resolutions : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

I Don’t Want To Be Right. Okay, Maybe I Do.

In my quest to 1) become a better person and 2) survive 2016 intact, several weeks ago I signed up for a mindfulness meditation class.

The instructor is lovely and the class is, well, relaxing. It makes me calmer and a better person in so many ways.

This whole meditation thing doesn’t really jibe with my New Mexico upbringing. Stress reduction is a bit different ’round here than it was there.

For example, where I live now, it’s awful hard to take a three-hour ride upon my favorite horse in order to relax. And driving out to Chopes for enchiladas and a beer is a longer drive than I can make in a day.

Meditation it is, then.

Last week, we had a long class discussion about the use of one’s car horn. How it’s not mindful or necessary to lay on the horn while traveling this world. How it can make things worse by scaring the other driver or making the other driver mad (and bad things come from that).

This is also in line with The Good Man and his rules for better living. Since we live in a more urban city than I’ve ever lived in before, he has asked me nicely give my horn honking a rest. These are tense times and occasionally I travel through tough neighborhoods. Who knows how the ol’ toot-toot will be received?

Really, this is all sage advice, both from the Vispassana teacher and the man I married.

Until yesterday, when I found myself in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood. Where the Chinatown in San Francisco is something of a tourist delight, the Oakland Chinatown is a serious ethnic neighborhood. It sits near Oakland’s downtown, so it’s busy, jam packed with traffic, and not to be taken lightly.

I’ve spent many an hour in Oakland’s Chinatown over my years and I love it. It had been a while, and was nice to be there again. I had a couple things on my shopping list that can only be found in that neighborhood.

As I rolled into the area, I made my way past city buses and double-parked cars, and was filled with glee to find a nice wide parking spot on the street just around the corner from where I needed to be. Score!

I carefully maneuvered over, waited while the car ahead loaded her kid in the car, had my blinker on the whole time and as I pulled forward to align and began to back into the spot, some $%^& started to pull head first into my spot.

Yay, verily, there was much laying on of horns. Oh yes. My beloved Jeep is equipped with not one but two bassy air horns that make it clear to whomever is on the receiving end that they have been properly honked. One firm flat-palm press lights up the hearing cavities of all nearby.

I held that Jeep horn with a solid hand, owing my destiny to all of the fabulous people throughout my years here in the Bay Area who taught me how to survive in a city. Indeed. I followed the playbook and hoped to hell this wouldn’t escalate into that driver getting out of their car.

Thus, as the interloper assessed the situation, she surely noticed my sixteen-year-old Jeep was far less shiny than her almost new SUV nosing into my spot. I held steady, knowing even then that the person backing in is at a disadvantage to the person trying to head in.

Finally the fancy car threw it in reverse and left, giving me an exaggerated shrug on the way by.

Here is the true confession: Damn did honking the hell out of my horn feel good. Like, real good. Like cold beer after a hard day of yard work. Like that first bite of a Chopes enchilada (egg and sour cream on top). Like finally getting out the splinter that is starting to fester.

I know it goes against everything my spouse and my learned teacher have asked of me. It wasn’t peaceful, nor kind. But damn did it feel good.

Almost too good.

Okay, okay. The horn honking is over. The satisfaction was quick and delicious. The endorphins rose and quickly dissipated.

Today I’ll rededicate myself to the peaceful life. To being more kind. To being more centered. To let traffic solve itself without the help of two weighty and meaningful Jeep air horns.

They don’t call meditation a practice for nothing. It takes work. Perfection is not expected. (I’ll add this note, I refrained from both cursing and arm waving in addition to the horn. It’s something to build on.)

Given the same situation, would I honk it up again? Hee, hee…probably.

Okay, okay. I’ll try harder.

Ooooohmmmmmmmmmmmmm……




Recycling one of my favorite photos.





Image found here.





Welcome To My New Year

While we haven’t quite yet passed to the end of 2011, I’m already in progress on what will surely be the biggest change to impact my new year.

