Target (the price slash), Girly clothes, Tricks for Treats, Withheld hours and Supernatural harrassment.

New song (an original) – titled “A Ghost.”

Choice instrument: piano.

Lyrics: below.

v1  Weakness begins in the darkness

you thought you were fearless all along

Weak hands, – feeling them trembling

you know that we’re ending (goodbye song)

pc1  In this age, when you’re wanting when you’re

ready

to leave, you

wont

And fire your guns, but the war is won.. there’s no

out or

place

for

a ghost.

c1  Hold.. me now, love –  I am with you – tonight.

Hold.. me now, love – I am right by – your side..

I’m by your side.

v2  The ending, right after beginning, comes faster than you’d dream

(or want to believe)

and Eventually

you’ll keep on calling

for a hand, a hope, of relief

pc2  But no, no no

There’s no place to go

You have built up – walls they cannot break down

And it’s hard to show

But the pain, I know,

is the bleeding, the letdowns, the scream that resounds

c2  Hold.. me now, love – I am with you – tonight.

Hold.. me now, love – I am right by – your side..

I’m by your side.

v3  (outro) I loved you

But now I hate you

You know that I want to let it go

But you hurt me

Got up and deserted me

Now I’m stuck in a past that

I wish I didn’t know. 

-Aun Aqui

****************** January 18th-20th, 2011*

(written in increments)

 

“Target” (grocery shopping) practice.

So Chris and I went shopping at a “super” Target afew weeks ago and it turned out amazing.  Our sole intention, walking in, was to find a new polo shirt (for him to wear to work) and some dressy “girl” blouses/ clothes (for me to wear to my part-time Credit Union job).  Anyways, as we navigated down the aisles and meandered around displays and corners, we found ourselves approaching the ‘food section.’  It was already in our “plan” to stop by Publix and Organic Harvest on the way home for our food supply, but being here – it being so late, and already being in the store making it so easy to do and convenient – we just grabbed a cart (up until this point, we had been able to do without) and began strolling through the “food world.” 

We were delighted.

I love stores that “sell it for the sale price” without coupon presentation.. you know?  You don’t have to come prepared, armed and informed — you just show up and see what suits you – find the deals, explore the meal-planning options.

59 cents a pound for BANANAS?  Come on!  Even Walmart’s nanners are like 69 cents.  Kiwi: 39 cents each?  (Comparatively speaking, Publix’s kiwi — yes, grown right in and at Publix — go for 2/$1).  Packaged organic romaine hearts (that’s lettuce, and we’re vegetarians.. just clarifying) for $2.99?  ORGANIC macaroni and cheese boxes for a DOLLAR EACH?  And yes – the best part of all.. Amy’s brand pizzas (animal enzyme free; plus, they’re made with a whole wheat crust!) were priced for under 6 dollars each (Organic Harvest: $6.99) and Morning Star Farm products (popular vegetarian “meat substitute” cuisine) was on SALE for $3 a package.  Yeah.. it was like Christmas.  In a not pagan and not December way.

Beautiful price slashing.  We were digging it.

Anyways, we enjoyed the selection, savings and experience so much that, yesterday, when I was off work and knew we needed to go grocery shopping, I returned to the super Target and spent way too much money on amazing deals.  Our fridge and cupboards are full.. we won’t lose any weight this month. 

Really, in retrospect, Target should pay me for this e-advertising.  Hmm..

I’m so grateful to God for the “little things.” 

(Is food a little thing?  People act like it is..)  I don’t take good, healthy, tasty food for granted anymore (like I did when living with the beneficient Sierra Madre); I am so appreciative, so thankful, to be able to buy, prepare (in our own little home) and enjoy – food.  I’ve learned to cook better (stuff isn’t as black, rock-hard crunchy, or marshmallowy-over-cooked soft as it used to be), and to be more creative when preparing meals (utilizing spices and seasonings, producing casserole like combinations and embracing variety).  I aim for “plate appeal” and seek to cater to Chris’s likings (although, we’ll both admit, I’m alittle more 1. picky and 2. opinionated.. so pretty much every meal includes a favorite or preference of mine).  Chris and I always eat breakfast and dinner together; I get up with him at 6 (even though I don’t go in til later on in the morning) to cook breakfast for us and, when I get home late from work, he cooks dinner for he and I (like, tonight).  It’s teamwork.  It takes the pressure off.  It’s fun. 

