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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.


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.


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



"...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.


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.

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
Dancing to Sinatra ballads with orange and blue plaid elephants
Excess saliva
Weird thoughts
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
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


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.

November 11, 2010

Relax. Yes, Just Do It.

Relax is one of those words where saying it to yourself invokes certain visual images.


How many of you envisioned beaches and rum drinks?

I know I did.


Maybe you thought of yoga or a massage.

Also good.


Ok, so how many of you thought about simply about being at home, with no work or chores or responsibilities. Just sitting, being quiet.

For me, definitely.

And how many of you, when thinking of sitting still with nothing to do get a feeling akin to petting the cat the wrong way? Just can't do it. No way no how.

Interesting, isn't it? For many people, sitting quietly at home with nothing to do is considered both lazy and immoral.

Personally, I've always been really good at allowing myself to relax. If I need a nap, I take it. I give myself permission to have downtime.

I don't think sleeping when your body needs it and planning for downtime is either lazy or selfish. It's sane and reasonable.

The Good Man often says that I taught him the value of The Flop. Come home from work, change into comfy, non-binding clothes, then flop on the bed. Just for a while. Twenty minutes maybe? Let the day slow down. Hug both cat and spouse.

And THEN you are in such a better mood to get up and make dinner. Food tastes better when you are happy and relaxed while you cook.

Really, children and cats have it right. Eat a little. Play a little. Nap a little.

It's when we get to be grownups that our minds get twisted by the shoulda, woulda, couldas.

Today, I reject all of them and say, simply, relax.

Embrace The Flop.

(This post is a good reminder to myself as much as anyone. Sometimes even I get caught up in the moving too fast, gotta get it done, go go go mentality).

Theme Thursday's theme of the week is: Relax

Photo by Joseph Hoban and provided royalty free via stock.xchng

November 10, 2010

Oh Fox News to you too....

I love Cee Lo Green's internet hit "F*ck You", but it just got that much better when, at the request of Steven Colbert, Cee Lo changed the lyrics of one verse from f*ck you to Fox News.

Drink it in:

Ain't that some sh*t?

November 9, 2010

Word Association

Ok, back in the day shrinks used to use word association to tell something about their patients.

Yeah, no idea if that really works.

Anyhow, just for fun, let's see where this takes me.

We'll start with a random word generator.

And the word is: Lost

Not going to think too much, just going to let this flow.

Let's see...




Back roads

San Francisco

Roads not straight




Why in the *&#% hell did you *&@#! make a right turn back there when you @#$% know that we wanted to go THAT way!!

Ahem. Yes.

No, that doesn't imply anything about me or my relationship with The Good Man. Why do you ask?

Oh, this is all hogwash this word association thing.

Ok, fine. Let's try again.

The word is: Liquid





Why the !@#$ing hell is the cat wet? Did you leave the shower door open again? Or was she drinking out of the toilet? I HATE it when she drinks out of the toilet!


Ok, one more.

The word is: Corn

Which just makes me think: I am Cornholio! I need TP for my bunghole!

Yeah. There you go. Sophisticated psychoanalysis technique to Beavis and Butthead in three easy steps.

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind.

November 8, 2010

So Thoroughly Nice

Despite the date showing that today is Monday, we're going to pretend it is Thursday so I can meet my weekly Theme Thursday post.

This week's theme challenge is: Sand

Ah sand.

Beautiful beaches. Swimming in the surf. Sand in your shorts.

Really, sand is sort of a metaphor for life. So useful. So inviting. So "ow, damn!" all in one substance.

I wanted to do something different with this theme so I went to my favorite free stock photo site, had to go several pages down, and found the image that really grabbed my attention.

Now we're talking sand!

If you are a horse person, then you know *exactly* what that horse it up too. Just back from a nice long ride and back at the barn, the saddle has come off, the saddle blanked peeled back. The moment that trusty steed is turned loose he will drop awkwardly to the ground.

All four hooves will then swing up in the air and a much happier horse starts wriggling around, scratching a sweaty back in the sand with SUCH a look of joy. Some horses will even groan a bit while they scratch.

Ya can't help but laugh.

It's a moment of joy so pure, it makes me wanna flop down in the sand and roll around just to see what all those sighs of contentment are about.

