Let All Who Pass Here Know


So let’s say you and the spouse are talking, and you say “Hey honey, why don’t we gather up the kids and make a trip to that happenin’ place, San Francisco, Californey.”

Why, it’s an end-of-summer vacation destination.

And so you book the airline and find a hotel and plan your visit.

On behalf of the Bay Area, there’s a few things we’d like you to know.

1) First, thank you. We are happy to have you come and visit! Please, spend your hard earned dollars in our economy. We could use the help.

2) We have some of the best food anywhere. Please stay away from the chain restaurants and try a local place. You’ll be glad you did.

3) Everyone appreciates how difficult it is to navigate our geographically limited city located at the end of a peninsula, so don’t be a’feared to ask for directions. Most locals have been lost here a few times too.

4) No one calls it “Frisco.” Maybe a few people call it “San Fran.” You could probably get by with an “S.F.” Refer to San Francisco as “The City” and you’ll be doing just fine.

5) Bring your camera and don’t be shy about taking snaps. It’s hard to take a bad photo.

6) Oh, and lastly and most importantly, this is what the weather is like in August:

Just for reference, the exif data on this photograph reports it was taken at 12:08:14 pm on Sunday, August 8, 2010. In case you can’t tell, that’s part of the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I’m just sayin’.

Don’t pack your shorts, tshirts and a pair of flip-flops for a trip to “sunny California.” Pack pants, socks and a jacket. You’ll be glad you did.

Also, know this…San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities you’ll ever know.

Come on out ya’ll! Enjoy! We’re happy to have ya!

Photos by Karen Fayeth taken from the Marin side of the bridge. Many, many tourists were endured in the making of these and many other photographs.

(What all this language below means is that I took and I own the photographs posted here. If you’d like to borrow them, you have to do me the favor of giving me credit for the photo and posting a link back to this page. That’s all. Fair enough? I think so.)

Creative Commons License
Word and images in this blog post titled “Let All Who Pass Here Know” by Karen Fayeth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Magic Spray – Cures What Ails Ya!


So ok, this year I’ve been keeping up with the World Cup. It *is* the biggest sporting event in the world.

From the giant vuvuzela to the US team’s fairly decent showing. Yes! I’m onboard.

And so of course, I read with fascination a brief Yahoo Sports Blog entry about this elixir known as Magic Spray.

Especially the bit about “…no matter what part of the body the player is clutching in anguish, the attending doctor pulls out an anonymous looking spray can and gives the player a liberal dousing of white mist.”

Hmm. Magical mist, eh? Do tell.

“Sometimes it works like spinach for Popeye, sometimes it only serves as a stopgap until the stretcher arrives…”

Ok. I’m in. Where do I get some? I need it. Gotta have it. Yup.

Magical mist = want.

Especially if they make in emotional flavor.

Boyfriend makes a cutting remark? Spray, spray, all better!

Yahoolio cuts you off in traffic? Spray, spray. No more mad!

Can’t seem to get past the trauma from mommy and daddy grounding you for bad grades? Therapist just leans over, gives you a solid crop dusting, and you’re back in the game of life!

I like it. Of course, it *must* come with a crew of trainers and physical and emotional therapists.

I imagine the scene goes something like this:

Boss loses his mind all over you because you whiffed a deadline.

You call, “Time out, time out!!!”

Your team of windsuited trainers comes jogging out, squats down beside your emotionally prone body, “how you doin'” they ask?

You answer, “Not so good.”

Spray, spray. You are back up and limping, but you are in the game.

The clock starts, and then you tell your boss, “Hey! If you would bother to prioritize the work, maybe I’d meet your arbitrary deadlines!”


Ya’ll picking up what I’m putting down here? Magic. Spray. Magic spray.

Gotta have it!

The Power of Evaporative Cooling


You know, growing up in the high desert, the weather gets hot. Real hot, like high nineties and occasionally slipping up over 100 degrees.

And people joke all the time about, “well at least it’s a dry heat!”

And inevitably someone will make a scoffing noise and say that “dry heat” doesn’t matter.

I’m here to say…it matters.

It matters to me, anyway.

About three weeks ago, I was in Las Cruces.

The temperatures hovered in the high eighties, touching 90 at one point. The humidity was 7%.

It was fantastic!

I basked. I was like a salamander on a rock. I looooved every moment of it.

Yesterday, in the part of the Bay Area where I live, it topped out at a bold 77 degrees.

Yes, just a small 77 degrees.

With 84% humity.

I almost died.

Well, ok, no. I didn’t almost die. But I felt like I was gonna.

Look, the human body was made to be an evaporative cooling device.

You sweat, either the wind blows across the sweat or the air evaporates it, or, ideally, both, and your body manages to maintain a good temperature.

Add an indoor a/c unit and a glass of iced tea into the mix, and those warm summer days are quite tolerable!

At almost eighty degrees with NOTHING helping me dry the sweat and every frappin’ place I go (including my own home) has NO air conditioning (zero, ziltch, nada)…well, I had only a cool glass of iced tea to get through the day.

It wasn’t enough.

I. Was. Miserable.

I actually was *grateful* for the fog rolling in around 4:00. Thank gawd for that Bay Area temperature inversion that I usually curse!

