Tis The Season for a Re-Blog

  • No Comments

This post first appeared on this little ol’ blog on December 11, 2007. Today it just feels right to re-blog it because the list is still true. This post remains one of my all time favorites since the Christmas season always gets me feeling a little extra homesick for New Mexico.


Top ten things I miss about Christmas in New Mexico (in no particular order):

1) An annual shopping trip to Old Town in Albuquerque. This was a longtime mom and me tradition. Every year I’d get to pick out my own ornament that would eventually be mine when I became an adult. I have every one of those ornaments stored in a Thom McAnn shoebox and they go on my tree every year. They are glitter and glass history of my life. I remember buying each of them and it gives me a beautiful sense of continuity to have them on my tree.


2) Luminarias. I always was the one to make them for the family. Someone would drive me to an empty lot and I’d dig out two buckets worth of good New Mexico dirt, then I’d go home and fold down the tops on brown lunch bags. Each would get a candle inside and then at night I’d light them. It was my holiday job and I loved every folded bag and every bulk buy candle (and every small emergency when a bag caught on fire in the wind). I miss real luminarias.


3) The Bugg House, which, sadly, is no more. My sister lived over on Prospect and we’d go for a walk in the dark on Christmas Eve to take a look at the outstanding display of holiday spirit. On the way to Christmas shop at Winrock Mall, I’d take a detour to the Bugg house to take a look. No one does lights like the Buggs did.


4) Neighbors bringing over a plate of freshly made tamales as a Christmas gift. When there are three generations of Hispanic women in a kitchen with some masa and shredded pork, magic happens. Yum! I also miss that people would bring tamales to work in a battered Igloo cooler and sell them to coworkers. I was always good for a dozen or more.


5) A ristra makes a good Christmas gift. I’ve given. I’ve received. I love ’em. They’d become a moldy mess here, and that makes me sad, cuz I’d love to have one.


6) Biscochitos. My love for these is well documented.


7) Sixty-five degrees and warm on Christmas Day. Growin’ up, I think one year there was actually snow on the ground for the 25th. But it was melted by the end of the day. Oh Fair New Mexico, how I love your weather.


8) Christmas Eve midnight Mass in Spanish with the overpowering scent of frankincense filling up the overly warm church. Pure torture for a small child, but oh how I’d belt out the carols. And when we came home after, we could pick one present and open it. Gah! The torture of choosing just one!


9) A New Mexico piñon, gappy, scrawny Christmas tree that cost $15 at the Flea Market and was cut from the top of a larger tree just that morning. Look, to my mind, it ain’t a tree unless you are using a few low hanging ornaments to fill the obvious empty spots. These overly fluffy trees just ain’t my bag. If you aren’t turning the ‘bad spot’ toward the wall, you paid too much for your tree.


10) Green chile stew for Christmas Eve dinner and posole for New Year’s, both served with homemade tortillas. My mouth waters. It’s weep worthy. I can taste the nice soft potatoes in the stew, the broth flavored just right. And posole to bring you luck with red chile flakes and soft hunks of pork. Yeah……


*sigh* Now I’m homesick.

Which is not to say I don’t have happy holidays where I live now…but sometimes I feel melancholy. And in a weird way, that’s what the holidays are for, right?



Finally, as a ode to My People, I give you this:





Image lifted from a friend’s Facebook page. It was just toooo perfect to pass up. If it’s yours, I’m happy to add an attribution or take it down, your choice.



*Ow* Yoga *Ow*

  • 4 Comments

“Show me on the doll where Yoga touched you in a bad way…”

Here…and here….and over there….oh yeah, and that place too.

In the early afternoon hours of this past Saturday, I traveled up to the city of San Francisco to take what promised to be a really wonderful yoga class. Entitled “Yoga for Writers” it was taught by a gentleman who is both a well known local columnist and avid Yoga practitioner.

I like his writing style and the price was right, so I signed up. I arrived in time for class with my brand new yoga mat firmly in hand and a lot of hope.

This class promised that through Yoga, through getting out of your head and into your body and tapping into your inner self, you might be able to write more smoothly, easily, and with lots of verve. (ok, I made up the verve part, but it sounds good).

While I’ve been doing a good job keep up with my blog, mostly, the fiction side of my writing life is suffering in a big way.

I have a confession to make. I have a scant 3,500 words on my goal of 50,000 for the month of November.

Um. There are only nine days left? Right? I’m utterly failing. I stare at the screen and I got nuthin’ to write. It’s very bad.

My writer’s block has become immense. Intense. It depresses me. So I really did rather hope that the yoga class would help free up the ol’ Muse and get her dancing.

I was in a TERRIBLE mood after having a god awful week at work, and so I was actually scared and nervous going into this thing. Would the class be chock full of hipsters? Would it be chock full of tiny yoga girls in tiny yoga pants?

Answer was yes on both counts.

