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by Karen Fayeth

Taking Myself Way Too Seriously

What follows is me working out some “stuff” up there in the ol’ brain pan. A bit indulgent to do this publicly, but maybe putting it out there helps someone else. Or makes me accountable for my own crap. Either way.

So here it is… I have been taking part in a Flickr group that challenges its members to do a new macro photo every week based on a theme the moderators choose.

I started participating on December 4th with this photo:

©2018 Karen Fayeth

I felt clever. Sassy. Like my photo was more creative and of better quality than the others in the group. Go me! I was rewarded with well over one hundred faves in the first day. Hey, fun!

So I kept going. Each week working hard and having fun doing these weekly photo challenges. Creating a new image every week. Some weeks I worked really hard (or agonized) over executing my idea.

Other weeks it came easy to me, I snapped a photo that was exactly what I wanted and went on about my day.

But always having fun and not taking it too seriously.

Until two weeks ago. Two weeks ago I stopped having fun and got deadly (overly) serious about my weekly photo entry.

Let me back up. This Flickr group is huge, over 13,000 members. Each Monday between 800 to 1,200 photos are posted for the theme. This means in order to function, the group must be tightly moderated. And it is. Tightly.

I both like and respect that there are heavily enforced rules for the group. But I also HATE it because I’m an *artist* and The Muse can’t be contained by your silly rules. I should be able to break them because MY work is the best.

Yeah, okay. I own it. I got weird. I hate it when I get weird.

The week’s theme was monochromatic, and I turned this one in:

©2018 Karen Fayeth

I really like this photo. I worked hard on it and felt really good about it. I feel like I did something worthwhile. Artistic.

Less than ten minutes after adding it to the group, a moderator pulled it, telling me “This is not monochromatic, I can see both brown and green.”

I seethed. I stewed. I started looking at other photos in the group and found SEVERAL that also had tiny bits of another color that made it through the moderator’s net.

I bellowed about how unfair it was. I started making a list of all the other photos that were let through. I prepared to launch my vitriol on anyone who would listen and demand answers for my mistreatment. How could they hate my photo so much!?!?! (I know, I know)

Then I went to talk to The Good Man, and as I detailed all the ways I had been wronged, I heard myself. I listened to my words and realized…aw damn…I’d stopped having fun. I was this worked up over a photo on Flickr in a group where the only prize is some eyes seeing the photo and some faves.

Yeah. I hit the wall pretty hard. This came just a day after struggling with a story for a writing contest that just would not gel for me. I hadn’t given myself enough time to work on it and the story would not come together no matter how hard I tried. I tried to shotgun it and I failed hard. I did still turn in the story but I know it’s not good.

You see, I wasn’t mad at that stupid unfair moderator. I was mad at me.

And that’s no way to create. That is the antithesis of creativity. This dampens The Muse.

So I went all the way there and now I’m reeling myself back in. I swear. I sat my Muse and my brain down and we had a talk. Feelings were felt and admonitions were issued. Promises to be better. To loosen up. To remember why I do any of my creative work…to have fun. To let the creativity out. To create something.

And I’m better. I am. The following week I swore I wasn’t going to participate in the Flickr group again, but that was EXACTLY why I needed to get back in the game. So I made a photo based on the theme “in a bottle.”

Here’s my Valentine to myself. Green like the Hulk who gets very, very mad. Sweet like the victory of turning out a piece of art and something I really like. It also met the rules and made it past the moderators.

©2018 Karen Fayeth

Lesson learned. Scars formed. Exterior just a little bit tougher.

And this week? Try, try again.

The Same Sight, Different View

Growing up in New Mexico, I was used to being around a certain amount of wildlife. I knew from an early age: Stay away from rodents (bubonic plague), keep off the snakes (bitey) and if you happen across a bear, well, nice knowing you.

Ok, just kidding on that last part. Kind of.

My dad and brother were both avid hunters and I spent more than my fair share of time in the mountains and wilderness of New Mexico. Still some of my best memories.

I live in the Bay Area now, which is a huge urban area (seven million and counting!) that is surrounded by lots and lots of open land and wildlife.

When wildlife happens to wander into areas where a lot of people hang out, insanity ensues. It seems most folks weren’t raised with both a healthy respect and a dose of circumspect when it comes to wild animals.

