guilt : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

Woke Up This Morning…

…and put on my cranky pants. The extra heavy-duty pants of crank.

Whoooo doggies am I cranky. And what’s worse, I know I’m cranky and can’t seem to step out of it.

I just blasted a coworker who sent a really inane request over to my team. To be fair, it is a REALLY inane request and something needed to be said. However, saying “this request needs additional definition and will be challenging to deliver in the time frame requested” is different from turning on both fire hoses to full blast.

Yeah. I did that. The full blast thing.

I apologized. Yes, I did. I said “I don’t believe this is an appropriate request but I was wrong to blast you for that.”

Being humble makes me feel bad about myself and my actions. It was the right thing to do, but also makes me a bit more cranky. Over the course of my now twenty year career I have been blasted right and left, and usually without remorse.

Leadership up to the CEOs of large companies have had some harsh words that landed on me. This includes one senior level executive who said to me and a peer as we presented a project we had worked on that needed approval: “You two are f—ed, your analysis is f—ed, now get the f— out of my office!”

Not one of my best days at work.

One might say, well, if you have been blasted by successful leaders who did so without remorse, then why do you feel bad about it?

Because I hated being blasted. I hated being treated like something lower than a piece of crud. I thought it was wrong every time it was done to me. It was inappropriate, and it was demoralizing, so why would I perpetuate this behavior?

Some might say that apologizing is a sign of weakness. Maybe. Or maybe it’s a sign of strength to not act like a temper tantrum throwing toddler, or at least owning it and apologizing when one does. Who knows?

But, some might say, some of the great leaders of our modern times including Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison (among many others) are known for their profound temper tantrums. Sure. You don’t hear the stories of the great leaders who acted with grace. That doesn’t sell newspapers.

At this point I should admit that I don’t know the right answer. I only have to live with myself today, tomorrow, years ahead. I have to lie down at night and decide if the way I treated people was the way I wanted to be treated. I have to own who I am and how I act.

I can’t reconcile venting my cranky pants on someone and not owning that and apologizing. There is a difference in being firm and a bit demanding and being a jerk.

May I always work hard so I know where that line lands.









Image found here.




The M Stands Accused

On or about the day of September 18 in the year of our Lord two thousand and twelve, the defendant was seen both loitering and malingering in the hallway at my place of employ.

Slouching fetchingly on the top of a lateral file cabinet. The tramp.

And on said date, on or about 3:42pm, the defendant stands accused of calling out in a beckoning, sultry, irresistible manner.

So alluring was this siren call that no reasonable man or woman, especially woman, could be expected to maintain even a modicum of self-control in the face of such raw, base power.

As a result of the defendant’s irresponsible actions, the victim was thusly lured to the defendant and did partake of the goodies offered thereto.

And it was good.

However, the defendant now stands accused of gross misconduct, excessive deliciousness, and being the addictive combination of sugar, fat and salt.

The victim hereby claims damages to her waistline, thighs and double chin. And a big pile of guilt on her shoulders for all to see.

And so, you criminal, you plague of society, you vile tempter, how to you plead in the face of such strong allegations?



Peanut Butter M&M’s, you sneaky bastards!


Playing silent eh? We’ll see about that.

You and your little friends, you are going to be put away someplace for a very long time.

A very, very long time.

Git in mah bellay!





Image from Terribly Awesome.



Friend, Grant Me Absolution

It was, on a Fall day in 1988 that I first crossed paths with the girl who would become my best friend in the whole wide world. Mother of my god kids. Forgiver of all my aberrant behaviors. Supporter of my dreams.

She is the best.

It’s now twenty-four years later and she’s still closer than family and knows me better than I know myself.

Several months ago, over iced tea on her back patio near Radium Springs, she invited The Good Man and me to come out to New Mexico for a summer camping trip. Now I adore camping and was totally on board. The Good Man and I were already talking about flying or driving and how long we should stay.

And then life does what it does. It got in the way.

