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August 29, 2008

Bits of paper

Talked my boss into letting me work from home today so I could avail myself to the Social Security office.

See, being an ol' fashioned kind of gal, I'm taking my new husband's name. No, not hyphenated. Just taking his name in place of my given surname.

And that means I gotta talk to the government folks and get their nod.

The place to start is Social Security. Once they make the change, then I can get a new driver's license. With a new driver's license, I can make the changes to banking, credit cards, etc.

So let's go back. It all begins with Social Security. How'd I get a social security number in the first place?

Why, with my birth certificate.

With that, everything else falls into line.

Today, I also took my marriage license to show my new name is valid.

The sum of my identity, who I am to the world, or at least what my name is, how I prove I'm me, comes down to a couple pieces of paper.

One tattered almost forty year old certified birth certificate and one shiny new marriage license.

Paper. Wood pulp. All that I am. Without them, I don't exist in the eyes of my country. Or the world, for that matter.

Can't bank. Can't travel. Can't get into school. Can't work. Can't rent a home. Certainly can't buy a home. Can't buy groceries cuz I can't make money.


It kind of creeps me out, actually.

Thankfully the SSA lady couldn't have been nicer. The change was made quickly. In about two business days I can get a new driver's license. With my license I can change my name at the bank.

I still get to prove I'm me.

Imagine if you couldn't?

A little mind bending.

Well. Onward, and getting used to signing my new last name. THAT will take some getting used to.

Happy Labor Day weekend to all!

August 28, 2008

Community. Feh!

I know many people bemoan the lack of community in today's modern world. The "howdy neighbor", backyard bar-b-que kind of world we had some forty years ago.

I, for one, say feh!

I have something of a "community" where I work. A lot of folks here have worked together a long time. I wouldn't necessarily call all my coworkers friends, but heck, we've been through the fire together. We have more than a basic passing human concern for each other.

And so today, at lunch, I had some errands to run. Fortunately there is one of those all too popular big box discount stores less than a mile from the office.

Off I went to get what I needed, and to shop for things I didn't need (*coff*wastetime*coff*).

I was having a nice time. Until I ran into not one, not two, but three of my coworkers. Not just people I work with at the company, people from my same organization, including the Nosy Nellie who sits directly across from me in our cubicle farm.

When you shop at a discount store like that, you want to have the freedom to buy all the embarrassing products you require without half your department knowing about it!

Yeah, I'm not talking about toilet paper or feminine products. I have more embarrassing things than that for breakfast.

I mean more like…salves and unguents.

I say "hell no!" to community when it means that your nosy coworker can peer into your shopping basket and see remedies for conditions best suffered in private.

"Hey, Bob, looks like you are struggling with the festering right buttock pustules! Boy oh boy, I remember when the wife had that. We found the generic brand worked just fine applied twice a day!"

"Oh thanks, Bill! Good to know. I was worried it might not be the same formulation. If I can cure my pustules AND save a buck, well…why not!"

: hearty laugh all around :

Um. No.

And the thing is, Nosy Nellie coworker isn't just nosy for her OWN knowledge. She'll run back to the office and tell anyone who will listen how ol' Karen has the festering right buttock pustules.

Then there will be a line of "concerned" people at my office to give me the sympathetic eyes and their own sad stories. "Yes, I remember going to the health food store and making up a poultice of herbs and spices for *my* pustule. It smelled like Kentucky Fried Chicken, but boy did it clear things RIGHT up!"

This I don't need.

If I could just suffer my indignities in private, that'd be great.

And for the record, I didn't comment on the contents of THEIR shopping carts!


August 27, 2008

Today is the kind of day…

…that leaves me questioning my choice of career.

You know the days like this…where you think "I've spent fifteen frappin' years doin' this gig…and FOR WHAT!?!?!"

Where you shake your head and huff and puff and maybe stamp your feet a little.

And inevitably you think: I shoulda been a _________.

I leave it blank because everyone's got their own idea what to fill in.

For me, I always end up thinking up something, then thinking, "nah, that would suck too."

I used to fill in the blank with "Starbucks Barrista" until my friend Natalie was kind enough to let us in on a peek at that life. Shoes that smell like rottey milk don't sound like fun.

I mean, my job sucks today, but my shoes aren't stinky (beyond my usual "like roses" natural aroma).

Sometimes I fill in "massage therapist" but then I *have* to think there are days where you just DON'T want to massage that sweaty hairy dude with the touchy-feely complex. Hmm.