I got to thinking about this because just two days ago, while running late to a meeting at work and trying to find a spot in a cramped parking lot, I narrowly avoided hitting both a white Honda Civic and a rather grumpy wild turkey.

And I don’t mean the kind of wild turkey that comes in a bottle.

The Honda (who was taking their half out of the middle of the road) just kept going but the turkey gave me a fair piece of its mind. I nodded knowingly and muttered “sorry turkey” and kept rolling.

When this happened, I remembered that about six months ago, we received an all employee bulletin regarding the turkeys that are running a bit rampant on our main facility.

Here is the text of that bulletin, with identifying information redacted:

Recently, an employee got too close to a wild turkey, and the bird flew up and brushed against her. The incident serves as an important reminder that the turkeys are untamed animals and need to be given space. Allow at least 10–15 feet of clearance, try not to turn your back on the birds if they are close, and do not feed them.

It sort of paints a visual picture for me of some lady sneaking up on a turkey and it going all hockey style hip-check on her.

Of course, I laughed my butt off when I got that bulletin because, well, sheeyah! Leave the wild things alone. I quickly emailed it to my best friend who passed it along to her husband and two kids because, coincidentally, they were turkey hunting in New Mexico (and not having much luck).

And since we have so many turkeys and deer and lots of other wildlife here at my place of employ, we also have mountain lions who think a nice turkey dinner and a nap is the right idea.

So while I’m enjoying lunch today and thinking about life, and my coworkers who are batbonkers crazy, I came to some conclusions.

1) People are weird.

2) Not everyone was granted the education I had regarding wild animals or animals in general. Though for the most part I think they mean well.

3) Don’t touch the bitey things.
    3a) Most animals will bite, even the tame ones.

4) Turkeys are not very agile. Skinny legs and big old body are all out of proportion. Still, I’m glad I didn’t hit that gobbler. That might have been sad.

5) Man I could go for a turkey sammich right about now. Anyone else?

Ok. Back to work. I’m headed out on foot to the next meeting.

Maybe I’ll have a brush with a turkey?

How exciting.

Not my photo, but taken at my place of work

Photo from the Bay Area Bird Blog.

The Irony Is Not Lost

These days I live in a fairly urban area and I also live near a major university, so this means driving around here proves to be quite a challenge.

I see a lot of people both young and old riding the roads on their bicycles or scooters and of course walking. There is even the occasional Segway. Though the most popular mode of transport by far seems to be bicycles.

Fundamentally, I don’t have an issue with people riding their bicycles. It’s exercise, it’s efficient, and it’s environmental. Plus it leaves more parking spots for me. Great!

The issue I do have, however, is some bicyclist’s complete and flagrant disregard for traffic laws. You know, running stop signs, not yielding to a yield sign, flowing with cars when they feel like and acting like pedestrians when they feel like.

My commute to and from work is pretty short, but can be frustrating as I traverse many busy streets with lots of crosswalks and stop signs and long lights. In addition to bicycles, I often have to tangle with students walking around with eyes glued to their smartphones darting out from between parked cars.

I really hate it most when I have the green light and as I start to roll a bicyclist runs the red light the other way and sails through the intersection with nary a care in the world.

The other day that big wheel of karma ticked about two and a half degrees to the right and I saw something so ironic it made me laugh and shake my head.

Ok, here’s the scenario:

I am driving up a busy two lane and mostly residential street. Traffic is moving, albeit at a fairly slow pace. I’d estimate I was doing something like 25mph.

I was hugging the yellow line because to my right were two guys decked out in stretchy shorts and tip-tap-clompy biking shoes riding on very fancy bicycles.

We were all cool. I saw them, they saw me. I made space and we traveled casually along, moving straight ahead on the road.

As we three came to an intersection some hipster chick on a pink bicycle with a plastic basket on the front does not slow for the stop sign on the cross street. She glides at full speed right into the intersection.

This causes the car coming the opposite way to screech to a halt. I slammed on my brakes too and the two bicycle guys next to me just kept going.

Because I guess bicyclists do that. When everyone around is braking, they just keep rolling because why not.

One of the guys finally saw Miss Hipster and locked up his very expensive racing bicycle brakes. The other wasn’t as quick on the brakes. As he came to a stop he ended up tapping her back wheel.

