September 18, 2011

Coffee Shop Morals

So remember that time I said I didn't like coffee?  That I was a (constant) hot chocolate girl, and a (fickle) tea lover?  
Forget it.  I lied.
Pumpkin Spice Lattes are, quite possibly, the greatest thing I have ever tasted.  It's like drinking warm pumpkin pie.  And who wouldn't love that?
The girls at work talked me into trying one today (and let's just face it...that didn't take much convincing), and I'll never go back.  In fact, I'll likely go into withdrawal at the end of the season when they stop selling them.
I may have to convince them to sell me the recipe...
So what's the moral of the story, folks?  Run, fly, or teleport (don't even think about walking) to your nearest Starbucks, and buy the largest size they have (I think it's a Trente now?  Or something similar...) of a Pumpkin Spice Late!!!

<3 Kiersten 

September 17, 2011

Love of my Town

Reason #357 I love my town.
(full disclosure: I don't know if there are that many reasons.  I just liked the sound of 357.)

Today, my roommates and I ate lunch at a pizza place in town.  As I was waiting in line at the register to ask for a fork, the man in front of me was paying off his credit from last night.  Apparently the power went out all over town, and he had no cash on him.  So they took his name, and trusted him to pay today.
In most places, people stopped trusting each other that much years ago.  
I think that a lot of the reason for this trust is that a lot of the stores and restaurants in town are privately owned. I fully believe that had the power gone out at a Dominoes, nobody would ever have accepted "I'll pay you tomorrow", because corporate would likely have fired them.  
Which coincidentally is another reason I love this town:  I love privately owned places so much more than a large corporate place where nobody who works there has ever even met the actual owner.  

Tomorrow is the Restaurant Festival in town.  It's a yearly affair, and is a pretty big deal in my town.  I work in a restaurant and was advised by my manager to leave my dorm about fifteen minutes to a half hour sooner than I normally would because the side walks and streets will be absolutely jammed all day.  Yeah.  It's that big.
Last year I was at a friend's house for the weekend, and this will  be my first experience of the festival.  I almost wish I didn't have work so that I could go take pictures!

How about you guys?  What's something you love about your town?

<3 Kiersten

September 4, 2011

The Lessons You Learn

When you serve in a restaurant, tables start to take on faces instead of the numbers they're assigned.  After you've worked there for a while, you'll start to associate certain customers that ate there with that table, and whenever anybody else sits there, you compare them.  

At the first restaurant I worked in, a privately owned place in my home-town, 504 became a group of Saturday-night-friends.  They'd come in the first night that I was closing around midnight, and I stopped by their table a few times throughout the night to make sure they didn't need anything else.  The girl on the left was passed out in her boyfriend's lap.  The other two people at the table were in their own world, and didn't really respond whenever I stopped at the table.  The boyfriend was the only person ordering drinks, and he must have been the Designated Driver because all he ordered were waters, one right after the other until 2am when we closed.

305 became Ellen- an older woman who came in every morning at 11 or so for lunch.  Every day she'd tell us stories about her late husband Edward and the conversations she'd heard on the bus ride into town.  More recently, she's started telling us about her boyfriend, a man who she says is younger than her and who she promises that maybe one day, she'll introduce us all to.  

601 was a group of older couples, old family friends of one another out for dinner together.  The oldest man at the table choked on a piece of steak from his salad, and I remember having no idea what to do.  I just kept running back and forth between the server station and the table, grabbing piles of napkins and glasses of water for him.  Eventually he coughed it up, and his family had the salad wrapped.  

Given time, I feel like every table will have a face instead of a number.  That it will take time, but eventually, every table will be a reminder of a lesson that a customer taught you at one point or another, and even when you leave the restaurant you'll still carry the memory of that table with you.


Or am I just getting too philosophical concerning my waitressing jobs?

<3 Kiersten

August 30, 2011

In Which I Admit to Being a Nerd

You know that feeling you get at the beginning of the school year?  Like you're five and it's your first day of Kindergarten all over again, and you can't wait for it to start?  

Well, that feeling is gone, because of course it is fleeting - it only lasts through the first twenty minutes or so of your first class before listening to the Professor discuss the syllabus gets boring, and your turn to introduce yourself to everyone ("Hi, I'm Kiersten.  I'm a sophomore with a major in English and a minor in Journalism.") has already passed.  

But after that first excitement fades, and you realize that unlike kindergarten, History 150 and Computer Science are going to require far more work than memorizing the alphabet did, comes the real excitement.  The anticipation that follows the end of the first day of classes, when the next day holds the promise of actually learning something, and maybe even an assignment or two!  

Or is it just me?

Either way, tomorrow marks the first actual day of class.  On Monday, all of my professors simply explained their expectations for us that semester and, for the smaller classes, had everyone introduce themselves.  Tomorrow, we'll start learning.  We'll break in the new notebooks and pens, and write a couple of assignments in our agenda books.  And, maybe I'm just crazy, but I'm excited.

How about you, Friends?  Are any of you starting a new semester at school?  Tell me all about it!!

<3 Kiersten  

August 28, 2011

Sunday Morning

...but thankfully the rain is not falling.  At least not anymore, although the wind is still screaming outside of my living room window.  

