A Very Crispy Love

Inside of me there are dueling issues, and year by year it’s a balancing act to see which wins out.

On one end of this see-saw is the fact that I love the holidays. Yes, I actually do. From Halloween to Valentine’s Day I revel in every holiday with childlike glee. I often grumble (and will again this year, stay tuned to this blog) about the holidays when they are in full swing, but the truth is that when I’m into it I adore every holiday and all of its traditions.

“When I’m into it,” ah and there’s the trouble.

For the past several years I have been cranky as heck about the holidays because I was working so many hours I had no idea what week it was much less what season. In my last role, I was on so many calls across so many time zones and traveling so much I wasn’t even sure of my own name most days.

So when the holidays rolled around in the past, I was not ready. I wasn’t prepared because I hadn’t had time to plan out what I wanted to do, and I was mad that I had lost so many days at the hands of a dull corporate entity.

All of that just made me angry at the holidays for showing up when I couldn’t participate.

But things have changed a bit. I’m in this new job and while I am still busy, it isn’t quite as bad as it has been for me over the past several years. My new employer definitely takes note of the months and what is going on. In this job, we pause to reflect and it makes such a huge difference.

Also, now that I live in a university town I’m much more aware of the time of year, ranging from school’s out and it’s summer to Fall football games.

I have already warned my darling Good Man to watch out, I’m officially “into it” this year. Oh yes, there will be cookies, and decorations, and costumes and more. I will probably even decorate my cubicle at work this month. There are prizes for Halloween d├ęcor!

At first I was quite resistant to the coming of Autumn, but now I am reveling in it. That said, I still have not imbibed a pumpkin spice latte.

Yesterday morning I set out for work, smiling at the beauty of the Indian Summer sunrise here in the Bay Area.

I walked to my car that was parked out in front of my building and I saw something tucked into the door handle on the driver’s side.

At first (from a distance) I thought it was another ding-dang parking ticket. But no, that would have been tucked under my windshield wiper. Then I thought it was a note someone left because they’d bashed my car. No, turns out it wasn’t that either.

Then I let my mind wander and I remembered back to when I was in college at NMSU. For a little while I dated this rather dashing cowboy who happened to have something of a romantic streak and a poet’s heart.

Every now and then he’d leave a little love note on my car when I was in class. To be honest, I still have those notes somewhere in a box of mementos.

I grinned a little as I thought maybe I had a secret admirer. A furtive love.

It turns out that it’s true, I do have a special beau.

Yesterday I received the most lovely (yet crispy) mash note from endlessly romantic Nature.






Thank you beautiful Autumn for the reminder that I need to get outside a bit more and roll in the leaves and smile at the early setting sun.

All of these years I’ve just sort of ignored you as you passed me by, but not this year. Today I return your affection, my glorious orange and red and brown Fall.

I am your secret admirer too!






Image Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right corner of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




On The Wrong Road

This morning at an hour not early enough to avoid crushing commute time travels, I navigated my old Jeep through some swirls and whorls of Bay Area traffic and found myself on Highway 80 approaching the Bay Bridge.

As I did, I was thinking about the planned upcoming visit from my best friend in the whole world, and how excited I am to see her. Been too long.

I was listening to a shuffle of whatever music is on my iPhone by way of calming my nerves when a real old song came on, one of my best pal’s faves (a Waylon Jennings tune if you must know). As often happens to me in this crazy mixed up life of mine, what I saw with my eyes was the Bay Bridge but what I wished in my heart was that I was somewhere else.

Something about the springtime makes me miss New Mexico pretty ferociously. I let some memories in and found myself landing in a place called Lake Valley and the abandoned schoolhouse where we used to go to dance. That’s a whole other highway then were I was in that moment.

All of this reminded me that I once wrote about Lake Valley so I went into the archives and pulled this post up from 2007. I had to edit it quite a bit because, well, my editing skills have improved a bit since then.

So here’s a memory. Do click on that link to the Baxter Black piece if you get a chance. He says it better than I ever could.

Happy Dancin’ Friday to you, wherever you are today.



—————-


When memories reach up and grab you

Originally published March 26, 2007

Lately I’ve been on quite a jag of reading the works of one noble New Mexico-born left handed cowboy poet named Baxter Black.

