Good Morning, Sunshine


This morning I came wheeling into work with a Very Dark cloud over my head. My boss, who I rather admire, did an unmitigated jerky thing* yesterday (as bosses are wont to do), and after a mostly sleepless night last night, I was still fuming as I drove into work.

I wheeled my way into the parking garage and into my usual spot when I noticed what, on first glance, appeared to be a pile of trash.

Upon climbing down out my decade old hoopty, I looked again at the pile of trash and tilted my head like a curious dog.


There was something not so trashy about the trash. I was compelled to look again at the tableau, a still life in paper, cellophane and aluminum.

The light was perfect, the scene so serene.

So I had to take a photo. Several actually, as it was tough to capture just the right mood.

An empty pack of Camels, a Swisher Sweets wrapper and an empty can of Welch’s Mango Passion fruit juice.

There was something of a discord between this scene and the shiny new Acura parked in the next spot. I suspect this art installation didn’t come from the Acura but arrived somewhere in the small hours of the night.

In my ongoing self study of “where do ideas come from?” I found this particular bit of business to be a fine lesson. Ideas come from being awake to the world around. Ideas come from seeing things with a different eye. Ideas arrive when you look at a pile of discarded items and see something that you just *have* to look at a little harder.

When I saw this bit of trash:

The artist in me had to stop to take a second look.

The photographer in me had to take a photo.

The writer in me is still working out my version of the back story that created this shrine in a parking garage.

The ability to get fired up by the mundane…that’s where ideas come from.

*The jerky thing was not directed at me personally, but it impacts my team in a negative way, and that make Hulk Maaaaaad. Today he and I talked it out and have arrived at a workable solution, so all is well again in Working Land.

Photo taken by Karen Fayeth using the Camera+ app and subject to the Creative Commons License in the far right column of this page.

Epiphany On Aisle Seven


So there I am, standing in my local Target store looking at something called Lactaid because evidently God has a sense of humor and I’m pretty sure I’ve become lactose intolerant.

I’ll spare you the details, but I’ve had a bowl of cereal for dinner this evening and I’m bloated up bigger than Airabelle, the Creamland Dairy hot air balloon (last seen at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta).

Pride goeth before a burp, and the thought of taking something to stop this feeling seems real, real appealing. I’m comparing and contrasting the relative merits of the store brand “dairy digestive aid” versus the name brand “dairy digestive aid” when in my peripheral vision, I note a man walk by behind me. I can tell it’s a man by the gait and by what he’s wearing as he shops the aisles.

I hardly notice my fellow shopper, but moments later, I get a whiff of cologne.

Oh my.

It’s that scent, that same deep musk and leather tinged scent that reminds me of someone I used to know. Suddenly I’m not in a Target store but I’m in the cab of an early model step side red Ford pickup truck sitting next to that memory and I’m mainlining that scent like a addict huffs paint.

The one I knew wasn’t especially tall but he was broad in the shoulders, owing to many long hours spent practicing his team roping skills. He was a dusky hued fellow of Native American extraction with ice blue eyes that made me go weak in the knees when he’d walk past me on campus.

We only went out on two dates because he was as squirrely as a rabid woodchuck, but oh my heavens was he handsome. Just those two dates were enough to make me smile wickedly to myself some twenty years later.

So I throw into my cart whichever box of digestive aid was in hand as I sensed the sweet smelling gent shopping in the next aisle. I look at the sign on the end cap containing the Target version of the Dewey Decimal system announcing, “dental hygiene,” and think to myself, “why, yes, I could go for something in a minty fresh breath.”

I fix my casual smile, not too wide, not too meager, just Mona Lisa enough, and sashay toward the mouthwash shelves. Memories of slow two stepping dances to the sounds of something like Alabama or George Straight or Merle Haggard fill my mind. I lean casually next to the Listerine and glance up at the object of my olfactory desire.

There stands a mid-fiftyish man with a boiler hanging over a belt holding up a pair of unflattering pants that evidently contain no butt a’tall. His unkempt hair graying rapidly from the top of his ratty hairdo to the bottom of his scruffy beard. What appears to be a remnant of dinner still lingers there on his, oh my is that really a knockoff Members Only jacket he’s wearing?

I beat a hasty retreat and three rows down, I huddle at the end of the hand sanitizer aisle. I need to regroup.

That was, as they say in the vernacular, a buzz kill. Suddenly visions of New Mexico State Ag Week dances under a clear high-desert starry sky vanish and I find myself once again an almost forty-two year old woman in a Target store. I take inventory of my own raggedy outfit, with frowsy hair escaping a hasty pony tail, glasses framing my weakening eyes and a hand cart full of things like GasX and Lactaid announcing that not only was that guy not the guy that I once knew, but I am in no way that girl I wish I was any longer.

The girl I am now needs to buy some Ziploc bags so she can pack her non-dairy, non-wheat, low-fat lunch to take to my “is this really what I wanted to be when I grew up” job and slog my way through another day, as my tummy churns and my hair grays and I no longer ride in red pickup trucks and wonder what it will be like when I’m all grown up.

This is what it will be like. This is what it is. Just me and my rumbly tumbly and enough freedom and disposable income to make it interesting. When I’m done daydreaming and remembering and purchasing my products of middle aged despair, I get to go home to The Good Man who smells of soap and cute boy and is a pretty gosh darn fine reason for going home.

For some reason, even with my frowsy ponytail and corrective lenses and an occasional bout of lactose intolerance, he still thinks I’m pretty cool. And pretty.

Crazy ol’ fool. (Me, not The Good Man)

Awesomest Street in Chicago

Photo from coolead‘s Flickr photostream.

