Is That What I Think It Is?

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A few weeks ago I was walking out to my car after another real long day at work, when I smelled something a little sweet, a little nice, and a little out of place for a corporate parking lot.

My head whipped around and I saw a rather large burly man sitting on a parking berm next to his motorcycle and he was smoking.

Yes, I live in the Bay Area, but no, you cheeky monkeys, it wasn’t skunk weed that I was smelling…

The man was smoking a clove cigarette.

My first thought was “What, is he in High School?” and my second thought was “What, is he a girl?” and then the smell of sweet clove smoke wafted over me and I was shoved into the Wayback Machine and transported back in time.

So there I am, a sophomore at Del Norte High School and it’s after a football game and my friends and I have found our way to the McDonald’s at the corner of Academy and San Mateo in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

That McDonald’s belonged to our high school. Every high school had their “home” McDonald’s and going to the other school’s home territory, especially on a Friday night, was a whole scary and political thing.

So I’d already supped on French fries (all that I could afford) and was standing out in the parking lot doing what sixteen year olds do: I was slouching and skulking and just being a lump of teenager.

I was kibitzing with my friend Stacy who was sort of a wild girl. She didn’t start out that way, but she turned that way pretty quick. She was small, dark haired, pretty and did this squinty eyed thing when she laughed which was terribly endearing.

Later, when we both tried out for the high school drill team and she made it and I did not (we had practiced together) and some distance came to our friendship. That and her affinity for drinking a lot of Everclear. I just couldn’t go there.

But on this night we were friends and hanging out and she pulled a cigarette from her purse and lit it up. It smelled funny.

She explained to me that it was a clove cigarette. This particular item was very, very illicit because clove smokes were (and are) illegal in the State of New Mexico. She explained this was due to the fact that clove cigarettes will make your lungs bleed.

She told me this tidbit in that urban legend sort of way that made me wonder if what she said was really true, all the while I believing it 100%. I was (and still am) fairly gullible if told a good story.

So Stacy encouraged me to take a drag. I hesitated, thoughts of bleeding lungs in my head and firmly believing that the second something illegal touched my lips my parents would immediately show up and all hell would break loose.

After waffling, in a rare bit of rebellion I went for it (yes, taking a drag from a cigarette was, at the time, MAJOR rebellion) and she told me to lick my lips after, tasting how sweet it was. And it was.

I’d been so naughty! So *bad*! It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once!

Fast forward just over a decade later and I found myself living in California and oh my! Clove cigarettes are perfectly legal here! So I did some cool slouch thing into the corner store and bought a pack and felt very sophisticated and rebellious and adult and on-my-own and Mary Tyler Moore hat in the air “you’re gonna make it after all!”

That pack lasted me several months until they dried out, and then I bought another just because I could. Every now and again on a lonely evening I’d pour an amber liquid over ice and sit on my front porch and smoke a clove and think about things.

Then, of course, a few years later my dad died from pulmonary fibrosis and smoking something that might make my lungs bleed seemed like a really bad idea.

Ok, meandering along the Wayback trail and getting to that train of thought quickly brought me right back to the here and now.

I sort of smiled at the big dude smoking a clove and inhaled deeply. It smelled so nice.

Such an unexpected scent to end my day.








With all thanks to a Random Word Generator for giving me a wayback prompt, in the form of the word clove, on this sunny Monday.


Image by Kriss Szkurlatowski and used royalty free from stock.xchng.




Doing Some Stuff

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Thanks to the folks who dropped me a note to ask where the heck I’d wandered off to and when the heck I would get back to blogging.

You make my heart sing. You awesome wild things.

It’s been a nutty week, wait…has it really been a week since I posted?

Yikes.

But here I am back in the comforting arms of My Fair New Mexico and all its glory.

And so, as Michelle correctly guessed in the comments of my New Year’s Eve posting, I have a new job and it’s all VERY exciting.** It’s a big move for me and it was tough decision. I think it’s the right move and I couldn’t be more fired up.

As though a sign from the heavens, today I discovered that one of my coworkers on my immediate work team used to work for the State of New Mexico. He is not originally from there but lived in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque for several years.

When this came to light, we had one hell of a downhome visit here at the new office. I’m a little spun around by this new job, even just two days in, and so it was completely comforting to talk about New Mexico with someone who understands. So many coworkers in California who don’t know, don’t understand. But this one does.

I’ve already offered to bake him biscochitos and we’re planning how to get some green chile up in this place of employ.

And speaking of New Mexico, I’d like to share my new badge photo with you because, honestly, I think it took the roots of my raising to get me to this point.

Here we go:



“I will cut you”



When I first looked at it I thought, “I look like a bad ass.”

Heh.

I look like a BAD ASS!

Yessss!

When I showed it to my husband, he said “I like it, it’s sassy.”

I said, “It’s not sassy! That face says ‘don’t mess with me’”

He said, “Yeah, I’d mess with you anyway.” — Which is why he’s The Good Man and stuff.

When I showed it to my best friend I told her that The Good Man said, “it’s sassy.”

My El Paso born, raised-on-the-border friend said, “Um, sassy in a chola way.”

And then I was super happy.

I’d like to think I learned from my chola sisters in my early years. They taught me a lot of things, including burning the end of my eyeliner with a lighter and how I should take my earrings off before I get in a fight.

