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May 31, 2007

Post Memorial Day Blues

So. Tomorrow is June. June! Already!!!!


Good lard, we just had the nice three-day weekend that was Memorial Day. We didn't do much, which was just what we wanted. Here in the post-holiday week I'm still about a half tick off level regarding getting back to work.

I....I just can't be bothered.

The sun is...OUT.

The grass is GREEN!

The ocean sings to me!

Why dear god why do I have to be a grown up and WORK?!?!?!?!


I did wear shorts to work yesterday. Nice shorts, fit for work type shorts, but still...shorts.

My one teeny bit of rebellion.

And now I shall begin to count the days until my next day off...which appears to be July 4th.

Until then, I remain.....

May 26, 2007

Misty Soot and Cinder Colored Memories

Yesterday I talked a bit about sort of growing up in "rough" circumstances. Today, over this memorial weekend, I find myself lost in a few memories.

Perusing the ABQjournal today, I came across an article titled "Cumbres & Toltec Railroad Ready to Roll This Weekend".

And it brought a smile of memory to my face.

This is one of those "good" times from childhood, one of those places I can go and touch in my mind when things get tough. When I need a place to escape.

My dad, type A until his body couldn't support it anymore, did love to take his family out on trips. He loved to go camping, road trips, up in the mountains, and to go see cool things that appealed to his engineering sensibilities.

One of the many trips we went on was to ride the Cumbres &Toltec Railroad. I don't have a lot of memories from childhood, but tatters show up here and there.

One clear memory I have is being in Chama. We'd driven up there the day before, found some campground somewhere (this part is fuzzy). Dad set up our Apache Pop Up Trailer (that link shows a photo of one *exactly* like the one we had, tho ours was in better condition), the kind with the hand crank, and we spent the night. (I always had to sleep with my sister (bah!) on one end, my folks on the other, my brother in the table-converts-to-a-bed in the middle)

Then of course, we had to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to go catch the train. Dad would roust us out with his old fashioned values which included that sleeping in was a sin.

I recall drinking warm Carnation Instant Breakfast from a Styrofoam cup while we stood around in the freezing cold outside the ticket office in Chama, tickets in hand ready to take the ride.

I checked the schedule page and the earliest train now leaves at 10:00am, but I'm pretty sure we took off way earlier than that. We did the Chama to Antonito and back route.

It was one of those grumblies in the morning, but once we got going on the narrow gauge rail, I was INTO it. Great quote from a Jetsetters Magazine article "Aspen leaves dance in the glittering afternoon sunlight and the train makes a rhythmic, confident, ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk sound, as if to say, I'm a train that knows what I'm doing." Perfect description.

This ancient train chugging up a hill. Beautiful scenery all around, mountains, trees, green. I'd lean my head out the glassless window to take it all in and get a face full of soot for my trouble.

As the rails curve and turn up the climb, you can look back at the caboose or forward and see the engine chugging along.

About halfway through, I begged my mom for money for snacks and purchased some awful junk foodie treat. Beef jerky and Funyuns I believe.

We arrived in Antonito, Colorado grimy but happy. Antonito itself is little more than a touristy place high in the mountains. We shopped while my dad and brother explored. I'm sure my lifelong love of tchochkies overtook me and I spent hard earned allowance on items imprinted with names and places. I know that I did but couldn't tell you what. The clearest memories are the morning, the cold, and being on the train. All the rest is a haze.

But I do remember it was one of those trips where my family acted like a family. We all enjoyed each other's company. My parents aired out their three children, exposed them to the outdoors and gave them something to learn about.

And a happy memory, one that makes me smile. It's what I'll choose to hold onto this Memorial Day weekend.

***Many thanks to Jetsetters Magazine for providing me photos and memories. Many of the shots linked on this page look pretty much like the ones still stuck in a photo album that I took with my Kodak Flip Flash Camera.

Update: I pulled out the old photo album with the FlipFlash photos....August 1978 *coff*. That's when this went down...nearly twenty *coff* years ago.....*coff*

May 25, 2007

Fascinating stuff

Reported today in the ABQjournal, article entitled "Lean to the Left? It May Be Mommy's Fault". From the text of the article, it's not just mommy but mommy AND daddy who are to blame for baby's voting behavior.

