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January 28, 2010

Keep it to yourself, grandma

I remember back when I was about 25 or 26, living in Albuquerque and working at Sandia Labs. Single. Searching. Doing ok.

My older sister was also single and in her twenties, and we grew pretty close back then.

There was one day when I was staying over at her house that she and I went for a walk. We were each other's support group, so we'd walk along and talk. We'd engage in walking therapy.

This was a chilly winter day. We walked with pink cheeks and a scarf 'round the neck.

We talked about how we both tend to have this internal dialog of snarky comments as we go through our days.

Both of us copped to it. Then my sister said something that sticks with me.

"I just worry that as I age, my ability to keep those thoughts inside will become more difficult."

I laughed. And I agreed.

See, in our family, we have this relative. My mom's aunt. She's a bit infamous among the family as possessing a rather acid tongue. She didn't even need to grow old to splat out hateful, spiteful and just plan snarky comments.

Oh, she was loyal to her family, especially her beloved brother (my grandfather) and made no bones about letting my grandmother know she wasn't good enough. I believe she also let my dad know he wasn't good enough for my mom.

So my sister and I both know that the genes of Aunty Snarky run deep within our DNA. We know how to turn on that frosty chill and say something cuttingly acerbic.

But as my sister pointed out, back then, we did okay keeping it inside.

Now, looking at the world through 40 years old eyes (that need vision correction), I find that my sister was entirely prophetic.

I *am* having trouble keeping that Aunty Snarky side to myself.

It's such a push-pull of being "the nice girl" vs "oh hell, let's just be honest."

I recall reading one of my grandmother's journals (after she had passed away). In it, she discussed how people always think she's so nice, "but," she wrote, "if they only knew."

Well, I'm afraid I've surpassed "if they only knew." They know.

Because I've become that cranky old broad. Only I'm not quite old enough yet to get away with it.

I say things. Out loud. (For example, the "What the f--- is your problem?!?!" incident from about a month ago.)

I've always ranted about man's inhumanity to man and tried to rise above it. I really have. But I guess I've been worn down. I guess "everybody is doing it" and so I'm no longer rising, I'm wallowing down in it.

Hoo boy. I'm not proud of it.

When I was in Las Vegas, I got busted for it too. I was standing in the narrow median of a quiet street taking a photograph. A pickup rolled by and the driver slowed and said, "I thought you were crossing the street..."

And I thought he was being an a'hole about me being in the median. I'd gotten hassled so much that day while taking photos so my hackles may have been a bit up.

I whirled on him. "Oh nice!" I yelled, "Thank you VERY much. No really, thanks for being such a nice guy!!!" I yelled sarcastically as he drove off.

Ten minutes later the guy walked up to me. "Hey, I just meant, I couldn't tell if you were crossing the street. But then I saw your camera and I figured it out. That's all."

Whoooooo did I feel like a jerk. I ended up apologizing to him and we had a pretty nice conversation about photography.

You'd think that would have capped my fat mouth.

It did, only somewhat.

I'm trying.

I really am. Hard to get that horse back in the barn after all the frolicking in the fields.

It's just...I don't always want to be "the nice girl."

Sometimes I think I just want to be Aunty Snarky when I grow up.

I'm so conflicted.

January 27, 2010

Just another quiet Wednesday

Yanno, not much going on today.

New product announcements from Apple, a little company you may have heard of.

And not to be outdone, Obama got up to speak tonight too. Says he's not a quitter (he might take a page or two out of Jobs' book about being on the ropes and making a comeback).

Turns out Brad and Angelina are still a couple. (whew! That was a close one!)

You know. Business as usual.

Just another day on the funny farm.

P.S. Pitchers and catchers report in 21 days.

January 26, 2010

Seductive Power of Film

Over the weekend, The Good Man and I caught a double feature of The Asphalt Jungle and Niagara, both from the early 1950's.

This was part of the Noir City Film Festival in San Francisco.

I love old movies, so a double header of Marilyn Monroe at the old Castro Theater was my kind of Sunday afternoon.

Ooh, the danger, the intrigue, the double crosses and bad outcomes!


But it was all the highball glasses of bourbon and endless chain-smoking on screen that left a lasting impression on me.

I mean, every character was lightin' up for the course of both movies. And oh do they look like they are enjoying every single inhale.

And then they'd pour two fingers of whiskey and slug that back and the shoulders come down and a nice relaxed state falls into place. The booze and the smokes were like a separate character in the film!

Man. Did those actors make it look good.

No, I'm serious. Chalk it up to an addictive personality or someone who just enjoys really seductive things, but I'm not kidding. I wanted to leave the theater and go buy a pack of unfiltered Pall Malls so I could inhale and calm down and be as cool as a tall drink of water like Marilyn or Sterling Hayden.

And if I was gonna take a long drag off a cool smoke, well of course I'd need some single barrel whiskey in my hand to wash it all down while I plotted my revenge, or jewel heist, or how to off the bad guy.

