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August 31, 2009

Uh oh

She's borrowing from the random idea generator again.

Herewith, my list of my ten favorite quotes, in no particular order.

"Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde

I don't actually read Oscar, or know much about him. This quote was told to me when I was in high school looking for a quote to go with my senior picture.

You know the drill, we all had to have a quote, our defining statement. I liked the sentiment, so I went with it. My alternate was something about describing the taste of an olive, it was a weird quote. So of course they used that one.

But the Oscar quote has stuck with me.

"Talking about music is like dancing about architecture" - generally attributed to Martin Mull, but source is unclear.

First heard this quote in the little known and way under appreciated movie "Playing by Heart".

This was before Angelina Jolie was, well, what she is now. She was only sort of known back then and is adorable in this movie. Her character is wacky and everything I wish I could be (including six feet tall and drop dead gorgeous), and she talks about this quote (attributing it to a musician friend), then subs in that "talking about love" is definitely like dancing about architecture.

I don't know, it's a quirky line. I like it.

"This is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball. You got it?!?" - the Skip in Bull Durham.

How many times, as a manager, have I wanted to throw a sack of bats at the feet of my employees and holler at them about being lollygaggers?

The answer is: a lot

There are a lot of life lessons to be learned from the game of baseball. This is a fave quote I remember when I tend to overcomplicate things that should be simply elegant. Like the game of baseball.

"...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..."

That is actually the actual words from the NMSU fight song. It always appealed to me greatly that at an institution of higher education, we were encouraged to, you know, drink.

Our forefathers from 1888 saw the future. They saw it clear. They knew exactly what my alma mater would be.

Makes me proud. : sniff, wipes a tear away :

"Hey, minion! Bring me a beer! And don't lollygag!"

And by minion, of course, I mean The Good Man. (juuuuuust kidding!)

Speaking of those college days....how about:

"It's only love when you're loved in return."

Ok, sure, it's a quote from a Steve Wariner song.

But it was said with *meaning* by my best friend, back in college, when I discovered that the guy I'd been dating was cheating on me. It was my first taste of heartache. The guy was truly a cad.

Now that cad has been married to another friend of ours for the better part of twenty years. Proves that sometimes it's not the boy, it's just the wrong boy for you.

My bestest friend and I had occasion to recall this conversation recently, with a laugh. This was while recounting the story to my husband.

So all's well that ends well, I believe.

And speaking of The Good Man...

"To my heart you have the key/It you who set me free/And time will surely show/That our love will grow and grow." Lyrics from "Positively Meant to Be" by Jimmie Vaughan

The words on the page don't really have the same impact as they do when heard on top of the low and slow blues guitar sound from Mr. Vaughan (brother of Stevie Ray, totally different style).

It's a song I sing to my sweetie. I know, I know...too goopy for words. But it's my song for, or rather about, him.

Ok, let's ungoop this thing...

"No matter where you go in life after this, it will always be better than Tucson." - From the movie "Hamlet 2"

Ok, apologies in advance to anyone from Tucson or anyone who actually *likes* Tucson.

I have had several occasions to spend time in Tucson. Not the least of which is that the Colorado Rockies have their Spring Training facility there. In the City of Tucson, I've been treated bad, eaten awful food, my friend had her car towed (from an unmarked area) and been lost in muther f-word "downtown" Tuscon with confusing highway markers.

And when, while watching Hamlet 2, they said that line, the beverage I was enjoying came rocketing out of my nose like Ol' Faithful.

Well said, sir. Well said.

And just to prove I can be fair, I'll also include:

"Even for Albuquerque, this is pretty Albuquerque."

Also a nose geyser line, spoken seriously and rather snidely by Kirk Douglas in the movie Ace in the Hole.

An utterly forgettable movie with an unforgettable line.

Ya gotta be from ABQ to understand it. But you know, there is a lot about Albuquerque that is just soooooooo Albuquerque.

'Nuff said.

"May the bird of paradise fly up your nose."

If Little Jimmy Dickens wasn't a poet, I don't know who is. In fact, country music is ripe with quotable quotes. Country living and cowboys tend to have some colorful descriptors, but that's a whole other post for another day.

Ok, ok, I'll end on an inspirational note...or something...

Seems fitting, uplifting. Don't let those bastards getcha down!

"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?" - Frida Kahlo

Beautifully painful and erudite, all at once.

I'm sure I'm forgetting quotes I adore, but can't quite access in the ol' brain matter today.

It happens.

Maybe I need to go out and flap my yapper and make some quotable quotes of my own.....

Cash for Clunkers line of the day

"Some dealers are still whining about government delays in rebate reimbursement. Yeah. You read that right. Auto dealers are complaining someone is slow holding up their end of a bargain. Should have signed up for the undercoating."

Source: City Brights: Will Durst

August 28, 2009

My favorite time of the day...

Growing up in the high desert, I learned a lot about the cycles of the day. Especially the cycles of a good and hot day.

Living at over a mile in elevation, you can expect some really spectacularly hot days. One hundred degrees plus. Burn your leg on a hot seatbelt, sweat out your body weight, run through the sprinklers kind of heat. But you are rewarded at the end of the day by the cool that comes with sundown.

Living in the desert, you can expect some really spectacularly windy days. The kind that knock you down, dump over your trashcan and send it a mile away, tip patio furniture and blows the shingles off the roof. But you are rewarded at the end of the day by the calm that comes with sundown.

And you are rewarded, at the end of the day, by the fantastic pink melon and deep blue and yellow and purple and red colors that come with sundown in a dusty climate.

Where I come from, sunset is a show. It's cooling and it's calming and it's a fine time to pour a glass of sun tea over ice and sit in a lawn chair and slap at mosquitoes and smile and remember just how great the summertime really is.