Ramble On


More Unconscious Mutterings free association fun for the post-Easter Monday morning blahs.

  1. Squid :: When handed to an experienced chef in an Italian restaurant and made into Calimari frittata? Yes please!

  2. Wife :: A descriptor I still can’t get used to.

  3. Promising :: On Friday I had to renew my driver’s license. The DMV I went to was dull, gray and windowless. That said, there were plenty of young kids in line to take their written tests to get their learner permits. For them, those government gray walls held something rather promising. For me…drudgery.

  4. Tingle :: What happened when I used The Good Man’s “invigorating body wash” containing peppermint oil. Peppermint oil + lady parts = no

  5. Off balance :: Me. Daily. Gravity and I don’t get along.

  6. Nice :: What everyone calls me. “Oh that Karen is so nice!” If they only knew the evil that lurks within my mind. I’m just too polite to act on any of it. Which is why they call me nice.

  7. Honor :: One of those phrases you hope you never have to respond to: “How do you plead?” Always reply,”Not guilty, your honor.”

  8. Emphatic :: Helps if you are rather emphatic when you say it, too.

  9. Siren :: Here’s something I don’t miss from back home in New Mexico: the tornado siren. It freaked me when they even tested the damn thing. My family’s tenure in Carlsbad was fraught with that sound. brr!

    When I visited Hawaii, I didn’t know they tested the Tsunami siren once a month. I’d taken off at a sprint before a nice bystander told me the deal.

  10. Plated :: With this whole boom in the celebrity chef, one term that’s now in the vernacular is the term plated, as in “oh I love how the chef plated this entrĂ©e.” It seems like an abomination of the English language. Not that I’m above abusing the language a little now and again. Can’t explain why this particular use just bugs me. Though doesn’t annoy me as much as “yum-o,” which should get the speaker of that phrase summarily kicked in the shin.

Ok, done rambling, verbally shambling, and linguistically wandering.

That there’s a visual pun…it’s a Rambler. The 1968 version. My folks used to own a Rambler. It got stuck in the mud up in the mountains of Cuba, NM. Good memory.

Spring Goes *SPROING*

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Wasn’t it just yesterday that it was cold, dreary and my little lakes and estuaries were empty of bird life? It was the quiet time. Trees brown, grass dead, flowers non-existent.

And then yesterday, as if out of no where…




I’m sure to the geese parents it was a bit more complicated than big, bang, boom (ahem….) but to me it’s like these little goslings appeared overnight.

Today, they are cute and I “awwwww” at their little wing nubs.

Tomorrow they are full grown Canada geese standing in the middle of the road as I’m trying to get to work and I curse at them.

That there’s the real circle of life. From an awwww to a blue streak in two easy steps.

Happy Spring!

“Hello Gorby? It’s Me, Ronnie.”

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One of my all time favorite series of posts on this little blog has been the “Office Archeology” series of scenes from my former employer.

From the first week I worked at the new employer, I’ve kept my eye out for potential Office Archeology items to continue the series. So far, no luck. This place is kept spotless. There are no weird wrappers on the stairs, no lockless keys on the hallway cabinets, and no abandoned staplers laying about. Nope.

I mean, that’s good, right? But almost a little weird too. Every office seems to have that bit of junk that everyone ignores. But not this place.

That said, I have managed to fine one item that, while not junk, absolutely confounds me. Here’s a poor quality iPhone photo:

This piece of historic telephony is located in the break room, right above the trash/recycling/compost bins. In fact, off to the left is the chart that provides helpful suggestions about where to toss your trash.

At first I sort of noticed it, but ignored it. My company has occupied this building for over twenty years, and I figured it was a remnant of the past. A leftover.

But over time, I became more and more fascinated by the red telephone.

Why red? Why in the breakroom? Is there a conspiracy happening?

If I pick up the red phone, do I talk directly to Gorbachev?

Look, for a child of the Cold War era, the red telephone means something!

Remember the days when Ronald Reagan sat in the Oval Office with his finger on the button and the red phone at his side? It was a staring contest to see who would blink first. Gah! THE RED PHONE!

Soon enough, my obsessive compulsiveness kicked in. I couldn’t ignore the red phone any longer. It wasn’t just something in the background but this THING that was there in my environment taunting me!

My need to be “the good girl’ and follow the rules (meaning, if it’s not yours, leave it alone) and my intense curiosity began to collide.

I must pick it up! I can’t pick it up! I must pick it up! I can’t pick it up!

I asked someone who’s worked here a while about the red phone. I hoped that answers would help ease my OCD.

“Um, I don’t know, I never really thought about it,” she replied, when asked.

This is what normal people do. They don’t obsess about a red phone.

Finally, when the days and nights of curiosity and agony were too much too take, and I found myself alone in the break room, I quickly looked left, I looked right, then lifted the red receiver from the red base, and held it to my ear.

I could hear nothing. “Hello,” I said in sotto voce, eyebrows knit together waiting for all to be revealed.

“Hello?” I said again to the silence.

Then I tap-tap-tapped at the hanging up lever.

Nothing. The phone is dead. I was right, it’s a leftover.

Not satisfied, a week later I sat in a meeting with a few members of our IT team, including the voice engineer guy. At the end of the meeting, I cornered him and asked about the red phone.

“Oh, that’s for disaster recovery. Since we all use VOIP lines on our desks and cell phones, we have to keep one wired line on every floor in case of emergency.”

Ah ha. Well that makes sense.

“Did you know that the phone doesn’t work?” I asked.

He shrugged and said, “Oh well!” and walked away.

Fabulous. The emergency backup phone doesn’t work. Now I have a whole new thing to obsess about.