suggestible girl : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

The Turtle And The Hare

I’ve mentioned several times in these pages that during the course of my life, I spent quite a few years in the company of a blues musician. By spending a little time with him, I also spent time around a lot of different blues musicians.

Men and women with a deep vein of soul and history and rhythm.

When you are around blues people, you hear a lot of stories. Telling stories is pretty much the foundation of being able to play the blues. As a storyteller in my own right, I used to soak in these stories, letting them enter my pores and fill my soul and tap my DNA on the shoulder and ask it to dance.

The stories are in me. Not all of them are true. Few of them are pretty.

All of this is a long winded lead up to a particular story I have in mind.

It goes something like this:

Back in the 1950’s in a small suburb of Dallas, Texas, two talented brothers grew up together.

Both had music in their bones and talent for playing the guitar. The world knows a little bit more about Stevie Ray Vaughan because of his breathtaking musical style and early death, but Jimmie Vaughan has also seen a fair bit of success with his music.

If you listen to each of their music, you can hear their very different styles. Stevie’s music was intense, complicated and at times frenetic. Jimmie likes to play a bit slower and wider and easier.

Legend has it that back in the day in Oak Cliff, Texas both boys not only liked guitars but they liked cars.

Stevie, unsurprisingly, liked real fast hot shit cars that he could jump in and race around town. Stevie used to vex the local police who couldn’t slow him down.

Jimmie on the other hand liked to cruise. He liked big, heavily finned, tuck and roll upholstered, Buick with a “smile” kind of cars. He’d put his girlfriend beside him on the bench seat and slowly roll through town, vexing the local police who wanted him to speed up.

I think of this story pretty frequently in relation to my own roll through life. My approach is more Jimmie than Stevie, though I admire the hell out of Stevie.

Perhaps this owes to the slow “land of mañana” pace of where I grew up. We don’t move with alacrity in New Mexico and tend to be suspicious of those who do. When I still lived in the state and traveled to San Francisco or Boston for work, I was always comforted to come home, get off the plane, and visually see how slow people moved. Then I would match my pace to theirs and know I was home.

There is a great comfort in moving at a calm pace.

I find, however, that is not how the world thinks one should move.

Let’s take for example, New York City. In New York, you are supposed to walk fast. Very fast. Head straight, eyes forward, and walk.

Despite how much I love Manhattan, I have one hell of a time keeping up. The Good Man was born in Brooklyn so moving at that pace comes natural. It does not come natural for me. I prefer to toddle along close to the buildings with the elderly and infirm and let the people pass me by on the outside of the sidewalk.

I am the person that New Yorkers yell at for walking too slow.

This all came back to mind this past week. It is New York Fashion week and I follow Nina Garcia, Marie Claire magazine’s Creative Director, on various social networking sites.

She has been posting photos from all of the various designer shows and I have been lapping them up like at kitten at a bowl of milk.

I may not have a figure for fashion, but I love it. I love seeing how textiles and stitches and notions come together to create something fantastic or ugly or offbeat. Yes, I dig it!

So a couple of days ago, Ms. Garcia posted a photo of a sign she saw backstage at the Michael Kors Spring show. Oh my, I am a huge fan of Mr. Kors.

Here is the photo:





I read the words and my heart sank a little. I am happily romantic, strong and my own version of gorgeous.

But I don’t walk fast and with energy.

I would love to kill them with chic, but instead I must maintain my killer sense of humor.

For some reason, this really got under my skin and whispered to those demons in my head who heckled me and said that if I can’t walk fast and with energy, I am a nobody. They said I don’t measure up, don’t belong, don’t matter because I can’t keep up.

And that’s when I remembered the story about the Vaughan brothers.

I don’t need to race up and down the streets of New York. There are plenty of people who have that covered. I want to cruise the Manhattan blocks and tip my head upward to wonder at the buildings and smile and give my lungs room to breathe.

Slow though I walk, I always get where I’m going. Pink cheeked, a little sweaty and smiling.