We love grocery shopping.

Anyways, aside from that, more “recentlies”:

(yeah, I’ve decided that’s a word..)

Bruster is STILL the coolest dog EVER! 

Not only is he potty trained (pretty sure I shared that update afew weeks ago; if you haven’t been following my blog, Bruster is Chris and I’s German Shepherd puppy), but he can do four tricks (each named trick will be followed by a “how-to..” yeah, I’m the next DOG WHISPERER!)

#1.  Come.  Probably one of the most important dog-commands.. and yes, it’s a trick.   Here’s how I taught him:  grab a treat, toy — something desirable — and distance yourself from the dog.  Start by calling out his name, authoritatively and invitingly (if you can someone combine those two; might want to start off ‘babying’ him and cooing “____” insert your dog’s name here and exaggerate y/e sounds).  Once you get his attention (he’s looking at you), extend your hand, showing him the prize, and say – immediately, before he starts running/ walking/ crawling and WHILE he is approaching you – “come.”  When he arrives, praise him — “Good boy, __, come!  Good boy!”  Ta-da.  It took Bruster like 4 times to “get it.”  Now, he listens when I DON’T have a treat.. he just knows, I’m the boss.  I am Alpha – and you have to be.   (Remember, if you have a large breed, it’s a lot easier to establish dominance and teach tricks while he’s little and manageable than when he’s eighty something pounds and knocking you over, effortlessly).

#2.  Sit.  I’ll make this one less explanatory/ lengthy.  Take a treat, have the dog approach you (s/he should respond to “come” by now, it’s a requisite) and say “sit” as you hold the treat over the pup’s head and slowly extend it beyond the dog’s sight of vision (in other words – you are pushing the treat forward, in a linear direction).. this will cause the dog to sit.  Praise him; “Sit! Good boy!” (reward accordingly).

#3.  Shake.  Couple this with sit.  This is just a “cutsie” trick; not exactly “functional.”  It took Bruster.. maybe 7 tries to get this.  He’s super dog, though.. remember that your pet is inferior and it will probably take atleast 150% more effort and stress.  🙂 

Once you command your pet to sit and s/he obeys, say “good!” and reward him/ her (you should have two treats in your hand while the pet is learning.. it’s a good reinforcer. I’ve worked down to one treat for both tricks).  Then, while the dog is still sitting, say “Shaaake,” and grab it’s paw.  Shake the paw up and down for about five seconds, the whole time saying “Good, ___! Shake! Good!” and then reward the pet with the treat, as you drop the paw.  Yep.  That’s about it.  Dog-training really ISN’T rocket science (I didn’t even rent a book when we got Woo!pet; you just use common sense and search on Google where necessary).

#4.  **UBER important.**  Say a car is coming down the street you live on and your pet is running outside of your apartment and heading in the direction of a big, black cat that is sitting on the other side of the road — your dog needs to know how to

STAY.  How-to:  This one takes time.  But really, Bruster got it pretty quickly (duh.. of course, you’re musing.. bruster is super dog, awesome pet, blah blahblah).  I started off by having Bruster obey the command “sit.”  (If your pet has by this time learned “shake,” he’ll probably want to shake immediately after sitting so he can get his treat(s) faster.. just.. ignore it, I guess; that’s what I do).  Commend the dog and then say, in a deep, low, almost threatening (more authoritative than anything else) voice, “STAYY.”  Take one step by back, holding your hand out in front of you, in a “hault” position.  Repeat, “STAY,” and take another step back.  If your dog hasn’t advanced towards the treat in your hand at this point, PRAISE THE DOG LIKE MAD and reward him.  Say “GOOD DOG OMGOODNESS YOU’RE SO GREAT!” and give him the treat, motioning for him to come.  Yes.. your dog is teachable.  Progressively take more steps further away, eventually to the point where you can leave the room and your dog is still remaining in the place where you left him upon you return. 