Sometimes I fill in "beer truck driver" because then at least people would always be happy to see you. But then you'd have to sit in stupid traffic, only to arrive at your destination and break your back hauling cases of beer into the establishment. And if you broke a bottle or can, you're back to your shoes stinking again.

I think I'd like to avoid stinky shoe jobs.

Or jobs where you have to work swing shifts.

Or graveyard.

Or deal too much with the public.

So normally, after pondering for a while, I just end up telling myself to "suck it up, buttercup" and get back to work.

Because I believe that every job has its better days and its "it didn't pay to get out of bed" days.

By the by, I Googled "best job in the world" and got a few interesting hits.

Bikini Reflector Holder. Ostensibly for photo shoots? Hmm. Maybe.

Police officer? Methinks that's the marketing department in full swing.

Staff Nurse? I can't think of a more difficult job.

Public Accountant? Yawn.

And finally…one yabo listed "Parenting" as the best job in the world.

But back to Bikini Reflector Holder…..

August 26, 2008

No! Why I never...

Study: 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Inspires Women to Leave Churches

I'm sure it has NOTHING to do with the subjugation of women and a highly oppressive patriarchal infrastructure?

Nah. It's Buffy.


The terrorists stole my plot line!

Was sitting at my desk at work, drumming my fingers on the faux wood surface wondering, "What on earth can I post about in my blog today"…and not finding many answers.

That's when nature (and two cups of hot tea) called and I was forced to rise from my desk and use the facilities. I walked along thinking, "I need a topic, I need a topic, I need a topic".

I went over to the other half of the building since the loo near me was being serviced by the faboo janitorial team.

When I went into the "other side" I noticed that the door to what I thought was a janitorial closet (and is always tightly closed) was slightly open. It's NEVER open. Being the nosy Nellie that I am, I peeked in there.

Little did I know that there's a shower and a small set of lockers in this building! I looked over the lockers and noticed that all you gotta do is slap a lock on the locker of your choice.


So *immediately* my fiction writer brain thought "god…what a great place to stash something…"

Remember when airports and bus stations used to have lockers where, for the fee of one quarter, you could stash your suitcase or whatever for a bit while you did something else?

Whatever happened to those? They made for GREAT plot points in MANY a mystery story.

How the bad guy would stash the murder weapon there and thought he got away with it but no, he couldn't resist going BACK to the locker and by now the police were tailing him and he gets flat *busted* there in the Greyhound station, red handed, red faced, red wristed when the cuffs get slapped on.

It was fun. It was convenient! It was a great hiding place.

Why don't we have them anymore? 9-freaking-eleven, that's why.

Ok, so no more in bus station and airports, but now THIS find. I bet they don't check these lockers here at work all that often. I could put damning evidence like receipts from surreptitious wire transfers and plots to take over the world with my fleet of robot drones!

Ah hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

Oh, @#$%.....I guess I can't do it now. I just published my idea on the interwebs.


Back to work.

August 25, 2008

Am I the only one greatly disturbed by this?

From Yahoo News:

"Meteorologists dispatched eight planes to release rain dispersal chemicals and fired 241 rockets into incoming clouds to ensure a dry Beijing Olympics closing ceremony, state media said Monday."

Can you do this? Well obviously you CAN, but…SHOULD you do this?

I find this whole thing to be totally sci-fi and creepy as HELL.

Feel the burn

You don't have to know me very well to know that I'm less of the track shoes and elevated heart rate kind of girl and more of the cake following by a generous portion of cake kind of girl.

Exercise and I are acquaintances, but not really friends.

Oh sure, I exercise occasionally. I walk to the train station to commute to work. I walk to the nearby grocery store sometimes. But as a structured activity, no.

A few years back when I was working hard to lose weight, a fit and fanatical friend of mine got me to participate in a 5k. She ran and liked doing 5k's as a way to keep on track.

Let me be frank, my friend is one of those spin class in the morning, yoga at lunch and windsurfing for dinner kind of people.

So when she suggested I 5k with her, I resisted…hard.

But all 90 lbs of her is charming and a good negotiator, so she won me over.

I signed up to 5k. Needless to say, she ran, I walked.

That first 5k I did, I came in just under an hour on time, but dammit, I finished!

Since then, I've sort of gotten into doing the occasional 5k. Ever since The Good Man started hanging out with me, he'll come along too.

TGM is 6'2" with a MUCH longer stride than mine. So 5k'ing with him is all about me almost jogging to keep up. But he paces me, and that's good…I think.

Yesterday we did a really fun 5k, the highlight was that part of the race route took you onto the field at AT&T Park, around the warning track and across home plate.

