Filed under: addictions, art, artist, awesome!, Bay Area, blogging, business is business, California, chasing cowboys, country music, curious, da blues, dancing, daydreaming, edjumacation, fog, gratitude, growing up, homesick, ideas, latent childhood, learning, life, Love, make it work, melancholy, memories, mi corazon, Music, New Mexico, North Beach, nostalgia, Oakland, Opinions, overwhelmed, pondering, Rio Grande, San Francisco, show and tell, stories, where I come from, words
On the way to work this morning, I listened to legendary San Francisco radio station KFOG. They’ve recently had a bit personnel shakeup and it turns out their new morning guy is former MTV VJ Matt Pinfield. I’m not totally thrilled with the change, but I will say this: he is able to pull pretty decent guests.
This morning it was Matt Nathanson and it was a good interview. They talked music and influences, and Pinfield asked what I thought was an intriguing question.
“What is the one song that changed your life?”
For Mr. Nathanson, it was “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls. He said it made him want to play acoustic guitar and changed the course of his music. Pretty cool answer and song.
When they cut to commercial, I was left wondering what my answer would be. What is the one song that changed my life?
Well sheesh, that’s hard question. Music is so integral to my life that it can’t possibly be one song. There have been many songs that have changed my life and there are unwritten, un-thought of songs on the path ahead that will certainly change my life again.
As I drove and pondered, I was able to come up with a bunch. Here are just four of a much longer list.
Let’s dig in:
1) It’s 1991 and I’ve just gotten an undergraduate degree and about to start my MBA program. Right before the new semester began, my boyfriend broke up with me. I was quite into that particular boyfriend, pretty sure he was “the one,” and the breakup hit me like a ton of bricks.
I wallowed deep into a lot of sad country music, but one song in particular was a constant companion.
“Are You Still Within The Sound of my Voice” by Glen Campbell
There was a place down on the Rio Grande where he and I used to go, so I would drive there, bring out a blanket and my boom box and find a place on the banks of the river. I would play that song over and over again while crying, sobbing, keening. I rose the level of that dusty ol’ river with my salty tears.
Glen and that song got me through it. I can still hardly listen to that song, it’s so etched into my memory and DNA. But that song helped me make the transition back to good. It made me stronger. It did, indeed, change my life.
2) It’s 1994 and I’m living in Albuquerque, fresh out of college, gainfully employed and living that single girl life on my own. I’d lost a lot of weight and was feeling sassy and strong.
My musical tastes still ran toward country, but I was starting to listen to a lot of other music. In fact my musical education expanded a lot since there was a whole lot of music in the 90’s that was changing the world.
I’d caught the end of a song on the radio that got my attention, but I wasn’t sure what it was.
A few days later I was riding in an old Jeep CJ that was open to the wind with radio playing loud. That song came on, those now easily identifiable guitar chords, and I asked the driver to turn it up.
I was super late to the party on this song, but on that day, really hearing the song, my life changed.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
Oh muh lord. Of course we all know the impact of Nirvana now, but back then, it was unlike anything I’d ever heard. I just knew I needed more. A lot more.
I bought “Nevermind” on CD and played it over and over and over. I had never heard an artist express themselves like that. I sang along with angry lyrics while the music (and musician) spoke to me in ways I still don’t understand.
3) It’s 1997 and I’ve moved to the Bay Area and I’m spending all of my time in San Francisco’s North Beach where my musical education took a turn toward the Blues.
There were a couple bars I knew how to get to and went to all on my own. A little girl with hayseeds in my hair, the employees and the musicians took me in. I became part of their family and they mine.
Blues music rolled in waves down Grant street back then and I’d start at the Savoy and work my way down. Grant & Green, Lost and Found, The Saloon.
Then there was a man named Willie who belonged to the street, but was still part of our family. More than once he protected me from the less kind aspects of city streets. He was a talented man with a bit of a drinking problem, but oh could he play that harp.
He’d tap his foot in time and play the blues. Then I’d go inside the bars and hear the musicians dive deep into history and play those same songs.
There was one that made me take notice, made me sit up. The beginning of what became a beautiful blues education. The door opened and I walked through.