Today was a pretty hot day in the Bay Area. Not New Mexico hot, only in the low 90's. But add a dash of humidity and it was a bit of a broiler.

There was an kerfuffle at a factory near where I work, so we were instructed not to go into work. Today I got to sit in my little rental home and watch the cycle of this day.

The morning was nice, clear, warm, but pleasant. Birds chattered at each other as they stole figs from our tree.

Noontime brought the heat. And the birds and animals sought cover. The Feline laid flat on the floor, making sure no limb touched any other limb.

By 3:00, it was oppressive.

By the time The Good Man got home from work, it was really pretty disgusting. A haze hung in the air with a lingering shimmering heat.

But...now it's just past seven, and the sun is setting. The day is cooling.

That nasty haze is converting the sky from gacky gray to a pinkish blue.

Sundown hasn't let me down yet.

(Unless you live in Phoenix. That place never cools off.)

Image removed at the request of the photographer, Glenn Hohnstreiter. You can view it on his webpage. Go take a look. You'll be glad you did.

August 27, 2009

Music to my ears!

"Under a new FTC rule, telemarketers can't make pre-recorded calls to anyone, even if they have done business with the person, unless they have gotten written permission from the customer. The fine for violating the rule is $16,000 per call.

The new rule, which takes effect Tuesday, should eliminate robo-pitchs like those saying your auto warranty is about to expire."


Too. Much. Media.

In the elevator, on the way down to get frozen yogurt, I read on the Captivate headline streaming network tiny tv thingy in the elevator that doctors are starting to worry because younger generations are exposed to a lot of radiation through their lives due to medical scans, thus raising their risks for cancer. (source)

Which made me think about my once a year dental xrays, two MRI's, a chest xray, xrayed suspected broken ankle, and my recent mammogram.

Once fro-yo was obtained (of the boysenberry variety), on the way back up in the elevator, I read that, evidently, my thermostat can make me fat. (Funny, I thought it was all the boysenberry fro-yo with crushed cookies on top).

The doors were opening so I dashed out and didn't get the story.

That's ok. Scared on the way down. Scared on the way up. Makes me want to eat a vat of fro-yo and hide under the bed.

It's too much.

Wasn't it just better when we were blissfully ignorant, eating red meat for lunch with two martinis with a pack of smokes for dessert? Perhaps we weren't as healthy, but we also weren't subjected to fear infused crawl headlines warning of "Fire!" or Swine flu!" or "Pestilence!"

Ignorance might really be bliss.

Sure, the information age has been amazing. But it's been damaging too.

August 26, 2009

Juvenile Humor = back on

Really, the ABQJournal keeps lobbing 'em up there.

"Zuni Bluehead Sucker Survey Gets Mixed Results"

First blue-footed boobies and now this?

A weepy mess

Over the past months, I have taken part in a flash fiction competition. This past weekend, we just completed the third of a potential four rounds.

The basis of the contest is this, you are assigned a genre, a location and an object and you have 48 hours to write a 1,000 word story. The time pressure and adhering to the assignment make it both difficult and delicious.

Part of what makes this particular flash fiction contest my favorite is that the organizers provide a forum for contestants. Once they have confirmed they have received your entry, you are allowed to post your story and let your fellow writers give you a review.

It takes about a month for the official judges to finish their work, so these peer reviews are so amazing and valuable and certainly help pass the time while we wait for results.

I have read a wide range of stories on the review forum, in a wide range of genres. Genres I might not normally read, actually.

I've read well-written stuff, questionable stuff, and downright awful stuff. But this particular group of writers is so supportive and encouraging, that you can post something not-so-good and you'll get helpful, useful feedback.

I look forward to getting the chance to read these freshly minted stories. At one thousand words a pop, they are quick hits. I'm always startled at how much story we amateur writers can cram into such a tiny space.

This is the second year of the contest, and there is a group of us that have been there from the start. It's great to watch us grow in our skills.

Today, one of my peers, one who has been there from the first, posted a story of such amazing beauty and so well wrought, that I was left a weepy, sniffling mess here at my desk at work.

I don't care if the author is professional, rank amateur, or somewhere in between. You know good writing when you read it.

I'm just stunned at the story this person has created. She had exactly the same amount of time I did to write this story and all the same constraints but she has crafted a piece that runs *circles* around my entry.

I am humbled. And you know what, that makes me want to work harder.

I would link to the story, but I don't have permission. Also, the story may not hit you the same way it did me. Writing is so subjective, what works doesn’t work for everyone.

I guess the point of my post was just to vent out what I'm feeling. Moved. Humbled. Determined.

And resolved to keep working harder at this art that baffles me, drives me nutty and give me passion.

Here I go....

August 25, 2009

The three books on my bedside table

Here's what's been lingering around my bedside table over the last month. Click the book cover for the link to Amazon for more info.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

This one was a gift from my best friend when she came out to visit about a month back. She is head of the English department where she teaches, and so gets to read a LOT of books to evaluate for use in class. Thus, she's got really great taste in books. This one was a winner!

The author, Ms. Walls is a freelance writer and sometime contributor to CNN. She writes her real life story in what can only be the definition of non-fiction that reads like fiction. She's got an amazing writing style and an even more amazing story to tell.

She and her siblings were brought up by nomadic, and in the case of her dad, alcoholic, but well meaning parents. It was an early life raised mostly in poverty and marked by drifting from town to down, or "doing the skedaddle," when things get tight. There's also a theme of outrageous parenting decisions.

Ms. Walls has an amazing ability to tell the story with non-judgment and even respect for her parents, who she comes to see almost as children through her adult eyes by the end of the book.

