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December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!


And so, without further ado, we bid farewell to 2010.

It's been a hell of a ride. I'm not entirely sorry to see 2010 go.

Onward to 2011! May all our dreams come true!

(by the by, I've disabled comments today. I'm cookin' up something hot for the New Year! Stay tuned.....)



December 30, 2010

Perthpective


What's that old platitude, something like "you're not the best judge of your own work?"

The more I give over to my creative side, I keep learning that lesson over and over. I think I have a good eye for editing my own work, and of course I'm usually wrong.

I've also learned that the best way to really see something objectively is to give it time.

Time is the great mediator.

(wow, I'm chock full to brimming with platitudes today!)

Anyhow, I got to thinking about this recently while sorting through my iPhoto library. As an amateur photographer, I take *a lot* of photographs. This is the advice of my friend, mentor and teacher, Marty Springer, so I follow her advice.

But this means my iPhoto library fills up fast with fair to middling to downright awful shots. Since all of this dreck was slowing down my iMac, I decided to save the photos elsewhere and start again.

Oh, and also...my New Year's resolution is to get better about tagging all of my photos as I download them so I can search more quickly.

So in cleaning out my old photos, sifting through the pile, I came across the shot at the end of this post.

The Feline had climbed into the laundry basket that was lying on the ground, so I grabbed my camera and took a few snaps. I considered them throwaway photos. Less than throwaway. I downloaded them to my iMac and never looked back.

But something about this photo...it really works. It was taken probably two or more years ago when I was just learning my camera and had no idea about depth of field. And yet, the depth of field is what makes this photo interesting. It's not a perfect photo but it's also not bad. A little imperfect Photoshop adjustments and I'll be damned...not too bad at all.

Because not only with time comes perspective, but also...I can learn some lessons from three years ago me. The one just learning about photography. The one who just snapped and didn't think.

A careless shot can be magic.

I guess that's why my photography teacher tells us never to delete photos. "You never know" she says.




click photo if interested in seeing a larger size





Photo by Karen Fayeth and subject to Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

December 29, 2010

2010 Word of The Year


Every year in December my local paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, solicits reader suggestions for the word of the preceding year.

From those suggestions, the staff picks the annual word with an eye toward choosing the word that best sums up the year in news.

In 2009 the word was Tweet. In 2008 the word was Bailout. In 2007 the word was Subprime.

Getting the trend here? Something popular, perhaps overworked by the media. The word on everyone's minds.

This year, the staff of the Chron went a little less global and a little more local.

Here's the back story:

The San Francisco Giants baseball team has an award winning local broadcast team made up of former SF Giants pitcher Mike Krukow and former SF Giants shortstop Duane Kuiper, known together as "Kruk and Kuip."

Neither of these men had stellar baseball careers, but in their retirement gig as broadcasters, they have really made their mark.

These two are colorful, fun and knowledgeable. They are revered here in the Bay Area.

At the end of every game, the television broadcasters (usually Kruk and Kuip) and the radio broadcasters (usually Jon Miller and Dave Flemming) will get together on the radio for a post-game wrapup.

It's their chance to talk about the game, pick their favorite players of that game, and generally cuss and discuss. These post game shows have become very popular, mainly because the style is very casual and conversational. The listener feels like they are sitting in at the table with these four guys (and sometimes former first baseman JT Snow) having a beer and discussing the day's work.

Over the course of the 2010 baseball season, it wasn't always a smooth ride for my lowly Giants. They played in a lot of tough games that were often decided by just one run.

Out of eighteen games over the season with the Padres in 2010, eight were determined by one run. In the month of May, the Giants had ten games decided by one run out of 28 total versus all opponents.

At the end of April, just the first month of the season, the Giants had lost two games back-to-back. The Monday game was a ten inning loss, and the Tuesday game was a one hit game lost on a walk off run by David Ekstein (who had so plagued the Giants in the 2002 World Series).

It was emotionally taxing.

So, when Kruk and Kuip hit the air that next day for the third game of the series (in which the Giants were ultimately swept), Kuip used the San Francisco Giants own PR slogan in an exasperated way.

The long running ads had proclaimed, "San Francisco Giants baseball...(pause)...there's Magic Inside!"

On that day in April, Kuip said, "San Francisco Giants baseball...(pause)...Torture!"

The phrase resonated with weary fans and the word Torture! was applied to every game, every moment, every second of agony we endured...including every single game played in the post season.

Torture became the theme of our World Series winning season. An anguished cry. A rallying cry.

And so the 2010 word of the year from the San Francisco Chronicle is...you guessed it:

Torture

What a lovely way to suffer.

(for the record, from the SFGate: ""Vuvuzela' and 'hacktivist' finished second and third. 'Refudiate' and 'patdown' were the other finalists...")





Trophy image taken by a corporate photographer from my place of work and used with permission.


December 28, 2010

Perhaps a Sunlamp Is Required


On this post-holiday rainy day, I reserve the right to be melancholy.

Holiday blues, weeping gray clouds, and general lethargy. Sure. It's my prerogative.

I am loath to say the next seven words I'm about to say but...

I heard this great story on NPR.

You may not realize how pompous I think the people are who quote NPR. Now here I am committing the crime I rail against.

The story was of a musician named Shawn Camp who had a record set for release back in the year 1994.

Through a series of events, the record was shelved until recently. Camp met the new studio head at Reprise who gave Camp's record a fresh listen and it was finally released in September of this year.

What's got me going here, got me writing a whole blog post about this story, is one of Camp's songs that they played on the air.

It was a beautifully written song about being at the funeral of his grandfather. For some reason, the words reminded me of the incredibly sad funeral I attended back in August.

Despite the passing of four months, I find I still grieve for my friend. I guess there's still something left to grieve, because lately he's been showing up in my dreams.

Listening to Shawn Camp's song reminded me of a dream I had just last night.

It was me, and my friend, and we were dancing. Just a simple two-step, nothing fancy, but we danced and he was whole and healthy and grinning from ear to ear.

My best friend was there too, and before I was even done, she got the next dance with him. The three of us laughed like it was, well, 1994, and it was good.

Now, this dream was particularly odd because in real life, my friend wasn't much of a dancer. Oh, he was long legged and tall, a perfect partner. But he had a farmer's sensibilities and didn't dance that much. He could, and did, but it wasn't something he did a lot.

But there in my dream we danced. When I woke up, I remembered seeing my friend's body laid out there in a casket inside the El Paso First Baptist Church.

The old Southern saying is "now, don't he look natural?"

No, he didn't look natural. In my dream smiling and laughing and giving me seventeen kinds of heck...that was natural.

I've always been pretty glad that at the end of the line for my dad, one afternoon when my mom had run into town for errands, my dad and I had a talk. It was uncomfortable and weird, but in that talk, a lot of things were said that needed to be said. I can happily say I have no unresolved issues there.

But with my dear friend, I have something unresolved. It niggles at the corners of my mind and sits on my chest when I have another dream in which he plays a cameo. I owed him an apology. I'd planned to deliver that apology when he came home from the surgery from which he never returned.

