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by Karen Fayeth

Getting Stronger as Things Get Weirder

This has been a weird year, right? I don’t think anyone will disagree. As I came sliding butt first into December, I was already disorganized and suddenly bowled over by work. By all measures, we did triple the volume of work we usually do and it was no small bit of effort to simply make it through December. But make it through we did.

In the smoldering ashes of 2016, I am working hard to get some order back to the chaos of my life. I firmly believe that being a little bit stronger, quite a bit more disciplined (and organized) and filled with more optimism will carry me through the slings and arrows of 2017.

To that end, I have returned to Morning Pages. If you have read The Artist’s Way, you are familiar with Morning Pages. The idea, according to Julia Cameron, is to prime the pump. Write three pages of stream of consciousness words every morning to get into the creative flow.

Instead of handwriting pages as suggested by Cameron, I use an online tool called 750words. That tool works a bit differently than the Artist’s Way describes, but that is okay too.

So as I sit here now on my fourth day of vacation, hallelujah, I am working on today’s words. I have fallen out of my writing discipline and I can tell I am rusty. Lots on my mind. It’s good to get back into the habit.

The best part of the 750words is that every once in a while, while priming the pump and working through the silt to get back into the flow, some solid words, some bon mots, some worthy thoughts come through.

Wanted to share these, because they may become my motto for the new year (Warning: there is some salty language, it that offends, look away):

…doubt is a persistent little bitch. Hope slides off like you are made of teflon, but doubt sticks like tar, or used up chewing gum or one of those gluey mocos you can’t quite get off your finger no matter how hard you shake. Patience and discipline, that is the kleenex to your glue moco and allows you to fly once more. The sturdy facial tissue that brings back hope.


Yeah, I have no idea what any of that means, but it made me feel good to write it. Like I was really tapping into something, so I decided to share it.

Hope your end of 2016 and planning for 2017 has better metaphors. I’ll keep working on mine.




Inspiring flowers made of kleenex. Is that hope I’m feelin’?





Image found here.




I’m So Arty. And Maybe A Little Farty.

It’s been two months now at the new gig and I’m really getting into it. The job, the management and the culture are all really in my wheelhouse. Even though I’m crazy busy and working hard, I really do like the job.

So I guess at sixty days into this gig I am making plans to hang around a while. When I went through new hire orientation, they talked up their employee activities program and mentioned that there are a lot of strong clubs here at the company. It seems most employees participate in at least one club. It’s not required, people just want to be involved.

Cool!

I took a look at the list of clubs and the one that jumped out at me was the photography group. Rock on! I haven’t been shooting much lately and I certainly need a kick in the butt. I belong to a photographer’s salon group where once a month we meet and critique images, but I felt like this new group would really expand my horizons.

I dropped an email to the co-presidents of the group, two female coworkers, who were listed on the webpage and told them I’d like to be part of the group. They answered pretty quickly and said they were actually the last year’s co-presidents (the webpage is out of date) and handed me off to the new leadership. In closing, one of the women said, “I’m so glad another woman is joining the group. It’s mostly men right now. They are all nice but it’s all men!”

Oh. Well ok! My photography teacher and mentor has spoken about this. She has been a professional photographer for a long time and has dealt with the male dominated world of photography for years. I’m unsure why it’s still so heavily male dominated, but fair enough. I know my work can stack up.

I got an invite to the online user group and to the meeting coming up next week. I also got access to the club’s site where members upload their photos. Each month there is a theme and a contest to pick a winner.

Whooo doggies, the photos on that page are really good but they are all very technical. I don’t feel a lot of emotion in the photos. Then I recalled that I work with mostly engineers and scientists. Yeah. These are the kind of folks who will sniffily say they only shoot in manual and can calculate the exposure triangle in their heads.

I have taken other photography courses, including a class from a well-known and well-respected landscape photographer. That guy wasn’t too uptight about the stuff, but several of the men in the class were. One guy challenged me on the spot to calculate the exposure triangle for a particular photo and I said, “Nope. I don’t need to. I shoot in Aperture mode and am happy there.” He looked like he had bad gas and walked away from me.

Look, I know *how* to calculate the exposure triangle. I just choose not to.

So we’ll see how this group thang goes. I decided I should put together a quick portfolio of photos to show the rest of the group what I’m about.

What do you think?





“Knob” — I feel this piece speaks to the inaccessibility of the world and the challenges of just getting past closed doors. Should you walk away or bang on the door demanding to be heard? That is for you to decide.





“Elusive” — This is a study in hiding behind false coverings, like the fur that covers a Cranky Feline. And the need to hide behind artificiality and illusion. The grain reminds us of the blurry nature that life presents and the need to have better lighting.





“Have A Seat” — The black and white really captures the moodiness that comes with the decision of whether or not to have a seat. The push-pull of subverting yourself to the will of powers greater than you or maybe standing up to fight instead. This thought provoking piece required meticulous set up and lighting.



I think I am a shoo-in for high praises and honor from this new club. I can hardly wait to reel in all my accolades!





All photos Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page. (why would you steal these masterpieces anyway?). All three taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




Such A Lot Of Fuss For A Little Orange Sticker

Sheesh. Grownups sometimes. They get so worked up about stuff. Little stuff. I mean, gawd.

: rolleyes :

So whatever, last week I got this piece of paper left on my windshield. It seems that this one guy with a uniform thinks he’s all important and stuff and he says that my car didn’t have enough adornment. He said I needed to have this orange thing on my car instead of the pretty blue one that was already there.

And I have to give him some money, too.

My car was just sitting at the Bart station minding its own business! Ffft! What a bunch of baloney.

