Gimme Some Weird, People

Today I’m going to lean heavy on my New Mexico readers, or travelers to and fans of New Mexico.

Been feeling a little homesick, so I took to Google for searches about New Mexico.

Of course there are all the sites dedicated to the aliens, the cattle mutilations, La Llorona and the chupacabra.

And I find a LOT of sites that want to tell me how weird my homestate is.

Weird huh. Is it?

Hmmmm. I don’t think it’s weird at all.

I came across a list of “New Mexico Attractions and Oddities” and went through the list.

Honestly, is it just because I’m from there? I didn’t find many of these things to be odd at all.


The Chevy on a stick in ABQ. Ok, ok, I remember when that was first going up and there was a hubbub, but hardly what I’d called genuinely weird.

And the big green dinosaur, also is ABQ.

But are these really all that weird? Or just…um…bad taste?

Speaking of bad taste, how about the scrap metal roadrunner in Alamogordo or the recycled roadrunner in Las Cruces…or the auto parts dinosaur, also in Alamogordo. Not art, but not weird.

Or how about the big metal glasses in Taos. I mean, it’s Taos fer chrissakes. The whole town is a half bubble off level.

Then there’s the “mysterious/religious” stuff like all the spontaneous healing at Santuario de Chimayo with the crutches left behind, the shrine at the top of Mount Cristo Rey or the image of Magdalena in the side of the hill in Magdalena (outside of Socorro).

All sort of your garden variety stuff, filed under “mystical.” But weird? Nah.

And of course there’s all of the natural formations: Camel Rock, Shiprock, and the Kneeling Nun to name a few. All fascinating works of geology, but hardly weird.

The rock formation that gives you the thumbs up going into Laughlin, NV and flips you off on the way out is WAY more weird than any of that. **

And remember when the Burning of Zozobra used to be kind of weird before those frapping Burning Man people went mainstream? Now everyone just thinks New Mexico ripped off the idea (we were burning Old Man Gloom first, you damn hippies!)

I dunno, maybe it’s just the desert heat that leads people to believe that the good people and place of New Mexico are weird. I suppose to someone who has never seen such wide-open spaces and deep blues skies, it could all be a little scary.

But weird? Pfffft. No way. I live near San Francisco. Now that’s weird.

Blame The Good Man for this post topic. We got into a conversation about why New Mexico put “USA” on their license plates (a vague attempt to get around “One of our Fifty is Missing” troubles, I think).

The conversation drifted into new slogans to add to the plate as we bandied them back and forth.

The winner being: “New Mexico…you don’t know who we are and we don’t like you anyway.”

They can take their “weird” and go jump in a lake.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

If any of ya’ll New Mexicans know of something really weird I’ve overlooked, let me know. I’m open to suggestions.

New Mexico sign image Copyright 2007, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the terms of the Creative Commons license found in the right hand column of this page.

** Nevada rock formation images from Life is a Road Trip.

Stare Deeply into this Inkblot

Oh, let’s go instead with word association.

I’m so much better at that.


  1. Earrings ::
  2. Love ’em. The bigger and danglyer (<-- so very much not a word) the better. One pair I have, Zuni petit point in a modern version of the classic snowflake pattern, seem to be the crowd favorite. I get tons of compliments. Even without the compliments, they are hands down my favorite. Plus, you don't see earrings like this out here, which I like. There are a few ladies at work who would buy them right off my ears if I'd let them.

  3. Tomorrow ::
  4. And tomorrow. And tomorrow. And the unofficial state motto of New Mexico….Land of Mañana.

  5. Soft ::
  6. My cat’s belly. Hard is her teeth when I pet her belly. She has tummy issues.

  7. Idiots ::
  8. Me and The Good Man cuz we keep trying to pet The Feline’s belly. It’s soooooo soooooft. She bites really hard.

  9. Portraits ::
  10. I’m learning that good light is everything.

  11. Handicap ::
  12. You know how the sport talk guys give a handicap when they mention golfers? “Oh he’s a seven handicap” or some silliness like that. What it means is you know what kind of golfer the guy is. Well….shouldn’t we have a system like that for everyone else? Especially at work? “Yeah, um, Karen is about a six handicap…she’s chronically late to meetings, blows her nose too loud, can’t park straight, laughs at inopportune times and her mind tends to wander.”

    You picking up what I’m putting down?

  13. Collar ::
  14. Just reading the word made me tug at mine. Why are collars always so scratchy? And how you boys wear the tie AROUND the scratchy collar I’ll never know. I would have bug eyes and claw at it all day long.

  15. Blouse ::
  16. Much softier and nice. Ladies, have you noticed that blouses with a limpy bow at the neck are back in style? Let’s go raid the wardrobe of the early 1980’s working woman, why don’t we?

    I’m not sure how I feel about this trend. What’s next, wearing high top Reeboks with our power skirt and calling it high fashion? Um. No. Been there. Done that.

  17. Wool ::
  18. Scratchier than any damn collar. Who can wear that stuff?

  19. Statistic ::
  20. Statistically speaking, the odds of me wearing a wool collar are nil. However….the odds of me wearing a limpy bow blouse again in my life….maybe…

Image is a screen still from “Charlie’s Angels” and found several places on the net.

A Good Guide

After my dad passed a few years ago, I took possession of the family collection of photo albums and scrap books, with the solemn promise I’d keep them safe.

It was an easy promise, because I adore all the family artifacts. As a kid, I used to dive into the pages and smile at photos of my hot young mom (she was stunning!) and my young dad (he was geeky!).

My mom was a great scrapbooker so there’s great stuff to look at, including lots of artifacts from when she first moved to Albuquerque back in the 1950’s.