This is one of those articles I'd love to clip and send to my dear, sadly deceased, incredibly conservative dad who was often baffled by his left leaning youngest. I guess I'm not entirely liberal. There are some issues about which I'm incredibly conservative, others I'm about as far to the left as you can get. All told, if I had to take a stab at putting my political leanings neatly into a box, I'd self-report I was "liberal".

And I certainly fit the bounds of the study detailed in the article. I had sort of a rough upbringing. Nothing more crazy than a lot of folks dealt with. My parents were still married, so I didn't have divorce in the background, but things were tough and true to the study, I came out of the thing fairly liberal.

I think the study is interesting if a little shortsighted. I'm sure that the issue of conservative vs liberal is a lot more complex than just one contributing factor.

It doesn't take into account things like....up to about my mid 20's, I was quite conservative. Hell, I even voted for Bush Sr. Twice.

In my late 20's a lot changed. The first time I voted anything other than Republican I felt....naughty. Like I was a bad child and letting my folks down....

Now I just feel like I'll vote for whoever in the hell from whichever the hell party seems like less of a weiner, which is getting a lot harder to tell these days.....

But the study is interesting, if entertaining.

Meanwhile, off to begin enjoying my Memorial Day weekend. Wishing all a happy, safe and fun long weekend!

May 23, 2007

Paging my mother.....

Dear ol' Mom.

Ten years ago I moved to the Bay Area. In fact, almost ten years exactly. It was Memorial Day 1997.

When I told my mom I was moving, like most good moms, she was *none* too pleased that her youngest was heading to far flung places. And like the good New Mexican woman that she is, she spat the word "California" as if it tasted bad.

Mom is a natural born worrier. Her dad was a worrier. She's a worrier. I *might* have to own up to a bit of the worry myself, but not to that level. I'm a rank amateur in the field of worry compared to her.

So of course, two things just *killed* her about me moving to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bridges and Earthquakes.

"Why would you move somewhere so dangerous," she asked, tartly and with conviction.

I reminded her that New Mexico has tornados.

She was not swayed.

"Look what happened when that bridge collapsed!" she reasoned.

I reminded her that New Mexico has flooding.

She was not amused.

"I can't understand why anyone would want to live where there are so many people!" she shouted.

I reminded here that where she lived in Belen, they had Bosque fires every year.

She glared at me.

Should I send her this link to this blog in the ABQjournal entitled "The Big One"?

Seems a 3.3 earthquake hit Soccoro.

As a now veteran of the Bay Area, I can say that a 3.3 is a "teacup rattler" and not much more.

"A Socorro city councilor told 770 KKOB Radio this morning that it was enough to knock him out of bed"

I highly doubt that. I was in a 3.5. It rattled the front door in its frame like someone was struggling to get in, and gave me a good jiggle, but my heinie stayed firmly planted on the couch. The good councilor must sleep on the edge of the bed...that's all I've got to say.

So shall I remind Moms that they have earthquakes in New Mexico, too? Or is it still too close to Mom's Day to "go there"???


May 22, 2007


I am under the weather today.

I feel puny.

When I said as much to a coworker today, she responded by saying, "But you look great."

Uh. Ok.

Which caused me to remember some observations I had made a few weeks back while at my local HMO waiting to see my doc for a routine checkup.

Why is it human nature that when we feel bad, we dress bad?

Now I'm not saying you need to wear your Dior and pearls to see your surgeon, but I am saying, why have we let soiled sweat pants and slippers become an acceptable norm?

I put on pants, a clean shirt, brushed my hair, dabbed at some makeup and came to work (because I *had* to, tho I really should have stayed home.....)

And now they are looking at me dubiously because I "look too good to be sick".


I think I'll go lick that lady's keyboard when she's not looking. See how SHE feels...or better yet, how she looks when she's fighting the guff that's going around.


May 20, 2007

Requiem for an Artist

Funny how my heart has softened regarding the injury and subsequent death of Aaron Vigil.

When I first set out to blog about the severe electric shock he received while tagging a PNM substation, I was mad. Indignant. Felt the kid got what he deserved. Wondered how he could be so stupid.

