Friday, March 30, 2012

Dear Tardy Thursday Thirteen

Dear Thursday 13,

Here I am with no excuses. I have ample free time on my hands and I find that once I have the coveted time, I have nothing to say! But if I were to write you a letter, outlining the wonderful time I have been having this week not working at Elvis World, lack of stress and bitterness and all that which makes you a crabby character of your former self, this is the letter I would write!

1) It took about two or three days for the dread to drop off, and for the reality to set in that I would never have to head to Elvis World dressed in that blue golf shirt looking like a man. Well, I could never look like a man with my knockers, but the shirts were the bane of my displeasure coupled with having to wear it tucked in with a belt. My figure is not made for such an travesty against fashion!

2) We had a fabulous week-end because I did not have to work at all! We watched basketball all week end and cheered the Wildcats past Indiana and then past that Baylor team? I keep getting them confused with Butler team from last year.

3) Tuesday we went to Oxford because we heard it was a beautiful city and it was! We walked around the town square bought a cool T-shirt for Joe with the zip code. I was forced to comment that it reminded me of the 502 T-shirt Adrien Brody made famous. Joe just looked at me like I was mad.

4) Mad a fantastic Eggplant Parmesan last night. Of course I had to buy $25 worth of cheese and other ingredients to make it! What's up with that? What's up with Kroger's not having Black Olives?? But I have cheese left over for other things - maybe some manicotti dish!

5) I have been out to the Shelby Farms Park twice this week! I even found a short cut of sorts. At least one that does not require me to drive on Highway 385! I have never seen people drive so dag gone fast before in my life!!

6) My short cut takes me past the Farmers Market, which is actually an International Super Market that caters to the Spanish population in Memphis. And many other nationalities, but mainly Spanish. I love that store!! Freshest and best veggies in town. Hence my abundance of eggplant.

7) Discovered some sort of Coconut wafer cookie while at the Farmers Market - too good for words. Wait I can't talk I am stuffing my mouth.

8) I feel really strong. Guess all that abuse to my poor old woman legs paid off in spades! I have begun running without any injuries so far. Two Days hahaha.

9) Do you watch Justified? I look forward to that show all week long! I have a feeling that it is nearing the end of the season and I am missing it already. This last episode has laid the ground work for a meeting of all the principal bad asses to meet for a power death struggle! And what is up with Dickie's hair do? It looks like he has had some sort of accident with a clipper. Please do not kill off Dickie.

10) Now that I have time on my hands I was able to rent Midnight in Paris and loved it!

11) Reading a book called Cutting for Stone that my sis gave me for my birthday. My other sis delivered the book starting that it was the best book the other sis read in years! I am on about page 160 and still not enthralled by it. Then again, I did not think The Help was the next best thing after To Kill a Mockingbird as was reported by many.

12) Have been on the Indeed web site applying for jobs. It is inevitable that I will have to find a full time gig. I would like to have at least a couple of weeks to breath deep and find something that will make me work smarter not work harder - you know what I mean?

13) Joe and I to go to Central KY for the Final Four. After all my favorite team, UK and my alma mater University of Louisville are playing against each other Saturday afternoon ensuring one of them will be in the final game Monday night! How fabulous is that?

Please write back!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Free at Last

It was the most difficult thing last week, going in to Elvis World every day knowing each minute that passed was my last for that particular day for the rest of my life working in that brain numbing work environment.

Yes, I will miss all the Fans. Well, most of them. Their stories and their enthusiasm made the days palatable. I will miss a lot of the staff, the other associates. There are a couple I am so relieved to know I will never have to be in their presence ever again.

You know how it is.

Then I complete the 13 hour day by heading into the Bucket. It was a joy to know this was the last time I will be doing that! I mean, standing all frigging day long and then standing some more.

My calves thank me.

I am too old for that.

Friday night the circus was in town and as one young man left the Bucket, a happy young thing of about eight or nine, I said "You have a nice evening!"

He turned to me and said, "I have to go! I have elephants waiting on me!"

How can you top that?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Scintilla Project Day 6

Talk about an experience with faith, your own or someone else's.

