The Turtle And The Hare

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I’ve mentioned several times in these pages that during the course of my life, I spent quite a few years in the company of a blues musician. By spending a little time with him, I also spent time around a lot of different blues musicians.

Men and women with a deep vein of soul and history and rhythm.

When you are around blues people, you hear a lot of stories. Telling stories is pretty much the foundation of being able to play the blues. As a storyteller in my own right, I used to soak in these stories, letting them enter my pores and fill my soul and tap my DNA on the shoulder and ask it to dance.

The stories are in me. Not all of them are true. Few of them are pretty.

All of this is a long winded lead up to a particular story I have in mind.

It goes something like this:

Back in the 1950’s in a small suburb of Dallas, Texas, two talented brothers grew up together.

Both had music in their bones and talent for playing the guitar. The world knows a little bit more about Stevie Ray Vaughan because of his breathtaking musical style and early death, but Jimmie Vaughan has also seen a fair bit of success with his music.

If you listen to each of their music, you can hear their very different styles. Stevie’s music was intense, complicated and at times frenetic. Jimmie likes to play a bit slower and wider and easier.

Legend has it that back in the day in Oak Cliff, Texas both boys not only liked guitars but they liked cars.

Stevie, unsurprisingly, liked real fast hot shit cars that he could jump in and race around town. Stevie used to vex the local police who couldn’t slow him down.

Jimmie on the other hand liked to cruise. He liked big, heavily finned, tuck and roll upholstered, Buick with a “smile” kind of cars. He’d put his girlfriend beside him on the bench seat and slowly roll through town, vexing the local police who wanted him to speed up.

I think of this story pretty frequently in relation to my own roll through life. My approach is more Jimmie than Stevie, though I admire the hell out of Stevie.

Perhaps this owes to the slow “land of mañana” pace of where I grew up. We don’t move with alacrity in New Mexico and tend to be suspicious of those who do. When I still lived in the state and traveled to San Francisco or Boston for work, I was always comforted to come home, get off the plane, and visually see how slow people moved. Then I would match my pace to theirs and know I was home.

There is a great comfort in moving at a calm pace.

I find, however, that is not how the world thinks one should move.

Let’s take for example, New York City. In New York, you are supposed to walk fast. Very fast. Head straight, eyes forward, and walk.

Despite how much I love Manhattan, I have one hell of a time keeping up. The Good Man was born in Brooklyn so moving at that pace comes natural. It does not come natural for me. I prefer to toddle along close to the buildings with the elderly and infirm and let the people pass me by on the outside of the sidewalk.

I am the person that New Yorkers yell at for walking too slow.

This all came back to mind this past week. It is New York Fashion week and I follow Nina Garcia, Marie Claire magazine’s Creative Director, on various social networking sites.

She has been posting photos from all of the various designer shows and I have been lapping them up like at kitten at a bowl of milk.

I may not have a figure for fashion, but I love it. I love seeing how textiles and stitches and notions come together to create something fantastic or ugly or offbeat. Yes, I dig it!

So a couple of days ago, Ms. Garcia posted a photo of a sign she saw backstage at the Michael Kors Spring show. Oh my, I am a huge fan of Mr. Kors.

Here is the photo:





I read the words and my heart sank a little. I am happily romantic, strong and my own version of gorgeous.

But I don’t walk fast and with energy.

I would love to kill them with chic, but instead I must maintain my killer sense of humor.

For some reason, this really got under my skin and whispered to those demons in my head who heckled me and said that if I can’t walk fast and with energy, I am a nobody. They said I don’t measure up, don’t belong, don’t matter because I can’t keep up.

And that’s when I remembered the story about the Vaughan brothers.

I don’t need to race up and down the streets of New York. There are plenty of people who have that covered. I want to cruise the Manhattan blocks and tip my head upward to wonder at the buildings and smile and give my lungs room to breathe.

Slow though I walk, I always get where I’m going. Pink cheeked, a little sweaty and smiling.

Perhaps I am taking this hand written sign a little too close to heart. I’m sure this was simply a note of encouragement for the models walking the runway, reminding them to keep it peppy and light.

Perhaps it just hit me on a bad day when the demons were a little closer to the open door than I would like. I let them out to play awhile, really let them run, then I whistled and corralled them back into the pen.

And I remembered that a strong, courageous New Mexican doesn’t have to walk fast unless she wants to. That is true both when walking the Bosque or NYC’s Broadway.


A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.

–Coco Chanel


Thankfully, I am both.

–Karen Fayeth





Photo from the Instagram feed of Nina Garcia. All rights belong to her.




So This Is Evil. Right?

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In my internet wanderings, I often find myself cruising beauty blogs for makeup advice tips. I am flat out terrible at applying makeup in any sort of especially appealing manner, so I’m always on the lookout for easy and fabulous looks. Or something like that.