He’s a good friend of my “adopted dad” (my best friend’s father) and I had the chance to meet him face-to-face back in college. Of course, I’ve heard plenty of his stories over the years.

I was heartened to see that my local library carried a good selection of Bax’s works. They make you smile, make you think and make you outright laugh yer bum off.

I just got done reading one of his collections of NPR material called “Horseshoes, Cowsocks and Duckfeet”.

One selection from that book is called “Lake Valley” and man oh man, that almost made me weep with homesickness. It also made me smile to know that two people, some twenty-five years apart in age, have similar memories of the same place and similar events. That’s the staying power of Lake Valley.

Back at NMSU I used to go to dancing at Lake Valley with my best friend. She’s the one who turned me on to it. Her parents used to come along for the fun because they went to NMSU too, and they danced at Lake Valley (probably along with Bax).

I remember at the dance they used to charge a family rate of $20. My fill-in dad would gather up all us scraggly college kids, blonds, redheads, brunettes, short, tall, thin, stocky and all about the same age. He’d lead us to the door, point to our gang, tell ’em that was his family, throw ’em a twenty and we’d all get in.

You know, in our way, we were (and are) family. [insert my best wistful smile right here as I miss my best friend for like the hundredth time today, already]

The way Bax describes Lake Valley in his writing is just how I remember it. When I was dancing, it was with a band called The Rounders and they played the old songs. What a talented group, The Rounders. They even played at my best friend’s wedding. Now THAT was a party.

At the end of this post is a photo I found online. It’s how the schoolhouse used to look when it was still a school. Ok, imagine that, but with no desks and a lot more years on it. That’s pretty much how I remember. See that riser there at the end? Where the teacher would sit? That’s where the band would play. It was a long narrow room so we had to dance in a long oval. Like Bax said, as we danced, the floorboards would give under your feet and they weren’t particularly even and a few nail heads were popped up, so you had to mind your feet. But oh it was a hell of a good time.

I’ve never felt quite so free, happy and in touch with the simple easy joys in life as I did dancing at Lake Valley. I miss the feeling of flying I’d get dancing a polka with my very tall and very dear friend Larry. I loved the camaraderie of wrapping arm around arm and doing the Schottische and Cotton Eyed Joe (“stepped in what?”).

And, as Bax said, when the band took a break, we’d all migrate outside to cool off and dip into someone’s ice chest for food, beverages and the telling of a few good stories.

We were all community then. We were bound by our heritage and our lives in New Mexico. Under that bright moonlight we were all inextricably connected, and it felt so right.

Ah the memories. If I let ’em, they’ll take over my whole day.







Image from Living Ghost Towns.




Ok Little Miss Reluctant Muse, Let’s Dance

Writer’s block. It’s on me again.

Who or what should I blame? My brain overburdened by a global job and a lot of work? My blabbermouthing about how easy I could flow words to a friend over happy hour drinks last October? Fatigue?

Or is it simply the ebb and flow of creativity? Today the stream runs strong. Tomorrow it’s drier than the Rio Grande in July.

I don’t know but I’m frustrated all to heck by the lack of rhythm and flow to my writing. I’ve still produced some stuff but lately it feels labored.

Today I was reading back posts and I actually envied myself for how easy and effortless it seemed even just a year ago.

The more I feel frustrated, the less likely The Muse wants to play.

Ok, so let’s just not take anything very seriously at all.

Back to free form, free association. It’s a self-indulgent exercise. And I dig it.

I’m playing the Unconscious Mutterings game this week.

Revealing!


  1. Tenure ::

    That thing that all professors want, right? Means you are all dug in there like a tick and ya ain’t going anywhere. Mainly it’s a good thing but I gotta be honest, there are some rather tenured folks in my non-academic job that really are more roadblock than firebrand. Tenure can lead to laconic in a hurry. I appreciate the guy who has been here thirty years and knows everything about everything. But dammit, a little open mindedness would really help my days go by.


  2. Baptism ::

    The other side of the coin from tenure. Yesterday I interviewed a really good candidate for my job opening. He asked what is the onboarding process. I wanted to sugar coat it but lying isn’t my style. “Um, drinking from the firehose? Baptism by fire? And other cheeky colloquialisms to say there isn’t an onboarding process.” He replied “Oh.” I said “Hey, don’t worry, you would be surrounded by really good folks. One person has been here ten years. The other person just one year. They can both give you amazing perspective.” He seemed ok with that answer. I hope so because he seems like a good candidate.