It is a can't put down read. And if you *ever* thought you might have had some, erm, oddities, in your own growing up. Well. This will put all of that right into perspective. It's almost unbelievable, it's so outlandish.


As They See 'Em: - A Fan's Travel in the Land of Umpires by Bruce Weber

The Good Man had heard the author, Bruce Weber, on NPR, and talked about the interview and this book's concept very excitedly.

TGM and I are both huge baseball fans, and this was a little understood aspect of the game for us.

The concept is that Weber, a baseball fan, and a reporter for the New York Times, was sent to umpire school in order to write a story for the paper. That set off a much larger odyssey to discover what really goes on in the land of professional umpires.

You get two aspects in this book, one, Weber's own struggle with learning the aspects of umpiring, such as stance, where to go on what plays, how to call a strike, how to yank your mask off without upsetting your hat, and always, always keeping command of the game.

The other aspect was talking to actual big league veteran umpires. Hearing their stories, talking about their history, the big threatened ump walkout in 1999 that adversely affected plenty of men, and so on.

I found this book hard going through a lot of it. Though I loved the concept, I thought Weber labored the point an awful lot. I get it. Umps are the goats of the game. No one likes them. They are treated crappy. When they do their job right, they are ignored, and when they make a mistake, they are yelled at, name called and in some cases physically threatened.

But, to be fair, I also learned a lot from this book. I watch the umps a little more closely now to see how they do their job and I give them quite a bit more leeway in making tough calls in a game.

It was sort of strange timing, but just as I was reading this book, I witnessed three of the worst umpired games I've ever seen in the many, many years I've been watching baseball. There were egregious bad calls, and try as I could, with a new outlook from reading Weber's book, I couldn't accept the terrible calls.

But, as Weber is quick to point out, those kind of situations are not the norm, and truly, umps are the metronome that keeps baseball playing in perfect rhythm.

An essential part of the game.


And currently, I'm about halfway into a Michael Crichton book called Timeline.

I haven't read a Crichton in quite a while and I always did love his style.

Ok, to be fair, this isn't great American literature. This is a good, easy summer read. The first 100 pages were deadly boring, but as Crichton always does, soon after, he hooked me right in.

And now, I'm in for the ride. I don't care of his explanations are based on shaky science, I'm BOUGHT in baby!

This is a classic time travel book. A group of research assistants are sent back to Medieval times to rescue their professor who's gotten himself stuck back there. Only, the home base necessary to get them back home, the evil labs that sent them, has just experienced a massive explosion.

This book has the added bonus that the evil labs, makers of the time travel devices are located in...wait for it....New Mexico! Over by Gallup.

So okay!

TGM read this book on the plane when we traveled in May, and I read snippets over his shoulder, so I'm happy to dive in. So far, so good.

There you go, that's what I'm up to.

What are you reading these days?

Juvenile Humor = On

"...watchers are flocking to Conchas Lake State Park near Tucumcari after the first confirmed sighting of a...booby in New Mexico."

Well I'm sure it's not the *first* time people have gone booby watching at Conchas Lake. But whatever.

Don't you just love ellipses? They can do so much to change the tenor of reporting.

I feel like a true media denizen now!

Ok, ok, here's the real quote from this ABQJournal story:

"Bird-watchers are flocking to Conchas Lake State Park near Tucumcari after the first confirmed sighting of a blue-footed booby in New Mexico."

I guess it's rather a big deal!


August 24, 2009

Alternately intrigued and repulsed

Hanging in the ladies room at a restaurant where The Good Man and I eat quite a bit is the below:

It is "Gli Italiani si Voltano - Milano - 1954" by Gianni de Biasi.

The title means, according to BabelFish, "The Italians turn themselves".

Here's the poster (click for a large version)

I am utterly fascinated by this photograph. I first started looking at it closer, because my best friend and I are talking about a girl's trip to Italy next year.

We've all heard the stories, right? Is this what Italy is all about?

I have no idea the story behind this photograph, but along with being totally can't-take-my-eyes-off it intrigued, it also scares the hell out of me.

It's so...visceral. The look on the faces of all the men... You are pretty sure you know what they are thinking. And she, dressed in white, little Red Riding Hood plunges, fearlessly, into the pit of wolves.

The guy to her left, with his bottom lip tucked into his teeth TOTALLY thinks he's got a chance. I mean, that dude is pretty sure he's going to score. Which makes me hate him.

The guy to her right on the scooter looks skeptical. Perplexed. Dare I say, scholarly? For that reason, he's the one I'm into. I'd choose him.

I have no idea who the woman is or what she looks like from the front, but my god, that kind of male attention is both craved and rejected by women.

How can she be so confident walking into that? Does she possess the certainty of a truly beautiful woman? Is she actually terrified but hides it well? Is she an Italian woman and thus used to ignoring this kind of stuff?

It conflicts me. I'm not a feminist. It doesn't make me angry like "she deserves more respect!"

But I'm also not an old fashioned gal either of the "boys will be boys" fey sort of excuse making.

I can't quite cipher out what it is that gets to me about this photograph. But oh, it gets to me.

August 21, 2009


I ran into this while wandering the nightgown and pajama section at the department store.

The silver shiny stuff is...I can hardly say it...sequins.

Silver, shimmery, rough sided sequins.

For going out? Yes.

For sleeping? Uh. No.

Plus, it seems sort of trollopy to buy some cotton jersey nightgown encrusted with sequins.

Oh, did I mention this abomination was found at Sears?


The Right Way. The Wrong Way. And my way.

I was raised by rather practical parents. No sissy girls in their house, no. We were up on the roof painting kid of girls. We were change the oil in the car girls. Yes. Self-sufficient, and often creative when it came to fixing troublesome issues.

If you're country folk, the term "bailing wire and duct tape" is familiar to you. The concept being, with those two items, you can fix anything...MacGyver style.

