Friday, December 30, 2011

Call me Fitz

It seems my family is developing a mother lode of traditions. My sis has taken the reigns and suggesting (over and over again) that when we gather that we all write some sort of Fitz memory.

She came up with a brilliant idea years ago while at the Lake House that each of us write an essay on why it is Fabulous to be a Fitz. After that, it was ON.

Around Christmas the theme usually includes holiday memories but it open for anything. My BIL brought in his family tree that has recently been researched by one of his BIL's. It was a fantastic spread of faceless names. "I know three of them" he commented as he unrolled the huge document. the bottom line was how we touch each other and how far our reach extends with out our being aware.

My essay (which I left in Memphis and I had to reprise from memory) went like this....

A friend of my on Facebook asked us to share our best Christmas memories. He went first and described how all he wanted was a pair of Beatle Boots and was told, by his Mom, that they were too expensive. It was all he wanted, all he thought about. And, like all great Christmas stories, on Christmas morning after all the presents were opened his mother directed him, just like Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB Gun, to a special package hidden behind the tree. That was the best Christmas ever for him, the year he got his Beatle Boots!

I tried to think back and remember a time when I received the best gift ever! When, on some bright Christmas morning when the day was brilliant with snow and cheer, I found the gift I had been hoping for all season! Was it that Chatty Cathy doll? Was it the Beatle album?....Was it the Frye Boots that were out of this world expensive? Bicycles being test ridden in the snow ruts? Was it....was it.....?
What was it?

I closed my eyes and tried to rewind time and think back to when I was young enough to believe in Santa and gifts arriving in magical sleighs. How old would I have been? Eight? Nine? Six?

I remembered the Christmas day when my parents invited the young women from South America to share our Christmas day. They were students at the Women's College in the area and unable to return home for the holidays. My parents opened up our home to them and celebrated the birth of Christ with total strangers!

I think I was around seven or eight. I remember the pictures of me that day. Gazing up at the glamorous women, a doll clutched tightly to my chest, in a maroon dress with a matching cloth head band.

I also remember my mother inviting girls from my small grammar school, girls I never would have considered close friends! She invited them into our kitchen to help us make Christmas cookies!

Many years later it is not the Christmas gifts that I recall with vivid clarity.

It is my Mother's generosity and the true spirit of Christmas she held and displayed by example no matter what the holiday. No matter what the season.

And this is the gift she passed on to all her children.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Feeding my Addiction

Very interesting prompt popped up at the Blogher site asking the question Is blogging writing?

As I read a few of the posts I ran across one that raised the question of Where have all those bloggers gone?

I suppose I could be considered one of the missing. I am not lost, just in a very different place than previous. Not only with my career (what a laugh) path, but with my writing spirit. I feel that I jumped the shark somehow and now that shark is no where to be found.

I am reading this lovely book of short stories called The Springs of Affection - Stories of Dublin by Maeve Brennan. Now that is writing! I have only just begun but each story so far is like a tiny snapshot of life, an incident retold with a simple poignant clarity.

Then I was in the Goodwill Bookstore feeding my addiction and ran across The New York Times best selling author, The Pioneer Woman's memoir for $4.99. I thumbed through a few pages and immediately thought of Maeve Brennan and placed the book back atop the shelf for someone else.

My time is too precious.

But it begs the question, is this not what all bloggers are striving for? To be that Pioneer Woman? To be plucked from absolute obscurity by the hand of God and made into a TV star, a NY Times best seller and to make tons of money writing a blog? She is the most successful case I know of, I'm certain there are others. Like Waiters Rant (now that is some good writing!!).

But then there is the 99% of the rest of us who are just compelled to write because we have to. Something inside of us has to get out! We are compelled to write it down, commit it to paper and examine the soul.

Anyway, it's disheartening that I no longer feel the fierce need.

But I am encouraged that that need is still alive, just lurking.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just Like "the Bishop's Wife"

I finally found someone who took the reigns and continued on with the tradition of Reverb. I came up with my own list of topics to write about, but as you can see I have not kept up nor have I been writing every day!


I have to admit it would be STRESS. 2011 began with an eminent relocation. Even though I was bored to tears with my job at the Mall and ready for a change I found I was not prepared for this type of shake up. I wanted it on my own terms.

The IRS wanted their money and I found myself in the position of looking for another job. I knew I could transfer to another Bucket, but it does not pay much. I found I was having a difficult time getting interviews let alone job offers. I know my resume looks suspicious, a two year employment gap and then a semi-minimum wage job in a retail shop.

I moved four hours further away from my family. My Mom is not in good health and I find myself unable to visist as much as I would like. I have seen her four times since moving.

I am stressed because I work two jobs and I have so many people inquire why I do this? I do not have the frame of mind to tell them I need the money to keep up with my crack habit. I have people who resent it.

I am so close to paying off the IRS and then I lost my renter in Indiana. She paid me the months rent under the promise I would pay her back a half month with her deposit. She tried to rent the house for me since I am six hours away from that home. She could not pull it off for me. Joe and myself had to take four days off and travel to Indiana and assess the situation.