  3. Holders ::

    Right now, at this moment, my badge holder thingy that is clipped to the waistband of my jeans is digging into my side. Excuse me for a mo’….there…better. Whew.


  4. Irritation ::

    Yeah, the skin at my side, right above my hipbone is pretty irritated. A little bit of skin was pinched under the clip of my badge holder. I *hate* that. Ow.


  5. Academics ::

    There is this guy I work with who has somehow adopted me as his friend and mentor. God knows why. No, seriously, this kid has a far brighter future than I ever did. He’s working full time (and a lot of extra hours) and he’s going to school for his Master’s Degree. Good lord. While I did fairly well in the academic arena, that day I walked across the stage and took possession of an MBA, I knew there was no way in hell I would go back to college.

    That said, I often think about going to school to get an MFA. I wish I was brave enough to have gotten an MFA back when I was college. Business school just seemed like a smarter option. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and talk myself, just a clueless kid at NMSU. I’d discuss with her that an MFA is a fine educational option. Then I’d tell her that when that one kind of cute cowboy at that one party suggests you two split a bottle of Mad Dog that you just say no and run. The hangover was simply not worth it


  6. Mug ::

    When I started working at this office, my second level boss, ie The Boss of my Boss, had this really funny, kitchy coffee mug. Something made by his kids. I always thought it was odd because it was really in contrast to his super buttoned up and uber office professional style. But he seemed to like it. Right now he’s up for a huuuuge promotion and I notice he’s swapped out the mug adorned with his kid’s artwork and “have a good day daddy” to some quiet, sedate, professional mug. It makes me kind of sad. I suppose I shouldn’t blame him for living up to expectations.

    In other mug news, when I was in England and at my company’s facility, my boss was on travel for one of the weeks I was there and he said I could sit at his desk. Well, the folks in that office enjoy tea breaks in the morning and the afternoon (so freaking civilized!!!) and they invited me to join. I didn’t have a mug and the plastic cups in the breakroom didn’t seem heat-proof, so I dug around my boss’ desk and found a mug. And I used it. All week.

    At the end of the week I carefully washed it and put it back in his drawer next to his jar of instant coffee. I put a note inside

    “Dear Boss – I used this cup all week. On Friday I scrubbed it with soap and very hot water, but it still contains the germs of a minion. Just thought you should know. –K”

    I don’t think he’s found the note yet or if he did, shook his head and threw it away. My boss is a very ramrod straight former military man with an easy going personality. Which I why I like picking on him.


  7. Charge ::

    Brrt-drrt-drrt! Chaaaaarge!


  8. Percent ::

    Where I live I have an assigned parking spot. This is like gold in the Bay Area and I’m glad to have it. Of course, it’s a narrow little spot over by the trash bins. My Jeep fits the spot but doesn’t leave me a lot of room to maneuver around the sturdy concrete pole and the rubbish bins.

    Every morning when I leave and every night when I come home somebody has left some castoff bit of stuff by the bin in the narrow space I have to walk around my car. One day a broken suitcase. Then a broken Ikea cabinet. Then a busted table. A roll of carpet. A shopping cart. A bag of old shoes. A busted rug cleaner. These are all true and accurate things left in my teeny tiny space over the past week.

    So every day I move that crap over and every day a new thing shows up. I know who is doing it, a guy just moved into the building and he’s casting off stuff. That said, I’m a hundred percent sure I’m going to kick his ass if this doesn’t stop. I hate my parking space as it is (last week a pipe busted over my spot and dripped a lot of water on my car), but I firmly believe finding his garbage in my parking spot is grounds for a sturdy steel toed bash to the shins.

    I own such a pair of boots. I’m just saying.


  9. Clears ::

    I appreciate how nice it is when one clears the broken and busted stuff from your apartment home. But I’m going to clear his kneecap off his leg right soon.


  10. Selfless ::

    Yeah. Kind of a funny word to show up now. Uh oh, there’s that non-practicing yet Catholic-upraising guilt coming on.

    Let’s see, on that commandment list there is something about not wanting on your neighbor’s spouse. And not wanting on your neighbor’s stuff. Nothing about not wanting to apply bruising retribution on your neighbor. I’m good. Right?