Perhaps in dreams I can find the way to lay my issues to rest, to lay down the burden I carry around, to feel at peace with the loss of my friend.

Or maybe we can just dance and forget about I'm sorries.

After my best friend is done (which may take awhile), I got the next waltz.



Cuz these Fat Babies were made for dancing




Photo by Karen Fayeth

December 27, 2010

The Reckoning


Today, the alarm clock went off and I groaned. Champagne, ham, prime rib, potatoes of all sort and way too many desserts slowed my senses and made me weak.

A Christmas hangover if there ever was one.

But this is December 27th. Christmas is over.

I knew what I needed to do. It was time to confess my sins.

Rising from my warm slumber, I put on the appropriate raiments and went to face the only entity that could absolve me from my indiscretions.





TM* looked at me with that one cold eye. He knew what I'd been up to. The last time we'd visited had been eight days ago.

Eight days.

A lot of bad behavior can happen in eight days.

A lot of bad behavior DID happen in eight days.

There was no turning back now. I entered the confessional and slowly began my ablutions.

The iPod went into my ears and shuffle fired up. No need for a hymnal, I know the words by heart.

Five minutes passed. Hey, I thought to myself, this is not so bad!

At about the fifteen minute mark, my left calf piped up. "Pardon me, but with all that booze you had, we're a skosh dehydrated. Potassium low and all that. I believe I'll go ahead and cramp right up."

I said to myself, "just keep walking."

At about the twenty five minute mark, my lower back chimed in. "Yes, yes, cramping does seem to be the thing to do. Huzzah!"

"Just keep walking."

Then my feet had something to say, with a backing chorus from my knees.

"Just keep walking."

My hip flexors asked, in a rather snotty tone, "Why *exactly* are we doing this?"

The very sweat glands of my body began exhaling stale booze and toxins.

I replied by turning my iPod up louder and putting an ever more determined look on my face and then I...

Just kept walking.

At the fifty minute mark, I'd said all the metaphorical Hail Marys and Glory be to the Fathers I could manage. I'd done my act of contrition.

I was absolved.

Kind of.

I suspect that tomorrow, I'll need to go confess again.

You know, New Year's Eve is just there on the horizon.

And the confessional is waiting.







*TM = Treadmill


December 24, 2010

Vacation


The condition of vacating.

That would be me.

Vacating work.

Just for one day, but still.

"Vacation all I ever wanted, Vacation have to get away...."

Oh the Go-Go's. So 80's, yet so applicable today.

Enjoy the holiday! I'll be back on Monday.



December 23, 2010

An Oldie but a Goodie


This post first appeared on the blog in December 11, 2007. It's one of my all time favorite posts. Fixed a few broken links, made some minor edits and away we go! Everything is still very true. Happy Holidays!

Top ten things I miss about Christmas in New Mexico


1) Annual shopping trip to Old Town. A mom and me tradition. Every year I'd get to pick out an ornament that was mine. I now have all those ornaments in a Thom McAnn shoebox that, yes, Sunday night I opened and hung them all on my tree. They are like a history of my life. I remember buying most of them and it gives me a good sense of continuity to have them on my tree.

2) Luminarias. I always was the one to make them at my house. My mom would drive me to an empty lot to dig up two buckets worth of dirt and I'd fold bags, place candles and light them. It was my job and I loved every folded bag and every candle and every small emergency when the bag caught on fire in the wind. I miss real luminarias.

3) The Bugg House, which, sadly, is no more. My sister lived over on Prospect and we'd go for a Christmas Eve walk in the evening to take a look at the outstanding display of holiday spirit. When I wwent to Winrock Mall to shop, I'd always swing by the Bugg house to take a look. No one does lights like the Buggs did.

4) Neighbors bringing over a plate of fresh made tamales as a Christmas gift. When there are three generations of Hispanic women in a kitchen with some masa and some shredded pork, magic happens. Yum! I also miss that people would bring tamales to work in a cooler and sell them to coworkers. I was always good for a dozen or more.

5) A ristra makes a good Christmas gift. I've given. I've received. I love 'em. They'd become a moldy mess here…and that makes me sad.

6) Biscochitos. My love for these is well documented.

7) Sixty-five degrees and warm on Christmas Day. Growin up, I think one year there was actually snow on the ground for the 25th. But it was melted by the end of the day. Oh Fair New Mexico, how I love your weather.

8) Christmas Eve midnight Mass in Spanish with the overpowering scent of frankincense filling up the overly warm church. Pure torture for a small child, but oh how I'd belt out the carols… And when we came home we could pick one present and open it. Gah! The torture of picking just one!

9) New Mexico pi├▒on, gappy, scrawny Christmas trees that cost $15 at the Flea Market and were cut from the top of a larger tree just that morning. Look, to my mind, it ain't a tree unless you are using low hanging ornaments to fill the obvious gaps. These fluffy overly full trees just ain't my bag. If you aren't turning the 'bad spot' to the wall, you paid too much for your tree.

10) Green chile stew for Christmas Eve dinner and posole for New Year's. My mouth waters. It's weep worthy. I can taste the nice soft potatoes in the stew, the chicken broth flavored just right…ouch! And posole to bring you luck with red chile and hunks of pork. Yeah……

*sigh* Now I'm homesick.

Which is not to say I don't have happy holidays where I live now...but sometimes I feel melancholy. And that's what the holidays are for, right?




Image via.

This Is What Being The New Kid Looks Like


New job + No vacation accrued = One of maybe eight people at work on Christmas Eve Eve.

This is the first floor of the parking garage at 9:00am (usually packed by then). I parked in the most coveted spot.

Don't feel too bad for me, though. My executive boss-type guy said I could leave at 1:00.

Until then, the halls are pretty empty. Helloooooooooooooo....?



December 21, 2010

In Lieu Of a Bonus


Yesterday, after a oh-so-very-long day at work, I did what busy worker bees have done for years...

I went home and whined to my spouse.

The Good Man was very considerate, listened to my tale of woe, made sure I had dinner and tucked me into bed with a "maybe tomorrow will be better."

Well, he was right. Tomorrow, now known as today, has been *much* better.

The tipoff that today might be a bit different began when I saw a strange truck in the parking lot, located in one of the front spots.





So, you know, curious as I am, I made my over to the assigned area and got in line.

After about a half hour of waiting, I got to see what the hubbub was all about.





Yeah. They call that the Commissioner's Trophy. You know, nothing much...they just hand it out to the team that wins the World Series**.

No big deal right? Just a hunk of metal.

Let me tell you this, I've been within inches of an Oscar, a Grammy and two Emmys.

They got nothing on this little beauty. NOTHING! The Commissioner's Trophy glows and shimmers and giggles with glee.

Or maybe that was me giggling. Hard to know.

Anyhow, when I got to the front of the line, I handed my camera to a decidedly NON photographer so she could take a blurry and out of focus shot of me with the trophy.

Forgive me readers, this is a terrible photograph. But we were only allotted one and this is it.

Just know this...blurry though it may be, make no mistake, I'm very, very happy.




