2013 November : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

Gobble, Gobble

And here we find ourselves again on the eve of the Holiday of Big Eats. Of all the holidays each annual cycle brings, Thanksgiving and Halloween rank up there as my favorites. Mainly cuz of the snacking aspect so central to them both.

I do love a good day of eatin’.

So at this year’s Thanksgiving fest as I nosh and nom, I have many things to be thankful for.

I’ll start with gratitude for each and every reader of this blog. You may not be many in numbers, but you are huge in providing motivation. I love reading comments both here and on Facebook and each comment just spurs me on.

Thanks also for putting up with my most recent and quite maudlin post. I was in a pretty dark place that day. Writing the words out on the page always help me exorcise those demons. It is my greatest therapy.

I cried through just about every word of that post (a little awkward at work, so I had to stop and finish it up at home) but getting it all out really helped.

I’ve been a bit MIA since that post as I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff. Work got really weird last week and of course I am already weird, so when weird is doubled down, it’s not really a good thing.

The good news is that I am off work this week. I have to admit I didn’t know how much I needed a vacation. Needed it so much. Yesterday I slept in to a reasonable hour, something like 7:30, and got up and started doing stuff around the house. Then I felt nauseous and had vertigo. So I did the only logical thing: I went back to bed. For the whole afternoon.

Turns out my body was saying “Lay it down sister, we need rest.” I have been running full throttle for a long while and when I let off the gas, I needed to actually rest. So as much as I hated to lose a whole day of vacation, it was totally worth it.

Today I’m full of the usual quantities of both piss and vinegar, so it’s game on. Look out world, I’m back! And grateful to feel good again.

So I’m thankful for my job, the ability to take paid vacation days, and for rest. All of these together make me a better Karen.

I might also mention here how thankful I am for The Good Man who puts up with my special brand of crazy including chronic rantings and frequent bad moods. He is the cream in my coffee, the salt in my stew, and he makes me a better person every day. Thanks for being you.

Also, looping back to my dark post from last week, I am thankful for the magic of veterinary medicine. The Feline is back up on her paws. She still has a chronic and quite terminal condition, but with some medication, some subcutaneous fluids and some love, she’s almost back to her usual zippy almost 15-year-old self. Who knows how long we have left, but we have her feeling ok today. And I am very grateful.

And finally on this by no means all-inclusive list, I am thankful for my best friend who, earlier this year came to my home bearing bags of green chile that she had stowed in her suitcase. Yesterday I discovered them in my freezer and realized that two of those bags were chopped chile, just perfect for making a green chile stew.

As the chiles and cumin and potatoes roiled and boiled, I was thankful that I am a New Mexican, grateful for the mouthwatering food, and thankful that my New Mexican by way of Texas best friend in the whole wide world cares enough to share her chile stash. That’s love.

Most of all on this sunny and warm California Wednesday, I’m just happy to be alive, to be loved, and to have my place here on my little blog where I can be weird or depressed or lame or just simply be me, and that’s ok.

Happy Day of Gobble Gobble to you all! May you have a wonderful holiday, wherever in this big ol’ world you may be.





Had to post this image, it’s tradition.




Photo and doodle Copyright 2010, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Photo taken with an iPhone 4 using the Hipstamatic app.




I Guess That Is What Autumn Means?

When poets, musicians and bards speak of the seasons, they speak of the cycle of life. Birth, life, death. The never ending cycle that none with a soul and a heartbeat can avoid.

I like to think of autumn in philosophical ways as I crunch the leaves under my feet. Ah yes, the earth must turn. The leaves must turn brown. My hair must turn gray.

But really, autumn isn’t quite just a philosophical thing for me anymore. I guess as years go by I have racked up painful scarred notches on my soul. Reminders. Injuries that push me from the figurative to the literal.

We are just a week away from the Thanksgiving holiday, and I am reminded that the anniversary of my father’s birth is also next week. He always favored an apple pie for his birthday, which occasionally fell on the actual day of Thanksgiving.

It has been almost nine years since he passed, and this autumn day has caused me to think of my father, and the deep well of sadness that I will likely not ever recover from.

His death broke something inside of me. Resolve? Courage? Strength? I don’t know. I do know that in the wake of his passing, I cry a lot easier. I get sad a lot more quickly. I grieve more profoundly. And I love with gusto because time is always ticking away. The world does not stop turning. The leaves cannot help but turn brown.

