Friday, March 6, 2009

World's Most Negligent Blogger Returns...

Okay, so now I get the prize for “most negligent blogger in the universe”! I don’t know what happened – Thanksgiving, Christmas, shopping, company, company, company…and working 2 part-time jobs, plus obligations at church and home… can anyone help me with more excuses?? Nevermind, at last I’m returning to share a few very random thoughts.

--First, in November, the church Dwayne and I have been a part of for 30 years moved into our new building! (another excuse – helping with the big MOVE!) The dedication service was in December, and here are a couple of pics. We are so thrilled with our new facility, but also thankful to be part of such a wonderful community. If you’re in or near New Braunfels, come visit us at the corner of FM 725 and Klein Rd. We’d love to have you.

I love to take walks down our country road – it’s peaceful; beautiful sunsets; and the mountain laurel have started blooming, the first sign of spring. Usually the air is permeated with the distinctive fragrance of grape soda pop. But this year, due to the extreme drought we’re experiencing, none of the wildflowers have much of a chance. And right now, there’s another competing fragrance… it’s skunk mating season in South Texas. So, as I was walking recently, noticing the mountain laurel and hoping for the usual heady fragrance, all I could detect was the distinct odor of skunk! And, twice within the past week, while walking down the driveway to get the morning paper (about 100 yards to the road), Dwayne has been confronted with a skunk sauntering around in the front yard or in the driveway… guess what? The skunk won, and Dwayne retreated to the house without the paper. I hope skunk mating season doesn’t last long!

--In a few weeks we’ll be leaving to visit Julie, Brian, and Justin in the Philippines. Julie is completing her Masters Degree, so we’ll get to watch her graduate. Jessica will be coming from Denver, so we’ll have a mini family reunion in Manila. Next time I add to this blog, I’ll have a picture of Julie in cap and gown, and of course, more of Justin, the world’s cutest grandson.

-- I’m sure you’ve heard about Starbucks closing stores across the country; well, you can be assured that the New Braunfels one is NOT closing. Our business may have slowed a little, but my feet don’t know it, after a 5-hour shift this morning, with only about 5 or 10 minutes to sit down between 5 AM and nearly 10. Our regular customers still show up every day, the coffee is just as good, and the job is still fun! So, come see us at Starbucks, and let us make your day better. J

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Jill's Returning to Her Childhood"... or... "Candidate for Husband-of-the-Year"

In order to fully understand this saga, you need to know what the Starbucks "uniform" consists of: black or khaki pants; white or black collared shirt; black or brown closed-toe shoes; Starbucks hat or visor; Starbucks green apron. Because of what I already had in my closet, and because I'm rather frugal (tight, some would say) I wear khaki pants and either a white or black shirt, usually white, 'cause I don't wear much black (it makes me look older, I think.) The green apron, as you probably know, covers most of the shirt and pants. However, not all...

For many years, Dwayne has been helping with the household duties by doing the laundry every weekend, and I must say, he does a great job of sorting, treating, washing, drying... the whole 9 yards. Since I've started my barista career, it's provided him with new challenges, i.e. chocolate on shirt sleeves; coffee stains all over the bottom of the pants legs; and just about everything served at Starbucks on the green aprons (whipped cream, sticky syrup, coffee, chocolate, pastry residue, etc, etc.) Recently, marker stain on white shirt was a good one.

Last weekend, as he was starting a load of laundry, and very efficiently pre-treating garments, Dwayne was heard to lament, "Since you started working at Starbucks, it's like having a little kid again, with stains all over her clothes... only, Julie and Jessie were almost never this messy!"

So, although I'm thoroughly enjoying my barista-ing, and happily wiping messy hands on my apron as I smile at and chat with customers, and typically spilling just about everything on myself (have you seen me in my own kitchen?!)... this has created more work for Dwayne. So, to my faithful and hard-working spouse, I say "THANK YOU, DWAYNE, for supporting me in my job. Not only by not not fussing when the alarm goes off before 4 AM, but also by continuing to be such a great 'helper' in the laundry room!"