But even as I typed, my thoughts softened. I wondered about this kid. Hoped he would recover and become something better, smarter.

Sadly that's not to be. Young Aaron died Friday morning.

And still I'm left wondering.

Today's ABQjournal article "Tagger Called Quiet, Artistic" tells us a bit more about this young man.

Contrary to the profile that I assumed must be the case, both mom and dad are in his life, still married, care a whole lot about their son, and are devastated at the loss.

His parents describe him as "artistic" and that artistry runs in the family. They describe him as saying "yes ma'am" and "yes sir" to hospital staff. They describe him as a wildly creative kid who would draw and paint and sketch.

By all accounts from this profile, he was a good kid.

So what leads a good kid to climb a fence to tag a power station thus ending a short life?

This story troubles me. I don't know why, but I've taken it probably a little too much to heart.

I know a little about being tortured by my art. By being plagued by thoughts and ideas until I *had* to get them out on canvas, on watercolor paper, on film, or most often, in a fresh new Word document.

And I've done unconventional things in my art. Used unconventional media. I get that.

"Family members say they weren't aware of Aaron's tagging, which they prefer to call art."

I can’t. I know that many taggers are amazing artists, but maybe it's my too conservative upbringing. I can't call vandalism art. Or maybe I can in some cases, but he climbed up there to write his nickname. A classic tagger gang-style thing to do. The article doesn't mention any gang ties. Maybe he wasn't affiliated. The article says he was with two other people who haven't been identified and haven't come forward. Maybe they pushed him into it?

I don't know. I'm troubled. And saddened.

Somehow we let this kid down. I can't chalk it up to "a dumb mistake". I've made lots of dumb mistakes. There is more there, more to know.

If this kid had been given more room to channel his art, would that have changed things?

Somehow I doubt it. There is some piece of this story I'm missing. Some reason I may never know.

For now, I'm saddened for this child, saddened for the parents who lost their child, and hoping someday this makes sense.

And I need to go deep inside to better understand why this troubles me so......

In memoriam....

May 19, 2007

Poor Little Rich Kid....

The Albuquerque Tribune today reporting on a story about the actor Freddie Prinze Jr. Seems this young man has a little *attitude* about his years growing up in Albuquerque.

Says he was scared. Says it was "the gang capital of the world".

Hey, I'm not disagreeing. Albuquerque has a gang problem, no two ways about it. They have since *I* was in school back in the 80's (Prinze granduated in 1994).

What torqued me enough to write this blog is that poor scared little Freddie.....went to La Cueva.

I have bad feelings about La Cueva. That school opened back when I was in high school. It opened waaaay up there on the east side where the rich people live. It opened to cater to the rich kids. It drew away most of the good teachers from my decidedly middle class school. It drew a lot of kids away too because parents scrambled to get their kids into the upper class school. And because schools draw their money from the tax base of the surrounding community, that school itself had money. More money than most of the rest of the high schools.

And to this day, that burns me a little.

I went to Del Norte. Back then it was middle class. Now I hear it's descended into the madness of gangs as well.

I'm sure that Mr. Prinze felt some impact of the gang problem in Albuquerque, certainly. But I'm telling you, the bigger problem they have at La Cueva is all the rich kids have ready access to drugs. When I was in school drugs were a HUGE problem at La Cueva. Mine too, of course, but less so because we hardly had enough money for school let alone drugs.

Mr. Prinze might have tried Valley High. My best friend in high school went there for a while. The gang violence was so out of control there her folks had to move her to Del Norte out of fear for her safety. Mr. Prinze probably saw nothing like she saw at his rich white kid school.

The article says that Mr. Prinze's bio lists that he also went to Eldorado and Sandia. Ok, before La Cueva, all the rich kids either went to Eldorado or Sandia.

So all this leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Yes, Mr. Prinze, Albuquerque has a gang problem that Mayor Marty likes to think he's dealing with. The gang problem is difficult to address, and as I said a couple days back, as long as New Mexico is a prime channel for running drugs across the Mexican border, there will always be gangs.

But here's the thing....I think celebrities have the obligation to try to occasionally use their celebrity for good.

Mr. Prinze could bring up the reasons he chose to leave our fair city, bring attention to problems, without trashing Albuquerque in the press.

