Happy Hour Monday: Fado

 

Blogging again. Starting a series of happy hour profiles. It will be irregular, because I’m not going to go to happy hour all the time just to have something to blog about. I figure this blog is called Country Girl in the Big City, so I might as well blog about what I know, and what I know is how to navigate this city, but not very well. Because I haven’t been here long. 

Fado is an Irish bar that doesn’t feel like an Irish bar. There are multiple rooms (without being closed off) and levels, so all the guests are broken up enough that you still feel a sense of community with the other patrons, but you don’t have to yell to talk to your friends. The ceiling is painted with a beautiful fresco of a powerful woman in a toga straight out of a renaissance painting of ancient Greece.

I come here with my coworkers sometimes.The booth seats and the chairs are so tall my feet never touch the ground, which is strange and makes me feel like I can’t relax, plus the booth tables are really far from the backrests so you’re either on the edge of your seat or too far from the food, but honestly, this is not that big of a deal to me. The servers are always really nice and don’t hate me for my “make me something fruity and tropical.” I need to stop doing that though. Also, they have really great fries and tacos!

Location: 1st Ave and Columbia St in the Colman Building

Happy Hours: Mon-Thurs 4pm-7pm, daily 9pm-close (even better prices)

$4 beer and wine

$5 whiskey

$5 food

 

Go check out Fado if you’re ever in downtown Seattle, near Pioneer Square. Great service, great food, great drinks; what more could you want?

I would have included a picture, but I want to include pictures I’ve taken myself instead of stealing one from the internet, because I have integrity. But I don’t have pictures. So there will be pictures in the next post!

 

 

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small resolutions

It is the 3rd day of the new year, and so far, I have not failed at any of my resolutions. This is because I made most of them very vague. I am awful at sticking with things, so I have to make my goals small and easily attainable to be able to say I achieved something. So these are my resolutions:

  1. Start a new 365 project (like this one). I have at least started. Will I finish? Who knows.
  2. Work on my books. I have 2 (or 3?) young adult novels I am writing, but I haven’t worked on them in years. I want this to be the year I at least add SOMETHING. I don’t care how much. A little is better than nothing.
  3. Dance more. This also means making more friends who live and dance in the city. I am working on this.
  4. Seek therapy. Whether I just end up with someone to talk to or on medication, there’s no denying anymore that I have issues that need professional help. Lots of people go to therapy and there is no shame in it.
  5. Read more. I listed my goal on Goodreads as 24 books this year. That’s two books a month. No sweat. Still probably more than last year.

FINALLY

I have found a new job. An office job at a place called Clarity Health. A job in which I will call clients, their doctors, and their health insurance providers to gather information in order to refer them to the best physicians and healthcare plan for them. I will enter data and manage and electronically file patient records and insurance documents. I will sit at a desk in an open-floor office space in one of the taller buildings in downtown Seattle. I will work 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m, Monday through Friday.

I will not stock shelves.

I will not hang tags.

I will not clean up fitting rooms.

I will not make signs.

Ever. Again.

I will help people find the help they need to be healthy, and I will utilize my organization, customer service, and computer skills to do so. I start on October 5th, and I could not be happier. In the meantime, my manager has given me later hours, so very rarely will I have to wake up at 4:30 a.m. This comes at the cost of less hours as a result of him hiring my replacement, but I will make it work.

I AM SO EXCITED, YOU GUYS! SO EXCITED!!

Hold Onto The Affirmative

If I’ve ever talked about my job with you, you probably know that I am not enjoying it. Without going into too much detail, because that would be unprofessional, it wasn’t what I expected and it stresses me out a lot. I talked to my manager already, he’s finding someone to replace me, I’m looking for new jobs, and if I’m not gone by the time he brings someone else in, he’ll just stick me in a different position that’s easier for me. He’s great. But until that happens, I still have to endure at least two more weeks of this. So I’m going to focus on the positive:

Good things about being the HABA Price Changer at Fred Meyer

  1. I work 5 am to 2 pm most days, so I have all this sunlight left to hang out outside and do productive things after work. This actually gives me more freedom to hang out with other people than when I worked in apparel. I can’t stay out as late, but at least all of my afternoons and evenings are free!
  2. My bus is the earliest bus that can get me there, and it doesn’t always get me there on time, but my manager is really chill about it. He literally said, “Get here when you can, and just work for 8 hours.”
  3. Which also means that if I choose to take a half-hour lunch instead of an hour, I can leave at 1:30 (which usually means 1:40 because of the bus, but whatever).
  4. My bus ride is only 8 minutes!
  5. I wear an apron, which means I don’t have to wear clothes with pockets, nor do I have to pin a name tag to my clothes. I can just pin it on my apron.
  6. During my weekly graveyard shift, when I switch out tags, I can sing along with the music and sit, very unladylike, on the floor, with no shame. And until 5 am, no one is telling me what to do.
  7. 40 hours a week.
  8. On Fridays, when we throw candy freight on the other end of the store, I’m near the bakery, and I can smell the fresh bread and donuts. It’s heavenly.
  9. When I take my lunch at 10 am, the deli still has a wider selection of hot food than when I closed apparel and took my lunch at 8 pm.
  10. Stocking shelves means I’ve become very familiar with where products are, so it’s easier to assist customers than it was in apparel.
  11. I get to use a knife almost everyday. Makes me feel powerful. But sometimes the boxes are just glued instead of taped, and I have to rip the flaps off with my fingers. Makes me feel even more powerful.
  12. I can go on lunch and breaks whenever I want as long as I tell my supervisor that I’m going, because there’s no register or fitting rooms to cover.
  13. Sometimes I get to use a pallet jack, and that’s pretty fun, even though I did destroy an end cap frame once while trying to wheel a pallet down an aisle.
  14. We get to find out before anyone else if a certain product is back, LIKE CRISPY M&MS!!!
  15. There’s a lot less creepers on the bus at 4:30 am.
  16. My immediate supervisor may not think I’m that great, but my manager (her manager too) thinks I’m doing a great job and gives me high-fives and fist bumps every time he tells me so!
  17. I’m always there for the morning huddle for all store associates, which means snaaaaaacks.
  18. I have a fair amount of autonomy. I have tasks that are just mine and I’m expected to go do them on my own. But when I run out of things to do, I just ask my supervisor, and you can be sure there will be plenty more to do.
  19. This store has a lot of eye-candy. Like A LOT.
  20. I’ve only encountered one or two shoplifters in the past month, as opposed to at least one everyday.

I couldn’t think of any more, but hopefully just writing these out will help me tolerate all the things I don’t like about this job. And hopefully, I’ll have a fancy office job, or just one where I get to sit down for most of the day, before I can get moved to produce or floral. Wish me luck!

An exhausting birthday

Soon after I wrote my last post, I found out that I would be working graveyard shifts on Sundays instead of the 5am-2pm shift I have on all my other days. I don’t remember being informed of this in the interview. It wasn’t on the schedule, but my coworker showed me all of the price tags I’d have to change and told me there wouldn’t be enough time unless I came in at midnight and there is no one else to do since it is my job. So I did it.

I ended up going to the funeral after all. Kurt couldn’t get the day off, so I got a ride with my dad’s cousin Darrell, our former landlord. It was a beautiful service. Lots of crying, lots of laughs, lots of family. It had been a while since I’d seen that much of my dad’s family in one place. My grandma was very loved, and very loving. I only hope to leave behind a legacy as powerful as hers.

dad's fam

Taken sometime around 1968, I’m guessing. Left to right: Tom (my dad), David, Grandpa Bill (who passed away before I was born), Grandma Shirley, Mary, (second row) Michael, Billy, Laura, and Phillip. My cousin Angie, who is Mary’s daughter, told me that when this picture came up in the slideshow at the service, she thought her mom looked just like me, especially with the attitude. 

grown up siblings

My dad (in blue), all his siblings, and their cousin Steve (with his arm around my dad) at the memorial service. All seven of them said a few words, and then some more people did. It was so touching to see how many people had been affected by Shirley’s loving nature.

westbay fam

My mom, Noah, Eli, me, my dad, and Silas. I am so glad I got to go and see my family. 

