Met A Childhood Friend

Was sorting through all of the photos from my recent trip to New York when I found a set that I wanted to share. In fact I’d meant to share this a couple weeks back but I just got lost in the back-to-the-real-world on top of the hectic pace of the hellidays.

One of the days that The Good Man and I were in New York, I requested the chance to spend a few hours in the New York Public Library as I was still rap-tap-tapping away at my NaNoWriMo.

The Good Man indulged me and I had some time to sit in the Great Room and write, which was both fun and inspiring and is something I will never forget. The Good Man went exploring as I worked because there is much to see in that amazing library.

That was when The Good Man stumbled across something interesting. It turns out that in the basement of the NYPL, there is a children’s books section, and in that area there is a display case containing several stuffed animals, but not just any stuffed animals.

In the case are the original stuffed friends that were the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh. These toys belonged to Christopher Robin Milne, the author’s son.

The toys were brought to the United States in 1947 and remained with the publisher of A.A. Milne’s books, which then donated the stuffed animals to the New York Public Library in 1987.

In this photo, from left to right, is Lottie the Otter who shows up in a more modern Winnie the Pooh book sanctioned by the Milne estate. Then we have Tigger, Kanga in the back, the small Piglet, then Eeyore and finally on the far right, the man himself Winnie-the-Pooh.



This photo is Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth


Turns out the stuffed bear was bought at Harrods in London as a present for Christopher Robin’s first birthday.

It also seems that this stuffed bear is named Edward. Who knew that ol’ Winnie-the-Pooh was really a very posh Brit bear? I did not.




This photo is Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth


This Winnie-the-Pooh looks much different from the Disney-i-fied version that we all are used to. This Mr. Pooh has very kind eyes and a pettable nose.

But still no pants.



This photo is Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth


I was pretty excited after seeing the original Pooh gang. It was like meeting a group of celebrities.

As a writer it was pretty cool to see how inspiration can turn into a rich and beloved story.

Combined with a marathon writing session and then seeing Charles Dickens’ pen and inkwell, it was quite a happy literary day for this little ol’ writer.




All photos Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




Places I Would Rather Be

Today I found an unexpected hour in my day. My new hire of just three weeks told me that he feels comfortable taking a regular weekly meeting off my hands. He said he had it covered and that I didn’t need to attend.

I almost wept with utter relief. This is what I hired him to manage, but this progress is so much faster than I’d expected.

Hooray! Early Christmas gift to me!!

And so I could have used this found hour to do some other work or get caught up on email. Instead I decided to flake off.

Best and highest use of my time, in my humblest of opinions.

So I skated over to the Google News page to see what’s doing back home in New Mexico. That’s where I came across the Southern New Mexico fishing report.

Listed in today’s report are some of my favorite lakes in Southern New Mexico, and some of my favorite places to be in the whole world.

As I read down the list I sighed and wallowed like a lovesick schoolgirl.

Bill Evans? Oh have I had some amazing times night fishing there.

Caballo Lake? So pretty.

Elephant Butte? Always a fun time and a crazy amount of boats on that lake.

Quemado? That’s where I was supposed to go earlier this year and wasn’t able to. *cry*

Oh muh lord. Here I sit while the rain pours outside. I’m tapping away at my work computer and feeling low and definitely not putting a worm on a hook and sipping a beer and watching the clouds float by on a clear New Mexico day.

Uh oh, here it comes…waves of homesickness crashing on my shores.

In related news: The husband of my best friend works for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. He’s the guy in charge of Southern New Mexico fish. All of ’em. He has days at work that go something like “I put a boat in at Caballo, sent some shocks into the water, counted the stunned fish and then went home.”

Basically, the guy fishes for a living. And then writes a few reports.

It may be the greatest job in the world, or at least in the top ten.

*whimper*

In case you are near a beautiful New Mexico lake today and need to know if they are biting, here’s today’s report courtesy of the Silver City Sun News:


*Bear Canyon: Trout fishing was very good using homemade dough bait, Power Bait, salmon eggs and worms.

