From The Top

And the cycle starts again.

Where is my passport? Which suitcase should I use? Will I be able to sleep on the plane? Ten hours in flight, really? How many snacks should I bring? How many movies can I cram on my iPad? Ohmuhgawdinheaven I’m really doing this again?


I’m really doing this again.

A plane ride is nigh. My third international trip in three months.

April = Singapore
May = Costa Rica

And that must mean it is June and time for travel to the UK.

A new beginning. A new trip. An old country that’s brand new to me.

Ever since I was a small child I’ve wanted to go to London. I’ve always felt a yearning to be there. Can’t explain why, but it calls to me. I’ve even blogged about my rampant anglophilia. My fave of those posts is here

When my fabulous cousin made one of his many trips, I’d read his travel journals with a mixture of envy and “I gotta get there too”.

And so I finally get to go, but it’s with less excitement and a little more pondering that I face this trip.

I think when I was a kid and fantasized about being in London, it was all double decker buses and tea and crumpets and Big Ben. Never in those dreams did I image myself trapped in a conference room for hours and hours belaboring even the smallest of points with a far too large and much too arrogant telecom company.

Beggars can’t be choosers. My company is footing the bill for airfare and a serviceable hotel for me. I will stay for two weeks in a town located about an hour outside of London. I will work my butt off on this trip, to be sure. But I also have two weekends to myself to explore.

I’m actually overwhelmed. How does one see London in just a few days! London Bridge and Parliament and 10 Downing Street and the London Eye and Piccadilly Circus and more and more and more!


I’m nervous and daunted but underneath it all I’m also pretty happy to finally fulfill a dream!

And so as I walk around my office today making plans and wrapping up details, I hum quietly to myself a favorite Roger Miller tune:

England swings like a pendulum do,
Bobbies on bicycles, two by two,
Westminster Abbey the tower of Big Ben,
The rosy red cheeks of the little children.

Hang on! Put on your seatbelt. Keep all limbs inside the vehicle.

And awaaaaay we goooooo!

Image found at World Tourist Place.

Today’s Theme Thursday is: a new beginning

Testing That Hypothesis

“You learn a lot about our society, who we are and where we are headed…and you learn a lot about yourself when you board a Southwest Airlines flight.”

Bob Fitzgerald, on his Feb 14th afternoon KNBR radio show.

To which his partner, Rod Brooks responded, “There’s a lot of truth to that.”

To which I replied, out loud, to my car radio “There’s A LOT of truth to that!!!”

Today I’m going in there for the sake of science, entertainment and friendship.

Yup, I’m testing that theory.

I’ll be boarding a flight headed for the garden city of El Paso. I gots me a social engagement in Las Cruces and some godkids to hug.

I hear there’s some green chile that needs eatin’ too. I’m on it.

Watch out New Mexico, here I come!!


Photo Copyright 2007, Karen Fayeth. Taken just outside of Deming, eastbound on I-10.

The Worries of a Country Kid

As you read this, I’ll be winging my way over California and Arizona and on my way to New Mexico.

Look up and wave hi if you see me coming by.

I’m headed back to Southern New Mexico for a purpose.

As I’ve told you, I take my job as co-madre very, very seriously. I love the two daughters of my best friend with such intensity that sometimes I forget I didn’t carry them inside my own body.

They matter that much.

My baby girls, now 8 and 11, are part of their local 4-H and this year they took on the project of raising pigs. They worked very hard at this, including helping their dad clear an empty space in their yard and building the pig barn.

Every day they feed and medicate and care for those little oinkers. They text me photos. They tell me how cute they are. Those girls are in love with their little piggies.

This weekend is the final part of the process: an auction at the Southern New Mexico State Fair.

I never raised show animals myself, but most of my friends did. I know from experience that the auction can be really difficult.

Really difficult.

Especially the first time through.

As my friend said, “get ready for big crying.”

And I am. I think.

The Good Man and I will join forces with my best friend and her husband and we’ll hug those kids as hard as we can and try to make it better.

Because in the end, I’ll probably be the one crying the hardest. It hurts when my little ones hurt.

This is the dilemma of a country kid. It’s part of their 4-H training, learning to raise and care for animals, but knowing that these animals are also part of the food chain.

Most people don’t look at a bag of groceries and understand where, exactly the food came from. People think beef just comes in patties like that. Eggs are created in foam containers. Milk is mixed up back in the stockroom.

My girls know better. My girls are savvy and strong. They know the land and how to create sustenance from it. They join the long line of proud agricultural New Mexicans.

And so they’ll cry a little and grow up a little and learn a lot.

Or, hell, they might both grow up to be vegetarians after this experience. Who knows?

Wish me luck! I’m going in!

Photo by Gareth Weeks and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Education

On the final day of the San Mateo County Fair, a beautiful blue sky Sunday, The Good Man and I went for a final visit and the intent of procuring unhealthy fair food.

I grabbed my camera to take along, intent on taking some photos of the carnival.

Let’s be honest, carnival shots have been done. A lot. By a lot of photographers that are a heck of a lot more talented than me.