I look back on my formative years with my family and how it has effected everything I do and everything I am today. It is as if they innately passed so much on to me, perhaps by metamorphosis, perhaps by repetition, but mostly by brow beating me into submission and acceptance of their beliefs in God, Catholicism, Purgatory and the Saintly Sisters. And the big one, Life After Death.

My parents belief in Life After Death led them to exercise an existence that put God in front of everything. Attending Mass on Sunday was just the tip of the iceberg. There was Wednesday night adoration, Saturday afternoon confession, Friday abstinence of meat, First Friday mass, Ash Wednesday service, Good Friday service, Palm Sunday service, Midnight mass for Christmas, Holy Matrimony, Seven Deadly Sins, Lent, Advent candles, exorcisms, miracles, dispensations, Mass said in Latin, the Second Vatican Council, and on and on and on ending with excommunication and pardons from the Pope. Please do not think I am kidding, any Irish Catholic kid from the 60's will attest to the validity of my list.

It all boiled down to this, my parents had faith.

Faith. Such a simple word and yet so hard to comprehend. So difficult to fully understand.

You can listen all day to the stories from the pulpit delivered by retired Jesuits about exorcism and feel the truth of his convictions, of his experience filling every crevice of the church.

You can sit at the dining room table and listen to your Dad's WWII stories. The same stories you have heard all your life (the same stories that you wish you had recorded or paid closer attention to after Pop's is gone) about him being separated from his unit and staggering into a church in a small French village and falling into a deep sleep. Upon waking he walks outside and the entire village is bombed to kingdom come, except for the church. Except for where he slept, undisturbed.

I would listen to all, wide eyed and skeptical. I did not realize I was skeptical. I would accept without resistance their experiences and then go on about my business, my little life.

And then it happens to you. The Hand of God swoops down. And you get Religion. It might not be as dramatic as a demonic presence moving baby furniture and Teddy Bear's around a newborns room or the rest of the world blown to smithereens to get your attention.

But your attention is grasped by the neck, by circumstance, by the situation and you are helpless.

You give it up to God because there is nothing you can do. You have no control.

When the smoke clears, the hurricane moves on, the sun comes out and you are alive.....then you believe in something. You have to believe in something.

The alternative is unthinkable.

That is Faith.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scinillar Project Day 5

Show a part of your nature that you feel you have lost? Would you be able to get it back? Would it be worth it?

The day before yesterday I was discussing my imminent departure from Elvis World with one of the other associates. Now I have know this guy for only nine months and we joke and he carries on something crazy. He is fun and always full of vim and vigor. I was explaining my decision to leave based on how I felt about being duped about the job being mine SINCE I HAD DONE THE JOB FOR FOUR MONTHS LAST SUMMER!!

He said, "You sound kind of angry" and I said, "I am bitter and beyond disappointed so it's time to go"

And then he said, "I thought you were above that sort of thing, all nice and sweet."

Well, I'm not.

Today I was red penciling a memo the Woman behind the Curtain sent out and under her name/signature I wrote "Needs business writing classes" I put it back into the counter guide book thinking that someone who found it would think me witty and funny. But I took it out, ripped it up and threw it away.

I use to be all "nice and above that sort of thing". I use to be a very sweet girl. A true sweetie perhaps. And in many ways I am still very compassionate and caring. But sweet and nice, I am not really like that anymore.

I am not going to write the great confession here nor air dirty laundry. But I know in my heart of hearts that something has broken inside of me long ago. It piled up bit by bit, disappointment by disappointment, realization by realization, defeat by defeat until I was just someone different than who I was in my teens and early 20's.

When I was a kid we were not allowed to express anger. It got you a good pop in the head and sent to your room without supper. I am certain that is when I learned how to make faces to hold it in. When it would come to a head and I was compelled to express displeasure I would break out in a panic attack/ nervous break down sort of mood and clam up. Needless to say I was walked over a lot.

Until one day I had had enough and was not going to take it any longer and exploded on a fellow co-worker who had just screwed me out of a full commission by weaseling in on the tail end. I asked him to step out side and I let him have it. I even had my finger in his face and if I remember correctly it went something like this, "If you ever do anything like that to me again I will stick a fork in your eye!"

