Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Starbucks’

The Mouse In The Corner

Yesterday I drove with Greg on one of his many road trips.  He does weddings and funerals for a living and has numerous meetings throughout the week for these weddings and funerals.  It was raining the whole way there.  He dropped me off at a local Starbucks – then went on to his meeting.  It was a day much like any other.  We have done this hundreds of times before.

 

 

 

But yesterday was different.  Fall is in the air.  And, so it seems – tempers and grumbling – at least where I was.  I had chosen a table in the middle of the coffee shop and noticed 3 little girls sitting in the back next to what appeared to be their mother and grandmother with a baby in a car seat on the floor beside them.  It is a little unusual to see children in a Starbucks, so I was curious and smiled at them as I sat down.  My back was to them and I was very quiet – at my own little table with my iPad – reading and playing games, trying to mind my own business.  However as I sat there I became increasingly aware of two very different conversations going on around me.  The children’s “mother” was agitated the whole time.  They were there a good 1/2 hour after I sat down – there’s no telling how long they were there before I came in.  Ahead of me were 2 young females in their early 20’s.  One had her back to me and I couldn’t hear what she was saying – if in fact she was saying anything at all.  The one facing me seemed to be doing all the talking.  It was really quite humorous and hard to concentrate on what I was reading.  The young girl – though not unattractive, was certainly drawing attention to herself by talking in a raised voice – so that everyone there heard her rants about a “stupid guy that would not call her back” – her disgust and hatred of children – (she called them “kids”) and how amazed she was that she couldn’t get anyone interested in her!  I smiled while looking down at my iPad.  I felt like raising my hand and saying, “I know – pick me” but somehow I don’t think my comment or any remarks would be welcomed.

Roller Girl yelling

Roller Girl yelling (Photo credit: San Diego Shooter)

Behind me the woman with the baby and 3 little girls kept yelling in an attempt to keep order.  I felt sorry for these girls.  How could they be expected to just sit there for so long?  When one had to go to the bathroom – I thought the woman was going to have a stroke!  Such language and rude comments!  I couldn’t hear if the older woman with her was giving her any good advice – or even talking at all – because the  mom dominated the conversation the entire time.  I couldn’t even imagine what it would have been like for the young woman in front of me doing all the talking, to try to have a conversation with the young mom behind me!  Who would listen?

 

 

English: A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek.

English: A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have witnessed rudeness in restaurants in much the same way.  Someone doing all of the talking at a nearby table and talking louder than normal to draw attention.  I have witnessed young moms in grocery stores who are out of control and I genuinely feel sorry for the baby or young child throwing a fit or crying incessantly. I know that the mom is to blame.  There is always a way to diffuse a volatile situation with children.   Yelling and being cruel – embarrassing them or finding a way to humiliate them in public is not the way.

 

 

 

As I sat there and heard the sniffling from these little girls – I felt so bad for them.  They are trapped.  Trapped with a mother who is overworked, tired and fed up.  I’m sure that her temper and exhaustion is taken out on them.  And too often, those little ones grow up to be exactly the same way.

 

 

 

I wondered if that young girl ahead of me doing all the “trash talking” was one of those.  She had not had good classy role models in her life and would never attract the right kind of man.  Was she doomed to a mediocre life where everyone else is to blame and there is not empathy or humanity?  Where simply being courteous would never occur to them?

 

 

 

What a crazy world we live in.  It’s hard to even wrap my brain around it some days.  And yet I always try to see the best in everyone.  It rarely changes anything – but still I try to never lose hope.  And I always wish there was something I could do.

 

 

 

As this young family walked out of the door in front of me I stole a glance at the  mom’s face.  “Why – she was really young!” ,   I said to myself.  She looked about 25 or so – funny.  She had sounded so much older in her anger.  I think she used to be very pretty.  But now she was just tired and angry.  The “grandmother” looked the same way.  No hope there.  No help for her.  Her life was probably over.  I whispered a little prayer for her little family.  That God somehow would be able to make a difference, shine hope in a dark place and that they would be able to call upon Him.

