Let’s Have Some Group Therapy

Ok. I’m going to be strong here. : deep breath :

They say that talking through your feelings after a tragedy helps lessen the pain. I’ve kept this pent up inside for almost a week. I thought I could feel better. I thought I could forget.

But the nightmare. Oh the pain. It continues.

So I think it’s time I opened up and discussed my feelings. I need to get closure.

This is going to take all my courage.

Here we go.

Last week, it was Tuesday, and I was at the ballpark with The Good Man and some of our friends.

It was a clear, warm August night. The San Francisco Giants were playing baseball against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the crowd was full of anticipation.

My vacation was just beginning and we couldn’t have asked for a better night. A cool breeze played over the outfield and the laughter came easy.

It was the middle of the fourth inning. The Pirates had been sat down and the Giants were up to bat. No hits in the game so far, so I decided to get up from my seat and use the ladies room.

Evidently I wasn’t the only one needing a stretch break in the 4th inning because the line to use the ladies room was really long. But the line moved fast and thankfully, I was able to get my business done and get out of there.

Feeling a growl in my tummy, I walked the length of the third deck of AT&T Park to find a vendor with the shortest line. No luck this night, the food sellers were hopping.

So I just got on line. All you can do is wait. I had nachos on my mind. If you go to the right vendor, they’ll serve you up this tray with two reservoirs. One holds cheese. One holds salsa. Chips line the middle. It’s perfection in a non-recyclable plastic rectangle.

The key to this whole delicious thing is the liquid cheese dispensed from a cheese machine. The nice lady behind the counter pushes a button and cheese comes out.

When the cheese is flowing, you know all is right with the world.

I waited in a long line while some dude in the front bought eight thousand hot dogs and had to contact the International Monetary Fund to get the transaction done. I watched the game on the in-house monitors.

Jeff Keppinger doubled and the waiting crowd sent up a cheer.

Still, I stood in line.

What got me through the drudgery was the thought of the ballpark nachos. So happy. So good. Cheese AND Salsa? Can it really be true?

Finally Hot Dog Boy walked away and the line moved up. The next guy only wanted a beer, and was done fast. One more step forward.

But wait. Something was wrong. Something was amiss.

Something was…out of order.

I noticed one of the ladies who vend the sweet mystery of life that is ballpark nachos was holding a big silver bag and wringing the life out of it.

She was extracting every last morsel of the orange cheesy goodness.

And then I realized. The truth came to roost.

The Cheese Machine had gone offline.

Oh dear god! The humanity!

What will become of us? What can be done?!

I saw a guy come out from the back to install a new bag of cheese into the machine. Then I heard a lady tell someone “It’s going to take a few minutes, the cheese has to warm up.”

I panicked. What should I do?

You are never prepared for an emergency when the terror strikes. These type of situations call for clear, calm thinking.

I considered moving over to another food vendor, but the lines were outrageously long. I’d only have to wait and wait for the dispensary of another cheese supplier. And what if THEY ran out too?

No. Now was the time to be a grown up. I had to become Zen. I had to stand my ground. By god I’d wait for that freaking fake cheese to warm up.

The minutes ticked by at an utter molasses pace. I couldn’t watch the game I was so heart rended by the fear and worry I had. What will become of the nachos?

Finally, after an eternity, I saw one of the vendor ladies tentatively try the button on the now silent machine. Sweet molten cheese flowed like lava from an active volcano. The night was saved! The cheese rides again!

The crowd parted and I stepped right up to the register. “One nachos, please, the kind with both cheese and salsa.”

“That’s a deluxe nachos,” the Goddess in a Green Visor behind the counter informed me as she filled the reservoir with the sweet fake orangey manna from the gods of processed cheese food.

She even gave me a swipe of cheese across the top of the chips.

Yes. Deluxe. My destiny.

I paid the tab and turned away, comforted by the crispy cheesy salsa-y treat.

I vowed to eat every morsel, my spoils in the victory over the thronging masses that night at AT&T Park.

I am a survivor. I am stronger than my fears.

I grew up a little that day.

Image from The Fun Ones.

Same Venue, Different View

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.


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.

A Little Bit of Kindness at the Office

Last night, before going to bed, I took some extra time to prepare a batch of my delicious chicken salad.

I took care to make it a good batch, filled with perfectly grilled chicken, not too much mayo and my secret ingredients that make it, in my opinion, the best chicken salad ever.

Then, when the batch was made, taste tested and found to be perfect, I loaded it up into a container.

I packed that container along with an already packed container of soup, a bag of my favorite chips, and a bit of cough syrup into a small shopping bag.

This little bag of goodness was meant to go to work with me Monday morning.

I’m not trying to save money, although packing my lunch meets that goal.

What I AM trying to do is take good care of myself.

How many people think they *should* take their lunch to work, then pack a dried up lunch meat sandwich, a mealy apple and a bag of pretzels?

Or, even worse, they toss a Healthy Choice frozen entrée into their work bag and think that will satisfy them for the afternoon.


I approach packing my lunch with all the care a doting mother would shower upon her cherished child.

It’s like a love letter from Sunday Night Me to Monday Morning Me. A gift. A bit of home to remind me that even though I must work in a standard gray cubicle farm, I’m still an individual. I’m different.

I matter enough to have Sunday Night Me go to the effort to make something nice and not just something slapped together.

I actually look forward to my lunch today. I’m not looking for ways to get out of eating what’s in the office fridge. Nope, I can hardly wait until noon.

And I’ll eat my meal prepared with love and I will feel loved and I will know that I did a very good thing for myself.

Heck, caught up in the swell, I almost want to write myself a note to surprise me at the bottom of the lunch bag.

“Have a good day, dear. Someone at home loves you.”

Lessons in Night Photography

About a year ago, I took a wonderful class taught by teacher, friend and mentor, Marty Springer.

As part of the course, we did an evening of night photography.

I struggled mightily with the class. It made no sense. Why shoot photos at night? Where is the light that’s so fun to play with?

And manual mode? I have to shoot in manual mode? Gah!

So I listened to Marty and she was very patient and I really just didn’t get it. I got a few good photos from that night, but most were sad, weird and blurry.

Recently, I checked out a book from the library by popular photography author Harold Davis. It’s called Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques.

Harold doesn’t say anything different from what Marty taught me. He just said it again. For some reason, it stuck this time.

This weekend The Good Man took me out to Fort Baker in celebration of our second anniversary.

Turns out there is a pier at Fort Baker that affords perfect unblocked views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I told my partner in crime, “oh we’re coming back here tonight.”

One rule of night photography is that you need a friend to go along to be your lookout. Setting up the camera takes a bit of concentration and exposures take a long time. As photographer, you get a bit focused. Having someone to keep the weirdos away is always a good idea.

The Good Man wasn’t in love with the idea of going out to a pier at 9:00 at night, but I was insistent. As many husbands have done in the face of insistent wives, he came along for the ride with only a few “hmphs” and snorting sounds.

City born and raised husband was geared up and ready to take on trouble from any kooks hanging out down at the pier.

Turns out, the only trouble we would have was from a large family of skunks dining at the trash dumpster nearby.

Let me tell you, both City Boy and Country Girl were equally cautious about those damn skunks.

The word “whooooa” was uttered a lot.

That said…the night journey was WELL worth the trip.

If only for this photo.

Others from the weekend available on my Flickr.

Creative Commons License
Lessons in Night Photography text and images by Karen Fayeth are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.