We Are A Man Down

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These past few days have been a little harder than usual. I mean, the regular crap with work and traffic and laundry and all of the trappings of being a grownup are there. It’s just…these past days have been a little more uphill than usual.

That’s because my partner in crime, The Good Man, has been out of town on travel. So, you know, boo hiss on that.

Well, that’s not entirely true. He took off early Saturday morning and in many ways I was pretty damn excited to be a bachelorette for a while. Whoo! All my limbs all over the place in the bed! I can watch sappy chick movies on Netflix without the ongoing sarcastic commentary in the background. I can eat whatever I want for dinner without explaining!

Yes!! Saturday I glued myself to the couch and watched way too many episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” (how am I just discovering this series?) and that night I had cookies and a crisp cold glass of chardonnay for dinner.

Yes I did!

The next morning I woke up with a tummy ache. And when I reached out for the comfort of my adorable husband, he wasn’t there. Even the damn cat wasn’t with me in the bed, she wasn’t having any part of me.

I found her sleeping in the chair by the front door. This is the place she sleeps when she waits for us to come home. Note I said “us.” I’m there in the house, she knows I’m there, but she is not having it. The cat is depressed and stays in this chair all day, waiting for her boy human to come home. Which does wonders for my ol’ pet owner self-esteem, I can tell you that.





Sunday afternoon I ran some errands. WAY less fun to grocery shop without a cute boy there to hold up a funny looking vegetable to make me laugh or to get the last box of my favorite cereal off the very topmost shelf of the store.

Damnit! I don’t wanna be a bachelorette anymore! I like being a couple. All those times I complain about his lengthy limbs encroaching on my side of the bed was all just joshin’. I wouldn’t mind a big heavy arm across my tummy while I sleep. He can even steal all of the blankets, I’m ok with it!

*sigh*

Tomorrow. Tomorrow is when my joy comes home.

Ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone. Well there was, just one day. But then nothing but cloudy days since.








Sad cat image Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page.

Lyric image found here.




I’m So Arty. And Maybe A Little Farty.

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It’s been two months now at the new gig and I’m really getting into it. The job, the management and the culture are all really in my wheelhouse. Even though I’m crazy busy and working hard, I really do like the job.

So I guess at sixty days into this gig I am making plans to hang around a while. When I went through new hire orientation, they talked up their employee activities program and mentioned that there are a lot of strong clubs here at the company. It seems most employees participate in at least one club. It’s not required, people just want to be involved.

Cool!

I took a look at the list of clubs and the one that jumped out at me was the photography group. Rock on! I haven’t been shooting much lately and I certainly need a kick in the butt. I belong to a photographer’s salon group where once a month we meet and critique images, but I felt like this new group would really expand my horizons.

I dropped an email to the co-presidents of the group, two female coworkers, who were listed on the webpage and told them I’d like to be part of the group. They answered pretty quickly and said they were actually the last year’s co-presidents (the webpage is out of date) and handed me off to the new leadership. In closing, one of the women said, “I’m so glad another woman is joining the group. It’s mostly men right now. They are all nice but it’s all men!”

Oh. Well ok! My photography teacher and mentor has spoken about this. She has been a professional photographer for a long time and has dealt with the male dominated world of photography for years. I’m unsure why it’s still so heavily male dominated, but fair enough. I know my work can stack up.

I got an invite to the online user group and to the meeting coming up next week. I also got access to the club’s site where members upload their photos. Each month there is a theme and a contest to pick a winner.

Whooo doggies, the photos on that page are really good but they are all very technical. I don’t feel a lot of emotion in the photos. Then I recalled that I work with mostly engineers and scientists. Yeah. These are the kind of folks who will sniffily say they only shoot in manual and can calculate the exposure triangle in their heads.

I have taken other photography courses, including a class from a well-known and well-respected landscape photographer. That guy wasn’t too uptight about the stuff, but several of the men in the class were. One guy challenged me on the spot to calculate the exposure triangle for a particular photo and I said, “Nope. I don’t need to. I shoot in Aperture mode and am happy there.” He looked like he had bad gas and walked away from me.

