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August 31, 2007

Aggies, oh Aggies!

The hills send back the cry
we're here to do or die
Aggies, oh Aggies!
we'll when this game or know the reason why

And when we win this game, we'll buy a keg of booze
And we'll drink it to the Aggies 'til we wobble in our shoes!

This is the actual fight song of my alma mater. I always rather enjoyed that our fight song mentioned getting drunk. It was always rather…appropriate, in my humble opinion.

When I was in school (lo these many years ago) we enjoyed being the losingest football team in the NCAA, having lost 27 in a row. The streak was broken in a 1990 win in which we tore down the goal posts. I remember. I was at that game.

We even make an ESPN list of worst college football teams of all time (scroll down, we're number 9).

Today the Las Cruces Sun News is reporting that the 2007 NMSU football season has kicked off with a win over Southeastern Louisiana. The boys in crimson won it 35-14, including a 68 yard interception for a touchdown by a 273 pound defensive….who was gassed after making the run.

It's an auspicious start for a generally crappy football team.

Gives me something to smile and whistle about leading into a long Labor Day Weekend.

Now to see about buying that keg of booze and commencing the wobbling…..

August 30, 2007

Same planet, different worlds

I've lived in the Bay Area for ten years. You’d think in ten years I'd be used to the peculiarities of this great place where I live. But still, it makes me laugh.

Was browsing headlines today on SFGate (the online presence for the SF Chronicle, discussed yesterday) and found this headline on the front page….(I am not making this up)

A Possibility of Thunder

Seems there is a storm brewing and it's headed our way. Seems there might be a chance of thunder and lightning.

And this is news, why? Top headline news?

When we actually do have thunder and lightning, it's covered on the television news. In detail. With "on the scene" reporters.

Oh my. Well, to use an over used phrase….where I come from….if someone said there was a chance of thunder this afternoon, all good New Mexicans would be like…."yeah….and???"

The ongoing saga of a New Mexico girl in California continues…..

August 29, 2007

And then there was one

Was reading Jim Baca's blog "Only in New Mexico" yesterday (if you aren't reading it, you should. Jim rocks).

Jim's reporting that the eventual is coming to pass: The Albuquerque Tribune is going buh-bye, leaving just the Albuquerque Journal as the source of news for our fair city.

This troubles me, not the least because I know that readership in newspapers is going down. That's a well documented trend. But what I fear will happen in Albuquerque is what happened in San Francisco. The San Francisco Examiner was, for years, the "second" newspaper, behind the San Francisco Chronicle (that bastion of Phil Bronstein-ness). When the Examiner started struggling, it was clear that the Chronicle would emerge the winner.

The Examiner is now a toothless free paper, and the Chronicle, left to it's own devices and without competition, has become something just short (in my opinion) of yellow journalism. The articles are woefully biased, censored, and slanted. At least once a week I read a Chronicle article and actually get pissed off.

So goes the way of the Trib and the Journal, I suppose. The Trib has never been the top paper in the city. I know that. I did used to love grabbing the afternoon paper out of our front yard and reading the funnies. Their comics were always far better than the Journal. (I think Jim agrees with me, he says in his post that the Journal should pull over the Trib's funnies ASAP. Couldn't agree more!). I also thought the Trib had a lot more heart than the Journal. You could always find a feel good story in there, or something to make you smile.

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. I think a little competition is a good thing in any space, but I know the Internet has basically submarined most print papers. So we soldier on….here's hoping the Journal (which I actually do like) can keep up the quality in a space without anyone chomping at their heels (not that the Trib actually chomped their heels much in recent years, but you get what I mean….I think).

I can't complain too much…I'm one of those "read the news online" people….guess I've contributed to the demise of print papers. Wonder if it's possible for there to be a major shift in thinking in a fairly stalwart industry?

And on we go…in the name of progress.

August 27, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation.

By Karen Fayeth


Man oh man….back at work today after a most luverly week off. It took me three days to just relax enough to realize HOW MUCH I needed a vacation.

'Course it took me three hours back at work to *forget* I ever had a vacation.

