powerful woman : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

When the Perfect Metaphor Raggedly Flies By

So yeah, I’ll just cut to the chase, I’ve been having a hard time lately. Moving, work, life, storms, general state of politics, hades-like heat in the Bay Area, all of it. Stress. Anxiety. Insomnia. It all just got on top of me, and stood on my neck.

Some days I’m stronger than others, but last week the final drop of strong independent woman inside of me got used up, and I broke. I had been in a prolonged email squabble with a really challenging coworker and I hit a wall. I totally collapsed into tears.

Sobbing, heaving, inconsolable tears. Not in front of the coworker, at least. But still. It was what I believe the kids these days call an ugly cry. Full on.

For a while I was so down, ragged and lost that I thought I might be losing that small tenuous grasp I have on sanity. I was actually pretty scared.

But through some tough love from The Good Man, some actual sleep (I swear lack of sleep would make the most calm person into a raving psychotic), and doing a much better job taking care of myself, I found my way back. Mostly.

I mean, it’s still there at the edges, the crazy I mean. This is the absolutely busiest time of year at my job and things always go a little pear shaped in September anyway. Tempers are quick for everyone and feelings are a little raw.

This too shall pass, it always does. I mean, October 1 is only three weeks away. I can survive three weeks, right?

Today, this lovely Saturday afternoon, when I should have been doing work but just couldn’t bring myself to sit in front of a computer, I instead sat on my back deck with camera in hand, trying to photograph hummingbirds. Not an easy thing, and I’m learning a lot about both the birds and who I am as a photographer.

I shared one I really liked on all the social medias.

Here is another:





Today as I sat and watched and listened and kept my eyes open for the hummingbirds, another animal caught my eye: A Monarch butterfly.

A sure sign of pending Autumn, the monarch. They are special to me in so many ways, not the least of which is how closely tied they are to Dia de los Muertos in the Mexican culture.

I silently wished for the Monarch to land and let me get some photos.

Well, I got my wish, just not quite in the way I expected.

The butterfly flew in listlessly, bumped into a wall, ricocheted and then landed on the side of the deck.

As I got closer, snapping quickly with my telephoto, I soon realized the issue.




“We have an injured warrior out here,” I texted to The Good Man.

I wondered what had happened to this beautiful animal. Did it go through a rough storm? Get batted at by a sporting cat? Fight for territory with another butterfly? Or was it just at the end of a good life?

What sort of hell had this little guy gone through, and how was it still flying?

After some Googling, I tried making some nectar and coaxing it into a box, but alas, no. It mustered up some of its last strength and flew off.

I was left sort of sad, wanting to give the injured insect a safe haven. Wishing I had just left it alone.

But as it flew off on one good wing, I couldn’t help but admire its tenacity.

A tenacity I wish I could find. Or perhaps find a little more of.

May I (and you and we) find the strength to fly on our own battered wings. May my poor ragged butterfly inspire you as it did me.





My New Nickname

This morning I geared up my mind and girded my loins for an important meeting. The event was a compliance review on a big project that I am working through. This project is the cause of many long hours, at least three migraine headaches and a lack of sleep. This compliance review is the last bit of internal check boxes required before we can implement this project fully and completely.

That I was even sitting in the room having the meeting is a gigantic achievement for this challenging project.

That said, I don’t necessarily have the cleanest track record in these compliance review meetings. About a month ago in a similar meeting for a different project, I lost my cool and let the chairperson have a bushel full of how I really feel.

After which I was “spoken to” by my manager who mostly empathized with me. I stand by what I said, and told my manager as much. I was simply asked to “try a little harder” next time.

Because there is always a next time.

Today I had to go back in there and keep the end in mind. I knew if I was able to get through the compliance meeting, and get approvals, that I would be able to finish this project that has me burning out quickly, turning into a crispy little Karen.

The order of the day was calm. Serene. Peace.

Now, I realize that not all of my fair and wonderful readers know me in person. If you do know me in person, you could know that calm, serene and peaceful are not adjectives often used to describe yours truly.

But I had to “try a little harder.” So I did deep breathing and a few deep knee bends before the event. I got to the meeting room early and got situated. I planted my feet on the ground and made a promise to myself that I would stay calm.

As the meeting progressed there were times where I wanted to say what was really on my mind, but somehow I magically refrained.

“Okay. What would you like to see in the documentation?” I said calmly and not at all snarkily. I felt the inner snark but I kept it tucked away under a beatific smile.

When all was done and I had the full list of changes and corrections, I walked out of the conference room and back to my desk.

Where I texted The Good Man the following:

“You oughta f—–g nickname me Buddha after that last hour of my life….”

You see, he knows me all too well and he knows I had this important meeting today. Then I followed it up with:

“I ohm’ed the sh*t out of that meeting.”

And then I took to Google where a short image search netted me the perfect image, which I also sent to The Good Man to further emphasize my point.

And that about sums it up.

Just call me Buddha, bitches.








Image found here.




And Around. And Around. And Around.

While sitting on my tuchus being completely idle this weekend (yay!) I flicked through my Twitter stream to get caught up on what is happening out there in Interwebs land.

I came across a tweet from Penn Jillette (one half of the famous duo Penn and Teller) that said, and I quote:

“You might not want to watch this. You really might not. It’s kinda sorta dangerous funny. It hurts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpfQSqfpuac

(if you are feeling like a laugh, go on and do a click for yourself).

So because I love and trust Penn and I needed a laugh, I clicked the link. What I found was a Taylor Swift video for the song “I Knew You Were Trouble” and in some of the high wailing parts, someone had substituted a bleating goat for the vocals.

I watched it three times. It was indeed very funny.

