It’s Only Right

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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

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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.




Nothing To See Here

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And so as I was perusing my Facebook timeline this morning, idly reading posts while breakfast was consumed, I came across a post from Chile Monster, a good group of folks that I follow.

Contained in their post was a link to an article about a woman who had moved to New Mexico and her first experience dining at Albuquerque restaurant Little Anita’s. She details how over time she learned to love green chile, and now living in Colorado, she found another location of Little Anita’s where she could get her fix.

In the comment section of that article was the following quote:

I have the greatest disdain for it. Green “chili” is disgusting gruel. Chile verde is supposed to be made from tomatillos.

— Diego Raya


When I read that, I actually jumped a little as though I’d been touched by a live electrical current.

Then I said aloud to my phone in the quiet dark of my living room, “Whaaat the f*****k?”

It was at this point that I laughed. This had to be a joke. The Good Man wearies of me raging against tomatillos. In California, green salsa and green enchilada sauce are made solely with tomatillos and thus I avoid them at all costs. Occasionally there are some jalapenos thrown in. All heat and no flavor.

That is, as the internets would say, weak sauce.

Why anyone would prefer tomatillos over green chile is a mystery to me. There is actually room in the world for them both. I believe true chile verde has both, but I won’t quibble with the adamant commenter.

In the aftermath of reading the quote, I went through many of the stages of grief. I was disbelieving. I was angry. I was sad. Then I accepted that one Mr. Diego Raya is entitled to his opinion. And also his utter lack of taste buds.

Then I realized, let Mr. Raya have his silly green tomatoes. Piles and piles of ’em. Let him have the entire watery crop.

Eat, Mr. Raya, eat! Enjoy every last one.

Just leaves that much more green chile for me and my people.

Move along Mr. Raya. Nothing to see here.





O Fair New Mexico, we love, we love you so…




Image Copyright 2008, Karen Fayeth.




A Treatise On Monday

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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.




For Comparison’s Sake

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Since the 2012 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta kicked off this weekend, I decided to take a meander down memory lane.

For my Albuquerque folks watching the balloons this year, I present photos from my family’s archives as evidence of what the balloon fiesta looked like in 1977:



Ah yes, I’ve mentioned before on this blog about my love for that blue on bottom white on top 1971 Chevy Blazer my family drove around as I was growing up. My goodness I loved that truck.

This photo just goes to show you that back in the day, the Balloon Fiesta was a big open field and spectators simply drove up and parked. And we helped. If you were standing idly, the balloonists would shout at you to help, even if you were a kid. We held and shook the envelope while that big burner whooshed hot air into the balloon as slowly it rose from the ground.

It’s a visceral event that still gets to me, even today.



I always loved this purple and white balloon and I believe when I went to the 2010 event I saw either this exact same balloon or one of it’s replicas. I love that this balloon is still up in the Albuquerque sky on a cold October morning.



And the basket and burner. Such the epitome of the event is the sight of firey flames shooting upward. That sound as the whoosh fills the air. That feeling as heat blows back. Watching the envelope shudder and move. The smell of fuel. Truly an assault on every one of the five senses.

Magic!

I had planned to go to the Balloon Fiesta this year, and then, as you know, the best laid plans of mice and men and stressed out overworked girls in the Bay Area.

Oh yes, I also have this already scanned. Here is the 1976 balloon fiesta. For some reason I only have the one photo in my album. That’s me walking with my dad and older brother. My mom must have taken the photo. My dad loved the balloons and couldn’t resist helping every pilot who asked (or didn’t ask).



Ah Albuquerque, my hometown, how I wish I could be with you this week. As the Balloon Fiesta snarls traffic and causes everyone’s noses to point skyward, I’d love to have a breakfast burrito and a hot chocolate and cry a little and laugh a little and love every minute of it all.

My last Balloon Fiesta was 2010 and I gotta get The Good Man out there so he can understand too.

I follow Neil Patrick Harris, a good New Mexico native son, on Twitter and he’s been tweeting that he took his family to ABQ for the Balloon Fiesta. After the events on Sunday, they went and ate at El Pinto.

I’m so damn jealous I can hardly stand myself.

Anyhow. Off to Monday and a drab ol’ day at work with no ornaments in my sky.

*sigh*

Miss you, my Fair New Mexico.



Photos from the family archives are Copyright 1976 and 1977 Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page. Be respectful with my memories, please.



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