The world did not come to an end. The earth did not break in half and swallow me. A bolt of lightning did not streak down out of the sky and strike me, a vehicle did not careen off New Circle Road and mow me down, I did not drop dead from a brain aneurism. And it felt good.

Boy oh boy did it ever.

But I really lost something that day. I lost the monster in the cage that I had under control, thanks to my parents and the Saintly Sisters of all those Catholic Schools.

Would I want to go back to just sucking it up, being kicked around by those who will do that sort of thing, do I want to just be pleasant all the time and appear like a Saint myself?

I honestly don't know.

I just wish at times the monster would think a little more clearly and not blow such dragon like fire at anyone in the cross hair's.

But I'm Irish and have a temper!! How could I turn my back on my Irishness.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Scintilla Project

A Fortnight of Storytelling - Day 4

What does your everyday look like? Describe the scene of your happiest moment of each day.

As of late, my day begins with a certain weariness. The details are boring and repetitive. Only remarkable in their similarity of calculations of what to wear, will I be changing later and what time am I to arrive which dictates what time I am to leave.

I drink coffee, fuss with my hair, mentally think about which bills need to be mailed off, if anyone's birthday is coming up, do I have cards to mail or do I need to purchase new ones, if I need to fiddle with the DVR to tape any shows or basketball games, if I need to iron a shirt or if they were removed in time from the dryer, sit at the computer and check Facebook and e-mails and blogs. One of the best times of the day is the smell of coffee telling me the pot is ready.

Before turning the key to start the car I say a silent prayer, a plea to please have the car start. It usually does, keeping my procrastinated timing of hitting the road to arrive at work on time has not been thwarted. One of the best times of the days is the relief of the engine catching.

I work. the best time of the day is meeting that unexpected Guest who shares a part of themselves with you. "I am the same age as Elvis. When I was 16 I came to Memphis and rode on a motorcycle with him". What a wonderful memory I tell her.

I clock out and get into my car and pray the engine turns over. It usually does.

I go home or go to The Bucket. The Bucket is homey and nice.

But the best most anticipated time of the day is pulling into the drive way at "home" and knowing that someone is waiting for me.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Too Much Sour Cream

So what do you do? I mean, come on! Sour Cream was on sale at Kroger's and I had a 40 cents off coupon!

The first thing I did was make Beef Stroganoff. Oh yum. thank you Paula Dean and her fantastic recipe I have been using for quite some time that only requires you to over come your fears of simplicity when it comes to preparing a meal and plopping in a can of mushroom soup. Joe eats all the meat and I am left with a creamy mushroom sauce over noodles for lunch the next day.

I have all this left over Sour Cream!!

So I make a bunt cake from this totally left field Cook Book from the Bucket. Ah ha! Sour cream.

Can you say Death by Chocolate? It is a little bit heavy for my taste but I would like to smother it in a chocolate ganache .

And the same cook book has a recipe for Coconut Cake that sounds too good to be true!

Today I was day dreaming like I have not day dreamed since High School. I literally had to snap myself out of it. But I was putting together a very simple cook book with all my favorites. I was designing the front cover and one thing lead to anther and I said out loud "VISTAPRINT".

I think this was all brought on by a conversation I over heard at the Book store. A woman talking on her cell phone about a No Kill rescue center she wanted to open but she had no idea how to even begin and so she called her friend, because she/he went to business school or so she thought, and she needed help.

I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and mouth the words, "BUSINESS PLAN"....

Monday, March 12, 2012

May Day May Day or May-May Day

I called "out" Monday morning. I slept fitfully all night dreaming about how I was going to do it. It's hilarious that I felt such anguish over taking a day off when I am not sick. It's inconceivable that I have not done this "mental health" thing in so long that I can't even remember the last time.

They did not even ask why. It went like this, "I won't make it in today." "OK"

All that tossing and turning over nothing! But, then again that is the kind of employee I am, conscientious and trustworthy.

Which reminds me of the Good old Days at the Beverage Company in Lexington. It was necessary to call in before 6am and leave a voice mail for our District Sales Manager (DSM). You did not want to ever talk to him in real time!! Horrors! He might tell you to get your sorry ass to work pronto! (My DSM's nickname was "Coochie" or shorter, "Cooch", I hope that tells you something).