Photo by Sue Nagyova and provided royalty free from stock.xchng

November 5, 2010

The Artist's Way

You spend time refining your art. You take classes. You learn your tools. You seek out a mentor. You push your bounds and find your limits.

But you can never, ever predict what work you do that might capture the attention of others.

For me, with my photography, it's been about patience. About learning how to set up a shot. Understanding the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed) and how to apply it.

I study other people's photos. I figure out what I like about them and what I don't, and I learn. I try to replicate. I use the levers and switches and sliders and I take them to the very ends of their capability to see what I like.

And sometimes I get a really good shot. Something I'm excited to share.

Every once in a while, something special happens. Something like...a parade.

And I think to myself, "well, why not take the camera."

So there I am at the corner of Market and Powell in San Francisco, and trolley cars start rolling by carrying the players from this World Series winning team.

The light is terrible. Not only am I down in a canyon of tall buildings, but my subjects are in motion. I bump ISO, but that gets too grainy. I fiddle with white balance, one setting is too blue, the other too yellow. I mess around with my aperture. A little depth of field or a lot?

The parade is in full swing so I begin shooting away. I'm using my 70-300 lens so I can see faces.

Later, at home, I download the batch, some 200 in all. Most photos are blurred. Some turn out ok.

But there is one. Something magic. Something special. Something unpredictable.

And out of nowhere, six hundred and fifty people have looked at my photograph on Flickr.

That photo is below. It is San Francisco Giants players and best friends Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell. Aubrey has just handed Pat a Bud Light.

Oh, might I add...Aubrey is wearing his Cooperstown bound red "Rally Thong" around his neck.

November 4, 2010

*crickets chirping*

Wow. Sure is quiet around here.

World Series is over. Key to the city handed out. Parade is finished. Streets swept.

Good. Excellent.

So. What else is going on?

Football? Hmm. The 49'ers. Played in London. Beat Denver. Brought their record to 2-6.


Basketball? Not my thing.

Hockey? Meh. Maybe.

Nope. This begins the long offseason.

As Bart Giamatti once opined, baseball is designed to break your heart. "The game begins in the spring, when everything is new...and leaves you to face the fall alone.”




Pitcher and catchers report in 102 days. (Feb. 13, 2011)

Meanwhile. All the fun is gone. The good times are over. The party has walked away.

Funny what totally appropriate image the "randomizer" button will net you on stock.xchng.

"Cow's Behind" by Alix Morse provided royalty free via stock.xchng

November 3, 2010

Well, well, well. What do we have here?

Why look at that. It is San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy!

Hey Boch...what's that you got there? Oh. Right.

The 2010 World Series Trophy.

Yeah baby!

Photo by Karen Fayeth, taken at today's victory parade through downtown San Francisco!


November 2, 2010

Yeah, baby!

It's good. It's very, very good.

(Image borrowed from NewMexiKen)

Test your Giants/Rangers World Series knowledge. I scored spectacularly bad....

November 1, 2010

When the Veil Thins

Tomorrow Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is here again.

When all the plastic spiders and smashed pumpkins of Halloween have passed, I turn to this well known Latin American holiday to celebrate my friends and family who have passed on to the next journey.

Other cultures have similar holidays and traditions, the Bon Festival in Japan, All Saints Day in Europe, but it's the Mexican version of Dia de los Muertos that resonates with me.

The belief, loosely, is that on this day the veil between the living and the dead is thin, and so offerings of favorite food, booze, decorations and memorabilia will be seen, enjoyed and appreciated by our deceased.

I think Dia de los Muertos appeals to me because it brings a sense of humor and fun to a painful, somber thing. It's a chance for a community to come together and remember. To feel close to those we have lost.

Personally, just this past August, I withstood a very deep loss. Tomorrow I will remember my friend who died way too young.

I will remember my father who passed away almost six years ago. My mom will certainly remember her husband. Together, we keep his memory alive.

Grandparents, friends, family, people I hardly knew, famous people. We all deserve to be remembered by those we've left behind.

My grief is a slippery thing. Sometimes so overwhelming, I don't know how I can sit up and walk through the world. Other days, it's like a dull noise in the background. Remembering on a day like tomorrow helps keep me grounded. Keeps me sane.

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