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May 30, 2008

The rigors of model-dom

Subtitled: I don't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.

Or, er, yeah I do.

I actually get out bed at 6:00 in the ayem (grunt) to PAY someone to be personal paparazzi for me and The Good Man.

Today was our engagement photo day. Part of the package deal we got with our wedding photos.

Well all righty, then.

I was terribly nervous and not terribly prepared. Yesterday I realized that my nails and toes were a MESS and we had dinner out with friends last evening. Time just ran out.

So...I had a "special" offsite meeting at work and at least got that cleaned up.

I agonized over what to wear. So did TGM. We're both awfully independent cusses, so really, we didn't consult with each other much on color or style. And yet, we intuitively ended up blending together just right (we're all pycho psychic that way).

I wore a purple patterned dress with some fun red shoes. TGM wore a blue button down, nice jeans and his new leather blazer (he looked hoooooooot).

We trudged up to San Francisco for a variety of locations for the shoot.

It was kind of a crazy day, one of those oddball times where nothing seems to come together and then yet it did. Our photographer forgot her camera battery, so right away off we went to obtain a new one...until she remembered she had a spare "emergency" one tucked in her bag. She was terribly embarrassed but need not have been. We ALL do stuff like that...

Later I got dive bombed by a little blackbird in the park that I guess wanted some hair for it's lnest because it tugged out a few strands and *freaked* me OUT.

All weird sh*t aside, once we got going, it all came together. Our photographer is really great and super creative and very professional.

Who knows if the pictures all came out ok or if TGM and I just ended up looking dyspeptic in all the shots. Could go either way.

But at least TGM and I had some fun ideas for locations. Our photog says she gets a little tired of all the same locations in SF. Baker Beach (with the Golden Gate in the background...you've seen this photo...over and over and over), Palace of Fine Art (a MAJOR wedding photo location...just, ugh) and hanging off a trolley car (uh...no).

Instead we picked Nob Hill, North Beach and AT&T Park.

We have a few weeks for the photographer to get up uploaded so we can see how they all came out.

But for today. Whoosh, am I tired. I mean, really tired. How can posing and smiling big cheese and kissing my handsome man wear me out so much?

But it did.

Ah well, this is the next milestone in our journey toward getting hitched. Just over 70 days remain.


May 29, 2008

I've got concerns.

First, read this brief article from the ABQjournal:

(edited for length)

"Someone stole a Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department patrol car early Wednesday and apparently took it for a joy ride.

But the fun may not have stopped there for the bandit who took the patrol car from a county storage yard. Police are looking into the possibility the thief impersonated a sheriff's deputy while using the stolen car to make traffic stops— while drunk.

The New Mexico State Police— which has taken over the investigation— is looking into a report the driver then used the car to make at least one traffic stop in Chimayó. A woman called State Police and told them that a man in a sheriff's vehicle had stopped her and that he also seemed drunk."

Ok so…questions and observations:

1) What size cajones does it take to steal a Sherffi's car from the county lot? Or maybe not cajones, perhaps this is better measured in liters, or pints or….whatever measurement Mad Dog comes in.

2) Who hasn't had, if even for a brief moment, the odd dream of making a stop in a patrol car. Blue and whites flashing. Sauntering up to the driver's window, double knit beige polyester pants whiffing as you walk, mirrored aviator glasses in place. You utter something like, "Do you know how fast you were going?"

Someone was actually drunk enough to pull it off…and get away with it (so far).

3) How freaked out must the woman have been when she was stopped? WTF must THAT encounter have been like?

4) "(Santa Fe County sheriff's Capt. Robert) Riggs said that in his 20 years as a cop, he hasn't seen anything like this before." You gotta work REAL hard to show a cop something he hasn't seen before. Even in Santa Fe.

5) Is it wrong that I'm rooting, just a little, for the guy to not get caught? I know, I know, just because a crime is dadgum funny doesn't make it any less a crime.

6) Once again, I'm ever so proud of where I come from. Go on Oh Fair New Mexico. Most other states take themselves WAY too seriously. We've still got the comedic edge. And that makes us special.

(Yes, yes, theft and drunken driving aren't funny. But ya gotta admit, this guy had some flair.)

Just missing the ways of where I come from, for better and for worse.

Good news is I get to visit pretty soon.

Countin' the days…

May 28, 2008


Subtitled: The World According to Karen

On the CalTrain this morning coming in to work (commuting always the best place for random observations of human behavior):

A very mild mannered looking Asian man in tweed coat with elbow patches was seen white-knuckled-clutching a thick stack of bright red paper slips. I wondered what they were.

As I passed the racks holding maps and schedules, I saw the red slips. "Customer Complaints" they said at the top and featured several inky black lines down the page.

I wondered. What did that quiet well-dressed man have to complain about? In quantity.

I envisioned him at home angrily scratching out all his perceived failures of the CalTrain system, feeling better as each slip is completed, shaky hand taking a drink of a whiskey neat as he does so.

At the Semi-Well-Known sorta Italian chain restaurant on Sunday:

A schlumpy dressed man escorts a *gorgeous* leggy woman dressed to the nines through the front door. His eyes dart around the room. When the hostess asks how he may be helped, he says, "It's busy here…we're going next door, they have a bar!" To her credit, the hostess just smiles and says, "Have one for me…"

As The Good Man and I had our dinner, we observe the place next door is having a special night and is *packed*. More so than the place we're at. So schlumpy man and hot chick (clearly dressed for a date) wouldn't have stayed there either.

I envision them darting from place to place, schlumpy man never satisfied with the situation. This one too bright. That one too loud. That one over there has a funny smell. An evening long quest.

