Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Through the Barista

So when I said that I'm not consistent with much in life, I wasn't kidding. Let us just get it out of the way and say that I royally suck at blogging. I'm okay with that. I hope the reader is too.
Through this blog I want to reflect on my current occupation, slingin' coffee. Working at Starbucks has become much more than merely serving coffee. It is my home away from home. It is the place where my friends are found, a place where I have a niche, and a place where I share my passion with others. Though serving up tasty beverages is a blast, the most dynamic and interesting parts of my job are the customers. I can't help but wonder about their lives, jobs, and families every time they come in. It is such a limited scope that I see their lives through. I find it humorous how I define them, and that is what I'd like to share with you today. It is my goal to give you a glimpse into my customers at Starbucks, the way I see them.
A typical morning at The Bux runs about the same. The overnight crew scurries to get done the last bit of cleaning, and the early morning crew drags in half asleep. Students sit in the lobby with bloodshot wide eyes hauling butt to get that procrastinated paper done by 8am. The caffeine seems to be working, they look focused and their fingers fly across the key board. I hope they get it done. Nurses and business commuters to Indy come through the drive way, in a slight rush. Venti red-eyes are the norm (brewed coffee with one shot of espresso).
She comes in almost every morning, a stronger women. Who knows her story? Why is she up so early? She has her own cup recycled Starbucks cup. Black ice tea, no water. Fifty-four cents. Frequently she'll just ask for a whole glass of tea, no water, no ice. I see right through you lady. We are all frugal these days, but I'm charging you fifty-four cents, and you're taking most of my black tea. Actually, you're taking three times the amount that everyone else gets for two twenty-five. And I know you'd throw a fit if I told you about your stealing bargain. Just say yes Brooklyn. You're a very pleasant lady, I like your home-made drink sleeve, I hope you have a nice day.
"Thank you for stopping at Starbucks today, this is Brooklyn, would you like to try a Pumpkin Spice Latte today?" "No Brooklyn, I'd like aVenti Coffee with cream." "Rose-Mary, get the heck over here!" It's the first of three, she'll be back so if I don't have time to ask her how she is this time around, all is well. Cigarette in her fingers, she has her two dollars and a dime ready for me. I love this lady.
"Thank you for stopping at Starbucks today, this is Brooklyn, I'm sure you'd like to try our Peppermint Mocha Twist today!" "Venti Coffee with Cream" "Hi Jim! Come on around!" Get that pup cup ready, store 2727's favorite dog is coming around. I have no idea what Jim does, but I know that in about two hours he'll come back through, "I'd like a Venti Cappiccino, with an extra shot, and could you add a little whip cream."
"Thanks for stopping at Starbucks today, this is Brooklyn, would you like to try an Espresso Truffle today?" "That's okay. Can I have a Venti Americano with a little steamed non-fat milk?" "You sure can, I'll see you at the window." I've never asked for his name, but he's a really nice guy. His big shiny black car is easily recognizable in the drive-thru camera. He'll never get up set for having wait an extra minute for an unexpected espresso error. With his hair slicked straight back, and in his business attire, I'd never be able to imagine him as a silly dad with fifteen children running around causing incredible ruckus. He's too formal at Starbucks. I'm sure he makes a fantastic business man, he carries a professional look.
A huge rumble at the speaker box usually lets me know she's here. "Thanks for stopping at Starbucks today, this is Brooklyn, can I offer you a Gingersnap Latte today?" "Hey baby girl. I wanna Mocha Frappiccino Grande with a shot of espresso." "Hi Lil' Chris!! I'll get that started for you!" This girl rocks. She is so adorable and drive a ridiculously old orange truck with black racing stripes on the hood." She cuts my hair every six weeks, and is only about 5 foot on her best day. Her cute self bring joy to my morning every time she comes in.
"Hello?" "Thank you for sto..." "I neeeeeeed a latte, with sugar free vanilla, no, sugar free hazelnut, can you put both?" "Yes we can" "Okay, so both of those in a Venti, iced, with a paper thing around a the side." "Okay, did you want all the pumps of syrup in it, or just half and half?" "Yes." "Oooookay? Go ahead and pull around." It happens a lot, you just have to laugh, otherwise you might start getting depressed.
""Thank you for stopping at Starbucks today, this is Brooklyn, would you like to try a Salted Carmel Hot Signature Hot Chocolate today?" "No. I want a tall sugar free vanilla latte with skinny milk, no foam, and a multi-grain roll very lightly toasted." Ladies and gentlemen, now enters Princess. She didn't get her name for exquisite demeanor. Nope. It is because if her drink has the lightest foam on the top (which kinda happen naturally with good steamed milk), she wants you to remake it. If there is not enough sugar-free vanilla (even if it is more than you would normally put in), you must add more. If her multi-grain roll is too hot, its bad. If it is too cold, it's bad. This lady is not afraid to be rude and merciless. It's incredible. Good part - I've become friends with her by chatting with her about her boy that she corresponds with on the internet, and she likes me. It works. Bring it on Princess.
"Hey pretty lady, I haven't seen you in some time." Oh no. Please don't talk to me. Creep-show is here. "Haha, hi!" Please let this be the end of our conversation. I'm sssooo uncomfortable. I'm sorry you had to work all last night, and that you work 12 hours tonight. Really I am. I really think you should stop looking at me now. Somebody get him his Venti coffee refill, get the 2% out of the fridge, and please just let me keep busy so I don't have to talk to him. I feel bad, I really do. I just get freaked out by him. Please exit Creep-show.
One of my favorite families comes into the store quite often. The mom wants a non-fat chai, the dad wants a non-fat mocha stirred, the son wants a regular mocha with no whip cream stirred, and his new fiancé gets either an iced or hot no water chai. Her ring is so simple. Neither of them make much, but their joy for one another makes up for it. She works at a local coffee shop, so it's nice to see her in here. I just love watching her light up while talking to him. So perfect. So in love.
"Thanks for stopping at Starbucks today, this is Brooklyn, would you like to try a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin today?" "Well that sounds good, but I need to take care of my Sweetheart." [Insert simultaneous groan by all who have a headset on]. "My Sweetheart wants a Venti Cinnamon Dulce Frappaccino Light with no whip cream. Make sure you make that real good now. I gotta take care of my Sweetheart. And I want a Venti Cinnamon Dulce Latte fully loaded with two shot of espresso and whipped cream." The best part of this story is that every time I take their money, they pay me with their medicine bottles full of coins. And I'm not so fortunate for it to be all quarters. Ten dollars in miscellaneous coins is rough. Don't show angst Brooklyn. You love your job... remember?
Then there are the one timers that make their scar. Kind of like a really bad one hit wonder. "Yes I need a Peppermint Mocha Twist, non-fat. I don't want any espresso in it, just coffee in the same amount." "You realize that you're probably paying more than you need. I can just charge for a steamer with syrup and put a little coffee in for you!" "No I want the Peppermint Mocha Twist." "Did you want the whip cream on that?" "Yes" "Here you go. Have a nice day." "Ummm hello? I wanted it iced." "So you want iced coffee in it with peppermint and mocha?" "Yeah I have medication so I can't have caffeine. I just want like a third of the drink coffee." "A third? Would you like just one decaf shot in it so you aren't getting caffeine and you can still taste the coffee flavor, but not too much?" "No." Whatever. "Here you go." "This has whipped cream." "Yeah, I thought you said you wanted it?" "Know what? Whatever. What's your corporate number?" "1-800-STARBUX" "And your name?" "Brooklyn" "Great, I'll be reporting you." For helping you? "Okay, have a great day!" Just say yes Brooklyn. Some people seemed to get worked up over coffee. Maybe something tragic happened in their life, and I was the easiest person to vent something on. I guess that's okay. It happens to the best of us I suppose.
Araf comes in often for his tall Peppermint Mocha, and he is always a joy to talk to. I don't know his story, but he has think accent. It's sweet. His children come in with him and get Strawberry Creme Frappuccinos. They too are precious.
Billy is a kick. Mocha Frappaccino with three shots. He works two jobs 6 days a week, and one on Sunday. She is always so happy, but you can see he is worn out. What a hard worker. His wife is so pleasant. She's partially deaf, but is really good at carrying on a conversation. They work so well together, and he adores her.

