Monday, August 31, 2009

Some people's children

Working customer service, you'd think that some people were raised in a barn. Their mama was not around and therefore didn't teach them any manners.


Me: "Hi. How are you today?"
Customer: "Yeah, uh, gimme uh, grande coffee."
Me: "OK." and then proceed with the membership deal or offering them a scone or cookie. When what I really want to say is
"Yeah, uh, then gimme, uh $1.94."

Seriously. How about a "Hi." or a "I'm fine." Or even a "Please." I'm not asking much. Just common courtesy. I don't work on commission, I'm not going to pressure you to buy something, (unless I can sense that you are someone to joke around with, and in that case, I'll suggest the large and then say in a "Do it." in a come-on-all-the-big-kids-are-doing-it sort of tone.) But I really am wondering how your day is.

I have 3 minutes at most to make someones day a little better. And when they can't even take the time out to be polite, well then I guess I hand them their coffee and my job is done.

Top 3 Things That Are Big Pet Peeves To People Who Work Customer Service
1. Talking on the phone. I have always wanted to pull out my phone when someone comes up on the phone and make them wait until I am ready. A little taste of their own medicine. Seriously, either hang up, or get out of line.
2. Not please or thank you. Yes we are working, and it is our job to give you what you asked for. But is it to much to ask for the words that mom made you say before you received anything as a child? I don't think so.
3. Not letting us do our job. When they stand at the end of the counter and watch every move we make, it is so annoying. We are trained professionals, and we are just making coffee! Keep in mind we are human and mistakes happen, but we will gladly remake it if you ask nicely. I don't come to your job and stand over your shoulder and watch as you punch numbers into the computer making sure you had enough 0's, do I? So give us the benefit of the doubt, please.

To me this is all common sense. Right?

Nothing bad happened at work today, just enough "yeah, uh, gimme uh's" and rude people on their phone to make me want to rant a bit about it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wish me luck

Whoooo-weeee. I just put in the mail my first ever submission to a magazine! It's a piece I wrote right after I got back from New Mexico. I think it's one of my best, and my instructor said with a few grammatical corrections, it's ready to be sent it. Yea me!! I sent it to a magazine called The Sun that I found searching on line. They say it takes 3 to 6 months for a response, so I'm not holding my breath. And everything I've read about getting published says to have more than one piece out at a time. So I'm preparing some other pieces to be sent out too. But I'm stepping into this unknown world slowly. For no other reasons than I want to.

Keep your fingers crossed, in 3 to 6 months I'll let you know if you should buy the magazine or not and see me in print! Until then, this blog will have to do.

Friday, August 21, 2009


So I saw Julie and Julia with my mom a few nights ago. It was very cute, and Meryl Streep can do anything. And it made me want to read both the books - Julie and Julia and My Life in France.

On the way home I was thinking about this quest that Julie went on for a year. Cooking all these recipes and finding herself. Not to mention finding a whole new career thanks to one article in the New York Times.

I would love it if I became a writer from an article written about me in the New York Times. But who wouldn't?! And lets be serious here... I live in the midwest, and the chances of someone from the Times taking note of me are pretty slim.

But on the drive home I was thinking that perhaps I could do something like what Julie did. She liked to cook and she liked to write. So she combined the two and it changed her life. (While nearly destroying it in the process.) Well, I like to read and I like to write. What could I do?

I thought perhaps I could read the top 100 books according to someone and give my opinion. So I googled top 100 books and came up with a list according to Time Magazine, and the top 100 Editor's picks 2008, Newsweek's top 100 books, the top 100 books according to the Harvard book store, and so on and so on.

So where do I start? Whose list do I pick? Do I give myself a time limit? Do I get to read others in the midst? Does it count if I already read it in high school? What do I want to accomplish with this? Prove that I can read? Well I already know I can do that. Prove that I can write? Done. Prove that I can write about what I read? Check.

The more I think about this as I write about it, I'm starting to like the thought of it. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bad move on their part

My building manager was let go yesterday. And none of us have any idea why. I think this is one of the most ridiculous things they could have done. Mary was so good at her job but mostly she cared about us. I've never lived in a building where the manager cares about her residents, wants them to be happy in their apartment. Mary took time out of her busy day to talk to anyone who needed it. This just sucks. I'm writing a petition to the management saying how we as residents don't agree with this move at all. Just so they know, and we did our part. We voiced our concern.

I have no idea what is going to happen now. But I started looking at new apartments yesterday just in case. But damnit! I don't want to move. I just got settled. I love my apartment. Love! And I love the area. It is so perfect for me not having a car and all. And there are a lot of for rent signs up around the neighborhood, but that involves so much. The deposit, the first and sometimes last months rent, packing, getting a moving truck, unpacking, taking the time off from work to move, getting people to help you. Yuck. Plus this place is mine and I don't want to leave.