So you would call in at 6am knowing only an act of God would have hm at his desk at that hour, and leave your message.

Depending on Cooch's mood, if they were interesting and amusing enough, we would be called into his office to listen and make judgement on their validity and integrity.

Once of my favorites was DH calling with the "Jack Daniel" flu. He sounded like he was laying in a ditch on the side of the road, voice barely audible delivered in a raspy whisper, "Cooch, I'm sick" and then he hung up.

I had to call in one morning, one fateful morning after eating almost the entire bag of the devilishly delicious cinnamon and sugar almonds and then following it up with some fresh pineapple! My mouth and subsequently my lips, swelled up so much that Joe referred to me as Angelina Jolie. I was mortified, but curiously intrigued with my new look.

The coup de grace was when my Stepdaughter said "You look like a duck!"" and then seeing my stunned reaction, followed up with, "A pretty Duck".

Cooch called everyone into the office to listen to my Call-In message.

"B, I can't come in, I have Big Lips".

I had the highest score for that month.

Anyway, I miss that family of Co-workers. The best job and best people ever, except for the Boy Wonder, but he eventually left and Cooch took over the reigns. After that we were running with scissors and drinking milk from the carton.

I spent all day Monday having down time. I went to the Book store, the Public library, the antique Mall and shopped at ALDI.

I needed the day off and did have to disfigure myself with Big Lips to get it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Woman Behind the Curtain

I looked at it as a Win-Win situation. Either I was given the job of Merchandise Lead or I resign and find a job closer to home, thus cutting out an hour of daily drive time not to mention the rising cost of gas.

After the interview the wait began. We were told that the decision would be made on Monday. I had ample time to prepare myself for the outcome either way. It was amusing to me that if given the job I was determined to find something else, though I waited....

And waited...

And waited.

Monday came and went. I began to get nervous. I felt I had a 90% chance of being awarded the promotion. On Tuesday it dropped to a 75%. By Friday morning I knew I did not get it and I was quite nervous about being called back to the office and given the bad news.

I was not certain how I would handle it. Would I cry? Would I cry out! Would I make some horrific remark! The possibilities were limitless. I even felt a little sick.

In the end I just walked calmly to the back offices and was told that the promotion was given to someone else. I said, "I'm disappointed" and for some stupid reason I thanked her.

I then walked across the street to HR, asked to speak to the Director and handed in my resignation which I had written earlier in the morning and held in my pocket. Despite the fact that my face was blood red with the humiliation and disappointment, I felt such tremendous relief that I temporarily toyed with the idea of just walking off and away.

But I went back to my station behind the cash register and continued on with my day.

For the past three days I have been writing my Exit Letter in my head, addressed to the VP of Merchandise. It would go something like this...

I have had some horrendous managers in my life time but Ms. TS is at the top of the list. I have endured the Reign of Terror imposed on me by Heather Be Thy name, the narcissistic, accident prone, hypochondriac, self absorbed, 6 foot tall blond pony tailed 40 year old Amazon cheerleader who would bully the guest for "cutting line" and wear pants so low and tight that when she bent over her crack showed. When this fact was pointed out to her she told us we were making it up. We took to taking pictures of her Royal Hind-ness thus amusing ourselves with seeing who could get the most revealing! She took to wearing the tightest clothes and most daring plunging neck lines when she was trying to catch the eye of a new Restaurant manager and made our lives a living hell.

She was not the worst.

I once was assigned to a department that was headed up by the Boy Wonder. He was 23 years old and had the audacity say out loud "We need to get rid of that old Fart" speaking of the senior Key Account Manager to a room full of people! He had the gall to demand that we drive to his apartment and administer medicine to his ailing kitten. He blamed anything that went wrong on his Assistant. He once had a car accident and made the passenger lie about who was driving and go take the drug test!

He was not the worst.

For six months I directly reported to a woman who was having a torrid affair with another manager in the company, she began dressing like a Hooker and was totally unavailable for any type of business shenanigans. I had to do all the work and she presented it all to the bosses as her own.

She was not the worst.