*Bill Evans Lake: Trout fishing was fair to good using garlic cheese, salmon eggs, Pistol Petes, Power Bait, and homemade dough bait. We had no reports on other species.

*Caballo Lake: All boat ramps have been closed and will remain closed until such time as water levels rise and is deemed safe for launching. Fishing pressure was extremely light this past week and we had no reports from anglers.

*Elephant Butte: Fishing was sporadic. A few white bass, crappie and black bass were caught by anglers using jig and minnow combinations and spoons. We had no reports on other species. The water was murky and the surface temp was in the low 50s.The Monticello, Dam Site and Rock Canyon boat ramps remain closed due to low water conditions.

*Escondida Lake: Trout fishing was fair using homemade dough bait, Power Bait, Pistol Petes under a bubble and corn salmon egg combinations. We had no reports on other species.

*Gila River: Water flow on the Gila as of this past Monday was 62 cfs. We had no reports from angles this week.

*Glenwood Pond: Trout fishing was good using Power Bait.

*Lake Roberts: Trout fishing was good using rainbow and red Power Bait, garlic cheese, homemade dough baits, salmon eggs and worms. We had no reports on other species.

*Percha Dam: The water was low and fishing was slow for all species.

*Quemado Lake: We had no reports from anglers this week.

*Rio Grande: Water flow below Elephant Butte as of Monday was 3.4 cfs. Trout fishing was fair using worms and Power Bait. We had no reports on other species.

*Snow Lake: We had no reports from anglers this week.

Source





This is a New Mexico fish, but from way up north at Navajo Dam



Image from FunFix.com.




Requiem for a Little Thing

The Good Man cautioned me about posting this because it’s very squishy and quite soppy and over the top melancholy. He warned me that I am opening myself up to some teasing for being so weepy about a fish. That’s ok. It’s what was on my heart and so I wrote it. Then I decided to go ahead and post it anyway. So here goes.

***

The Good Man often says, “No one cares about the little things” when referring to pets and small animals. At first I thought he was just being overly dramatic, but over the years, I’ve come to realize he might be right.

As a child, my parents were not fans of animals as pets and the care that goes along with having a pet, and so I didn’t have a pet until I was twelve years old. I didn’t learn to own and care for a pet, and how to lose a pet, in my early years.

My first animal was a cat named Yoda and I adored that cat. She died when I was in college and I still remember driving home to my parent’s place in Carlsbad crying my eyes out the whole way. A little girl racing home in a rattletrap car with big, sobbing tears, all over a cat. Yeah, that’s me.

As I moved into my adulthood, I always lived in an apartment and most rental places don’t want you to have a pet. So I didn’t.

The Good Man, on the other hand, has never had a moment in his life where he didn’t have a pet. He’s really good at taking care of animals and reading their moods, and he also has a lot of experience dealing with the loss of beloved pets.

When this handsome man entered my life, he came with baggage in the form of not one but two cats. In the first year of our association, one of the two kittehs (who had a slight attachment to me) passed on and I was crushed with grief. Crushed, dumbfounded and heartbroken. I’d grown to love that orange cat in a very short time and it had been a long time since I’d had a little animal to love.

We still have one kitteh, the rasty Feline, and she’s 14 and cranky and I can’t imagine a day when she’s not balled up behind my knees in the bed while I sleep.

And then there is my fish.

Who can be sentimental about a fish?

Me, that’s who.

For reasons I can’t quite articulate, a few years ago I decided I wanted to have some betta fish. I’d heard they were interactive and smart. I mean, a fish? All water and gills and scales. Interactive?

Turns out it is true. Betta fish are quite interactive and dare I say they have a good sense of humor too.

The downside of owning betta fish is that they have a pretty short life span. Three years is a good run. Some people get as much as five.

Last year, we lost our little girl fish, Margaret and I was saddened. She was the kindest, sweetest, most lovely little being. We joked she was the queen of our home, as she had a regal bearing about her.