From what I've gathered from talking to my neighbors, the management company is going to come in a "clean up the place." And we think that means getting rid of the people who don't pay rent on time, or who are disturbing to other residents. (I like that last one, perhaps then Nutty the Neighbor will leave.) And if that is all they are going to do, I have nothing to worry about. I pay on time, and I don't disturb anyone. At least to my knowledge. But with my lack of visitors, and my only watching movies at a decent volume, I can't imagine what the complaint would be.

I just really feel for Mary. She was the building manager for 15 years. She loved her job, and we loved having her there. She got things done and she cared about everyone living there. So much for having someone in the office you could count on. And that really bums me out.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Everyone has a story to tell

I love reading memoirs. Everyone has a story to tell and I like reading about other peoples lives. One of the perks of my job is that we have advanced readers editions of books not published yet come into our store in hopes that the booksellers will read it and then promote it when it actually is for sale. I love this. I go to this shelf when I need something to read and just can't seem to settle on all the recommendations and books already on my to-read list.

The one I just finished is amazing. It's called Double Take and it's written by a guy named Kevin Connolly. He was born without legs and this is his story. He writes with no pity or any notion that anyone owes him anything because he is different. He just writes about his life. The last third of the book is about his travels around the world, on his skateboard, taking pictures of peoples reactions to him. Looking at the pictures before knowing the idea behind them, you think "So, it's a guy staring at the photographer. Big deal." But when you learn that the man behind the lens has no legs, gets around by pushing himself on an old skateboard, and that he took many many other photographs just like this, it takes the meaning of the picture to a whole new level.

I rarely read a memoir and really want to meet the author afterward. Sure I want to meet them because the are a published author. But I want to meet Kevin because he seems like such a genuine guy. I'm impressed by his ability to adapt. He was never one for a wheelchair, didn't feel right. And he just found he could get around easier on his skateboard. He stated that he never felt handicapped. In fact he had a great whole paragraph on his interpretation of the word "disabled." "You are only disabled if you are incapable of overcoming the challenges presented in any given situation." I think that is brilliant. There are so many, in fact a good chunk of the Earth's population could probably take a life lesson from Kevin.

I went to yoga last night and part way through a very hot and tough class the teacher asked us to give thanks that we could do this hard class in the first place, that we were able-bodied and present. I immediately thought of this book and Kevin. He would push through any obstacle and arrive on the other end. I silently thanked him at that moment. Thanked him for writing his book, for telling his story, and for empowering me to get through this one class. And in the long run, for reminding me that life truly is what you make it. No one can do it for you and you can do anything that you set your mind to.

I encourage everyone to read this book when it comes out this October. Until then, check out his website and his photos from his round-the-world trip at

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I heart times like these

This is what it's all about. I spent last weekend with some of closest friends, in Decorah, IA where we all met. We rented a cabin just a bit out of town, and had a grand old time. There were no concrete plans, just food we wanted to eat, and a bar or two we wanted to go to. There were originally supposed to be 9 of us, I believe. But after plans fell through, we ended with just 5. Which was fine. We all have the ability to sit around and laugh a lot no matter who is in attendance.

Top 10 things we did, in no particular order other than I numbered them

1. Ate Med Bread from Pizza Ranch. OMG, that is good stuff!! (It's pizza without the sauce and just cheese. But I'm convinced they put some sort of cheesy induced crack on it because you just can't get enough.) And by the way, the only Pizza Ranch that makes it is in Decorah, so it's a must every time!
2. Had ice cream at the Whippy Dip. A little walk up ice cream shop but totally beats out any DQ. Their Ice Cream Sunday comes in a plastic boat, in a cardboard box, it's that big.
3. Went hiking at the Ice Caves and Dunning's Springs. At the Ice Caves we climbed a bunch of rocks and saw Decorah from a good height and distance. And at Dunning's, well I was just in awe of how pretty it is. I'm a bit bummed I didn't go there more often when I was in college.
4. Ate. We snacked all day. I left the cabin more full than I ever remember being. we had lots of cereal. Sugary, really bad cereal too. That is one of the joys of being a grown-up, you can eat like a kid if you want. And we went to some of our favorite restaurants, for old times and good foods sake.
5. Played games. This group of friends has always been big on board games. And we played a new one to me called Pit. It's loud, fast, and easy. Just like me! HA! (Just kidding, Family.)
6. We had a fire almost every night. Much laughter was shared around that fire.
7. we drank. It's not a weekend getaway with these friends unless there is some booze involved.
8. We toured the college campus and were amazed at all the new things they are doing. Renovating and improving. In fact we joked that the college was doing very well without our alumni donations!
9. We watched movies that we all had seen a hundred times before, so it wasn't bothersome when we said all the lines right along with the movie. I don't know about any of you, but I love to recite movie lines when the movie is playing and it drives some people crazy. So when you are with others who do it too, well it's oddly comforting.
10. And I'm going to be corny here, we made new memories. We all were saying that this was something we want to become an annual thing. Same weekend, perhaps in other towns. But it was so great to be with each other again that it needs to happen more often.