I'm pretty proud of my redneck ways. Or as my Hispanic friends would call it, rasquache.

I pondered this again this morning as I admired my entomological prevention handiwork.

See, The Good Man and I are convinced our (rental) residence is, essentially, built on an anthill. Not mean like fire ant or anything. No, the annoying little black ants that I talked about in this post. (The Good Man has become a LOT less Zen about them, btw)

Their main port of entry is the kitchen, and since we're not eager to spread poison around the same place where we prepare food, we've been trying a variety of natural remedies (most discovered through research on the interwebs).

So far, the application of soapy water works best. Kills 'em on the spot. But doesn't really do much to prevent them. For that we try an orange oil product made for ants. It works...for a bit. But they come back, laughing.

Most sites I read said, "you have to find where they are coming in and seal that off."

Trouble is, we live in an almost seventy year old house placed precariously on a hill in earthquake country, so there are lots of gaps and cracks and crevices those little sonsabitches can exploit.

So in the heat of battle one day, frustrated and exasperated, I reverted to my "duct tape and bailing wire" days and got out the masking tape.

Everywhere it looked like they were coming in was slapped over with tape. TGM kind of laughed at me. He was like "oooookay".

But you know what? It worked. It didn't *look* good, but we were without ants for quite sometime. Oh sweet relief!

We left the tape up for a while, then took it back down.

As those ants are wont to do, they found a new port of call in a new area, and began streaming in again. We applied soapy water and orange oil and fought the battle.

While going hand to six-legged combat, TGM said, "I'm going to spray this down with orange oil and then you do your masking tape thing, ok?"

And I did.

And, for the past couple weeks...ant free.

We harbor no illusions that we're free of them. I'm sure they are just tormenting the neighbor right now (it's a duplex).

They'll be back. And we'll be waiting with a good squirt of orange oil and a fresh roll of masking tape.

"TOP OF THE WORLD, MA!!!" (click if you don't know the movie reference)

August 20, 2009

Oh so much happier!

Ok, confessional time. Yes, I'm owning it here, publicly, on my blog.

Here we go

Due to the immense amount of food they provide here at my job, cookies, cakes, lots of candy, full lunches, parties, celebrations, the whole nine yards....

I *might* have maybe, sort of, kind of....gained some weight.

I know. *gasp*

Not a lot. But enough to make most of the clothes in my closet feel tight.

So, I do that thing that women do, "Oh, I'll lose this. I don't need to buy new clothes! I'd just buy them and have to give them away, what a waste of money!"

What do I do? I wear the few items that fit over and over. And wear the tight things and sit at my desk with a wince as I get marks on my body from the clothes.

So, I just...I don't know...gave up. I started dressing like crap. If you know me, you know clothes and style matter to me. So this is REALLY giving up.

I'm not proud of it.

Well, as fate will do, I had a *very* important meeting today, one where I needed to be on my game. And I needed to dress in a businesslike way.

In preparation, I tried on all my current dress pants. Yeah. No luck. Ok, I could get them on and zipped, but they were tight and immediately began pressing into my waist.

This isn't humorous.

With fear in my heart, a couple days ago, I took to the mall, shopping discount outlets looking for *something* I could make work. Something I could wear and look professional and still be comfortable.

Guys, you have to know. To a woman...shopping for pants is the seventh level of hell. I don't know why, it just is. Only slightly more appealing than shopping for a swimsuit.

The mall I visited is all broke down and busted (like many malls are these days) and it was a very hot day in the Bay Area. The entire mall had NO air conditioning, so shopping for pants (ugh!) with a sheen of sweat on your brow is not amusing. May I reiterate: NOT!

And being the cheap ass that I am, I wanted something at a low cost.

So. I found a couple things. The quality was only so-so. I wasn't overjoyed with the items, but ok. I'd have something to wear.

I was depressed.

Then, yesterday I had an inspired idea. There is a store I used to shop at quite a bit, but then drifted away from. Their stuff is good, stylish, but often a little pricey. Their last couple of lines were not attractive at all, so I had moved on.

But I remembered that they usually stock a good range of sizes.

Yesterday after work, I went to this store. And I almost cried. In addition to air conditioning, they had gotten in all their new Fall line and much of it was TOTALLY my style. And sizes! Oh the size choices. I tried on some stuff that was too big! Some too small, but they had the next size.

And their prices were not that bad, actually. Reasonable. They've clearly made a shift to help with the economy.

So I stocked UP. I mean, I went a little nuts. I bought good quality clothes that fit and make me feel *good*. I bought a whole new wardrobe!

I walked out smiling. Today I'm wearing one of the new outfits and I am walking so much taller. My pants fit! They don't bind. My waistline has been spared for the day. My whole outlook has vastly improved.

Ladies! Don't give in to stuff that cuts and binds! Wear clothes that fit and feel good!

(and yes, I'm cutting back on the feed rations and exercising. Lifelong battle.)

August 18, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

Over the weekend we had to make one of those never any fun but always essential visits to Target. You know that trip, the list includes toilet paper, laundry soap, toothpaste, etc.

You spend a hundred bucks and don't even bring home anything fun.

I was *very* adamant with myself on this trip that I would get only what was on my list, and not wander.

Oh, I can wander. At a Target? I'm a wandering, shopping fool.

But no. The Good Man and I made a list. A thoughtful, in depth list. And I promised to stick to it.

Gah! But it's Taaaaarget!

No, no. Must be austere. Financial times are tough. Tighten the ol' belt and whatnot.

So I pushed that little red shopping cart up and down the aisles. Razor blades, check. Kitty litter, check. Toilet bowl cleaner, check.