I got home around 8 and should have gone to bed right away but decided to help my friend Caitlin move into her apartment, then tried to sleep when I went home around 10. Kurt got me some coffee and took me to work at midnight. I survived. It was a weird night, being all by myself in HABA and doing one thing over and over again for 8 hours. Not as awful as I thought it would be. I left at 8:30, tried to sleep, failed, read for a few hours, maybe got in 2 hours of sleep before I had to take a shower and get the house ready for my birthday party. Seven of my friends (including the people who already live with me) came over and we played a card game called Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity, ate pizza and cake, and just laughed a lot. I survived that with the help of coffee, again. Went to bed later than I should have, worked at 5 am, came home and was bored and alone until Nik came home from work. We watched a movie until he decided he had to go to bed because he worked at 6 am today.

But today is my day off, so I slept til like 9. Ahhhhh, it feels so good to finally be able to just chill. I’ve been doing laundry, setting up hangouts with new friends, and just relaxing. And I’m off tomorrow too! Getting to sit down and not stress for more than 5 minutes has allowed me to finally realize something:

I’m 25.

I’ve Never Lost Someone Before

Today was my first day at my HABA job. I walked to the bus stop in the dark, got confused about where the employee entrance was, unpacked cardboard boxes, stocked shelves, helped customers, cut open a lot of shrink wrap, learned where things are in my department, and got a text from my mother. I had taken my second 10-minute break at 12:30 and saw a text my mother had sent at 11:24.

“They are pulling the tubes from grandma shirley right now. She is already in heaven.”

I couldn’t believe it. My brother had texted me last night saying that she was in the hospital and needed our prayers, but I did not expect this. No one did. I cried a little but was pretty much in shock or denial. It didn’t seem real. I tried to text my mom back, “No!” with a sad face, but it didn’t send. I tried texting Kurt and that didn’t work either. I apparently can’t send any texts in my new store. So at 2, when I got off work, I called my dad.

Hearing your father sob and say “I want my mom” changes you. You see your dad as vulnerable, something you haven’t seen much of. It breaks you to see him so broken, when he’s always been so strong. I mean, what can you do when you’ve lost your mother? Completely out of the blue? I don’t even know what I would do if I lost my mom. My Grandma Shirley was 83, but she was totally fine yesterday. She complained of things that sounded like stroke symptoms or indicators of a coming heart attack, so my Aunt Mary took her to the hospital. She only got worse from there. The doctors tried everything, but nothing was explained. Her body was shutting down for no clear reason. They sedated and intubated her in order to perform a CAT scan last night and by this morning, she was hooked up to 22 different tubes, all keeping her alive together. She never woke up. All of her seven children were gathered in her room, if not in person then on speakerphone or on Skype. They chose to pull the plug because though the doctors didn’t know what caused it, they did know that she wasn’t coming back. My dad told me all of this through sobs while I walked in the heat toward a QFC to reload my Orca card. I cried along with him. It didn’t make any sense. One day, she was there, and then suddenly, she wasn’t. My dad and his siblings ordered an autopsy before the cremation to find out what went wrong. Because that has to happen, there won’t be a body or even an urn at the memorial, which will happen this weekend. If it’s Saturday, I hope I can get the time off work. If it’s Sunday, I’m postponing my birthday party. Because that’s what you do.

Oh and by the way, Kurt was offered the full-time position of lead barista today. You can imagine that I had a hard time feeling excited for him. But I am. It’s a weird feeling, though, to get terrible news and great news so close together. I’m sad that my dad is hurting so much, but glad that my grandma isn’t suffering, and happy for our future financial stability, but tired from a hot trek home after a long day at work. I just…

Please pray for my dad.

Almost 25 and much has changed

I’ve never had a full-time job before. I always imagined that my first full-time job would be in an office and would be in the field I studied in college. But, you know, sometimes you gotta take what life hands you until something better comes along because who knows how long that will be. Tomorrow is my first day as a full-time Health And Beauty Aids morning clerk at the closest Fred Meyer to my new apartment. My apartment in Seattle. That’s actually what I’m most excited about. I haven’t officially lived in Seattle since I was seven years old, and all of my young life, I have yearned to go back. For the past two years, Kirkland has been a nice placeholder for the city life I knew would make me happy. But I can’t stand the suburbs. Busing places was extremely difficult, especially at night and on weekends, and that’s when most people can hang out! Living in the city means I don’t have to leave the party early just to bus home. I can stay out til 2 if I want to and I don’t have to call a cab or beg for a ride. Not that I’ll be staying out that late, like ever. My new shifts will be 5 am to 2 pm, so there won’t be a lot of late nights. But it will still be easier to hang out with people than when I worked 2:30 to 11:30 pm and usually on weekends! Hello, that’s when everything is happening!