And because this is all a big game of hide and go seek, they don’t make it easy for me to get the orange sticker since I wasn’t in line the first time they were giving them out.

It’s like everyone gets a giggle by how frustrated I get running around asking everyone for a stupid orange sticker. I don’t even want the thing! I like the blue one better!

But fine. I played their game and I ran around until I got dizzy and my head hurt and it wasn’t funny anymore.

Then I had to write out a piece of paper that means money in their game and sign it and give it to them.

For that big amount of money I wrote down on the thing called a check, they gave me a little orange sticker so I can be one of the cool kids, too.

It’s not even that nice a sticker. Plain really. Just has 2013 printed on it and some other numbers. Big whoop. No rhinestones or glitter or gold leaf or anything.

But I guess you are supposed to stand in line when they tell you to so you can pay the money and get one of the stickers. When you move and don’t get the message that you are supposed to stand in line and pay your money, then you whiff it by three months everyone gets really mean about it.

Buncha bullies.

Anyhow, here, see for yourself. It’s not that nice. The blue one was prettier.

Whatever.

Well played, DMV, well played. Maybe that almost $200 I just gave you can go toward some sensitivity training for your employees. Just sayin’.





Ok, so I blurred the serial number because this is the internet and who knows where this stuff ends up.



——————


Photo by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2013, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




The Right Answer and the Best Answer

Today was pretty much a banner day in my little life. Here I am in New York enjoying the city life, eating good food and loving every minute of it.

Today just took it up an extra notch.

What precipitated this trip to the big city, as described here, was the chance to see the Tony Award winning stage show “War Horse.”

After seeing this amazing show in San Francisco on its closing weekend, I suddenly knew I needed to see it again, and I wanted to see it in New York.

The Good Man and I had been batting around the idea of a trip to New York for a few years, but this idea of seeing War Horse on Broadway really put a charge into the idea.

And so today, all of those plans came together.

The show is staged at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.

I had never been to Lincoln Center and in fact in my one visit to New York prior to this week, I hadn’t really spent much time above 50th and Broadway.

Lincoln Center really is an amazing place.

I have much more to say about the show and about this magical day, but I just wanted to stop a minute and share one of those slice of life moments. This is a very telling story, indeed.

You see, we arrived a bit early for our 2:00pm matinee, and so The Good Man and I decided to stroll around a bit so I could see the layout of the Lincoln Center.

It’s quite lovely.

And as I looked around, all amped up and excited to see the show and to be in New York and to be seeing all these things I’ve not seen before, my eyes fell upon this building:






Now when I saw this building, in all of my geekery and excitement and still-got-a-little-New-Mexico-hayseed-in-my-hair, I turned to The Good Man and I asked “Is that THE Julliard?”

Now, pause here.

True confessions: That’s a pretty dumb question. I’m not even sure why I asked it.

And yet….

My darling husband, a man of Brooklyn from his childhood and in many ways still a New Yorker probably should have turned to me and replied in deep New York accent (with much sarcasm), “No, it’s the other one,” and rolled his eyes.

But he did not.

My darling man replied, “Yes, honey. That is THE Julliard. Pretty cool, huh?”

Then I kind of laughed and shook my head and said “well, that was a silly question.” Then I thanked him, because the right answer was probably the sarcastic one, but he is used to my propensity to geek out, so he gave me the best answer instead.

And when he’s being that much of a Good Man, I just gotta let him know how much I appreciate it.

Then I told him I was going to blog about it.

Hi honey!





Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.



Ohmmmmmmahgod I Need To Smack A Coworker

So far this week I’ve been locked up in a conference room with a bunch of coworkers (from another organization) as we “frame up the situation and map out resolution.”

What. Ever.

It seems my little ol’ program is getting some attention, and in the long run it’s a good thing.

In the short run I have a bunch of people who understand squaddily poo about what I do now getting into my shorts and being shouty.

My little program has grown from a sideline that nobody cared about, and actively avoided, to a pretty significant strategic team with big spend. Meaning, I fixed a really BIG problem when no one else gave a rip, and now that it’s under control and earning some positive attention, everyone wants to lift it from me.

All the people I’ve spent two years begging to help me as I fought and threw rocks and banged my head on a brick wall are now harassing me about why I didn’t ask them for help sooner.

“I did!” I shout back, “About three times and your team shot me down every time! So I made my own rules.”

Yesterday afternoon we mixed it up pretty good. You may or may not have noticed this about me from the blog but…I’m a bit of a scrapper. You bring me the fight, I’m not going to back up.

My boss, on the other hand, is a self-described “Non-confrontational Swede”.

He was sitting next to me during the meeting and every now and again would lay a hand on my elbow and murmur “Calm down. It’s ok.”

Kind of hard to fight for my program when my boss would prefer I play nice.

So as I went into the meeting this morning, as a concession to my boss, I brought this with me:





I had little expectations that the warm chamomile would actually work, but the tag on the side of my cup was a good reminder. Stay calm. Go to my happy place. Mudra hands. Higher thinking. Be one with the process. Breathe.

What’s funny is that about an hour into today’s meeting as I stepped back from the fighting and just let it unfold, my Boss finally lost his sh*t. He took it as long as he could and then he let loose on those yahoolios.

When you have someone like a “Non-confrontational Swede” who is usually silent, when he shouts, it’s really something to behold.

I wanted to high five him but held back.

Even as my aggressive American ways sometimes cause my boss consternation, I think he also relies on me to be that person willing to stand up and fight.

In a weird way, his quiet ways and my not-so-quiet ways actually compliment each other pretty well.

Maybe Tazo should make “Smack a Coworker” blend?



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