By 11:00 I'd already nervously eaten my packed lunch (I do tend toward emotional eating…something I did a lot less of last week when slings and arrows weren't flying at me from all directions).

By noon I already had to ask someone to stop yelling at me. You know for one full week I never once had to ask someone to cease yelling at me? (Unless you count the meowling four-legged one who does get snippy when the bowl is empty…but that's justified, IMHO.)

We'd originally planned a fairly elaborate road trip, which would have been wonderful, but at the last minute, my partner talked me into bagging the road trip and having a vacation at home. I was not thrilled about this at first, but he ended up being right (ssshhhh, don't tell him, okay?)

We managed to get to "those things" on the home list that need to get done but never do. You know what I mean, little improvements to the living space that would be nice, but by the time the weekend rolls around everyone is too exhausted and running errands to even think about it? Right.

So we go those done.

We had a nice sit down breakfast every day.

Bikes were ridden.

Lots of good food was eaten….(I believe I've name checked Sodini's here before….)

Sleep was had. Oh glorious lovely, beautiful, nourishing sleep!

We even played tourists a couple days. In the ten years I've lived here do you know I still hadn't gotten around to walking on the Golden Gate Bridge? Driven over it a zillion times. Been to the fort below the bridge. Been on the Marin side and looked back and took photos, but never once actually walked over the bridge. So we did that. (Crappy iPhone photo at the bottom).

And I read…a bunch. Just for the joy of it. No contracts. No vast emails. Just, books, fiction, enjoyable. Watched some movies.

And mostly I reconnected with my partner. He and I have been running too far too fast. It was nice to just be together. To remember how nice it is to just be with each other. He's still my favorite person to spend a day doin' nothing with. For just the pleasure of his smile alone, it's worth it all.

He took care of some much needed correspondence, I sent off some photos for a contest, and we let the days pace slowly by. God, it was wonderful.

Today I got stuck in a traffic jam on 101. Got to work and was set upon by my over caffeinated program manager, got buried in a mound of papers, and got yelled at.


Here we go again……..

August 23, 2007

And still they worry

I am a proud graduate of New Mexico State University, as are my sister and brother before me. Attending NMSU comes with certain...er...traditions. Unavoidable. A right of passage. Integral to one's education in the relatively sleepy town of Las Cruces.

You see, there ain't a lot going on in Las Cruces. It's a lovely town, mild, temperate, a great place to retire. It's hard to be a fresh-faced college kid of, oh say, eighteen, away from home for the first time and looking to find a little fun. In the U.S., you have to be 21 to get into the clubs, but just across the border, being eighteen gets you in the door.

On that fateful day my parents dropped me off at school, as the engine of our old blue Blazer fired up, my mom admonished me, for about the one millionth time, to "stay away from Juarez". Convinced, was she, of bad doings and some sort of old fashioned notion of "white slavery" rings running rampant.

I, being the most behaved of the three children in our family did, in fact, stay away from Juarez...at least for a while. But soon enough, the lure was too tempting. "All the kids were doing it", as they say, and so I loaded up with a group of irresponsible, ne'er do wells that I'd met in the dorms. Off we went careening into the night down I-25 to I-10, slipping through downtown El Paso, parking near the train tracks, walking through a pretty seedy neighborhood, and across the bridge at the Avenue of the Americas, up and over the Rio Grande.

I remember huffing and puffing across the bridge (it's a fairly steep span), and looking down at the water, thinking it not like any other part of the Rio Grande I'd ever seen. Halfway over the bridge you officially cross into Mexico. We paid our toll on the other end to get through the border station, a few coins, I recall, and then there we were. In another country. The stop signs read "alto" and I wondered what in the hell a kid like me, pretty sheltered in my upbringing, was doing there, and how I'd get home. Nothing that a two dollar bucket of Coronas and a bunch of tequila poppers couldn't get me past.....

Ah, I remember it clearly now, some twenty years hence, the sharp sound of shot glasses slamming into the wooden bar, non-stop, all night long while crazy disco club music played in the background.