When my best friend asked me to spend some time in Quemado, it was February and I had nothing on the calendar that would inhibit a vist.

Five months, lots of overtime hours, and three countries later, my outlook wasn’t as clear.

So I was a bit sad to have to tell my friend that no, I wasn’t going to be able to go camping. I had just got back from London and The Good Man was up to his eyeballs in alligators with work too.

And money is always a question mark.

Damn it all to hell…we just couldn’t swing it.

I was supposed to be out there charring marshmallows and hiking where there is no mobile signal over this past weekend.

*sigh*

When I was still in flux about going, I happened to get an email from a joint called The Uptown Theatre in Napa. This is where I saw Rosanne Cash and Hugh Laurie and it’s rapidly become one of my all time favorite venues for live music.

Seems this little ol’ band called The Mavericks have reunited and were doing a show at the Uptown. The same weekend I should have been going camping.

The Mavericks are more than a fantastically talented band, they are an integral part of my life and the life of my best friend and our friendship. Their album “Music For All Occasions” is a landmark in our world. We love this band. A lot. Their music sums up a lot of what the late 1980’s and early to mid 1990’s mean to both of us.

It’s a soundtrack to our most cherished memories.

So when I saw they were playing a show nearby, I hedged my bets. All along, I planned to go to New Mexico, but I bought the not very expensive tickets too. If I lost out on the tickets in favor of New Mexico, so much the better. If we couldn’t swing camping, then The Good Man and I would take in a show.

Eventually we had to make the tough choice to stay back in California while my dearest friend and family went out to the woods and enjoyed the best of New Mexico.

Which meant The Good Man and I went to Napa. Being Catholic raised, the guilt was overwhelming. Both my best friend and my best guy should have been with me that night. It felt wrong to be at a Maverick’s show without her. Like I was being both a bad friend and a bad person.

That said, I still enjoyed the hell out of the show. This band is amazing! I last saw them back in 1998 when I had just moved to the state of California and seeing them live was a tonic to my confused, tortured soul. My friend and I lamented back then that she wasn’t able to come out for that show.

And here I went and did it again.

Gah!

Every day I’m checking the band’s webpage to see if they have added any dates. If they come anywhere near New Mexico or Northern California again, we’re are going! No if’s, and’s, but’s or international demands from my Boss.

We’ll bring the godkids too. They need to know what we know.

Confession is good for the soul, right? I hope so. I called my best friend yesterday but her phone went right to voicemail. That means she’s still out there where email and Facebook and all the rest don’t really matter.

If I don’t catch her by phone maybe she’ll see this post and know that I went and saw our favorite band without her (again!), but I was thinking of her the whole time. And that’s the truth.

Plus, I’ve done way worse things over the course of our twenty-four years and she’s forgiven me. I think we’ll be all good.

Should I tell her that I had tickets in the second row? Hmm. Maybe not.

Should I tell her that I met and had a nice chat with Robert Reynolds after the show? No, I probably shouldn’t.

That might be pushing it a bit.

_______________

A couple photos from the incredible show:




Lead singer, the amazing Raul Malo




Original members, reunited. Raul Malo (l), Paul Deakin (c), Robert Reynolds (r)



All images Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Photos taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ App.



Sunday, Police Action Sunday

Yesterday I drove to the small downtown section of a small town to meet with a group of photographers. It was our scheduled monthly get together.

I pulled into a parking spot and as I put ‘er in park, I noticed a police car parked right behind me.

As I opened my door to exit the vehicle, I noticed a uniformed police officer approaching me.

Me: “Hello, officer.”

PO: (stoic) “Hello.”

Me: “What can I do for you?”

PO: “You can’t make that left turn you just made.”

ME: *puzzled look* Then I consider being a cutup and saying, “Oh, but I can! I just did! Wanna see me do it again?” But I rein in my inner smart alec.

PO: (looking at my puzzled look) “You made a turn across the lane to get into this parking spot. You can’t do that.”