(why do my eyes look so funky? Gah! Couldn't I look cute for just ONE minute, but noooo, geek girl looks geeked out)

My employer pays reasonable but not large salaries and rare bonuses. But this, this was TOTALLY worth that long, mean, very bad day yesterday!





**To my readers outside the US, I do realize that to call a sporting event a "World Series" in which twenty nine US and one Canadian team competes is rather audacious.



December 20, 2010

You Want Weird? We Got Weird.


When I need a quick break from the piles of spreadsheets I'm working on, I often take a few moments to do the daily ABQJournal Word Sleuth.

Today's topic for the puzzle is "Food Cities", as in, towns with a name that is also a food.

Friends and readers, you'll be glad to know that our fair New Mexico has not one but two entries on the list:

Pie Town (in West central NM) and Chili (north of Espanola).

Odd names, to be sure. But let me tell you this, Pie Town is only scratching the surface of odd names for towns in the great State of NM.

Since we're near Pie Town, let's also visit Quemado. The word quemado means burned. There's a happy connotation!

What about Raton? Rat Town. Yay! Let's live there!

Ojo Caliente? Yes, folks, come live in hot eye!

Fruitvale. Mmmm, fruity!

Cotton City. Mmmm, cottony!

Catch a breeze in Windmill, near Cotton City. (they don't have a lot going on down in the bootheel, do they?)

How about Loving? I mean, I've spent time in Loving (down in the southeast of the state). It's just a normal town. You'd think folks would be doin' it in the streets or something, but no.

Then there's the easy pickings like Elephant Butte. Yes, yes, I know it's butte, like a hill, but is there ANYONE traveling I-25 who doesn't think the sign says elephant butt? No, I don't think so. It's giggle inducing.

And while we're at Elephant Butt (left the e off on purpose) let's talk about the neighboring town of Truth or Consequences?

More on the paths less traveled, let's go get the tingles in Tingle, NM, up in the northwest of the state (south of Gallup, and yes, even Gallup is a funny place name).

Or get fried in Crisp, NM (in the Lincoln National Forest).

And I won't start down the list of all the Navajo names like Ya-Ta-Hey and Chilili.

Folks, this isn't even nearly an all inclusive list. I'm just getting started!

Gotta love our state, we can make it quirky in three languages, and that makes us a part of every kooky trivia list, crossword puzzle and word search looking for a something little different.

In my best Hee Haw style: Saaaaalute!



December 19, 2010

Auspicious, Sort Of


Last year, in the holiday season, I saw a Christmas tree that was decorated with white origami cranes. It was so simple and beautiful, and was located, of all places, in my local Ace Hardware store.

The idea stuck with me, and so this year, I decided to do something similar.

I bought real Japanese imported origami paper and I chose to decorate our holiday tree with origami cranes this year.

In the tradition, cranes are said to be a special gift or a very auspicious thing. So heck, The Good Man and I could use a little auspiciousness (<-- not a word) in the new year.

So I folded and folded and soon, I had a pile of 100 cranes I then placed on the tree. We’d intended to add more decorations, but found that the colorful cranes were simple and elegant and more than enough to make our Christmas tree really beautiful.





They are quite pretty and a nice alternative to the regular ornaments.

When I look at my tree, it just all feels very auspicious and good luckish (<--also not a word) and makes me happy.





But I have a question. What is the impact on the auspicious meter when The Feline callously rips a crane from a low branch, bats it around (playing a game of cat and mouse), then leaves the crane for dead on the train tracks that encircle the tree?





That can't be good.

Rather inauspicious (<- actually a word!)






All photos by Karen Fayeth, taken with my iPhone 4

December 16, 2010

I Will Find My Way


The Velcro on my Rand McNally road atlas had been rendered useless. Tan carpet fuzz from the back of the Jeep embedded itself irrevocably into the hook side of the mechanism.

The map was considered a "just in case" for getting lost, which happens often. The atlas was purchased well before there was something called a Google to provide maps on something called the internet.

That road atlas was aspirational. I bought it hoping that maybe I could travel a lot of those blue lined roads over the course of my life.

But suddenly the road atlas had meaning. It was more than a "just in case," it was an essential tool.

The page for New Mexico was well worn, but the page for California was starting to show the dirt and grease of eager fingers tracing a path over and over again. A reduced scale journey west to my new home.

The compass rose became my bouquet, a present from the universe, welcoming me to my new life.

At a holiday cocktail party, the map became obsolete. A friend and professional truck driver wrote directions on the back of an envelope. "This is the faster way to go, you'll shave several miles off the trip," he told me.

He'd personally traveled those roads. Roads that were visible to me only as lines on a page in my mind.

He was the first of many milestones on my journey.

The tattered envelope with scrawled black pen, "I-40 west to Barstow" wasn't anywhere near as magical as the pages produced by Rand McNally, but it was more useful, more functional. I clung to that envelope because my life really did depend upon it.

And then, finally, it was time.

May 1997, just a few days before Memorial Day, I climbed up behind the wheel of my Jeep while my best friend strapped into the passenger seat and took possession of both the envelope and the Rand McNally.

I-40 was a road I knew. Straight. West. No worries. Grants passed by quickly. Then before we knew it, there was Gallup.

Then the Arizona border.

My tires made a noise as they passed over, and I cried. I didn't just cross this border casually. It meant something. It was a new frontier.

The entire State of Arizona lay ahead. Since Arizona was familiar, it eased me in. We settled into the miles while listening to Tom Jones and George Strait. We listened to everything I had in that Jeep and then tried to find decent radio stations.

Six hours. That's how long it takes to traverse the State of Arizona.

Then my tires made another small sound and another border was crossed.

I was in California. I didn't cry this time. Simply renewed my resolve and kept driving.

That was thirteen years ago, but it could be yesterday for how fresh it remains in my mind.

May I never lose my resolve. May I never lose my desire. May I never lose my ability to read a good old fashioned road map.

All it takes is a map, a little guidance from someone who bothers to care, and a step in the right direction and you can find your way.

If only someone could draw a map to help me navigate the more difficult emotional roads in my life. Those are uncharted.

I am both mapmaker and traveler and the journey never ends.

But the compass rose is still just as beautiful.





Photograph by Karin Lindstrom and used royalty free from stock.xchng

This week's Theme Thursday is map.


December 15, 2010

This Woman is a Saint


"Las Cruces resident Karla Barela, 38, places red chile pork on the corn husks containing masa to make tamales Saturday at El Indio Tortilla Shop. Barela started making tamales at 4 a.m. and continued to make them at 12:30 p.m. (Photos by Richard Davis / For the Las Cruces Sun-News)"

At the end of the article, Karla sums it all up:

"Without tamales...it wouldn't be Christmas."

Amen


Brevity Is Not My Middle Name


(Sometimes the pump just needs priming. After writing about having nothing to say, it turns out I actually did have something to say today. It was just hiding. Here's a second post for the day.)

A few weeks ago, we had a manager's meeting here at work. This is a once a quarter affair where we meet, eat pastry, and talk about our plans for the department over the next three months.

Part of these meetings is also a discussion about how we, the management team, can improve ourselves and be better leaders for our team.

This quarter's growth topic in support of that goal was about our use of words.