Oh I'm so suggestible!

This must be why those advocacy groups get their chones in a bunch about all the smoking in films, huh?

Because everyone looks great in the films, and you don't see the stained skin, the smokers hack or, eventually, the oxygen assisted breathing.

I mean, for a girl who lost many a family member to the perils of smoking, you'd think I'd be turned off by all of that.

But I wasn't. I craved. I'm not even a former smoker, but oh, how I craved to leave a ruby red lipstick stain on a cigarette butt while some charming man lit a new one for me. All while I swayed across the screen with trouble on my mind.

Ah well, never fear, I didn't engage in the smokes.

However, they were pouring small slugs of decent bourbon in the lobby between shows.

Sunday afternoon I had popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Vines and bourbon.

Whatta great day!!

January 25, 2010

Whooopta! ¡Feliz Cumleaños to da Bubble Wrap!

Time to bake a cake, eat a cookie, wear a hat and toot a horn.

We have a fifty year old in the house. Oh yes we do!

Don’t be shy, come forward and take your praise.

Oh Bubble Wrap, you are the best.

Always there when I need you, protecting fragile things.

Providing endless fun and stress reduction with your pop-popping sound as I squeeze the beejebus out of your little bubbly parts.

And when the world went cyber tech, you came along, giving me a faboo iPhone app that lets me pop your virtual bubbles whenever I darn well feel like.

You've carefully covered precious cargo and you've provided hours of fun.

You are useful, bubble wrap, and I for one can't imagine my life with out you.

Now, let's all raise a glass.

Cheers! To bubble wrap's fifty years. May we have another joyful 50 ahead!

January 22, 2010

All for the love of sump pump

Today, an ode to a small, slimy, oft overlooked device that is a cornerstone of storm survival.

The Sump Pump


As has been plenty reported in the news, the American west is getting one hell of a series of storms.

And as I've mentioned here on the blog plenty times, I live near the bottom of a hill.

What that means is the rainwater doesn't stop here, but it all has to pass me by on the way down.

Occasionally it can get trapped on its journey wending downward toward storm drains and ultimately, the Bay.

The evening of the first big storm, I said to The Good Man, "you know, I want to get under the house to check to be sure we're not getting water."

See? My spidey senses were going off. Something told me something wasn't right.

But I thought, "nah, it's probably fine" and went on about my life. The thought of strapping on the wellies and going outside didn't sound as good as a nice hot cuppa in the warm house.

So another day rolled by, and then another. Yesterday I was out bringing in the garbage cans when I said to myself, "well, the wellies are already strapped on and I'm half damp. Let's check under the house."

Well, sure enough, there was water. Not so much as to cause damage, but it was getting there.

If left alone, it surely would have risen enough to cause harm to my carefully curated collection of bridesmaids dresses (I believe there are ten, at last count) and my can't quite part with it Ikea furniture that didn't make the cut after The Good Man and I shacked up together.

Ok, fine, I don't have much in the way of treasures stored, but it's *my* junk and I'd like to keep it dry!

I looked at the sump pump wondered, "why isn't this doing the job it was hired to do?"

Then I noticed. It wasn't plugged in.

Well there you have it.

I remembered sometime during the summer the landlord and his son were over here working. They'd unplugged the pump because they needed the outlet for the power tools they were using to re-do the unit next door (duplex house, dontchaknow).

And hell, back in July, there was no real rush to plug it back in.

In January, I leapt upon the cord and shoved it in the socket but quick.



What? Nothing? Is the pump broken? Holy crap, this is chaos! Whatever am I going to do!?!?!

Then my brain, finely hewn by my land grant education, got around to mentioning to me that I might wish to take the pump off the concrete and place it ever so gently into the pool of water.

So I did.

Oh sweet mystery of sump pumping at laaaaast I found you!

That little pump worked non-stop to get all of that water out. Oh sigh of contentment.

Now my heart warms as I hear it kick on every ten to fifteen minutes to remove more water.

Oh happy slimy sump pump, how my satin and sequined and overly bowed dresses love you so.

Here it is, my actual fabulous device! I heart it!

January 21, 2010

Not sharp enough to know I was supposed to be humiliated

Ok, so I thought this was an odd title for an online article:

"How not to feel humiliated when dining alone"

Um. Why would I? I rather enjoy eating out alone.

Given the photo of the sad lonely brunette (she HAD to be a brunette, right?) that accompanies the article, I think reading between the lines, the title of the article is more like:

"You sad lonely dried up old maid. How terrible that you have to eat alone."

Because *clearly* the target audience for this story isn't guys. I don't know that most guys would feel humiliated dining alone. They'd pull up a chair to the bar, order a beer and dive in. Isn't all this fuss and kerfuffle a girl thing?

The story goes on to offer several suggestions for how that lonely gal can make it through such a harrowing experience as having to dine alone like reading a book or staring into her mobile device.