Life lessons, really.

Ok, to be totally upfront and honest, the look on my face isn’t my inner bad assitude finding its way to the surface. It’s really just me looking at the weird badge office set up and thinking “which of these two different cameras are they using? Where do I look? What is going on back there? Do they really know what the hell is going on and when are they going to…oh damn…they took the picture.”

Badge office confusion converted into “I will cut you” is ok by me!

Rawr!




**Michelle also guessed I was either pregnant or adopting. Nope and… : shudder : Thanks for keeping me on my toes!




Happy Gobble Gobble Day

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Now a holiday tradition. Doodle-y goodness!

_______________
First published November 25, 2010

To celebrate the holiday, I present to you a doodle from my marker board at work.

I was on a *really* long conference call. It was boring. I got distracted.

May you and yours have a fabulous, gluttonous day!

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.



Decision Time: Do unto others as was done unto me?

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So the good news is, I get to hire a new person to my team. We really need the help. Oh boy could we use the help.

And I think we’ve found the right person for the job (after quite a long recruiting process), oh joy!!

So as the paperwork goes through approvals and I wait, I was given the go ahead to start outfitting the cubicle and equipment for this new starter.

Yay!

Now, let’s go back a bit in time. Cue the wavy lines as we go back over two years ago.

To the day when I started this job. I was fresh faced and full of optimism and enthusiasm and other words ending in m.

My new boss ushered me to my office. Hard walls! A window! A door!

Then he handed me a laptop. Ker. Thunk.

In my previous gig I had been blissfully using a sleek, speedy Mac and this…thing…that was placed into my hands was a Dell.

A Dell. *shriek!*

Not only a Dell, but an almost three year old Dell that was running, horror of horrors, Windows XP. In the year 2010.

I was told that:

1) The Company keeps laptops for three years. Three years exactly, no early upgrades. This machine wasn’t quite three years old so tough luck kiddo.

2) Windows XP was the only authorized operating system at that time.

3) The Company does a big bulk purchase once a year and we get smoking hot discounts during that time. So even if the machine was older then three years, I couldn’t get a new one until Buying Season.

So, I did what a new hire does. I made it work. It was the slowest, saddest, boat anchor of a machine I think I’ve ever known. I bitched incessantly as it locked up and had to be restarted again. And again. And again.

I waited long enough and was a good little girl and magically buying season arrived AND my machine’s three years expired and I was finally able to order a new machine.

A brand spanking new Dell that ran…Windows XP.

Oh fine. It was faster and the keyboard didn’t contain food and hair and skin particles from my predecessor (I so wish I was kidding about that), and the screen wasn’t cracked.

So I was happy!

The piece of crap I had used was dutifully sent to recycling. I hope they crushed it.

About a year later, I had to replace someone who left my team to work in another team within the same organization. My boss told her to take her machine with her. And so she did.

When I hired someone, it was not the Buying Season and I had to dig up a boat anchor of a Dell to give him that would take a coffee and a smoke break when my employee asked it to do simple spreadsheet things.

But he was a new employee and fresh faced and full of optimism and enthusiasm and other words ending in m, and he endured. Buying Season finally came unto him and he bought a new spiffy machine, and by this time the IT organization had approved Windows 7 so he was FLYING. Pivot tables! Moving graphics on PowerPoint. Weeeee!

Which brings us back to now. I’m still using the machine that was purchased two and a half years ago. As cheap PC’s are want to do, it has sloooooowed down considerably.

My PC will have a third birthday in about six months. The start of Buying Season is about nine months away.

I can make it last. Right?

At a recent group luncheon, one of my peers (who started right around the same time I did) talked about how he’d just hired a new person too. And how he’d ordered a new machine for them (we are currently in the buying season) and how he took the new machine for himself and gave his two year old machine to the new guy.

My eyes widened. “You can do that?”

“Of course,” he said. “I got a crappy machine when I started here. It’s a tradition.”

Which got me to thinking. You see, as mentioned, it is the Buying Season now and I ordered a new machine for my new hire and this year The Company upgraded the standard from Dell to Lenovo and it’s a pretty nice machine.

It was delivered on Monday and it’s in the box under my desk right at this minute.

So. Do I break the chain and give New Employee a new machine?

Or do I scoop that damn thing up and give him my not that old and not that terrible machine?

I have a few weeks to decide just what kind of person I want to be.







Cartoon vulture found on How To Draw Cartoons Online.



Rebel, Rebel

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Baby did a bad, bad thing (with the assistance of butterfingers and gravity).




Apparently in a battle to the death, asphalt beats Gorilla Glass.

Good to know.

I suppose it could be said the timing is right since the new iPhone is due out soon. This is the perfect excuse to buy a new one.

Except.

Upon viewing my scarred device in a meeting, the IT team felt bad for me. One apps development guy said “Hey, I have an idea. You could do some testing for me.”

And he put a new phone in my hand.

The timing couldn’t have been more odd.



I guess in the wake of a $1 billion dollar verdict, going from an iPhone to a Samsung is about the most subversive thing I can do here in the Silicon Valley.

“Rebel, rebel, you’ve torn your dress….”




Photos Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Photo of iPhone taken with a Samsung GalaxySIII and the onboard camera app. Photo of the Samsung taken with a busted iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.