Today, when coworkers casually passed me in the hallway and asked, “How was your weekend?” by way of making small talk, my answer couldn’t be the usual “Fine, and you?” Sure, I said that a few times. And a few other times I said, “Actually, I had quite a terrible weekend.”

It’s true, but not everyone wants or cares about the truth when crossing paths in the break room on the way to the coffee machine on a Monday morning. Lying is hard for me.

My precious Feline is sick. A few months ago we knew she was sick but it didn’t seem terminal. Two months later and it’s not good. She spent the weekend at a pet hospital where too many people grabbed at her and poked needles in her and she wasn’t at home with her humans.

She’s home now, and that helps. They sent us home with bags full of medications and regimens. We cannot cure her, we can only make the symptoms a little less awful.

The prognosis is tough to make. She may live another year. She may only live until tonight. I have no idea.

But the clock is ticking. As I watch her lose weight and refuse to eat I know that the specter of death looms large. As large at the oak trees that line my residential street, spilling their leaves and showing me their skeletons.

This is autumn. As sure as I am not ready for pumpkin spice lattes, I’m also not ready for what this autumn has in store.





Photo Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth




Photo Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




Whoa. That’s Something.

If you are a regular reader of Oh Fair New Mexico you will remember this post from March where I spoke about joining the photography club at my place of employment, and how I was rather intimidated by the group that is 1) mostly men and 2) mostly PhD level scientists.

When a scientific eye is sees and comments on the pixels, it makes me look at photography in a whole different way. I have certainly learned a lot from the group. I have also taken some hard chops on my photos during the monthly critique sessions. For the most part, the critiques have been 100% right. Flaws and problems in my photos that I didn’t see were pointed out and once I saw them too, I knew clearly how I’d erred and how to fix it next time.

And that makes me a better photographer.

Each month, at the end of our critique session, we all go off and vote for our favorite of the photos. The photos earning top votes are published in the online newsletter that goes out to every employee at the corporation.

Every month from March forward I have submitted photos and the most votes I have ever received was two. Until this month. That’s when something special happened. This month my photo garnered top votes and by golly it was published to the entire company.

Whoa! The newsletter went out last Friday and I was inundated with emailed congratulations from coworkers and clients.

I feel pretty dang good about this accomplishment. Slowly but sure I’m getting it. I’m figuring out this group, improving my eye and taking better photos.

The winning photo was actually something I took in 2010 (it’s been on the blog before), and this crowd seemed to like it.

Here it is:




Image Copyright 2010, Karen Fayeth





Photo Copyright 2010, by Karen Fayeth, and taken with a Canon G10. Exposure bumped and a few minor fixes done in Photoshop. This is a single shot and not layers as you see in many examples of night photography. This photo is subject to the Creative Commons license found in the right column of this page.




Round and Round The Mulberry Bush

I find myself with a rare few hours this afternoon where my calendar does NOT have somebody’s name and silly meeting title plopped across wide spans of my time.

I mean an afternoon with no meetings is pretty damn rare. I’m almost scared. Like “did we all get the afternoon off and I didn’t know about it?”

So I figured I’d make good use of some found time and tip tap away at a post for my little ol’ blog.

Of course, when I actually have some time and some room to stretch my word wings, I have zero, zip, zilch, nada things to say.

Probably not surprising given that my last post was about my walnut bladder.

I went to my trusted fall back method of using a random word generator to spark ideas.

The word that was presented to me was: Mulberry

As in pop goes the weasel? Hmm. So I went to Google to see what I could links might give me interest in writing a couple words.

First I sifted through the voluminous links about Mulberry, the British leather accessory company. Boring.

Then I read the Wikipedia page about the plant. *yawn*

Then at the end of the Wiki entry, I saw this sentence:

Vincent van Gogh featured the mulberry tree in some of his paintings, notably “Mulberry Tree.”

What’s this, then? A Van Gogh mulberry? Now that’s interesting. I would not call myself a scholar of Van Gogh’s work, but I have done some poking about. Read some books. Have even seen one of his works live and in person at New York’s MOMA (I cried because I was so profoundly affected).

So today my lack of creativity and reliance on a tried and true prodding method caused me to discover a new (to me) painting by a favorite artist.

That’s not so bad, now is it? One might say both inspired and inspiring.

Here’s the painting. It touches me deeply in ways I can’t quite describe. And that’s the beauty of art.