“Matchbox” written by Blind Lemon Jefferson
On one night I heard four different musicians do the song, each putting their own fingerprint on it. This one song took a hold of me and never let go.
4) It’s 2015 and I’m with the love of my life, the one who actually is the one, and we’re attending a show at a small but awesomely funky venue in our new hometown. The act is Radney Foster and going to the show is like coming home.
I wrote a lot about why that night itself mattered right here on this little ol’ blog.
But more than that, Radney’s music was a core part of my college years and my life. A life I left when I moved to California. It was mostly the right decision, but damn I often feel like I left a huge piece of myself behind.
So many people here in the Bay Area. Crowded. Packed in. People who don’t understand the emptiness you find in New Mexico. The wide open spaces. The ease.
A lot of people here who don’t understand New Mexico, don’t understand what matters to me, and sure as hell don’t listen to country music.
And now here was Mr. Radney Foster standing on a stage in Northern California. There were even people other than me came to see the show. People who get it. It was a mind bender.
He did a lot of the familiar songs, and late in the show he introduced a new song. Told us that his wife grew up in Oakland. How he was at his in-law’s house in the Oakland hills and watched a gorgeous Bay Area sunset. Then he told his wife “I’m going to be late for dinner,” because he had to get down a song.
“California” by Radney Foster
It made me cry a little because it’s a beautiful love ode to California, written by someone from West Texas. A desert rat like me who gets it, was there back in the day, and understands why California.
It’s hard to explain to folks back home, but now I have the perfect musical explanation. In the following weeks I played it over and over again. This song let me know it’s okay to have my heart in both New Mexico and California. This song brought peace. Healing.
Truly life changing.
Whew. Yeah. Okay. I could probably go on. This list expands and grows the more I think about it.
I bet you are thinking too. Running through the soundtrack of your life and remembering the songs that mattered. The songs that changed your life.
It’s worth the journey. Feel free to share here or on Facebook. I’d love to know which songs changed your life.
Image used royalty free and found here.
Filed under: Aggies, Albuquerque, awesome!, backyard, balloon fiesta, baseball, borracho, gratitude, green chile, growing up, history, homesick, laffs, latent childhood, learning, life, make it work, memories, mi corazon, Music, New Mexico, nostalgia, Opinions, play through, pondering, show and tell, tradition, wayback machine, zia
Recently, as I perused the pages of Facebook, I came across a Newscastic (read clickbaity) article with a New Mexico topic. I took the bait so you don’t have to.
The title of the article is:
They said to pick a side, so I did.
Herewith, the 11 so called rivalries (many of which came well after the day I was born, by the way) and my pick for each.
1) Comanche vs Candelaria
We can all agree not Montgomery, right? My preference always was and will always be Comanche, since it was quite close to the house where I grew up.
Sideline here, I looked up the house where I grew up on Google Street View. Wow, hardly recognize it. Brought a little tear to my eye.
Back in my day Comanche had way less traffic than Candelaria and made it worth taking, even with all of the stoplights. Who knows how it goes today? Maybe my ABQ folks can let me know.
2) Twisters vs Golden Pride
Have I been out of the state so long I don’t know what Twisters is? Had to look it up. Established in 1998. Psh! No.
Golden Pride (est 1972) all the way.
3) Sadies vs El Pinto
Isn’t the right answer first one then the other?
Okay, okay, look, I grew up in the days when Sadies was located in a bowling alley. That’s the kind of clientele they drew. El Pinto was always nice, a little more upscale (and pricey).
So to me it’s Sadies if you want casual and El Pinto if you want nice. Even with the lovely Sadies stand-alone restaurant, I stand by that rule of thumb.
Verdict: No pick, love ’em both in different ways
4) Rio Grande vs Alameda
Shrug. No opinion. I was a Northeast Heights girl. Didn’t get down either very often. Probably Alameda, based on my limited memories.
5) The Shins vs Brokencyde
Who? I thought this was “rivalries since the day you were born.”
Let’s go with neither. How about Joe King Carrasco, who is not from ABQ but played the hell out of it back in my day. Yeah.
6) UNM vs New Mexico State
I believe my feelings are this matter are abundantly clear.
And when we win this game, we’ll buy a keg of booze, and drink it to the Aggies til we wobble in our shoes.
Best. Fight song. Ever.
