Open Letter to People who Will Never Read It

::uber feely post i wrote november. posting because, eh, I’d like to give myself permission to be angsty sometimes, even outloud::

I know you’ll never read this. I know because you don’t know me. Or you refuse to know me anymore. Maybe because you’re gone, now, the forever-until-glory-if-i-see-you-there kind of gone. Or maybe you just have no access to this letter.

Anyway, it’s to you, but it’s really FOR the “me”s of the world. Those left behind, cut off, still here, away from you.

I miss you. I think about our long hugs and how you always said you’d never drop me. I think about the one-and-one-half years we spent together and how when we ended, I knew I made an awful mistake, but not what it was or how I could ever make it better. I found the program from your funeral and wondered if anyone else thinks of your every day, and chuckles about how even then we called you “Red.” I don’t let myself look at the pictures of us halfway across the world, when I trusted you with my life, and shamefully also my soul.

I still struggle with your absence. It’s been 5 years. 8 years. 12. 3. You were in my life every day, every moment, every summer, in between. We grew apart, you left me (on purpose) I left you and ran far away, not wondering for years what damage I’d done or how I could have done better.  I never thought you’d be gone, you shrugged me off through shadows and lies.

And sometimes I see you. I hear about you. I tell stories of when I held you in my heart and you held me in your arms. I hear you brought up in voices that hold wonder and excitement and – i cringe. I still struggle with how much (how little) to say.

I’m afraid, afraid that some of the people who are in my life my life will be out of my life later, and this letter could just as well be for them. Afraid actually doesn’t begin to describe it.

my name is a website


i’m so techNOT saavy.


but i bought a website (domain?) because i have new writing/professional/personal goals


so i’m not blogging on this (listentomissritz) anymore.


i’m blogging at


yep. martiza amanda. because that’s my (given) name. even though most people call me Ritz. I’d tell you to update your google readers as necessary but that little nugget is going away, so instead just take note if-you-so-choose.



maritza amanda who is most often called ritz

“My Chicken Theology isn’t Up to Scratch”

You guys, I have some awful news:

my tweener chicks are gone.


And, let me make this clear: I am actually, really, not-in-any-way-exaggerating emotionally upset about this.


Here’s what we think happened – it appears as though some bratty-little-kids came into my backyard, killed Pteradactyl (the blonde) and took Opossum(the redhead).


Here is why we think that: when I got home, I went to check on the tweeners like I always do.  Bubba was over and we found Ptera’s body. There were, for lack of a more appropriate term, no signs of a struggle. It certainly doesn’t seem as though any critter was to blame because of the lack of mess. No blood. No feathers. just sweet bird laying on her side, lifeless.




Opossum, who never liked to be even inches away from Pteradactyl, was no where in sight. Also no signs of struggle from her anywhere.



I couldn’t handle it. I never thought I’d be that girl, but i called Homenovio, and said “Can you come over sooner?” (he was supposed to be by in an hour. But I could not bear to wait an hour knowing the body of my sweet pet was laying in the dirt. It seemed so unkind.)
“Uhh, I can…”
::something unintelligible about birds::
“You can’t find them?”
“I can but she’s dead!”
“I’ll be right there.”


So bubba and I try to change the subject while I pace my kitchen. Homes shows up about half a blink later and I break down.

“I don’t know what to do with her.”
“It’s okay, baby. I’ve got it.”

So he did. He scooped her up and drove ACROSS TOWN IN SXSW traffic so he could “properly” dispose of her, which according to the google, after hours on a Friday,that means driving to some disposal center off Ben White. All just so I didn’t have to cry over my baby bird in a trash can.


Sometimes a trauma hurts a little less when you don’t have to tough it out, ya know? When someone will just let you lose your mind a little over a dead chicken. (It will be VERY diff when we eat Tiger. That’s not senseless. This seemed so….unjust.)


Later, when we were discussing what might have happened (we were all really stumped at the lack of any seeming reason behind one dead chick and one missing chick, and yes, I asked the neighbors and we looked in all the surrounding yards) David says,

“Maybe there was a chicken rapture.”-David
“You don’t think she loved the Lord?” -Me, appalled that he would question the integrity of my birds’ salvation
“Tough to say.”
“Plus she DIED, she didn’t get left behind. Chicken rapture means death for unbelievers?”
“My chicken theology isn’t up to scratch.”