Please. Eating out alone is great. You don't have to share your dessert, you can drink too many glasses of wine if you want, and you can burp at the table. What's not to love about this experience?

And oh the people watching. So much to take in!

Plus, plenty of couples look miserable dining together. But they are not "humiliated" because they are not alone, so it's ok? Bah!

I guess I sort of thought we were past the days when someone eating alone in a restaurant was a weird thing. So many people travel for business or just choose to spend time alone. In my book this is no longer odd.

And the conventional wisdom used to be that as a solo diner the wait staff wouldn't serve you as well (one person means smaller tab means smaller tip) but I have found the opposite to be true. I think wait staff rather enjoy the ease of just one person at the table. No question where the entrée goes!

I've not ever felt slighted or mistreated when dining alone. It works just fine.

Sure, I'd rather have The Good Man there because, mainly, he makes any thing I do a lot more fun (he could make going to the dentist for a root canal a worthwhile adventure!). But if I'm away from him and I'm hungry, well, a girl's gotta eat!

Honestly most of my girlfriends are the same way. Eating alone in a restaurant is no biggie.

Most girls half my age are twice as bold as me, so I don't think they have issues either.

Who is this story really aimed at? As I read the comments, most of the ladies chiming in seem to agree with my point of view on this.

And seems most agree that the title of the article is just plain terrible.

I guess my message to the author is to simply quote the comment left by a reader named Melissa:

"Thanks for bashing my confidence in eating alone. I guess now when I take myself out to lunch to be awesome I have to feel HUMILIATED instead."

So there!

January 20, 2010

Ouch. That stings.

Did they really have to use the theme song from my senior prom?

(47 second video on YouTube)

Forever Young

Top Five Tough Jobs Made Doubly Sucky In This Storm

The wind is howling (tornado warnings in San Jose) and we're getting 1-2 inches of rain each day and it's *cold*.

In other words, it's winter in the Bay Area.

During a brief break in the storm, I headed out today to run a couple errands.

While out and about I saw a CalTrans guy (called the highway department to the rest of the world) in full head to toe bright yellow heavy weather gear.

He was out there yanking leaves and branches out of the storm drains.

See, here in the Bay Area, we feature a lot of eucalyptus trees. They have these tree trunks that peel off long strips. We also have plenty of palm trees that will drop a huge frond at the slightest breeze.

Add some pine needles from all the redwoods, a heap of your garden variety debris, and you got yourself clogged storm drains that then back water up onto the streets. Hello flooding!

As I watched the guy wade into rushing water and pull out another tree branch, I thought...now that's a sucky gig!

Further down the road I saw the trash guy doing his job, also wearing full bright yellow storm gear against the rain.

And I thought, wow, also sucky.

So I mentally put together my list...top five jobs that are already very tough to do, but are made, like, eleventy billion times worse in this crazy storm.

Here we go:

1. As mentioned...CalTrans employee. Especially the people who work out on the major highways unclogging drains, placing pylons around huge potholes, trying to drain flooded low spots on the highway, etc. You get the idea. Ugh.

2. Trash collector. Look, on a good day this is a rough gig. Now put stinky trash in the rain and with flooded roads and people not driving safely and hoo boy, isn't THAT a nice day at work?

3. PG&E field response. Yeah, when the power goes out due to high winds, these are the people that strap on, once again, the bright yellow high weather gear. Then they get to climb a frapping ladder and hope that one, they don’t fall off, and two, that all the water doesn't conduct a little extra electricity their way. And the yo-yo's in all the warm houses get all pissed off when they have no power, so there's some abuse in this job too. Truly, a thankless gig.

4. Bridge toll taker. Ok, so there you are in the storm of the year, inside a box roughly as big as an old fashioned phone booth attached to a suspension bridge that is engineered to sway. Riiight. The bridge is swaying there over the frosty waters of this inlet from the Pacific with no wind break. And oh by the way, you have to leave that big window open on the tool booth and reach your hand out there once every half minute to take money out of people's hands. No freaking thank you.

Finally, bar none...

5. Tow truck driver. Sure, this weather makes them a lot of money, but they also have to deal with all manner of idiots. Ever hear of a "solo spin out"? I hadn't until I moved here. This means one person losing control of their car and whipping around, usually ending up off the pavement (and hopefully not down an embankment).

When it goes right, it's a "solo" problem. When it doesn't go right, it's a horrible, traffic clogging accident. And the tow truck guy has gotta strap on the bright yellow gear and then yank all those cars out of the way while the stopped traffic curses at him, the car owners harass him and the dispatch is calling him begging for his help at another spot.


Just, really. Gah.

I can say I'm not man enough for that job. Oh but I love to hear stories from tow truck drivers. Those people have seen some stuff...whoooieee.

Anyhow, as I bunker down with the heat running and a warm cup of tea in hand, here's a huge thanks to the CalTrans employees, trash collectors, PG&E technicians, toll collectors and tow truck drivers on this crazy blustery day.