While on one of these jaunts, I stumbled across this particular service called Anaface which is a facial beauty analysis. All the girls were piling in there to have their face analyzed and were reporting results. Some ladies were very happy. Some were sad.

And I thought to myself “what a crock of crap,” and yet, I bookmarked the page.

When I’d see that bookmark I’d ponder it, wanting to quickly upload my photo, then harrumph and go off again.

Today, the lure of my low self-esteem was just too great. I went in.

I began with this photo of myself in which my hair and makeup was professionally done and a master photographer took my image. In this photo I think, “Yeah, you know, I look all right.”





Then I uploaded that photo to the Anaface service. From there I helped the software by using my pointer to locate certain measurement spots on my face like the sides of my eyes and edges of my nose.

The software did its analysis and crunched the numbers and I arrived at this result:

“You are a 7.64 out of 10”.





I am ashamed to admit I was at once happy (almost an 8!!) and depressed (what, I’m not a 9?).

Then I read the laundry list of “Here’s why” and I began to feel like crap about myself.

Poor horizontal face symmetry. What? I thought the human eye found slightly asymmetrical faces to be more attractive anyway!

Your nose is too wide for your face width. What? I have a funny little thin nose actually.

Compared to your eye width, your innerocular distance is nearly ideal. Huh? I don’t even know what that means. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I mean, “ideal” sounds top notch, right?

So I harrumphed and my inner feminist got outraged and I Googled this facial beauty analysis thing to understand what the actual hell was up with this. I expected to see people out there as outraged as me. What I found was other analysis sites to try.

Then low self-esteem won out over self-righteousness and I uploaded my photo again, this time to a place called Pretty Scale.

Same sort of drill, I helped it find measurement points and it crunched the numbers and said: “77% You are pretty!”





And that sweet, sweet dopamine rush kicked in at the words “you are pretty” and I felt validated and superior and attractive for about 52 seconds and then thought to myself, “what, only 77%? I’m not more pretty than that?”

Only Pretty Scale doesn’t give me the rundown of things I can obsess about that are wrong with my physical appearance like my mouth being too wide for my nose. No, it just coldly arrives at a score and shoves it at you and runs away.

Then I realized how galldang evil these kind of websites are and how this is yet another way to make both men and women feel bad about themselves.

To their credit neither site was trying to sell me anything in order to capitalize on my poor self-image created by these bogus scores, which kind of surprises me.

Meanwhile, I honestly admit that reading “you are pretty” made me feel so good on a low, base, shallow level. And for that I’m the littlest bit ashamed of myself. And a little bit proud. And a little bit more ashamed and a little bit….

You get the picture. And when you get the picture, don’t upload it to a facial beauty analysis bullcrap site, okay?

Because to me you are beautiful just the way you are.





___________________________

By the way, Gollum clocks in at a respectable 6.9 out of 10. His innerocular doohickey is also nearly ideal.









Oh Let’s Let Her Lope Again

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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.




What Kind Of Fool Am I?

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A big, huge, silly, ridiculous kind of fool.

Here’s the evidence: Let’s go back to Saturday evening in San Francisco. I’d just finished a nice dinner with friends where I had eaten trout almandine with a nice glass of light red to accompany. It wasn’t a heavy meal and I was pleasantly full but not stuffed.

After dinner we headed off into the late summer night towards the theatre to see a show, quickly crossing streets and heading toward Union Square.

All of the people in our party are tall and in reasonably good shape. I’m walking along and find myself falling well behind the pack. Not only bringing up the rear, but struggling to keep up.

My heart is beating in my ears and I feel like I can’t fight hard enough to catch my breath.

After a bit, The Good Man notices that I’m struggling and he drops back to check on me. I admonish him with, “You have to slow down!”

The Good Man is super tall and quite long legged so this is not the first time I’ve asked this of him in the course of our lives together.

He slows and I’m feeling frantic, winded, sweaty and anxious. And I am mad. At myself.

Can I really be this out of shape? Am I really this far gone?

I grouse to my husband, “I don’t understand! I’m working my ass off lately, I eat almost nothing during the day and we have decent dinners at home. I walk three to four miles several days a week but I can’t keep up with you? It’s not fair, I can’t believe I was stuck with this goddamn body!”

As we near the theatre, it’s crowded. People are pushing and shoving. At one point I can’t seem to find a bathroom and it’s six minutes to show time.

I’m. Freaking. Out.

So I cry. It’s humiliating to admit and I’m mortified that I did it in public, but I cried.

The Good Man did what a good man does and he talked me through it. He asked me if I wanted to go home. He petted my head and he was just there for me as I got myself together.