As sweat poured off of me, I could feel the wind ahead of the fog and the temps dropped fast and I enjoyed the peace I hadn’t been able to find all day.

Today promises much of the same. I shall position myself directly in front of a fan and not move around much.

The Good Man likes to tease…..”Oh you, my Woman of the Desert*…where’s your heat tolerance now?”

It’s back where it might be very, very hot…but at least it’s a dry heat!

*That’s a reference to the book “The Alchemist” which I found neither spiritual nor interesting. The main female characters says that about herself…a lot. “I am a Woman of the Desert”….yeah. Whatever, sister. I am a Woman of the Red Couch. Hear my Cheetos roar.

Did you get healed?


Recently, driving around in the Jeep looking for something good to listen to on the radio, I began to think about a CD I own.

By thinking, I mean, wondering where it is. When The Good Man and I moved in together several years ago, I boxed up a lot of stuff and stored it away.

Over the years, occasionally I’ll remember something that I want or need and it’s a hell of a rodeo to find it.

So I put the thought out of mind. Whatever. It’s just a CD. I can probably find it on iTunes or at the library or something.

I tried to dismiss it.

But this thought came with a long strip of Velcro, and wouldn’t let go.

A voice in my mind kept asking, “Where is that CD? You need to listen to it.”

When you get a voice that adamant, it’s kind of hard to ignore.

But I tried.

And tried.

And failed.

Resigned to satisfying that damn voice so it would shut up, I suited up. Our storage is under the place we rent, and that happened to be a very cold and very rainy day.

Determined, under the house I went, poking around in boxes and bags, knocking stuff over and getting lost on that long winding lane called Memory.

Finally, I did find a very heavy box that had a bunch of CD’s, and also most of my VHS movies, that I’d packed away.

I heaved, grunted and lurched the box upstairs and started picking through it.

A lot of heavy memory stuff burbled to the top, clamoring for my attention, which I gave.

But nothing quieted the voice. I kept digging and finally, yes, I found the CD I was looking for.

Best of the Blues, Vol. 1

Yeah. A “best of” compilation. Forgive me ye Gods of the Blues.

I bought this CD back in 1997. I’d just moved to the Bay Area and some good friends (also New Mexico transplants) had introduced me to the thriving blues scene in San Francisco.

I only tangentially knew the music. I’d listened to some B.B. King, some Muddy Waters and some John Lee Hooker in my time. The popular stuff. The stuff everyone knows.

But back then, San Francisco was steeped in the old ways.

During the course of the next decade, I received what can only be called a Blues Education.

I watched some of the not only best blues musicians, but best musicians period, play in craptastic bars like the old Grant & Green (the remodel took the soul out of it) and of course The Saloon, the oldest continually operating bar in the beautiful City of San Francisco. It dates back to the 1861, which means it survived both the ‘quake of 1906 and Prohibition.

There were nights it was too cramped and too hot (and back then, too smoky) in The Saloon for my tastes, so I would step outside the front door. I was dating a musician at the time, so the dyspeptic doorman had to be nice to me. He would let me sit on his stool by the front door where he collected the cover charge.

I’d take his chivalrous gesture and lean back against the battered wood door. I could feel the driving beat in my spine, and I’d watch the fog roll over the tops of the buildings in North Beach.

I learned about the three Kings (B.B., Freddy and Albert).

I learned about Chicago blues, Delta blues and the just plain blues blues.

I heard a thousand different versions of “Matchbox” and “Shotgun” and I watched guys try to be both Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King. I began to understand why some songs grab you by the gut and sometimes a song that should grab your gut doesn’t (hint: it has a lot to do with the drummer).

Today, I’m a suburban girl with a quiet, happy life. No regrets here. But sometimes I miss the family I made back then who took me in, protected me and helped me learn the old ways.

You know, they call it stormy Monday…but Tuesday’s just as bad.

This one musician, a hell of guitar player, used to tear it up for four hours, and at the end of the night, he’d ask the frenzied crowd, “Did you get healed?”

And he’d get crazy, drunken, full-throated hollers in return. The music mattered. It got us on a cellular level. We got healed.

I may need to see about a Saturday in North Beach soon, because something feels amiss. It may be time to go back and find if it’s possible to get healed.

Until then, I’ll take the ministrations from that ol’ CD found at the bottom of a moving box.

Image of Ron Hacker, arguably the best slide guitar man in SF and maybe even the world, onstage at The Saloon. (No, he’s not the guy I dated, I’m just a massive fan.)

Photo by Scott Palmer



Well this kind of sucks.

I went to my random word generator, seeking blog ideas.

And it gives me a word that not only I don’t know, but the Dictionary application on OS X doesn’t know either.

The word is: eyne

Apparently, an archaic word meaning the plural of eye, oft used in poetry.

Or…a spot in France. But I think the word generator means the first definition.

The “complexity” chooser is set to “common”. I wouldn’t call eyne common.

Oh well.

Here we go:

But what do mine eyne see, but the fog of June gloom falling over me.

I can’t seem to buy a sunny day here in the Bay Area. And it’s depressing me. Today is windy and *cold* and, being of the desert, am not amused.

Then I keep reading NewMexiKen’s top lists of books, and find I’ve only read a few.

And then this whole eyne issue.

Not one of my better days….