Oh, and also the police and fire rescue who are working non-stop in this mess. And the EMT's in all the emergency rooms, too.

Thank you for doing a mostly thankless job.

(clearly this guy only has to model and never has to use this gear because he is WAY too chipper in that outfit. I've never seen a grin like that on someone who really had to use that gear)

January 19, 2010

Blame it on the rain...

So under deeply dark gray skies and a relentless rain, I drove this morning down highway 101.

I had on the local country station because that's the kind of music I'm listening to these days.

That fairly dated song by Tim McGraw "Live Like You Were Dying" came on.

You know the one, goes something like this:

"I went sky diving/I went rocky mountain climbing/I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter/And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
Some day, I hope you get the chance/To live like you were dyin'."

This song always did bug me. Dunno, I'm not the hugest Tim McGraw fan anyway.

But back in 2004, I really got a whole other view. I can't hear the song without remembering.

I have this very dear friend, let's call her Jane (it's her Nom de Bebida).

Jane is about 90 pounds soaking wet and bouncy like a golden retriever. She is intensely athletic, too. I mean, despite being tiny, her body is finely hewn with long muscles and power. In other words, the exact opposite of my own rig. Which may be why we get along so well.

I once quipped that she has spin class for breakfast, power yoga for lunch and windsurfing for dinner.

And it's true. That's an actual day from her life.

Back in 2004 she went on a windsurfing trip to an island with a name I can't recall. I believe it is part of the Canary Islands.

While there, she caught a particularly nasty parasite.

The side effects of this hitchhiker looked an awful lot like meningitis, meaning very painful headaches as the lining of the brain swells, utter fatigue, and more.

She went into the hospital and the doctors could not figure out what the heck was wrong with her.

For weeks she suffered. Huge doses of painkillers, doctors trying everything and still she didn't improve.

At one point, they were unsure if they were going to be able to help her. Meaning...they weren't sure if she would survive. They had a long talk with her boyfriend about options.

Finally after what must have felt like forever to our Janie girl, someone figured out the problem. With some meds and her own body's immune system, everything kicked into gear and she started to improve, but recovery was very slow.

Once she came home from the hospital, she was told to rest. Rest, ha! You tell a golden retriever to rest? Are you kidding?

But she did rest as much as she could.

When she started to go a little stir crazy, I'd go get her and we'd go for short trips out to lunch or something. She'd fatigue so fast it was frightening to see.

Toward the end of summer of that year, Tim McGraw came to the Shoreline for a concert. Jane wanted to go, so I piled a lot of blankets and her tiny body into the Jeep and took her to the show. We sat on the lawn.

When the big finale came on and McGraw sang his top of the charts song, the crowd stood swaying and sang along. Janie and I sat on the ground and listened.

The first chorus rang out into the night air and my very down to earth, very blunt friend looked at me and said, "I don’t like that song."

"Yeah, I don't like it much either," I replied. Then Jane startled me.

"I don’t want to live like I am dying. I want to live like I am living," Jane said, pretty emphatically. "I've tried dying. I don’t like it."

And I hugged her real tight that night, because she was right. I didn't like her living so close to dying either.

So now whenever I hear that damn song, I remember my Janie girl demanding that she wanted to live like she was living!

By the way, just this year, at the age of 43, that girl got pregnant (naturally) with her first child and gave birth to the most delicate and beautiful baby girl.

Now if that ain't livin' like you wanna live, I don't know what is.

And I smiled to remember my girl. She's a ray of light on a rainy day.

I believe this sudden serious turn on the blog is probably a surprise after the past several posts.

It came as sort of a surprise to me, too, when I wrote it in my head this morning.

Blame it on my melancholy mood and the relentless winter rain.

(iPhone photo taken moments ago)

January 18, 2010

So one day, you're walking down Vegas Boulevard and...

Oh man, I can't *believe* I forgot to blog about this... I think I Tweeted, but 140 characters does this no justice.

So picture it if you will. Las Vegas Boulevard just a week or so ago.

I'm over at the Mirage because I was hungry and wanted the fare offered at the Carnegie Deli***.

I swear, I am a New York Jewish girl, because I gotta have their chopped liver salad. Just *gotta* have it!

So after finishing my meal and losing a few bucks to the slots, I decided to walk.

I always have to take some time to walk Vegas Blvd to see how it has changed. Plus, you get a whooole different view of The Strip at street level.

There I am walking north on the strip headed toward Fashion Show Mall with a destination of the Trump Hotel nestled in behind the mall, when I see a little alcove-like thing in the wall around the Mirage.

People are lined up there and I figure, well, it's some Vegas thing, a mostly naked show girl, an "amazing double" dressed up as Michael Jackson (only I just saw him a couple hours ago back at the Bellagio) or a Three Card Monte game, who knows.

I was not prepared for what I saw.

Not. Prepared.

I come around the bend and see this lush green inset in the wall with a railing.