But then. Oh then...I rounded the corner, and at the end of the row, I landed promptly in the...oh sigh...school supplies aisle.

And by aisle, I mean huge display.

Oh yes, Target has the "back to school" on with gusto.

I caught my first whiff of brand new three ring binders and I was suddenly intoxicated.

I stepped into the brightly lit and vibrantly colored area, eyes wide, wandering around like a hillbilly at Times Square.

It was delicious.

They have one whole section devoted to Crayola items. I *adore* all things Crayola. Those are some damn fine people who put out the Crayola product line!

I'm not going to lie to you, I plucked a sixty-four count box of Crayons from the bin, lifted to my nose, and sniffed.

*sniiiiiiiiiif* Oh yeah, that's the stuff.

I fondled a twenty-four pack of fine line Crayola markers. I even took them from the rack, intent on purchase.

But, no. No, damnit, I must be strong.

I looked at notebooks. I do love a fresh, clean, happy notebook full of blank pages, just waiting to be sullied by my new twenty-four pack of markers!

No, no. Steady soldier!

My eyes grew hazy as I gazed at the selection of pens, Elmer's school glue, hole punches, pencil cases, protractors, and back packs.

Gad, it was heady stuff! I loved every minute of it. I basked. I wandered. I touched and sniffed and generally fell in love all over again with school supplies.

Mind you, I don't miss school. That part was never fun, but the school supplies! Oh the supplies. So great.

After leaving the store with my purchases, (I held strong and stuck to the list), I noted that two storefronts down was a Staples.

Egads, I had to walk past it!

But no, I'd had my hit. I was still riding high, so I was fine.

I walked past the Staples strong and confident, the waxy smell of Crayons still lingering in my nostrils.

August 17, 2009

You are the sum of all your learning

Back in my college days, I lived for a couple years in a sorority house. There were twenty-eight girls, a house mom and a cook. All of that living with a bunch of strangers was quite a life lesson for a nineteen-year-old girl, I assure you.

Those twenty-eight girls came from a variety of different backgrounds, with different values and talents.

Much of what I know and much of who I am can be traced to those days.

Recently, I've had a real dearth of creativity. Like a desert in a drought. My creative mind is dusty. The Muse, she's out to lunch. A two martini lunch.

I'm learning, with the help of my extraordinarily talented and creative cousin, not to worry so much when the creative well has run dry. Be confident, he tells me, and The Muse will find her way home.

I've also gotten suggestions that creating something, anything, can also kick loose that block, get the gravel out, and let the magic happen. (this the basic tenet of the good folks at NaNoWriMo)

And so, when I get all creatively clamped down like this, I often go back to something I learned back in those sorority days.

This great girl from Roswell and I made fast friends (we'd both had to endure the same crazy roommate in separate semesters. This sort of experience bonds people). She'd grown up showing pigs and living on a ranch and was a much more creative person than I was at the time.

Not to be all stereotypical, but those ranch woman can out cook, out craft and out wrassle any of their town raised counterparts.

Anyhoo, I don’t really remember the events that lead up to it, but this friend of mine, at my request, taught me how to do a counted cross-stitch kit. It was a simple pattern, but when I was done, I was so pleased. It was a nice distraction during those long days of studying.

Doing cross-stitch is not especially hard, but can be time consuming, and there are certain stitches for certain patterns.

My friend very patiently showed me how to sort the threads, how to tape the sides of the aida cloth to keep them from unraveling, how not to pull the stitches too tight, how to fix mistakes, how the back of the cloth should look as clean as the front. All of that.

And so, over the weekend, I had a coupon for Michaels, and yearning to create, I picked out a very simple kit. A "learn a craft" kit that I think is made for kids.

But that doesn't matter.

Today, I very carefully applied tape to the aida cloth. I sorted the threads and counted to be sure they were there. I folded the cloth and marked the center lightly with a pencil, and I got out my highlighter to mark off my progress, all the way my friend taught me lo' these almost twenty years ago.

Whenever I start a new cross-stitch, I always think of my friend. She is with me, guiding my progress the whole way. She is forever a part of me. That's a happy feeling. That's the family you make over the course of your life.

So here we go! Let the creation begin!

Oh, wait. Well. There is one change. One update that will take place this go 'round. A necessary adjustment, if you will.

Yeah. My lighted magnifying class. Sadly, I don't have twenty-year-old eyes anymore. *cranky*

Oh. And getting to work on my cute frog cross-stitch isn't the only bit of using my hands that I got up to today.

I also got busy on these:

Ooh, I feel The Muse on her way back already! Here Musey, Musey, Musey!! Want a cookie?

August 14, 2009

Postcard Memories

I have been spending some time immersed in the Penny Postcards from New Mexico site (the link, a gift from my mom-in-law).

A lot of these cards predate me, but they also evoke lots of chest squeezing, heart wrenching homesickness.

My folks lived in Albuquerque back in the 1950's, so as a kid, I loved to look through their photo albums and see my folks so young and vibrant, and the fair city of Albuquerque so sparse yet growing. A young town with an active military base.

Seeing these postcards makes me melancholy, but in that good way.

Look at this one, the venerable old Kimo Theater. A little worse for the wear these days, but still...a beautiful building.

Seeing this postcard I have a million memories of walking down Central, past the Kimo, on my way to who knows where (stores, bars, restaurants, etc!).

Speaking of Central Ave, how about this one:

Wow. Did it every really look like that? And yet, it did. Really, only in my dreams anymore, I suppose.

And this one makes me laugh right out loud.

Entitled "Scenic Drive Through Carlsbad Caverns National Park".

Yeeeah, it might be a *bit* of a stretch to call the area around Carlsbad "scenic", but I do love the, erm..."artistic license" they took with the colors of the landscape in this postcard:

Good stuff, fun to see all the postcards. It's a contented sigh I have as I look through them all.

