Sunday, October 24, 2010


The time has come for me to avoid Starbucks. It’s not like I am officially boycotting them or anything, but my new vow is to search out all alternatives before settling on the Starbucks experience.(

Now, I actually love Starbucks. I love the consistency. I love the familiarity. I love that Howard Schultz provides health care to his P/T employees. You have to admire a lone Seattle based coffeehouse that grew to become the world’s largest coffeehouse company with over 16,000 stores and 300 more to open in 2010 alone.

So then you might ask, what’s my problem? My problem is children. Children with parents. I don’t know. I remember my very first cappuccino. It was at a small roasting company in Olympia Washington in the mid 80’s. The store was called Batdorf and Bronson, and I’m betting they are still there. It was incredible. These delicious icy cold cream ladened espressos gave many of us license to consume these several hundred calorie milkshakes, calling them “coffee” – no guilt attached. It became a weekly treat and now one that has manifested into a daily habit. I guess that explains the 16,000 stores. But it was an adult experience. It was a bar without the alcohol. The European coffeehouse was finally born in America and gave all of us adults our own hang out. We’d outgrown hanging in front of the 7-11 or meeting at Tommy's house, we now had our new place. Serving us more than just coffee concoctions and pastries, the coffeehouse was feeding our need to belong, a place of our own, a few minutes to escape and spend time among our peers. 

But it didn’t take long before the Moms, the vans and the children began arriving. Meeting the other moms in the morning, dressed in their work-out clothes, with their Buick sized strollers, taking up way too much space in the line and then plopping themselves and their offspring at the nearest table. It was beginning to look and feel like a parent run day care. So now Starbucks had to make a choice, and the choice they made I guess some would call good business sense. They added to their menu. Lots more doughnuts, mini-scones and non-coffee related items for the little ones. We’ve got the vanilla cream, strawberry cream, chocolate milk, juice boxes, you’re gonna make me scream here! So, as my blood pressure is rising, and I’m waiting in line to get my tall, non-fat, two pump mocha, extra hot with whip, I am behind two moms with their 5 kids between them. Instead of just placing the order, which I’m sure they could have figured out BEFORE they got to the front of the line, it’s more like this; “Jimmy, what do you want sweetie? You want banana bread or a blueberry muffin” The drooling little 4 year old, placing his germy little hands all over the pastry counter, can’t decide. I can’t help but keep checking the time because I, unlike Mother Theresa ahead of me, needs to be at work. In about 20 minutes. I probably sound selfish here (and I am) but I just feel like this is my place. This should be a kid-free zone. This is a place for me and my adult friends. Take your kids to McDonald Land or home. Someplace that it is okay for them to scream and yell and run. Where they can be kids and you aren’t over there scolding them over and over again to stay seated, to pick the muffin up off the floor, to quit standing up on their chair (the one that I would like to sit on but now your kid has left grimy little foot prints that I don’t want on my black work pants).

So Starbucks, sadly you just became a little too family friendly for me. So the families can have you. Because it is about much more than coffee, it is the whole package, the whole ambiance, creating a feeling that makes you feel whole. There are more and more small coffee houses popping up all over the country. And while they might be a bit slower on the pull, do some unnecessary latte art on my cappuccino, and occasionally run out of soy milk, more and more adults are gravitating to them. And I am right behind them, patiently waiting in line.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trace Bundy - Pachelbel's Canon

After my previous blog complaining as usual about life and hardships and not playing fair, I realized I occasionally have to add something of beauty to the world, or else what is the purpose? Since I can't play any musical instrument well enough to share with you, or paint you a picture that could speak a thousand words, I will share this song from Trace Bundy.

I have nothing more to say about this except - incredible. I have always loved this song - never heard it played like this and I just wanted to share this with whoever is out there tonight - because what a lovely way to end a day. Stevie and Olivia this is for both of you - xoxo


My extremely hectic schedule of late has kept me from many things I love doing, one of them is blogging. I have little post-it notes, scraps of paper including the backs of deposit slips with half sentences and words here and there. All things that got my attention and I wanted to make sure to jot them down – so that I could blog about them later. But I haven’t had a minute with my current six day work week until now. So I am going to take full advantage of this next little peaceful hour, the hum of my dryer in the background, dogs barking in the distance, and spend some quality time with my computer.

Some of the subject matter that I have in my bag full of tricks is; Facebook once again, gratuities, Starbucks and children, my addiction to the computer and a few others, but I have to start with my most current thought of today. Making a living, or "the things that we are reduced to do for cash compensation". Okay, so why today? It’s not like this is new territory for me. But when I saw the human billboard, a scary costumed adult waving the “Halloween Costume Outlet” store sign on busy I-80, in temperatures exceeding 88 degrees (I can imagine how hot he was inside the ridiculous costume they had him wearing), I couldn’t help feel sad. And I wondered how he/she felt. No doubt extremely happy that they were in full body armor so as not to be recognized. I can't help but feel bad for the man in the chicken costume outside the fried chicken fast food restaurant, or the people out waving those stupid “Open House” signs that are hired to be in constant motion. Dance, move, wave, do whatever you can do to get the moron in the car driving by to look at you. Now that in itself should be unlawful. Like we don’t have enough to watch out for. I almost caused an accident pulling over to give the crazy dancer a $20 after I saw the car ahead throw a piece of what I'm guessing to be rotting fruit at him.  He is an incredible dancer, I've seen him week after week - if I would of had an extra $100 I would have given it to him– he so deserved it! Now I know these people are making the “big money” out there (minimum wage) and sure, they should be grateful they have a job, but I do know a thing or two about what it costs to live, and I’m assuming you do too, and they aren’t making enough to live. So they have to supplement. Somehow. And these aren’t just high school kids with a part-time job to earn a little extra spending money.  I’ve seen men older than me out shaking their bootie on the street corner with the Domino’s sign. And I didn’t see a whole lot of joy in their face. My guess is that they weren’t doing it because they were simply “bored” with their retirement and needed something to do.

I started thinking about how at one time not that many years ago, we all had something that we could do, that we were good at. Mr. Carpenter, Mr. Smith (blacksmith), Mr. Hunter, Mr. Baker, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Barber and it goes on and on. They could barter their wares or their services. Some grew corn, some made pretty beads. It was a fair exchange. Especially if you like beads :) Today it seems the majority of us never get to really find out what we are good at. Or what makes our heart sing. Or at least what makes us feel somewhat fulfilled and appreciated for the services we can provide. We get pushed into working and then get stuck in the muck. Vicious cycle. Not everyone has the same opportunities and I am sick of hearing people say that “everyone has the same opportunity”. We have no idea what that someone in the Chicken costume has been through in his life, how his cards have been dealt and played out and what obligations or circumstances he has had to endure.

We only have so much time here on this earth, and it really isn’t that much time at all. It just seems so sad to have to spend the majority of your time wearing a stupid outfit, getting paid a very low wage, which usually in turn means no benefits, and then going home only to get up and go do it again the next day. Talk about killing the human spirit.

I am not writing about this to argue any point, the old, “not everyone can be a doctor you know, someone has to take out the trash” point – yes, that I can appreciate. It is just that isn’t one service virtually as important as the next? Yes, I need a doctor when I’m sick. But I need farm workers daily so I can eat, I need garbage men weekly to take all of my disgusting waste somewhere far far from me (heaven only knows where that is), and I need someone very talented to make my shoes (preferably of Italian descent). Every one of those services is priceless if all of a sudden there is no one there to do them. And in my very small world, I don't know any Mr. Weavers or Mr. Shoemakers to barter with. It would just be nice to see some respect for a job well done, whatever that "job" may be.

Falling back in Love