If every barista had such a supportive partner, the world would undoubtedly be a better place.
Also, just a note... I took a required food-safety-handling course this past week. Yikes! The information dispensed was enough to convince you to NEVER eat out again! Just want you all to know that at Starbucks, we only handle your food with gloves on and using utensils, and we NEVER allow any germs in any coffee, frappuccinos, or any other beverage. So, just don't take any of those courses... what you don't know can't hurt you! ;-)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where does the time go??

Wow - I can't believe it's been a month since I posted anything! I didn't intend to be so lax about this.

I was just wondering recently, why do I really like this job?! I'm getting paid less than I have in over 2 decades, the hours can be crazy.... but, I really do enjoy coming to work! So, I've been thinking about it... I've always enjoyed entertaining in our home; I love coffee; I really like being around young people; I love visiting with friends and meeting new people; my psyche is a lot happier when I'm out working than when I'm staying home most of the goes on and on. So working at Starbucks satisfies just about all of those -- it's like having people over for coffee, making new friends... AND I get paid for it! What a great job for this aging grandma!

One of my newest hobbies is quilting, and I recently made Jessica a "coffee" quilt for her birthday. Some of my partners saw it before I took it to Denver for Jessica, and I'm now going to make a couple of wall hangings for our store with some leftover fabric. I've attached a pic so you can see what it looks like. Whenever I get a chance to make them, I'll post a pic of them in the store. But, since I'm working 2 part-time jobs now, it's taking me a lot longer to get to any quilting! I'll just have to make some time for it!

Thanks to all of you who are interested enough to read and comment to this blog. It's a challenge for me to figure out how to make it work, and what to say, and it's fun to read your comments. So, I must go now so I can make time to make a couple of coffee wall hangings!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

B2S... or... Starbucks Daycare?!

I don't know about what's going on in your part of the world, but here in Texas this is Back-To-School week... and that was apparent in Starbucks. I helped open the store Monday at 5 AM (actually, we open at 5:30), and by 6:30 or 7:00, in came the teachers wanting large doses of caffeine, frappuccinos and pastries for comfort food on the first day of students back in the classroom. And, along came the many police officers headed out to the school zones (hooray for them!) Soon, the high school girls came in (don't know where the boys were), all dressed in their new school clothes, needing one last treat (usually including chocolate) before the first day. It was interesting to watch them stealing glances at one another, gauging clothes, new hairstyles, and who-knows-what may have changed over the summer. The last group to come through were the parents with older elementary kids... parents needing caffeine, younger ones all dressed up, nervous, and needing a do-nut. It was really fun! (I was also glad I wasn't going back!)

However, about 9:00 we had another group of B2S visitors -- 5 moms with pre-schoolers, all under the age of 4... seven kids, at least. I surmise that they'd dropped off the older ones at school and were enjoying the first day of their school-year freedom. Soon the tables and chairs began to resemble either an uncontrolled daycare center, or a war zone... take your pick. There were a couple of "screamers" in the pre-school set, and my co-worker Dena nearly went crazy. I'm sure none of these moms were fans of Dare to Discipline, as the chaos seemed to increase during the 45 minutes to an hour they were there. As soon as I could after they left, I took broom, dustpan, and cleaning rag to the 'war zone.' There were at least 2 donuts crumbled and smashed on the floor, amid the goldfish crumbs and Cheerios. Tables, chairs, and highchairs were all covered and in disarray... and, some little tyke had up-chucked part of his breakfast on the floor, and no one had bothered to tell us! Sometimes Starbucks isn't the peaceful, coffee shop retreat that we'd like it to be.

So, if you're ever visiting your local Starbucks, and the atmosphere isn't all you'd wish, please don't blame it on the establishment. Just let someone know if there's something mysterious that needs to be cleaned up, and give us another chance! ;-)

PS - a couple of police officers came back through several hours later and reported that there were no 'incidents' on the first day -- hooray for them and all they do to keep our school zones safe!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

C is for Caramel...

Yes, C is for caramel, but so is CR, depending on the drink, and C is also for cappucinno, and M is for mocha, but is it also for mint?!?!?! And, if I mark the wrong one on the cup (or, use the right one, but put it in the wrong place!), the barista makes the wrong drink, which goes down the drain, and he starts all over! AAAGGGHHH!