Woman's feet are now tired in her four-inch platforms. She thought she'd be sitting more, sipping a nice Cabernet. Schlumpy man finally settles on International House of Pancakes and calls it a night. Beautiful and usually well-kept woman calls it an early night.

I envision that Schlumpy man's phone doesn't ring, no email in the inbox. And he wonders why.

At the local chain drug store:

A large man of what appears to be the Italian persuasion walks through the store, talking to himself. At first I think he's on a mobile phone. He is not.

He's got all the stereotypical accoutrements of a Guido from Joisey. He's wearing dark sweatpants with rounded boiler belly pushing at a stained button down shirt worn under a nice looking navy blue blazer. With gold buttons. I can't tell, but I think little anchors are imprinted into those buttons.

Hair is slicked well back. Tarnished gold-rimmed dark-lensed sunglasses in place over his eyes. It is early evening.

He toddles off to collect his requirements. I forget about him.

We find him again on line behind us. I have to return an item. When I got in line, there was no one else. Now there is a long line. Clerk is confuzzled about the return process. So everyone waits. On me.

Guido has set down his purchases on the rolling belt. It consists solely of a large bag of potato chips and two fo'ties (fourty ouncers of Coors. I'd have placed him as a Miller or Bud man. Maybe Coors was on sale.)

I'm currently reading a novel about a guy who is a hit man for a "made man". This colors my outlook. I'm thinking, "I'm gonna get popped for making this guy wait." My eyes go shifty.

Guido cracks a joke. About the cake mix on my pile of purchases waiting on the cashier. He says, "That takes too much work, you can just buy that already made!" and laughs a too-loud belly guffaw. I laugh nervously. My Brooklyn-born fiancée kibitzes with Guido. They laugh together. Guido isn't mad, just impatient.

I discover Guido is probably just another lonely guy in suburban California. Happy to have had a few moments interaction with some other people.

I envision him driving off in a battered black Lincoln or Caddy, body in the trunk thumping as he whips around the corner on his way home to watch Sopranos reruns.

I remind myself not to take the fiction I read so literally.

At the well-known trendy natural and organic foods market:

The muzac is playing over the PA system. On this day they've chosen 80's hits. Clearly appealing to the Gen X crowd that makes up much of their clientele.

Loverboy is in the air. "Only the Lucky Ones"

Soon to be middle-aged Girl remembers how her sister used to LOVE that band. She had the album on vinyl. The cover replete with the buttocks of Mike Reno clad in red leather pants with crossed fingers. Album titled "Get Lucky".

Girl used to borrow her sister's album and play it over and over and over. All those burgeoning teenage giggly thoughts about gazing at Mike Reno's arse come bubbling up in her soon to be middle-aged mind. She remembers.

And she begins to sing along. In public.

She finds her mate. And decides to entertain him by doing a full air guitar solo while singing along.

And people walk by…unnoticing. Intent on finding their steel cut oats or their Kombuchi drinks.

I envision the Girl and her mate having a long happy life together.

Mainly because The Good Man is tolerant of my antics.

I love making character studies from the world.

You can't make this sh*t up.

May 27, 2008

An ode

To the humble cupcake.

Not all cupcakes are humble. Just mine.

Recently, for whatever reason I can't rightly explain, cupcakes have taken on a certain caché, especially with my fellow Gen X'ers.

And there is a big trend toward really pretty cupcakes.

Many folks are even having these pretty cupcakes for their wedding cake. (no, not mine...)

A really powerful, domestic and "womanly" woman at work makes cupcakes with some frequency. She proudly walks in the office with a trendy cool container full of lovely pink treats.


I detailed recently about making a birfday cake for my ownself, and since then, I've been pondering better icing recipes.

So yesterday I decided to make cupcakes, which gave me a chance to whip up some frosting.

The cupcakes? Well. They taste good, anyway.

The Good Man and I ate plenty.

But pretty? No. The frosting turned out an odd consistency. Yummy, but weird.

So when TGM and I had eaten our fill, I packed up the rest and brought them to work.

These wolves will eat anything.

Although, I have to say, there *is* something uniquely satisfying watching people eat my sad little creations. Something weirdly "female" to make good eats that people enjoy.

The reviews so far have been "tasty, not too sweet, but yeah, the frosting looks weird."

Oh well.

Martha Stewart need not worry about giving up her crown to me…yet.

Here's a blurry iPhone photo to give you the idea.

And I soldier on…

May 25, 2008

For the Cause

As you know, I'm a huge fan of The Crafty Chica, the one and only Kathy Cano-Murillo.

I read her blog faithfully and have watched with interest the developing "Safe Sparkle" campaign.

You see, Ellen Degeneres on her very popular show, put out a call for a president who would ban glitter.

She even went so far as to pose the question to presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

For The Crafty Chica, whose motto is "Peace, Love, and Glitter", this was a *gasp* inducing event.

So Kathy has taken it to the streets.

She held a Safe Sparkle rally outside of Ellen's studios, but so far, no impact.

Her next salvo is this, a YouTube clip begging for peace and understanding. Kathy has asked her friends to help get the word out by posting it to blogs everywhere, and I'm happy to oblige.

It runs about six minutes.

Getcher glitter on!

May 23, 2008

Memories, dancing demons and lost fragments of thoughts

There's a lot going on in my head. None of it related to work. But here I sit at my pressed wood cubicle shelf desk-like device absorbing EMF's from my monitor…and pondering.

If I tip my head up a bit, I can look over the top of my monitor and see the actual outside.

Here it is:

That photo doesn't tell the tale. There is an oppressive haze hanging over tree tops.