I entered the yoga room and immediately wanted to pass out. Why is it so *hot* in there? Ok, yeah, I know, they keep yoga rooms warm, even if you aren’t doing the kind of yoga (Bikram) where you sweat your holymarymotherofgod off while you stretch.

Sitting there on my little mat waiting for class to start, I was already pitted out.

*sigh*

The class description said “not for absolute yoga beginners. Assumes moderate level of physical ability and yoga experience.”

Ok. That’s me. I’ve done quite a bit of yoga in my life, though not recently. I know my Tree of Life from my Warrior pose. I walk three to four miles a day.

I’m not an athlete but I certainly have a moderate level of physical ability.

My lard ass was actually NOT prepared for what lay ahead.

I thought this would be a writing class interspersed with yoga. This was instead a hardcore not-for-sissies yoga class with an occasional writing exercise.

In the three hour class there were three 15 minute writing exercises and one 15 minute stint of sharing some of what we wrote.

The other two hours were intense, almost brutal yoga.

Yoga never hurt me before. Why, overly large statue of Shiva in the front of the room, WHY?!?!?!

My god. This isn’t peace, love and butterflies. It’s agony served up on a rubber mat!

I hurt. I can hardly use the restroom because while sitting down goes ok, I can’t get back up off the toilet. I can’t be still for more than a few minutes at a time or I yelp in pain when I move again.

Look. I’m a writer! We’re notoriously pasty and out of shape!

When did yoga start hurting people?

I found this article titled When Yoga Hurts from several years ago (2007) with concerns that Yoga was being taken a wee bit too seriously (i.e. competitively) in the local health clubs.

I’ll say!

Ow.

(To be fair, the instructor was actually really good, just incredibly hard core. He’s that kind of guy who can balance a handstand on one pinky at the rocky tip of a mountain and hold it for an hour while thinking pure and spiritual thoughts. Whatevs. I’ll meditate on a bag of chips and feel just fine.)






Image from Icanhascheeseburger


Misty Water Colored Memories. Of the Way We Were. Orale.

  • 16 Comments

In the wake of my most recent (and fabulous) visit to my home state of New Mexico, I find I’m getting my old crone on.

New Mexico has both grown and grown up over the last twenty years. I suppose change is inevitable.

But sometimes I still lament the way it used to be.

So here’s a top of my mind list of how New Mexico used to be. This just happens to be what I’m thinking about on my first day back in California on a stormy Bay Area day.


Grumpy McGrumperson’s List of “That was my New Mexico”

  1. It rained in summer. It snowed in winter. The Rio Grande bulged with water in July. Farmers irrigated their land. Sure, it was still a desert, but water didn’t cost $300 a cubic meter. Cotton plants grew tall. Pecans grew large. It worked. Now New Mexico is in the midst of a terrifying descent into serious drought and a mismanaged water conservancy.
  2. If you went to the Balloon Fiesta, there was never, not for one moment, a thought that you’d just sit there and watch. You were expected to pitch in, even if you were a small child. “Safety” and “insurance” didn’t ever come into mind. We just helped, because getting those hot air balloons off the ground was what we did in Albuquerque.
  3. Breakfast burritos at the Balloon Fiesta were cheap, incredibly delicious, and you bought them out of a battered ice chest and didn’t think twice about it. Same with tamales at Christmas.
  4. Pinto beans were made with pork. No one ever wondered about or protested this fact. Ever.
  5. If you ate a Biscochito, you didn’t question if it was made from lard. OF COURSE it was made with lard. And no one thought that was weird, bad or worried that it would make them fat. Anything but lard was unfathomable.
  6. Luminarias used a real candle. None of this electric hogwash.
  7. If it said Hatch green chile, you knew it was actually from Hatch. It seemed strange to even question.
  8. When you looked into a bucket of ice at a bar, and pulled out a bottle, it was beer. Just beer. None of these foofy malt-based sugared up drinks. Just beer. And decent beer. What’s with the light, light, oh so lite you can breathe it like air. Just drink a damn beer! Or don’t. (this comes straight from the events of this weekend. I grabbed what I thought was a beer. It wasn’t. *sigh*)
  9. While on a two lane highway, when someone passed the other direction, you gave ’em a wave. Be it whole hand, the pointer finger, two finger Boy Scout style or whatever acknowledgement you like, you did it. And the other driver waved and smiled back. (in some places this still happens, but I got an awful lot of unreturned waves this weekend.)
  10. We didn’t call a tortilla a wrap. It was a tortilla. They weren’t made of spinich or tomato, and if mom made ’em from scratch they were thick and oh so very good.


There’s more, I think, but that’s enough of what’s bothering me today.

I suppose time marches on whether I march in step or not. New Mexico can’t stay the same forever and neither can I.

Must be the dark clouds I have, both mentally and meteorologically, that’s got me all stirred up.

Wish I could find a way to send you some of this wet weather, my Fair New Mexico.