Just for the sake of reference, I then watched the actual video from Taylor Swift for “I Knew You Were Trouble” (well most of it anyway) and as I watched her writhing around in the dirt, I wondered to myself who this song had been written about.

It’s fairly well known that Ms. Swift likes to write such songs about broken romances. A quick Google search led me to the answer. Mr. Trouble turns out to be Harry Styles from the Brit pop boy band One Direction.

Now, as an over forty year old woman, Mr. Styles doesn’t look like an ounce of trouble to me, but I suppose I understand where she’s coming from. Who among us ladies hasn’t written pages and pages of journal entries about a romance gone wrong and maybe even some bad poetry too? I certainly have, I just didn’t have the platform that Ms. Swift enjoys for such endeavors. But I totally support her right to say what’s on her mind and be super angsty about it too.

So now that I knew Harry Styles of One Direction (by the way, doesn’t Hairy Styles sound like an awesome name for a barber shop?) was the object of this sad song, I recalled that my kid sister-in-law (not so much a kid anymore, she’s 13, it’s a long story) absolutely looooves One Direction, though her affections tend to lean toward one Mr. Liam Payne.

Then I noticed that YouTube suggested that after watching the Taylor Swift video I should watch the super hot OMG hot hot brand new song from One Direction called “One Way”.

“Why not?” I thought and gave it a click.

What presented itself to me was a video of five boys who probably aren’t old enough to have pubes singing a bee-boppy rendition of the kick ass Debbie Harry song “One Way or Another” from 1979.

You know? “One way or another, I’m going to find ya’/I’m gonna get ya’, get ya’, get ya’, get ya’/One way or another, I’m gonna win ya”

(To all whom I’ve just earwormed, I do apologize. It couldn’t be helped.)

So as these boys wriggled and mugged their way across London, I felt a sadness in my heart. I emitted a sorrowful sigh.

The tough as brass song written by the beautiful and punk rock Debbie Harry is now being autotuned and smoothed up for a boy band. The catchy lyrics written in the wake of a stalking ex-boyfriend are now fodder for little girl swoons and cutesy thoughts of dating a One Direction lad.

Oh boy. Er. Boys? If the song had been redone and there was a new or original take, then by all means go for it. I am not against remakes, I am, however, against remakes that take the soul out of a great song.

Certainly Ms. Debbie Harry, as the co-writer of the song is enjoying much windfall from the pop redo of her music, but damn. It hurts just a little, in my soul.

Later over breakfast, The Good Man and I discussed this song and video since it was still very much on my mind.

“I suppose it shouldn’t bother me that teens are listening to this crap because I listened to some poppy boy bands in my era. Like, for instance, Duran Duran,” I said.

But then I realized something…yes, Duran Duran was a schlocky boy band and yes I swooned over the poster I had of the five of them on my bedroom wall (John was my favorite) but at least they 1) actually played their own instruments and 2) wrote many of their own songs.

Ok, yes, fine, I know that remaking songs is a common occurrence and in some cases, the remake is WAY better than the original (Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower” for example). I also know that in the history of music there have been hundreds of over engineered boy (and girl) acts doing their soulless little dance with deadened eyes and walking down a life map that probably leads to either ultra-thumping-Christianity or deep and abiding drug use…or both. And I know I can’t stop it, nor should I try.

But I also can’t help seizing up a little whenever I hear great music so profoundly bastardized.

My thirteen year old sister-in-law is actually an excellent musician in her own right and I have to trust that over time she will learn to see that you can have both quality music written and played by the musican AND a hot guy to look at. Jim Morrison springs to mind, but let’s see if I can come up with someone more current….I know, how about Bruno Mars or even Jason Mraz?

Losing argument, I know. As long as there are dollars in auto tuning them thar children, the shlock pop is always going to keep coming around.




Shaddup Grandma! One Direction is the best band ever!




Image from the spydersden blog




So Let’s Dance The Last Dance

Hello to the last day of 2012. Yes, today is the last dance. It should be a waltz, I think. A symphony of memories in three quarter time.

The past 365 days have been one hell of a ride. As the old saw goes, you tend to remember the bad things and forget the good. Uncharacteristically for me, when I look back on 2012 all I can remember is the good.

I worked my tail off this year, but I also got to make my first, second and third international journeys. I have emerged from those experiences a changed person. Changed for the better, to be sure.

I suffered the worst bout of writer’s block I have ever known. I’m still not quite over it, but through this block I learned to appreciate the art and craft of writing so much more. Suddenly I have to work a lot harder for every word I put on the page which makes me love every word that much more.

And after year’s worth of rejection letters for my stories and essays (well over 100 emails or paper letters saying “no”) I was finally rewarded by having an essay published. I didn’t think my essay full of hard words would find a home, but it turns out the editor of literary magazine Wild Violet saw something in it that worked for her and her editorial schedule. Boom, I was in.

I have much gratitude to editor Alyce Wilson for publishing my words. It is a beautiful feeling of satisfaction and it makes me want to work that much harder so I can have this feeling again. My next round of submissions went out just last week. May my words take flight in 2013.

The Good Man and I celebrated four years together and I love him more today than I ever have. In these four years I have learned a lot from him and have laughed a lot with him and have felt very safe and loved. That, my friends, is magic.

Standing on the precipice of 2013 there are some big changes coming up right away. Good changes. Happy changes. I’m scared spitless but isn’t that the best way to head into the New Year? Scared and happy and full of enough courage to dive in and not fade away.

I stand tall even if my knees are shaking, just a little.

And so are you by me? Beside me, to guide me, to hold me, to scold me, ’cause when I’m bad I’m so, so bad.

Let’s dance this last dance. The last dance, tonight.





It’s Please Recycle day! I think that should be a government holiday. Oh wait…..



Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons License in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




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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