I thought I’d tell you a little bit about me. My life’s history. Well, in a very condensed form. I figured that since I have been blogging just shy of four years, it’s certainly possible that one or two readers are curious about me. Of course, stop reading, if this is not for you.
One common question I get is, “You must be from Seattle, right?” Not at all. I’m from California – Orange County, to be specific. I left California when I was 18. I know that many people love California, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life, where I wanted to, or much of anything, for that matter. So at a young age, I signed on the dotted line, and I joined the U.S. Air Force. I promise you … join the military, and you’ll leave home. Like every other Airman Basic, I went through boot camp at Lackland, A.F.B. in Texas. During that basic training, the Air Force decides for you what you will be. I don’t know if it’s still like that, but back then, I literally was just handed a piece of paper with my assigned career. Keep in mind, the military is a complete ecosystem, and so the array of jobs is almost as wide as in the civilian world. I’m sort of glad I didn’t end up a cook. My little slip of paper said, “Dental Assistant” on it.
Eventually, after a short training period about dental assisting, I was assigned to my first permanent base. Mind you, in preference forms in where I wanted to go, I told the Air Force that I would go anywhere but California. My orders said, “Torrejon, AB, Spain.” That base has long-since been decommissioned, but in the 1980s, that was indeed an active Air Force base – shared with Spanish nationals. I spent two years just outside of Madrid, and left Torrejon with an Overseas Long Tour Ribbon, and Achievement Medal. (I don’t feel like I “achieved” much. I was perhaps good at taking orders back then.)
From Torrejon, I received a new set of orders: McChord A.F.B., in Tacoma, Washington. I had never stepped foot in Washington before that, so I had no idea what to expect. I recall, about the same, a friend of mine received orders to Whiteman A.F.B., near Knob Noster, Missouri. I visited him there, and I recall thinking that wasn’t a place where I’d want to live forever. I think, I got really, really, really, lucky in the random assignments of Air Force bases.
I moved to Tacoma, continued working in uniform, on the base, as a dental assistant. In about 1988, it occurred to me that my four-year enlistment was coming to an end, and I would have to make a decision whether to renew, or do something else. In early 1989, I submitted an application to attend college at University of Washington, in Seattle. I got accepted. To this day, I’m a little surprised. In August 1989, my four-year enlistment came to its natural end, and with an Honorable Discharge, and the rank of Sergeant, I separated, moving into a tiny room in Seattle’s University District neighborhood. I recall that my rent was $110 a month, and I was scared whether I would make it.
Luckily, I immediately found work – as a dental assistant. I worked in a periodontal office for years and years, varying my hours, and trying to work around being a student. To be brutally honest, I completed my undergraduate education in fits of starts and stops over a decade! I would go for several quarters without going to school, and then would go back, and so on and so forth. I worked for one dentist in North Seattle between 1989 and 1998. Later, (until 2001), I worked for Washington Dental Service.
I am thankful that I had those dental assisting skills when I needed them – I was always able to keep a roof over my head, though there was nothing glamorous about the life I lead. (Well, still to this day, I’m definitely not leading a glamorous life!). I worked two jobs briefly in the 1990s, working part-time in Northgate Mall, as a sales associate at The Limited. I mention that only because my experiences with clothing retail is that is an amazingly a lot of fun. People walk out very happy that they have a new outfit. Somehow people don’t get that bubbly about going to the dentist.
When I finally had an undergraduate degree, I knew that I had to do something else. I sent in applications to a variety of law schools across the country. Lo and behold, in 2001, I got accepted to University of California, Hastings College of the Law, located in San Francisco. Despite that I’m from California, I had never visited San Francisco before. There was no way that I had the money to go visit a bunch of schools, so sight unseen, in 2001, I packed up a few boxes (having literally given away almost all my belongings so that I could make the move), and moved to San Francisco. I also borrowed a boatload of money – San Francisco was expensive. I worked hard, and somehow made it through. I graduated in 2004.
In 2004, I returned to Seattle, moving in with a guy whom I’d known since 1994. I owe him the world, as he helped me get through many awkward phases of my life. His home was in the Northgate area of Seattle, and so once again, that became home. I went through a weird phase of ‘I have no idea what I am doing with my life.’ (I still feel like that sometimes.) And, I had to find a job. I briefly returned to the comfort of selling clothes – and worked part-time as a sales associate at the Northgate Eddie Bauer store. I’m not bad at all with a folding board!
In 2005, as a new attorney, I found a job working in Kitsap County. I stayed at that law position just one year. The commuting from the Northgate neighborhood of Seattle to Port Orchard, Washington was doable, but stressful. In 2006, I found a wonderful position in downtown Seattle, working in assigned criminal defense, for a small non-profit agency. This really was a dream. I loved that non-profit. By the way, we’re up to 2006 – 2007, and despite that I had moved to Seattle in 1989, it was really the first time that downtown became my main neighborhood. I recall feeling completely renewed and invigorated in exploring downtown Seattle, as if it was all totally new to me. Part of that exploration of downtown Seattle involved getting re-connected with Starbucks. In 2008, Howard Schultz returned as CEO, and there I was in downtown Seattle, happily working away and exploring the Market all anew, discovering one of the first Clover Starbucks at 6th and Union; and I experienced the transformation of Starbucks from a very front row seat viewpoint. I went to the kick off in Seattle’s Pike Place Market on April 8, 2008, for the all new blend called “Pike Place Roast.” I got a black card very early in 2008. I experienced the launch of Thanksgiving Blend with a coffee tasting event that was held at the headquarters, with Tom Douglas present.
I have to call out and thank Taigan Reynolds. He is a current Starbucks store manager, and in 2006, he managed the Smith Tower Starbucks. He lured me in. He was always one to quickly break out a French press, and connect over a cup of coffee. And, I loved it. He’s still a store manager, and a great asset to Starbucks. You can kind of blame him for getting me hooked on Starbucks.
By 2009, I decided that I had a lot to say about Starbucks. I decided that I wanted to create a blog about Starbucks, which would really have the stamp of my own personality on it. It took a while to come to life, but on September 9, 2009, I launched this blog.
On July 1, 2013, my perfect little non-profit got absorbed into the King County government. King County essentially took over all of public defense, and absorbed just under 400 people into the government (who had all been working at four separate little non-profits). I felt that between 2006 and 2013, I had a dream job. Public defense is in a “transition phase” right now, and I don’t know at all what’s around the corner. I’ll go with the flow, wherever I’m needed under the new structure of defense.
It feels like I’m doing things the hard way. I seem to bumble along, making mistakes, and learning as I go. As I said, this is the Cliff Notes version about my background, for those who are curious.
If nothing else, I hope you brush and floss every single day!
That’s my story.