    Oh fine, I shall do an act of contrition, eat (beer battered) fish for my Friday lunch and think heartily about what I’ve thought about doing.






Image found in several locations on the net, but unable to find attribution. Will remove or provide attribution details at the request of the owner.



In the Box

Despite the fact that The Good Man and I actually moved two weeks ago, we didn’t fully depart the old place until this past weekend.

That last mile is a sonofabitch.

I guess we just wanted to save the best for last? Or something. Basically, the last stuff to exit the old place was the stuff from deep in the dark recesses of storage under the house.

Let’s be honest, this stuff it wasn’t “our” stuff, it was my stuff. Lots and lots of boxes, some of which hadn’t been opened since they made the 1,200 mile ride from Albuquerque to the Bay Area.

The goal this weekend was to open those deteriorating boxes, get rid of what I could, and what was left, repack into fresh boxes and move on.

This proved to be a more difficult task than I had expected.

There were some surprises in those ol’ boxes. Especially the one I’d jauntily labeled “Karen’s Childhood.”

What a doozy that one was.

Sunday morning, there I sat on the cold floor of my now former garage, used my Buck knife to slice open the “childhood” box and dug around in there. I extracted a now almost fourteen year old gallon size Ziploc bag containing a bunch of papers and stuff I clearly didn’t know what to do with when I left Albuquerque.

I unzipped the bag, pulled out the contents and went through it piece by piece. I turned over photos, old love notes, and a ticket stub.

I gasped and my eyes got a little watery from both joy and memory.

The Wayback Machine gobbled me whole.

Here’s what I found:




The year was…um….yeah. 1990? Maybe 1989? Oh jumping jehosophat! I don’t know. A long time ago when my skin was elastic and my pants were not.

It was Ag Week at NMSU. An annual celebration that was a week full of fun, games, and dancing for all us kids in and around the Ag College. It culminated in a big concert and dance at the Pan Am center on the last day of the week.

This was a special year. My best good friend excitedly told me that her Uncle Bax would be performing at that year’s Ag Week. And by Uncle Bax, she meant Cowboy Poet and legendary New Mexican, Baxter Black.

That year there was another yahoolio on the bill with Bax. Some nobody named Vince Gill.

Yeah. That Vince Gill. Before anyone knew who he was.

Friday morning we were invited to come to the Ag Lobby to meet and greet. Bax was there holding court and signing autographs, and gave my best friend a huge hug when she walked up. We talked and laughed with Bax a while and then we went over to check out this Vince Gill character. He was wearing a pair of NMSU sweatpants, a three day old scruffy beard, and hair that hadn’t been washed in a good long while.

He was nice enough. Looked totally exhausted. He signed a glossy black and white promo photo (I found that in the bag too) and we walked away wondering who that rube was.

He put on a hell of a show that night. And so did Uncle Bax.

Let’s just say this, it was a hell of a party.

One for the history books. Sure would be fun to live that one again.

When the trash went out at the end of Sunday, the Bax and Vince ticket didn’t go with it. It went back into the Ziploc bag, then into a new box.

Maybe in another fourteen years I’ll slice open that box and discover it again.

And gasp.

And well up.

And remember.

Those were salad days, indeed.



I Found Life’s Meaning

Like most travelers on this big blue cosmic marble, I’ve spent some time in my life questioning what’s it all about.

I’ve done yoga. I’ve inhaled incense. I’ve done meditation. I’ve talked to trees. I’ve talked to Buddhist monks. I’ve asked respected leaders. I’ve interpreted my dreams and I’ve sat by the sea and listened to the waves.

I’ve also drank a lot of whiskey then cussed and discussed it all with a bunch of cowboys.

In short, I’ve “done the work” but no clear answers have been forthcoming.

It seems everyone has a different take on the issue. I suppose we all have to find the truth for ourselves.

Imagine my surprise when yesterday, I found my answer in my local newspaper. It was so crystal clear, laid out in black and white.

Finally! I get it.

Here you go, a panel from a Get Fuzzy cartoon.





Sleep more than you eat. Eat more than you scratch.

Yeah man.

Just.

Yeah.



< /mirth >

______________________________________________________


For reference, here is the original strip:






Get Fuzzy comic strip for December 6, 2011 found on GOCOMICS.com.