Filed under: addictions, Adulting, angry, anxiety, automobiles, awesome!, awkward, Bay Area, Be Better!, business is business, choices, cranky, cursing, drama, driving, evil glee, first world problems, humility, in my 'hood, irritated, karma, kerfuffle, learning, life, love and marriage, make it work, manners, meditation, Oakland, Opinions, overwhelmed, play through, polite, resolutions, safety, show and tell, stories, stress, The Good Man, The More You Know..., traffic, zen
In my quest to 1) become a better person and 2) survive 2016 intact, several weeks ago I signed up for a mindfulness meditation class.
The instructor is lovely and the class is, well, relaxing. It makes me calmer and a better person in so many ways.
This whole meditation thing doesn’t really jibe with my New Mexico upbringing. Stress reduction is a bit different ’round here than it was there.
For example, where I live now, it’s awful hard to take a three-hour ride upon my favorite horse in order to relax. And driving out to Chopes for enchiladas and a beer is a longer drive than I can make in a day.
Meditation it is, then.
Last week, we had a long class discussion about the use of one’s car horn. How it’s not mindful or necessary to lay on the horn while traveling this world. How it can make things worse by scaring the other driver or making the other driver mad (and bad things come from that).
This is also in line with The Good Man and his rules for better living. Since we live in a more urban city than I’ve ever lived in before, he has asked me nicely give my horn honking a rest. These are tense times and occasionally I travel through tough neighborhoods. Who knows how the ol’ toot-toot will be received?
Really, this is all sage advice, both from the Vispassana teacher and the man I married.
Until yesterday, when I found myself in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood. Where the Chinatown in San Francisco is something of a tourist delight, the Oakland Chinatown is a serious ethnic neighborhood. It sits near Oakland’s downtown, so it’s busy, jam packed with traffic, and not to be taken lightly.
I’ve spent many an hour in Oakland’s Chinatown over my years and I love it. It had been a while, and was nice to be there again. I had a couple things on my shopping list that can only be found in that neighborhood.
As I rolled into the area, I made my way past city buses and double-parked cars, and was filled with glee to find a nice wide parking spot on the street just around the corner from where I needed to be. Score!
I carefully maneuvered over, waited while the car ahead loaded her kid in the car, had my blinker on the whole time and as I pulled forward to align and began to back into the spot, some $%^& started to pull head first into my spot.
Yay, verily, there was much laying on of horns. Oh yes. My beloved Jeep is equipped with not one but two bassy air horns that make it clear to whomever is on the receiving end that they have been properly honked. One firm flat-palm press lights up the hearing cavities of all nearby.
I held that Jeep horn with a solid hand, owing my destiny to all of the fabulous people throughout my years here in the Bay Area who taught me how to survive in a city. Indeed. I followed the playbook and hoped to hell this wouldn’t escalate into that driver getting out of their car.
Thus, as the interloper assessed the situation, she surely noticed my sixteen-year-old Jeep was far less shiny than her almost new SUV nosing into my spot. I held steady, knowing even then that the person backing in is at a disadvantage to the person trying to head in.
Finally the fancy car threw it in reverse and left, giving me an exaggerated shrug on the way by.
Here is the true confession: Damn did honking the hell out of my horn feel good. Like, real good. Like cold beer after a hard day of yard work. Like that first bite of a Chopes enchilada (egg and sour cream on top). Like finally getting out the splinter that is starting to fester.
I know it goes against everything my spouse and my learned teacher have asked of me. It wasn’t peaceful, nor kind. But damn did it feel good.
Almost too good.
Okay, okay. The horn honking is over. The satisfaction was quick and delicious. The endorphins rose and quickly dissipated.
Today I’ll rededicate myself to the peaceful life. To being more kind. To being more centered. To let traffic solve itself without the help of two weighty and meaningful Jeep air horns.
They don’t call meditation a practice for nothing. It takes work. Perfection is not expected. (I’ll add this note, I refrained from both cursing and arm waving in addition to the horn. It’s something to build on.)
Given the same situation, would I honk it up again? Hee, hee…probably.
Okay, okay. I’ll try harder.
Recycling one of my favorite photos. Image found here.
Image found here.
Filed under: Adulting, amazing, animals, anxiety, automobiles, awkward, backyard, Bay Area, California, changing seasons, cranky, creepy, don't bully me!, don't want!, drama, in my 'hood, indignant, iPhoneography, Jeep, kerfuffle, learning, life, make it work, miscellany, Mother Nature, Opinions, overwhelmed, photography, play through, show and tell, skeerdy cat, sleep deprived, speed, spiders, stress, truth is stranger than..., windows, work, worried, yucky
This morning, like most weekday mornings, I hopped into my trusty old Jeep, fired ‘er up and took off, careening toward my place of employment.
As I traversed one of my hometown’s very busy main roads, I glanced into my sideview mirror, as any safe driver would do.
As I glanced, I saw a little leggy burble and a pop and this thing emerged:
See the hinge for the mirror? It had somehow packed itself in there.
I should note that I was so startled that I had to pull over to the side of the street and consider my options. Also to take a photo to send to The Good Man. It was essential to document the situation in case my Jeep and I were later found suspended from a stop light, wrapped in silk and drained of fluids.
Let me zoom in a little closer for ya.
The Good Man refers to this time of year as “Chunky Spider Season.” It’s true, our current hometown is very, er, spidery. More than any place I have ever lived. And they are often quite big. And chunky.