These people are one of the best parts of my life. I love what I do. The people that come into the store make my day so unpredictable. I love my job. I LOVE working for the corporate monster Starbucks. It's not the company though, it’s not the free-trade coffee. It's the relationships with my partners and the people that come in to enjoy a cup of coffee that makes me excited to get out of bed each day and serve up a delicious cup of joe.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Intentional Living

As I thought, my record already isn't too good with this blog thing. It's time, and I've given myself fifteen minutes to compose this blog... I needed to somehow fit it into my schedule.
These past few days I've been thinking about what this next blog should be about. I think I have these lofty goals of what my blog should be, and in reality, that's impossible. It will take a while, but my blog is going to be raw composers and thoughts. They'll be unedited, sometimes incoherent, thoughts on a wide variety of things. There will not be a set length, a picture quota... nothing. It's stress free, just how I need it.
There has been a lot going on lately and there is SO many exciting things I could write about. Such as my surprise vacation to Colorado. Hello! I have the best husband ever. But, this morning something really struck me hard. During my quiet time, I composed a list from Colossians 3 as to what Christians should "put on" and what Christians should "take off." It was incredible. I've always know how as in the likeness of Christ we are to be set-apart, but I've never had a visual list like this. It goes something like this:
Take off:
  • Sexual Immorality
  • Impurity
  • Lust
  • Evil Desires
  • Greed
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Malice
  • Slander
  • Filthy Language
Put on:
  • Compassion
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Patience
  • Forgiveness
  • Love
  • The Knowledge of the Word of Christ
What a difference. Seriously? This is a difference that most people do not understand. When Christ wanted us to be set apart, he REALLY meant it. It is not as though we mean to do any of the things on the "take off" list, but we do... usually without any conviction. I feel overwhelmed by the standard of Christ, but I love the grace God gives me from day to day. Thank you Jesus that You'll continue to give me grace everyday.
So there you go. Chew on that for a little bit, I think it will blow your mind.