I can't imagine now, in my adult conservatism, actually walking DOWN the weirdly blown-foam padded-wall tunnel of the place I think was called The Alive that was essentially underground ( : shudder: ). The place next door, I remember, sold yards of beer (the boys always went in for that. I couldn't drink beer that way, the foam would make me feel claustrophobic). Those places were right over the border. There was a place, farther in, run by a man everyone just referred to as "the albino". Everyone knew who he was. An American who owned a bar in Juarez and catered to the college kids, even selling a concoction called "The Aggie" that almost no one I knew drank. They also sold these nice poor boy sandwiches that were tasty, and good to help absorb some of the tequila and Corona coursing through the veins.

Luckily for me, I've never enjoyed being over the top drunk, and I was just scared enough (thanks to very, very tough parents) that I never let myself get too out of control, fearful of what might happen. School legends of poor treatment at the hands of the Federales ran through my head. What that means, of course, is that I was in charge of my friends who didn't have the self-control that I tried to have.

I have dragged many a drunk friend over the border, slapped them back to consciousness and demanded they repeat the words "United States Citizen!", the secret password to get back into the States. I have kicked and smacked at small children who tried to steal the rings off the hand of my friend (I, myself, never wore jewelry when I went to Juarez. That advice, along with "wear shoes you can run in" stuck with me, and I always followed both). I have ridden home in cars with people driving that I knew probably shouldn't be driving.

And when I think back on how stupid I was, how stupid we all were, I'm thankful, like drop-to-my-knees-and-give-thanks-to-whatever-entity-you-choose thankful that I made it out alive, unscathed, and here to write wistfully about it on the other side.

So what got me to step into the "way back machine" and have a memory jaunt this evening? Well, ABQjournal blogger Bruce Daniels has a piece today titled "Aggies Back in Class". In it, he references two articles from the Las Cruces Sun News that are printed in keeping with annual traditions. Classes have begun again at NMSU, and with the surge of incoming Freshman, the articles are aimed at keeping kids from slipping across the border and enjoying all the delights the Mexican border town has to offer.

Some kids might heed the warning. Parents will be fearful. And kids will still go. I remember tales while in school of many a kid not making it home. Cars rolled on I-10. Boys who got in fights and were tossed in jail. Friends who got the crap beat out of them trying to cross back over. A lot of scary shit. And still, it won't keep kids from going. For better or worse, it's a rite of passage.

I hope, tonight, from the safety of my red couch, that these newbs, these fresh-faced kids, these young folks with everything ahead and little to lose will keep it safe. Enjoy the freedom of being eighteen and away from parental control and explore the bounds of adulthood. Figure out how much tequila is too much, respect yourself enough to get yourself safely home. And most of all, have fun (while wearing shoes that make it possible to run, if necessary).

In a weird way, after all these memories, I crave a shot of tequila topped by Seven-Up, slammed into the bar, rapidly consumed and chased by a cheap Coronita.

By the by...the epilogue to my story is thus.....

It took me many years post-graduation and into adulthood until I finally figured out how my Puritanical mom seemed to know *so* much about Juarez. One day she sheepishly admitted that she and her roommate (my mom lived in Albuquerque when she was eighteen, working as a secretary) used to jump in the car on a Friday afternoon, zoom down to El Paso, find a couple military guys from Fort Bliss, and have themselves a party over the border. I'm sure it was all innocent fun back in the 1950's, but still kids went across the border to have a little dangerous fun. She knows that during my college years I went to Juarez, but we choose not to talk about such things.......

August 22, 2007

Sure could use, a little good news...today

Been a bit maudlin of late, I admit, my blog reflecting my mood. I'm depressed, no two ways about it, and a variety of culprits are the cause.

So today I thought, after many whinging and moaning posts, I'd try to find something upbeat to write about.

If it doesn't skeeve you out, it's actually good news. Something I knew to be true after my own non-official analysis while visiting the Sun City where my mom, aunt and uncle are current residents.

The old folks? They be getting' *down*.

As reported by the quite respectable New England Journal of Medicine in an article in the Albuquerque Tribune.

"... more than a quarter of those up to age 85 reported having sex in the previous year."

"Sex with a partner in the previous year was reported by 73 percent of people ages 57 to 64; 53 percent of those ages 64 to 75, and 26 percent of people 75 to 85. Of those who were active, most said they did it two to three times a month or more."