At home, I park on the street near a tree and some brush. These eight legged demons seem to consider the Jeep part of their homestead. I often brush webs off every corner of the Jeep, including when they manage to string webs across my roof rack.
But this, today, goes beyond the pale.
How about an even closer look, because you need to know my fear.
After snapping photos, I cinched up, put on my determined face, then re-entered the roadway at speed hoping this sumnabitch would fly off in the wind. No such luck. It first hunkered down, then feeling carefree (I assume), it later spread all eight of its legs as though surfing the breeze.
Hitting speedbumps at a hard pace didn’t seem to help either.
Soon, I arrived at work and had to unroll this window to reach out and badge into the garage. Thankfully my new overlord didn’t seem to flinch much.
But it’s still there. Still hanging out like it owns my Jeep. Like I am just a pawn in its spidery game.
I am currently unable to exit the Jeep. This is my life now.
Someone please send help! To the passenger side, though.
The Good Man did some research based on photos and determined this is a Cross Orbweaver and that it isn’t poisonous. Fab. I’ll remember that when it singsongs my name and tells me to “come out and play.”
All photos ©2016 Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page.
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: Albuquerque, amazing, automobiles, awesome!, beautiful, blue sky, bragging, daydreaming, gratitude, heart, in my 'hood, iPhone, iPhoneography, jewelry, latent childhood, life, light, Love, make it work, melancholy, memories, mi corazon, mobile phones, Mother Nature, New Mexico, nostalgia, Opinions, photography, photowalk, play through, pretty, road trip, show and tell, sunshine, travel, wayback machine, where I come from, woo hoo!, zen, zia
I’ve already shared this photo on Facebook but I wanted to share it again here because I sure have been looking at this photograph an awful lot lately.
While spending a few fun days in New Mexico a couple weeks back, I went to Bien Mur to look for a couple of gifts. I haven’t been to Bien Mur since I was a teenager and it was so beautiful to be there on a sunny winter day.
The only sad part was that the shop had taken down their high shelves which used to house a collection of some of the most beautiful Kachina figures I have ever known. They are cemented in my memories. On this visit, the shop only had a few small Kachina figures. Perhaps the art of making the Kachina is waning? I sure hope not.
Anyhow, upon leaving Bien Mur, I took a right turn and headed east up Tramway, past the newish buffalo paddocks, and kept driving. The day was clear and bright and beautiful and I found that I had to immediately pull the car over and hop out and take it in.
The camera on the iPhone 6 is pretty good and I’ve discovered that the pano feature on the native camera app works pretty darn well.
After several photographs, I simply stood and stared. And stared. How I love the Sandia mountains. How I miss using them as my directional device (as in…”if the Sandias are on my right, then I must be headed north”). How I miss the beauty, the open valley, the terrain of my homestate.
It was so comforting to be back in the arms of the mountains that protected me in my youth. I’ve hiked, skied, and just stood atop that high peak. I believe the folds and curves of the Sandia mountains can be found in my very DNA.
Back here at the office, I showed the photo to someone and they asked me how much Photoshopping I had done. I replied “Well, I took out a contrail, that’s it.”
“But you boosted the color, right? I mean, look at that sky!”
“Nah,” I replied, “The sky really is that blue in the high desert.”
My coworker walked away thinking I was exaggerating.
That’s okay, fellow New Mexicans, we know the truth. It can just be our little secret.
My Fair New Mexico, our visit was all too brief. I count the days until we are together again.
Image Copyright 2014 © Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone6 and the native Apple Camera app with only the most minor of Photoshop work. Because who can improve on something that pretty?
Filed under: amazing, automobiles, awesome!, awkward, Be Better!, beautiful, cackle, California, commuting, crazy, don't want!, doubts, game face, kerfuffle, laffs, latent childhood, life, make it work, miscellany, obviously, Opinions, play through, pondering, scared, show and tell, sunshine, The More You Know..., work, worried, yucky
That moment when you are sitting at stoplight as a pedestrian crosses with the light in front of your headlights and you notice that the morning sun is giving this gentleman a solid backlighting. As he is directly in front of your view, you notice that the hairs that extend well past his nostrils are beautifully set to glowing by the golden California sun.
And you think to yourself, “Oh wow. That’s…well that’s something.” And you laugh alone in your car because why not. You can sing in there so why can’t you cackle like a dyspeptic hen in there?
And as you turn the corner and head into the parking garage you think to yourself. “Don’t laugh, sparky. There but for the grace of a nose hair trimmer go you.”
So then you surreptitiously check both barrels of your own breathing device to see if the protective filtering is tidy and in place.
And you realize that, you know, you could use a little trim yourself.
So you sit in the car and in the morning light of a California sunrise and you use the scissors from your small Swiss Army Knife to give a quick clip, just enough to let your sanity rest during the day that lies ahead. Because no one should have to worry all day long about the nostril streamers that suddenly seem to grow with less control than they once did.
And when done, you feel both satisfied and mildly crazy and kind of blind because why didn’t you notice a trim was in order when you looked at your tired face in the mirror this morning?
But alas, you did not. Then you vow to take care of this problem more fully later tonight. And you should probably put on your reading glasses and give the eyebrows a check too because I bet those are out of control.
And then you get out of your car and walk into the office and enter this crazy day in a crazy way with crazy hair growing in crazy places.
Did you ever have a day like that? Yeah, um, me neither.
Image found here.