A senior member of our staff held aloft the cap from a water bottle, and told us the goal was to "use a capful, don't pour out the whole bottle."

He told us to shorten the bullets on our PowerPoint presentations.

He told us to "speak in conclusions" in our emails.

He told us to always be aware of how many words we're using and then trim it back.

Ironically, it took him over half an hour to pass along this message.

I deeply considered throwing the cap from my own water bottle at him.

But I didn't.

Ahem.

Look, dear readers, you’ve been with me for over three years, and 1,000 posts which amounts to approximately half a million words.

Do you *really* think I can "use a capful" when I write?

People, please.

To paraphrase The Dude, I'm not really into that whole brevity thing.

I'm a writer! I'm a creative! I pass words like currency through my life. My husband and my best friend, the closest people to me, both have kick ass vocabularies! If you're gonna run with me, you gotta love the use of words and language and be willing to endure my penchant for storytelling the whole damn six pack, not just the capful.

No, I say! No! I reject the capful and dive headfirst into the ocean of words, swim around nekkid, get the words all soaked into my skin and then I'll use a few more adverbs just to make it more, erm, wordly!

Damnit! Asking me to ratchet back the words is like tying Rodin's hands behind his back and asking him to craft a masterpiece with his toes.*

Ain't gonna happen.**





* Look who is comparing herself to Rodin. That's a bit audacious, innit?

** That said...I'm trying. Well, trying at work anyway. Be warned, all the words I have to cut out of my days at work are so totally going to show up here.


Cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner


A less than beautiful mind


When I look inside my head, as I usually do about this time of day, and ask myself "what would I like to blog about today?" I often see many colorful suggestions, images and ideas pop to the forefront.

Sure, many of the suggestions that my monkey mind puts forth are so capricious they become either not appropriate or too complicated to write about in about 500 words, on average. But I can usually find one gem among the rubble and bring that to you, every weekday, on my blog.

Today, on my walk over to the cafeteria to grab a salad and rush back to my office in time for another conference call, when I turned inward for a good blog idea, what I got, instead of colorful confetti and suggestions of "poop!," was resoundingly gray. Quiet. Lonesome.

As gray as the cubicle walls that line my office building.

As quiet as the dark winter clouds that have gathered over the Bay Area to lie down and weep cold rain on our heads.

As lonesome as New Mexico state highway 285 between Vaughan and Roswell.

When I looked inward, I discovered that my brain hurts.

For every company that's ever employed me, December has always been a busy month. My current employer is no exception.

At five months into my new gig, I really like it a lot, and as I've begun to hit my stride, I have discovered that cute little word "global" in my title means my days begin in the UK, lunch with Sao Paulo, a quick break for the US, afternoon tea with Australia, early evening snack with Hong Kong and I am put down to bed for the night with India.

All on the phone. All day long. The UK to India run encompasses about twelve hours of my day.

Then I wake up and do it all again.

While this probably sounds like complaining, it's really not. My job is fascinating and fun and really good stuff.

But I am *tired*.

In the interest of my own health, I've begun working out again. Nothing major, Jazzercise a couple times a week and a sashay on the treadmill a couple other days a week.

I found I need that exercise to build up my stamina so I can sustain these long days at work.

But all that exercise wears me out too.

And my blog, my beautiful, wonderful blog. It's suffering too. My goal of a post every weekday stands firm. Then I go and miss a day (like yesterday) and I've got to climb back out of the hole.

So all of these words (about 430 so far) are just my way of saying I don't have much to say.

For today, anyway. That quiet, gray, lonesome mind only lasts for a little while. Then my severe latent childhood will kick in, and I'll figure out how to write another post about poop.

You can count on that.





Artist Heather Gorham's interpretation of the monkey mind



December 13, 2010

An Open Letter To My iPod


Dear Shuffle Function on my iPod Shuffle:

Today, after a really long day at work that started WAY too early this morning and ended WAY too late, I climbed my large and rather tired behind up onto my treadmill and fired up the big machine.

Normally I can rely on you, my long suffering iPod, veteran of many miles, to get me through the agony of exercise.

Not today.

Here's a hint, little musical device: when I need a little inspiration, how 'bout we avoid every single four bar blues available on the playlist, huh?

Minor chords don't really scream "get that heartrate up!" Albert King and John Lee Hooker are really better suited to competitive whiskey drinking, not sweating for my health.

And that John Denver song? Yer killin' me! (yes, I have John Denver on my iPod. No, I'm not ashamed)

Workout time is also not time for Colbie Callat, John Legend, or Coltraine.

Damn, iPod Shuffle, that skip function got more of a workout today than I did!

That said, dropping a "Stayin' Alive" on me near the end of the hour? That was inspired.

Occasionally, you still got it, Shuffle.






Sad iPod cross stitch from benjibot's Flickr photostream.


December 9, 2010

This is a test, this is only a test


This is a test. For the next several words, this blog will conduct a test of the Blog Reader Awakedness System. This is only a test.

Quick! What is the square root of 6,465,232,168? No calculators!

How much would could a wood chuck chuck, if, indeed, a woodchuck could chuck wood? No references to the Geico ad!

A tree falls in the forest, what time did the train leave the station?

Explain quantum physics using only six words and pantomimes.

Awake yet?!?!? No? Then click here.

If this had been an actual blog post, there would have been an actual premise, some witty prose, and an insightful conclusion.






This week's Theme Thursday is "test."



December 8, 2010

There's a special place in hell for...


Long time reader and cyber friend Elise suggested yesterday in the comments section that I pipe down on my Christmas cheer. So today, I bring you a crankier post, more in line with my usual holiday mood.

There is a special place in hell for...

...people who cook bacon in the work microwave. How exactly am I supposed to concentrate?

...people who park their moderately fancy car diagonally across three parking spaces.

...people who won't take the last cookie, but they'll break off half and leave the rest behind as a guilt offering. Just take the last damn cookie! (same deal on pie, cake, donuts and other pastries).

...people who don't flush the toilet after they use it

...people who arrive late then stand too close to me in aerobics class. (How's a tall girl supposed to swing these limbs with you up my behind?! I got here early and so can you.)

...people who lecture the work group about being brief in emails, and take half an hour to repeatedly make the point

...people who leave their dirty dishes in the break room for someone else to deal with instead of taking them back to the cafeteria. Entitled much?

...people who are mean as a standard course of action throughout their day (yes, I have someone in mind)

...executives of any company or government agency who cannot be bothered to acknowledge a hello when passed in the hallway, on the street, in general

...people who run Craigslist scams when an honest person is just trying to find a decent place to rent

...whoever that person is who keeps sending out the "I am a Nigerian Prince" emails. Does anyone even fall for that anymore?

...used car salesmen (no particular reason, just on general principle due to the lack of principle)

...anyone at any time as I see fit. Bwahahahahahahahaha!






Photo by Glenn Pebley and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

December 7, 2010

Revised Sentiments


Since I'm still in that obnoxious happy Holiday mood, I've been listening to my own mix tape of fave Christmas tunes in my car to and from work.

I don't play them much at home. Not sure The Good Man would go for piping all my insane Xmas cheer into the house.