I guess I know my city is flawed. And I guess I can call it a mess. But heaven help the outsider who calls my fine City a mess.

The article says, "The bio on his Web site talks of a 'tumultuous' childhood peopled with peers who 'enjoyed bringing others down.'" Is that Albuquerque's fault you ran with a bad crowd? Take some personal responsibility, young man. I know you had a troubled youth. Knowing your father committed suicide is tough for any kid, but doesn't excuse bad behavior.

Meanwhile, Mayor Marty has invited him back to "visit". Says it's not the same place of his youth. No, it's not. But unlike the Mayor, I invite Mr. Prinze to get bent.

To borrow heavily and paraphrase from a fave episode of "Sex and the City"...

No one talks sh*t about my town......

May 18, 2007

Are we losing them?

Yeah, so let me be upfront. I'm not a parent. I have grand respect for those who are. It's a major sacrifice, albeit for a fulfilling reason. My best friend is mom to my two godchildren. My sister is mom to my two nephews. I love those four children more than I ever knew I was capable of loving any thing living or otherwise. I would physically hurt anybody who ever hurt any of those kids. So maybe I'm not a parent, but I "get it". Like what I feel, but on major steroids.

So yesterday I wrote about an 18 year old kid who did something unthinkably stupid, almost losing his life in the process.

I started out writing planning a scathing evisceration of the child and his stupidity, but as I wrote, sympathy creeped in. I started to feel sad for the kid. Wondered about his parents, where were they in his life? I've known folks who were great parents who still had a kid gone wrong, but that's more of an exception. I've been thinking a lot about the role of parents in a kid's life. And how hard it is to be a good parent, how even the best make mistakes.

So I became real saddened to read an article in today's Las Cruces Sun News titled "Teen drinks herself into a coma".

Another case of a kid doing something unthinkably stupid. This petite 5'1" girl was found with a blood alcohol content of .50. No, not a mistype. Legal limit is .08. Hers was .50.

She's fifteen.

She didn't die, which is amazing, but was thrown into a coma. Unsure yet what the long term damage will be to a still developing girl. For now, thankful she's alive.

So it gives me pause....are more kids finding trouble these days, or is the news just reporting it more? Because from where I'm sitting I think we're losing the battle to keep our kids safe and sane. It may be media hype getting me all riled up, I don't know.

What I do know is that I can go to school every single day with those four beautiful children I adore but I still can't keep them safe. And maybe my goddaughter makes good choices but her friends don't. What then?

I know these are the things that keep parents up at night. These are the things that keep Niña Karen up at night, now, too.

My thoughts to the family of that young girl in Las Cruces. Much like I said yesterday, I hope as she lays there recovering she has some deep, serious thoughts about the trajectory of her life.....

And for the second day in a row, I opine that you can learn from your unthinkably stupid mistakes, or you can be doomed to keep going down that road.

Meanwhile, I want to hug all my godkids a lot right now. You think my boss would let me out of work early for that?

May 17, 2007

Hello? Yes...karma? Oh....

....it's for you....

The ABQjournal had a small story today about a young man, 18 actually, who suffered terrible burns over 60 to 80 percent of his body...from electrocution.

"Oh my gosh!" you might gasp at this news, "how terrible!"

Yes it is, it's terrible. It's a terrible accident to happen to such a young man.

How could this have happened?

Seems the young man hopped a 15-foot fence topped with concertina wire in northwest Santa Fe.

So that he could tag a PNM transformer.

You know? Electricity?

Took his metal can of spray paint up there.

"The jolt blew all the clothes off the young man" reports the article.

Thankfully the kid was airlifted to a hospital where it appears he'll recover.

So? What is the cost of being hip? Of marking your territory? Or showing off for your friends?

Certainly not your own young life, right?

My thoughts go out to this kid. I hope as he lays there healing he has some time to think about things...about the trajectory of his life.

After something like this...you can go two ways....you learn from it, or you ignore it and keep doing whatcher doing. It's all up to you.........

May 16, 2007

Viva los libros!

I'm a fan of books, I just am. I have to say that The Flamenco Academy (chronicled here a few days back) has really fired me up lately. I haven't read a book in a long while that made me feel like there is hope for popular fiction. And that a book set in New Mexico was so well done makes me double happy.