Last night was my first night back at school, and throughout the night our power went out three times - the first two it lasted for about five minutes, the third time only for a few seconds.  
At one point, we ventured over to our old dorm to visit some friends, but when the building started to rattle as though it may fall over at any time, we made the trip back to our own dorm before the storm got so bad that we wouldn't be able to.    And so for the rest of the night, my roommates and I unplugged everything, curled up into a couple of the beds, and talked while the wind threatened to tare the building down and someone made the announcement that a tornado warning had just been issued for our area.

My roommates are all still asleep, and I have yet to venture outside, but judging by Facebook posts the damage was not too severe.  The front yard of our old dorm flooded, but that happens even in a normal rain storm.  One of the streets in town, the one that the restaurant I work in is on, is partially flooded, but apparently not so bad that the restaurant had to close.  I am still scheduled to work today.   
While I'm sure that the damage sustained in other areas, ones closer to bodies of water was much more severe, we made it through Irene with no real wounds, at least not any that won't heal within the next week or so with a little bit of care.  

How about you guys?  Did Irene hit you hard last night, or are you waking up just fine?

<3 Kiersten 

August 27, 2011

11th Hour Thoughts

Tomorrow afternoon (well...I guess at this point it's technically today)  I move into my new dorm room, amidst forecasts for the worst storm of my life, at least in Pennsylvania.  Everything about it seems completely unreal:  my being a college sophomore as of Monday, the severity of the storm they're predicting (so bad, in fact, that my friend's entire block was evacuated today because of it's proximity to the river), and the fact that this time tomorrow night, I'll be hunkering down in my living room at school with some friends I haven't seen in months.  

Exactly one year ago today, I was lying in bed unable to sleep because I was so excited about beginning college the next day.  And I was so completely ready for it, like in the morning simply wasn't soon enough.  I wanted to have been there for the past four years, because I was so ready to get started on the rest of my life.  This year, it seems like it came just in time.  I spent so much of my time working this summer, that even though it was the longest summer break of my life, it didn't seem quite so long.  And I think I'm still in disbelief that it's already the end of August, and the beginning of another school year.  

I had thought that packing would slap me in the face like reality with a hammer, but even as I'm sitting in a bare bed staring at the pile of things I have packed and ready to go, I still don't think it's quite registering.  Or maybe it's just a different feeling now that I'm going back to something I already know so well, instead of leaving the familiar for something completely foreign.  

What I'm not entirely sure about is whether I like the feeling I have now, or if I'd rather have back the feeling I had last year.  So excited to be going into something I don't even slightly recognize.  And maybe that's the reason why I know that I'll spend so much of my life moving around.  For so many years, changing schools, moving, making new friends was perfectly normal for me, so that now change seems almost necessary.  Like staying in one place for too long might be too painful to bear.  

<3 Kiersten

August 24, 2011

A Break

Hey guys!

So I know that today is Wednesday - time for Write on Wednesday.  This week though, the prompt was to take a walk, and write based on that.  I don't know about you guys, but it has spent the greater part of the last two weeks here pouring rain.  Not really conducive to a nice, long walk in the park.  
I still want to post some writing though, so I'm going to post a short of mine that I'm pretty proud of.  


It was the home I’d grown up in, save for those first few months on Glenlock before we moved to accommodate a fourth person, a baby brother named Corey that I asked my parents to send back when I first met him – “he’s boring”.  It was the house I’d spent my childhood discovering every inch of, every corner, closet, and cabinet until I had it memorized just in case I lost it one day. 

I’d gotten to know the ghosts and the memories that lived in the attic in the back of my closet, and I knew the little boy who used to play in my room before he died, before I was ever even born; or at least I knew the stories my neighbors had told us when we first moved in, and which my parents relayed to me when I was older.  I knew that the house held much more than our nuclear family of Mother, Father, Sister, and Brother.  I knew the whispers that the walls spoke late at night when they thought that nobody was listening, and I knew their secrets in a way that said I had no idea how much they actually knew.  I knew the secrets they chose to tell me, the way I held onto them like tiny treasures. 

I knew which tiles in the bathroom downstairs would come up if you pulled them, and I knew which doors creaked and which ones didn’t.  I knew how many windows we had - fifteen, because a Dr. Seuss activity book my father had bought me told me to count them.  I knew which plank could be pulled out of the walkway in the backyard to hide secret treasures like berries and honeysuckles in the summer.  I knew the area under the porch my uncle had built one spring, and how we sat under there all summer pretending it was a clubhouse, collecting flowers and berries and mixing them to make a salad that neither of us were daring enough to actually eat.  I knew the tree stump in the backyard that Corey and I planned to tunnel our way into and build a secret fort under after the first time we heard the story of Peter Pan’s secret house in the ground, and I knew by heart the dents we’d made in the bark with a couple of shovels meant for digging in the sand, not in tree bark. 