Not only is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, when it comes to photography, it’s the best way to learn. I sometimes spend an awful lot of time figuring out how someone got the shot and trying to replicate it. *click* Nope. fiddle-fiddle-fiddle *click* Nope. You get the idea.

But then, I do finally figure it out. And I get it. Then I understand how it works. I learn a bit more about light and exposure and framing…and…and…and.

And so, the ubiquitous Ferris Wheel shot. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, actually. I like that the edges break out of the side of the shot. This is something my photography teacher has been working on with us.

From there, now that I got it, I branch out to try to get some snaps of things that take on my own style. Learn from the masters then add a layer of my own perspective.

This is my favorite shot from the day:

This one is for my best friend who loves carousels.

Nothing ground breaking here, but a lot of fun. And what’s best, you may not be able to see it, but I can certainly see how my skills are continuing to improve.

As they say, practice, practice, practice.

Restoring Balance

Yesterday I used this blog as my confessional. I had to get that story off my chest because it had been top of my mind since it all happened Wednesday night.

Once I published that post, I had to remind myself that really, all in, my day on Wednesday was incredible (in a good way). It’s time I make sure that I don’t let the end of the evening cast a pall on rest.

So now that the yucky stuff is off my mind, let’s talk about the good part.

The event I attended on Wednesday night was one of the largest and most overwhelmingly fun corporate events I’ve ever seen.

And let me say this, I once worked for a company that rented out AT&T ballpark for the company Christmas party, ok? So I’ve seen some huge corporate sponsored events!

They got nothing on this.

The event, as mentioned, was a “customer appreciation party” and it was held out on Treasure Island.

For those not familiar with the Bay Area, Treasure Island is a man made island, created for the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939.

Treasure Island sits at about the halfway mark of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. To get to the island you take an exit off the bridge.

I was included as an extra special guest of one of the main sponsors of the event, so I got a hard to obtain ticket that got me to the island an hour before everyone else.

It was, literally, a carnival. But everything was free. Since we were among the first on the island, there were also no lines.

Imagine going to a carnival and NOT waiting for the ferris wheel! Or not standing in line for cotton candy! I walked up said “yes please” and they put a corn dog, French fries and a big bag of cotton candy in my hands.

And it was a GOOD corndog. Have you any idea how long it has been since I had a really good corndog?

Prior to the corndog (thankfully) I was coerced into riding one of those Drop Zone rides. The kind where there is a central tower and you strap in to the seats, then it takes you up to the top and drops your ass back down?

Yeah. I hated it.

I screamed a single curse word in one long note the entire journey downward.

The gentleman working the ride said, as he let me off the ride, “I like you, you say what’s in your heart.”

Vowing no more rides, I switched to playing all of the carnival games. You could play as many times as you wanted over and over.

And STILL I couldn’t manage to win anything. *sigh*

Then, after a while the good food came out. Tables of fancy and delicious treats of all kinds. We ate our fill and partook of the free flowing beverages as well.

Then, around 7:00, the music began, and by music, I mean full on concerts held at two different stages, one indoors, one outside.

We started with English Beat. Ok, I’m a child of the 80’s, I knew some of their stuff and they were pretty good.

Next up was Berlin. I’m a huge fan of Terri Nunn. She is a goddess, so I was pretty happy to see Berlin live, though I’d seen them play before. They put on a great show. Ms. Nunn knows how to work the crowd and had everyone enchanted.

Now that the music was really going, it was time to start making some choices. They had acts going on both stages and you had to pick which show to attend.

The main acts of the night were the Black Eyed Peas on the outside stage and Don Henley inside.

I talked it over with my group including my boss and several coworkers. They all wanted to see Black Eyed Peas. Look, I don’t mind the Peas…but we’re talking Don Henley here.

One other woman in the group said she wanted to see Henley too, so we walked away to choruses of “you guys are so OLD.”

No matter. I’ll cut to the chase. Don Henley put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Like…top ten concerts of my life (<--I should do a blog post on that). Let me tell you right now…Don Henley is 63 years old. I once heard Billy Joel talking about how, as he aged, he couldn’t hit the high notes anymore. Don wasn’t having that problem. Think about the song “I Can’t Tell You Why” and all the high parts. He sang ’em. Every one. Nary a crack in his voice. It wasn’t just that he sang all the songs that I knew, it was that one, his backup band was amazingly tight, and two, he had a certain way of capturing the audience every step of the way. Captivating is a good word to describe. This guy is a genius. I went in saying “yeah, I like Don Henley pretty good” and came out swearing my allegiance and praising him to the ends of the earth. A. Mazing. After that was a choice between Steve Miller Band and Montgomery Gentry. Although I would have liked to have seen Montgomery Gentry, it was midnight by that time and I had an early morning meeting. So I chose home over the last acts of the night. As mentioned, I spent the better part of an hour in line waiting for the shuttle bus, so I may as well have stayed. No matter. When I did finally get home and lay down in my bed, my ears were ringing and the refrains of “Desperado” were still singing in my head. And I gave thanks that I got to live such a good day in my life (shuttle bus incidents not withstanding).

Ms Terri Nunn onstage (on the screen) taken with my iPhone