Look, I know *how* to calculate the exposure triangle. I just choose not to.

So we’ll see how this group thang goes. I decided I should put together a quick portfolio of photos to show the rest of the group what I’m about.

What do you think?





“Knob” — I feel this piece speaks to the inaccessibility of the world and the challenges of just getting past closed doors. Should you walk away or bang on the door demanding to be heard? That is for you to decide.





“Elusive” — This is a study in hiding behind false coverings, like the fur that covers a Cranky Feline. And the need to hide behind artificiality and illusion. The grain reminds us of the blurry nature that life presents and the need to have better lighting.





“Have A Seat” — The black and white really captures the moodiness that comes with the decision of whether or not to have a seat. The push-pull of subverting yourself to the will of powers greater than you or maybe standing up to fight instead. This thought provoking piece required meticulous set up and lighting.



I think I am a shoo-in for high praises and honor from this new club. I can hardly wait to reel in all my accolades!





All photos Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page. (why would you steal these masterpieces anyway?). All three taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




Requiem for a Little Thing

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The Good Man cautioned me about posting this because it’s very squishy and quite soppy and over the top melancholy. He warned me that I am opening myself up to some teasing for being so weepy about a fish. That’s ok. It’s what was on my heart and so I wrote it. Then I decided to go ahead and post it anyway. So here goes.

***

The Good Man often says, “No one cares about the little things” when referring to pets and small animals. At first I thought he was just being overly dramatic, but over the years, I’ve come to realize he might be right.

As a child, my parents were not fans of animals as pets and the care that goes along with having a pet, and so I didn’t have a pet until I was twelve years old. I didn’t learn to own and care for a pet, and how to lose a pet, in my early years.

My first animal was a cat named Yoda and I adored that cat. She died when I was in college and I still remember driving home to my parent’s place in Carlsbad crying my eyes out the whole way. A little girl racing home in a rattletrap car with big, sobbing tears, all over a cat. Yeah, that’s me.

As I moved into my adulthood, I always lived in an apartment and most rental places don’t want you to have a pet. So I didn’t.

The Good Man, on the other hand, has never had a moment in his life where he didn’t have a pet. He’s really good at taking care of animals and reading their moods, and he also has a lot of experience dealing with the loss of beloved pets.

When this handsome man entered my life, he came with baggage in the form of not one but two cats. In the first year of our association, one of the two kittehs (who had a slight attachment to me) passed on and I was crushed with grief. Crushed, dumbfounded and heartbroken. I’d grown to love that orange cat in a very short time and it had been a long time since I’d had a little animal to love.

We still have one kitteh, the rasty Feline, and she’s 14 and cranky and I can’t imagine a day when she’s not balled up behind my knees in the bed while I sleep.

And then there is my fish.

Who can be sentimental about a fish?

Me, that’s who.

For reasons I can’t quite articulate, a few years ago I decided I wanted to have some betta fish. I’d heard they were interactive and smart. I mean, a fish? All water and gills and scales. Interactive?

Turns out it is true. Betta fish are quite interactive and dare I say they have a good sense of humor too.

The downside of owning betta fish is that they have a pretty short life span. Three years is a good run. Some people get as much as five.

Last year, we lost our little girl fish, Margaret and I was saddened. She was the kindest, sweetest, most lovely little being. We joked she was the queen of our home, as she had a regal bearing about her.

Over most of this past year, my boy fish Benito has struggled. He’s sick with some sort of ailment that has caused his kidneys to fail. His abdomen is distended and it’s only a matter of (short) time before he shuffles off this mortal coil.

I look at my little betta and I see him suffering and I’m sad.

“It’s just a fish!” a friend said, when I wanted to talk to her about my sadness.

Yes. Just a fish. But my fish. And he is loved. Watching any being suffer is tough to take.

So every day I talk to my little fish and I coax him to have a few pellets and I worry over him and I change his water a lot and I know the end is near.

I guess as I age I’ve become an old softie. The thing is, I really am sad. I wish I could hug my little fish and make him feel better but I cannot. I can only sit outside his tank and hold my finger up to the glass and he will chase my finger, even when he feels bad, because that’s how we play.