Oh Fair New Mexico...missing you today.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

August 13, 2009

Semantics, what a kick!

I am quite the fan of words and language, and so it's no surprise that while traversing the interwebs yesterday, I was drawn to an article talking about an affinity (or lack thereof) for certain words.

It's not very interesting to know that love is picked most often as a favorite and hate picked as least favored.

But it's the words that come in next on the list that were really fascinating to me.

Evidently, there is a good portion of the world that have a real problem with the word moist, devoting Facebook pages and blogs to the hatred of this word.


I'm ok with moist. It doesn't have a bad connotation for me. I also like to use the made-up derivation moisty when referring to something that has a moist quality. Like, those damp Swiffer cloths. Those are "the moisty-kind Swiffers" (an abomination of the English language, I don't deny).

Another disfavored word on the list is panties, and I'll admit, I'm not a fan either. It is probably because the word is most often used by guys, and said with a letch quality to it. Skeeving me out doesn't make me like a word so much.

However, I LOVE the word chones for the same article of clothing.

Yes, I own my Spanglish. I'm a New Mexican, it's our state language. (Look no further than the "Toss No Mas" ad campaign!)

Also, people seem not to like the word ointment. I like it. Gotta say it with heavy emphasis on the "oi" part, though, and make a funny face while you do it. Makes the word fun!

But! I *much* prefer unguent (also said with a face). Man, that's a great word. Salve is not bad either.

Some of the words on the hated list, like vomit, are more about the connotation of the word and not the word itself. Vomit can be fun to say! But no so much fun to do. So I guess I get why people don't like it. I think the word itself gets a bad rap.

And one person notes her least fave word is vigil, which, must be a weird one-person thing, because I don’t get it.

I tried to think about what is my own least favorite word and nothing came immediately to mind. I can pretty much find something redeemable in most words.

While taking a walk, I realized that the words that make me wince are usually the made up and overused business-speak like mindshare and synergy.

Right now my least favorite word has to be optics. Not the word itself, but how it's used at my job. It is put in place of "how it looks". So, for example, if a supplier hands you the keys to a brand new Porche, even if it's only to go for a fun spin around the parking lot, the optics of the situation are bad.

I was told, after one of my employees messed something up and the complaint went all the way to the VP, "yeah, the optics aren't good on this situation."

It's sort of a way to make something sound scientific and serious...when it's NOT.

Favorite words? Onomatopoeias (words that sound like what they mean). Squelch!! Boom! Bap!

Delicious bon mots for the day!

Oh, and simpatico. LOVE that word!

Yeah. Good stuff.

August 12, 2009

Not the sharpest tool in the shed

You know, I've been working here in the Imperial Tower of Doom for just under a year.

And about two weeks ago, I realized something.

Something you think I would have caught onto sooner, but didn't.

Here's my revelation:

I work in a trapezoid.

For those geometrically challenged like me, this is a trapezoid:

Or, to be very geometric and correct, this is an isosceles trapezoid, which is what my building is.

Isosceles. And a trapezoid.

I don't know why, but I think that's weird.

Weirder still is that it took me this long to figure it out. I always wondered why the conference rooms were so oddly shaped with lots of narrow, unusable space.

And yet, from the outside, you wouldn't immediately "get" that it's a trapezoid.

(note, this photo was taken on a rare clear day. One would think the weather is actually *nice* here with no swirling gray clouds. One would be wrong.)

It was only recently while waiting on the impossibly slow elevators that I got to inspecting the fire escape route sign (properly posted by the elevators) and as I followed the little red line, I really internalized the outline of the building and thought, "hey...trapezoid!"

This can't be good for my chi, right?

August 11, 2009

Office Archeology: An Update

Each blogger, in the course of their writing and rambling, has one post that they might call their favorite. It may or may not be a fan favorite, but it's one that sticks out the most in the blogger's mind.

I have one of those.

Waaaay back, lo' these many...uh..months ago, I prepared and posted what has become my favorite blog post ever.

Yes, my explorations of this Officine Era, this epoch in my history, the importance of documenting my findings!

And, it can become a living record, because there are some changes...some *updates* to the research and analysis!

My travels have taken me past those relics discussed time and again, and I feel, in the interest of scientific accuracy, it is vital to update the records.

So here we go, the latest understanding of the artifacts, as we know them.

First, recall the lonely and homeless set of keys? Those which secure a laptop from theft, but these, cast mercilessly aside?

Well. They are gone now. Extinct. Disappeared without a forwarding address.

What might have become of these sad, homeless keys? We may never know....

Folks, let's have a moment in remembrance...

However, all is not bad news! Remember the lowly and lonely industrial strength stapler?

There he was, far from any stapling opportunities. Lost and alone. Unused. Unloved.

But look! He found friends!

Hi Mister Highlighter! Hey Miss Piece of Paper! Welcome to my expanse of file cabinets right outside the conference room. Wanna play flag football?

I'm so happy the stapler was able to make friends. His story doesn’t end tragically, like those keys...

And how about this? Remember that bit o' Heath bar wrapper that was careless dropped and left abandoned on the stairs for some months?

It's STILL there! And has adapted camouflage capabilities! It has moved over to the side and has flipped over....behold!

We are seeing evolution in progress, people! Amazing, fascinating stuff.

And, I saved the best for last! We have a new artifact to introduce to the world. It's amazing. Phenomenal! Fantasmagorical!

Ladies and Gents, I introduce you to...Big Ass Box Of Binder Clips!

This box of clips, located near the broken copy machine that no one uses, and is *SO* important that someone named Jon has demanded we not remove it!

I don't even know who Jon is or why I would obey him, and yet, I do!