 

 

 

Can simple kindness, compassion and love really make a difference?  Jesus thought so.  That is why He chose to come to our crazy mixed up world.  To give simple hope to the hopeless and show compassion to the lost and hurting.  Help me Lord.  Help me be in a place where I can really make a difference and help others that are struggling – not just overhear a conversation or two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Bless

 

 

 

The Color Brown And Electronic Devices

Fall is that unique time of the year where all the world seems to BURST into color. From the leaves on the trees to the many new colors around in local stores – it is a season that I really enjoy. It smells good. It looks good. It's comfortable and familiar. I love pumpkins. I love everything about them. Probably why I LOVE pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin pie.

It also seems as if the world loves fall too. Everyone acts different – and I mean in a good way. Not like Christmas time, where the hustle and bustle and attitudes are a bit annoying. But in this season that brings us great colors and wonderful aromas – people genuinely seem happier and more relaxed.

Speaking of being relaxed or seeming more relaxed – I just heard on the John Tesh radio show, “Intelligence for your life” that the new color for cars this year is BROWN!! Pretty cool – especially when we consider that brown is a color associated with comfort, like coffee or chocolate.

As I sit here today in a local Starbucks – I look around me and see many examples of the colors of fall. Brown, dark green, orange and amber colors are all around me – soothing me as much as the smooth jazz and the cup of coffee I am now enjoying while writing this. Everyone here is happily engaged in conversation, laughing and smiling. Others are by themselves on their computers, looking busy and in another world. Behind me sits a couple with an electronic devise that is used to amplify the voice – and makes me pause with my fingers poised over the keys – to catch what the device is trying to say. And because it is very distracting – I try not to turn around and become obvious.

Many years ago, Greg and I were in a Shari's restaurant and Greg stopped in mid-sentence and said, “Shhhh! I hear something” When he stopped talking so would the electronic devise he was hearing just behind our booth. I kidded him and told him the 'Mother Ship' had found him or something to that effect – but he was relentless and kept stopping conversation by putting up his hand to hold me back whenever he would hear it again. When we finally left the restaurant some 30 minutes later, we walked right by the booth where the noise had come from and were clearly able to see that a gentleman sitting there was using this device to speak.

Now because I recognize the sound – but don't wish to appear rude, I have NOT turned around. Not even once – although very tempted. I was even very smooth when getting up from my table and ordering my cup of coffee, averting my eyes in that general direction and pretending that I hear and see nothing. Even when facing their table on my long walk back to my table. Greg would be so proud. I have behaved myself in public and have not made a scene. 🙂

Hope you have a wonderful fall day – with lots of color and few distractions.

 

God Bless

 

Just Another Coffee Kind Of Day

Today I sit and drink coffee at a familiar setting but in another town, listening to my iPad music library through my earphones. The sights and sounds are all around me. I am trying hard to block out the conversations near my table. But I must admit that I am intrigued by others and what they have to say. I am not purposely eavesdropping – you could call it a ‘forced eavesdrop’ only in that I am in a confined area with no where else to go. And things are especially loud if I can hear them even with my music blasting away.

The weather is nice today – not quite as hot as what I thought it would be. Not hot like Leavenworth a couple of weeks ago, which was around 100 degrees! It is clear and about 85 – at least where I am today. The nice weather brings people to Starbucks to have iced coffees, frappuccinos and other iced beverages. People are gathered around tables, happily sipping from their plastic cups. Behind me is the ice machine and I hear coffee brewing and blenders whirling. It is just a matter of time before I take out the earphones and give in to the noise around me. At least for now.

There is a young woman in the corner absorbed in her book, “The Coldest City” (it looks intriguing) and some guy on his laptop across the lobby. He wears a pony-tail and glasses, shorts and boots.

A local policeman just interrupted me while standing and waiting for his drink on the bar to ask me, “is that a bluetooth keyboard? – I mean – does it work well?” I explained to him that it does. Both the iPad and keyboard are bluetooth compatible. “How about that”, he said. Many people have seen laptops in here and probably iPads too – but I have a separate wireless keyboard which I LOVE and I’m realizing that it is not something most people are used to seeing.

The policeman sits in a lounge chair near the window and reads his phone messages. He could use an iPad 🙂 And a wireless keyboard.

Have a great weekend

God Bless

Using Laughter

As far back as I can remember – laughter has always been a part of my life. Even today while relaying a very funny story to my husband as we were traveling to an appointment out of town – I was reminded that humor plays such an important role in relationships. Without it, our relationship over the years would have been much too serious, too dry and stale – as humor seems to work like a balm of soothing medicine – breaking down misunderstandings and helping us from becoming too inwardly focused.