————

All of the above was written about a month ago. I just had to get my thoughts out while I watched my cherished pet suffer.

Tuesday morning in the very small hours, I was up and making breakfast when I noticed my fish struggling. He had a little seizure and then he quietly died.

I can’t believe I had to watch him die, even as I am glad I was there with him.

The Good Man and I talked. I don’t think I want to have any new pets for a while. We’re good with the one rasty cat.

In Spanish, the word benito means blessing. For a few years my little red fish was a happy little blessing in my life.

I’m happy I got to be his human.

Boy oh boy, this losing a pet just doesn’t get any easier.



My beautiful cranky faced fish.



Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone4s and the Instagram app.



This

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The Feline is having none of it today.

None, I say.

And neither is her human.

The day started at 5:00am and I won’t be home until about 8:00pm.

Isn’t there some platitude about the value of hard work?

To that I say:






Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.



What Can BrownDog Do For You?

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Hi. I’d like to introduce you to a friendly face. His name is Brownie.





Yeah, his owner didn’t work too hard on that name. “Why, that dog is brown. I know! Let’s call him Brownie!”

What his owner (a neighbor of my best friend) lacks in creativity, he makes up for in being a pretty nice guy.

Unfortunately, that good neighbor has fallen on some hard times. His small plumbing business had success tied to the housing industry. When things were good, Brownie’s owner was doing good. When the economy laid down and didn’t get back up, the business struggled.

Sad to say, those good folks had to sell their house, horses, and fleet of nice cars.

And that leaves us back at The Brown One who is an Australian Shepard. He has papers to prove he is somebody, and a yearn for herding in his blood.

Brown Dog is bunking down with my best friend’s family these days. Brownie was largely ignored for most of his early life, so the attention of a whole family and other dogs to play with makes him super happy.

You see, Brownie is a special dog. Or, speshul. One would think that The Brown One isn’t very smart because he leaps and rolls and bubble heads his way around the world. Sometimes that dog makes me shake my head. And my fists. He can be so dense, really.

Brownie is the kind of dog that will come along with me when I take a walk, not that I have any say in the matter. He’ll escape his confines and come along no matter what I think on the subject. And further, he’s the kind of dog who will run ahead of me on the banks of the irrigation ditch, then down in the bottom, will roll in the muck, then run back and jump on me.

And when I holler at him, he wags his tail and that tongue lolls out and he looks at me and says “what?” in doggy-nacular.

Damn dog.

There is only one human in the world who really understands The Brown One, and that is The Good Man (who I happen to believe is part dog, if you must know). The Good Man will take Brownie outside and throw the ball and play doggie games and Brownie gets WAY over excited.

For his trouble, The Good Man comes away with bruises and small bites up and down his legs. See, Brownie will get himself worked up and then try to herd everyone as is true to his breed. Brownie is a jumper so his “move it along” bites can go as high as the butt region on the well over six foot tall Good Man.

Ow.

All of the rest of us, we holler at Brownie. “Damn it Brownie! Brown Dog, DOWN! Brownie, stop!!”

The only human he’ll actually listen to is The Good Man.

What Brownie really needs is a job. He’s got this strong innate drive to herd cows or sheep or something herdable. Sad day for him, Brown ain’t got no herd to herd. Right now, Brownie would be a huge liability to an actual herd of animals because he’s not well trained. But with some work and some time, Brownie could be a damn fine cattle dog. He’s got more in that brain bucket than first meets the eye.

Instead he herds a group of humans who may or may not be his permanent people and those people yell at him all the time. Brownie just wants to run. He’s a country dog and knows no borders. He’s the sort of damn dog who will run at a car.

*sigh*

Poor Brown Dog.

But don’t cry for me, Argentina. Brownie has it all right. He’s landed with a family that gives him regular kibble and my two soft hearted goddaughters pull ticks and fur knots off of him and love on him and coo in his velvety ears.

And when he’s really lucky, Nina Karen brings The (Good) Tall Man to visit and someone finally understands.