You see, the Good Man and I are moving house.

It’s not a big move, just a few miles away. But we are moving to a much larger place with two, count them TWO full bathrooms.

I experience waves of joy at that thought.

As the landlord is completely renovating the place (we get to move in with all new paint and floors and appliances, yay!) we won’t actually move until later in January.

But…

Here’s the thing. I have lived in our current spot for almost eight years. The Good Man moved in almost five years back. But for me, eight long years. That’s a lot of time to accumulate crap.

A lot of crap.

Over the years, I may have been accused by friends and family of having difficulty with throwing things away.

Ahem.

I’m not a hoarder. Much.

I mean my place isn’t floor to ceiling with newspapers I can bear to part with, but the extra large storage space under my current place IS full of all manner of stuff that should have been thrown away or donated long ago.

It’s a lot.

The Good Man is fairly organized and keeps his stuff pretty tidy. He goes through everything about once a year and culls out, cleans out and donates.

Me. Not so much.

So laying ahead of me, I have a fabulous future with a shiny new home. It has a fireplace! And a deck. And an actual living room.

Surrounding me, I have boxes and bags and barrels of crap to sort through.

I pledged this week that I’m off work to clean out everything under the current house. So instead of enjoying my bright future, I am lost in my past.

Today I went through a huge box of papers, bills and receipts. This is my personal weak spot. For some reason I think I need to keep every receipt I ever get. The Good Man has me on a rehab plan so I don’t keep doing this.

But today I shredded the original registration papers on the Jeep I bought in 1995. The State of New Mexico charged me forty-eight dollars to register the first car I bought with my own money. I miss the days of forty-eight dollar car registration.

I traded in that Jeep on a new one in 2001. So I kept an almost seventeen year old document on a Jeep I sold ten years ago from from a state where I no longer live.

It’s like that.

I remember talking to my mom in the year after my dad had passed. She was going through everything they owned with plans to eventually sell their house and move somewhere more manageable.

In the stuff, she found a box of papers that my dad had kept. In this box were bills and receipts that dated back to the first year of their marriage. They were married for forty-five years.

Mom fired up a burn barrel and alternately cried and cursed while disposing of the stack of paper that had (unknown to her) been a part of her life for her entire marriage.

Today, as I shredded, I thought about that. I though about how mad The Good Man would be if I died and left him with all of this crap to sort through.

I have to strive to be better, to get rid of stuff more often, to keep my piles of crap under control.

This move is good. It’s a good idea to force myself to clean out my mess. It’s a good idea to have a new start.

My future is bright. But I gotta sort through my past first.






Image from The Magic Forest.

This is an early entry for this week’s Theme Thursday fun. This week’s theme = future.

Oh, November

Masochism! It’s what’s for Thanksgiving dinner!

Yup. November means it’s National Novel Writing Month, a fun event where writers around the world challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in just thirty days.

And after taking last year off, I’m back, baybee!

This will be my sixth year through the meat word grinder.

Along with blogging every weekday. And holding down a full time job. And having some semblance of a life.

Apparently I like the pain. 1667 words a day, here I come.




Can’t Handle The Pressure

The celebration of New Year’s 2011 was an interesting one, at least from my perspective.

It’s no secret that times have been a little rough for the past, oh, three or so years, but on December 31, 2010, there seemed to be a lot of optimism.

The general tone of the tweets, articles and conversations I experienced was that 2010 was over, and expectations were very high for a good 2011.

Even I fell into this category, being as suggestible as I am. It felt SO good to cast off what was, but a most accounts, a crappy year and turn my face to a new year that could hold so much joy, healing and peace.

Wipe the slate clean. Start again. The market is coming up a little. Jobless rate is going down a little. It seemed like more people had jobs and a bit more money to celebrate the holidays.

These are all good trends. Heck yeah, 2011! Bring us something good!

Today, the seventeenth day of January, it feels like folks have become a little impatient.

