dad's pictures again.

The day started out looking so gorgeous. The was sunny and warm! We were really debating what we should wear. I was thinking of going without an extra layer. *gasp* But I decided to take a light layer. We were prepared for a little bit cooler than what we thought it would be, as it tends to be a bit cooler on the Mound.

We were heading for the castle! But first we made a stop at Greyfriars Kirk, made famous by Greyfriars Bobby. Rather, a bunch of Americans made Greyfriars Bobby popular with the American tourists, making Greyfriars Kirk a popular destination.

You can see in the first picture how blue the sky was, then notice the drastic difference in the second picture. Usually the weather on the Mound is a bit different. Sometimes foggy when the rest of the city is sunny. That is what we figured was happening, but during the short time we walked around it seemed to be getting foggier and colder.

When were done at Greyfriars we hopped in a taxi so as not to waste any precious energy and shot up to the castle. This was my parents' first taxi ride! I did not realise that or I would have gotten a picture of them, rather than my dad snapping shots of us.

I was disappointed in the fog and I knew my dad would be, too, wanting to get some shots of the great view from the castle. As time went on it was evident that the sea haar was rolling in. Funny because I was telling mom before they came that we probably wouldn't have to worry about the haar as it tends to roll in after a period of warm weather, and it was too early for that warm weather. Well, it had been unseasonably warm, which we were greatful for, but I had forgotten about the possibility of the haar. And not only does it obscure views, it can make a very warm day bloomin' cold!

Cemetary for dogs of soldiers and views of the city...or not.

We stayed for the one o'clock gun, but we had to guzzle some tea and hot chocolate from the cafe to keep warm.

When we were done at the castle we headed down the Royal Mile. We stopped at shops, the Woolen Mill, St. Giles, Wannaburger for a great big bite to eat, and John Knox' house. You will never guess just who we spotted at John Knox' house!!

Our ultimate destination was to be the palace, but we lingered to long at the castle and in the shops. The palace was closed. My mom was ready for more, but fortunately... I MEAN unfortunately things close early here so by 6:00 we had to call it a day. Mom really wore us out. I was ready for bed after dinner!

Josh felt a bit nervous about the next day. He had to drive!

Rough week

I am so glad it is finally Saturday. On Thursday I seriously thought it was Friday all day long. The week just seemed to go on forever.

I am so tired of working in a place where there is something that either falls apart or is on the brink of falling apart EVERY DAY!! And, I don't know if this is true or not, but I feel like I am the only one that does anything about it. I think my boss pretends like he doesn't notice and leaves it up to me because he knows I will do it. It is nice to be thought of as reliable and getting the job done and such, but it is very draining, too, when I have to do all of these things on top of my everyday job. And I am only there part-time.

We are short staffed at the moment (we are actually chronically short staffed, but right now we are one or two supervisors short, so it effects me more) so I am working more hours. I get teased a lot by my customers because 30 hours is seriously a lot of hours for me. I have a hard time handling much more than 20. It is just physically VERY draining. I am on my feet nearly the whole 8 hours, constantly interacting and being overly cheerful with customers, planning the shift, delegating jobs to my barista, checking the food delivery to make sure we got all of the food we ordered, dealing with whatever is happening in the store that day (deliveries, maintainance, etc), and dealing with whatever suprises are being thrown at me (Deli, the espresso machine isn't working; Deli, we are out of mocha; Deli, the police are asking for you; Deli, Deli, Deli!!!). On top of this I have to do duties each week such at ordering our change for the week (if it hasn't been ordered I have to run to the bank), ordering our supplies for the week, putting away our delivery so I can figure out what I have to order for next week, keep track of our dairy and amend our order accordingly, check on the food order to make sure my boss has done it (good thing I checked this week otherwise they would not have had food for this weekend. HA!). And then I am always running around fixing things, calling maintainance, calling maintainance again to see why they haven't come out for the last 5 work orders, unclocking our ever-clogging ladies toilet, counting how many light bulbs have gone out this week (seriously, bulbs in the country do not last long. We normally have to have about 50 changed every few weeks). We have 2 new baristas so I am training nearly every day, which takes time away from the other duties I need to get done. I am also the resident activist, so there was a time where I was constantly advocating for my baristas just to make sure they got their basic rights such as breaks and holidays.