And that’s all for now.  I’m pretty proud of my pet.. he’s awesome, superior to all others (let it be known).  🙂  We’re working on “down” right now, and he’s actually not catching on as well as I expected (I’m certain it’s my fault and not his — didn’t really have a “dead-on” technique idea for this one) So if any of you have any advice on how to teach a dog “down” (meaning LAY down; the “get off of me” trick Chris and I refer to as “off”), please share. 

We’ll move on from this to a more sober account. 

Chris got a call this past week from a mutual church-friend of ours (to you, anonymous).  He confided a lot in Chris (and myself), about recent struggles with addiction – all kinds of addiction (alcohol, pain meds, drinking, pornography, etc).  He felt an extreme load of guilt hovering over him, and felt severely disappointed in himself — for being so convicted of the love of Christ and yet to be found sinning still

I (as well as Chris) tried to communicate to him that,- he’s no different from anyone else.  Really.  Often — more like ALL THE TIME — the “grosser” sins are reproved and the transgressors are shunned while the “little problems” are overlooked and, even excused.  Gossipers, little ‘white’ liars, flirts (yeah — I think that’s a sin.  If you care to talk about it, inform me), selfish people and rude people are perfectly excused and even admired in their course of action.. while people like our friend are shunned, viewed in contempt, isolated for their weakness

when we are ALL suffering from the same disease.. just displaying different “symptoms.”

We talked, prayed and encouraged one another to be strong, to be determined, to be courageous (Joshua 1:9) and to not let fears corrupt our minds and darken our hearts (as we have let them in the past); for God is not the author of FEAR or CONFUSION — perfect love casts OUT fear — and if we resist the devil, he will flee from us.. BECAUSE of the power and love, of Christ.  Most of us DONT resist the devil.  I heard a quote once that I decided to not forget..

“We don’t run away from sin.  We crawl away from sin,

 hoping it will catch up with us.”

 

Anyways.. job-wise, I’m sooooo relieved.

I no longer have to work at Cracker Barrel, as I have been hired ELSEWHERE.

I determined, Wednesday morning, that I would get up, cook for Chris, care for Bruster, clean the house and then — find a NEW job.  (Don’t confuse this — I have TWO jobs: I serve at Cracker Barrel and work as a Teller at Eco Credit Union.  It is the formerrr job that I wished to be released from — for various reasons; namely, the distance from my house, poor management at current location, and.. the menu! Honestly, I find the food repulsive, and it’s veryyy difficult to script food you hate).  Anyways, I propped myself up on the couch.. my cell phone in-reach, wearing pajamas, keeping an eye on Bruster (who was laying on the floor beside me).. and made a list of all the places I could apply at for part-time hire.  I came up with a reasonable list, of establishments in close proximity to our apartment and that I knew would hire someone who didn’t possess college experience (I’ll be starting in August).  I reached for my phone and began dialing the first number — but felt deeply, very deeply impressed that I needed to pray first.. to inquire of the Lord, to petition His guidance in and control over the matter. 

So, I did.

And here’s what happened.

I resumed dialing the number to, Olive Garden!  First off, I love eating there.. Chris always knows where to take me when he wants us to have a “special date;” I’m a creature of habit.. I always get the same thing – so my menu knowledge isn’t what it could be, but, I’m a quick learner; I enjoy working with people (and am trying to move past the brain wave that says I’m greedy for taking my tip off of my table) and I have experience in serving.  So.. thought it was a good idea.  Anyways, a woman answered. 

“Olive Garden, this is Christina speaking – how may I help you?”

“Hi, Christina!  My name is Rose; I was just wondering who I could speak with in regards to open server positions at this location?”