7) Eldorado vs La Cueva
Richie rich versus the really Richie rich. Who cares? Not me.
Del Norte for the win.
8) Sandia vs Rock Quarry
For skiing? Sandia. Oh Sandia and your bare dirt patches. Your hard icy spots. Your imperfect but nearby skiing, how I miss you.
9) La Cueva Skatepark vs Los Altos Skatepark
Hey! You children get off my lawn!
10) Scorpions vs Dukes
Those Dukes are comin’ up swinging. No contest whatsoever. Love the Dukes. Likely because I am a huge fan of the sport of baseball.
While I love the sport of hockey and have nothing against the Scorpions, it just never seemed…right…to have hockey in the middle of the desert. (Yes, yes, I know about the Coyotes)
Side note, the Dukes used to have dollar dog and dollar draft days. Wow there are some games I can’t remember but had fun.
11) Sandhill cranes vs Balloons
Stop it Newscastic, you’re drunk. This is a ridiculous question. What, because they both fly?
Here’s the answer, hot air balloons in the morning, sandhill cranes at sundown. Owl burgers all day long.
Okay, ABQ folks, what are your picks?
Image found here.
Filed under: Adulting, anxiety, awkward, Be Better!, Boss Lady, business is business, crazy, disappointed, disapproving boss, don't want!, gratitude, learning, life, make it work, Opinions, play through, polite, pondering, self esteem issues, sigh, stories, truth is stranger than..., weirdity, work
It seems as each year goes by, I get a little more awkward. I mean, I’ve never really been cool as the other side of the pillow, but over time it seems it’s tougher and tougher to just, you know, maintain.
Yesterday, I heard that one of our young intern employees will be leaving the company. I don’t know the guy that well, but he helped on a few projects I worked on and I found him to be an all around good person and hard worker.
As a manager and mentor, I wanted to stop by to thank him for his work, encourage him in his next role and offer to be a reference if he needed.
It’s the kind of thing I wish a few more people in leadership roles would have done for me in my career. I certainly remember with much gratitude those that did.
So I had a good opportunity during the busy day yesterday. I walked to his cubicle and stopped to ask, “Hey, I hear you are leaving tomorrow?” When he confirmed, I said, “Just wanted to thank you for your hard work and support. You have been invaluable to us. I hope you are able to find a new position very quickly. You will bring so much value wherever you land next.”
He thanked me and started talking about how he really loves the culture here at our company and how he has liked the job and hopes he finds something equally supportive. And how much he appreciates all of the leadership here and……you get the drift.
As he’s talking, my left eye began to betray me. I have terribly dry eyes and it’s also allergy season. Before I knew it, a tear welled up and slid onto my cheek.
And the kid noticed. He saw the tear and kind of stopped speaking.
“Um,” *awkward laugh* “Yeah, sorry man,” I said as I wiped the tear away. “I’m not crying, it’s just allergies.”
“Oh.” He said, trying to be nice but now a little weirded out.
“Hey, you know, dry eyes, allergies, kind of funny right! Like I’m so broken up right now because you are leaving, ha ha ha….” Then I awkwardly reached out to lightly punch him in the arm.
Which he awkwardly took to mean I was going in for a hug.
So yeah. There was a clumsy punch-hug thing that happened. I quickly stepped back and said “Hey, yeah, good luck! Let me know if you need a reference or anything!” and then scuttled off like the bottom dwelling weirdo that I am.
Lots of people might say, “But Karen, these kinds of things happen to everyone sometimes.”
I might reply with a maniacal laugh, “If only these kinds of things happened sometimes. How about all the time?”
So, let’s bright side this thing: 1) No one else saw this sad awkward exchange, 2) the guy is leaving the company and so I only have to face him in the break room for one more day and 3) odds are low our paths will cross again soon. I mean maybe, but it’s unlikely.
Okay, I’m grateful for my blog-as-confessional as a place to work out the feelings around these kinds of things.
Onward to my next awkward encounter!
Nah man, it’s totally allergies. I swear!
Filed under: anxiety, automobiles, awkward, commuting, cranky, cursing, don't want!, fail, first world problems, irritated, life, make it work, Opinions, overwhelmed, play through, pondering, sigh, work
File this under “The Joys of Owning a 15-Year-Old Vehicle”
Yesterday was a weird day. I mean, when you are me most days are weird, but yesterday was especially so.