So this week I had to deal with all of this and more. I was scheduled for 30 hours, which did allow for more time to get my duties done, but also more time for general craziness to occure. My boss (full-time and salaried) is hardly working more hours than me this week and next. We have been having problems with one of our tills and on Thursday it just decided to quit on us. This was a big problem as I really needed the extra till to start training our new baristas. I'm sure it was an ever larger problem today as they normally use both tills throughout the whole weekend. We have new frappaccinos which are a pain in the REAR to make and they are so confusing. They are increasing in popularity and really slowing things down at the bar. It is getting busier, yet we do not have extra coverage to deal with the flow of customers. We had a problem with something which I cannot share here. As always, it was left up to me to deal with it. I called the appropriate company, they scolded me (it wasn't my fault!) and said they would deal with it. Good! Then they called back and said, "Actually, we are not going to deal with it. We think you can get by." When I hung up the phone I bawled from all of the built up stress and tiredness.

I normally get 3 days off over the weekend, but I only have 2 this time and I have to go back for another 4 day week. I am so tired. And Josh is sick, too, so I was trying to take care of him (at which I failed miserably) and I can tell my body is fighting off his cold as well.

So, here's to hoping for a better week next week...

Sorry for the rant

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blogging Against Disablism Day

My friend Erin posted that today is Blogging Against Disablism Day so I checked it out. Diary of a Goldfish is hosting this and I would like to participate.

I don't have anything inspiring to say. I don't really have any insight as to how we can all band together to fight discrimination againsts folks with disabilities. I just have my own experience as a sister of someone with Down's Syndrome.

My brother, Stevie (um, I guess he likes to be called Stephen now, but I'm still Sissy to him so he's still Stevie to me) is seven years younger than me. When he was born I was told that he was different but I am not really sure how much of it I understood. All I knew was he developed slower than other kids. I am not sure the word 'disabled' was ever used in our house and I never really thought of his as disabled. I was never ashamed of him.

Growing up with him was tough. I did have a hard time understanding why he could get away with things I would have gotten in trouble for, and why I was getting in trouble when he was being so provoking! Of course he did recieve discipline. It was just different and it took him much, much longer to "get it." I remember it took something like a year to get him to stop sticking his tongue out at people. Then there was the finger. Many a driver must have been shocked to see that coming from a wee kid in the back seat! He managed to pick up the worst imaginable habits.

So, as kids we fought quite a lot. He was able to get under my skin so easily. And I will admit that I did provoke him a bit. Even though he made me so angry I would have fought tooth and nail for him. Fortunately I don't recall more than just a couple of incidents where I felt that someone was making fun of him. Once a neighborhood boy who was just trying to get me mad said something about Stevie, so I just yelled at him and told him to get out of my yard.

When I went away to college our relationship transformed into a friendship. On visits home I would drive him around with me to do shopping and such. I bored him to death looking at clothes, but he just wanted to be with me. I always rewarded for his patience him with Taco Bell or a candy bar. I liked having his company.

I don't remember if Stevie took to Josh right away, but when their relationship grew Stevie was fearcely in love with the idea of having a brother. Well, not just any brother. He wanted Josh as his brother. Stevie became more interested in Josh than in me! As our wedding day was approaching he became obsessed with Josh becoming his big brother. When we came back from our honeymoon we went to see him at his bowling tournament. He spotted Josh (and Josh only, even though I was standing there right next to him!), shouted "JOSH!", ran over, gave him a hug, and proceeded to parade him around to his teamates and teachers introducing Josh as his brother. He totally ignored me. :)

Stevie didn't really understand the whole concept of in-laws and such. He thought that we were all a big happy family now and was thrilled to take on Josh's brother and sisters as his siblings, too. He still asks about them when we talk to him on the phone.

While I am sure it was heartwrentching for my parents to find out that their child had Down's Syndrome (which they did not know until they had already held him), I am sure they would say that they would not trade Stevie for anything in the world. He has been such a joy to our lives (yeah, a pain in the butt sometimes, too) and a blessing to those who meet him. He probably doesn't understand why we do not come to visit him anymore, but he still loves us unconditionally and saves coupons to restaurants for us to use the next time we come over. Hopefully we can use some in September. :)

Visit this blog that Erin linked to. Take a browse around. Take a look at some of her posts linked on the sidebar. Especially the story of her acceptance of having a daughter with Down's Syndrome.