tantalizing : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

Where Good Memories Are Made

This is where I ate my lunch yesterday:



Copyright ©2015 Karen Fayeth

A velvety red couch by the beautiful Douro River in Porto, Portugal.

Wednesday was a beautifully clear warm June day. I sat on the pleasantly comfortable couch with two other people who are counterparts from another company. Two people I genuinely like.

We sat together companionably and talked and laughed and told stories. We couldn’t believe our good fortune that the couch seating was open on such a gorgeous day.

Inevitably, time passed and it was time to go back inside the Alfândega Congress Centre, a historic former customs house, and go back to work.

Deep in very businessy conversations inside the cool stone structure, I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering back to that place. That seat. That sun. That perfect moment. A delicious lunch with good and decent people on an oddly but fortuitously placed couch by the Douro river. In Portugal.

On the next break I wandered downstairs and back outside. After taking a photo of that now empty red couch by the river, I went down a few granite stairs and sat closer to the water. Small wakes from passing boats gently lapped the bottom step.

Then I started thinking. Lovely thoughts on a lovely day. A workday, no less! What a lovely city in a lovely country. Just that easy. Just that difficult.

And that, my friends, is how a good memory is made.




Springing In The Rain

Woke up this morning to a dark gray day as the (much needed) winter rain pounds the Bay Area.

But this rainy Saturday had a surprise. A whisper of Spring, growing in the small yard beside my building.




Photo © Karen Fayeth, 2014

I bought some daffodils from Trader Joe’s yesterday, but the small wild ‘dils in my yard beat them to the punch.

Oh how I love the sunny yellow of daffodils. Sweet smell of Spring.

While I do appreciate the rain, I really do, I secretly can’t wait for golden California sunshine to return.




I Keep Looking Over My Shoulder

I think I’m being stalked. I’m not sure how to prove it or what to do about it but I am pretty sure I’m totally being followed. By an otherwordly entity.

I have shouted “what do you want?!?!” but the face of the man following along remains passive, as if my shouts are lost to the cosmos.

This stalker goes by a few names, but we’ll go with Man in the Moon for the sake of ease and understanding. MITM keeps showing up everywhere lately, getting real close and glowy.

In the small morning hours when I head out to work, he’s there, peering over the hills and looking quite chilly yet magnetic. As I ride the train, he rides along but fades away as I get closer to work.

In the evenings as I drive home, he’s there hanging low on the horizon looking quite handsome. The evening attire is more of a warm and inviting yellow tone. He hangs out over the Bay and turns the tips of saltwater waves a golden amber. They wave as if beckoning me to dive in.

I try to ignore his intense gaze and then take a sharp curve in the road. For a moment I think he’s gone but then voop! there he is again, a little less bigger-than-life when taken from that angle but still there staring down at me with persistence.

I thought it was just a couple coincidences, but I’m pretty sure that the moon is chasing me. And maybe flirting with me too, just a little.

For all the world that big shining Snow Moon looks just like a gigantic cosmic Snickerdoodle.

He’s so charming, I just might take a bite.

———

Now tell me this doesn’t look like a snickerdoodle.



The full Moon as seen in Japan on Feb. 25, 2013. Credit and copyright: Masashi Ito.





Photo from Universe Today.




Admitting You Have a Problem Is The First Step

Each day at work, I spent nine to ten hours in front of a computer, looking at a screen, tip tapping away on my keyboard.

I go to lunch and while noshing I pull out my iPhone and I catch up on email, Twitter, Facebook and when that’s done, I read a couple chapters of a book on the Kindle app.

When I come home from work, I have my phone with me at all times and I check in on email, Twitter, Facebook and others. Sometimes I log into my iMac and do some writing work or I edit photos or just fiddle about. Occasionally in front of the television I’ll fire up my MacBook and I’ll do the two screen thing, telly and computer.

When I go to bed at night, I set the alarm on my phone and I do a last check of email, Twitter and Facebook and maybe read another chapter of a book on my phone.

Then I sleep. When the alarm goes off, the first thing I do is check the meetings on the day’s calendar on my phone. Then I check email, Twitter and Facebook.