Aaaaanyhow, this morning I was listening to the George Strait song, "Christmastime in Texas" and the line "it might look just like a summer day" which, of course, made me think of Christmas in New Mexico. I think there was snow on Christmas just once when I was growing up, and that was all melted off by noon.

Christmas in New Mexico was more like sixty-five degrees and shorts and a tshirt to play with my new toys outside.

I've always loved all the standard Christmas tunes, but hey, to a New Mexico kid, they don't really apply.

So I decided to tinker with some of the classics to give them more of a New Mexico vibe.

Here just a few, feel free to add your own!

______


"Up on a Housetop"

Up on a rooftop, stick stick stick, tar paper roof laid on too thick


"Walking in a Winter Wonderland"

Walking in a surprisingly summerlike wonderland


"Silent Night"

Silent night, holy HELL my neighbor's yard decorations are bright


"White Christmas"

I'm dreaming of a red or green Christmas. Green please, with a fried egg on top. Pass the tamales. (whoops, lost the natural rhythm of the song there....thoughts of Christmas tamales will do that to me)


"Let it Snow"

Oh the weather outside is windy, and the weeds are very tumbly, and since we've no place to go, let it blow, let it blow, let it blow


"The Christmas Song"

Calf's nuts roasting on an open fire, branding iron nipping at your flanks
(yeah, ok, so winter isn't exactly branding season, but go with me here!)


"Jingle Bells"

Paper bags, paper bags, burning in my yard


"Frosty the Snowman"

Nobby the mud tires, on a very four wheel truck,
with a four on the floor and a headache rack,
and two headlights made out of halogen


__________

Ah, mud tires and a headache rack. Now that's what Christmas means to me.



December 6, 2010

Bend The Rules Until they Squeak


You know, over the years I've come to accept the fact that the internet is a place that full to brimming with misspellings, bad grammar, and callous disregard for the English language.

My only refuge has been in "respectable" news organizations that still take the art and rules of writing seriously. So there I am today, reading an article on cnn.com a (relatively speaking) respectable news source.

Trouble is, I can't focus on the article because this is glaring at me from the right hand side of my screen.




It actually hurt my head.

Yes, I know, that's an advertiser and not CNN. Yes I know CNN just pumps out the ads, they don't proof them, yada yada yada.

That said...Funk and Wagnall wept.

December 3, 2010

Warfare On The Not-Really-All-That-High Seas


Back in August, I mentioned that I work in office buildings located right next to a public park and marshy baylands that are home to quite a few birds.

Back in August, it was all about the Canada Geese. Lots and lots of geese.

I'm endlessly fascinated by all the wildlife, so I try to find the time during my work days to take a break and use the beautiful walking trails in the area. I love to stroll by the lagoons, all teeming with wildlife.

Among others species, we have flounder, bat rays, ducks, herons and egrets. The more I sashay around the lagoon, the more I've come to recognize many of the animals.

For example, there is this handsome fella (at least I think it's a fella). This is, I believe, a great white heron:





This heron is always found camped out in one corner of the lagoon. It is where the water flows into the lagoon from an underwater pipe, so the bird stands there gazing into the water and picking off small fish.

For comparison, here's a snowy egret. They are a bit smaller than the herons.





As the weather has turned cold, I've noticed more and more numbers and species of birds have come to call our little baylands area their home.

Mostly, these birds all live together in harmony. There is plenty of fish to eat and lots of room to roam.

But a few weeks ago, some new thugs hit town, and they're messing up the harmony in my lagoon.

Dun-dun-duuuuuuuun

Pelicans.





The pelicans have brought a weird vibe to the whole area.

Today, I went for a walk and took my camera along hoping for some inspiration. After a long week at work, I had little left in the tank. A photowalk seemed like a good idea.

So while taking a few snaps of my friend the heron, I noticed something odd happening.

About eight pelicans were swimming in fast, full speed ahead. I suppose you could call it ramming speed, and they were headed toward the subject of my photographs.

In other words, they were charging the heron.

Suddenly, every heron and egret in the large lagoon came flying and squawking their way over. There was dive bombing and vocalizing and tense moments.

After a few minutes, the pelicans turned and swam off.

Wild! I'd never seen anything like it! Shaking my head, I began walking again.

A while later, in the next corner of the lagoon, it happened again.





Water splashed, birds squawked. This one was a doozy. It was a well-executed, well-choreographed battle.

After a lengthy tussle, the herons and egrets prevailed again and the pelicans were chased off.

Now every heron and egret was on high alert. They were positioned strategically around the lagoon, each surveying a different direction, eyes sharp for another attack by the pelican insurgents.

Soon, in yet a new section, it all started up again. The splashing, the squawking, the fighting.

From the rear, a large battalion of little black ducks (I believe they are called American Coots) got in the game. They swam over in formation and clumped up, creating an obstacle to prevent the pelican progress.





This is a few minutes after the battle was won. Here, they rest, conserving energy to prepare for the next battle.

A heron soon made his way over to address the soldiers.





"Excellent work, troops. Today, we'll endure this pelican insurgence. Historians shall speak of this day. Children will learn our names. Our women will weep at our graves.

Coots! Ready your snackies and eat hearty... For tonight, we dine in hell!"

Sure enough, it was only a few minutes later when this gent sailed by.





And OH IT WAS BACK ON!!

This time the herons took a different approach and lined up. They all stood guard, and as the pelicans swam by, each heron in turn would yell and flap at the pelicans until they moved on, then the next would pick up the fight. It was an amazing bit of coordinated defense.

Not sure if this photo can even capture it all, but bear in mind that while you can see about fourteen herons in this photo, there are more around the bend, waiting their turn.





By this time, I'd made my way around the loop and it was time to head back to the office. As I left the scene, I wondered how long the battle would rage on.

Crazy, mixed up, wild maritime fighting. My peaceful lagoon is now a war zone!

And the geese don't care.





Don't let the vicious battle happening just a few feet away get in the way of your gorging yourself there, big guy.





All photos by Karen Fayeth

December 2, 2010

Theme Thursday = Stone


Stone, stone...how I hate the stone.

Too much focus on the stone.

Makes people crazy.

Can't we focus on other things? But no. We're obsessed with the stone.

It's unhealthy, really.

And the holidays! Oh the holidays make the stone more a focus of conversation than ever!

Damn stone. All of them. Hate 'em.

Fight! Fight the addition of another stone!

Ahem...

You guessed, of course, that I'm using stone in that unit of weight sort of way, correct?

Stone = 14 lbs

You didn't guess that?

Oh. Shoot. I've been on too many conference calls with the Brits again.





Theme Thursday fun can be found here.

December 1, 2010

Really, it can't be helped


Uh oh. I went and did it again.

It was ANOTHER boring conference call.

And the marker board...it calls to me.

It's my employer's fault for giving me such a nice big marker board and a full accoutrement of colorful markers.

It can't be helped. It really can't.

Herewith, my latest seasonal doodle (click photo for larger size):





All the peppermint sticks and sugar cookies might be getting to me, ya know?



Thanksgiving doodle here


November 30, 2010

Let's Have A Brainstorming Session


I just finished reading a book called "Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut."