So I know this has been covered plenty of places elsewhere, but here's my top five list of the best works of New Mexico fiction. These are just the ones that are in my opinion, the books I read that make me proud to be a New Mexican.

Without further ado (in no particular order):

1) Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford

This is a quintessential read for anyone living in New Mexico. It ranks not just as one of my fave NM books, but one of my fave books of all time. The main character, Josh is brought from Alabama to New Mexico by his parents and is introduced to the clannish people of Northern New Mexico including the bully Chango. The scene where he and his buddy get liquored up remains a classic. I almost always quote from it when I, myself, tie one on. A classic, truly. And an easy choice for the list.

2) Bless me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

One of those books that gave me a wry smile as I read it. One of those where you nod as you read, thinking "yeah, that's familiar". Anaya is a beautiful writer and it is an honor to be a fellow New Mexican with a man of his caliber. This coming of age story is a nice contrast of old vs new, how Hispanic culture rolls into American culture in a way that is beautifully unique to New Mexico. It's lyrical in the storytelling and a must read.

3) The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols

Yeah. This had to be here. You know it did. When I'm homesick I put on the movie to see the land as much as anything. It's a salve for my soul, always. The book was a little tough for me to get through, but worth the effort. It really captures the feeling of that time in New Mexico in the 1970's. It always takes me right back to that time, effortlessly.

4) Cavern by Jake Page

A thriller about a group of spelunkers who explore a hidden cavern and discover a near extinct species of bear...who is none to happy to be bothered. Not a particularly great novel by most standards, but it does speak to a bunch of interesting things including a fairly detailed explanation about how the caverns, including Carlsbad Caverns, were formed. Both my parents worked for a while at the WIPP site, so this book also showed the ongoing battle of all the government agencies involved out there. DOE, Environmental groups, BLM and private interests do war daily and there is some discussion of WIPP in the book and how it may affect things in that geographic area. My mom turned me on to this book and laughed at how true to life some parts of the book were portrayed. Working at WIPP left her a bit...scarred...so it was good for her to see it in print, sort of validating. For me, it was a fascinating read and name checked a lot of places I know from living in Carlsbad, including some truly dive bars (including one frequented by miners, ranchers, roughnecks and college kids. They stopped serving beer in bottles because there had been too many fights. But on a good night, the dancing was unbeatable).

5) Anything for Billy by Larry McMurtry

Ok, not technically a New Mexico book but about a New Mexico legend (Feh to the Texas town that claims ownership. FEH! I say!) and certainly New Mexico figures into the story. I am a massive fan of McMurtry and this is my favorite of all his books. He portrays Billy as a young, impulsive, spoiled, petulant brat. It's fabulous. To me it was a fresh look at an old legend and to do that takes talent that Mr. McMurtry has in spades.

You'll note my list is strangely devoid of Hillerman books. I'm actually not a fan. My mom is an avid reader of his stuff. I am not. : shrug : I've got no issues with Hillerman, it's just not my taste.

Lois Duncan is another author I'm proud to know is New Mexican. As a kid I avidly read all her stuff. Loved her writing and always got geeked out when we saw her at the Coronado Club at Kirtland Airforce Base. My mom would always point her out. Her husband worked at Sandia Labs like my dad so she'd wait there (like we did) for her husband to get off work. Those were fun sunny summer days as a family. For some odd reason I associate Duncan with that time in my life.

I know there are probably a bunch of good choices I'm missing, but for now, that's my list. I reserve the right to add, delete and change the list as we go.

May 14, 2007

Albuquerque Arts Scene

Yeah? There is one?

There is if you read Eric Griego's opinion piece A Cultural Mecca in the Albuquerque Tribune.

I think he oversells it juuust a skosh, but I'll be fair. I think the arts and entertainment scene in Albuquerque has ramped up muchly in the ten years since I left. (Ten years? TEN YEARS!??!?! That cannot be...and yet...it was Memorial Day 1997 that a scared sh-tless ABQ girl loaded up her Jeep and took off for parts west...)

