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Enjoy diverse perspectives from West Michigan women.

This weekend I gave an alumni talk for an organization with which I was heavily involved with in college. The talk was part of a weekend retreat where I myself retreated every semester while at MSU. I've given talks on those retreats before, some in the exact spot I gave this weekend's, in fact.

ErikaWhy does a woman living alone need a gallon-sized jar of pickle spears, you may wonder. How could this purchase merit any sort of sense? To these questions I say first, I love pickles, second, buying in bulk allows me to practice time-tested frugality, and third, when I buy enough for thirty-seven, it makes the one sitting alone at the dinner table feel a little less lonesome.

StephanieYes. That would be me. Let me explain. I don’t live in a college town. I don’t live downtown. I live in suburbia, actually country suburbia. We are definitely in a neighborhood–a typical suburban neighborhood.
 
Saturday night, my husband and I hit bed around 11 p.m. Not too late. Not too early. It was hot so our windows were open. (I am refusing to turn on the air conditioning in March!) I noticed that our neighbors, several doors down, had friends over and they were hanging out on their driveway. This has happened before, and I can typically fall asleep without any problems.
 
That was NOT the case on Saturday. I tossed and turned in bed for about an hour and a half. I tried everything–tummy, back, pillow over my head. I could hear every word they were saying. I could hear the pounding of their music. And then to top it all off, someone decided to start honking their car horn. Not just once. Not just twice. But probably twenty-five times.
 
So after all that time, my blood was boiling at a new level. I went through my options…I could scream out the window. I could call the cops. I could drive my car over there and shine the brights on them. I could walk over there in my nightgown and give them a piece of my mind. And then I started to make deals, “One more honk, and I’m going to…” Honk. “Ok. One more time, and I’ll…” Honk…that was it. I got up and stuck my head out the window and screamed at the top of my lungs, “SHUT UP!!!” The party didn’t end all at once after my burst of frustration, but it definitely got better. I believe I was up for at least another half hour, and I may have fallen asleep with the pillow over my head.
 
The next morning I was SO tempted to drive my car over to their driveway early in the morning and lay on my horn. I had to contain myself!
 
I must be getting old. I hope I didn’t overstep my boundaries. I did feel that of all my options, this was the most reasonable and respectful. What do you think? What would you have done in this similar situation? The crazy thing is that this couple has five small children. I don’t know how they do it!

Written by: Stephanie Teslaa excels at using both the right and left sides of her brain, and that’s exactly what makes her so special. Stephanie calls Hudsonville home and is a lover of numbers and also a talented photographer.

Blog-Heather March MaddnessI am not one to research teams to the extent of, well, men, but I do get into March Madness for the sake of camaraderie and solidarity. I started filling out brackets as a college freshman at Loyola. Now, while Loyola hasn't won a tournament since 1963, I still get into the games, particularly the second half, ok the last three minutes.

StephanieI’ll preface this story with a statement. This story isn’t about me but it could be. This story is about a close relative of mine so we do share the same blood, background, and boldness. (Details of this incident have been changed to protect the innocent.)
 
Starbucks is a vice. It’s expensive. It’s delicious. It’s worth it. However, for my cousin Nicole there is a definite limit to how much is worth it. A couple weeks ago, she went to our local Starbucks and ordered her standard Grande White Chocolate Mocha with skim and whip. As she awaited her little cup of heaven, she noticed that the barista didn’t stir the mocha as they typically did, so she asked her to give it a little stir. The barista stated that corporate “took their spoons away.” Initially she offered the wooden coffee stirrers at the counter. Nicole’s response was that she didn’t like wooden stirrers, and they really bothered her. In addition to that, she wanted it stirred before the whip went on top. The barista went on to explain that they aren’t allowed to stir coffee any longer due to “state regulations.” Nicole, who is well versed on state regulations of the food service industry, pressed this issue and didn’t take her word for it. The banter went on for quite some time, and escalated to Nicole stating, “You charge a ridiculous price for a cup of coffee so I expect it to be the way I want it. This allows me to be ridiculous. I don’t want my coffee and would appreciate my money back.” Needless to say, Nicole is now on a strong boycott of Starbucks. As much as I agree with her statements, I haven’t joined the boycott.
 
I’m not sure if it’s state regulations or just corporate that is dictating the “no spoon rule.” I’ve been told by other baristas at Starbucks that corporate doesn’t want mochas and lattes to be stirred. Stirring slows up the process of making the coffee.
 
We all have things that we expect. This story just made me laugh because I know my cousin, and she’s the most laid back person in the world. It shocked me that she went at it with the barista about a spoon, but I do agree when you pay a certain amount, we all have certain expectations. For some it may be the atmosphere, for some the design of the cup, and yet for others it’s a spoon!
 
Do you have the right to be ridiculous when you pay a ridiculous amount for something? Or has this gone a little far to show more of the American way–my way or the highway? I don’t have the answers but it may be worth thinking about.

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