breakfast : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

Monday, redux

Blame it on Facebook and its algorithms that like to remind me of things from the past. For the better and for the worse.

I re-read this one over the weekend and thought “yeah, that one needs a re-post.”

So here we are, when Monday, January 30, 2017 feels a lot like Monday, January 28, 2013



A Treatise On Monday
Originally published January 28, 2013


Written this morning at something like 5:45am


And so we find ourselves back at Monday. Ah Monday, both the beginning and the end.

I have sad, tired, squinting, groundhog eyes as the alarm goes off. I’m begging the world not to pull me from my burrow. Please don’t shine that bright light in my face.

But I’m pulled from my burrow anyway and instead of a prediction, the world anticipates my arrival at the train station and my seat on the next ride into the city.

The bright light turns out to be a beautiful ray of light, glimmering off the slowly rising sun.

All possibility is in Monday. Will this be a good week? Will this be a bad week? Will it rain?

Monday is everything and nothing. A blank canvas ready to take the paint.

What will I make of my Monday? What will I achieve? How will I stumble and will I recover gracefully?

It all exists here in these quiet pre-dawn hours. The sun hasn’t even said hello yet and here I am, writing. Scribbling the words that want to exit my head.

There is already acrylic paint on my hands from a project that is due Thursday morning. I had to get some early painting done so I can hit that deadline.

In this Monday, all things are possible including finishing a painting that is due in just three days.

Oh my.

I feel strangely happy today. What the hell is this? How unusual for a Monday morning.

The weekend was weird. I was cranky and then he was cranky and then it was Sunday night and another two days of not working were jettisoned to the ether. Monday turned the corner and sat down for a visit.

So here I am again loading a backpack for work, stumbling around to find my badge and my phone and my sense of self-worth.

I look again at my canvas and already I fear I have screwed it up. Don’t they say in art there are no mistakes? Just roll with it and incorporate the error. OCD and art are not friends. This major but fixable error must wait until later tonight to find its cloak.

There is a train to catch and a Monday to face. I’d rather stay home in my studio and put gorgeous turquoise paint on a willing canvas. Can I do that for a living?

You know, a girl can dream, and so I will dream as BART gently sways. When I disembark dreams stop so reality can start.

But no matter, I can dream again, later. Dreams don’t die easy.

And dreams don’t wait for the weekend.









Image from The Miracle Journal.




So, So Absorbent

Today I learned something. It may not be a groundbreaking discovery, but it’s an important handy tip to know.

Let me start with the backstory.

This morning I noticed I had a meeting on my calendar that started early and would last all day long, so I decided to hustle up and get it together so I could leave the house plenty early. I wanted to be able to stop for coffee and still get into the office a bit early so I could sit a minute at my desk, gather my thoughts, and prioritize any urgent emails before disappearing into a conference room for the remainder of the day.

What a good strategy! This is part of my new approach for taking better care of myself. Generally I show up to the early meetings five to ten minutes late, anxious and sweaty from running to the meeting. Oh, and lacking coffee.

With determination, I took care of my at-home stuff and hit the mark. I left the house on time and was happy. I had a casual and not harried drive to work and I even lucked out and found a parking spot right in front of my local Starbucks.

I mean, the day was ticking right along on schedule. I was feeling so proud of myself.

With Jeep parked, I walked inside hoping for a short line then opened the door to that very image. Only three people in line. Yesss!

I stepped up to the register, ordered my drink, chatted with the person behind me in line, giggled with their child and was feeling pretty great.

My latte came up quick and I grabbed it and was feeling pleased with the smooth pace of my day.

I carried my drink over to the little station where you can find sweetener and milk to add in. I politely said excuse me as I accidentally walked in front of another customer. I thought about an article I had read recently about the value of being nice, and thought how I need to continue to be a nice person even when the world sometimes makes me want to be mean.

Landing at the sweetener station, I popped the lid off my drink, reached to grab a couple packets of sweetener, shook, tore and when I went to put this into my drink, I knocked over my lidless cup, sending a coffee tsunami into the air.

Seriously. How did my latte catch air? I have no idea. Sixteen ounces of beverage became gallons as it poured all over the counter and onto the floor. The force of the wave shoved my sunglasses off the counter and onto the floor.