Hipster chick was totally oblivious. She wobbled a bit and just kept rolling on through.

Now dos Stretchy Pants are mad. They start shouting and screaming and arm waving at her about obeying stop signs and right of way and what the bleep was she doing.

So indignant these bicyclists got about obeying traffic laws. So, so righteous.

Hmm. Interesting.

Ironically so.

Image found here.

From The Whoa Fair New Mexico Files

September 24, 2012 by · Comments Off on From The Whoa Fair New Mexico Files
Filed under: aeroplanes, Albuquerque, amazing, awesome!, business is business, life, make it work, New Mexico, Opinions, play through, rules, safety, silly, truth is stranger than... 

Another news story to make me proud shake my head.

Oh Fair New Mexico, how I love you AND your government minions.


Homeland security official tried to take loaded gun on plane.

(CBS/AP) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – “Have Gun – Will Travel” was a popular TV western series in the late 1950s and early ’60s.

It is not, however, a recommended way to travel today, as New Mexico Homeland Security official Anita Tallarico discovered when she tried to take a loaded gun past an Albuquerque airport security checkpoint.

Tallarico, the state’s Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, told Albuquerque Sunport police that she forgot to leave the weapon at home when TSA agents spotted it in her purse passing through a scanner.

CBS affiliate KRQE reports Tallarico says she was on her way to a funeral, was upset, and simply forgot about the gun. She was cited for unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon.

Airport police chief Marshall Katz says he’s not sure how a person of Tallarico’s position could make such a slip-up, but added that it happens frequently nationwide.

Tallarico’s gun was turned over to city police as evidence.


Little Old Lady (Not) From Pasadena

If it happens once, it’s an anomaly.

Twice, it’s a curiosity.

Three times, and it earns a blog post.

— Karen’s philosophy on blogging.

The first time it happened, it was a lazy Saturday morning and I was on the highway named 280 traveling in a southward direction. The Good Man and I had just destroyed a stack of pancakes up at a restaurant in Millbrae, and were headed home.

I was behind the wheel, which is rare. The Good Man usually takes the wheel and I navigate (poorly).

We whistled along and were cussing and discussing something when I rounded a curve and lo and behold, there waited a member of that exclusive club, the CHP.

Instinctively, I touched the brake pedal to slow my roll, and as I did, I looked at my speedometer to see just how bad the ticket was going to be.

Turns out, I was going the speed limit. And my touching the brakes only slowed me to under the limit.

Oh. Well. That’s curious.

The second time I was driving across the great state of Georgia and I was singing along with the 80’s on 8 station on Sirius. The rental car was a Jeep and since I drive a Jeep back home, I felt pretty damn comfy in the car. The straight six has power and the Georgia highway was open and easy, begging me to test the bounds.

As I whipped past a slower car in the right lane, just as my wheels tap-tapped over the state line into Alabama, I saw the white cruiser in the median. One of Alabama’s finest was waiting there to nab speeders as they crossed over the border.

Again, I touched my brakes. Again, I looked at the speedometer to realize I had been going three over the speed limit of 70. Hardly enough for the Alabama man to get excited enough to leave the median.

Finally, the third event was just this weekend. Again on 280, this time headed to San Jose. Again a cruiser parked by the side of the road with a LIDAR gun aimed out the window. Again the brake pedal. Again, I was already in the legal zone.

What, exactly, has happened to me?

Once upon a time, I was quite a speed demon.

I was the girl who used to test what going 100mph felt like on the roads between El Paso and Carlsbad. (sssh, don’t tell my Mom)

I am the girl who used to get in trouble with her folks every time I came home from college because they would time me and I always arrived too early. (You’d think I would have figured it out and taken a lunch break somewhere to eat up some time)

This is the same chick that likes to race Mercedes up a hill. (My Jeep has pulling power, donchaknow).

And now I’m little Miss Goes The Speed Limit? Miss Little Old Lady Who Only Drives The Car To Church On Sunday? Little Miss Law Abider?

Evidently so.

Except for one red light infraction two years ago on a no good, very bad day.

Suddenly going the speed limit seems, mostly, like the right pace for me.

This depresses me a little bit. But just a little.

Soon I’ll invest in an elongated sedan and I’ll use the cruise control and I’ll huff and puff about all those damn kids driving too fast.


Image from the Gilroy Dispatch

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