I’m sitting in a crowded Starbucks this morning while writing this. I forgot my earphones which turns out to be a rather fatal flaw in my attempts to fully concentrate – as I am sitting rather close to another table where two young men are talking really loudly about scripture, the bible and what they are learning about both. Normally it would be a curious thing for me to observe and silently witness those around me as I am a captive audience in a small room with many people – even humorous if you will – but today as I try to write it does not seem very humorous. In fact – the more intent I am about keeping to myself – the more they seem to talk even louder – as if, somehow – they are trying to witness to me and everyone around us. Funny. I’m afraid to raise my head up from my keyboard – even though it would be amusing to stop, and look right at them and say, “You needn’t try so hard – it’s okay – I’m already in”

Life has so many of the humorous “moments”. Laughter breaks any tension in a room – between people and removes awkwardness in a second. My students are so funny and I have spent much time over the years in my music studio just laughing. Yesterday one of my teenage male students was there with his guitar practicing with me for an upcoming recital in a couple of weeks. He was telling me a funny story about his brother and I’m still giggling about it today!

Another side note – I have a portable case and keyboard for my iPad 2 that I am typing from. It is wireless and for the most part works. However, once in a while I will strike a key and I get it repeatingggggggggggggg like this. So frustrating – not sure what I’m doing wrong for it to have that function and it takes SO MUCH TIME to go back and keep correcting! Once the repeating letter seemed to have a mind of it’s own and went for 6 lines before stopping!! Yikes. Not a good feature. But you’ve got to admit – it’s funny.

Well that is my blog article today. Between the distractions of the two young men trying “get me saved” and my portable wireless keyboard – that’s all I’m good for today. Both these things will make a great story to tell Greg later – can’t wait 🙂

God Bless

Things That Go SQUEAK In The Night

I am used to unusual noises in our home – especially at night.  We live in an older home and it likes to POP and CRACK at the most inconvenient times – like when I’m all alone.  When we first moved in – almost 10 years ago, I was downstairs in my office – and the wind blew a door shut upstairs.  I was SURE there was someone in our house!  It sounded creepy like footsteps above me!   And going to sleep was difficult at first.  But over time I have become accustom to it.  When we have guests here – often they will hear something above their heads and then look at us quizzically, and then ask, “are you sure there is no one home”?   We will then nod and look at each other with knowing looks (we could really have fun with people if we chose to) and say, “it’s just our old creaky house – it likes to settle.

It is also not unusual for Greg to be gone until the wee hours of morning.  He is a contractor in his “other” job, moonlighting for a company called “Northwood Construction” and they are contracted out to many Starbucks stores in the greater Seattle area.  So his job includes, and is not limited to:  window washing after hours, high dusting, pressure washing and light maintenance.  Last night it was another late one.  He has become an expert at slipping in very quietly – that is until we got a puppy. Dogs have an uncanny way of smelling and hearing you before you arrive – and our puppy is always looking for someone to come and see her and is listening intently – especially for Dad to come home after working.

So Greg can not exactly slip in unnoticed anymore.  Daisy will jump off the bed, and I will hear her running down the hall, clickety click – down the stairs and then to the back door wagging her tail madly and waiting for that magic moment when Greg opens the door.  Last night was no exception.  But Greg was very quiet and soon I drifted back to sleep.  The next thing I remember was hearing a very loud SQUEAK from one of Daisy’s toys and wondered to myself, “why is she playing with her toys in the middle of the night?” and then I heard a very LOUD CRASH – which had me sitting straight up in bed yelling, “Greg?  Is that you?  What’s going ON?”  This was accompanied by Greg laughing out loud and saying, “well – first I tried to turn out the light down here, I stepped on this blasted squeaky toy and then in the dark, I knocked over the coffee table!”  We had a good laugh as I accused him of playing with Daisy’s toys and telling him I was sure it had been her!

It’s the little comedies in life that give an extra sparkle to relationships and have us looking at ourselves and others with humor – as we all try to  take ourselves a little less seriously.  And folks, if you can laugh at things even in the middle of the night – then I would say that you have passed the test and have found the little things are some of the most important things, after all.