Ok, you know when you go to a cathedral or a really large Catholic church and they have the Virgin Mary Grotto? With the statue and the railing and the somber tones?

Yeah. It was like that.

Only the statue people were worshiping was this (click for full size):

If the imagery isn't immediately clear to you, that's a golden rendition of Sigfried and Roy and a white tiger, festooned with fakey shards of crystals shooting out of the cement moorings.

Oh man, everyone was snapping photos like the red carpet. They'd put the kids in front of this thing, or the lady would get in front and the guy would take the photo then the guy would get up there and the lady would snap away, and then the whole family would crowd in there.

People were beside themselves to get photos with this statue.

In a non-ironic way.

Well, I found a break in the crowd and grabbed a couple iPhone photos so I could show The Good Man and we could look at this later and ponder just WTF.

I have no answers.

Other than that's Vegas, I suppose...

***Not intentionally, but we ended up having an "old home" week in Las Vegas. We went to Garduños to fulfill longing for the food of my youth, then later I took The Good Man, a Brooklyn boy, back to the Carnegie for a monster Reuben (corned beef, if you please).

January 15, 2010

Lighting a votive for, uh, peace?

Oh, this could be a serious and solemn post.

It's not gonna be, however.

So you see...my rock star mom-in-law is a Brooklyn girl, and at the holidays, she has traditions in keeping with where she was raised.

In her words: "Not untypically for someone from Brooklyn in my day for most of my adult life, I’ve made Italian food for the holidays. Often the menu included a seafood dish like spaghetti and clams for Christmas or New Years Eve and usually a lasagna on Christmas Day."

Italian food? Oh I'm ALL about that.

This holiday season it was her very generous idea to celebrate the holidays with the foods from my childhood in New Mexico.

That means tamales that we handmade together, a pan of Hatch green chile enchiladas and a big pot o' beans.

To help set the atmosphere, my mom-in-law brought over some accoutrements including Mexican hot chocolate, a tortilla warmer, and an Our Lady of Guadalupe votive candle.

We lit Our Lady up and enjoyed dinner by her warm candlelight.

So the holidays passed by, as they will. The Good Man and I began to dismantle the holiday displays in our home and put things away.

Our Lady of the Fabulous Christmas Feast had been on the coffee table for a couple weeks, but after New Years she had disappeared. The Good Man had stowed her away somewhere. Fair enough, right?

But then...I was rather startled to, uh, find her.


I call her "Our Lady of Fartima."

The Good Man never laughs when I do.

But I crack myself up every time. I think being able to make your ownself laugh is the key to a long life.

Side note to Ephraim: I realize yesterday I promised to try and keep it classy on the blog today. I failed miserably. I'll try again on Monday, ok?

January 14, 2010

A matter of personal choice?

So I dropped by a favorite "blog post idea" site today and the first item that was presented for my consideration was:

"Suggest to your visitors some toilet literature"

Oh my.

I mean...I believe toidy literature is indeed essential, but isn't that a highly personalized decision?

There is the good ol' fashioned newspaper, but what with the drop in newspaper circulation, not as many people take a physical paper anymore.

So this material has limitations.

I have a friend who keeps a basket of catalogs by the toilet. It's multitasking! Shopping and...er...you know.

Plus, I suppose they could come in handy in the case of a toilet tissue shortage.

Personally, I favor taking my iPhone along for the journey. That way I can do email, read the news, shop, whatever whim might strike my fancy when I've got a few spare minutes to spend.

The downside of this is that between the sink, tub and other water issuing devices in the restroom, it can be tricky. Best to keep the ol' iPhone nice and dry.

Plus, The Good Man tends to get bent out of shape when he receives messages from me while indisposed.

"Did you just email me from the can?!?!" he'll shout when his email goes 'bing' with a new message.

Well. Yes. Is that a problem?

I'll admit, there have been times when I'm on a writing jag (and you have GOT to respect the streak) when I have taken my laptop in there with me so I could keep writing while doing my business.

I won't even relay the comments I get from The Good Man when I do that.

Suffice to say, he's horrified.

Ok, so back to the topic. I actually spent some time considering options. Novels, magazines, catalogs, short story anthologies, comic books, reading the back of the toothpaste tube and of course nothing at all.

After all this thinking, I believe I've arrived at the best answer.

Something that has quick readability, short segments, maybe even a laugh or two.

Ah yes, I've made my decision.

Bar none, the best toilet literature ever has to be:

Reader's Digest

You're welcome.

January 13, 2010

A few Vegas photos

If you are so inclined, I culled down my photos of old Vegas signs and put them in a Flickr set.

Click below.

A rare bit of clarity from a cluttered mind

Ok, fine. I have New Year's Resolutions. Sure I do. Doesn't everyone?

I won't list 'em out...I'd rather accomplish them and then gloat.

Don't deny me the gloat.

Or, you know, fail miserably in solitude.

Anyhow. Since the first of the month, I've been working on a goal, slowly but surely.

Things are improving.

But I've made a rookie mistake.