Well all right!

Let's overturn that "crusty mean old fart" stereotype and re-imagine our seniors as calm, happy and sporting that "knowing smile".

I think it's great. I really do. I have been impressed by the folks in the community where my mom lives. They are a bunch of vibrant, active people and since exercise is a great social outlet, my mom is in the best shape she's seen in a long time, as are most of the folks who live there. No sitting in a rocking chair whiling away the days, nope. These folks are *living* their twilight years. And I, for one, support it wholeheartedly!

I know that a lot of the folks in that community are dating and yes, having sex. Why not? These are some of the less stressful years of their lives. Kids are raised, no more nine to five, they've paid their dues and are financially set. Why not have a little fun?

I like what one woman who was interviewed had to say, "At age 79, she said, 'I don't ever answer personal questions' about sex. But she added, 'I certainly have a zest for life.'"

Mmmm, zesty!

August 21, 2007

A sad state of affairs

I can't say I'm entirely surprised by the news from this article. It's a fact that reading actual books in the US is on the decline, and has been for a long time.

As a writer, struggling, hoping, dreaming of being published, of course, this is sad news to me. For every resounding success like the recent Harry Potter series, there are plenty like me, lying like rubble in the street, lost to the big machine that is today's publishing industry.

My most recent and most disheartening rejection to date came last year. I wrote a book I'm really proud of, edited the hell out of it, made it right and submitted it to a well known local agent. To my utter joy, the agent asked for a copy of the entire manuscript. This was really something heady! The farthest I'd ever gotten with an agent! Only to be told that despite the fact that she loved the characters and enjoyed the story, she didn't think there was a wide enough audience for my book.


I know that agents have to do this, right? They have to find something that one of the big conglomerates will love enough to put some dollars behind. Something that will have a mass appeal, and will sell. Preferably something written by an author who already has proven success. A simple fictional baseball book isn't going to get 'er done. (so I turned to the rocky road of self-publishing)

And why? Because people aren't reading like they used to. I was taught how to read by my grandmother, an amazing woman by all accounts. A feminist before her time, and a teacher in heart, mind and by career. I was young, maybe three or four and she taught me to read, and I've not stopped my love of words and books since. And because I love books so much, it saddens me to read the article I mentioned above.

"One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday"

Ugh. None? No? Zero? It makes my eyes water a bit, like the sting of a strong, cold, bitter wind smacking me upside the face. Awakening, sharply to the reality that my chosen path of creativity, the way The Muse flows through me isn't necessarily the most popularly consumed art form.

Nobody ever said being an artist was going to be easy. It's the old saying, well-trod but apropos at this moment, a chiding reminder from my incredibly multi-talented cousin, "you don't write because you want to, you write because you have to".

I take solace in the fact that my goddaughter, all of seven, reads voraciously (and at a level much higher than her years). Her mother, a good English teacher, made sure both she and her sister learned to love books.

So there's hope yet. Maybe for every kid who grows up not reading books there are a few like my precious girl who read plenty. And maybe Nina Karen can one day find a "real" publisher to take a chance on me.

Until then, I'll write because I have to. Because it compels me. Because it's who I am.

August 20, 2007

That's it, it's official

Fall is pretty much here. I have proof.

Captioned: "David Garcia, 16, of Hatch roasts freshly picked chile Wednesday at his father's roadside stand in Hatch, the self-proclaimed chile capital of the world. (Sun-News photo by Norm Dettlaff)"

If the smell of roasting chile is in the air, it's Fall. I just have to accept it.

Found in the Las Cruces Sun News.

August 19, 2007

Continuation of a theme

Get ready, the lament that started here continues.

Friday night, was sitting on the red couch, as usual. I was huddled up reading the last and latest installment of Harry Potter (yes, I am perhaps the LAST person on earth to finally get around to reading this exhausting bit of work) when I realized....my bare feet were cold. Being a girl from the desert, shoes fly off my feet at the earliest convenience so barefooted is the norm. And barefooted in the summer is a truly grand treasure for me. My feet, browned by the sun, flip flop tan lines can attest.