 I knew the McDonalds toys that my mom collected, the way they’d been lined up on the windowsill above the kitchen sink for as long as I could remember – Disney princesses and Pokemon.  But I can’t quite remember a time when they were being handed out with my Happy Meal.  I knew the spices in the back of the cabinet that nobody ever used, but we still owned because “maybe one day we’ll need them.”  I remember the play-dough we made on the stove with a recipe my mom had found in a craft book, and I remember the day it dried up, the way Corey and I tried to fix it by putting it in a bowl of hot water.  I remember when that didn’t work, and my mom helped us make more.

I knew the way that the platform by the stairs turned into a stage when there was a two-woman play, just me and my best friend, and I knew the way it turned into a church when Corey was marrying the neighbor’s little girl in her old white Communion dress.  I knew that I hated sharing a room with my little brother, but as soon as he was in the room next door, the bedroom we’d once shared felt somehow empty and I missed him and the noises he made in the morning, when he was playing imaginary games with himself waiting for everybody else to wake up.  I knew the secret language we invented, made up half by whispers and half by knowing the other better than anybody else in the world that we spoke when my parents were asleep and only the walls were listening, collecting secrets about us for the next generation. 

I knew the darkened stain on the closet door upstairs, where my friend and I had built our club – Girls Only – and Corey had sprayed the door with Lysol in an attempt to get in.  And I knew the baseball cards that Corey and I found stashed in that closet, an entire box of them, unopened that my dad had bought on the day I was born.  I knew the faces on those cards when we opened a new pack each week, even if I didn’t know the importance of that face and who they really were.  I knew the games that we had invented without ever speaking a word about the rules, and I’m sure I could still play the games, but I’d never quite know how to explain them; I have no doubt that he remembers them too.  I knew the fallen toy army men who’d been taken prisoner under the fireplace during one of our made-up games; they finally came back out one Christmas Eve, burnt from the fire they’d caused as their last attempt at freedom while my parents held a party in the other room. 

I knew which neighbor’s dog howled into the night when they wouldn’t let her in, and I knew the stray cats who came to our yard at night to taunt my domesticated house cat Max, who always managed to get himself up a tree but never quite knew how to get himself back down when the squirrels he’d been chasing disappeared.  And I knew which window above the desk in the hall to open to let Max back in when it got dark and he’d learned his lesson, at least for a few hours.  I knew the way that Max and Corey taunted one another for years, the way they always acted like they hated one another.  But I also knew the look in Corey’s eyes when Max ran away one day – the recognition that he’d never actually hated Max to begin with.

I knew the hallway that led to the family room, even in the dark on tiptoes when Corey and I were playing Spy-Kids late at night in the summer, using our Inspector Gadget toys from Rite Aid as props.  And I knew which keyhole to silently stare through to watch Titanic while my parents sat together on the couch unaware that I was crying as the ship sank and Jack lost his grip on Rose.  I knew the shapes that the sponge paint on the walls made, and I knew the almost unnoticeable lines drawn in pencil on that wall, marking mine and Corey’s progressive heights on an erratic schedule I could never quite keep track of.

I knew the neighbors that spent most of their days on the front porch talking, and I knew the neighbors who didn’t want us to know them.  I knew the neighbors who still got oil heat, because one time their shipment was poured in my basement instead of theirs, and we had to move out for a couple of months to an apartment two towns over.  I knew which neighbor was getting older and losing his hearing, because I could hear his phone ring from behind the closed doors of my home.  And I knew which neighbors to go to on Halloween, and which neighbors to never go near even in the daylight. 

I knew the way the stars shined at night, when I was counting them instead of sheep from my bed, and I knew how many windows I had in my room to watch the starts from – five, all too small to accommodate curtains.  I remember the way I felt that first night after my dad finally found curtains to fit those windows, how long it took me to fall asleep when I didn’t have the stars to count anymore. 
And I remember waving goodbye to the poison ivy hills in front of our home where I’d never gotten a rash but my brother and dad did every summer; and goodbye to the stone bench by the garden gate where my dad had long ago given up planting flowers.  I remember saying one last goodbye to the tree stumps that had doubled as picnic benches, school desks, chairs, and dinner plates for the last five years since my parents had had the trees outside of my window cut down for fear of a strong spring storm.  I remember saying goodbye to the staircase that had worked as a classroom for our imaginary lessons, a church for so many weddings, and a stage for all of our last-minute plays.  I remember standing in front of the make-shift closet in my room that led to the attic, finding letters written to a woman who hadn’t lived there in over a decade at least.  And I remember saying goodbye to the shadows and the ghosts and the walls that spoke that I’d built a bond with over the years, realizing finally that I wasn’t really scared of them after all.  

I remember standing at the top of the concrete stairs outside of my house for one last time, staring at the porch swing I’d never sit in again as it moved slightly in the breeze, and wondering if one day I’d have a home with a porch swing and a park bench by the garden gate because I already missed it there.  And the second we locked the door, I missed the creak in the floors and the Crayola drawings on my brother’s bedroom wall, right next to where his bed used to be.  I missed the painting in the dining room that hadn’t been painted for this house, but still looked exactly like it in a way that made me think the artist had been there before.  

I originally wrote this piece for a creative writing class I took last semester, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out in the end.  What are your thoughts on it, guys?

<3 Kiersten