Recently, I had to admit to myself that this is a problem. I spend way too much time with my head in a device.

Way, way too much.

I’ve been trying to wean off but I have to be honest, it’s hard. Those “likes” on Facebook are as addictive as pellets to a lever pushing rat. Payoff! Reward! You like me you really like me!!

While out and about with a friend a few weeks back, she commented, “You are on Facebook a lot” and my internal gears seized up. Am I really? That can’t be.

Only it is.

I was doing better (for a few days) and really making progress, but then baseball’s post-season started and it got worse. I wanted to watch the games and see what everyone was saying and see updated stats online and photos from the yard! At some points during the course of the post-season I was watching TV, Twittering on my MacBook and checking Facebook on my phone all at once.

Meaning, I slipped off the wagon and bounced a few times on the dirt road.

Last night I was thinking AGAIN about my need to back away from the shiny electronic devices. They are so alluring!

While waiting in the coffee line this morning at work, I idly browsed the local county newspaper (an actual paper copy) and came across this little ol article:

Can true solitude be found in a wired world?

I used to be that girl…I loved to sit in an airport waiting for a plane and instead of my nose in a device or even a book for that matter, I would sit, quietly, and observe the world. The sights the smells the sounds. I would hear my own thoughts. I would find a place of calm.

Not anymore. Now if I fly I make sure my iPad is loaded up with content, both books and movies to distract me the whole way and I hardly make note of anyone or anything around me. Hell, I can’t even sit quietly in my own home and listen to the squirrels fighting outside. Nope, gotta Tweet about it.

What is wrong with me? When did I get sucked in and how can I back away slowly?

I had a revelation one night last year while in the midst of twelve to fourteen hour workdays and I was losing my mind. My beloved Good Man took my phone out of my hand, went into Settings and turned off my work email.

It was like he opened my eyes for the first time. That I could really do that…I could ignore email for a few hours? Magic!

Perhaps it’s now time to turn the entire device OFF the moment I come in the front door. There is no emergency in APAC that can’t wait to the next morning. My coworkers in APAC are fairly used to this.

Or perhaps I set a time…say 8:00pm and after that the phone is off. That allows a window for emergencies from the Pacific Rim but a time of peace in my home (and mind).

I have a good friend who doesn’t work on email at night simply because his company turns off access to email every evening then turns it back on in the morning. How glorious and how sane. My employer would never do this.

To be honest, when I think about having an unwired vacation (as suggested in the article), it sounds both awesome and a little scary.

Which is a sure sign I need to implement this in my life right away.







Image from The Indian Fusion.



The Weekend – In Visuals

My weekend, told in a few words with iPhone photos to illustrate.

On Friday, The Good Man and I did an early dash away from work and drove up to Napa.




We checked into our B&B and went outside to sit on their peaceful back patio to decompress after a crazy week. And to partake of the B&B’s delicious French press coffee.

Only, we weren’t alone.




This creature doesn’t belong to the B&B. No one is really sure where it came from. Creepy Stalker Chicken seemed to think we were going to feed her. She was especially targeted The Good Man who is used to being shaken down for kibble by The Feline. Apparently we were unable to escape hungry domesticated animals for the weekend.

Which kind of made us hungry. After a fantastic (non-poultry) dinner and a good night’s sleep, we headed out the next day to do what it is most people do while visiting Napa.





A lot.

Oh, and at one winery, we still weren’t alone.





Apparently Creepy Stalker Chickens were the weekend theme. This one was wearing chicken pants.

But no matter. There was still this…





And then more





And a WHOLE lot more





“Heeeeeey, schhhicken, scccchhhhicken, ssssssshicken…”

Then on Saturday night, we headed out to take in some live music at The Uptown Theater. An acoustic Roseanne Cash show (with Shawn Mullins as the opening act).




It was *awesome*.

We slept good that night. Had a kick butt breakfast.

Then sadly it was Sunday and time to head back home.





With a whoooole lotta wine in the trunk of the car.





It’s medicinal. Really.




All photos Copyright 2010 or 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page. All taken with an iPhone 4s and the Camera+ up, except for the Golden Gate Bridge photo which was taken with the QuadCamera app.


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