“Well, you can talk to me.”

So, I did (unaware that she was the HR manager).  She asked some questions, I answered honestly (and competently, I feel) and she invited me to a 10:30 interview.. that morning. 

“Absolutely!” I assented.  So, all of my efforts, for the next hour and a half, were bent on making myself look presentable and, to the best of my ability, taking care of Woo!pet’s constant needs (hungry, thirsty, have to go potty, want to play, want to bite, want to be cuddled, want to annoy you).   So I picked out a “dressy”-girl outfit, took a shower, BLEW DRY MY HAIR (yes, I took great pains to look good), EVEN put on MAKE-UP (I’m talking concealer, powder AND blush.  Look out.).. grabbed a cookie on my way to the car and left.

I arrived and the doors were locked, so, I called Olive Garden again (the number was in my phone’s “recent history”) and explained who it was that they saw standing outside and why I needed to get in.  I was let in and told to sit at a round cafe table near the bar (I’ll get to that issue later..)  Soon, a woman approached me, smiling, and handed me a double sided piece of paper.  “Just fill this out and I’ll be back with you!”

Gladly, I did so.  It took maybe ten minutes.  Then, I overheard her pass me off to the other manager.  He rounded the corner and sat at the table where I was.  We talked for the space of 20 minutes and he seemed very happy, impressed, and I knew I had it.

He asked a lot of thought provoking questions (atleast, to me; it was the most drilling job interview I’VE ever experienced).

“I’m your manager.. what are you going to expect from me?”

“How are you going to deal with the servers who DONT do their job and leave messes for YOU to handle?”

And, again approaching “that issue” –

“How are you going to feel about scripting wine to each table?”

Well, I had thought about it long before coming in, long before APPLYING.  It didn’t bother my conscience.  Why?  The consumption of alcohol, is a personal choice.  I don’t support it (I’m not working at a pub, exclusively vending alcohol), and I’m there – primarily – to serve FOOD, to meet people’s needs and provide a relaxed, satisfying dine-out experience.  Drinks just go along with it.  I have made a personal committment to NOT drink, and everyone has the same freedom to decide for themselves.  Without his prompting/ inquiring, I shared that I wasn’t going to try to persuade the guest one way or the other based off of my Christian beliefs – saying, when the manager isn’t around, “you should get THIS instead..”  no.  It’s not my business.  I will offer the evening special.. I will allow my guest the option of choosing for his/herself.  The decision that customer makes, is their own.  That’s the end of it.

Anyways, after hearing and answering all of my questions, he looked up at me and smiled.  “Well Rose, sounds like this is a good fit for you.”

Wow.

I smiled. 

He’s actually considering my needs, my financial situation, my talents, my preferences, my availability, and caring – however minimally – about that.  A manager had never “said it” that way before.  I appreciated it.

“Absolutely, it is!”  I joined in.

“Welcome on board!” he congratulated me and shook my hand.  I left with two menus to study, a “proper uniform” card to follow, and a smile on my face. 

Cracker Barrel.. CB.. is history.

One last CB story.

Last week, I had an interesting encounter. 

It was a Sunday and, somehow, I had been given a three table section (half the time, they stick me with two tables and I leave with seventy dollars instead of a hundred).  I was being seated at table 311 (window view in the back-left of the 3rd dining room).. a group of 5 mexicans. 

Now listen, I’m not a racist.  I have had many Mexican friends, all of them wonderful and dear to my heart (one in particular, Betty Palma, was my best friend all throughout 7th grade).  Also, I have been studying the Spanish language for years!  I am making it clear, – I am not racist.

However, certain groups tip better than others.  Is it financial situations, customs, upraising, ..?  I don’t know.  But usually, Mexicans tip alittle less than usual (don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying all the time, as there are exceptions: I got a ten dollar tip from two Mexican ladies just two weeks ago.. it was great.  What really sucked was when I was sat at an eight top table, a family of Muslims were seated, and they stipped me.  Yeah.  That was probably a cultural thing; they just didn’t know, so I tried not to get upset).  ANYWAYS.. I saw them approaching and noted to myself, “don’t expect much,” while still determining to be “bestest waitress” and make the experience as fun for them as possible.  I was cheerful, helpful and patient with them.. I was attentive, considerate and humorous.  They loved me. 