I say haze, it's really smoke. The heavy winds have brought a taste of the fires up this way.

Taste, as in literally. If you go outside your eyes and nose sting and you get that campfire flavor in the back of your throat.

It was weird, when I arrived at work this morning, I opened my car door and took in the first inhale of this dirty air, you know what it reminded me of?

New Mexico.

Yeah. Odd huh? But for the people who live(d) there, you'll be able to relate.

You know how when the first cold of fall sets in and people start using their fireplaces and wood burning stoves? The smell of burning cedar and piñon is distinctive. You can taste it. The cold crisp to the air and that smell permeates.

So odd, that the smell of burning forest made me homesick.

I'm reading "Curse of the Chupacabra" by Rudolfo Anaya right now. Last night as I was reading, the main character was back home in Santa Fe and talking about being outside and smelling that distinct wood smoke.

Must have been in my brain then, this morning.

Me and Rudolofo, same page today.

That's the magic of a really good author. You and he are there together, touching across space and time in that moment you read the words. You find a common ground. Anaya is one of my favorite authors, so that synchronicity is cool.

Inspired by something really tough, a raging fire.

Memorial Weekend lies ahead. Memories. I know this weekend is about remembering military veterans, and I do.

Maybe it's also about airing out old memories of all sorts. Spring cleaning for the closets of the soul.

Been thinking a lot about old things. Old hurts. Old scars.

The woo-woo minded among us would suggest that this is due to Mercury going retrograde on Monday.

I'd say it's because I'm the kind of girl who likes to shake up her thoughts like specks in a snow globe just to see where they land.

The Good Man said I might be entering the water hazard known as "middle life crisis".


Either way, I'm thoughtful.

Ah well, off to a holiday weekend. Three days off sounds like a little slice of heaven to me today.

To all, Happy Memorial Day. Enjoy the weekend, be safe and remember those you love!

May 22, 2008

Group Therapy

A personal blog really is just a form of confessional, right? No priest or therapist but a forum to air your issues.

With that in mind, I need to talk about a *painful* recent incident. It's taken me these many days to be able to discuss it without wincing.

You see, as you know, I’m soon to get hitched to The Good (nay WONDERFUL) Man.

And as such, I need to wear what they call a "gown."

I've worked for nine years at a company in which our multi-billionaire CEO wears old jeans with large visible holes. And we're a company full of engineers. You can never set the dress standard terribly high with engineers.

So the standard of dress in my world has dropped considerably.

Once upon a time, I wore dresses and panty hose to work almost every day.

Now, it's real, real hard to get my heiny into a pair of hose. I mean, why?

(Which begs for a slight aside…on the night that my love and I were engaged, I knew we were going to a REALLY nice place for dinner. Wanting him to think I’m a class act, I got out a dress from the back of my closet and bought a new pair of hose. My love observed the shimmy/shake/jumping dance it takes to get into those things and through hysterical laughter said, and this is a direct quote: "Never do that in front of me again.")

Obviously with all this in mind, the thought of actually purchasing a wedding dress scared me sh--less. It took my best friend flying in from Las Cruces for the weekend to get me to do it. God bless her.

Once the dress was procured, the dress-making people told me, emphatically, that I had to go to Nordstrom to get measured and fitted for a "foundation garment". (For those not paying attention, that's a bra in street speak).

Well. If I was traumatized by going to buy a dress, can you imagine what this bit of news did to me?

I was immediately taken back to my youth. Twelve maybe? My mom took me to the Mervyn's at Coronado Center in Albuquerque where a severe, middle aged woman roughly measured my burgeoning assets, and picked out the ugliest sturdy white device she could sell. No flowers. No lace. A utilitarian boob holding device.

To be fair, my mom did nothing wrong. She was being a good mom. No one could have known how traumatizing that would be for me. But it was. Traumatic.

So, needless to say, I've been avoiding the "get measured for a bra" task on my list of "to do's" for the wedding.

With the day of my first dress fitting well nigh, this last weekend I had to "do the deed".

I reluctantly trudged into Nordies and waited in line for one of the nice women working there to help me.

As I waited, it seemed the sturdy middle-aged woman with the Eastern Bloc accent was going to be the first finished with her customers, and would be the one assisting me.

FLASHBACKS FROM 'NAM! Or Mervyn's. Anyhow.

Much to my pleasant surprise, a young lady hidden behind Helga or Gilda or Gerta hung up the phone she was on, stepped forward and said to me, kindly, "how can I help you?"

I quiveringly told her I was getting married soon and was, to my own utter disbelief, going to be wearing a strapless bra and needed a garment to wear under.

She smiled kindly and said, "do you need to be measured?"

I woefully nodded.

Together we went to the dressing room where she quickly measured my assets (less burgeoning now, more succumbing to gravity).

She left the room to pick out items to try on. I stood there, shivering like a Chihuahua, waiting.

She brought in a few choices. Said cheerily, "ok, let's try these on!"

She took one off the hanger, opened it up and held it out to me.

I complied.

She said, "Bend over and shake into it."


"Go ahead," she urged.

I complied.

She fastened it up behind me.

Oh dear god. I am now wearing this contraption. I. Can't. Look.

"Oh, now that's not bad," my new intimate friend Lilly, chirped.

I looked. Really, it wasn't that bad. But it made my generous assets, uh…how to say this…made them burble up over the top. Many women like this. I do not. I prefer the "keep 'em stable" approach.

So we moved on to the next one. Shake, shake, fasten.

Hmm. I looked. This one not so very bad at all. I raised my arms up (the litmus test of a strapless device). Everybody stayed where they should.