But as I sat there, the sun warming the horizon to the west, but my feet were cold. And my bare legs. And suddenly I was seeking out a blanket.

A blanket! In August!

This is not fair. This is still summer! Summer I tell you! It cannot be over! Fall cannot be pushing at the edges! I command the leaves not to change! I demand the sun stay high in the sky until almost 9:00 at night! I require shorts and no shoes!

My beautiful partner keeps reminding me, that old Bay Area lament, "you know the weather here is always the best in October". Yes, tis true....but I can only enjoy the nice days until, oh, about 6:00 or so because the SUN SETS TOO DANG EARLY in October. It's not the same. I am a child of summer. I crave the sun. Fall brings darkness, dankness and wet. Soon the rains will come, bringing bone chilling damp cold.

We already started discussing which family we'll spend the holidays with. The **holidays**!! IN AUGUST!!

It is to weep.

And then, just as I'm lamenting along, trying to cheer myself up I read Petroglyph Paradox today and my friend Natalie tells me that football is on the telly...already. Football!

I can't take it.

I'm going to may hay while the sun (literally) shines. I'm taking my new bike for a spin....and I'll hold my legs straight out like a kid and I'll sweat profusely because today, August 19, 2007 is STILL SUMMER!

August 15, 2007

Sweating his way to the White House

It's undignified, really, but in an ironic way it's appropriate.

The Governor of New Mexico quote "…sweated his way through two sets of shirts…" while stumping at the Iowa State Fair.

I get it, really I do. Visiting the Iowa State Fair is a tradition. It's the first state out of the gate, and important, and being at the fair is expected. In that, he did what he should.

Poor brotha man was representing our fair state while enduring a heat index of 106°.


But did Obama sweat? Did Hillary have to change blouses? Oy Billy!! Get some Right Guard and get it together!

We all know how well being a sweaty bastard worked for Nixon……..

(PS I just love the rasquache quality of the ABQjournal making a whole article out if the man's rampant perspiration. Hard hitting journalism.....)

August 13, 2007

When having to be a grown up blows….

I had such a great weekend. I really did. I was in NM last weekend, so Saturday was about running errands, taking a nap and reconnecting with that cute boy I share a home with. Sunday we loaded up and headed for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

I love having artsy days. I don't do them enough, honestly, and I always come out inspired.

I grew up in a sort of small town as the child of VERY small minded and small town parents. Albuquerque in the 70's wasn’t exactly brimming with wide ranging cultural opportunities. It's improved, some, but even today it's tough. So I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that growing up, I never went to an art museum.

The first art museum I ever went to was the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. I was 29. Sad huh?

I still remember it vividly. They were having a Monet and Manet exhibit, juxtaposing the two artists who painted in the same era. I was literally *blown away* to stand in front of an actual Monet painting. I mean, it blew the hayseeds right out of my New Mexico girl hair…..

After the Monet exhibit, I went to the next floor. There held an exhibit of Matisse works. It was mostly his torn and cut paper work, and while I was not all that crazy about his torn paper years, I did see some amazing stuff. And again, I was *blown away* that I was standing in front of Matisse's original work, including the well known "Jazz". The actual original piece of art.

I was also turned on to some of his paintings. Back then I'd never even known he did anything OTHER than the torn paper work (little did I know torn and cut paper was late in his life).

It was truly a profound experience.

My next profound art excursion was last year at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Did you know that Van Gogh's "Starry Starry Night" lives there (or at least it did in the summer of 2006)? I didn't. That painting has meaning for me. An English teacher changed my life by teaching a poetry segment using lyrics from songs. She taught Don McLean's "Vincent" and she talked about the artist and showed slides of the painting. That was seventh grade and I can still remember in vivid detail her lecture and what I learned (I can remember little from my childhood, but I remember this). I've always considered that painting to be inspirational and I'm a fan of Van Gogh.

So I laid eyes on the actual painting….and I burst into tears. I was so moved, it meant everything to me. Despite spending a few more days in Manhattan, I could have gone home that day. I was spent.