Since I left, the Journal Pavilion was built. Wow. THAT was a much necessary addition to ABQ to allow big name acts a decent place to play and incentive to stop in ABQ. I've not been there myself but have heard great reviews of the place despite the long single road access to the venue.

Sure beats the hell out of, oh, I don't know...Tingley. I mean....going to a Megadeath concert in the same place they hold rodeos always held a certain bit of irony for me.....but it's so rasquache it almost hurts. I remember going to a show, sitting in the nosebleed seats, I mean TOP row, leaned back against the wall and feeling the whole building vibrate. I wondered how much longer it would stand. I remember seeing Garth Brooks there as water leaked from the roof onto concert goers....

And for the life of me I can't remember the name of the place where I saw my first concert...it's killing me (after much Googling...I believe it was the Civic Auditorium). It was a small music venue, back at that time we all went there and the only good bands that would come to ABQ would play there. And as the band Missing Persons rocked out, bits of ceiling tile fell on my brother and me. I am not making this up. I believe it finally closed due to asbestos issues. That was early 80's. Oy.

I was heartened to see that many of the casinos have built nice venues for acts. True, it's just a ploy to get people to come out and pay to play, but still...it's at least a decent venue and I'm guessing the casinos pay the acts fairly well. I'm planning a trip to ABQ this summer to catch a show at the amphitheater at the Sandia Casino. I've not attended a concert there yet but I've seen the venue and I think it's beautiful.

It's a start.

Griego mentions the National Institute of Flamenco (discussed here a couple posts back) and the Tricklock Theater Company. Yes. These are all good starts....but if your local arts scene is reduced to Taos artist colonies, Flamenco and a stage theater company...then no, you aren't yet ready for prime time.

I've always said I saw more concerts and cultural events in the first two years living in the Bay Area than I did in the nearly three decades I lived in NM. That's just sad. And one of the main reasons I've always thought I probably can't go back. My own art has grown leaps and bounds because I'm surrounded by creatives. Creativity is sewn into the DNA of the Bay Area. North Beach in San Francisco fairly hums with the vibe. You sit in a historic coffee shop and channel the writers and musicans, poets and photographers that have come through over the years. And your art is appreciated, accepted, encouraged. And given room to breathe, to be shown, to be admired.

So my fair Albuquerque. Yes, you have MUCH culture to be shared. And I love you dearly, but sorry Mr. Griego, "Burque" (god i *HATE* that euphemism) has a long, long way to go before it can play in the bigs.

Not saying it doesn't have potential...just saying there is a lot of growing up yet to do......

May 13, 2007

Happy Mom's Day!

I'm taking a page from the Avelino Maestas handbook and his Live From Silver City blog. Today, my blog will be photos. Like Avelino, I've been enjoying time behind the lens more and more. I'm a rank amateur with a good camera, better lenses and a decent eye, so I'm learning.

Today I got to horn in on Mom's day with my partner. He has cool folks so I enjoy borrowing them both. Today they let me come along to Filoli Gardens. It's one of those places where you almost can't take a bad picture.

In his May 11 post Avelino talks about photowalking and the photowalking.org site which I think is pretty cool. Although I guess I didn't know I was "in the know" because this is how I've always made pictures. By walking around and seeing what hits my eyes then trying to make the shot fit what I see. Not always easy, but always fun. Avelino also has a link for the Digital Photography School Forum that lists "assignments" where people post in their work. That has a certain appeal to me too. I find an odd bit of creativity in being given a topic and letting my mind try to fit the bill. I love writing that way, I'll pull a word out of my big bucket of words I've cut from magazines and try to form a story or at least write a poem about the word or cleverly using the word. So I may get in on the photo assignment action...we'll see.

For now, below are some of my faves from today.

May 10, 2007

It tortures me.

Ever read a book that tortures you, draws you to it until you are forced to read it every moment you get, and you are thinking about it every moment you aren't reading it?

I haven't had a book haunt me in a long time. But I've got one going now.

The Flamenco Academy by Sarah Bird.

Picked it up at the library in the new fiction section. In fact I didn't even find it, my partner did. He handed it to me saying, "it's set in Albuquerque". I read the cover blurb and thought, "ok, I'll give it a try".

Little did I know....