Lilly pointed out that I was "getting good separation" which sent me reeling back to those old Platex bra commercials, "lifts and separates!"

So ok. We shook, shook into a couple more and decided that device number two was a winner!

Ok, so bra is done. That wasn't so bad.

Now we needed a garment for the rest of the stuff that has to look good in a nice dress.

Out came the Spanx. You'll recall the "Spanx and a sash" advice previously discussed.

So I was cool with the Spanx idea.

Until my little friend Lilly suggested I should get a "heavy duty" pair in a size smaller "to really hold you in".

Uh. Well. Ok.

So she brought in this wrestler's suit. Which is appropriate, because that's what we had to do to try it on.

Lilly actually chose to HELP ME with this task.

This was more than a shake, shake, folks.

As we grunted like overworked longshoremen to get the device installed, about halfway through the job, I started laughing.

I remembered, "never do that in front of me again" and wondered what The Good Man would have to say about all this. Two women wrestling a recalcitrant pair of Spanx. Hot? Yeah, probably not.

Not to be deterred, Lilly demanded that I focus.

Give it up for Lilly's tenacity. She got that damn thing on me.

There I stood in all my pre-matrimonial glory. Highly steel belted Spanx lashed to a sturdy strapless bra, all my bits and pieces sucked in to within an inch of my life.

And I looked at me in the mirror and said, "yeah, ok, that will work".

Blessedly, on the removal, the Spanx shot off of me like Evil Knievel out of a cannon, and I was free to breathe once more.

The rest of the day I walked around like a chastened dog, tail between my legs, terribly embarrassed but glad I got the "framework" for my new pretty dress.

It didn't erase the "incident" at Mervyn's in the early years, but it helped. Turns out "getting measured" isn't all that terrible. I also bought a couple of pretty, nicely fitting bras for everyday wear.

With lace! Man, has bra technology improved.

Wonder if my best good friend and Matron of Honor will be as kind to me as Lilly was when it comes to getting those Spanx back on…

She has until August to think about it.

May 21, 2008

Color me underwhelmed.

Subtitled: Gee, thanks Polly.

My favorite nemesis, Polly Summar writes one of those "and now this in obvious news" articles today in the ABQjournal.

Yes, It's Warm Out There

Thanks, Pol! Couldn't have worked that out for myself! What with, the, you know, skin I have and all.

To be fair, how much must it suck when your editor hands you the task of writing about how hot it is? In New Mexico.

Ah well, the non-natives need something to complain about.

Good work, Pol!

Observations from under the dryer

Every six weeks, I have to take the opportunity to have my grays covered by my stylist. And by grays, I don't mean aliens. Or maybe I do. (Only my hairdresser knows my real hair color for sure!)

Once the color paste is on my head, I have to sit under the hairdryer to let it "cook". This is about fifteen minutes of precious down time in my busy days. So while just sitting there, I take the opportunity to catch up on what they call these days, The Goss (as in, short for gossip).

My hairdresser works in a lovely, calming salon. Fun music plays and they have stacks of the most current gossip mags. Getting hairs done and riding a plane are my opportunities to catch up on People, OK! and US magazines. I also get a great chance to observe other women of the species in their element. Chemicals flying along with catty remarks.

And herewith, my observations:

1) In a section in US Magazine, stars gave their secrets to beauty. Penélope Cruz says her tip is to sleep more than nine hours a night. So when Penélope does it, it's beauty enhancing. When I do it, I'm called "lazy". Hmmph!

2) There is no woman, no matter how pretty she is, who doesn't look ridiculously hag-ish when sitting there with color or bleach paste applied to her roots, plastic bag on her head and chemical fumes making her squint.

3) Angelina Jolie isn't human. There was a picture in OK! Magazine of her walking out of some random building hand in hand with her Adonis-like boyfriend.

She is a few months away from delivering twins. Her face isn't puffy. Her ankles are normal size. Her hair glistens. Her face is dewy fresh. No pregnancy mask, acne or wrinkles. Her tummy is sort of big, but no bigger than a woman with just one in there at late term. She isn't pregnant from chin to ankles like many women loaded with twins look and feel.

I'm sure she'll carry them both to term, deliver them naturally and easily and produce two more picture perfect children.


4) Having your head massaged when it's being washed under warm water is a really nice thing. It makes you forget that your skin looks worse than that of a woman pregnant with twins.

5) Miley Cyrus is scandalous. Jennifer Anniston is "getting lucky". American Idol is almost over. McDreamy thinks McSteamy has nice pecs. Ashley Simpson is probably pregnant. Tony Romo may or may not have broken up with Jessica Simpson. Ellen Degeneres is getting married. So is George Takei. The pregnant (and also not human) Jessica Alba just did. Katie Holms looks spooky. Jude Law snogged Kimberly Stewart at a club. And Kate Hudson may or may not be dating Lance Armstrong.


All said and done, my nice little life looks pretty good. I have fresh hair, an amazing fiancée and the ability to go to the grocery in my crappy sweats without someone taking and publishing my photo.

Perspective. What a kick!

May 20, 2008

Did you know?

That if you add the word "wedding" in front of almost any word in the English language, that you can add anywhere from $20 to $2,000 to the cost of said thing?

Tis true.

Regular ol' cha-cha shoes? $30

"Wedding" shoes, same style? $70 (or more)

Pretty hair barrette? $10

"Wedding" hair barrette? $50 (or more)

Nice updo hair style by a stylist? $50

Same updo but "wedding hair" $200 (or more)

A nice dinner out? $40

A "wedding rehearsal" dinner, same food? $100 (or more)



The wedding planning is going fine.

Why do you ask?