When my mom handed this all over to me, I realized the collection is far larger than I’d ever known, and I’m loving taking time to go through it all. Every time I dive in, I manage to find something I’ve never seen before while I’m in there.

Some of my favorite finds are the handwritten letters, which is such a lost art. You can learn a lot about relatives you never knew by reading their letters.

I have an assignment from a rather important editor (my amazing mom-in-law) to write about my paternal grandmother, and so I was in the family stacks last night doing some research.

That’s when I found this, a letter from my grandfather to my father.

The handwritten bit up in the corner says, “Read weekly, a good guide – Dad”

Here’s what it says:





* *

1. The value of time

2. The success of perseverance.

3. The pleasure of working.

4. The dignity of simplicity.

5. The worth of character.

6. The power of kindness.

7. The influence of example.

8. The obligation of duty.

9. The wisdom of economy.

10. The virtue of patience.

11. The improvement of talent.

12. The joy of originating.

Such simple words that encapsulate such very strong values. This is endearing fatherly advice to a son and it is timeless. This was written in 1949, but is just as applicable 62 years later.

Gives me much to ponder as I wade through another busy work week.

Dear World –

An online idea suggester came up with the idea that I should write a letter to the world. At first I said “bah!” and clicked away to look at something mildly funny on YouTube. Or maybe I played a nonsensical flash game. Can’t remember.

Turns out this idea kind of stuck to one of the many folds of my wrinkly brain, and I’ve been thinking on it a lot lately.

Maybe it’s a good idea. Maybe it’s time we talked.

First of all, I should say, I’m a big fan of you, World. I mean…you’re so worldly. In a single moment you create life, bring death, facilitate anger, joy, sadness, depression, hunger and toothache. Inside your wide waistline, you encompass the tippy top of the Rocky Mountains, the endless blue bottom of the Mariana Trench. And cheeseburgers.

You’re a wonder. No doubt.

But it’s not just the continents and water; there are all of these people. ALL of these people. Whew. 6.7 billion of us little parasites are wandering around, riding this cosmic whirlygig hoping to have a good night’s sleep and enough money to feed our families and maybe a reason to smile once or twice day.

Lately it seems hard. Just the nature of living and standing with two feet on a planet spinning around 1,000 mph right at this very moment seems like it takes a whole lot of effort.

It feels better when it seems like we’re all in it together, but more and more I feel like we’re not all in it together. I mean, not that I’d expect we’d all get along famously and never squabble, but it seems like sometimes we’re a bit less interconnected and a bit more inconsiderate every day.

Take the news that my local area is all abuzz about: the rampant fights, brutal beatings and a shooting at a football stadium. A game! And people were shot fer crissakes! Which means people were packing heat to go to a goddamn football game to watch overly large men run around and bash into each other. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? (<-- to borrow a phrase from Penn Jillette)

My friends in the UK tell me that hooliganism is a part of their favorite sport as well, and laugh at my naïveté. I’m sure the people in Lybia would look at me like was a cross eyed dodo bird for even contemplating this. They’d probably be happy if their daily dose of violence was limited to a sports stadium.

So maybe it’s just that I’ve been spoiled. Maybe I need to toughen up? Maybe my mom is right when she says I’m too sensitive. I mean, hell, I whimper when I have blood drawn.

I just don’t like that it has to be this way. I’ve seen communities where no one locks their house or car because there’s no need. Where if someone gets hurt, it’s a reason for the community to pull together not get blown apart with finger pointing and more anger.

Perhaps I long for something that can no longer exist when 6.7 billion of us are crawling around on top of each other trying to find the best wifi signal so we can flame someone on Facebook and snipe the last bid on eBay.

Don’t know what’s got me so melancholy. I did go see “Breakfast at Tiffanys” on the big screen this weekend. Maybe seeing something set in a more refined time seems better by comparison. Then again, was it so good? Women were still disregarded and the Civil Rights movement was well underway, but by no means resolved.

That’s the thing about nostalgia. It’s rarely accurate.

So maybe 1961 wasn’t any better than 2011. Which depresses me more. 50 years later and the problems are all different and all the same. There’s more of us. We’re meaner to each other. And in some ways we’re better too.

As M. Scott Peck wrote in the first line of the book The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult.”

I’ve always bridled at that notion. Why? Why does life have to be difficult?

A wise mentor asked me to read that book and asked me to embrace the concept that life is difficult. It was suggested I learn to find a way to flow with it and not try so hard to swim against it. Maybe life would actually be easier if I just accepted that life is and always will be difficult.

But swim, I still do. Maybe my sense of values and honor compass has gone all screwy, like a dolphin swimming too close to a submarine. I think I’m going the right way while in reality I’m getting ever more lost.

I don’t think it’s that much to ask that we could all live a life that was peaceful and full of joy. That we didn’t all have to worry about the stock market and random acts of violence, and countries either falling or failing.

I had a boss for a brief amount of time who, when I would present her with some work related issue that was worrying me, she’d simply tell me to “rise above it,” which was never very helpful. She was a terrible boss.

But maybe there is some wisdom there.

I don’t know. Really. I just don’t know.

And sometimes that scares me.

Oh dear, my friend World, I think my letter has wandered off into the deep weeds. I hope I don’t encounter a rattle snake out here. Is that the road over there? I can’t recall. I think I have some lemonade in the Jeep. Want some?

Well, anyhow. I guess I’m grateful that you’ve given me all these years of riding on your back and you’ve given me enough matter in my brain bucket to have the luxury of thinking about such things.

There are some things I’d change if I was in charge. But mostly, I guess we do ok.

I am going to keep shaking my fists at people who steal parking spots and continue lamenting the jacked up state of healthcare. Some things are just too ingrained to pass up.

Thanks for listening. Let’s do this again soon, yeah?

Your pal,


Image from PlayPennies.