Your local barista maestro

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I finally made it, Barista Maestro.  I am a coffee master for Costa Coffee.  It only took 3 years and the change from a corporate Costa to a private Costa chain.

My Barista Maestro course was awesome and completely nerve racking.  After a little introduction to the day and a bit of review of the Costa brand and standards we dove into the practical test.  20 min to set up our space, grind and dose. 10 min to make a perfect latte, espresso, cappuccino, and flat white.  20 min to clean our space.  It was horrible.  Every day I make any combination of those drinks in well less than 10 min, but I almost didn’t complete it.  In the end I went for the understanding that “any drink was better than no drink”.  Our course director was watching everything we did and we got points for everything, as long as the drink got to the table, we got some points.

I was sure that I had not passed, but we still had 6 hours of the class and a written assessment to go.  During the rest of the class we learned what our new post would entail and how we will be successful teachers to the new recruits.  We learned a little about espresso tasting and a bit about taking care of our machines.  The written assessment ended up being a breeze.

So now I get to wear a double bean and will have my diploma on the wall at the store.  I will also get a name tag that will read Jessika, Barista Maestro.  Aw, it all sounds so exciting.  My co worker and I are very excited to get started on the training.  But then you get back to work and remember all the other crap.  The owners who only critisize, that 1% of customers who are rude and mean, and the annoyance of not being able to redo a crap coffee that you just made because the line is out the door and everyone in line is impatient because they are jonesing for their caffine, sugar and fat fix.

 

 

Telling It Like It Is

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Almost everyone I know would say that I am most likely to "tell it like it is". Whether my tone of voice gives away my true meaning or by saying something passive aggressively, I am sure they are right.

I have noticed a huge difference between the British and Americans on this subject. The British are very good at holding their tongues almost to a fault, in my opinion. But they would say that Americans are too good at telling it like it is.

Personally, I think it is good to tell it like it is, however, are you really "telling it like it is," or are you telling it as you see it? Everyone's view of "as it is" is different and therefore you are really just giving your opinion, which is horribly skewed and therefore can come across as mean and misguided.

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What I Love About My Home Town

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Gig Harbor and Mt Rainier

There are a couple of things I love about my home town, Gig Harbor, Washington (State, as I always have to add). I love the water, the trees and the fact that you can live on a 5 acer plot of land but still get to town in less than 10 minutes and the thing I love the most, is the awesome view of the great MT. RAINIER.

I have been away from my home town for 6 and a half years now and SO MUCH has changed. There are things that I used to love that don't exist anymore like the "quaintness" of the Harbor itself(downtown Gig Harbor doesn't seem to exist anymore and has been moved up town where a mass conglomeration of grocery stores, banks and shops are. (They have new terminlogy like "uptown", I don't even know if I used the right place). The population has EXPLODED. Gig Harbor was always a growing, shall we just say it, suburb of SeaTac, but I never expected it to grow the way it has.

When I was young, I always cursed the new houses being built, especially housing developments. I hated all the mini vans, which led to SUV's (wow I have been gone that long that I had to google the term "HUV" because it didn't look right and it wasn't, I was looking for "SUV") that carry soccer mom's and their 2.3 children. I still gurgle under my breath and I probably let out a huge agonizing sigh of depression at the sight of these things, but I try not to let them get to me, mostly because my parent's retain their 5+ acres that are in the trees, near a beach access where there is a great view of Mt Rainier, and is about a 10 min drive to town (and Target and Costco if you wish). We don't even have a view of our neighbours.

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A Difficult Choice I'm Glad I Made

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Moving to the UK was incredibly hard, however I was able to do it in baby steps, to a point a guess.

I originally made the move to attend a Master's Degree at the University of Bradford. About a month in, I met my future husband. As the year went on, many decisions had to be made revolving around our relationship in order to keep it going.

Unluckily (but a crucial cog in my decision making) was that my grandmother died. Before I left for Uni, I had been living with my grandmother, so not only would I be returning to no grandmother, but also to no real home. I suppose it made for the perfect excuse not to return. However, I was lucky that my future husband liked me enough to want to marry me. So we got married and we have remained in the UK. I have been here for 6 and a half years now.

I can't say that I love living here, but I guess I have gotten used to it. My preference is to return to the States, but most of that is because I miss my family and hate that they are missing seeing my son and missing seeing me be a parent. I also miss my brother and seeing his kids grow and being there for support. Something I miss allot though, is seeing my grandparents because, let's face it, we all don't appreciate grandparents until they are gone and that's a real shame.

So the choice to stay in the UK isn't exactly perfect, but it isn't necessarily set in stone and I got a loving husband, a kid, a cat, and a job out of it. Not too bad.

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Pottery gardening

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There are so many things I like to do that could be considered art. I love to knit and sew. I LOVE cross stitch (black stitch is my favourite) but I haven't done much lately. My new thing is patchwork and small crafts. The only problem is that all of these things need hands to do tiny movements and recently my hands haven't been working so well.

I love making a mess. I love puddle jumping with my son. I love throwing mud about and being muddy. I think I could do mud art. Mud…Jackson Pollock style. Mud…living art style.

Oh how fun. I guess I could throw in some gardening and do some kind of landscape/mud art. Gardening and mud art.

Why am I not a pottery artist, that would be perfect.

Oh, there we go…pottery (for the mud) gardening. Make the pots and fill it with a landscape garden. Perfect!