May 19, 2008

Milk truck, stat!

Ok, no one was hurt so I'm allowed to joke…

Crash strews Oreos over I-80.

First of all, who uses the word "strews" anymore?

That said, traffic in Chicago was stopped in a delicious way when a truck carrying 14 tons of double stuffed Oreos overturned, tossing deliciousness in "plastic sleeves…into the median and roadway."

This is a tragedy.

First, gas prices go up. Due to transport costs, milk prices go up. And now this utter devastation means a shortage in the Oreo supply.

It ain't right, folks. It just ain't right.

Gotta have my Vitamin O.

May 16, 2008

Where has all the good taste gone?

Chalk it up to the fact that Tim Gunn's faboo style book is currently on my bedside table.

Or maybe blame it on the fact that I've been looking over The Good Man's shoulder as he's doing research on a tux for our upcoming nuptials.

Perhaps the fault lies with the fact that The Good Man and I attended a "semi-formal" wedding yesterday.

In any event, I've been thinking a lot about men's suits lately. What works and what doesn't.

I realize "fashion" is surely a subjective thing. But Mr. Gunn, of "make it work" fame, emphasizes fit and perspective when wearing clothes (and I agree).

And the old idiom, "don't let the clothes wear you".

So when a link titled "GQ's best suits under $500" came across my blog bleary eyes, of course I clicked with alacrity to see what's doin'.

The Good Man and I had just been talking about how it's totally possible to buy a nice, well fitting suit for not a terrible amount of cash.

And here was a link to a slideshow to perhaps prove the point.

Oh was I disappointed when I took a look.

All of these suits listed as "the best" were all sort of…eh..: shoulder shrug : to me.

There is a trend lately to have only the top button fastened, which is fine by me, but if the suit fits well, you don't get as much of the terrible pucker as seen here:

Also, look at this one. From what I can tell, it's not a cotton suit (rayon blend the website says), but damn, look at all those wrinkles (all down the arm and the pants).

Did I miss a memo? Are wrinkles in? If so my crow's feet are ready to take flight.

I don't mind a casual suit like that, but it needs to fit! It also looks a little tight across the model's tummy. My rule of thumb…if it makes the model look fat, it ain't doing ANY favors for you.

Have we lost the concept of pants that break, jackets that fit and lay nicely, and a color that accentuates the coloring of the man wearing it?

A suit doesn't need to be spendy to get the job done.

You can take a scruffy, fashion challenged guy and put him in a suit that fits and it's simply awe-inspiring.

None of those listed as GQ's "best" gave me even one *sigh* of appreciation.

I like this one the best, but even still, it's not firing me up (and oh those SHOES! But that's a whole OTHER post for another day).

Either I'm an ol' fuddy, or we've lost our sense of style.

I blame (appreciate?) my maternal grandmother for giving me at least a modicum of a sense of style. Her tenet was that no home should be without a full-length mirror. No domicile of mine has ever failed this rule.

You can TELL it when someone doesn't have one. The outfit looks good until your eyes travel below the knees then it's a mess.

Lines, people. Check the lines.

Ah well, let's head off to the weekend. It promises to be sweltering in the Bay Area, so my fashion will be reduced to flip-flops and the minimum acceptable amount of clothing.

Oh, and socks of any sort with flip-flops are a NO. Honestly, I've seen people tuck the sock between the toes and slide on the flips. Not ok. That's the fastest way to see my "bit into a lemon" face.

I once saw a lady at work who did this with *pantyhose*. Tucked 'em between the toes and slid on toe divider sandals.

I almost passed out.

Just say no.

May 15, 2008

Oh, you knew it was gonna happen

Wednesday's ABQjournal has a story that was, in my opinion, inevitable.

Suspects Held In Diesel, Gas Theft

Yup. Gas prices are so crazy. Recession is on. People have taken to stealing gas.

Are you surprised? Didn't think so.

"Mark Hogan would park his box trailer over gas stations' underground tanks, open a secret compartment and pump thousands of gallons of gas out of the ground.

Police say he then sold the fuel for $1.75 a gallon for unleaded and $2.50 for diesel."

Hoo, a good deal!! Bet it sells like hotcakes, too.

Dude sold it mostly to his friends and used the money to fuel his meth habit.


"The New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association reported that 500,000 gallons of gas and diesel had been stolen from about 30 (Albuquerque) metro stations this year."

And at $4 a gallon….I'm sure the $2M out of the coffers is but a blip on the petroleum screen…but I'm sure I know who will pay for this.

If you listen closely you can hear my wallet scream.

Remember back in the 70's when people used to "pump and run"? That in response to gas shortages and high prices.

Oh well, these days you have to slide a card to get the pump to work anyway, so this is just the next "workaround".


May 14, 2008

You, sir…

…are no tortilla soup.

Look at this! Just look at this abomination!

This is what the cafeteria at work calls "tortilla soup"!

I. Don't. Think. So.

Where's the green chile? Where's the tender pieces of potato? Where's the juicy chunks of chicken?

This is an insult to a good girl from New Mexico.

However, this is what I'm having for lunch. The other soup choice was "vegan minestrone", which, normally, I'm quite happy with.

Until I ladled it up. It was a sickly, pale looking soup. Not only has my cafeteria insulted Hispanics everywhere, they've also done a job on the Italians.

It's not ok

It took only a brief Google search to net a photo of the deliciousness that is REAL tortilla soup.

Somewhere in the world, someone is having a piping bowl of this…and that knowledge will get me through this day…

May 13, 2008

I'm feeling lucky!

Does anybody ever actually use this feature on Google?

