A Fairytale of Warmpfs

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And so it came to pass on that Day of Memorials that the skies above the Bay Area did roil and boil and drop misty but not significant amounts of water from the sky. With these misting drops came a strong wind and chilled the area and its people to their very bones.

“I think I’ll take a hot bath,” said the fair skinned, dark haired princess to her handsome prince. “My nose is cold and my feet are cold and I am cranky.”

“Then havest thou a bath,” the tall handsome Good Man said. And so our princess did remove herself to the privy to partake of a warm water float.

“Yes, this is better,” she said to herself as she tried to fit every limb on her long frame into the beckoning waters of a standard sized bathtub.

When the princess had finished washing her locks and scrubbing her stuff, the water had gone tepid and it was time to remove herself from the tub and into a fluffy towel.

Upon exiting the tub, the princess quickly began to chill down again. The ferocious frosty winds were just no match for her now damp fair skin.

“Can I turn the heater up?” she asked and The Good Man agreed.

Then the princess heard the distinct noise of the clothes dryer ending its cycle and powering down.

“Oh!” thought the princess, “I have a grand idea!”

So she took herself to the side of the dryer machine and opened the door. Warm air escaped the dryer and happy clean dry clothes greeted her.

“Hi!” they said.

“Hello fair clothing, how nice to see you!”

And then the fair princess realized that contained among those clean clothes were a significant number of pairs of chones*, because the princess had been a little lax in doing laundry lately.

Oh, the entire collection of undergarments awaited.

“Which one of you chones wants to get on my butt?” the girl asked the garments. (yes, she actually asked this to a load of laundry)

And each one piped up “Me! Me!” Oh yes, the black pair, the pink pair, the faded maroon pair and even the crisp white pair all vied for the chance to warm the ‘tocks of their princess.

It was a challenging decision, but finally a choice was made. The pink and black striped pair were lifted from the pile and slid into place.

Oh how warm those chones felt on the cold girl butt! And the girl smiled.

Because when the butt is warm, the girl is happy.

And so it was.

_______

* underwear




Image found here.




In The Small Hours

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Recently a new meeting appeared on my calendar at work. It’s a new group and a “core team” for an emerging and rather exciting new project that crosses many functional teams. Many global teams.

It’s a good sign that I was invited to the table and I take it as the step forward that it is.

However.

The meetings are set for 7:00 in the morning once a week in order to accommodate as many time zones as possible. Seven in the ayem. I rarely like rising by seven in the morning, much less well before so I can rise and feed the cat and get dressed and drive to work in order to be there by 7:00am.

That said, I find these early mornings to be a little odd and endearing. As much as I hate rising before the sun, those wee hours are also sort of fascinating.

This morning I stepped through the door from my building into the damp morning air. A fairly thick fog lay hugging the pavement as streetlights lit it with an ethereal glow. It was so quiet. Odd because in just an hour this same stretch of road will be backed up with the traffic of parents dropping their kids off at the nearby school, and punk kids walking and screaming and laughing and being obnoxious teenagers. Plus kids wailing at the nearby playground and the rumble of trucks and cars and the world coming alive.

But for these few precious moments, the world is silent. Quiet fog like the paws of a night animal sneaks and swirls through the streets.

Even with extra caution to avoid local deer and morning walkers, my usual twenty minute drive to work takes just ten and I think “hey, I’ll get to park in that one awesome parking spot right by the front door” but of course that’s not true. I’m not the only soul wandering the quiet workaday streets.

The tall multistoried edifice where I work looks imposing in the darkness. It is backlit by floodlights and the mist swirls high above the penthouse suite. The windows of the building are mirrored and in the daylight, this provides both security and uniformity. All you see is a solid wall of reflection.

In these dark hours, I can see into offices. There on the eighth floor I see an executive in his office bustling about. He looks almost frantic, pacing around the space. I suspect he is on an early call and the stress of the business day is already nattering in his ear.

I can see that lights were left on in The Big CEO office area. He has a nice office. I’ve actually been in that space, just once when he wasn’t there. I wonder why the lights are on because he’s not in there and his admin isn’t at work yet. Did someone forget and leave the lights on?

I can see multiple computer monitors on his desk and I wonder how many emails he must get in a day. Maybe it’s not that many as he has not one but two executives as direct reports. I bet they get all the email and he gets to be the “face of the company” and attends marketing events and drinks something expensive and drives something expensive and I bet he is working from home today anyway.

As my tummy rumbles I wonder if the executive suite gets breakfast catered in.

It’s too early in the morning to eat. My tummy is both hungry and nauseous. In about an hour I will be ravenous.

It’s so early that the main door to the main building is locked. During the day it’s open to all visitors and staff, but this morning I can’t actually remember where the badge reader is located. It’s not right next to the door and I recall it’s cleverly hidden in what looks like a light pole. So cleverly hidden it’s impossible to find.

I wave my badge around everywhere in the vicinity like a mad multi-limbed Shiva until I finally hear that satisfying click and I open the door and enter the lobby.

The security guard nearing the end of his overnight shift looks at me with knitted brows and doesn’t reply to my chirpy “good morning”.

It’s ok. I was faking the chirp anyway. I wouldn’t say hi to me either.

