Answering the mail

Ok, not mail, per se, but a comment made a couple posts back. It’s a good question, and one I’ll attempt to answer.

“grand negus said…
What do you think of the polotical (sic) situation in New Mexico. How does it look from your vantage point?”

So, despite the fact that I do comment on politics every now and again, I’m not generally one to give much authoritative insight.

A good place to check for this is Live from Silver City. The author of that blog, Avelino Maestas, has a keen political mind, and despite having recently moved to Washington DC, is still quite savvy on New Mexico politics. Heck, he’s savvy on politics in general. Another really great NM political blog is Heath Haussamen’s.

And to be honest, my views tend to lean a lot toward what former Albuquerque Mayor Jim Baca has to say in his Only in New Mexico blog.

The scramble for St. Pete’s seat will be an interesting one to watch. All the termites coming out of the woodwork vaguely reminds this Californian of the Governor Gray Davis recall. I mean, ya’ll can think it’s a circus but try having a stripper, a porn king, Gary Coleman and an Austrian actor in the hunt. Good lord…that was quite a ride.

Paraphrasing Jim, I think the election is ripe for a Democrat to take over that long held Republican seat. And I think it’s time. I used to be a fan of Domenici. I worked at Sandia Labs and year over year, Pete fought the fight both for Kirtland Air Force Base and funding for the labs. So there were years I literally owed my continued existence to him. But over time, I’ve become more liberal and Pete became more conservative, and never the twain shall meet, or something like that.

But, again, borrowing from Jim here, I fear the Democrats are not organized enough to make a strong run. There is time yet, but for now, the outlook is hazy.

If Wilson gets that spot, I will punch myself in the head. All I ask is that Wilson be defeated. I know it looks like it will go that way, but I take NOTHING for granted. I thought she’d be defeated by a landslide in the last election. That it was as close as it was scares the beejebus out of me.

And as for our New Mexican Governor running for President, I am of mixed mind. I know Jim Baca is staunchly in support of Richardson, mainly for his views on the environment. I have a lot of respect for that view. But as a New Mexican, I always thought Richardson was a lot of bluster, and I think I’m tired of a blustering President.

Richardson comes to the elections with a lot of experience (both governor and Secretary of Energy). Much more than his competition. His job is to make a splash. I don’t think this is Bill’s year, but he’s got a lot of work to do this year to make a name that will carry him for 2012.

On the other hand…I do enjoy a New Mexican making headlines. It’s good press for our fair state, and I’ll take it.

So there you have it, my mainly borrowed and fairly wishy-washy assessment. Aren’t you glad you asked? Lol!!


Wanna talk about my views on that tanker scraping the Bay Bridge and spilling fuel into the water? I spent some time in Bodega Bay this weekend, a place where many families make their living on a fishing boat. This spill is devastating. More on that to come. I promise.

The Results Are In

It’s that time of year again. Chile roasting outside grocery stores. Hot air balloons hanging in the sky. Frosty nights and crunchy leaves.

And at work, that annual tradition known as performance reviews.

Now, I hate performance reviews. I know we have to. It’s a whole human resources thang. I get it. But I hate them. I hate giving them. I hate receiving mine. I just hate the whole process.

I got them done for my staff a couple weeks back. Got them done without incident, which was nice. It helped I had some new folks that were too new to review, so I was able to struggle through the few I had and get them completed.

My Lady Boss, on the other hand, has an inordinate amount of employees so it’s taken her longer. Yesterday was the last day to get ’em done, and we squeaked it in under the wire.

As usual, I walked in knowing I worked my arse off this year, and yet was scared. This happens every year. I somehow always think there’s something I’m missing. Something I failed to do. Something I did wrong and didn’t know it. So with shaking legs I sat down and took my medicine.

Like usual, it was fine. She had many nice things to say. My Lady Boss is fairly new to the department and I still don’t quite have a read on her, but now I got my report card. Now I know the teacher thinks I’m doing ok. (The best compliment was regarding the kick ass job my team did this year. They did all the work and it’s not fair I get the credit, but I’m proud as hell of each and every one of them.)

She had a couple items for “development” that were spot on, and I appreciate her feedback. She then would up the review by reminding me that in 2008 I shouldn’t argue so vocally and vehemently with (her boss) my Vice President. (I actually did this. I was angry. It was deserved. I don’t regret it. But her point was well taken. I *could* have presented my case a bit better…..)

I got a better than average rating and a slightly better than average raise. However, “slightly better than average” at this company means “just slightly above the CPI”. It’s true, I checked. But you know what? I’ll take it. My friend who also works here got NO raise. Yep. Zip, zero, zilch, nada. And he worked hard this year. So my meager increase is something. With that, I’ll get back to work and rest easy for another year, at least on that front.

Ever forward, back into battle.

The more things change

The more they stay the same…or so the saying goes.

Is that really true? It seems anymore that everything just changes. And changes. And changes.

Am I becoming my folks? Lamenting for days gone by. “Better days.” “It didn’t used to be like this.”