"That's the same home plate Barry crossed," exclaimed one of the breathless vendors at the race.

That was definitely the fun part. The hard part was that the race started at 9:00 and you HAD to be across home plate by 10:00.

Now, think back. My first 5k was just under an hour. I haven't done a 5k in some time. So I was pretty worried I'd miss out on this fun chance to be on the field.

So I went all out on the walk. I was pumping my little arms and legs and huffing and puffing.

And I made it. I stomped on homeplate with some glee.

Sadly, I still came in the lower-middle of the pack with a paltry time of 47 mins…but I did get to scoot across home plate right behind the good man and we saw Giants pitcher Jack Taschner walking on the warning track. He'd gotten "caught in the herd" as he said and couldn't have been nicer when I said hello. He went on to have a crappy middle-reliever outing in the game that followed, but oh well.

It was a fun day and it was PACKED. People really came out for this even and everyone was fired UP to make it across the plate.

A few lessons I've learned:

*There are those who believe they'll make better time by intermittently jogging along the 5k trail. I find they will usually pass me, then they run out of gas and I pass them, then they see me pass and rev it up, then ten minutes later I pass them again and usually we finish about the same time.

So generally speaking, a nice even pace is probably a better bet.

*The body is less forgiving of random acts of exercise as it ages. I find this not amusing in the least.

*Ballpark nachos taste a heckova lot better when you know you already exercised that day. Hell, they taste good even when I don't workout first. Ok, to be clear: ballpark nachos are nice. Maybe I already knew that lesson.

And finally:

*Man do I sleep good when I've worn myself out.

(yes…THAT homeplate)

August 22, 2008

Pilgrimage to Meet My Heroine

FINALLY, after waiting not so patiently for SO long, August 21 got here.

Why's that important, you ask?

Well, yes, it's my Mom's birthday (Feliz CumpleaƱos, mi Mommy!), but there was something else arriving on this date. Rather, someone else.

Last evening, The Crafty Chica brought her Spread the Sparkle Tourto San Jose.

Kathy is touring in support of her new product line, now available in Michael's stores (yes, even one in Albuquerque).

I personally have dropped fat cash on glitter, hot hot papers, charms, bracelet kits and more.

Kathy brings a Dia del los Muertos vibe to her products (and her art) and she's made it totally accessible for your average Josephine like me.

I got the chance to hang out with Kathy again last night and was nervous as heck! I was astounded that not only did she *remember* me, she called me by name.

Kathy has such a fantastic vibe and is chock FULL of energy. I get totally drawn in by her magnetic charm!

I think I'm so into The Crafty Chica because it's amazing to see someone who's made it by 1) having, yes, TALENT, 2) working hard, 3) and being a genuinely nice person.

There are folks who have "made it" and you wonder why or how they got there. Not so with Kathy. She's earned every tiny glitter sparkle of her success and it shows.

I'm embarrassed to say I didn't get any photos to share. I'd FULLY intended to get a picture WITH my Personal Goddess, but I got SO geeked out, I forgot.

I was driving home last night smacking hand to head over and over….

Oh well.

I'm sure in this crazy life, if it's meant to be, our paths will cross again.

For now, to Kathy, you've given me NEW inspiration to kick my crafting back into gear. I've an Esty store to get set up!


August 21, 2008


Been thinking a lot about a discussion going on in the comments of another blog I read regularly.

One very astute reader there made a comment that a choice I had made was "…so very different than the common priority system a couple of generations ago it boggles my mind."

That comment has stuck with me for a variety of reasons.

Been thinking a lot lately about my parents and their values versus my own values as their youngest child.

Both of my parents were alive during the Depression and remember it well. Especially my dad. A lot of how he faced his life, his finances and ultimately, his demise a few years ago, was shaped by those memories.

My mom had me at age thirty-five, which by today's standards is normal, but by the standards in the sixties, was positively ancient. She was advised by doctors I would come out all wrong, touched in the head, or worse.

Ultimately I came out all right, mostly, and grew up with parents SO much older than the parents of my friends. My different (yes, old fashioned) way of thinking made me a bit of an odd ball among these kids with hip young moms divorced from their cool as heck dads.

My stodgy parents were employed at Sandia Labs, married for 46 years and devoted to working hard and raising their kids.

This has come to me in bias relief lately because The Good Man is one year and one month younger than me. His folks met and married VERY young, and are a generation apart from my own parents. My mom has more in common with The Good Man's grandparents, for heaven's sakes!