I had not seen the house since renting it to A. I had the house painted and new carpet put in. To my absolute horror, the paint does not compliment the carpet! I made fun of my green carpet and yellow walls. The best thing you could say about that combination was it had personality! This combo was milktoast at best. I almost cried at what I had authorized to be done!! I had wanted a steel gray silver-ish carpet and it was not available or some such bull. Once I take possession of my house again (if ever) I am painting the walls some outrageous color!! And I am going to get some outrageous furniture to liven up that buttermilk carpet. Yuck one hundred time! no wonder why no one wanted to rent it.

Evertime I turned around Ihad some unexpected financial crises on the horizon!

My mothers advice to me was to not worry but to pray. Every time I felt a panic attack begin to creep up in me or I woke up from a sound sleep to toss and turn and agonize over things - I would hold my rosary and comfort myself back with Hail Mary's rather than "I'm screwed" mantra.

My new favorite Christmas movie, which incidentally I never saw before 2008, is The Bishop's Wife with Loretta Young and Cary Grant. To sum up my favorite part, there is a non believer who talks to the Angel (Cary Grant) about his agnostic beliefs and they debate the existence of God. Later on in the movie Loretta goes running to this Heretic who is a good friend of hers because the Angel had fallen for her (hence the title) and she was confused. The Agnostic brought out his bottle of port and showed her a miracle! He poured them two glasses of wine and the bottle when up righted was full again.

The Angel! God's hand at work.

My life and my money woes are like that bottle of port. There is always enough and there is always replenishment.

What me Worry??

So even though stress seems to have dominated 2011, so have Miracles.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Day 2

I'm Tired.

I realize it when I wake up in the morning. I realize it when my legs begin to cramp when I move them a certain way in my sleep. I realize there is nothing more important during a day then how your feet feel! After all, I am standing on my two all day long except for a thirty minute break and the drive to my second job.

I have been asked many times "Why do you do this?" and the reason is simple, I drink too much if I am at home.

No that is not true. The reason is that I did not work for two years and ran up some astronomical debt. I am paying the proverbial piper right now. Added to the mix is that I am over 55 and jobs for my age group are scarce.

People do not want to hire a Know it All.

Case in point. I work with a wonderful woman who is approximately my age. She lost a "good" job and continues to look for a replacement for that income. In the meantime, she works at this semi-minimum wage job.

She frequently interviews for great jobs in the Retail industry. She never lands them. I have a big notion why. She begins many a sentence with, "That's ridiculous!......." another is "That is the silliest thing I have ever heard!".

No body wants to hear that stuff.

I try to express my observations to her that I realize this place of work is like any other I have worked. i.e. "Don't tell me about the labor pains, just show me the baby"

Just shut up and do it.

Play the game.

Don't whine about how far it is to walk from one end of the parking lot to the shopping center. Don't flaunt your Handicap Card. Do not clock in and then drive 200 yards to the public parking lot.

People notice these things. It's OK to be disgruntled if you focus it to do something positive.

Because I realize that the people who hire when they see a 50 something potential employee they also see the person I just described. There are many ways to gt around hiring you. Like "can you lift 25 pounds?" My friend would reply "Hell no, maybe 30 years ago!"

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Old Friend From Far Away...

I am going to begin with "I Remember...." and see where it takes me.

I remember a time when I did not worry about a thing.

I would get up in the morning after my Mother yelling at me from the bottom of the stair case to GET UP! Threats would finally have me roll out of bed after a night of listening to the radio, positioned above my head on the small twin bed that was made for me by (I believe) Elwood House. It had a book shelf behind that was perfect for filling with paperbacks and lots of crap (I had lots of crap even back then), but the radio...oh how I loved that radio. Mom and Dad gave it to me as a gift after my sister Kitty was born. I helped around the house with everything while Mom recuperated and rested from her birthing ordeal.

The radio had an AM and FM dial. Which was fantastic in the mid-sixties! I found the first ever FM station out of Louisville that I listened to at night, imagining myself up on the stage performing with Dusty Springfield, the Beatles, Lulu, Diana Ross and the Supremes. It was a portal into the rest of the world. I stayed up as late as I could, listening to the radio fade in and out on the wave bounce until sleep would overcome my most valiant efforts to stay awake.

It made for a tough morning.

I remember being the last person to jump in the car as my Dad revved the engine in the drive way, the car filled with my brothers and the other two. We car pooled to the High School in the city, a Catholic High School that I hated going to.

But now, 40 years later, am so happy I did.

I had the best of both worlds. Living in a small town where everyone knows you and the opportunities of a large new circle of friends in a different city.

I remember hating the fact that back then it was long distance to call this other city so I never got to yak with my gal pals from Lexington for all hours. I remember the phone on the wall in our basement that I would perch myself on the old ripped up red bar stool from our upstairs "snack bar" and yak yak yak on the phone for hours with my Small town friends.

I remember one of my best girlfriends running from her house across town to my house to tell me to put the phone back on the hook that John Paul was trying to call me and the line had been busy for an hour! OMG!!  

JOHN PAUL!!  and not the Pope, y'all.

We use to take the phone off the hook so that Omega's nap time was not interrupted.

I remember that was how it was back then. Running or jumping on a bicycle to quickly get to someones house to deliver an important message. Ask our Mom's to drive us somewhere!?!! Surely you jest. It just was never done.

I remember everyone being very skinny. lol.