Perhaps I am taking this hand written sign a little too close to heart. I’m sure this was simply a note of encouragement for the models walking the runway, reminding them to keep it peppy and light.

Perhaps it just hit me on a bad day when the demons were a little closer to the open door than I would like. I let them out to play awhile, really let them run, then I whistled and corralled them back into the pen.

And I remembered that a strong, courageous New Mexican doesn’t have to walk fast unless she wants to. That is true both when walking the Bosque or NYC’s Broadway.


A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.

–Coco Chanel


Thankfully, I am both.

–Karen Fayeth





Photo from the Instagram feed of Nina Garcia. All rights belong to her.




In Memorium for One Of The Greats

Over the weekend came the very sad news about the passing of Hollywood legend, Ray Harryhausen.

The Good Man was a lifetime Harryhausen fan and introduced me to the magic that Ray made only recently. How badly I had been missing out.

At 92, Ray lived a good long life and he leaves behind a legacy of work. His stop motion animation paved the way for so much of what you see now in this CGI-heavy film world.

Mr. Harryhausen will be missed, along with his best friend, Ray Bradbury. Tough to lose both Rays within the course of a single year.

To remember Mr. Harryhausen, I am reposting something I wrote back in 2010 when I first learned to appreciate Harryhausen movies. You can tell from all the exclamation points how totally into his movies and the animation I was (and am).

For you, Ray.


———————

This old dog learned a new trick
Originally published February 5, 2010

At Christmas, my husband received a great gift from his step-mom. He unwrapped it and exclaimed, “A Ray Harryhausen collection! Honey, look, we got a Ray Harryhausen collection! Wow, thank you!”

And I was like, “who?” My sweetest is an educated film guy, so I figured it was some obscure director of strange and dark independent films. So I said, “hey, great!” with a shrug.

Who knew I was TOTALLY missing out?

In my ongoing film education (The Good Man is keeping a list. I’m working through it….) he popped “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad” in the ol’ DVD player while I was eating lunch one weekend afternoon.

I was immediately hooked in. Yeah baby! I figured out just who Ray Harryhausen really is. A master of creating amazing creatures in stop motion animation.

The stumbling roaring Cyclops from the late 1950’s is every bit as creepy today. In fact, in a lot of ways, I actually like that better that today’s overly CGI’d movies.

At the end of the “Seventh Voyage of Sinbad” DVD, there were some special features. One was clips from when Harryhausen got an Oscar (presented by his best friend, Ray Bradbury. What a pair they must make!) and at the conclusion of Harryhausen’s acceptance speech, Tom Hanks comes onto the stage to bring on the next award.

He makes the segue by saying, “I know for some people it is Gone with the Wind or Casablanca, but for me, it’s all about Jason and the Argonauts

I looked at The Good Man and said, “Well we have to watch that next, then.”

And so we did. We watched as Jason and his merry band of Argonauts fight a huge bronze statue of Talos that had come to life and, oh man this part was cool, a whole army of sword wielding skeletons! Skeletons! I *love* skeletons! They clacked and grimaced and fought. Aw damn, how very cool!

Then we watched “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” and I remembered that I saw this movie when I was a kid, most likely on TV. I watched it with my big brother back in the day. I remembered the blue Shiva with swords in all the arms. (and let’s talk about the very naturally endowed Caroline Munro. Rowr! It’s so rare these days to see an un-surgically enhanced actress.)

And finally, we had to get to THE must see film in the collection because, well, it’s set in San Francisco. The next in the series of my SF film education.

The movie was “It Came from Beneath The Sea.” Yeah baby!

What the movie lacked in dialogue and story (and it lacked A LOT), it more than made up for in great animation.

Oh, that angry squid snapping the top off the Ferry Building and wrapping tentacles around the Golden Gate! Whoa! And that far-reaching tentacle slapping down Market Street, squishing unsuspecting citizens!

Good stuff!

So I’m now up to speed on Harryhausen. I have also watched the Dirty Harry movies. Then we did the Hitchcocks set in SF (hello Vertigo!).

I’m excited to see what’s next in my ongoing film edjumacation! I have so much to learn.