Oh yes.

I got on the scale. A lot. I mean several times a day.

You know, there are some people in this world that are already in the groove of their personal health, and they tell me "well I weigh myself once a day and that gives me an idea of how to plan the day."

Yeah. Good fer you.

I am not one of those people. I tend to, uh, well, a bit of OCD.

If once is good then eleventy kabillion is better, right? Right?

I mean once after you pee, after you shower, when you take a sip of water, when you sneeze, after blowing your nose, before dinner, after dinner, in the middle of the night when you are pacing the floor wondering why you are such a nutcase.

Trouble is, if you spend all your time looking at just the numbers and the results (how they fall short of goal), you are missing the most important part of the process.

(This may be why my last boss grew weary of me...she being ALL about the numbers.)

So yesterday, I weighed myself and I was pissed off. I mean, I'd weighed the day before and it was a yay! And then today it was a boo. One day? How can I go from yay to boo in ONE FRAPPING DAY?

Because you can. The body is funny that way. Especially the female body. Today is good, tomorrow is bloat, next day who knows.

So as I was fuming...my mind clicked in and my mouth took over, without my permission.

I shouted at myself:


And I realized that has to be my new philosophy.

No more weighing. Screw that. I need to simply eat a little better and exercise a little more and when I feel good just...you know...allow myself feel good without ruining it.

And when I feel poorly, try to figure out how to feel good again.

And leave that g'damn scale in the closet.

I'm telling you, get off the scale, get on the treadmill has deeper meaning than just my expanding waistline.

It's a new way of life.

How about get off refreshing my Esty page and get on some crafting?

How about get off the internets and get on some writing?

How about get off wishing and get on to doing?

And I've now redlined and revised every single one of my New Year's Resolutions.

Get off the scale, get on the treadmill.

Meaning...Karen, stop dithering and start doing!

And *then* you get to gloat.

I will SO do the superior dance (for those who remember Dana Carvey's character, the Church Lady) when I make all of my 2010 goals.

January 12, 2010

Verbal-Foo Skillz...I has them

: cue the wavy lines and smoke :

Yes, we’re in the wayback machine, set to "semi-wayback"

Lo, these many years ago when I'd first moved to California, I started dating a guy who was (and is) a musician.

A blues musician, which means he played a lot of dark and, well let's go with "gritty," bars in the San Francisco and greater Bay Area.

So, being young and a fairly naïve rube from New Mexico, I used to get all dressed up in cute clothes and impossibly high heels, then head out, by myself, to these bars and clubs to see if I could get the musician to notice me.

So being a young, naïve girl all gussied up to go out, it stands to reason that I used to get hit on by the other patrons of the bars I attended.

A lot.

I mean, *a lot*.

Not because I'm exceptionally pretty, though I'm not a mud fence either. But mainly because I was a girl. Alone. In a bar.

Sort of a siren call for the drunk and lonely.

I have pretty much heard every pickup line in the book. And some from books that no one has written and never should.

Oh yes, I've heard 'em all...twice.

When I was feeling convivial, I'd play with the drunk, slurring sportos like a cat plays with a dying mouse. I'd bat them around a little bit before slamming down the paw.

If I wasn't feeling convivial, I'd get out my acid tongue, a genetic gift from a rather acerbic aunt in my family tree, and burn them on the spot.

One of my favorites is still a late night when all the lights had come up in the bar. The guy I was dating was through working and before he began packing up his stuff, he came over to hang out with me for a minute.

Some very drunk fellow, sensing that the lights were up, began scrambling around to find a warm body, ANY body, to take home.

And of course, since I'm the freak magnet (it's true, been observed by many a friend and even a family member or two), the slobbering drunk made a beeline for me.

His opening gamble was something slurred and incoherent. Honestly, I don’t remember what he said. I do remember his glassy eyed look as he slurred out something and waggled his eyebrows at me.

Weary with a night of fending off such fellows, I looked him square in the eye and asked, loudly, "Are you hitting on me?"

He slurred in return..."um...well, yes. Is it working?"

I replied, "Let me get this straight...you are hitting on me. And *that's* your opening line? That's the best you can do?"

Not to be deterred, he nodded and asked again, "It is working?"

"No," I said very caustically, "And have you met my boyfriend?" who had been standing next to me the whole time.

Thankfully the very large and take-no-prisoners bartender then placed a beefy hand roughly on the drunk's shoulder and shouted, "Get out!"

I relate all of this to place a context on the story that follows. So that you understand that, basically, I have learned how to handle myself.


I stopped going to those sorts of clubs and bars a very, very long time ago. And I don’t miss them, honestly. Well, I miss the amazing music that the San Francisco blues musicians pump out, because there is some amazing untapped talent in that City.

But the clubs...I don't miss them.

Which means, in my now suburban lifestyle, I don't really get hit on like that anymore.

And you'd think my skills in handling the weirdos might have slipped.

Turns out, I still got it.