“I wish you could work for ME,” the man exclaimed.  “You are so wonderful with people, Rose!  I own a restaurant and would love to have you serving there.”

“Awe, well thank you!  I’ve actually been looking for a different job..”

At this, he and the other middle-aged gentleman exchanged looks.  “You see!” he said, “She can work for us!” 

I inquired further and, in short, they were co-owners of the Margarita Grill on US 119 in Pelham.  One of the men’s names was Havier.. I can’t remember the other.. but they were so, very, kind.

Already, the plans were in the making — I would begin serving there, it would be all wonderful and great and hunky dory.. I ran to the breakroom during a moment when no table needed anything and texted Chris, ELATED, that I was finally being freed – and finally going to be able to put my Spanish knowledge to use – when..

I returned to the table and he held his hands out, imploringly.

“One thing.. tell me you’re 21.” 

…what?

Down, down, down the air-balloon traveled.. words like “over,” and “history,” flashed through my mind.. disappointment, cry cry booHOO.

“Oh..” I returned my mind to the present, where they were all still sitting there in front of me, exchanging glances, shaking their heads, moaning the loss in a socially acceptable, quiet sort of way. 

We decided that when I turn 21 I’ll head over there and present myself to Havier; he’ll remember me and hire me on the spot.  But, before that..
“You and your husband HAVE to come eat at my restaurant! I will buy you DINNER!”

“No, Havier! I don’t want you to do that..”

“No, you must.  This Friday night you come.”

“Well, we can’t Friday..”

“Okay–what day COULD you come?”  He insisted, so..

“Monday night..”

“I’ll see you then!”

With that, he handed me a fifteen dollar tip and the family smiled, sad I couldn’t work with them but glad that the opportunity remained and I would be able to, with my husband, enjoy their excellent, wonderful food.

Chris and I did go that Monday evening and it was honestly the nicest Mexican restaurant we’ve ever experienced.  The decor was festive (but not overdone), the tables were neat and clean.. it wasn’t a cluttered atmosphere, with one table scraping against the next and chairs knocking into eachother- it was very open.. very relaxing.  Our server, was very personable.. our food, was perfectly made – we got exactly what we ordered and it was of the best quality.  The manager came over to talk with us personally — he literally pulled up a chair and just talked about “daily life matters” with us.  The chips and salsa came freely, we didn’t feel rushed, and we were checked on multiple times to see if “anything was missing.”  Live music hummed in the background and the lighting was dim – but not so dark that I couldn’t look into Chris’s beautiful face.  🙂  It was a great treat, a wonderful date, and I’ll always have the fondest thoughts of Havier and memories of our date, and will maintain the intention of applying at the Margarita Grill and joining the gang as soon as possible.

I guess that about covers it all.  Shopping, working, ministry, parenthood.. my family is still enjoying the reunion down in Florida.  Micah, Amy and Christian flew down and they are all having a wonderful time together.  I miss them, I hate that I can’t be there, but I’m okay with it.  God orchestrates everything the way He wants it, the way it should be, the way everything is better, and some things are best.  I’m okay with being here, if here, somebody or something needs me. 

I love when it’s slow at Eco Credit Union.  Sometimes it feels like I’m paid to be a writer.

-Aun Aqui

January 20th 2011

One thought on “Target (the price slash), Girly clothes, Tricks for Treats, Withheld hours and Supernatural harrassment.

  1. Congratulations on the new job! Your answer to the manager’s question was really brilliant, no wonder he was impressed! And I love your last CB story. Such a wonderful opportunity to dine with your husband in such a nice place.

    And thank you so much for stopping by my blog to read and comment. Have a fabulous week!

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