Over most of this past year, my boy fish Benito has struggled. He’s sick with some sort of ailment that has caused his kidneys to fail. His abdomen is distended and it’s only a matter of (short) time before he shuffles off this mortal coil.

I look at my little betta and I see him suffering and I’m sad.

“It’s just a fish!” a friend said, when I wanted to talk to her about my sadness.

Yes. Just a fish. But my fish. And he is loved. Watching any being suffer is tough to take.

So every day I talk to my little fish and I coax him to have a few pellets and I worry over him and I change his water a lot and I know the end is near.

I guess as I age I’ve become an old softie. The thing is, I really am sad. I wish I could hug my little fish and make him feel better but I cannot. I can only sit outside his tank and hold my finger up to the glass and he will chase my finger, even when he feels bad, because that’s how we play.

————

All of the above was written about a month ago. I just had to get my thoughts out while I watched my cherished pet suffer.

Tuesday morning in the very small hours, I was up and making breakfast when I noticed my fish struggling. He had a little seizure and then he quietly died.

I can’t believe I had to watch him die, even as I am glad I was there with him.

The Good Man and I talked. I don’t think I want to have any new pets for a while. We’re good with the one rasty cat.

In Spanish, the word benito means blessing. For a few years my little red fish was a happy little blessing in my life.

I’m happy I got to be his human.

Boy oh boy, this losing a pet just doesn’t get any easier.



My beautiful cranky faced fish.



Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone4s and the Instagram app.



Winning is like..Better than losing

Last year was a tough one at the Southern New Mexico State Fair. My two amazing goddaughters raised pigs as part of their 4H work and then entered them into the fair. They had high expectations, only to learn some hard lessons about business, politics and collusion.

Their pigs didn’t place, didn’t make it to the auction and were sold at packer rates, which amounted to about $300, then loaded on the truck. This is not something they have yet recovered from.

So this year they got smart.

They decided to diversify into rabbits. Yes, I said rabbits.

Seeing as their Uncle is superintendent of the rabbit judging at the local fair and he also breeds and sells champion rabbits, it seemed like a good idea.

And it was.

Their cousin took first and grand reserve, my younger goddaughter took second and the oldest took third.

Then the goddaughters sold their rabbits at auction. Younger girl got $1,100 and older brought home $1,000.

The best thing about rabbit auction? The buyer almost always gives the animal back to the kid and takes the tax deduction on the sale. No packer truck means no big sad this year.

My girls are turning into brilliant business women, and for better and worse, learning how to play the game.

Even as I hate how good ol’ boy corrupt the whole animal showing and auction goes (it always has been), I’m proud of them for figuring it out.

That’s an education you don’t get at school.

Meanwhile, The Good Man says, “There’s money in rabbits!” and is plotting an extensive distribution channel of eatin’ rabbits. There are plenty of local high end restaurants who serve it and “peasant food” is so on trend these days. If a restaurant can charge $30 for a rabbit plate (I’m not making this up) then we can surely get the girls some back end on that deal.

It’s all about who you know.

All I know is I gotta stick close to my girls. Today the Southern New Mexico State Fair auction barn, tomorrow the world.


Photo from ©2011 livestock auction





Photo Copyright 2011, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons License in the far right column of this page. Taken with a Canon Rebel.



Willing Suspension of Disbelief

“An actor struggles to die onstage, but a puppet has to struggle to live. And in a way that’s a metaphor for life.” – Handspring Puppet Company, creator of puppets for the stage show “War Horse”

Over the weekend I had the great pleasure of joining two very dear friends and The Good Man for a night out on the town. We started at a little French restaurant for both dinner and great conversation. We lingered a bit over our food, but skipped dessert as we had tickets to the theater, and it was nearing showtime.

While I have seen quite a few stage productions in my life, I am not what one would call a “theatre geek.” All three of the other talented people at the table self-describe themselves as such, so obviously I learn a lot from them every time we are together.

On that beautiful night in San Francisco, we found ourselves at the venerable old Curran Theater with tickets in hand to see “War Horse.”