Pushing the up button to call the elevator, I’m happy to see the doors open immediately. I believe that when the elevators aren’t being used, all cars return to the first floor. It’s usually a dreadfully long wait during business hours, but not today. I ride up to my floor, stride to my office and flick on the lights. Immediately I put on my wireless desk headset and dial into the call.

And now someone in the parking lot can see me, my form bustling about my office as the stresses of the day begin to whisper in my ear. As I announce my entry to the call and greet the team, I already feel weary. I began mentally running through the day’s calendar trying to remember when I can actually leave work and head home.

I came in early so I can leave early, right?

Alas no. Pesky time zones. I have a call to an APAC country very late this afternoon.

And this is how my employers get their money’s worth out of me.




Not my building but surprisingly similar. This building is in Minneapolis. Mine is not.



Photo by drouu and used royalty free from stock.xchng.



Fi-yah!!

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One of the amazing, fabulous, so-cool-I-can’t-believe-it aspects of our new apartment is a real, actual, honest to goodness wood burning fireplace.

No pellets. No gas. No “oh it’s just for show we don’t use it.”

A real fireplace! With fire! From a log!

Yowza! [ insert cavewoman grunt here ]

Fire, good. Warm. Unh-huh.

However, since there are several units in my building, and who knows what sort of yahoolios I have for neighbors, today I called my insurance agent and double checked that I’m super duper double covered for such things as fire. And you know…burning.

Turns out that I am covered, and that’s good. I was raised with a healthy respect for fire. When my mom was just a little girl, her brother was using a burn barrel (or maybe burning leaves, I can’t remember) and he accidentally set several large farm fields on fire. My mom can vividly recall the huge flames and ever since she’s kept a healthy distance from any sort of fire.

So of course, my dad used to load up our 1970’s burnt orange free standing fireplace with lots of sappy New Mexico piñon logs. Then he’s say “what?” when mom mentioned that maybe that was a little too much fire for such a small fireplace.

I mean, as a kid I learned how to make a darn good campfire and over the years I’ve always really enjoyed cooking over fire (both bbq and camping), however, in my adult life, I have never lived anywhere that had a fireplace. Most apartments don’t offer this feature because the property owners don’t want to assume the risk.

Last night, I pondered while looking at this particular fire:



The first fire in our new place!!

For as much progress as we have seen in the world including technology, medicine, engineering, etc…meaning, of all the amazing tools that we, as humans, have at our fingertips, it’s still the tool of the caveman that can wipe the whole thing out.

One flickering flame. One spark from a burning fire is a lifechanger.

And so today, when my insurance agent asked me the all important question “what is the distance to the nearest Fire Station” and I answered “less than a mile,” at I first felt worry over having to even discuss the probability of tragedy. Then I felt thankful that the fire station is so close. Then I felt doubly thankful for all the people who work at that fire station and are willing, as a normal part of their job, to come and save me, and The Good Man and, yes, even The Feline, from a possible terrible situation.

Being a human is full of risks. Even if I choose not to use my fireplace, I can’t control all the others in my building. So yeah, I’m going to use that fireplace and I’m going to stand in front of it and warm my rear end. I’m also going to be very careful and very respectful.

And very grateful.

Regarding the fire, the Feline says, “where you been all my life?”.



Yes, that’s a box of Duraflame. Real logs are on the way.




Except where noted, photos Copyright 2012, by Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page. Photos taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.

Photo at the link to the freestanding orange fireplace is from UglyHousePhotos.com. That is not a photo of my family’s home.



Born Under a Bad Sky

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This was what the sky looked like yesterday evening as I left work for the day at my company’s Sacramento office.

Was it just the high winds as they blew across the Sacramento valley that caused this look? Is it simply the jet stream of late fall?

Either way, as I got into the Jeep, I was humming a little Creedence Clearwater Revival.

“There’s a bad moon on the rise….”


(click for full size)


Photo by Karen Fayeth and Copyright 2011.


This morning I drove home to the Bay Area where creepy dappled clouds are replaced by solid gray dripping clouds.

Welcome to a cold, rainy weekend.

*sigh*

Think the cat will let me squeeze onto a corner of the heater vent?



Photo taken with my iPhone4s and the Camera+ app. Photo subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column of this page.


The Earth Has Turned

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I suppose it’s time for me, a summer lovin’ sunshine dancin’ kind of a gal, to admit that it is, in fact, winter. Or at least very late Fall.

The weather has turned. It’s getting a bit colder.

And so I present the surest sign of winter. In the same way they yank a startled Punxsutawney Phil from his burrow, here is my own animal based divination tool:

A cat with her butt on the heater vent.

Not just any heater vent, the best vent in the house. It’s a cut out in the bathroom cabinets and the ten pound animal steals all the heat. While taking a shower on a rather cold damp morning, I might wish to enjoy the heat from that vent. That would be a no.

As soon as the heat kicks on, there she’ll be.



It starts out with a simple “oh hey, that’s not bad.” Just the back end getting toasty. It’s simple. Demure.




Once the tail region has achieved critical warmness, then a self-satisfied flop ensues.





I don’t even know what to say at this point. I’m almost offended. (and if I think about the physics of the thing….the warm air is headed straight up Broadway, right? Can that even be comfortable?)




“What?”




Grace. Class. Dignity. None of those words can be used to describe my feline.



All photos Copyright 2011, Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column of this page. Photos taken with my brand spankin’ new iPhone 4s and the Camera+ app.