The worst is the woman sitting behind the Curtain in the Back Office who never shows her face on the Plaza or the Crossing unless it is absolutely unavoidable and task oriented. She sits at her desk and watches the Associates with her camera's and makes no attempt to manager anyone, speak to anyone or provide any type of leadership.

This is a woman who considers writing someone up for minor infractions as Constructive Criticism. She thinks the minimum wage is $5.25. This is a woman who lied to me five months ago when she all but promised me the Lead Position in January if I would stay and as an associate until Spring.

That is so cleansing. I know it is sour grapes but it feels so good. I do not believe in burning bridges. So when and if she even acknowledges that I have resigned I will try to maintain the high road and just say my time here is finished.

Elvis World will have to limp along without me.

Friday, March 09, 2012

It Takes A Long Time to Grown an Old Friend - John Leonard

It was a cold and rainy day at Elvis World. The rain did not pour down, it was hurled from several different directions at some incredible angles and totally soaked everyone in its path despite umbrellas, rain slickers and running very fast.

Elvis fans run fast? Only if there is an Elvis sighting!

I was banished to the Northern Lower 40. In other words the shopping center that is located on the other side of Elvis World proper. Our guests must walk a far piece to view the two attractions and three gift shops that are located approximately a foot ball field length from the Plaza.

Only the young, the in-shape, the diehard fans and those who drive will arrive at this destination. When it rains like it did yesterday and coupled with the extreme drop in temperature - that is the formula for a slow day.

When and if people did make it to the shop I was stationed they had a tendency to stay and pretend to shop as they fretted about the increasing violent rain out side the plate glass windows.

Two ladies of a certain age (in their mid 60's) were moving around and examining every little thing and holding stuff up and shouting out in their Northern accents "How much is this???!!" They chuckled over the jump suits, they tried on t-shirts over their clothing, they fingered the expensive Lansky dress shirts with the miniature guitar buttons, they laughed over the "puffy" shirts, they examined all the refrigerator magnets looking for metal to test their strength. They asked millions of questions. They couldn't find a thing and had to be given directions for the bathrooms, the Christmas ornaments, the restaurant next door for coffee, the location of the Heartbreak Hotel, and finally after all the fuss and the oohing and ahhing they bought about $50 between the two of them.

"Oh the rain has not stopped! It looks like it will not stop any time soon. Look, I will go get the car and pick you up at the door. No sense for both of us to get wet. Where is the umbrella."

"Please, let me go. You have no luck with umbrellas, no luck at all."

"That was just a fluke! A silly umbrella!" She took the umbrella from her friend and headed out the door.

Her friend looked at me and sighed, "I should go, but she would never let me. Because she has a rain coat and I do not."

We looked out the window at her friend, fighting the rain, the umbrella turned inside out and about to be jerked from her grasp by the gusty wind and dragging her across the parking lot......IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!

"Oh my" the lady gasped and rushed for the door, "AGNES!!AGNES!! The car is over THERE!!"

Poor Agnes changed directions and headed back from the south end of the parking lot to the vehicle which was parked on the north end of the lot.

After the five minute ordeal of Woman verses Nature, Agnes re-entered the store and handed over the broken wet disfigured umbrella to her friend and said, "This is defective".

They laughed like banshees, straightened the wrecked umbrella, huddled under the lopsided purple protection from the rain, wrapped their arms around each other and bolted out the door and ran - well they ambled quickly - to the parked vehicle, now in the handicap zone waiting for them!

The love and affection they shared made me smile. All day.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Late Night Conversations

With one eye on the clock that would free me from the fake homey Barn walls of the Bucket watching the tick tick tick of each excruciating moment crawl by on the computer screen when I noticed out of the corner of my eye the MOD amble up to the cash stand.

He assumed a comfortable slouch against the counter and began to talk. Of what, I can not remember but somehow the conversation wandered to bars, drinking at bars, the cost of drinking at bars, the switch from hard liquor to beer due to the cost involved of drinking at bars, drinking at bars in Italy. Drinking with Rugby players from Scotland at bars in Italy.

I so wanted to tell him about drinking with Irish Soccer players at an Airport bar in Dublin, but I practiced restraint, if only to myself. I have lost my need to one up people since - oh, I don't know. It's part of growing older and part of loosing your mind.