And a picture or two from the trip.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It really is the little things

Love is someone like you, a total stranger, giving someone like me a glimmer of hope. A twinge in my heart, a feeling so deep that is awakend. A tear trickles down my face as the dam to my heart has broken and the twin rivers of my eyes are flowing. Life can be so hard and unkind...Sometimes you just forget how to feel, and then a total stranger awakens you...and reminds you that there are good people out there.

Thank you for being you,
A Friend

This is from a website that I found because someone had written it on the sidewalk of the intersection in front of my house,

I have bookmarked it and check it out about once a week. It doesn't get updated much but when it does, it makes my whole being smile.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

One night at a bar

Last Friday night my girlfriend Kerstin and I went out on the town. I love going out with her, she is always game for anything, and is of the few girlfriends who don't flake out at the last minute. A true friend.

Anyway, we went to Stella's in Uptown for some drinks, had a bit of food, and enjoyed the roof tap patio despite the stiff breeze. Now Stella's is across the street from a new favorite place of ours called Cowboy Slim's. It's not swanky, it certainly isn't country (everyone there is too damn pretty and far too trendy for it top be country) It's just a new hip hot spot where all the popped-collars, Ed Hardy wearing fools go, along with the tiny skirts and hair-flipping bimbos. Keep in mind, Kerstin and I don't fall into either category so I'm not sure why we go to this place. But we always have fun when we do!

Boys buy us drinks, we laugh A LOT, plus it's good people watching. Watch people get hit on, shot down, mingle and scope the crowd. It's fun.

Now this bar has one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen working there. He is so gorgeous! And the first time we went, I had just enough beer in me to tell him so. In fact I told him he was young-Marlon-Brando-handsome. He seemed genuinely touched as he rubbed my shoulder and said thank you. (And yes, I thought about never washing that shirt again.) I had to tell him. I had no other motive in mind, I just had to say it.

Well, he certainly remembers me. I mean, who wouldn't? Especially when you're at work and someone tells you they look like a stunning movie star from old Hollywood. And as of last Friday night he really won't forget me. Or perhaps it's more like I really won't forget him.

Kerstin and I are at the bar hanging with some boys (and I say boys because the oldest was 26, they were out celebrating their friend's engagement, but mostly I say it because I was called a pre-cougar. A puma, if you will. Look it up, if you don't catch the reference.) They are buying us drinks and we all are having a grand time. Near the end of the night one of them asks me to dance. We are on the dance floor, he's spinning me, we're flirting. And suddenly I'm on the floor.


I go ass over tea-kettle (well not really, but that phrase certainly brings an image to your head) and fall flat on my right hip. The floor was wet, I had on super cute, no traction shoes and the boy spun me and down I go.

Fine. We all fall in bars. It's a little embarrassing. But you get up, laugh it off and go on with the night.

Not me. Not this night. Not this fall.

Because who picks me up off the floor? My beautiful Marlon Brando bartender. Yep, my dreamy hunk from Cowboy Slim's picks up my broken self, asks if I'm OK, then proceeds to mop up the wet whatever that I fell on and in.

Nothing embarrasses me. I can usually shake embarrassing things off fairly quickly. Not this time. I was humiliated. Just because some handsome man that I am lusting over was nice enough to pick me up when I fell. I've never been so shocked at something I had done that I hadn't had a quick remark to follow it. Soon after it was bar close. And Kerstin and I went home.

But I have not stopped thinking about it. I have told many people, it's funny. And many have responded with a "That was your chance!" "You should have jumped on the opportunity!" "Go back and ask him out!" But I just, well I don't know. He's so pretty. He's so out of my league.

Why don't we ever just go for it? We as men and women have this odd and unknowable boundary of when and where and how to ask someone out. The worst they are going to say is no and nothing is hurt but a little bit of your pride. I preach this stuff all the time but sometimes when faced with the perfect chance to do it, I can't. Well, not all the time. Just this one. With the falling and the one too many, and the cute cute boy who picked me up who knows I think he's so cute. It's just too much.

But it sure is funny. I still get an image of me falling and I giggle. People falling is funny.