Maybe it's supposed to? Maybe that is the heart of Flamenco? To haunt those who enjoy the art? Maybe it's all one big metaphor I'm either not smart enough or not drunk enough to understand?

I've learned a lot about Flamenco from these pages. I admit, I knew very little going in. Heck, I didn’t even know there is a Flamenco academy at UNM. Who knew? Lots of people, evidently.

The fact that the story is so painfully wrought, touches a *little* close to home with some of the emotional issues AND is set in Albuquerque? Oy. Torture.

About three chapters in I slammed it down and told my partner, "I can't read this" and got snotty about it.

Then I picked it back up and kept going. I've been going to sleep too late every night with the "just one more chapter" philosophy that *never* works. One more turns into one more that turns into one more.

There is this negative review of the book on Amazon. The reviewer says "If you have any intellect this book will drive you crazy." Well, I have some intellect and it does drive me crazy...but not in the way the reviewer meant. Just...crazy.

I can't say I *love* it, I can repeat that I'm tortured by it. I remarked this evening that I can hardly wait until I'm finished with it so the torture can end.

For now, I'm about three quarters done and this book OWNS me.

Update: I finished. The ending left me....unfinished.

May 9, 2007

: scowl :

I started this blog on March 17th, St. Patty's day. And during that time, my job was so very utterly slow and monotonous that I was able to whip out my posts every day, usually before noon. A sense of pride filled me every day I hit the "publish" button and had my post done for the day. I felt like my "real" work was done, I'd posted, and then I could jet about and enjoy the day.

In the recent weeks, a lot of things have happened. My boss went to another group. My boss' boss (the Director) went to another group. The tyranny that reigned in my organization came to an end. We are all like prisoners emerging from solitary confinement. We blink in the sunlight of our new Director, an amazing woman with both compassion and actual "soft" management skills. She's already done wonderful things for us....including buying not one but TWO cakes.


Celebrations and dancing and cries of "we love the new mommy" abound.

But new Boss Lady comes with a price. She took on our team, but her boss, the Vice President (in what I'm sure is his infinite wisdom) said she didn’t get to shake off her old team. She had to take us on IN ADDITION. So Boss Lady is VERY busy. Which means delegation of work.....

Add to that a new company wide project that directly affects the small team that I manage, and suddenly, we are in the spotlight with A LOT of work to do.

I'm not sure how I feel about this, to be honest.

On the one hand, this is stellar for my group and possibly the advancement of my own career.

On the other hand, when things were quieter, I was actually devoting time to my creative work including this blog.

So now I have amazing work success but it's not fulfilling.

A conundrum.

Meanwhile, my posts have gotten spotty at best and it TORTURES my over perfectionistic soul.

I can't let go of my creative work. It fills my heart and soul. But I can't let go of my day job. It fills my bank account and my refrigerator (and the bowl of the hungry feline that owns me).

Meanwhile....I've had to switch the balance of "business" Barbie from "artist" Barbie. We both have big boobs but one of us is *really* tired and discontented.

(Ok, comparing myself to Barbie is laughable...but roll with it....)

Unsure how to solve this. Watch these pages as I'm sure this will be a running theme....

Meanwhile....back to work. Grudgingly.

May 7, 2007

Belated Feliz Cinco de Mayo!!

Woot! Would have posted on "the day" but was out of town enjoying an amazing time away with that wonderful man who takes such good care of me. A much needed break from the hectic world.

In our luck, while traveling around Napa, we caught a fun Cinco de Mayo parade. I've not really celebrated Cinco since I left New Mexico for a variety of reasons but this parade was reason enough to celebrate...and gave me a deep pang of homesickness...which can be delicious.


Read the sign on the little girl's bike...

(All photographs by and the property of Karen Fayeth)

May 4, 2007


The Warriors beat the Mavs to advance to the next round.

It is a happy Friday indeed...unless your name is Mark Cuban.

Go W's! I have a friend who has been loyal to them for YEARS. Her loyalty has paid off. Big time.

Happy Weekend everyone! I'm off to begin the celebrations of the day of my birth! Woot!

May 3, 2007

I hate it when the Guru is right

I've sat through TOO damn many of those woo woo classes in my life. I, like many of my generation, are searching for some kind of "meaning". Poor lost little Generation X.

Yesterday I pined over cake.