Me: “Really? Oh shit.” (<- yes, I actually said oh shit to a cop. Not the brightest bulb that Albuquerque Public Schools has ever turned out.) PO: "Yes, really. It's painted there on the pavement (he points) and there's a sign on most of the light poles down the street. (he points again)" Me: (now sheepish because I really hadn't noticed) "Oh. Ok. Do you need to see my license?" PO: "No, that's ok. I'm just warning you. Don't do it again." Me: (quavering) "Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. Have a good evening." PO: (walking back to his car) "You too, ma'am." Me: (inside voice) shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit Once I got done quaking in my rain boots, I realized...that police officer did me a solid favor. See, my last encounter with the black and whites was less than 18 months ago. Why does that matter? In California, every eighteen months you can take an online driver's ed class which masks a point on your license. You only get one every 18 months. So if I got a ticket I was plum outta luck in terms of my insurance. I was a little down and dour that day while headed to my meeting, but the rare kindness of the police officer brought a little decency to my gray and rainy day. Plus, I recalled one of the few bits of advice I carry with me from driver's ed classes. A police officer came to speak to us. He said, "Always be courteous to a police officer. ALWAYS. It might make the difference between getting a ticket and getting off with a warning." Thank YOU, McGinnis School of Driving.





Photo by Nick Cowie and used royalty free from stock.xchng.


Since You Asked Nicely

Today during my internet wanderings, I spent some time with my friends over at CNN where an article titled “7 digital mistakes to avoid in 2011” caught my eye.

The story prefaces itself by asking you nicely not to do the seven things listed.

So ok. If asked nicely, I’ll consider it.

Let’s check out my report card on the Thou Shalt Not list:

1. Send an unspeakably rude e-mail to one of my employees or co-workers.

Ok, yes. I’ve done this. I’ve gone to rehab. When I feel the vitriol spewing from my fingers as they fly around the keyboard, I usually finish the email, then hit “save as draft” and let it sit a while.

Also, when writing a tacky email, I always delete the name from the address field on the email so I don’t accidentally send the unedited and unfinished email (done it! Lived to tell the tale).

So on item 1, I’m all good. Next!

2. Chase a messy breakup with sad-clown Facebook statuses and hours of sob-wracked ex stalking.

Ew. No. I hardly use Facebook, so no. Ok, I *have*…in the past…been known to mildly cyber stalk an ex. Mostly to see what they are up to these days, but those years are done.

I did have an ex contact me a few years back. We’d ended amicably and I was fairly happy to hear from an old friend. Then he pulled a Brett Favre and I got skeeved. I now avoid online contact with exes. Just better that way.

Next!

3. Waste everyone’s time with inane tweets.

Yeah, I could be guilty of this. But then again, so can anyone who participates in Twitter. I recently read an article where a celeb compared tweets to mental farts shared with the world.

Fair enough!

Let’s call this one, guilty as charged.

Next!

4. Keep my wedding photo as my Facebook profile pic for five months or more.

No worries there.

Next!

5. Leave offensive, sexist, childish or straight-up stupid comments.

Offensive? No.

Sexist? Nah.

Childish? Maaaayyybe.

Straight-up stupid? Certainly not! I’m sure my comments are always brilliant, insightful and add value to situation!

*ahem*

Next!

6. Drunk-text.

Yeeeah. I’ve done it. Was once a big offender. Just ask The Good Man, recipient of far too many drunk texts. However, now that he’s usually around when I’m having a couple sips, I don’t need to drunk text him anymore.

I am recovered (mostly).

And finally:

7. Peck away at my smartphone during dinner.

Ok. I’m guilty. I own it. There you go, my New Year’s resolution. It might be the one I can stick to because, as the article says, “…let’s face it, those whiskey binges and late-night Cheetos you swore off (of) on 1/1/11 aren’t going anywhere.”

True, true. Whiskey binges and late-night Cheetos are a thing of beauty.



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