The exclamation mark on his sign coerces me to abide! And so, I don't remove. Not a one. And neither does anyone else! No one uses these binder clips. So there they sit! Useless and unused! Shiny, taunting, but out of reach.

Damn that Jon and his demanding posted sign!

Ok, well, this is all good stuff. Much to consider. I encourage all to go out and explore their own Officine Surroundings. What you find might surprise you!

August 10, 2009

Things that they don't teach in manager training

I've been a manager at my job for quite some time now. I think seven years at last count. So I've been through a lot. And yet, sometimes, I'm still a bit thrown by the curveballs lobbed by the folks who have the grand misfortune to report to me.

On Friday, one of my employees, a very hardworking and rather quiet girl came tearing into my office. I swear, if she was a car, she would have left black marks on my industrial carpet.

The employee looked at me with wide eyes.

"Is it ok if I go home?" she said, and paused...then tacked on..."I don't want to barf here at work."

I happen to know she's three months pregnant and having a rough time of it, so I said, quickly, "Go. Now."

She turned and peeled out of the building.

This got me thinking about back when I was first made a manager, and the anemic training course they sent me to.

They discussed "things you shouldn't say" and "things you should say" and "what to do if you have to fire someone." But never, never did they discuss "when it's ok to let someone go home early because they are gonna blow chunks."

I guess that's where you have to rely on that ol' manager gut instinct, hey?

Other oddball things I have experienced and was never properly prepared for:

Male employee spent all of our one-on-one session telling me, in detail, that he and his wife were trying to get pregnant and, to their dismay, had ended up having to resort to IVF. TMI. But wait, there's more. We haven't begun to TMI yet.

About a week later, he comes running into my office..."My wife just called, she's at the doctor, she's fertile right now, so I have to go give a...um....sample. I'll be back in about an hour."


"Just go!" I said, and to his retreating back, tacked on, "If this happens again, please just tell me you have to go to the dentist!"

Or the really, really good employee, like top notch worker, who felt the need to tell me that the only way she could deal with the stress of her job was that she and her husband would smoke a bowl as they commuted home from work every day.

"I'm thinking about smoking one at lunch too, this job is crazy."

Well. Ok. *Technically* she's doing this on her own time and off company property. And my employer at the time was pretty lenient about such things.

But still. Things I don't need to know. Especially as the manager!

Also important to mention that managing isn't just about direct reports, it's about managing your own manager too.

So, in that same vein, at that same employer, I had a boss who delighted in telling me how much cocaine she did at her wedding. "It was the only way to get through it, I never really loved my husband. Still don't."

Oooohkaaaay. She only lasted a year at the job. Freak.

And the best was, not long after starting this newest gig, one of the ladies on my team had been out sick for a few days. I assumed the flu, a migraine, tummy upset. Whatever. I didn't need to know. Upon her return, I simply inquired, "hey, are you feeling better?"

What followed was a long, detailed and gory description. Let's just say...you can have a colon polyp burst and leave it there, mmkay?

You can't unhear something, no matter how hard you try.

But, when all is said and done, I haven't had to have the granddaddy of all uncomfortable manager situations. My dear brother-in-law has been subjected to this more than once. Poor guy.

We call it...the Stinky Conversation.

The one where you have to ask your employee to please shower...and use soap...because their coworkers are complaining.

Double ugh!

I'm telling ya, those fancy politically correct manager's training classes do nuthin' to prepare you for the real world!

August 7, 2009

Genetics are an odd thing

A couple weeks ago, my best friend came out for a visit. As chronicled in these pages, we had a really nice time.

While out and about at the Japanese Tea Garden, I took quite a few photos. Beautiful trees, swimming Koi, flowing water.

Near the fabulous barrel bridge we stopped, and The Good Man took a photo of my friend and I.

I won't publish it here since I haven't asked permission, but seeing the photo doesn’t actually matter to the discussion.

Here's the point: Later, when I downloaded the photo and took a look at it on my computer screen, I looked at my own visage and was a bit surprised.

You know who I look like?

My father.

Um. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean...as a woman, I think it might not be preferable to, you know, as you age...start to look like your *male* parent.

Growing up, I always favored my mom's side of the family. I have the distinctive pointy chin. I have the body shape. Yeah, ok, so I'd given over to my genetics and was ok looking like my mom.

The first time I noticed I was starting to favor my dad was when viewing the proofs from my wedding photos. There is one photo where I have an expression on my face that is *exactly* my dad. In fact, The Good Man often teases me, "Don't give me the dad look!"

It's a sort of squinty eyed skeptical look, and I'd copied it to perfection. I remember the moment, the photographer was doing something weird, kind of annoying me, and I gave her that vintage dad look and click went the shutter.

Ok, so I own that. I was making the face.

In this recent photo, I wasn't making a face! I was simply standing with my beautiful friend in a beautiful setting smiling at my husband taking a photo.

Something around the eyes, I think. And my nose. But damnit, I look like my dad! Ok, sure, I'm sure the faint whiskers now growing around my chin aren't helping my "I don't want to look like a man" cause, but sheesh!

I even sent it to my sister who confirmed that yes, around the eyes, I'm starting to resemble dear old pops. She said, "have you ever noticed you do that one eyed squinty thing?'


It's not that my dad wasn't an attractive person, it's just.....that he was a MAN.


Genetics are weird.

August 6, 2009

Today: A Fable

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess...we'll call her...Karenita. This lovely princess was married to the most handsomest prince in the whole land.

But unfortunately for our lovely princess, every weekday, she was required to go and toil away the hours at the Imperial Tower of Doom. Gray clouds swirled overhead while poor Karenita was tormented by her oppressors.

There was one oppressor who was particularly a thorn in the side of our beautiful princess.