To kick off the festivities, I forgot my work badge and had a meeting in a special super secure location. It was okay, I simply had to run the security gauntlet which included one security guard keeping a sharp eye on me while the other spoke in low tones to the Human Resources Department.
Turns out I’m still an employee so they grudgingly let me through.
After the meeting, I went back to my building and because I didn’t have my badge, I couldn’t get into the garage. The alternative was to park on the street outside.
After parallel parking, I gave my car a visual sweep because this neighborhood has a pretty bad smash and grab problem. Satisfied that there was nothing of any value in the Jeep, I headed inside.
At the end of the day, weary from a long day of solving other people’s problems and fighting fires, I walked to my car to discover that during the course of the day someone had smacked hard into the back bumper of my beloved hoopty. Someone in a white car by the looks of the stripe now tattooed into my black bumper.
Joke is on them, under that bumper is a solid steel towing package that is attached to the frame of my treasured Jeep. My bumper is a bit dented but they caught the worst of it, that is for certain.
With a sigh and a shrug, I got into the driver’s seat and I thought “something looks different.” My tired eyes roved around the Jeep, heart sinking, expecting something bad.
That’s when I saw my rearview mirror wedged between the passenger seat and the floor.
They smacked my bumper so damn hard it knocked the mirror off my windshield! Sonovabiscuit!
Let’s be fair, at fifteen years of age that mirror likely wasn’t very strong in it’s moorings anyway. But kind of a nuisance to see it laying on the floor.
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I never really realized how often I look in the rearview mirror when I drive. It’s a lot. Which I suppose is good.
On the plus side, with no mirror in my line of view it was a lot easier to see the crazy college kids who rabbit out from between cars in my neighborhood. Next week is their Spring Break so they are especially hoppy lately. (nothing compared to finals week though, oh my)
So yeah, my tired old Jeep is a little worse for the wear. I will call in an insurance claim because parking around here is so weird that this isn’t first smacking the bumper has taken.
The insurance claim is a crapshoot, the cost to fix it may be more than the vehicle is worth. We’ll see. Maybe they can factor in how much the vehicle means to ME? Anyone? Huh?
Ah well, I have the side mirrors to guide me home and some sort of made up inspirational quote about not looking too much in the rearview.
And I thought happiness was Lubbock, Texas in my rearview mirror.
Image found on Pinterest, attribution included on the image.
Filed under: amazing, awesome!, backyard, Bay Area, beautiful, Boss Lady, business is business, California, Celebration, cha-cha-changes, cloudy, daffodils, flowers, giddy, gratitude, happy dance, iPhone, iPhoneography, latent childhood, life, light, Love, Mother Nature, Opinions, optimism, photography, pondering, rain, show and tell, spring, spring fever, sunshine, woo hoo!, work, yes boss, zen
I’m incredibly in love with that harbinger of Spring, the yellow daffodil.
Sunshine on a stem.
©2016 Karen Fayeth
I adore going to Trader Joe’s to pick up a bunch of tightly closed buds then later at home snipping the ends, placing the stems in water and watching a fireworks display.
Yesterday we sat at the table where this vase is placed and I swear these buds were busting open right before our eyes.
©2016 Karen Fayeth
I took a big bunch to work today and have enjoyed so many of my coworkers (and my boss) coming by to ooh and aah.
“They are just so sunshiny” is the general consensus.
And they are.
Unless I’m being all moody and arty and stuff and go for the black and white on the desk of my brand new office (yay me!). Then they are regal and proud and still very beautiful.
©2016 Karen Fayeth
And because I’m goofy for the daffydils, here is a Kaleida Cam shot:
©2016 Karen Fayeth
Ok, well, I’ve about exhausted the topic of daffodils. Love ’em!
Don’t even get me started on tulips. Oh sigh, how I love Spring.
Even in the middle of this gray rainy Northern California day, I look at tulips and daffodils and feel entirely optimistic.
All photos ©2016 Karen Fayeth, taken with an iPhone6 using the Camera+ app, the Lenka app (for black and white) and the KaleidaCam app. All photos subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page.