My next art museum trip was to San Francisco's de Young Museum for the "Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge". It was a moving experience, showing art from Cheech Marin's private collection, folklore items, and work by Chicano artists. Again, I was blown away to see the original "La Pistola y El Corazon" by George Yepes. Well, the second original, the first was owned by Sean Penn and it burned in a house fire. George painted another one with subtle differences, but no less powerful. I sat on the floor in front of the some eight foot tall canvas and gaped at that painting, blown away by the style and the power of it. Moved to silence.

(noticing a trend here? Going to art museums is usually a deep emotional experience)

So going to the MoMa in San Francisco on Sunday was a big day for me. My reaction on this tour of an art museum was much different from the previous two. The first two times, I fell in love. This time, I sort of got mad.

Mad, you ask? Yes. Mad. Or well, maybe not mad as much as disgruntled.

I am not a fan of abstract art. There I said it, shoot slings at arrows at me now…..

I don't enjoy the canvas painted blue. Just blue, that's it. I'm also no fan of Jackson Pollock. I know, heresy. And there was a lot of abstract art during this visit. Some I liked, some just made me hostile. All evoked a response, and that's the idea, right?

But all was not lost. Also on this trip I got to see two real live Diego Rivera paintings! That was pretty cool. And also a real live Frida Kahlo painting.

And the main reason we went to MoMa was to see the display of Matisse sculptures. Ah yes, Matisse again! It was fascinating to watch him progress with his style and getting the human form right, then deconstructing it. Amazing! Made me want to pick up some clay and get to work!

And finally, I was wowed by the "Hidden Picasso" exhibit. First, I was that close to a Picasso! (you know the drill…*blown away*). And then the mysteries behind the painting hidden behind Picasso's "Rue de Montmartre" and discovered using pretty cool technology.


So, all filled with the arts and feeling artistic and flying on a cloud of joy……Sunday ended.

And today, I had to come back to work. To get yelled at. And complained about. And feeling decidedly UN-creative.

Being a grown up sucks.

August 11, 2007

A few photos

I was strangely photographically uncreative and uninspired while on my trip to New Mexico. I think I was so sick I could only concentrate on blowing my nose. I'd expected to take a ton of photos, but only took a few.

The views in New Mexico are as breathtaking as always, but I had trouble capturing them on film. This is usually not an issue for me. New Mexico is really one big photo op.

Below are a few of the better ones, but not my best work, but they make me happy enough. It was such a great trip. I'm ready to go back.

This was on the way to Capitan

This is just outside of Fort Stanton

Taken at the Merchant Marine cemetery right across from Fort Stanton

This was on the way back to Alto from Fort Stanton. You just don’t get views like this anywhere else…..

August 10, 2007

Gotta love it

It was just a brief story in the ABQjournal. Hardly a story, really. But it hit home with me.

In my "grown up life" I am a contracts professional. I negotiate contracts on behalf of my company with a variety of suppliers. I've been at this for the better part of fifteen years. These days I'm all embroiled up in the middle of a hairy deal. I have a great in-house lawyer that I work with, and one of her mantras is "we have to take care of this now, despite the fact that we hope we never have to turn to the contract".

And truly, getting the contract language right really only matters when something goes terribly wrong. But having been on the receiving end of "terribly wrong", I was always glad I took the time to get the words right. I've had to give a deposition to an Albuquerque Court based on one of my contracts. That's how important the contract becomes.

So, of course, this was what I immediately thought of when I ready the article titled Land Grant Heirs: Treaty Promises Free Wood.

In the article basically, they are saying in order to resolve a dispute, they are going to have to turn to the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, circa 1946. Man, when you have to turn to a contract that is some sixty years old, you know someone is gonna come out of this unhappy.

Ah well, better them (and their lawyers) than me.

Happy Friday to everyone! Here's to a great, restful and safe weekend! I hope to finally shake this damn sinus infection. Sleep is my prescription for a happy weekend.

Update: Well, right after I posted I toodled over to the ABQjournal and found this article. Seems St. Pete has decided to get involved, asking for fees to be halted while everyone scans the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo for their interpretation of the language. Forest Service says "no". Things are progressing predictably.....

August 9, 2007

Is it really getting on time again??