The Mulberry Tree by Vincent Van Gogh





Image used under a Creative Commons license from Wikimedia.




The Ballad Of a Walnut Bladder

I was born with a troubling affliction*. It’s been so difficult to manage my whole life, and it’s so difficult to discuss. Today I feel is the time to make public my ailment.

I am affected by a disorder known colloquially as walnut bladder. Yes, it’s true. I so much as look at a glass of water and I feel the need to pee.

In such times as walnut bladder-itis affects the life of The Good Man, he calls me his little tree frog. “You know, you pick up the frog and it tinkles in your hand?”

That’s me.

As a child I presented quite a challenge to my folks who liked to take road trips. The average child has to pee frequently but I was even more prone than normal. I always had to pee and I had the kind of dad who refused to stop. It was always a problem.

We used to spend summers at our place at Ute Lake. The drive from Albuquerque to Logan, New Mexico is about three hours, plus or minus. Even as an adult, three hours is just too long for me to go without a trip to the potty.

I vexed my mother terribly with my affliction. Once she threatened to use a clothespin to clamp off my leaky plumbing.

Well that got my attention.

From then on I planned well ahead for an upcoming road trip. I would cease intake of liquids at least a day in advance of the trip and would steadfastly refuse to drink any liquid until we arrived.

In hindsight, not having much liquid while living in the high desert wasn’t probably the best idea, but it worked and it avoided clothespins in delicate places.

In daily life I manage my ailment by working a path between my desk at work and the restroom. At home I get up at least twice a night to pee. The Good Man and The Feline have learned to adapt.

But I had occasion last week to really realize again the utter torture of a completely full bladder and no good plan to empty it out.

It was a typical afternoon at work and I was, as usual, drinking lots of good fresh water. Staying hydrated is still important. And that means ol’ Walnutta here has to go at a minimum once an hour. Sometimes more.

Usually before heading into a meeting, I will go right before so I can get through the hour stretch.

On this day, I was so busy with work and in other meetings and I bumped right up to the top of the hour when my next meeting was due to start. I did an internal gut check and then a clock check and thought, “Yeah, I’m ok.”

Silly, silly me.

At about twenty minutes into the hour and a half long meeting, a job interview with a prospective candidate no less, I had that first twinge of “oh…hmm, I’m going to need to pee here pretty soon.”

As the seconds on the clock ticked by with molasses speed, and the candidate droned on and on and on, things started to get bad.

One goes through most of the stages of grief when it comes to an overfull bladder.

First, denial: “Pfft! I’m fine. No big deal. I can make it.”

Then bargaining: “Ok, well, if I can make it just ten more minutes, maybe I can excuse myself and take care of this. Please please bladder don’t let me pee my pants.”

Anger: “Dangblamit why did I drink so much water today! And why is my bladder so tiny? And why can’t I just distract myself and make this feeling go away!?!”

Depression: “Dude, you are such a loser. Look at everyone else at the table, they can hold their liquids. What is *wrong* with you?”

Acceptance: “It’s going to be ok. I’m going to make it. I’m not going to pee my pants. And if I do, it will be fine, right?”

Over the course of an hour and a half I moved up and down and back and forth through all of those stages and I squirmed mightily in my chair.

Look, my attention span isn’t that long to begin with. Add in a full to bursting bladder and I don’t hear what anybody has to say about any topic.

It was horrible. At one point I thought I might even cry, I had to pee so badly.

And finally! Finally at the hour and forty five minute mark that damn candidate stopped talking and I was free to go use the restroom all the way over on the other side of the building.

Then it becomes like that question of walking or running in the rain. As in: In which method do you get wetter? (I think Mythbusters proved it’s a toss up)

The question became: do I walk to the bathroom thus taking longer and upping my odds for peeing my pants? Or do I run thus jangling my stuff and making it more likely I’ll pee my pants?

I chose a sort of tight-legged shuffle and finally made it safely into the bathroom stall.

And once I made it to the safe zone and did my business, my whole world looked a little brighter. A little happier. A little more at peace.

I know everyone has gone through the ballad of the full bladder at one point or another. When you have a walnut bladder it happens a little more often than I’d like.

You better betcher sweet life I’m doing a much better job of meeting and bladder management. No one likes the full bladder squirms.








Ok, not *really* an affliction. The word just sounded good to add the right amount of drama.


Image found here.