It is the biography of NASA Astronaut Mike Mullane, and it's a pretty damn good book, not just because it's about a kid who was raised in New Mexico (though many, many bonus points for that!), but because Mullane gets down to the nitty gritty details about what it was like to ride NASA's Space Shuttle on three separate occasions.

Add to all of that, I personally think "Riding Rockets" is a fantastic title.

Which got me thinking...if I was going to write up the story of my life so far, what in the blazes would I call such a tome?

Tell you what...let's brainstorm together, shall we?

Here we go...let me clear my mind...remember no idea is too outrageous, all have merit.

If Loving Cheese is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right: My Life from Velveeta to Camembert


Fart Jokes Are Always Funny: A Retrospective


Decision Points: Red or Green? (<== honestly, doesn't that truly sum up my life?)


Ain't Got Sense Enough To Come In Out of The Rain: My life, and other things my father said


It's 10:00am and I Already Ate My Lunch: The trials and tribulations of a perpetually hungry girl


Nina Karen: Wisdom of the Ages (<== I can include the time I let my toddler aged goddaughter grab onto an electric fence. Great moments of godparenting...)


I'm From New Mexico: You don't look like you're Mexican, so Find A Map @#$&hole


Mommy, Why Does California Act That Way: A New Mexican's tales of living in the craziest state in the union


Whoops!: One woman's life of "excuse me" for inappropriate bodily noises


The Audacity of Taking the Last Piece of Pie: One woman's quest to become a better wife, except when there's pie involved


I'll keep working on it....




Cartoon from Noise to Signal by Rob Cottingham


November 29, 2010

I Don't Even Recognize Myself Anymore


Oh no.

I have a confession to make.

It's too horrible to mention, though it must be said out loud. Perhaps an open discussion will take the stigma out of it.

Here it goes:

: deep breath :

I've got the Christmas spirit and I don't know why.

This is a perplexing condition. Usually I'm very, very cranky from about November 15ish until about January 3ish.

I hate the music. Hate the cheesey decorations. Hate the whole hubbub.

For reasons I cannot explain, every once in a while, I get the spirit. I *want* to celebrate the season. I have a burning desire to decorate. I hum Christmas carols. I plan out gift lists and actually, *gasp*, send holiday cards out.

It's an illness for which there is no cure.

It's been about three years since I had this affliction. I cannot explain why it hit me so hard this year, but here it is with all its screaming tinsel and shouting jingle bells.

Halloween snuck up on me out of nowhere. Thanksgiving arrived and caught me unawares.

But Christmas? Nope. I've got my catcher's mitt on and I'm waiting for ya!

I even...well, I did a bad thing yesterday.

It looks like this:





I know! Don't look at me...I'm so ashamed.

At least it's not decorated yet.

But that's only because...

No, it's too terrible to speak.

But I must.

There are no ornaments on my tree yet because....

Ok fine.

Because I'm MAKING THEM ALL THIS YEAR!!!!

It's a sickness.

: hums : Just hear those sleigh bells ringing their jing-jing-jingling tuuuuune. C'mon it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with yoooouuuuu.




Photo by Karen Fayeth, taken with my iPhone 4

November 28, 2010

G'bye Ol' Friend


Thanks for all the movies, all the fun and all the laughs.

Leslie Nielsen, Actor, Dies at 84


November 25, 2010

Happy Gobble Gobble Day


To celebrate the holiday, I present to you a doodle from my marker board at work.

I was on a *really* long conference call. It was boring. I got distracted.





May you and yours have a fabulous, gluttonous day!




Photo taken by Karen Fayeth with an iPhone 4 and the Hipstamatic app.

November 24, 2010

Round Two: Your Definition and My Definition Differ Greatly


Yesterday, early in the morning, I had my weekly one on one with the boss.

He's in the US this week, so it was nice to have a face to face meeting. I have such respect and yes, I'll say it, affection for my boss. He's amazing.

I had a long list of items to discuss, and we jumped right into the fray.

It was a good meeting, much cussed, much discussed. Decisions made. Strategy set.

When I'd exhausted my list of items, I said to Boss Man, "so, do you have anything for me?"

He said he did. There were a couple small items. "No problem, boss, I'm on it."

He continued,"Also, I wanted to let you know that I'm going to put you on a development plan."

Then the world went molasses on me.

Oooooh. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

My hearing slowed down. My head swam.

I've been a manager for a long time. Development plan is a cute little Human Resources euphemism for "You suck, we're trying to fire you, but we have to do a 'development plan' first to document what a toad you are."

What had I done? In four months I already blew this gig?

Sure, I was a little blunt with that supplier, but damn, they suck at invoicing! And ok, I might have made a joke in a serious meeting, but that's just my way. Everyone seemed to appreciate the moment of levity! And fine, I might have been late to work a few times this week, but that's mainly because I was on seven in the morning calls with India, and I took them from home.

I'm not a perfect employee! But damnit! I work hard and my intentions are right!

While the edges of my eyes went wavy, and I tried to figure out where exactly I'd screwed the pooch, I noticed my boss was still talking.

"And so we'll be working on this over the next month. Being new, you may not know that development plans are only offered to our top performers, so be aware that not all of your coworkers will be doing this same activity."

Wait. What?

Oh. I see. "Development plan" as used at *this* company is a good thing.

Whew.

My heart can now regain regular rhythmic activities.

(And then I almost cried....but I held it in. A girl crying at work is sooooo uncool.)





November 23, 2010

Your Definition and My Definition Differ Greatly


So every once in a while, I'll read something in the daily news that grabs my attention.

Occasionally, something really makes my eyes open wide.

And then every once in a while, I'll read something that makes my eyes open wide, leap out of my head, fall down on the floor and roll around a while.

The following headline in yesterday's news had just this effect on me.

El Paso named safest US city

Uhhh.

Errr.

"...El Paso has taken the top spot for having the lowest crime rate among cities of more than 500,000 population in the annual rankings by CQ Press, a publishing firm based in Washington, D.C."

So, yeah, I'm gonna guess that those people at CQ Press haven't paid a personal visit to El Paso lately.

Look, I'm not going to bag on El Paso. It is the birth place of my best friend, and that itself recommends it highly.

It's also the birthplace of Sam Donaldson and Gene Roddenbury. So ok. Some decent talent comes from the town that Texas forgot.

Having spent a lot of time in El Paso, I could use a lot of adjectives to describe the city. I'm not sure that the word "safe" would burble up to the top ten.

I'll be fair here. I'll even take out the obvious concerns about El Paso sharing a border with arguably the most dangerous city in Mexico.

In the past year, approximately 50,000 additional troops were located to Fort Bliss, an army installation in El Paso. Those 50,000 include both returning troops and soldiers left after bases closed in other states. That 50,000 is soldiers only. Add in spouses, kids, other family and the number of new residents rises.

Then add in the high number of people who are fleeing the violence in Juarez and the numbers climb even higher.

Put it together and you'll find a city bursting at the seams. You can feel it when you visit, the town is growing so fast that infrastructure is having a hard time keeping pace.