I left the light on and coop door open in case Opossum comes back.


just in case.



Free Range Chicks: Teenage Bullies Across Species

I’ve been all stalky-stalky on other blogs today and that’s when I remembered I should be all writey-writey over here.


Except I’m too hyper. Literally bouncing around the house to good music, trying to focus enough to get to the dang gym (you know some times you have to much energy you can’t actually get anything done).  Here’s a funny thing, though:


We finished the chicken coop last week and have transitioned my tweener chicks*  to the coop. I take the term “mother hen” to a new and exciting level by checking on them at midnight to make sure they’re warm and happy. And if they aren’t i pick them up and move them to the light-heated nesting boxes. Which requires me climbing into said coop. At midnight. I love these birds. But when I’m home during the day, I let them have free range of the entire back yard. Which is nothing to sneeze at.



This is their coop. It’s not the prettiest thing but it is very sturdy, they seem to like it, it gets the job done, and because I used mostly pilfered recycled materials, it all-told cost about $50 to make, compared to $200-700 for comparable sized, cuter versions online. I’m going to paint it and decorate it with silliness because that is who I am.


The transition to the coop freed up the cage, so the chicks and duckling  (named Simone, Ursula, Vixen, and Tiger) moved to the cage. They are funny little things to watch going here-and-there. We tied a ribbon to the top and put a ball in the cage so they can play. They mess with the ribbon (im not sure they like it….maybe it just bothers them and they are trying to pull it down?) and ignore the ball.



Did I ever tell you that I have had TWO separate employers suggest I take ritalin? 

Anyway, today I put the cage outside to see if the chicks would like to explore.

Which maybe is a Valle thing because Spencer told me he put Tiger (duckling) in the tub the other day to see if she’d like to be in some water. (“It FREAKED her out.” He says)


Well, they did not. But something else happened. Pteradactyl(the red-head) and Opossum (the blonde) who, in these pics, was investigating but not yet participating, got IN the cage to come eat some of the chicks’ food! Look closely at the chicks freaking out but not sure what to do as, from their perception, Ptera looks like her namesake.



Here, you can see the chicks start to rally. Tiger straightened and started waddling up to stand her ground against invaders.


Getting into position….051


They are so brave! They got together and squeezed Ptera out of the way so she couldn’t eat their food!


I know exactly three people will for sure care about this. And one won’t read the post. To everyone else, well, I have no apologies.


That’s okay. I just wanted to share because i find it legitimately entertaining (and so does Spencer) to literally watch my chickens. It’s relaxing. And I’m not so good at that, so I like sharing about my growth in the area.

*(that’s not a real term, they just are in their adolescent phase. I thought they were not quite there yet because they are so pretty and the chickens i’m used to were NOT that pretty. SO there you have it: inexact terms for chickens, by Ritz)

Today I’m spending a lot of time resting.


In fact, after getting up to bake, driving out to a breakfast meeting with some (let’s call a spade a spade) sub-par scones (I’m on a mission and trying new recipes, usually once a week), coming home and doing some housework with my brother, I decided to sit on the couch and read. You know, with the windows open and the breeze blowing and the chicks peeping and the duckling ….not actually doing anything but I don’t like to leave her out.

But my computer was upstairs and my phone was I-dont-know-where (i try to just keep it out away unless i need it to communicate with someone on purpose) so when I wondered, off-hand, what time it was, i looked up to check the wall clock….


But I couldn’t see it. From where I was sitting, the hanging lamp COMPLETELY blocked out the clock. From my position, no matter how I wriggled and wrenched, I could’t see the clock. I needed to move.


But (apparently my only transition word for today) I didn’t want to move. I was really comfortable.


And I think life is like that sometimes.


Sometimes, you don’t want to move because you are comfortable. But you need to move if you’re going to see what you need to see.


And sometimes, it’s just that you’re right where you need to be, and the light graciously blocks out things that you wonder, but that would just be distractions.