I'll put some pictures up from our journey out to Colorado. It was perfect how everything worked out. Daniel's company bought a vehicle from Denver on ebay. They were going to ship it out here, but Daniel showed then that it was way cheaper for them to send us both out via plane, have us pick it up, stay in the Springs for a few days, and drive it back. Our food was paid for, a hotel room on the way back, and we spent a day in St. Louis to sight see. In Colorado Springs we spent a lot of time with our families. Daniel's family had soccer games all weekend, so we went to those. My family was having a BBQ, so we got to spend a day eating amazing food with them.
This is my sister, Morgan, and Daniel...gearing up to ride The Hog.

Daniel and my little brother, Kevin, on The Hog
My parents at their birthday party (My dad turned 50 and my mom turned 40) This is just precious :)
My perspective of the St. Louis Arch
Daniel's perspective
This had to be intentional in the city plans. The City Hall framed perfectly by the Arch. Saweeet!

I feel like there should be a benediction right here...
Until next time Ghostrider.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In The Beginning...

This is suppose to be a simple ordeal, starting a blog. I am not very consistent in much that I do in life, so we'll see how long this blogging deal keeps up.

I plan to do a lot, and probably very little, with this here blog. I figure I can document all sorts of fun, not fun, enlightening, and memorable moments for others to enjoy. I can share gluten-free recipes with those who are gluten intolerant, and for those who are just looking to try something new. It should be interesting none-the-less, and an outlet for creativity.

I'll start with a little about my life. I'll go a few years back and work my way forward. I graduated from a small charter academy high school about 3 years ago. After transferring from a public high school after freshman year, I went to The Classical Academy for the last three years of high school. It was there I found myself, my interests, and my husband. After graduating, I went to The King's College in New York City. The school was in the basement of the Empire State Building. I LOVED it. I love New York City with my whole body. I plan on living there someday. I suppose I shouldn't plan on anything... let us just say I'm lobbying with God for Daniel landing an amazing job in NYC for a few years. Speaking of Daniel, it was this time that he entered my life. We were good friends in high school, but it was the summer before I left for NYC that we spent a lot of time together. We hiked Pikes Peak together that summer, and it was the first time that I really really really wanted to get to know this kid better.
This is us at the top of Pikes Peak.
Once I moved out to NYC, we talked everyday either via email or telephone. EVERYDAY. I'd never kept in touch so well with anyone. He was interested in my life and how I was doing. I liked that. There was always an ear to listen, and a witty comment when I needed one. He soon became my best friend. Since we were long distance, nothing really moved from a friendship while I was away. However, I had high hopes for that Christmas break of 2006. We were inseparable the whole vacation. I'm sure I'll tell many stories of Daniel, but there is one in particular that sent me head over heals for this boy. It was a ridiculously stormy morning, in fact, I'm pretty sure Colorado Springs was under a blizzard warning. Snow made it impossible to drive, the weather really was frightful. I talked to Daniel on the phone, he said he wanted to hang out. I thought, actually knew, he was crazy. There was no way to get anywhere! Twenty minutes later my doorbell rings, and I open the door to this 6"4' boy covered with snow up to his waist, and his face covered in icicles. He really was going to hangout, and he ran from his house (which was about 2 miles away) to my house just to hang out. I knew from the beginning, but he continuously reminds me how much he cares for me. I have never opened the car door for myself, never walked on the street side of the sidewalk, and never had a doubt in my mind that Daniel Mesward was the man God sent me. Okay, enough gooshy-ness. Fast Forward. Just less than a year later we got engaged (I'll tell you that story soon), and six months after that we got married. 06-07-08: I married my best friend. The best day of my life. I'll save that story for later.This is us about to go to his senior prom (he is a year younger than me).
So where am I now? To make a long story short... Daniel goes to a really awesome school called Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. He's studying Mechanical Engineering. So, we are here...(there) Terre Haute. I'm taking the year off to get residency, and he's going to catch up the year in school. It's perfect. I'm hopefully going to go to ISU in Terre Haute next year, and we'll graduate the same time. We live a quaint little home that we decorated accordingly, and we pretty much love being married. I'm sure I'll be writing a lot about my life as a barista at Starbucks... and I'll share with you the agony that Daniel goes through with school :)
Thus ends my first blog. I'm excited. Let's just hope it goes beyond this.