That means busy police, fire and emt forces are being overextended during a period of economic downturn and government cost cutting. Sure, all of the new city residents will pay taxes into the economy which will help shore up infrastructure, but that kind of growth takes time.

And then let's talk about the ongoing immigration flow through a border town like El Paso. My best friend's folks live within visual distance of the border highway's Zaragoza bridge. They have bars on their windows. In their some forty years of living there, they've found desperate illegals hiding in their yard. Neighbors have been robbed. Violence occurs (but isn't often reported). I've been sitting in the back yard and heard shots fired.

El Paso is a fine town with a rich history. There is a lot to offer the residents who live in that city. Reasonable real estate costs. The Franklin Mountains are beautiful. UTEP is a fine university. Great weather. Even lots of job opportunities. It may even be a relatively safe city. But safest in the US? I have to question that assertion.

Evidently, I'm not the only one.

Some Call El Paso's Safest City Ranking 'Bogus'




November 22, 2010

Waiter? I'd Like To Order....


The topic of Theme Thursday this week couldn't be more timely. In the lead up to the best eating holiday of the year, our topic, is: Food.

But here's my sideways twist on the theme.

Over the weekend, while on a fairly long drive, I began to riff on something The Good Man said, devolving, as I'm prone, to low brow humor. The stuff of twelve year old boys.

The Good Man isn't so much a fan of the twelve year old boy humor, so his side of the car went pretty quiet.

Well. Fine. I am who I am. If I can't let my inner twelve year old boy fly free at home, I'll take the next best option...imposing it on you, my fair readers.

So, herewith, my list of food names that are unintentionally rude, just in time for Thanksgiving.

1) Head cheese. You knew I had to start there, right? I'm not going to lie, I laughed right out loud typing the words. I wouldn't laugh out loud eating it though, because congealed gelatinous meat bits doesn’t really appeal to my palate. But whatever.

2) Cacahuete. Hee, hee, giggle *snort*. You said caca! Yeah, cacahuete is the Spanish word for peanut. But still, it's sooooo fun to say!

3) Bubble and squeak. It's just fried up meat, taters and cabbage and when done right is very tasty. That said, eating cabbage *does* cause certain parts of my anatomy to both bubble AND squeak. In addition, I rather like saying the name. Repeatedly. Like a toddler. Bubble and squeak! Bubble and squeak! Bubble and squeak! (making a squeaky noise as you say the word squeak is mandatory)

4) Rump roast. Yeah. Unh huh. And I'm supposed to ask for that at the butcher shop and not laugh? I've always been curious about what names were rejected in that marketing meeting. Ass brisket? Booty beef? 'Tocks steak? I mean, what exactly do you call a cut of beef that is sourced from, well, here. (link is TOTALLY safe for work)

And finally...

5) Spotted Dick. I think the gold standard for rude food names has to go to this British fare. It's a spongy concoction of dried fruit that is usually served in pudding. There is a version manufactured by Heinz available at my local grocery store. I always chortle inappropriately when I see it there on the shelves.

I mean, come on, Spotted Dick? Who thought that was a good idea?

You got any others I forgot? Leave 'em in the comments!






November 19, 2010

Weeee Represent the Lollipop Guild


I'm what they call a robust gal. Hardy. Big boned. The word "petite" doesn't apply to any of the assets I embody. I'm broad of shoulder and sturdy in the hips and thanks to a mom who told me to stand up straight, I own every one of my five feet and almost eight inches.

I had to stand in the back row for class photos. I long ago gave over to the knowledge that with these thighs, corduroy was not an option.

Back in college, I danced with short cowboys and took many a brim of a cowboy hat to the bridge of my nose.

After I moved to California, I wore flat shoes for years because I dated a guy not much taller than me. He once cooed over a friend who is teeny tiny, "you're like a little doll!" he gushed. I never felt more elephantine than I did at that moment.

This is the hand I've got to play, dealt by my genetics. Honestly, I've become more sanguine about it over the years.

This brings us to the events of yesterday. I'd been invited to a status update meeting with a VP from my company and the CEO of a large multinational corporation.

In the morning, I dug around in my closet and put together a pretty nice outfit. A meeting like this is big doings, so I knew I had to up my game.

I got dressed and put on my favorite pair of three inch heels. The outfit looked great. Before leaving the house, I asked The Good Man if I was committing a work faux pas.

See...my boss is about 5'9" on a good day, and his boss is maybe 5'6" if the wind is right and he's on the uphill side of an incline.

Is it bad form to tower over the people who pay my paycheck? The Good Man considered the question and decided the outfit worked, and thus all would be ok.

Off I went to work feeling pretty good. The meeting time rolled around and I stepped into the conference room. As I was the only woman in a roomful of nine men, they all rose and walked over to greet me.

Ok, so flatfooted I'm 5'8" and now wearing three inch heels I'm 5'11"

There was only one person in the room who was taller than me. Just one. The rest of these #$%^ing Lilliputians scrambled around somewhere about my kneecaps.

*sigh*

At the end of the day, I was very glad to go home, kick off my tall shoes, stand on tippy toes, and kiss my 6'2" husband.

Because that's the best way to navigate through a day chock full of Oopma Loompa-ish men.





(I might also add that I was only one of two Americans in the room. We had a gent from Hong Kong, a Dutchman, an Aussie, a Swede, a Scotsman, a Russian, an Irishman, a Spaniard, an American from Phoenix...and me.)

November 17, 2010

The Lonely Road


I'll send the angels to watch over you tonight
And you send them right back to me
A lonely road is a bodyguard
If we really want it to be


-- From "Sleeping in Paris" by Rosanne Cash

Yesterday I climbed into the Jeep and went on a long overdue road trip, just me and my steel beast, 130 highway miles and lots and lots of thinking.

The reason for the trip was nothing earth shattering, just had to head up to the north side of Sacramento to attend some work related meetings.

Clocking in at just under three hours, it was a ghastly drive, not only because it lacks any sort of interesting things to see, but the stop and go traffic kept me on my toes most of the way.

I left plenty early to avoid commute traffic but had no luck. California's Highway 80 is a busy road no matter what time of day.

As I drove, dodging other cars, stepping quickly on my brakes for yet another slowdown, stopping to pay the toll on the Carquinez Bridge, and cursing under my breath, I yearned for a different sort of road trip.

Growing up in New Mexico, the ability to hop in the car for the sole purpose of a long thoughtful drive was something I took advantage of every chance I got.

While living in Albuquerque, sometimes I'd gas up the car and drive to Soccoro, only to turn around and drive home.

I can't lie to ya, Albuquerque to Soccoro isn't a visually interesting drive either, but once out of the city limits, it's a pretty easy road with hardly any traffic. I'd set the cruise control on 75, point 'er south in a straight line and let my mind work out the problems of the day.

Straight roads and very little traffic produce a very fine form of therapy.

My all time favorite drive and think road, however, is Highway 28 in southern New Mexico. The stretch of road from Las Cruces to La Union and back includes canopy of pecan trees arcing over the road, arboreal arms to embrace and hold me safe in case I need to cry.

I got a lot of thinking taken care of on Highway 28.