Having nothing to blog about today, I was trolling about looking at odd news, top news, entertainment news, blah.

So then I started putting in random words and hitting "I'm feeling lucky," which takes you right to the top hit for the search term.

You know what I found? Wikipedia is most often the top hit for whatever random general search term you can think up. This is, of course, unscientific.

When I did "feeling lucky" the search term "New Mexico" it took me to newmexico.org.

Search term of "Albuquerque" took me to www.cabq.gov.

Hmph. Boring.

Like this post.

Slow news day............

May 12, 2008

Dreams can come true!

This weekend, I'm happy to announce, a dream of mine came to realization. And I'm still totally geeked out about it.

You'll have to forgive me while I wax rhapsodic about this. It may mean little to you but it made my whole day, month, year...

As noted, I'm a fan of baseball. Lately I've been spending more time at the local minor league ballpark for the San Jose Giants. They are a single A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

Part of what makes minor league baseball so engaging is that the organization tries *really* hard to make it fun for the fans. For the first seven innings of the game, they provide entertainment in the form of contests and games that involve selected fans from the crowd.

They do things like "Putt For Cash" where the contestant tries to putt a golf ball into a kiddie pool. Another where a kid tries to whack a plastic hockey puck into a net that is guarded by an adult in full hockey goalie gear (Shark's gear, naturally). There's a rousing game of musical chairs, little kids doing "Dance for your Dinner" (the one that gets the crowd's approval for their moves get a hot dog and a soda), and racing the mascot, Gigante.

But by far my favorite of all the games is called "Smash for Cash". A big, old, belching panel truck is brought out onto the field. It sometimes rolls reluctantly. At one game it stalled twice before reaching its destination. Once arrived near the dugout, a blanket is laid under the front. Three San Jose players are recruited to pair with a fan. The player is handed two baseballs that he then hurls at the van in an attempt to smash out the headlights. If he succeeds, he gets $100 (no small change for a guy who makes maybe $6,000 a year) and the fan gets a gift certificate for dinner.

I *love* this game. LOVE IT. Love it most when you hear the distinctive sound of breaking glass, the headlight goes dark and the crowd goes wild.

In order to be chosen as one of the fans to participate, you have to have a scorecard with a printed number. If your number is chosen, you're in.

I've been going to San Jose Giants games for ten years. Every time I go I long to be the one called to my favorite game. I clutch my number close to my chest and hope.

On Sunday, three numbers were put up on the scoreboard for Smash for Cash. None of the three were mine. Ah well, just another day at the yard.

If they don't get quick response to the numbers, they choose new ones. So a couple innings later, two more numbers were on the scoreboard. This time, one of them was mine.


I leapt from my seat, got a kiss from my man, and literally ran to the press box to claim my rightful place in the Smash for Cash contest.

The guy in the press box was announcing the game, scoring the game, and running all the promotions. A very busy, but quite nice guy.

He got my name and then asked, "We're having trouble getting a third. Do you know anyone else who might want to play?"

Why yes I do, his name is The Good Man.

"Ok, you both are in."

"Go right now!" I was told.

I vaulted back to the seats, waved over TGM. He followed with a puzzled look and I explained on the run that he was player number three.

We signed waivers (of course we did), were handed two baseballs and quickly enough were led onto the field at the middle of the sixth inning.

My player was Pablo Sandoval, catcher for the SJ team.

As I handed him two baseballs, I told him, "I wanna hear some breaking glass!" He laughed and said, "Aw, don't tease me."

This stout catcher can bomb down a runner at second, but he only needs to be "in the vicinity" to get 'er done. So owing to that, mostly, he was unable to knock out a headlight.

TGM got Juan Ciriaco, shortstop. Juan has a hell of an arm, but not enough precision to smash a headlight.

As soon as it began, it was all over. There were no winners that day.

But there was ONE happy girl bouncing around, thrilled to have finally fulfilled the dream of getting the call to participate in Smash for Cash.

Later in the game, "my guy" Pablo Sandoval took one hell of a hit at the plate while trying to keep a run from scoring. So whatever grumpy feelings I had about not winning a dinner were long gone as he lay on the ground seeing stars. He won me back to his side in a big way.

I'm sure after that hit, he can't even remember his name, much less the crazy girl with a grin on her face.

Thus is the way of baseball.

Here are a couple really amazing photos from this Flickr stream and this one too. This is a "right in there" view of the agony and ecstasy that is Smash for Cash. Enjoy. Check out the rest of both Flickr streams for views from Muni Stadium.

May 9, 2008

Forbidden love.

I have lust in my heart.

It's a new lust, a fresh start.

This fascinating new thing caught my eye just less than two weeks ago when we moved into our new building. Ever since, I can't stop thinking about our encounters.

They leave me giddy. Happy. Jittery.

I'm lovestruck baby, I must confess.

And the object of my adoration is this strong, powerful, steely beast.

What's that, you ask?

Why, it's a coffee machine. But not just ANY coffee machine. Not the typical office industrial device that pushes brown water out of tired dried up grounds. No.

Gaze toward the top of that lovely thing. You'll see two plastic hoppers that contain WHOLE beans.

You select size, leaded or no, and push start and it takes beans, grinds them RIGHT THERE, and brews one delicious cup of coffee.

Now see, I'm not actually supposed to drink coffee.

For one, I can't handle the caffeine. High blood pressure and tired adrenals and just, I can't take the buzz.

So ok. Decaf.

I also have terrible reflux. And coffee, even decaf, is terribly acidy.
Problem is that I *love* coffee. And giving it up is difficult.

I usually limit it to on the weekends. Some decaf with breakfast or maybe an iced decaf from the local purveyor of deliciousness on a Saturday afternoon.