And I’m STILL Pissed that She Didn’t Like My Shoes

A long time ago, I wrote about how a random comment about my shoes took my down a rabbit trail of thoughts and assertions surrounding the topic of fashion/appearance within a physical church.


What I did not include at the time were a few surrounding details.


See, I had a pair of flats in my hand as I was walking up to the group of ladies. It’s reasonable to assume maybe I had them because my heels were uncomfortable. Like,  I can see that being something i’d do, or something a person would expect/accept from me. It’s ACTUALLY because I’d just seen my mom (we attend the same church service sometimes) and she brought a pair to me that had been left in her car. Since she’d JUST handed them to me and I hadn’t made it to my car to put them down, I get what it could have looked like.

So i get why one of the women listening leaned in and said “If you can’t wear your heels the whole time, maybe you just shouldn’t wear them at all.”




Okay. Well. I can’t have it both ways and I’m aware of that, so I have to say that I’m glad she told me that I was doing something (from her perspective) I shouldn’t be doing (wearing those shoes).


Because I value accountability and I do, in fact, want it  even from people who have no place in my life(I maybe hadn’t spoken to her in a year and we had never hung out, but we’d been in the same place a lot).


I’m not famous and my friends are all UBER-permissive of my explorations of life, so i try to see it as a blessing when people will step in and take a risk on telling me I’m doing something they think is wrong (I’m looking at you with love, Daddio). Because then at least it’s something to think about ( i realize, now that i’m typing, that for many people in many situations, that’s just too much to think about, but i like/need to hear the experience of others).



But I was also like “SISTA SAID WHAT?!” Because if it wasn’t clear enough already in her first statement (and mama used tone and facial features to nail it home) I clarified a few weeks later.

“I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on something. It is a blessing that you care about me. But (i know i shouldn’t have said ‘but’) it sounded as though you thought those shoes were just inapppropriate to wear at all.”

“Yeah, well I did.”



And y’all, sometimes understanding a thing don’t make it any prettier.


I have NO idea what I replied to her because there is this voice inside me,when people comment like that, that thinks “I’m probably wrong, at least on some level, so let me take this and think and pray over it and see where I can be better.” so I usually just thank the person, no matter how much like a bozo’s i see their actions to be.


ANYWAY, it’s been a year since this happened, and I’m STILL pissed that homegirl hated on my shoes. Cause my heart

a) still doesn’t rest in the peace of Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf and

b) wants approval more than almost anything. (it’s sinful and bountifully unproductive)



But all of this has lead me to another place. I’ve been kicking around some thoughts lately/again/now that my body is a bit different, necessitating different styling, about dress, modesty, expression, and double standards. You know, the you-zuh (uze? ushe? usual. whatever).  And so has Jami Nato. 


and i really like the heart of what she’s saying. I really want to think some more on it. 


but i swear by my pretty floral bonnet, if this ends up interference with my sunshine intake, we’re gonna see a whole notha level of ungodliness up in here.


Easter Egg

Weeks ago, I went to church in this patterned dress and pink cardi, and my friend told me I looked like an Easter egg. Which, she meant colors and pattern, not shape. Even though i did think maybe I looked round after that. (oblong-ish?).


Anyway, that phrase stuck in my head. And then last week, i thought of it again, when I (with no planning on TRYING to wear this many colors) wore the following:

no clients were harmed by the palette of this outfit.

no clients were harmed by the palette of this outfit.


that is the face of chagrin related to OHMYGOSHILOVEALLTHEBRIGHTCOLORSAND…oh…i do resemble and Easter egg….


<3. Lent is going pretty well except i had a “michael’s and coke” yesterday which sure ’nuff FELT like a sweet.


“It is the bread that the Lord has given you…”

Today was the kind of day that caused one very strong thought:

“When I get home, first thing: I’m going to drink a glass of wine.”

after I feed the menagerie, of course. Lord knows when i get home from a long day, EVERYthing is hungry. (The two tweener chicks. The three hatchling chicks. The duckling. The cat. (well behaved cat, right? to still be hungry with all those birds at home?)

i accidentally uploaded the wrong photo. and I'm leaving it. because i can. that alone in the bottom right is named "Maury."

i accidentally uploaded the wrong photo. and I’m leaving it. because i can. that alone in the bottom right is named “Maury.”