Not so much on California's highway 80. The thinking was more like, "uh, stopping again? Why? Oh please don't slam into me!"

But still, it was a road trip and there is something beautiful about me, my decade old Jeep, shuffle on the iTunes and a problem to work out in my mind.

Oh, by the way, something else happened while out there on the road.

First, this occurred:





Shocking, isn't it?

Then, from out of nowhere, this happened:





(No, mom, I wasn't driving almost 80 while taking a photograph of my odometer. Why do you ask?)

It's the first car I've ever owned from fresh off the lot to one hundred thousand miles. Sort of proud of my little Jeep.

And just because I'm feeling gratuitous, here's a quad cam shot of the Bay Bridge (because the Golden Gate gets all the love).



(Click for full size)

Ok, I'm wandering off the point here. Let's tie this whole thing together, and get back to where we began.

I discovered today that any road, even a commute time busy three lane highway in Northern California can be a lonely road.

And a lonely road is a bodyguard if we really want it to be.
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All photographs by Karen Fayeth, and taken with my iPhone 4. Bay Bridge shot from the QuadCamera app.


November 16, 2010

Time Has A Funny Way...


There is an episode of Futurama (oh god, I'm going to quote Futurama) called "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back." It happens to be my favorite Futurama episode ever.

The episode is an homage to the bureaucrat, which appeals to me in a weird and sadistic way. At one point, the head bureaucrat is inspecting the locker of Fry, the show's ne'er do well.

The bureaucrat extracts a baseball cap from Fry's locker, and says, "Why is there yogurt in this hat?"

Fry replies, "I can explain. See it used to be milk, and...well, time makes fools of us all!"

This quote, "time makes fools of us all" has become a fave with The Good Man and me. Oft quoted and certainly true, time does make fools of us all.

And here's what's got me thinking this way...

After being sick both in October and for the first two weeks of November, I have been unable to shake a powerful and chronic cough. The gasping, almost retching, cannot-catch-my-breath sort of cough.

After being commanded by both The Good Man and my coworkers, on Friday I went to see a doctor. She was convinced I had Whooping Cough until she noted on my chart that I'd had a tetanus shot earlier this year. These days a Whooping Cough booster comes along with a tetanus shot.

So, after ruling out Whooping Cough and giving my non-stop cough a good listen, my doctor has determined that I have developed "hypersensitive airways."

In laymen's terms this means I now have asthma. I've never had asthma a day in my life, but evidently you can develop this problem at any time. It's not expected to become a permanent condition, and with medication, I should be able to recover.

My medication takes the form of an inhaler used four times a day, a regimen I'm not enjoying in the least, but I'm sticking to quite adamantly.

You see, this health issue comes with a heavy load of baggage. Like back the truck up, get a U-Haul, step aside, "damn that's a lot of baggage" sort of heavy.

Almost six years ago, my father passed away from complications of pulmonary fibrosis. It is believed he obtained this condition from the inhalation of beryllium in the course of his career at Sandia Labs.

In the years before he passed away, I watched my father struggle to simply breathe. Just bringing enough oxygen to his scarred and battered lungs was a battle. It was heartrending.

I thought then, "your breath is nothing to take for granted." But then time moved on. I went on about the matters of living my life. The lesson became less important.

This year when I got a winter cold, I got the resulting cough but I ignored it. I coughed my way through it and it went away, mostly.

Then I got sick again and it went right to my chest and set up home.

Right now, typing this, I breathe with a wheeze. I'm able to get air into my lungs, but it's hard to breathe deep without dissolving into a coughing fit.

What my father had was a disease of the lungs. What I have is a temporary inflammation of my airways. It's not the same, I know. But right now I kind of feel like time has made a fool of me.

I know better. Perhaps the lesson needed to be learned again.

Professor Time comes with a reminder: Breathing is nothing to take for granted.






Photo by Maria Herrera and provided royalty free from stock.xchng.


November 15, 2010

And the Wheel Goes Round and Round


Back in March I talked about the Rosanne Cash album "The List," a collection of songs culled from a list of 100 must-know songs crafted especially for Rosanne by her father.

The List is an essential music history lesson.

That story and the resulting album became the inspiration for my best friend and I to endeavor to create our own list as a legacy for my two goddaughters.

It's been an ongoing process, serious work, and we're making progress.

Over the weekend, I had the chance to see Rosanne Cash perform live at the Uptown Theater in Napa, CA.

I've been a fan for a while and I think Rosanne is a massively accomplished songwriter. I love the heart and emotion she puts into every lyric.

I figured as a consummate musician, she would put on a great show. I was in no way prepared for how stunning seeing Rosanne perform live really was.

Her backing band, including her husband John Levanthal on guitar, was one of the tightest bands I've ever seen. I told The Good Man during the show "I know musicians who would kill somebody to get at her drummer."

I've spent a lot of years in the company of musicians who struggled have a band that is tight and seamless. Rosanne has that in spades.

And talent too. She's an amazing, emotional and powerful singer. Like any great musician, the sound seems to pour from her effortlessly. It takes a lot of work to make it look that easy.

Then, after putting on a show that brought the house down, Rosanne went to the lobby and signed autographs for her fans. I got her signature on my copy of her recent bestseller "Composed" and had a chance to tell her that my best friend and I are working on our own version of The List.

And when I awkwardly mentioned that her gorgeous song "Seven Year Ache" is on the list, Ms. Cash smiled and shook my hand.

Made. My. Year.

What a powerful, beautiful, wonderful woman.

I am deeply inspired.




Photo by Karen Kristofferson, as posted on her @KarenKristo Twitter stream.


November 12, 2010

Side Effects


Hazy thoughts
Dizziness
Dancing to Sinatra ballads with orange and blue plaid elephants
Tiredness
Excess saliva
Weird thoughts
Paranoia
Visual sparkles
Suddenly fluency in dead languages (Sanskrit mostly)
Dreams of flying
Walking with a tilt
Thinking I'm walking with a tilt when really I'm upright and the world has tilted
Understanding Dostoevsky's work
Spontaneous giggles
Itchies
Refuting Nietzsche, adamantly, while wearing clothing upside down and backwards
Crossed eyes
Hair dysfunction
Voices telling me to buy more spray cheese
Sore toe
Sudden infatuation with sprinkler heads
Driving in a zig zaggy manner
Attempts to capture the many bats flying around the office (but not in that "Fear and Loathing kind of way)
Craving limes
Ability to converse with refrigerator
Ability to burp in three part harmony
Thirsty

-------

These are but a few of the side effects experienced that were not printed on the back of the Robitussin Bottle. Maximum strength.

Buyer beware.***





***Yes, I managed to get sick again. That's twice in two months. I'm mostly over it but can't stop coughing. I've decided that Robitussin is evil and shouldn't be sold over the counter.

I have to stop riding the pink dragon. It's altering my mind.

In a conversation with The Good Man, I ticked off the list of things to watch out for (as in, a bad reaction to the 'Tussin). Aberrant behavior, moodiness, blackouts, etc. He replied, "How would I tell any of this apart from your everyday life?"

That is not a good sign.


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.

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