Last week we moved into the new office building and everyone was raving about this new coffee maker. I was like "feh!" Office coffee? No.

But when I arrived my new cubicle was not configured correctly and also my network didn't work, so for the first hour of my day, I stood around while people fixed the problems in my workspace.

So while waiting, I toddled down the hall to try out this new thing.

When I sipped the fresh ground, fresh brewed concoction, even with the crappy dried up powder creamer they have, I was like "hey…that's tasty!"

Tuesday, I brought in a real mug and a carton of half-n-half. Added a splash to my fresh ground love and siiiighed. So. Tasty.

I tried to keep it to a cup a day habit.

But this week slipped away from me. Suddenly I was having two in the morning. And another mid afternoon for a little "lift". Then I was drinking a cup on my way out the door to go home.

The Good Man commented on my coffee breath, so unusual for me!

It's probably time for rehab.

But I just…can't. All day long I hear the distinctive clicking of my new crush. It calls to me. Beckons me to the sea of warm half-n-half sweetened love.

If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Did I mention my crush also brews hot chocolate?

A nod to my oldest niece for the imagery of forbidden caffeinated romance. Thanks! How you drink a chai with espresso is beyond me. I'm scared to try, I might further my addiction.....:)

May 8, 2008

Old habits die hard.

Today as I meandered my way over to the shuttle bus to take me to the train, I picked my way through the parking lot at work. "Picked my way" because there is heavy construction going on at the building next door to mine.

Sitting there, by itself, in the lot, was an empty wooden wire spool. You know the type. Found at most construction areas.

Wanna know my first thought? "Man, should I take that?"

You know, it's been some fifteen years since I graduated college. While I personally never had a wooden spool table, many friends did. I dated a few guys who did. I think the wooden spool furniture sensation is mainly a guy thing. Along with bookshelves made of cinder blocks and plywood.

It's the same feeling I get when I see empty milk crates. I used many a purloined milk crate in my collegiate career. Good bookshelves, storage devices, and even a bedside table.

I think I still have some of those indestructible blue plastic things in my basement (all apologies to Price's Dairy from, you know, fifteen years ago. What is the statute of limitations on absconding with a milk crate?).

Oh, is also happens when I see wooden pallets. Back then they were made from a pretty dense wood and if, say, a friend filled up the back of his pickup with a bunch of stolen pallets, piled them up by the river, poured diesel fuel on them and lit a match, you'd not only have a nice roaring fire, you'd have a long lasting warm, bright fire by which to socialize with friends.

For some reason, this old scrounging habit dies hard. The "making it work" when you have no money, and what little you do have must be saved to buy beer phenomenon still lives deep within me on a cellular level.

Despite the fact that I have a real job now and can buy beer, you know, pretty much whenever, I still have that moment of "I could take that..." and think about how it could be made useful.

I seriously considered how to get that spool out of there.

Then remembered a) I don't need a table. I have one. A nice one. And 2) even if I didn't have one, I could go to Ikea and buy a nice one. I don't have to settle for a splintery wood spool.

So I'm still a scrounger from way back. But I refuse to eat Ramen noodles anymore.

Some habits you just gotta leave behind.

May 7, 2008

It should be a National Holiday*

(with all due deference to NewMexiKen's decision that today *isn't* a candidate for National Holiday. Damn Domenici for busting up my day!)

And on this day, a Karen was born, and it was good.

Until she grew up a little and her family would beg to differ…

So when I was little, my mom was always willing to make whatever cake or pie the birthday kid wanted. I usually chose a cake, a chocolate chip cake. My mom would whip it up out of a box and it was oh so yuuuum. It felt special to have the cake made just for me.

In honor of the kindness my mother showed me all those years, I decided to make my own cake for myself this year.

Mom, you'll note my layer cake is about as even as all the ones you and I made over the years.

Though in my defense, The Good Man and I have discovered our home on a hill built in the early 1940's isn't exactly level anymore. Doors don't stay open (or closed, depending) and my two layer of cake came out of the oven looking less like a square and more like a right-angled triangle. Can one work a Pythagorean theorem on a cake?

But as I've learned over the years, frosting can make up for a multitude of sins. And add a few too.

Last night on Birthday Eve, I endulged in a slab of cake. Not a piece, a slab. And it was gooooooood. Chocolate with vanilla frosting. Yes please!

And I am planning to celebrate even more. I've shaken off the birthday blues and enjoying the day. I even scored a few presents at work. How 'bout that!

Looking forward to the surprises The Good Man has in store.

¡Feliz Cumpleaños para ME!


Oh, an update for the folks who have asked about the progress of Plastic Surgery Kitty.

She's healing really well.

Here's a photo from this morning:

The last of the scab came off last night and the wound has healed nicely, is pink and healthy. Looks like she's come through it just fine! Much better photo than the last one I posted, huh?

May 6, 2008

Let the celebration begin early!

Ah yes, I'm a firm believer that celebrations of one's latest trip around the Sun are more than just a one day event. Oh noooo, there is way too much celebrating to get done that just 24 short hours cannot contain.

So though the actual anniversary of my birth (29 and holding and holding…and, uh, holding!) is tomorrow, the celebrations began Friday.

Tasty dinner and drinks with friends. They were in a bit of a scrap, nothing fatal. It just served to remind me that the greatest present I'll ever know is the love of The Good Man. Oh, sure, we scrap, but not that night. We held hands and enjoyed the warm evening sitting outside.