So there I was...down on Fremont street in Las Vegas with my trusty camera and the goal to shoot many of the restored old Vegas signs that the Neon Museum installed in the area.

It was about 10:00 in the morning, so that was probably my first mistake. Second, I was alone. Third, I was behind the camera and really in creative head.

All of this mixed together meant the moths came dashing over to knock themselves against my flame...so to speak.

At 10:00 in the morning, the tourists aren't really out, so it was me and the, ahem, locals.

I got a lot of "heeey...wanna take *my* picture?"

Um, no.

"Heeey, what's *your* name?" (my least fave opening line, btw)

But the best interaction went like this....

"Hey! Hey? HEY!?!?"

And so I finally turned to see who was bellowing at me.

"You are a big girl! I saw you walking by and I said to myself, I said, you know, big girls need loving too..."

Yep. That was his opening line. He called me fat and then decided I was so lonely cuz I'm such a big girl that I needed his, what would it be...pity? Charity? Selfless giving?

I said, "Uh huh."

"Say baby, what's your name?" he said, turning on ALL the charm.

"Lucy," I replied (using my Nom de Bebida) followed by, "And my husband's name is David."

My suitor then sharply spun on one heel and walked away.

The rest of the morning was not just photography, but a continual improv show in which I was the only performer.

I was Lucy, I was a photography student at UNLV, my teacher had given me the assignment to shoot the signs, and ONLY the signs (in answer to the continual request to "take my picture!"), I was a local, I lived with an aunt and uncle, I'd been living here for a while, no I don’t have any spare change and by god I have a husband and don't need your affections.

It was exhausting.

The final straw was the guy smoking a spliff who came up carrying a Wal-Mart plastic bag which he held out to me. "Wanna buy a Coach purse?" he offered.

And with that, I was done. I caught a cab back to my hotel and stayed inside the rest of the day.

I still got it, but mostly, I just don't want to have to use it anymore.

January 11, 2010

I've seen the future, and it isn't pretty

Today it is Odd News, tomorrow it's a requirement for boarding an airplane....

Hundreds strip in NYC for no-pants subway ride

January 8, 2010

There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home

Man oh man, yesterday at gate B20 at McCarran airport, I was clanking my ruby slippers together so hard the sparkles fell off.

No worries, nothing a little love from a glue gun can't fix.

I love to travel, I always have. Ok, I'm not some big international world traveler, I'll admit. I'm mainly a domestic flight gal, but still, I manage to travel maybe three to four times a year, usually for fun to see friends and family.

The adventure is always worth the price of admission. Even going to somewhere I know well, it gives me a chance to break out of my routine, get out of my head, and be different.

The best road trips are when I feel like I'm a different person by the time I come back home...meaning, I've grown or learned more about myself along the way.

My recent travel was one of those sorts of trips. I won't share all the ins and outs and what-have-yous about the epiphany I had in front of a quarter slot machine at the Four Queens casino, but suffice to say, there was one...and it was good.

Sometimes getting out of my non-thinking monotonous routine and into "hey, where am I staying and where are my bags and where am I going to have something to eat?" is entirely exhausting.

And my god air travel wears me slick. Could people *be* any ruder when flying?

By the time we made our way to our happy little casa last night, I was beat. I mean, so tired, I was damn near catatonic.

But as Annie says in Bull Durham, "Total exhaustion can be spiritually fabulous."

So as tired as I was, as happy as I was to sink into my bed and let the sandman have his way with me, at 4:30 this morning, my eyes were open and the brain was rolling.

Ideas. Lots of them. Flowing like, well, coins from a slot machine after hitting double-double-double on the payline.

At first I fought it. Rolled over and begged for sleep to come back.

Then I thought...why? How often am I blessed with a fire hose blast from The Muse? Why pinch off the ideas? Hell no, let 'em flow.

So since 4:30 this morning, I've been cranking away at the iMac. I mean CRANKING the whole time. And damn if I didn't get a LOT accomplished (not the least of which was cropping and uploading my new profile photo...take a gander to the left and you'll find it.)

So now, some four hours later, my eyes are burning, I'm a little shaky, and I may need a nap today. But mostly, I'm happy.

While travel is fun, and for this old musty brain, might just be essential, at the end of the day, there really is no place like home.

January 7, 2010

A few views of old Vegas

So finally I'm back on a plane headed westward to San Francisco which means home and my cranky Feline (who has been wreaking havoc in my mom-in-law's home).

The trip to Vegas was a good one. The Good Man's business was conducted, we ate some great food and even took in a Penn & Teller show at the Rio.

But as with every trip I take to Vegas, I'm done. Yup. She wears me weary and it's time to get back to the place and get to where I can live normally without the ching-ching of a slot machine as my background music.

I did get a chance while visiting to take a look at the old Vegas that I remember (and sometimes yearn for).

While the Neon Museum's boneyard is closed for construction, they do have a few beautifully restored signs installed down on Fremont street that you can visit.