Where is my something good? Bring it to me already!

The credit card statements are rolling in, and those fun holiday celebrations are demanding they be paid off.

A few more people have jobs, but I can’t see that any more people are particularly happy with their jobs. It is, after all, still called “work”, as much as I’d like to get up in the morning and go to “fun” all day long.

Then there was that horrifying event down in Tuscon which not only ripped apart a community, but also became fodder for the harrumphing heads (<--like a talking head only wind-baggier). The news doesn't seem happier. People don't seem happier. Things are improving, but slowly. This weekend I started looking around at my fellow man and realized something. Everyone is pissed off. There is rudeness abounding, people saying shitty things, and today at the grocery story, something went down between the checker and a customer that ended up being taken outside. At the grocery store. Ay god. Then we came home from the store to see a police car sitting on our block in front of a neighbor's house. What the f--- is going on around here? I'd like to blame my own neighborhood and say "eh, it's just turning bad" but I'm not sure that's it's just happening here. I think people are fed up. Maybe, just maybe, we've put too much pressure on 2011 to be the panacea for all of the residual worries, anger and sadness from the great recession. One month into one year cannot fix all that came before. Maybe let's give both 2011 and each other a break, ok? We've got a lot of days left to go in this year. Who knows what 2011 has up its sleeve for, say, April? Or August? Ya just never know. I still believe in you 2011. You won't let us down. Right?



Since You Asked Nicely

Today during my internet wanderings, I spent some time with my friends over at CNN where an article titled “7 digital mistakes to avoid in 2011” caught my eye.

The story prefaces itself by asking you nicely not to do the seven things listed.

So ok. If asked nicely, I’ll consider it.

Let’s check out my report card on the Thou Shalt Not list:

1. Send an unspeakably rude e-mail to one of my employees or co-workers.

Ok, yes. I’ve done this. I’ve gone to rehab. When I feel the vitriol spewing from my fingers as they fly around the keyboard, I usually finish the email, then hit “save as draft” and let it sit a while.

Also, when writing a tacky email, I always delete the name from the address field on the email so I don’t accidentally send the unedited and unfinished email (done it! Lived to tell the tale).

So on item 1, I’m all good. Next!

2. Chase a messy breakup with sad-clown Facebook statuses and hours of sob-wracked ex stalking.

Ew. No. I hardly use Facebook, so no. Ok, I *have*…in the past…been known to mildly cyber stalk an ex. Mostly to see what they are up to these days, but those years are done.

I did have an ex contact me a few years back. We’d ended amicably and I was fairly happy to hear from an old friend. Then he pulled a Brett Favre and I got skeeved. I now avoid online contact with exes. Just better that way.

Next!

3. Waste everyone’s time with inane tweets.

Yeah, I could be guilty of this. But then again, so can anyone who participates in Twitter. I recently read an article where a celeb compared tweets to mental farts shared with the world.

Fair enough!

Let’s call this one, guilty as charged.

Next!

4. Keep my wedding photo as my Facebook profile pic for five months or more.

No worries there.

Next!

5. Leave offensive, sexist, childish or straight-up stupid comments.

Offensive? No.

Sexist? Nah.

Childish? Maaaayyybe.

Straight-up stupid? Certainly not! I’m sure my comments are always brilliant, insightful and add value to situation!

*ahem*

Next!

6. Drunk-text.

Yeeeah. I’ve done it. Was once a big offender. Just ask The Good Man, recipient of far too many drunk texts. However, now that he’s usually around when I’m having a couple sips, I don’t need to drunk text him anymore.

I am recovered (mostly).

And finally:

7. Peck away at my smartphone during dinner.

Ok. I’m guilty. I own it. There you go, my New Year’s resolution. It might be the one I can stick to because, as the article says, “…let’s face it, those whiskey binges and late-night Cheetos you swore off (of) on 1/1/11 aren’t going anywhere.”

True, true. Whiskey binges and late-night Cheetos are a thing of beauty.