I am what is commonly referred to as an "oops" baby. My brother is seven years older than me. My sister is four years older. My folks thought they were done, but I was a force not to be stopped by aging ovaries and good intentions.

To say that my father was a staunch Republican is to say that Cher is just a tad flamboyant.

He leaned to far to the right it's a wonder he didn't flop over when he walked. He advocated clean cars, walls painted white in any home, and one must always save for one's retirement.

It's hard to grow up in that atmosphere and not reflect some of the constant theme. From the time I could vote, I was too scared to vote anything other than Republican, fearing my dad would find out.

The first time I *did* vote for a Democrat, it felt like mutiny. Like I was being deliciously deceitful. I grinned when I pulled the lever.

Then came a major act of mutiny. I moved away from New Mexico. I did it, mostly, because I wanted to know what my life could be like if I got to create my own way. I'd followed in the footsteps of my parents, both knowingly and sometimes without intending to.

Moving to California was, for me, such a break out act of defiance that I almost thought my folks would disown me. They certainly didn't understand it. But ultimately, they accepted it.

And much like growing up in a Republican home, it was hard to live in this atmosphere and not begin to reflect the prevailing attitudes around me.

I think age, living on the coast and the evolution of American politics has made me rather liberal on some issues. I remain quite conservative on others.

California gets a rap for being hola-granola and long-haired liberals. You'd be surprised at how conservative it actually can be.

I guess this is a long way around the barn to say that I know that in commenting to me my values are so diverse from a couple generations ago wasn't necessarily meant as a compliment…but for me and my personal experience…I'll take it as such.

I've worked hard to have differing priorities. To greater and lesser success.

So anyhow, thanks.

August 20, 2008

For the birds

This being a grown up thing is really for the birds.

I mean, sure, being an adult has its benefits. Cookies and ice cream and beer for dinner, for example. Yeah.

I don't have to ask permission to buy a candy in the checkout line.

Disposable income.

I can tie my own shoes.

No homework.


But being a grown up means getting up every morning to go to work.

Trying hard to "get ahead". Get that better job. Be a better employee. Get paid more. More respect.

Sleepless nights worrying about getting that project done, or the political implications of a decision.

No summer vacation. Of if you get one, it's just a week long. Ugh.

The reason for my lament today is that we've entered the performance review stage at work. Meaning I have to write up and rate my team for the year.

Now, this isn't my first rodeo. I've done this for many years, but it never gets any easier. To reduce the sum total of another human's work for the year to a percentage number and a couple paragraphs is an agonizing process for me.

Part of what makes me a good manager is the depth of my compassion. But it's also one of my biggest limitations.

Our company gives out paltry merit raises, and it's hard to hand out a tiny raise for a hard year's work. This year, I have a pretty good boss who is helping me fight the good fight for rate increases. But I still go home a little bit demoralized.

Good thing I can have all those cookies and beer for dinner.

Image via.

August 19, 2008

Ok, I'm gonna brag a bit.

Hesitated on doing this, but I'm going to go for it.

Here's a photo of me on my wedding day.

I actually *felt* pretty that day. It's so rare I feel something like that down to my bones, but I did on my wedding day.

That's a happy memory I'll carry with me always.

Having professional hair, makeup and photographer helps A LOT.

But I'm just proud of this, so I'll share.

August 18, 2008

So disappointing

I'm just going to say it. The Olympics. MASSIVE disappointment.

Ok, not the games themselves. No. The coverage. NBC should be shot……and their little dog Bob Costas too.

I have twice now…just twice, sat down to watch coverage during "prime time" hours.

Once was Thursday. As soon as it came on, The Good Man said, "Is Bob Costas sick or something? He looks pale."

No. Not sick. Just over made up, I think.

We tried to watch it but it was hard. The commercials. The interstitials. The "back story". The over focus on one athlete to the detriment of the others. The cutting away from beach volleyball just when it was finally getting GOOD. Ugh.

We did get to see Phelps and "the touch" that launched another gold medal.

And we saw a Swiss volleyballer throw a hissy fit.

And some track and field ladies who kick butt.

But it was SO hard to watch.

Second try was last night. As soon as I turned it on The Good Man said, "Is Bob Costas sick or something? He looks pale."

No. Still not sick. Just bad coverage.

Best line comes from Jim Baca on his blog Only in New Mexico:

"We watched the Olympics last night, or should I say the commercials on NBC which were interrupted by competition once in a while."

I tried to watch. I really did. But ended up switching over to MythBusters instead.