The velocity was overwhelming as waves of coffee and soy milk engulfed the entire store and its patrons.

And that’s how I learned that Starbucks napkins are super, duper absorbent.

Keep that handy tip in mind.





A dramatic, yet dry, recreation of events





Image Copyright © 2014, Karen Fayeth. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app. Also taken surreptitiously in an empty conference room while the big meeting was on break.




From The Department Of Not Sly

On Saturday the sun shone down so brightly on the Bay Area that it was too hard to stay inside. Roaming and marauding were the order of the day.

Yes, I know as a Californian I am supposed to feel Very Guilty about these sunny winter days we are having. I get it.

But instead of guilt, The Good Man and I went outside and basked in the sun. We decided to wander not our own neighborhood but the one just one city over.

It’s a really fun and funky block of shops and restaurants.

They day started with some chilaquilas that were rated as acceptable to me. You see, I grade Mexican food on a very tight scale. Sadly, most Californian Mexican food fails.

Once we were full to overfilled with good eats, we moved on to a really awesome bookstore that I had never been to before.

I do love bookstores. Especially local bookstores with both new and used books on the shelves. You really get a feel for a town by what is stocked on those used shelves.

As I often do in a bookstore, I wandered over to the art section. I am looking for a used copy of a particular Henri Toulouse-Lautrec book. Hope springs eternal.

This particular art book section was more eclectic than I usually find, which was great. A lot of things I hadn’t seen before.

While perusing, I found one very small section of books under the heading of “Wild, Wacky and Wonderful.”

Boy, this small collection lived up to the billing.

There were just five titles. I can’t quite remember them all. One was Toilets of the World. I recall that. Quite an interesting tome, may I add. One was the Pipe Handbook. One was the Diary of a Sword Swallower or something like that. I can’t seem to recall the other two.

As I browsed I kept walking back to that section and laughing. It was *too* perfect. Just too.

So then I decided to take an iPhone photo so I could remember what five titles were there. But how to snap a photo without incurring the wrath of the storeowners? They are sick, I’m sure, of people finding something in their store then buying it on Amazon. Snap click is a means to that end.

My intentions were good but I didn’t want to be a pain in that charming store.

Then I remembered, oh yes, that you can use the volume buttons on the iPhone to fire the shutter. I decided that I could hold the camera at about waist level and take a surreptitious snap.

I went over to the side of an aisle and thought, “Ok, I better give this a try to make sure I know how it works.”

I pushed the button and then loudly echoing through the store was the shutter sound that iPhone so helpfully adds to camera app.

You see, I always, always, always have the sound off on my phone. Always. I mean seriously, always.

Except on Friday afternoon when I was expecting (and didn’t want to miss) a call from my boss. After the call I then forgot to switch sound back off.

The shutter sound caused three people around me to snap their heads up and give me “grrrr” eyes.

Busted. Flat busted.

So there you go. I have no photo of the crazy fun titles, only my hazy memory.

And this piece of photographic art of the wrong shelves. *sigh*

Enjoy.





Copyright © 2014 Karen Fayeth






Photo Copyright © 2014, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons License in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5, the onboard camera app, and not a lot of guile.




It’s Only Right

On Sunday morning I woke up lazy and calm and satisfyingly rested. The temps outside were too chilly to rise from my cocoon, so instead I lolled in bed with The Good Man and the Feline. TGM and I talked over Sunday morning things, as couples will do, holding hands, talking quietly, and laughing.

After a while I said I was going to get up because I was hungry.

“What are you having?” TGM asked.

“Hmm, probably a bagel,” I replied, thinking of the mediocre but passable bagels we had procured the day before.

“What are you going to put on the bagel?” he asked. Food is a thing with us. We both love to eat and sometimes the story leading up to the nosh is just as important as the nosh.

It was as if he was asking me to tell him a story. A naughty, naughty story of bagels and cream cheese and toppings that would make us both suck the air in through our teeth and nod approvingly.

I thought a bit, adjusting my legs under the comforter, stretching my calves and toes in the anticipation of being upright.