Image is a still from “It Came From Beneath The Sea”.




Is That What I Think It Is?

A few weeks ago I was walking out to my car after another real long day at work, when I smelled something a little sweet, a little nice, and a little out of place for a corporate parking lot.

My head whipped around and I saw a rather large burly man sitting on a parking berm next to his motorcycle and he was smoking.

Yes, I live in the Bay Area, but no, you cheeky monkeys, it wasn’t skunk weed that I was smelling…

The man was smoking a clove cigarette.

My first thought was “What, is he in High School?” and my second thought was “What, is he a girl?” and then the smell of sweet clove smoke wafted over me and I was shoved into the Wayback Machine and transported back in time.

So there I am, a sophomore at Del Norte High School and it’s after a football game and my friends and I have found our way to the McDonald’s at the corner of Academy and San Mateo in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

That McDonald’s belonged to our high school. Every high school had their “home” McDonald’s and going to the other school’s home territory, especially on a Friday night, was a whole scary and political thing.

So I’d already supped on French fries (all that I could afford) and was standing out in the parking lot doing what sixteen year olds do: I was slouching and skulking and just being a lump of teenager.

I was kibitzing with my friend Stacy who was sort of a wild girl. She didn’t start out that way, but she turned that way pretty quick. She was small, dark haired, pretty and did this squinty eyed thing when she laughed which was terribly endearing.

Later, when we both tried out for the high school drill team and she made it and I did not (we had practiced together) and some distance came to our friendship. That and her affinity for drinking a lot of Everclear. I just couldn’t go there.

But on this night we were friends and hanging out and she pulled a cigarette from her purse and lit it up. It smelled funny.

She explained to me that it was a clove cigarette. This particular item was very, very illicit because clove smokes were (and are) illegal in the State of New Mexico. She explained this was due to the fact that clove cigarettes will make your lungs bleed.

She told me this tidbit in that urban legend sort of way that made me wonder if what she said was really true, all the while I believing it 100%. I was (and still am) fairly gullible if told a good story.

So Stacy encouraged me to take a drag. I hesitated, thoughts of bleeding lungs in my head and firmly believing that the second something illegal touched my lips my parents would immediately show up and all hell would break loose.

After waffling, in a rare bit of rebellion I went for it (yes, taking a drag from a cigarette was, at the time, MAJOR rebellion) and she told me to lick my lips after, tasting how sweet it was. And it was.

I’d been so naughty! So *bad*! It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once!

Fast forward just over a decade later and I found myself living in California and oh my! Clove cigarettes are perfectly legal here! So I did some cool slouch thing into the corner store and bought a pack and felt very sophisticated and rebellious and adult and on-my-own and Mary Tyler Moore hat in the air “you’re gonna make it after all!”

That pack lasted me several months until they dried out, and then I bought another just because I could. Every now and again on a lonely evening I’d pour an amber liquid over ice and sit on my front porch and smoke a clove and think about things.

Then, of course, a few years later my dad died from pulmonary fibrosis and smoking something that might make my lungs bleed seemed like a really bad idea.

Ok, meandering along the Wayback trail and getting to that train of thought quickly brought me right back to the here and now.

I sort of smiled at the big dude smoking a clove and inhaled deeply. It smelled so nice.

Such an unexpected scent to end my day.








With all thanks to a Random Word Generator for giving me a wayback prompt, in the form of the word clove, on this sunny Monday.


Image by Kriss Szkurlatowski and used royalty free from stock.xchng.




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.



Oh Let’s Let Her Lope Again

This exercise was so amazing for me and my old friend The Muse last week. It really helped break some of the rust off the creative pipes and since it was so much fun, let’s let The Muse play the Unconscious Mutterings free-association game again.


  1. Social ::


    A friend posted a link on Facebook essentially declaring that social media is over. Wait, there’s something ironic about that sentence. No matter, let’s press on.

    Personally, I’m pretty ready for all things social networking to stop being all anyone talks about. As if this is changing the world.