Here’s wishing you and yours a little more comedy and a little less tragedy as you discover laughter and the true medicine it is 🙂

God Bless

Not TOO Close And Personal

A couple of nights ago I accompanied my husband, Greg on a work assignment in downtown Seattle.  He “moonlights” as a contractor for Starbucks doing light maintenance after hours – or any “emergency” situations.  This was one of those.  A homeless person decided to “take a dump” as it were – right outside Starbucks back door where their dumpsters are (it could have been worse – and sometimes is, but not this time). He gets paid a lot of money for being the on call emergency clean-up guy.

While we were driving from the east side into downtown Seattle – the skyline of the city was breathtaking.

This lead to some great conversation.  You see, from afar – the city looks beautiful – but careful – you don’t want to look too close – you may see some things that are – well – kind of disturbing and not so pretty.

The inner city life and all the dirt and grime.  Not so pretty.  Drugs and alcohol abuse.  Street walkers and dealers after hours.  The raw and the gritty.  Not pretty.

 

While we were discussing this great truth – I was reminded of a movie that we had seen recently “Soul Surfer” about the young girl who had her arm bitten off by a shark.  In the story her Bible Study leader, played by Carrie Underwood, shows them several pictures of things up close and personal – things that looked AMAZING up close – and then when you backed up – you were seeing an ants eyeball.  And then things that looked so HORRIBLE up close – were actually things that were surprisingly beautiful – like a flower petal.

Things are not always as they appear.  Hardly ever.  First impressions can be killers.  And sometimes our imagination is WAY better than the real thing.  A little like every day life.

I love the way God takes me just as I am – up close and personal.  He is not afraid to go deeper and see all the ugly things lurking beneath the surface.  And He loves me just the same.

What have you discovered to be different up close and personal?   How are you about accepting the good with the not so pretty in others around you?

 

God Bless

Authenticity Or Tact? What Do You Value?

Greg and I were driving down the road the other day and we were discussing something and all of a sudden he blurted out, “This would make an excellent topic for your blog – a poll on what our society values – Authenticity Or Tact!”

To be honest – I value Authenticity.  No longer one who “stuffs” things and hides behind a smiling veneer – I want things to be told just how they are.  The old “Tell It Like It Is” – rings true to me and burns through my heart and soul.  But I also realize that with ‘telling it like it is’ – there is a personal cost.  And I also realize that Authenticity is subjective at best.

We are a society that is fast becoming desensitized to any and all forms of good manners, chivalry, being the bigger person, kindness, scruples and yes, tact.  I read about it online – through blog posts, facebook and twitter updates and I see and experience it in person – those who will not look me in the eye and say, “good morning” – or “how are you today” – or anything at all.

A few months ago I was in a Starbucks with my husband and was getting cream for my coffee and there was a man in his late twenties or early thirties standing at the bar.  I spoke a greeting to him – I’m very friendly and outgoing and usually always speak first – that was no surprise that I had to do so with him.  What surprised and even shocked me was this:  there was no response from him at all.  None.  Nada.  He did not even look at me.  Bad manners you say?  Poor breeding?  No tact?  Yes.  Sadly – all of these.   Was he being real?  Authentic?  True to himself?  Probably.  What I saw – is probably who he really is.  And no – he was not hard of hearing – he was able to talk and listen on his phone just fine.

Since I am a member of this society – and even belong to a generation that values manners and tact – to me that is rude and unacceptable.

But I am also torn.  I love to hear about people – how they really are.  No fluff – no pretense – no hiding behind a smile.  “How are you?  GREAT just GREAT!”  Doesn’t cut it anymore.  Now I know you can’t just ‘spill your guts’ to everyone and there’s a time and place for everything – but sometimes it makes me want to scream when people act like everything is okay – and their world is falling apart.

We have known people over the years – friends in fact, who seemed to have it all together and then one day – their household and relationship blew up!  No one knew about it – until after it was too late.

What does this say about us as a society?  As a Christian community?  As individuals?  It tells me this:  We do not give permission for people to be really real with us.  We hold them at an arm’s length to protect ourselves.  We think, ‘I have too much on my own plate – to deal with their junk’ – and it is felt and understood by those people that we push away.  What does “bearing each others burdens” really mean?  It means:  Listening.  It means: Praying.  It means: Getting involved.

Authenticity comes with a price tag.

Tact requires censoring yourself.

Authenticity says:  I will share my information with you even if it hurts.

Tact says:  I will not hurt you.

What do you value?  What do you think our society values?  How do we have the best of both worlds?  How can I stay true to myself and still love and value you – even if we disagree?

Something to thing about.

God Bless

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