“Probably just some cream cheese,” I said, staring my lactose intolerance square in the eye and refusing to blink.

“And tomatoes?” he asked,

“Yeah, that sounds good.”

“And capers?”

“Umm…”

At my hesitation he gave me a look somewhere between “you are an alien” and “you shot my dog”. He was crinkly browed and taken aback.

“I don’t think I like capers as much as you do,” I said.

The frown intensified. No words were said. Only this ever-deepening sadness and disbelief.

“It’s not that I don’t like capers. I do. Just not as much as you. I don’t always want them on my bagel.”

His frown deepened further and his head drew back like he was trying to put me in better focus. Like he was wondering to himself who this person was that he thought he knew. Like he was thinking, “I really should have gotten that pre-nup back when I had the chance because no way in hell would I have gone through with it if I had known she wasn’t going to have capers on her bagel on a lazy Sunday morning in December 2013.”

I shrugged. He shook his head and then I exited the bed. I paused on the way to the kitchen to take my morning vitamins and The Good Man went on ahead of me and began toasting two bagels.

He set out a variety of fixings and when the bagels were just a slight crispy brown around the edges, he said, “Your bagel is ready.”

When I accepted my bagel, I schmeared it with cream cheese and I lightly salted it and I added tomato slices. And then I put capers on my bagel because it was the right thing to do. The right thing the sake of another beautiful day in a long and happy marriage with a wonderful man.

He was right, the capers were delicious. In the world of food, I may reign supreme on all things green chile, but I should know better than to question the handsome boy from Brooklyn on the ways and means of eating a bagel.

Even a mediocre bagel nibbled on a frosty Sunday morning in Northern California.








Image found here.




My Made With Real Butter Angel

It’s 8:30am and I am already late for work, but I stop anyway because I’m not sure how I’m going to endure this day without a morning fix.

Walking through the door is a sensory dream. As I cross the threshold from below freezing to enveloping warm, I inhale deeply and take in cinnamon and coffee and bread browning in hot ovens.

In the back corner is where I find her, standing by the “We only use real butter in our baked goods” sign with tongs in hand, head tilted waiting for her customer to decide between a chocolate croissant or a cranberry orange muffin. Both are good choices. I understand the agony of decision.

She smiles and stays patient with the indecisive customer, then acts with steady precision once a choice has been made.

She is tall, very tall. I would estimate an inch or two over six feet. Very slender but well apportioned. She was made to be this tall and she wears it well.

She resembles a modern day Josephine Baker, but reedy and in her early sixties. Her regal demeanor is well accented by her beautifully high cheekbones that suggest an American Cherokee heritage. Or perhaps I’m simply projecting my own experience on her.

When it’s my turn, she speaks to me in a voice that is quite deep. Less Eartha Kitt and more Ella Fitzgerald. She looks me right in the eye, is engaged, actually likes this job and you can tell.

I am also trapped in the agony of indecision but finally announce the verdict. She plops my made-with-real-butter baked good into a to-go bag and turns to the espresso machine to finish my order.

As I wait, I look around the place. I’ve purposely left my mobile phone in the car so I cannot be distracted. I want to focus on this place. There is no need to go numb when there is so much to see if I only look around.

This morning they are playing music performed by what sounds like a church choir. High, high notes and big round allelujahs fill the small wooden bakery. This is not always the kind of music they play. It varies with the wind and the season and the time of day.

Today I feel like the almost church-hued tones fit the bill. It is, for me, a religious experience. A worship. A tithe. A blessing.

She calls out that my latte is ready and I scamper over to grab it, now feeling shy and rotund and awkward in the gaze of this extraordinary woman.

As I add a few packets of sugar to my cup, my eyes go toward the back of the shop, the kitchen, the place where butter-based magic happens. I see one person turning out loaves of bread and another frosting cinnamon rolls. I feel gratitude wash over me that these people exist. People willing to rise early so that I may ingest a still warm from the oven blueberry lemon scone, made fresh that day.

Oh yes. This place is a cathedral that I must worship, and that regal woman behind the counter must certainly be an angel.








Image found many places on the web, but this one was from My Food Looks Funny.com.




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