I remember watching the Olympics when I was a kid. It was all about the athletes. About the competition. About this amazing every four year event showcasing the best of the best.

Now it's Chinese government coverups, overblown corporate sponsorships, and focus on the most "media ready" athletes.


August 14, 2008

Where ever you are in the world today....

...rest assured The Good Man and me are doing juuuust fine.

I could get used to this honeymooning thing...

Photo by Karen Fayeth

August 10, 2008

I've made a full recovery.

Probably time to tell folks that I've been convalescing for some time trying very hard to recover from a difficult affliction.

It strikes mostly women between the ages of 18 to 50. The numbers for this disorder are steadily on the rise, if you can believe the press.

It causes pain around the heart area, headaches and chronic pain in the arse.

It is the topic of talk shows, magazine covers and water cooler conversations 'round the world as women band together to defeat this terrible, terrible suffering.

What is this troubling ailment?

Chronic Single-itis.

Yes, folks, I'm pleased to tell you that as of today, I've gone into complete remission.

And I guess now The Cute Boy is The Cutest Husband. Or he can just remain The Good Man, I suppose...

(P.S. I couldn't *be* happier!)

August 7, 2008

It's a long way from Albuquerque

Had the opportunity yesterday to pick up my finally finished wedding dress.

This custom made dress purchase has been an odd experience, but in the end, I think it will be lovely. Most importantly, it's DONE.

At the end of the fitting appointment, they placed a long zippered bag into my arms and sent me on my way.

I rode the creaky elevator down holding the dress out from my body like a sick child, careful not to bump or soil it.

I stepped out onto the street in San Francisco, headed to find The Good Man.

As I waited for the light to turn so I could cross a busy intersection, I had crystal moment of realization.

Look at me, here now. How did I get here?

I'm walking in Union Square in the glorious and tony San Francisco, holding before me my custom made WEDDING dress.

How did this little insecure girl from New Mexico end up here?

Amazing how far I've come. I'm proud of me.

As I crossed the street, my eyes searched out the The Good Man. I found him, leaning against a wall, looking more handsome than ever. And I started crying.

Happy tears. Relief.

I don't know how I got so lucky. I'm just so grateful I did.

August 4, 2008

Thoughts at less than a week to the "big day"

I promise to get back to regularly scheduled snarkery soon, but I just gotta get through this week.

We are down to less than a week until I get…(holy crap) married.

Here's the thing, I feel pretty calm. It seems like everyone around me (mostly work folks) desperately want me to display full-blown anxiety. Like my freak out would somehow validate them?

Oh, I'm sure that this calm feeling won't last through the weekend. We're down to where the "small stuff" gets sweated. Where you find out if the people you paid a not-insubstantial amount of money will actually step up to the plate.

So far, I've managed not to be a bridezilla. Ok, to be fair, I was *prepared* to lose my shizz on Saturday for my latest dress fitting. The folks just don't seem to be getting it. The seamstress had the audacity to tell me that the top wasn't too large, I was just "not used to wearing a strapless dress".

I informed her, in no uncertain terms, that I would NOT be spending my wedding day tugging at my dress. So they fixed it.

On this past Saturday, I was prepared to take the dress home, but for this weird pucker in the seam at my hips. I said "that needs to be fixed" and the lady helping me said "oh no, you just need to smooth it". I said no, she said smooth. This went on for a while.

After a bit, the owner came over (she hadn't been privy to the no/smooth conversation) and said "hey, it looks like this fits great…oh, except for THAT" and pointed RIGHT at the pucker-in-contention.

Then she ordered her minions to fix it.


No need to bridezilla when the owner of the shop (who puts her name on my dress) can do my dirty work!

And that's not the half of it…

Am I worried that the lackadaisical new owners of the reception location will not pull it off? Sure. But there is little I can do about it at this point. We have to, as The Good Man says, "play through".

Will I feel the intensity of the event when, starting Friday, our nearest and dearest start arriving? Sure. Family always ups the ante.

But included in those nearest and dearest are my best friend and my two goddaughters. For how ever worried I could be, I can look into the faces of my two baby girls and smile. Because being with them is what matters. And having my best friend to hold my hand. Oh, and having her help me into my bustier and Spanx.

I already promised her I'd try not to be too sweaty. I'm a real good friend, huh?

I'm not going to jinx myself by saying "oh everything is perfect!!" It can't be.

But The Good Man and me…we'll just play through.

It's the foundation of our relationship.

And at the end of the day, if I end up married to him, then the day was a rousing success. No matter what else happens.

Oh..and cake! That always helps…

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