There’s a lot to love about my new neighborhood. There’s a park right across the street, with a lake and tennis courts and a swing set. I can walk 10 minutes to a library, a consignment shop, Ross, Grocery Outlet, a cheap nail salon (for special occasions, a.k.a. when my mother-in-law visits), Starbucks, Dollar Tree, and Baskin Robbins. I can bus to Pike Place Market in half an hour! Basically everything I need, right here. Just a 10-minute bus ride away is Greenlake, where my parents used to take us with our bikes when I was little. I remember so many summer days walking or riding around Greenlake. Heck, I could even very easily visit Lincoln High School and show Kurt where I used to live!

Our new apartment has carpeting, no mold issues, plenty of storage, a huge bathroom counter, and I can buzz people in the front door of the building! I never have to open the apartment door to anyone I don’t know ever again. Unless they’re my neighbors, all of whom seem to keep to themselves. I’m thinking of making some cookies and going to door-to-door to meet people. Is that still a thing?

All of these new things are just making me so happy. I’m glad to be starting over at a new store (not that I hated the old one; I’m just tired of closing Apparel), in a kind of new town, just as I’m turning a quarter of a century old. As my birthday approaches, I’m taking a step back and looking at where I wanted to be at this point in my life. I hoped I’d be doing something with my degree, and maybe I am. Maybe I’m turning out to be so good at customer service because of all of the communication skills I acquired while earning an Bachelors in English with a Writing Specialization. I still don’t want to work in retail forever. Maybe in the corporate levels, because man, a desk job sounds so easy on the feet after two years in retail. I don’t know how people do it for the rest of their lives. More power to you, but it’s not for me. I just do my best, pay the bills, and hope that something closer to writing or editing pops up in a few years. I’m really in no rush. Who says you have to have achieved all your dreams by a certain age? I’m totally fine with giving my HABA job 100% until it’s time to move on to something bigger. For right now, life is good. Happy birthday to me.

Welcome To The Paradise

Don’t you love finding a book, movie, TV show, or a character that reminds you of your own life, and in the best possible way? Not just in a “well that’s just like me/my situation” kind of way, but more of a “this makes me feel better about my situation” kind of way. I have found this in The Paradise, a BBC program that only lasted two seasons. One of my friends from college alerted me to this show’s existence by commenting on one of my selfies, saying, “You look like the girls who work at The Paradise! Have you seen that show on Netflix? They always have amazing hair.” I’d never heard of this show, so I found it on Netflix and started the first episode, intrigued. Great hair can always grab my attention.

The Paradise is based on a French novel by Emile Zola, Au Bonheur des Dames. The show moved the story to North East England, where John Moray is running the nation’s first department store. The main character is Denise Lovett, a Scottish girl from a small town who is seeking a job in sales and ends up working at Moray’s store, The Paradise. Denise turns out to be quite the salesgirl, always coming up with brilliant ideas that no one else would think of. The show revolves around the drama between the customers, traders, and employees in and around the store, and my, is there drama, at least for a story set in 1875. I am halfway through the second season and not looking forward to have no more show to watch, as it was never renewed for a third season. Thanks, BBC.

denise

Denise has her “I have a stupendous marketing idea” face on.

But back to my point, Denise’s drive to run her own shop and be as powerful and respected as Moray has put in me an acceptance and respect for my own profession. Yes, I am an editor by trade, but right now, I’m in customer service, and a good dose of positivity could make me so much better at my job. Yes, times have changed since 1875, but one fact remains: Doing what you’ve always done will never lead to progress. You have to let new and radical ideas prevail sometimes. Denise is always coming up with things that people think are crazy, because “this is just the way it’s always been,” but as soon as someone has some faith in her, she shows everyone that she really knows what she’s talking about, and basically saves the day. She’s so passionate about making the store money and bringing people together to become more successful and more powerful than they could be alone, that just watching an episode before work can make me work so much more cheerfully.