Today I received cake. Two kinds. Both delicious.

So all those damn shysters who sell their tapes/books/crystals/rocks/pendulums/jewelry/decks of cards are right when they say "you must ask the universe for what you want"????

Really? Hmm. If I can make cake work...can I make something better work?

Ok, I add to my list from yesterday....

6. Be the author of a New York Times bestselling book

Take THAT Madame Fickle Hand of Fate!


May 2, 2007

Uh oh...here it comes.

In a few more days.

A birthday.

Not a milestone year, but another year that reminds me that I'm not getting any younger...

That I wasted the carefree years when youth and time were on my side....

That I should be a hell of a lot farther along in my career...

and in my personal life...

That I should have these inner demons by the tail. Demons that have chased me since childhood, that invade my life, my relationships, my dreams, my thoughts. After this many years of fighting the good fight, can't the soldiers just lay down arms and have a backyard bbq?

When can my demons and I share a frosty beverage, some charcoal cooked meat and learn to peacefully coexist? I don't ask the demons to leave, no, they are an essential part of the human existence. When can we learn to live peaceably in the same space? That is the question.

I am the sum of all my parts, both good and bad. Some days, like today, I absolutely love who I am and what I've become.

Somedays I can't tolerate being in my own skin. Like last week.

When did I go from being invincible to wondering if I should see a doctor about every ache and pain?

When did thoughts of my own mortality pervade my life?

Remember as a kid when you ran, it was like you were running SO fast and the wind made a whooshing sound in your ears and you felt like you could run forever and thoughts of dying, heartache, agony and disorder never crossed your little mind?

When does cynicism and melancholy take the place of easy joy? When did it swap that I have to work at staying happy instead of just *being* happy?

And when, fer cripes sakes, did we stop getting a big juicy birthday cake with a big passel of candles on top and awkwardly wrapped toys to celebrate another trip around the sun?

Where is my piñata?!?!

Ah well, birthday snarkiness is my new tradition. This should hang around a few more days, by the way, and I'll be back to regularly scheduled rantiness.

My new birth year resolutions:

1) Hug my cat more, despite the fact she doesn't like being hugged.

2) Hug my man more....he rather enjoys it

3) Tell myself I love myself one hell of a lot more.

4) Extend a hand to those demons and invite them to stop growling so loud

5) Eat. More. Cake.

May 1, 2007

To reunite...or not.

I'm thinking not.

This summer, I've been notified, is the twenty-year reunion of my high school. Oh sob.

I declined to attend the ten year. I hated high school. Oh, the school itself was fine, but that time of my life was....not great.

I didn't have many friends in high school. I was well liked by all accounts, but out of a class of 550 graduates, I would venture I only knew a few.

And I only had two real close friends that I ran around with.

The closer of the two, an amazing girl full of life and vibrancy and a laugh that would light up the stars...she would be the only reason I'd even want to go. To sit with her and issue the snark and self-deprecating humor and assure ourselves that we are cool despite all evidence to the contrary.

Sadly that beautiful sense of humorous snark was extinguished by cancer in 2005. It hardly seems the same without her.

The other is a lovely woman who has married and has three children. She is a stay at home mom and has become quite religious. I'm happy for her, she is happy with her life. It's just that...she and I no longer have anything in common.

The rehashed conversation about how I remain jealous that SHE got to date the star football player AND wear his letterman's jacket while I never not once dated in high school will only last for a few minutes.

Then we're left with...silence.

I looked at the list of other folks who are attending and I sort of know a few but nothing there is compelling me to get on a plane and spend three days with a wan smile on my face trying to pretend like 1) this is fun and 2) this used to be fun.

The gang is meeting up Friday night at Billy's Long Bar. An Albuquerque institution, indeed. There are probably bits of my DNA in the thrashed bar and the barf stained carpet. But that was a lifetime ago. That was a different me. And I'm disinclined to revisit that person I once was. I've come a long way, baby.

So despite the fact that I "should" or "it would be fun" I think I'm going to pass on the reunion again this year.

What I can't seem to get over is...why do I feel guilty about that?

Oh the life of a recovering Catholic.......

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
All content of Oh Fair New Mexico by Karen Fayeth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.