See, our lovely girl arrives to work in the morning tired and in need of something for breakfast. The princess keeps some food in the Imperial Tower office 'fridge, and also likes a spot of hot tea on the cold gray swirly cloud mornings.

Unfortunately for the princess, there lived in the break room a mean and nasty troll.

No really, this lady is like five foot nothing with a bad attitude and a chip the size of Texas on her shoulder.

For some reason, the Evil Break Room Lady can always sense when Karenita the Princess needs to have breakfast, and makes sure to hustle in there first, blocking the egress for our lovely girl to reach the 'fridge.

While Karenita is there heating up her food, Evil Break Room Lady makes nasty comments about how people don't clean up after themselves (despite the fact that Karenita scrupulously cleans up after herself) and self-importantly restocks the paper coffee cups (it's not her job, by the way, she's a very high paid executive admin) while dropping hairy eyeballs on the princess the whole time.

And then Evil Break Room Lady takes paper towels and cleans the countertops, sometimes pushing Karenita's bowl out of the way while she does. Karenita finds this to be very rude.

It's clear that Evil Break Room Lady doesn't like Karenita, but Karenita doesn't know why. The princess was raised to be kind and cordial and always says hello and thank you and excuse me.

Karenita believes that Evil Break Room Lady must be very unhappy with her menopausal lot in life, and all the hot flashes must make her cranky. Karenita thinks Evil Break Room Lady envies her still productive ovaries and plentiful estrogen.

The princess tries to be understanding, but it's kind of hard when someone gives you the equivalent of the finger with her face every morning. Karenita is just trying to make it through the day.

The princess has tried to be nice, to make conversation, to say "yeah, it's really bad when people leave water everywhere" but none of this works. Evil Break Room Lady has just determined that the princess is a lesser form of life.

And this doesn't make Karenita feel very nice as she starts each day.

In other news, the nicest person to Karenita in all the Imperial Tower of Doom is the janitor. The janitor thinks Karenita rocks and will make it a point to wave vigorously from across the room and say hi.

Karenita likes Mr. Janitor. He's a good man with a sucky job and he does it with life and verve and kindness.

So there's hope. Maybe Karenita knows she's not such a bad person after all.

And they all lived crankily every after.

August 5, 2009

One for the baseball fans

Look, I'm no athlete, but even *I* can figure out that pissing off Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Prince Fielder (who is listed at 5'11", 270lbs on the official roster) is not a good idea.

He's a rather...imposing...presence at the plate.

"So incensed was Fielder at being hit with a pitch by right-hander Guillermo Mota in the ninth inning, he tried to storm the home team's (Dodgers) clubhouse after the game, reporters and other witnesses said."

It was something of a plunk fest. Manny got plunked. Fielder got plunked in return. Anger ensued.



August 3, 2009

For my own good

So in trying to feel better physically and mentally, I've made the choice to give up most of the sugar in my diet. Caffeine too, including decaf (it has some caffeine).

I'm ok on the caffeine part. That's no problem, I've never really been able to have that much and when I do, I feel like crap.

Oh but giving up the sugar. It's killing me.

I hear that quitting cigarettes is about the most difficult thing ever. I've never been a smoker, so I can't compare.

But I can say that Demon Sugar is whispering in my ear right now. "Just one cookie. It won't hurt. You'll feel so much better! That headache will go away! You'll have a little lift! Come on! Just one chocolate bar, what can it do?"

Gad, even this image makes me drool.

I gotsa problem!

Your Moment of Zen

Because I feel I cheated my ownself by writing a blogpost today derivative of one of my own from just three months ago, I decided to round out the day with a peaceful thing.

This photo was taken at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. It was late in the day after we'd been to the King Tut exhibit and then the Japanese Tea Garden.

It was about 6:00, the fog was in heavy which makes for AWESOME photography. The colors just pop.

This was done on a point and shoot Sony Cybershot. The photo is in no way profound from a photographic standpoint. It's even a little out of focus. Who cares....

Someone fashioned a simple little sailboat with a bit of bark, a large leaf, and some masking tape. It worked too, that little guy zipped nicely along the water.

It was a sweet surprise in a day full of fun.

Click image for larger version.

Time changes things

This morning when I arrived at work, the elevator doors slid open quietly, and from the car emerged a very pretty young girl wearing these *really* adorable gray Louboutin or Blahnik or some such with a very tall heel.

She lurched forward, took a step on the marble floor, her ankle gave way, she stumbled, got her balance back, and then galumphed with a clack clack sound the rest of the way out and into the foyer.

And I thought to myself: Rookie!

Terrible, I know. But really, if you are going to wear the heels, you oughta know how to walk in them.

In my mother's day, they wore three to four inch stilettos every single day! And those women could walk a mile in those things. Hell, many women of that era got to the point they couldn't even put their heels flat on the floor anymore, so used to wearing high heels were their legs and tendons.

Even that bastion of shoe goddessness, Carrie Bradshaw, knew how to walk in her way in overpriced but delicious shoes. C'mon girls! If ya gonna wear 'em, wear 'em well!

Then I realized that all these thoughts are all kind of ironic, because over the weekend, I was out shopping. I stopped at the shoe department for a look-see. I was drawn to the rack of comfy, padded, mostly flat shoes.

And I thought to myself: At what point did I migrate over to comfortable shoes only? Did I consent to this?

In defiance of myself, I tried on a really cute pair of heels. I walked around in them (no rookie, me), then was like "eh. Why?" Ripped them off, put my comfy shoes back on, and kept shopping. For something with a waistband that's not too binding.

edit: Good lord...I've had these thoughts before. Same outcome. Really, this whole shoe issue is plaguing me on a deep level. I need help. Retail therapy at least!

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.