Well, as you can see, the confusion still reigns. I'm not nearly as exhausted, but as sure as I think I know something, I find out there are 3 more things I don't know (or, don't remember... or, mis-remember!) But, I realized that when one only works part-time, it takes twice as long (or longer) to learn one's job, because if I don't go to work for 2 or 3 days, I'm not getting as much practice, and I have longer to forget! So, that makes me feel better. Also, all my partners (as employees of Starbucks are called) tell me I'm doing fine, and it will come. Except Ed, who teases and tells me I'm hopeless, and I'll never get it... and I'm sure he's only kidding! ;-) I work with great people, most of them 'kids'. Devon just got engaged last night, and we don't work together until next week, so I'll just have to wait to hear all about it; I met Daniel's 4-month-old baby this past week, a real cutey, and it makes me miss Justin! Bess frequently starts the day with me at 5 AM, and she's a sweetheart; Dylan does the sound at his church, and also usually begins the day at 5. Except this past Monday, he came in and found out that he was scheduled for 5 PM, and he was not a happy camper! ;-)

So, I'm beginning to become assimilated into Starbucks life... and, it's fun! I love talking with all the customers when I ring up their coffee and pastries as they start their day. I've seen some old friends, and am making some new ones. All the teachers started back to school this week, some of them ready, and some of them really dragging! Boy, can I remember! Many came in for a jolt of caffeine to get through all that in-service. Claudine, a retiree from someplace cold up north, comes in every day and wants a hug. Greg comes in before daylight to get his coffee and read his paper. Laura comes in with the smallest thermal mug I've ever seen, and fills it up each morning... We really are a neighborhood coffeeshop. :-)

I'm also still working part-time at my Aflac, so I'm keeping quite busy -- but they say we can keep Alzheimer's at bay if we keep our minds active. I'm hoping it works!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grandma's tired... and still bewildered

Okay, Kids and any other interested readers, here goes my first attempt at blogging (a new verb since I taught English!)

I trained at Starbucks for just over 2 weeks, and this has been my first week to work sort-of on my own... I still need lots of support. My first shift was yesterday from 5:00 AM til 11:30 AM. Although only 6 hours, it felt like 12! It's been awhile since I got up at 3:30 to go to work, and I didn't sleep very well, constantly trying to remember how many pumps and shots and scoops went into 20 million different drinks. Fortunately, they were wise enough not to put me on the espresso bar making drinks! I helped grind coffee, make coffee, put out pastries, and then stood at the cash register for about 5 hours. I had no idea how many people came into Starbucks to get caffeine before daylight! Somehow I survived, the customers eventually got served, and I dragged myself home for a good nap. I felt like I'd been run over by a train... actually, it felt a bit like jet-lag -- that exhausted, headachey, weird feeling. But I slept like a log last night and today am back to normal (a day off.)

Tomorrow I go in again at 5:00 AM, and the next day at 6:45 AM. Should I have ever mentioned that I'm a "morning person"?!? When will I ever learn not to talk so much?!

But, I'm planning on actually knowing what I'm doing someday! My good friend Adam, a 4-year-plus veteran barista in Boston, tells me that I will be confused for about 2 to 3 months. Let's see... about Thanksgiving I should be feeling comfortable at this. I think I can last that long... with some encouragement from my friends!

Oh, by the way, the Asst. Manager who trained me is a "boy" I taught in Middle School... and, I've known his mom since before he was born! He's a GREAT manager, trainer, and barista! He can do about 6 things at once, be friendly at the same time, and get it all right! I don't ever aspire to be as good at barista-ing as he is; I can't move that fast. But, it's great to have an "old" friend there to help me learn! Thanks, Derrell!! And, all the people I work with are great -- very patient with this Grandma and very helpful! That makes me look forward to more days at Starbucks!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A New Adventure

This blog is to document the latest adventure in Jill's never-dull life - working at Starbucks! For those of us who love her dearly, we're so excited about this new adventure, and we want to hear everything about it - from the frustrations of trying to memorize the hundreds of different ways a simple cup of coffee can be made to the quirky, interesting characters who wander in and quickly become lifelong friends (as only Jill can orchestrate). So, Jill, start writing - we anxiously await the next chapter of your life! And, we also anxiously await our starbucks coffee gifts! ;)