The other day, my partner said, "I can't believe it's August, soon it will be Fall". I shot him a whiny look. I *love* the summer. I'm at my best in the summer with the warm and the light and all that comes with summer. "But I like Fall," he claimed. Yeah, I do too, but it's always sad for me…it means winter darkness is just around the corner.

I loathe days when it's dark at 5:00pm. I'm at work, working away and it's pitch black outside. Wah!

I saw a harbinger of the impending fall in Wednesday's ABQjournal. Evidently the debate is on whether to televise the burning of Zozobra this year. It's scheduled for September 6. Wow. Already?

I've watched Zozobra burn both on TV and in person. I have to say, the impact is FAR greater in person. When you chant "burn, burn, burn" along with thousands of your closest, drunkest friends, you feel a certain tribal kinship that's hard to find in other places. It's joyful and sad and creepy and a passage of time all at once. And then you go to the Fiesta de Santa Fe and drink and eat to forget. But Old Man Gloom stays in your soul.

Info can be found here. In one of those "the more things change…" moments, I realize they are charging admission to the event. I remember when it used to be free. You just rushed the field, beer in hand, and staked your spot. Oh well…….

Jeez, already a few weeks away from Zozobra. The kids go back to school next week. Soon the State Fair will be here. Time, she moves too fast for me….

August 8, 2007


Shamelessly stolen from Live From Silver City who stole it from NewMexiKen.

Herewith, the value of my little blog:

My blog is worth $5,080.86.
How much is your blog worth?

The paltry $5k is FAR more than I would have thought given the venerable NewMexiKen's blog is worth some $27K. He's been at his blog for four years! (by the way, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! That's a huge accomplishment).

I'm also celebrating a milestone of sorts. The post this morning regarding the Bonds swat into the history books represented my 100th post. I started this crazy thing in March, on St. Paddy's day, to be exact. It seems I should have racked up more posts by now...but oh well, I still consider 100 posts to be an accomplishment. The days of staring at the screen with rampant writer's block surely account for some of the gaps.

And then there are times like today when I've written four posts in advance....who knows about the mind of a blogger?

He went and did it...

Well Chronicled here is my love for the San Francisco Giants and last night the team, or one man on the team, made history.

I've watched Bonds for a lot of years and have seen him perform miracles at the plate. Stuff that left me wide eyed and astonished.

I'm sad to say that I wasn't watching last night when he performed his latest. He broke Hank Aaron's long held career record of 755 home runs.

756 for Bonds came in the fifth off of Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik and he slugged it to the deepest part of the yard. No small feat.

It's been a long strange road but I'm proud of him, prouder still he wore a Giants uniform when he did it.

I understand the taped speech from Hank Aaron played on the Jumbotron was moving. The crowd was crazy. History was made.

Sadly, it doesn't lift the last place Giants up from their 13.5 game cellar dwelling status, and they didn't win the game last night. But it's a bright spot in a dismal season.

Congratulations, Mr. Bonds.

August 7, 2007

Aaaand we're back

Yes, unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. My weekend in Oh Fair New Mexico was wonderful, due in large part to good friends and good eats.

We stayed at a great little place in Ruidoso called Alto Hombre Gordito. It's wonderful. What it lacks in high class it makes up for in utter charm. This was my second stay there and it was even better than the first. We managed to book the last cabin at the end and felt truly away from it all.

My best friend cooked up a storm (the room had a full kitchen stocked with pots, pans and dishes). And the rellenos were truly divine.

Saturday was spent at Lincoln at the festival celebrating (if that's the right word) the Lincoln County War and the escape of Billy the Kid (immortalized, of course, in the movie Young Guns).

It was rained like a mutha and when not raining, humid as anything, so it was a tough day. Nothing that a little funnel cake didn't fix, however.

On the way back to our cabin we checked out the abandoned Fort Stanton and the Merchant Marine cemetary nearby. I'd never seen either or knew they were there, and neither had my friend, so it was awesome to explore a part of New Mexico we'd never seen.