It did liberate some memories from the Black & Tan days.

He claimed to have been a bar tender and was making a good argument about Coors beer being one of the best/better domestic beers. I managed to get a word in and I interjected that Joe and I liked local micro breweries.

He made a face. "You gotta be careful at those places" he stated shaking his head.

Then I thought about how much I loved Mad Anthony in Ft Wayne, and the New Albanian in New Albany, Bluegrass Brewing Company in Lou, Blackhorse Brewery in C-Ville, the Old Varsity Blue in Lex (I think it was called something else, my "Assistant" from the Beverage company and I met there frequently), and on and on and on.

How boring to drink only Coors. Like my BIL who turned up his nose at the growler of Raspberry Wheat from Mad Anthony we lovingly brought home for their consumption. Oh well, Joe and I cut it with the BIL's Bud Lite, as it is meant to be devoured, since we did not have a growler of the blonde lager. The bomb. I do not think they refer to it as such, but it is the best in beer.

Which brings me to the Black and Tan.

The MOD began to tell me how to make a Black and Tan! If I had brought it up wouldn't you think I knew what it was all about?

Do people love to hear themselves talk?

After all, I drank enough of them to know they are beyond all descriptions other than delicious. And if you drink more than two, be prepared to call a cab, or in my case, walk the long mile home. Unfortunately you had to walk the even longer mile back in the morning to reclaim your car.

All in all, I checked out 15 minutes after the hour. An enjoyable 15 minutes of conversation. I found out he is a bland expounder and he found out I am an awesome listener and a lover of fruity beers.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Boss is Back!

I came in late Friday night after a wonderful time at the Bucket! Joe was out like a light in front on the Television which allowed me the luxury of channel surfing.

Realizing it was late enough for Jimmy Fallon I quickly switched over and there was The Boss, Bruce Springsteen promoting his new CD, The Wrecking Ball, for the entire show. It was so great that if you did not see it please at least check out this performance from NBC ...


The moment it started I thought "Celtic". Oh Baby, not bad for an old rocker.

I rushed out yesterday morning and purchased the CD. A no brainer. Download it? Hell no, I must have the real deal.

With downloading and purchasing music from Amazon or file sharing, it is not often that I purchase a CD. I am inundated, smothered, saturated, immersed, snowed under, buried up to my eyeballs with music. If it's not all day with Elvis it's all night being brain washed with the Bucket's collection of Country music. You would think the soundtrack of my life is overwhelming these days.

Well, it is

But I am reminded why I love music and why it moves and excites me when I see Bruce Spingsteen show how it's done on Late Night Television.

It was mind blowing. Especially when they did "The E Street Shuffle" and the audience stormed the stage and rocked out.

It does not get any better than that.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Bruised Orange

The trouble with trying is that you may try too hard. The trouble with trying too hard is that you end up with a ton of "posts" in your draft file. Nothing is good enough, nothing works, then you become self conscious and insecure, then you stop entirely.

That is how you end up with inactive account. I.E. R.I.P.

I really enjoyed the freedom that I allowed myself in January when I was just trying to write a daily post. I would throw up anything and just be happy with it, grateful that I was able to put the proverbial analog pen to paper and have some success.

I don't know why I can't share or expound or observe with careless abandon!

The beauty of writing is that it is self satisfying. I am driven because I have to write. I am hesitant because I have concerned myself with censorship. I do not keep a hand written journal any longer and that is a crying shame. The truly good stuff, the writing with horrendous spelling mistakes, the flow of "no one but me is going to read this" beauty is lost FOREVER.

The down and dirty truth of the matter is that I am secretive about my blogging. Why? Who knows! It's not like I am exposing anyone or anything. I have spent so much time, put so much into it and I have/had no plans for it other than an on-line diary of sorts and I can't even do that anymore.

I ramble because I have a husband who is trying to download music from Amazon and it is a bitch because we are too old to know anything about PAYING FOR DOWNLOADS. Now when we paid a one time subscription for MP3 something or another (before they shut it down) it was a cinch. Now I am sitting here, trying to fill in the time of an hour and ten minute download (OMG!!) by rambling.

Kind of like Bruised Orange.