This is why I think TV shows that depict people loving their careers and doing well in them are so important. If everyone did their job a little more cheerfully and with a little more drive, even if it’s not what they want to be doing forever, imagine how much more smoothly everything else in the company would run. I wonder if Parks and Rec is like that for people in small government. I honestly can’t think of anymore that portray the workplace as a place you’d want to be, that encourages you and helps you love your own job. We should make more of those!

What Makes A Beautiful Day?

The past week, we’ve been having intermittent “beautiful weather.” As it is February in western Washington, rainy or at least cloudy days would seem to be the norm, but there are random times when the sun shines through and gives us a beautiful Kirkland sunset, like this one.

kirkland sunset

Between interacting with coworkers, customers, friends, and housemates, I’ve gotten the impression that “beautiful weather” is synonymous with sunshine; warm, still air; and blue skies. You might be thinking, “Well, of course it is! That’s beautiful!” I know it is. It feels so nice to have the sun on one’s back and have all the fauna out to play and the flora brightly illuminated by the day. I’ve never complained about a sunny day, unless of course, it’s 110 degrees outside and I have to walk to the bus stop in work clothes.

But today, I drank in the stillness of a cloudy morning, and found it just as beautiful. Luckily, it hadn’t rained in enough hours that our front step was dry, so I sat on it in my pajamas and a pink hoodie, eating the last clementine, and just listened. At 9:30, I saw a morning that I rarely willingly saw. In the small bubble encompassing my house and yard, it was quiet. Only the grass breathed, glistening still with dew. The clover at the edge of the yard was so richly green that it seemed to revel in the thought of coming spring, or in thankfulness for living in a place where spring never truly ends. Past the yard erupted songs of at least four different kinds of birds, in dozens of little voices. I could have done without the neighbors’ dogs barking in conversation with each other, or maybe the birds, but they reminded me how alive the morning was in still moments like this. Under the soft soil of the lawn, I’m sure there were vast civilizations of earthworms and ants, aphids and spiders, living in a harmony, even if that harmony means someone will be eaten soon. It is vast and we don’t know it. We rush out of our doors when we have to and stay inside when we don’t, spending entire days on the couch just because it’s cloudy outside.

I realized yesterday, while wandering downtown Kirkland, that people around here must have realized this long before I did. That a cloudy day doesn’t stop a true local from going out and enjoying the day. On Monday, it was very warm and sunny with clear skies, and I was looking for a place to blog. The first three coffee shops I visited had no seating at all for someone with a small tablet to type on. The lines were long; the sidewalks were crowded. The waterfront was packed with families with dogs, couples having picnics, small children running into the water and back out when they realized how cold it still was. I expected yesterday to not be as crowded, as the nice weather had stepped back for a day, but I was surprised. The sidewalks were emptier, yes, but the coffee shop where I met my friend had no seating at all! And it’s a big coffee shop! So we got our coffees and walked down to the waterfront to sit on the steps that led down to the bay. The whole time we were there, there was also a man in an electric wheelchair with a young black lab. Other than them, the area was nearly deserted. The man stayed on the sidewalk or the docks, zooming around, becoming a silhouette as the sun sank into the water and burned the sky gold. The dog was having the time of his life, jumping off of docks into the water, swimming over to shore, splashing around to his heart’s content. And I realized when I got home that if a man in a wheelchair can transport himself and a dog to the waterfront to go have a good time on a cloudy day, then I can certainly pull myself out of bed before noon and appreciate whatever world God has given me on any given day. If I’ve learned one thing from riding buses, it’s that getting around in a wheelchair must take a ton of patience. Have you ever seen anyone get on or off a bus in a wheelchair? All I can say is I should be more thankful for my able body and work harder to accept and rejoice in the day I’m given, and not use the weather as an excuse to be lazy and sorry for myself. Any day I go into with a positive attitude can be my own beautiful day.

DSC_3075

“This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)