That evening was spent seeing the Bellamy Brothers in concert at the Ruidoso Downs. I'd never been to the Downs before, so it was fun to see the venerable old track. It's probably seen better days, but all things considered, it was in good shape. The concert was great (I’m probably showing my age being such a fan of the Bellamys). My best good friend and I sang along to all the songs (we knew 'em all by heart). The Bellamys opened the show by saying "we're going to play some old songs....then again, all we have are old songs". Again, it was humid as anything, and I worked up a sweat dancing in my seat, but it was a great time!

Sunday was a leisurely drive back to Las Cruces, many hugs and kisses on my two beautiful goddaughters (they both got an iPod shuffle so I'm the BEST Nina in the history of Ninas...at least in their minds for a minute! :) ), then back to the El Paso airport to get my heiny home.

I passed through the Albuquerque airport and in the layover was able to spend stupid money at the store there affiliated with Casa de Avila. I have always loved their store in Old Town. They have amazing jewelry, a bit expensive, but it's the real (and good) stuff. A few years back when my dad was sick and I was flying in and out of Albuquerque quite a bit, I managed to treat myself to some beautiful pieces there. They didn't disappoint this time, I got some unique stuff and went home broker and happier than when I'd landed.

Was happy to return to the Bay Area, get tight squeezes from my man, and sleep in my own bed.

I'm still sick, but have less sinus pressure now after a course of antibiotics. Let me tell you, a sinus infection at cruising altitude is a new kind of pain. Torture.

But I'm back. Work still sucks, but I'm a little bit happier. I found something I'd lost while back in New Mexico. I got to remember, "where I come from" and got right again. It was a great trip, I'm so glad I went. Tonic for a tortured soul.......

August 6, 2007

A nod and a hug to the teachers

Having just spent this past weekend with a whole passel of my favorite people, who also just happen to be teachers, I've been thinking a lot about the profession. My best friend is one of those rare breeds who actually loves teaching and can see herself doing nothing else. She once tried another career, only to return to the ranks of educators.

And this, her assured ticket into heaven, she teaches high school.

Over drinks and Navajo Tacos on the back patio, I heard her and many of our friends talk about their preparations to return to the classroom this Thursday to welcome students next week.

My friend teaches English, mostly, but also other topics. She spent her summer reading a list of books trying to find some modern American fiction to teach this year. See, she and her fellow teachers realize that teaching the "dead white guys", while easy (because it's been done so many times, teaching by rote is what it becomes), wasn't igniting the minds of their students.

One of our friends said, "I want to make my kids lifelong readers. I don’t want to be that teacher that turned a student off reading for life". I wanted to kiss her feet, hug her tight and weep a little.

We talked about current fiction, books that hold their own, have something to say, that will be fascinating for kids to read, and thus fire up their kids. It was a long hard battle to be able to teach, "Bless me Ultima" in the classroom…but it's working. And when kids *want* to read, then learn, they become smarter, they help themselves.

So it was timely to read Jim Belshaw's column in the Sunday ABQjournal. If you didn't see it, take a look at "A Few Pointers For New Teachers" for a good chuckle. It's a list of pointers from a fourth grade teacher.

My everlasting thanks to all the teachers who can do what I cannot….deal with snotty kids. And a special thanks to those teachers who actually, honestly care about doing a good job. You are amazing.

August 1, 2007

Off the air

Due mainly to immense stress from work and lack of sleep from worry about my damn job, I have succumbed to a most nasty case of sinusitis. This always happens, crazy stress, then once it lets up, illness. Ugh! I paid a visit to a "doc in a box" who handed me a script for antibiotics. I'm pretty much down for the count and have been for a couple days.

The good news? Tomorrow I hop a plane for El Paso (ah the pressurized cabin should make my throbbing sinus pressured head feel *so* good!). I get to spend the weekend with my best friend in the tall pines of Ruidoso. We've rented a cabin and will commence our annual "Chick's Trip". Oh how I miss my Fair New Mexico and can hardly wait to be in her arms again.

Plus my best good friend makes, hands down, the BEST rellenos ever. I think I blogged about them here. She's promised to whip up a batch. I am already salivating.....

So I'll be a little quiet for the next few days while I try to regain my sanity, recoup my health, and try to relax.

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.