Here are a few photos I took on my trip. I haven't sorted out all 350 photos I shot, but these are a couple of my faves so far. (click image to see full size)

Vegas Vic, an icon of early Las Vegas history when he was the image often used by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

This comes from high atop the Nevada Hotel Sign.

The orginal lamp from the Aladdin Hotel and Casino. I remember this one well. It was like seeing an old friend.

And finally, the Hacienda horse and rider from the original Hacienda Hotel and Casino. I also remember this one. It's been beautifully redone!

There may be more to come as I sift through what I got.

For now, I'm ready to be home.

Oh, and as a final thought...how cool am I? I'm blogging from thirty thousand feet in the air. WiFi on airplanes, what a cool concept! (Go Virgin America!)

January 5, 2010

Viva Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Mi Vida.

Ah Las Vegas, I return home to you once more.

That sparkling town, Las Vegas, has been an integral part of pretty much all of my life.

Yes, Vegas and I are irrevocably entwined.

Sure, everyone likes Vegas, right? Well...right?

For me, it's a lot different than it might be for you.

Let's flip the toggle switch on the WayBack Machine. Let's go back, oh, say a bit over forty years.

It was the swinging sixties, baybee, and my dad, a hardcore engineer, was working at the Nevada Test Site.

That's the place you might of heard of...you know, where they blow up nuclear devices underground?


Oh, also...waaaaaay over in the back corner of the Nevada Test Site is a little place called Area 54. (In later years I asked the old man about it, but got no answers)

So while Dad went to work out in the middle of the freaking Nevada desert, mom stayed home at their place in Las Vegas and tended to her three kids.

Yes folks, I have actually lived in Las Vegas.

It was only for only a brief time and I have only vague memories, like that you could see the Landmark Casino from where we lived. I used to love to stand in the backyard and watch the lighted elevators go up and down.

My folks really liked living in Las Vegas. And they liked visiting the town too. They made an at least once a year visit, seeing friends and family, a couple shows and they would gamble a bit. It was their favorite vacation destination.

Sometimes they would go just the two of them. Sometimes we kids got to go along for the fun.

It sucked to be a kid in Vegas prior to the construction of Circus Circus. There was little to do other than swim in the hotel pool and follow mom around when she hit the slots.

By law I had to stand at least six feet away from any gaming device. Stand there. With nothing to do other than whine at my mother that I wanted to go swimming.

But all of those years spent in Las Vegas and I find I have a deep history with this town that not many people have. I can remember, "oh that used to be the ____" when I pass the current kitschy themed hotels and casinos.

I am kind of ticked off at Las Vegas for demolishing all of the old and rather fabulous casinos and replacing them with these new garish harpies.

It's just not the same.

Coming to Vegas is, for me, like coming home. I was remarking to The Good Man on the plane ride over that for me, going to Vegas is a bit like going to Albuquerque. It's a get away, but it's also a going home. A nice trip but also so comfortable and easy.

I don’t know Vegas quite as well as I do Albuquerque, as I lived in Vegas only a couple years and I lived a lifetime in ABQ.

But it's a part of me. And it is an even deeper part of the history of my parents.

Vegas and me, we belong together. And it's not about the casinos or the neon or the obnoxious part of it.

I see this painted showgirl for what she is. Behind the mask of makeup and face paint, she's a thirsty and tired old desert town that has grown too fast, aching from the growing pains.

You get two blocks off the strip, and you see behind the curtain. The streets are dirty and grim people look both tired and sad. There is an ugly dark side to all that glitz and show.

There are real people with real jobs trying to make a living. The casinos are but one facet of Vegas.

It's been a couple years since I came to see this charming old lady of a town. On my last trip, I got into an intense conversation with the cab driver who had been raised here in Vegas. He was so happy to find someone who knew, who remembered, and that made me happy too.

Today, I'm looking out over the Spring Mountains to the west and plotting how to spend my day. The Neon Museum is closed for construction, so that will have to be another time.

I'll probably find myself downtown where places like the Four Queens and the Golden Gate harken back to another time. My time.

Maybe I'll pull the handle of a one armed jack and I'll remember....

January 2, 2010

Set My Mascot Free!

Source: Pistol Pete holstered for Utah game

Ugh! They are making the NMSU mascot sit a game.

For what they are calling "a mustache-ripping incident"

Um, oh...

*chuckle, giggle, snort*


The incident occurred with Utah's State's mascot, "Big Blue" the bull.

I'm wondering why Pistol Pete didn't up and rip something off the bull, eh? We *are* and Agricultural college after all! We know how to do such things.

*giggle, snort, wipe eyes*

Yes, well. This is all very serious and, *guffaw*, ahem, disciplinary.

The bull has already served his sentence, the same one game suspension.

And I suppose after all of this, Pistol Pete will have learned his lesson.

Despite the mustache violence, we've still come a long way since my days at NMSU where, when the opposing team made a basket, we'd shout "nice shot, assh--e!"



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.