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Weekly Photo Challenge

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This weeks Weekly Photo Challenge over at The Daily Post is about something peaceful.  Although I can think of many things, at the moment this represents peacefulness; an empty Costa Coffee.  We have been absolutely smashed at work and the sight of no line at the shop makes me happy.

Starting over.

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My first post was inspired by today’s The Daily Post which convienintly had to do with the reason I am starting this new blog:  self censorship.  The daily prompt asks: Do you ever feel like you’re holding yourself back?  And I say “YES, YES! A THOUSAND TIMES, YES”.

I first started blogging as a way to keep my family and friends informed about what was going on in my life.  It inevitably became mixed with my thoughts and feelings about random things.  I have found that it is impossible to have these two elements in a blog and be able to write freely.  The reason I found for this is simple:

There is no tone in a blog.  People don’t know when you are being facetious or serious.  If you have not written clearly, your views and thoughts are misunderstood.

Also:

It is impossible to write freely when you know your mom and grandparents are reading.

It is a sad fact that I have actually lost a long time best friend over my blogging.  She did not read what I was saying correctly, or was so pumped up by what she thought I was saying that she misunderstood the context.  She ruthlessly wrote nasty things about me in my comments section which was sent to the whole world, and directly to my family’s email boxes.  In the end I deleted the whole post.  It was a rude awakening that I needed a separate blog that wasn’t meant for family and friends but that was meant for me.

I am incredibly tired of holding back and editing my thoughts (it is even worse when you have to delete a whole post due to misunderstandings) .  Blogging is already a selfish activity.  I am assuming that others care about my thoughts and feelings, I might as well be able to go full hog and spill my guts.

 

I am working past self editing by starting a new blog that is free from family ties.  I don’t know if this is cowardly or not, but I feel that having two separate blogs will greatly improve my writing and sleepless nights thinking about how I might have offended or given the wrong idea to someone.

And now I will leave you with an excerpt from one of my posts on the subject of blogging in 2009 that came after a blog entry that left my dad and me in a tiff:  (But I Digress: Thankful Anyway Thursday.  August 29, 2009)

 

I have had this site for a year now…Whoopee! And in true Bullajabbar fashion, I have to change the name of the blog.  I don’t know why, but I did.  I think this name fits it better.  I can’t believe that I have been able to write about nonsence at an average of 6 times a month for the past year, that is pretty darn good. On average, one of my good blog posts takes at least 2 hours to write and edit. If it is insiteful, has lots of links and I don’t have to put a disclaimer at the top it probably took me 3 or so hours to write. That is a lot of time invested for me to throw my ideas or “what I did todays” out there for people to read if they want.Whenever I write like the one the other day, which I only took about 15 minutes to write, I almost always regret publishing it. It is kinda like that letter or email you write when you’re mad, but instead of doing what your mother always told you to do and sit on it overnight, you mail it anyway only to say “oh crap! why did I do that?”I return to my book about thrift and the chapter on Emotional Thrift. The British author and columnist, India Knight believes that we emote too much and here is her paragraph on it:

Now, it may well be that you genuinely believe you are the only thing that matters- many people do, to a lesser or greater extent. But surely you can manage to keep your egomania to yourself? It isn’t the most attractive of characteristics, even if it is a very human one-and, to be perfectly frank, nobody cares as much about you as you do. Going on and on about yourself, or about a thing that has happened to you, is incredibly bad manners- it only makes any conversational exchange about you and you only. It also marks you out, in my view, as a person who cannot successfully function on his or her own, and constantly needs the praise ot interest of other people in order to feel like a functioning human being. This sucks. It is amazingly tiresome to have to deal with and I wish people would desist- not just because it would make me happy, but because I genuinely think it would make them happier too.

The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less by India Knight, page 266.

That little paragraph knocks most bloggers right off the Earth. For what is a blog? A blog (short for weblog) is a site where people regularly express their thoughts and opinions in a public forum for others to read and then comment… a public journal if you will. This format has also moved on to include social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, where all anyone ever does is talk about themselves.

Do I think this makes us egomaniacs?  Not really.  Mainly because you can read the post or not.  If  I was forcing it down your throat, well then I would be on FOX News (a most despicable channel).  And personally I like listening to other people, although as most people have noticed about me, I never ask people how they are doing, mostly because I know everyone says “fine” and that isn’t what I was asking.  The British seem to be very non-elaborative when greeted with “you all right?” or “how are you?”  It is always answered by “fine.”  My boss has had to stop me on many occasions to say ” Jess, just say fine.”  Well, you asked.  This is a cultural thing that I have found and an observation British author Dave Gorman made in his book America Unchained.  He writes:

Americans clearly get irony, they just don’t tend tend to use it quite as often in day-to-day conversation because, unlike us Brits, they aren’t afraid to say what they actually mean and will happily discuss emotions.(pg. 16)

So what does this all have to do with Thankful Anyway Thursday?  I have often referred to how my blog helps me not feel lonely…OK, we all get that (andD is a bit tired of hearing about it), I really like writing it.  It was really fun to review my posts over the past year…I went through all of them…and I learned a couple of things:

  1. I can be funny, creativesad, insightful, and darn right wrong.
  2. My writing helps work my brain.
  3. I am getting better at spelling, though not so good at the linear thought process, as my professors always critiqued.  I need to except the fact that I am creative and not so focused.  Just ask Ellie about my Maths skills.
  4. I can sometimes make the uninteresting, interesting.
  5. And I don’t take criticism very well and need to work on tone in my writing.

These are the things I am thankful for.