    Sure, something just as annoying will take it’s place, but maybe as “the book close(s) on Web 2.0” the internets will have grown up a bit. Stretched a bit. Maybe the next big thing will be something great, innovative and useful.

    Just don’t take away my lolcats. I beg you.

  2. Fairy tale ::


    It’s too early to discuss Christmas songs. Way too early.

    However, if we were going to discuss Christmas songs I’d tell you that I think it’s magic that a song entitled “Fairy Tale of New York” begins with the lines:

    “It was christmas eve babe/In the drunk tank”

    I mean really. Could that be any more perfect of the holiday season? I think not.

    A nod of thanks to my Rock Star cousin for turning me on to that tune many years ago when I was having a Very Dark Christmas.

  3. 0 ::


    Neither odd nor even, positive nor negative. Zero is the beginning, a place to start. Nothing and everything. Zen. Infinite.

    And a bunch of other woo-woo stuff.

    Null, nada, naught, nuh-uh, nope, zilch.

    Sort of beautiful in it’s perfection, really.

  4. Football ::


    I’m not much of a football fan, but I do idly keep track of the San Francisco 49ers. Last year I even took in my first NFL game, and it was awesome.

    That said, I think I’ve become too much of a baseball girl. I mean…162 games a season vs sixteen. Right? I think you can get by with a lot of luck over 16 games whereas you have to be mentally and physically disciplined to make it through 162.

    This is a weird time of the year where the end of baseball overlaps the beginning of football.

    Right now my San Francisco Giants are oh-so-very-close to making it into the postseason again and the 49ers have won their first two regular games.

    All in all, not a bad place to be.

    Who’s got it better than us?

    Why, I’m pretty sure the answer is: Nobody.

  5. Action::


    Lights, camera, action. Take action. Action Jackson. Action hero. Action games.

    Yeah. I got nothing here.

    Next!

  6. Setting ::


    Sometimes, on a rough ol’ Monday like this, I think about going to my happy place. I have several, actually, but the one I’m thinking about today is the town of Half Moon Bay. It’s about a half hour drive away, it’s where I got married, and it’s the beach I visited just after moving to California.

    It holds a special place in my heart and features some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

    I’ve watched that setting sun alone, with dear friends (and beers) and with my love.

    Here’s my favorite photo, taken (by me) near Miramar Beach, and even this cool photo doesn’t totally capture the quality of light. But it’s enough to help me escape gray cubicle walls, if only for a moment.



  7. Boomers ::


    Did you know that in Australia, an adult male kangaroo is called a Boomer? I didn’t either.

    I learned that seeking an alternative for this prompt that would let me write about something other than ol’ hippies.

    And I thank YOU, Wikipedia, you glorious repository of knowledge.

  8. Rough ::


    This morning, this glorious Monday morning, I woke up rough. Real rough. I remember the days where I could stay up all night drinking and carousing and then get approximately one and a half hours of sleep, wake up chipper, go to class, take detailed notes, get through the day and go out again.

    Now I stay up late on Sunday night watching a good movie and oh holy hell I’m a mess from the time the alarm goes off until I can go to bed early the next night.

    Time really does make fools of us all.

  9. Words ::


    “What are words for? When no one listens. What are words for, when no one listens at all?”

    Hello you beautiful Missing Persons.

    That was the very first non-rodeo related concert I attended. (If I include rodeo shows, my first concert was Freddy Fender. You can’t make this stuff up). My big brother took me to a show at the Civic Auditorium in Albuquerque. Bits of what I’m sure was asbestos fell from the ceiling during the show.

    I wanted to be Dale Bozzio so bad I couldn’t see straight. I still do.

  10. Account ::


    Longing to be Dale Bozzio, and Belinda Carlisle, and Terri Nunn and others like them – yeah, that accounts for a lot of my teenage years.

    Really, a lot of my life.

    I just read British comedienne Dawn French‘s memoir. Now there is a lady who is 100% comfortable in her own skin. And now instead of just admiring her, I want to be her too.

    I’m such a suggestible little girl.

Ok, well…back to work.




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