Saturday we took a road trip up to wine country. I'm starting to actually enjoy wine country more, despite the hoity aspects of it. The Good Man and I have found ways to enjoy it on our terms. I may not be able to "taste undertones of black cherry and moist fern covered flat stone" in my wine, but I'm starting to circle in on what I think tastes good to my personal buds. Fruity better than dry. Light rather than heavy.

Last year for my birfday, The Good Man and I spent time in Calistoga and visited a small winery, on the advice of my boss (and took in a Cinco de Mayo parade). The place is called Vincent Arroyo Winery and they are a pretty small operation. Mr. Arroyo is a retired engineer who decided to take up winemaking, and he does a fine job of it. They don’t yet sell their product in retail channels, selling most of it by subscription to members.

This small winery has one open house a year where they pull out their odds and ends (called Library Wines) and sell them to the general public. This open house just happens to be the first weekend of May. Works out well as a nice place to celebrate roundabout my birfday.

TGM and I were a bit shocked this year to see how much the event has grown. Last year, the winemaker himself was pouring tastes and patiently answering all my questions. This year it was a really big event with cars parked down the gravel road and many of Napa Valley's snoot out to play. About that I was displeased.

However, it took a few pours of wine to dramatically change my outlook.

And there was free food, so really, I can't complain.

It was a gorgeous spring day and the drive was wonderful. We did just a day trip, but yes, oh yes…a good time.

Sunday we went to Maker Faire. I'd heard about this in years past and was emboldened to go this year, because My Personal Jesus, The Crafty Chica was going to be there.

She gave a talk on one of the stages that morning and I not only got her autograph on my book, she was very patient as I TOTALLY geeked out and asked her a sampling of my millions of questions. She gave me amazing advice that I will use.

I'm currently working on a project that someone is actually paying me actual real money for (photos when completed, I promise) and of course doing this "on commission" makes me nervous. The goddess that is Kathy Cano-Murillo reassured me, gave me hints and sent me on my way.


And just because I could, I took Monday off. I mean, Cinco de Mayo oughta be a national holiday, am I right?

With all that running around over the weekend, my Monday off was nice and quiet. I even baked up a cake (from a box) and made up a batch of frosting (from a recipe found on the 'net) that I plan to eat slabs of later today.

And tomorrow for the actual day? Dunno yet. TGM has sumptin' up his sleeve and in our time together I've come to know that his surprises are ALWAYS worth waiting for!

So all in all….I got NOTHING to complain about. Even that whole being a year older thing.

Oh, this past weekend I even got to take out my camera and try out a few things. I'm a bit rusty, to be honest, need more time at this, but a few came out well enough that I'm happy when I see them…mainly for the memories.

Here is something I call "Soon"…as in soon enough those baby grapies are gonna be big grapies and will be squashed into wine and enjoyed fermented out of a bottle. YUM! Such anticipation!

Also, lately, I've been playing around with the black and white (or…monochrome) setting on my gear.

The wine tasting was in full gear and there was this HUGE pile of corks and open bottles in various states. I was endlessly fascinated by the whole scene and many folks wondered at the peculiar chick taking photos of, you know, the table. To them I say FEH!

May 5, 2008

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Image courtesy of Mariachi Nuevo Sonido.

May 2, 2008


: cue the sound of screaming brakes :

Today I flipped the page on my calendar. Yes, I know it's the second of May. I'm always a tad behind on such things.

And in flipping the calendar, I had a mental hundred car pileup on the heavily trafficked highway of my mind.

I have a birthday next week. No, not a major milestone, but getting *awfully* close to a milestone.

Generally I tend to get real dramatic about a birthday well in advance. Not so this year. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to forget. But nooooo! Time marches on. B*tch. Won't let you forget.

I guess age is one of those things you can't do anything about. One can fight about it. One can also shout in a hurricane. Neither is gonna do a lot of good. But it may make you feel better.

I suppose it all comes down to something about not going gently into that good night…with all apologies to Dylan Thomas……

Ah well, I face plant into a cake with buttercream frosting and forget my sorrows. Until the next day when I'll lament my waistline.

For today, someone done broke the cake:

May 1, 2008

New kid on the bus

So as documented here in these pages, I'm a commuter, taking a combo of CalTrain and shuttle bus to get to work each day.

With the move to the new office location this week, I've been driving. I've had to haul things back and forth and that made it necessary.

Today was my first go at taking CalTrain which meant I needed to ride a different shuttle bus to get to my new location in the Silicon Valley back forty.

I felt insecure last night knowing I had to learn a new route. I knew the kids on the old bus. We had our deal. We knew who sat where.

What would they be like on the new bus? Would they steal my lunch money? Would I have to sit next to nose picker guy (cuz no one else will)? Would I get beat up? Mocked? I just didn't know what new challenges awaited me.

So my train arrived at the station this morning, I stumbled off, backpack hiked up on my shoulders, nervous. There are a LOT of buses there waiting on kids like me. All the local businesses are making it easier for employees to commute.

I wandered around, looking for not easy to read signs on the variety of buses, big and small. I did finally see the bus I needed, a little bitty bus (insert all short bus jokes here) and I climbed on. I did a quick survey of the crowd and realized most of the people on the bus were mainly the test engineers that moved over to the boondocks about three months ago.

Engineers! These are my people!!!

I wasn't the nerdy kid, suddenly I was COOL! I stood a little taller and swaggered to the only open seat at the back of the bus and sat down confidently.


Do you know what sucks? Sitting in the last seat at the back of the bus. It has the most sway. I was literally popped up out of my seat each time the driver hit a bump. I arrived at work a little green in the gills, but I arrived. Lunch money still in my pocket. Feeling a little more confident.

Ok. What's next? I feel like I can take on the world today!

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.