This Is Why I Went to College

  • 4 Comments

So I can have a good job and a nice hard walled office.

So I can listen to my Pandora radio in my iPhone.

So I can tune it to the “60’s, 70’s, and 80’s hits” station.

Where I can hear Aerosmith’s “Dream On”, first released in 1973, and again in 1976, right in the prime of my formative years.

So that I can sit in my hard walled office and sing along.

Badly.

With Steven Tyler.

“Dream ooooowwwnnn, dream oooowwwwwn, dream until your dreams come true!”

And especially this part:

“…sing with meh/sing for the yeaaahar/sing for the laughter, sing for the tear/sing with me, if it’s just for today/Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away”

And then there is that howl part on the word “away”… Yeah.

In my mind I think I can hit those same notes that Mr.Tyler could hit some 40 years ago.

Then the employee seated in the cubicle just outside my office prairie dogs up over his wall to give me a crooked eyebrow.

And I think “ffft! He was born in 1983, he doesn’t understand.”

So I go on singing. In my office. With my Pandora.

Thank you NMSU, that I may have this job with a Fortune 500 company, this office, and the ability to torture my employees on a Friday morning.






I never get tired of recycling this image.


Image is of Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca and a pretty extensive web search could not net me the attribution on this photo. I found photos from that same event on the European Commission page which allows for the use of photos with attribution.



Same Venue, Different View

  • No Comments

Over the weekend I got together with a longtime dear friend for a much needed girl’s weekend.

My friend is the full time mom of a very happy and rambunctious toddler, so she needed a minute to herself to remember the not-mom side of her life.

On our weekend away, we walked a well worn path. Over the decade we’ve been pals, one of our favorite things is to grab a room at a really high end hotel, get tickets to a concert at the outdoor Shoreline Amphitheater, and have a raucous time.

To be honest, we haven’t done this for several years. I got married, then she got married, then she gave birth and suddenly life and all that goes with it intervened.

We were both glad to reconvene and return to our tradition. It bears noting, however, that on this weekend things were markedly different than in the past.

Where once we talked of work, our insane boss (we used to work in the same team), worries about saving enough money to support being a single gal, our dating life both good and bad, and the latest fashion available…

This weekend we talked of her being a mom, of how work is still important but takes a backseat to what matters in life, how to save enough money to retire on, our husbands, and the latest styles of magnifying reader glasses available and where to buy them.

We asked each other if it is inevitable to end up with the same physical attributes of our mother, no matter how hard we try. We lamented the years that have passed so quickly.

Back in the day after we’d gotten caught up, we’d start at the hotel bar, move on to a local Mexican restaurant with a wide array of tequila, then go to the concert venue grabbing beers and more fun on the way.

My friend weighs about 90 lbs on a good day, and when she drinks takes on the demeanor of a linebacker. Our friendship has been a lot about her having three to my one margarita and then bouncing off the fences.

I’ve pulled her out of girl fights, away from skeevy guys, off the venue railing, away from climbing up on the stage and I’ve literally carried her to the car more than once.

Friday, she arrived at the hotel and asked “Do you mind if we don’t drink much tonight?”

I said that was fine (and inside I felt incredibly relieved).

We ate room service, forgoing the heavily crowded restaurant of our usual mode. Then we went to see a Toby Keith show.

You know…Toby Keith used to play at the country bar Cowboy’s in Las Cruces. I used to go dancing to Toby Keith and Easy Money (when they were just known as Easy Money and no one cared who Toby Keith was) in my college years.

On Friday I read an SFGate article about celebrities that turned 50 this year.

Toby is on that list.

Seems even Toby has lost a step or two. He looks road weary and his set was pretty uninspired.

We left before the encore. As we walked out, the crowd of a billion girls in Daisy Dukes and boots pressed in around us. My friend commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show here where I wasn’t drunk. I’m suddenly very aware of my small size. How come I never worried about that before?”

I replied, “Because when you drink you’re ten feet tall.”

She laughed, then sighed. Then she said, “I miss my cub.”

I put my arm around her and we walked out of the venue together, solid on our four feet.

Later we texted our husbands to let them know we’d made it back to the hotel safely.

Then we both went to bed before midnight. Turns out that my tiny friend now snores like a longshoreman.

Things change. I guess it’s inevitable.

While sometimes I lament the past, I think we are both a lot happier today than we were back then.

Mostly.



Where once this view fired me up, now I think “what happens if there’s a fire?”


Copyright 2011, Karen Fayeth



It might also be mentioned that my magnetic powers of attracting the most sloppy drunk Hispanic cowboy in the house are still strong. If they got white boots that are too pointy and a belt that’s too long, they will find a way to find me. He was harmless and I quickly pawned him off on a gaggle of drunk girls. I bet that he’d be barfing before the encore. My friend had more faith than I did and took the after. She won the bet.


Photo taken Friday night with the Camera+ app for the iPhone.