This show first came to my attention at the 2011 Tony Awards (where it picked up five awards). The brief yet enchanting moment when the puppet horse came on stage sent a jolt to my soul. I turned to The Good Man and said, “Let’s fly to New York to see it!” and he smiled, as The Good Man does, and inserted reason into my life. “I bet it will come to San Francisco. Let’s see.”

Of course he was right.

Life almost got in the way, because this past weekend was the closing of the San Francisco run of the show. Whew! I owe The Good Man so much for pulling this one together.

Now, while I love the quirky old Curran, she also makes me tired. It’s small, short on bathrooms, the seats are massively uncomfortable and it’s stifling hot inside. And yet I keep going back there because they stage some of the best shows in the world.

I went into this production with extraordinarily high expectations. They were all beat. Hand’s down.

This is the most magical and profound show I have ever witnessed.

It’s no secret that I am a horse person. I have spent time among horses. I’ve studied them. I was trained to ride by a protégé of Monty Roberts (the inspiration for “The Horse Whisperer”) and she taught us in his style.

Which is to say one must listen to a horse. You must note the posture of their ears. Understand why a foot stamp. Realize that a deep inhale or a deep exhale actually means something.

I’ve spent hours simply watching a horse so that I could hear what it was telling me.

So you know I was going to have an extraordinarily critical eye when it came to the puppetry in this show.

I’ll cut to the chase…they nailed it. I don’t know how they did it, but they did. From simple ear flicks, to a shivering coat when brushed, to head posture. At one point, there was a long dialogue between two human characters while two horses stood off to the side. The horses sighed, tipped a front hoof on edge, stamped, and shifted weight from side to side. If you’ve ever made a horse stand still you’ve seen all of those. It wasn’t affected, just simply natural.

These bits of metal and canvas transformed into actual horses in my eyes. It was absolutely magical.

And then woven around this astounding feat of puppetry was a really difficult story set during World War I.

A boy’s father wins a young horse at auction and the boy and horse embark on a deep friendship. Albert trains the horse, Joey, with ease and understanding. They have that special bond that only a horse owner can know. But when England goes to war, Joey is sold into service for the cavalry by Albert’s father. Quickly, our young Albert lies about his age and enlists so that he can find his horse and keep him safe.

It is an extraordinary journey through history, exploring many notable events of WWI.

I’ve often been told in crafting stories that there are no new plots and it is the job of the writer to find a way to bring a new perspective to a known story. In this play, the underlying story is one we know. War is awful. Ravaging. And it irrevocably changes those who were sent to the front lines.

We know that story, but when you add the majestic layer of these well wrought puppet animals, it becomes something almost cinematic. How they staged such an ambitious production on the Curran’s small stage is still a miracle to me.

From light cues to small movements to the amazing work of the puppeteers, this show transcends theatre. You willingly suspend your disbelief and don’t want it back for a single moment.

It was perhaps one of the most profound moments of live theatre I’ve ever experienced.

Now I’m sad that I waited so long to see it because I want to see it again. This despite the fact that I totally ugly cried right there in the theatre. I mean cried so hard I was afraid I couldn’t get my composure back. Thankfully I was in good company, most of the patrons shed a couple tears, too.

We were all that engaged in the story.

Driving home, The Good Man and I talked about the show. I wanted to know what he thought about it from a theatrical perspective. He wanted to know what I thought about the accuracy of the portrayal of the animals. Together we decided it was unlike anything we’d ever seen.

Whew. I was so emotionally done-in that I slept like a rock that night. Over Sunday breakfast The Good Man and I again idly discussed the show. Just trying to speak about one of the more powerful scenes in the show brought tears to the corners of my eyes.

It’s rare and beautiful to find a piece of creative work, be it a book, movie or play, that gets inside the cellular walls of your soul and hangs on. “War Horse” is that, for me.

I will be thinking about that show for a very long time and trying to find a way to see it again.

Hey Good Man, I think it’s still playing on Broadway. How ’bout a road trip?





Hard to believe these mechanical devices become real horses, but they do




Image from AlEtmanski.com