Thursday, May 31, 2007
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
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.
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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Rizzio
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: http://www.marie-stuart.co.uk/Castles/Holyroodhouse.htm
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers tomorrow. I will tell you about it later.
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
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!
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!
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