I sucked back up all my whinging, dried my eyes, and we went on with the night. It turned out really well after all my fuss and kerfuffle.

Back at home, a tiny voice called to me from the back part of my brain.

“Hey. Maybe you need to start using your daily inhaler again.”

“Nooo,” the obstinate part of my brain said. “I don’t want to admit I have asthma.”

“Just try it. If it doesn’t help then stop.”

“Oh fine!” I say, petulant and cranky. And so I hit my inhaler and then went to bed.

The next morning, I go again. The prescription says take two puffs twice a day. Sunday night, I take the next two, and again Monday morning.

At noon Monday, I head out for my regular three mile jaunt with my friend. She’s in awesome shape and lately I’ve been lagging behind her and hardly able to make the walk.

Today, I zoomed around the paths, no trouble keeping pace.

Goddamn it. It was just that easy.

My body just needed a little oxygen.

This on the heels of a recent encounter with my acupuncturist. I have been crying and whining about being *so* tired lately. My western doctors found no medical reason and so I’m visiting this guy to see if he can help.

We’ve tried some various herbs and remedies and finally last week he says, “have you ever had trouble with anemia?”

“Yes,” I reply, rolling my eyes because I don’t want to admit that I have struggled with anemia damn near all of my life.

“Do you take iron?”

“No.”

“Um. I think you are anemic.”

“Oh fine!” I say.

So I am mad and I stomp to the store and I buy my regular iron supplement and I start taking it regularly and I’ll be damned if the ringing in my ears doesn’t stop and I sleep better and my digestion is better and I suddenly have enough energy to get through the day.

All I needed was iron.

Oxygen and iron.

What a genuine idiot I am.

And to think I gripe at The Good Man about overcomplicating things. Who is overcomplicating things now, eh?






Image found here



I Know Your Shame

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This morning I was at my local Peet’s waiting on a latte when I noticed the line behind me was getting pretty long. Like out the door. Commuters were starting to get the angry eyes.

The guy behind the counter pulling coffee shots and making drinks was moving slow, and when he noticed the backup, he got a little flustered. The more he eyed the long line of impatient workday people, the more flustered he got.

Suddenly, one of the other people behind the counter went, “whoa! Ok, you work the register” and then she physically pulled the guy away from the espresso machine and shoved him at the register. The young man sighed, dejected, turned to the next customer and said “can I help you?”

The kid was put in the hot spot, the bottleneck, the key role….and he couldn’t handle it.

And I felt bad for the guy. Then I slipped into the Wayback Machine.

The year was 1990. It was summertime. My folks were living in Carlsbad, so I went back home to C’bad to spend my summer between semesters at NMSU.

My salt-o-the earth parents insisted that I couldn’t enjoy the summer break. I was required to get a job.

Times were a little tough in Carlsbad in that year. Many of the potash mines had closed and jobs were a little scarce. Any good summer job had already been snapped up, and that left me with only one place that would hire me.

Taco Bell.

I slipped into my double knit polyester rust colored uniform, pinned my name to my chest, and went to work slinging beans.

I had worked a cashier’s job in high school, and one of my coworkers taught me how to count change and keep my till balanced to the penny. The Taco Bell people loved me. My till always balanced, I was pretty good as customer service, and I kept the place clean.

Inevitably, the manager decided to give me a shot working on the drive thru window.

The hot spot. The bottleneck. The key role.

It started out ok, I guess. I was a little confounded by taking the order but not taking money right away and keeping track of which car owed what amount and which order came next. The line of cars started to back up. It extended out onto Church street.

I managed to give the wrong order to at least three different cars.

Some guy came inside the restaurant all pissed off and complained to the manager. Cuz, you know, his tacos weren’t right. Or something.

Anyhow, I was unceremoniously pulled off drive through and put back on front register.

It was clear that I’d failed, and my failure was Very Bad. My coworkers wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I’d once been a star employee. I was now disgraced.

I was never given another shot at my nemesis the Drive Thru. Never had another chance to prove I could handle it (not that I cared, honestly).

I made it through the rest of that summer working register and of course went back to Las Cruces. Classes began again at NMSU and over the years I graduated, got a job and lived my life.

Twenty years later, the embarrassment is still fresh. Another minimum wage employee has learned the humiliation of not being quite good enough to handle the hot spot.

I hope he gets over it quicker than I did.
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Tangentially related, two years later, a F2 tornado ripped through town, injuring 6 people at the Taco Bell and ripping the bell off the top of the building.

The tornados in Carlsbad are the stuff of nightmares. My personal tornado story is well documented here.




A short Google search, and lo and behold, a photo of the 1992 tornado. The Internet is a weird thing.




Image from Southeastern New Mexico Weather Web Page.



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