I saw massage clients today. I saw counseling clients. I shared some really hard moments and stories from friends, classmates, teachers, strangers…. it just felt like a tough day in the world. People were hurting and despite my best efforts at professional distance, I’m still a person, and not all of these are people I encounter professionally, and beyond that: we’re called to bear one another’s burdens and mourn with those who mourn.


So it was a long-feeling day. Feeling as this day has no more or fewer hours than any other, but since I just got home 16 hours after leaving, (#humblebrag?) and had a life-filled way of living, it feels longer than some others.


And when I got home, after cleaning cages and replacing food and throwing the trash and doing laundry and realizing that no matter how much I clean, I’m not going to get over this feeling, I prayed.

I said, “I’m so angry. I’m so resentful. I didn’t even know but there’s just so much in there. And I feel so lost without you.”

and I became aware that I was taking for granted that I am somehow without Him in these times. That it’s just me left to figure things out. Which OUGHT to be darn terrifying because, come on, I’m not-so-great at the fixing of things of my own volition. (Nor are you, ya little sinner. Lest ye be confused, I firmly believe we all pretty much suck without the intervention of God. No humanism here. And yet, usually, so much optimism….in Christ.)


I remembered that I am not without him, ever. That the very most true thing about me is that I am His. That I cannot escape his love and truth no matter how I try because I’m just not bigger or truer or stronger than He is: a truth for which I am incredibly grateful.



And I remembered something I’ve been learning this year, as I try to submit to the things I don’t like, as I try first to learn from them, not just change them. That this is not mine and I do not have to fix it. I have to follow him, even if he takes me there to that scary place,  wherever and how ever it is.


And I’ll come out of the desert of my grumbling and see the blessings before me and say, “What is this?” since I can’t imagine the goodness he has in store. And I’ll know, it’s the bread the Lord has given me.

Brother, Boyfriend, Boyfriend’s Brother

This is going to get confusing to some people, so I’ll try to clarify as much as possible here and now.

This is my brother:

he's really really ridiculously cool

here’s an alternate, equally thrilling angle

Spencer reading on couch

and THIS is my boyfriend

that's it. that's the grin that gets me every time.

that’s it. that’s the grin that gets me every time.

here, one with me so no one gets any ideas (you’ll see what i mean in a minute)


And THIS is my boyfriend’s brother (well one of the three):

this is not a representative pic of him. he generally had the same pervasive, self-perpetuating IDGAF ness that Spencer displays.

this is not a representative pic of him. he generally had the same pervasive, self-perpetuating IDGAF ness that Spencer displays.

here’s another (puppy, i need more pics with you)

first night we met, with somone else's baby (sweet sweet Teo)

first night we met, with somone else’s baby (sweet sweet Teo)







SO, i specify with diagram the difference in the above because based on a few pieces of “things-that-happened-this-week,” I think some readers may be confused.


My brother, the only sibling I have, who shares the same mother but has a different father (some people call that a half-brother but what the crap, people? That’s not how family works. He’s my brother and he has a different dad) is named Spencer but mostly I call him Bubby.


My boyfriend, the only boyfriend I have (unless I’m feeling sassy and call my job, homework, or latest book obesssion my “other boyfriend”),  is named David. Mostly I call him lots of gooey mushy romantic things but i refer to him as “Homenovio.”


My boyfriend’s brother, who admittedly in non-commital conversations I have claimed as my own, is named Peter. And I almost only ever call him Puppy.


Last night, and i intended to say this with a little more flair, Spencer moved into the duplex where I live, making it officially just the Casa de Valle. michelle moved out in January, Shannon moved out on Tuesday.) I am over-the-moon thrilled because i love and enjoy hanging out with my brother, and since i moved out when i was 16 (he was 10) I always felt a little robbed of our childhood time together. Also, he’s a really good (helpful, tidy, respectful, considerate) roommate.


This means (ihopeihopeihope) that Spencer, David, and I will be spending much more time together. And Peter comes over not-often-enough but not so rarely, either.


So, bubby, baby, puppy and I should be hanging out more now.


Let the confusion (especially for those who have not met them) commence!