Is it an inevitable side effect of passing years?

Somewhere along the way in my tenure here in the Bay Area, just over ten years now, I crossed a line, passed a barrier, ticked off a marker. I had finally lived here long enough that I could pine for “how it used to be.”

Yesterday evening I had occasion to drive The Cute Boy™ to San Francisco. He’s laid up with a bum ankle (don’t ask). So Cute Boy is now Gimpy McGimperson on two crutches. He had some business in our fine City, so I took him there and decided to bide my time and wait for him to be done, más o menos, three hours all in.

So while waiting I decided to visit an old haunt in North Beach, a place I’ve waxed ecstastic about in these very pages. A lovely family owned restaurant called Sodini’s. Owned by the venerable Mark Sodini, when I first moved, a hay-seed-in-my-hair girl from New Mexico, Sodini’s was one of the few places I knew how to get to in that big mean city.

Back in those days I was trying to catch the eye of a local musician (it ended badly, don’t ask) who played at the bar across the street. So I’d go to Sodini’s for dinner and some liquid courage. It’s always a bit weird being a girl going to a restaurant or bar alone, but any trepidation I had quickly dissolved in the kind presence of the good people of Sodini’s. These folks couldn’t have been more cordial, and kind, and they took good care of me, looked out for me, and became my friends.

So it was a melancholy bit of business to sit, once more, by myself on a barstool, drinking a well made drink and tucked into a gorgeous Caprese.

My eyes wandered to the strangely quiet Green street out the windows, and my retinas were burned by a neon sign blaring FAX, COPIES, PHOTOS. I said to Mark, “What’s with the copy place? Didn’t that used to be a frame shop?” He laughed and said “Yeah, but it’s been a copy place for about two years.”

Two years? How do two years slip past without me knowing it?

Then I looked over at the old North Beach Video shop. It’s now an upscale restaurant (I don’t even remember the name) and the video store moved into a much smaller space next door.

I started getting depressed. “My neighborhood is vanishing!” I thought, nervously sipping my drink and spooning in Minestrone for comfort. That sort of demoralized anxiety was setting in, until I really stopped, took a breath, and looked around.

There was Mark at the end of the bar playing liar’s dice with Leo. I met Leo not long after I’d moved, on a night much the same. Leo owns Vesuvio, the bar next door to City Lights. If you are familiar with the Beat Generation writers, then those names mean something to you.

Leo has lived in North Beach for a long time. I can’t quote how many years, but I’m guessing somewheres between forty and sixty. On that night way back then, Leo told me stories of North Beach. Told me how he used to own a coffee bar (in the first popular incarnation of coffee bars in America) and that he once paid Janis Joplin twenty bucks to play all night. I asked him questions about her with wide-eyed wonder, and he remembered her fondly, remembering her as “a little odd”. He told me about Jefferson Airplane. And Grace Slick (who’s long been a hero of mine). Told me they were good kids and he enjoyed them, but they drank too much.

This was amazing to me. A living history book. And last night, there he was again, taking everyone’s dice and beating ’em all, like usual.

As I continued to gaze around the restaurant, I spotted a favorite waitress and the guy who used to work the door at the Grant & Green. And Mark said “You need another, Karen?” and I nodded. And he served it right up because he takes good care of his customers.

And I relaxed. And smiled. And let out a little bit of the whole lotta stress I’ve got working me.

Because everything might change. This world moves too fast. Everything looks different when you turn around and look again. And in this fast pace world, sometimes you just know that certain places will remain enough the same to keep you sane, and that’s good enough for me.

(Don’t even get me started on my fair New Mexico and what the hell has happened to my beautiful Albuquerque. Oy! Guess it’s time to move somewhere new where I don’t remember what it “used to be,” and leave before I cross that same line again. Ah well, I love New Mexico. I love the Bay Area. And most of all, I love The Cute Boy™, and that is something that, good lord willing and the creeks don’t rise, will always be there, growing a little stronger every day)

Signs of growth

If there was ever a signal of burgeoning growth, not just in population, but devices as well, it has to be the area code split.

Soon after I moved to the Bay Area, we had a split. That was during that much ballyhooed Dot Com boom (remember that? Yeah…).

When I moved I had that coveted 415 area code (the area code of San Francisco). I had it a few months before it split, owing, they said to the cell phones, faxes, all the people working from home with extra lines and the fast growing population.

There’s been a few more splits since, though none affecting me. I’m still rockin’ the 650.

Our fair New Mexico had held firm all this time. I know there were rumors of an area code split a few years back, but it looks like it’s here now. The 505 will now become the 505 and the 575.

: sniff : Our little state is growing up!

I guess I didn’t think it was true, hearing only secondhand from friends, until I saw this article in today’s Albuquerque Tribune (while it’s still breathing).

Looks like it’s a’gonna happen this October. Ya can’t stop progress!

Rage on, Land of Enchantment! Rage on!!

On second thought…I’m not sure I’m happy about all this growth. Too many yahoolios jamming up the Big I yapping on their phones? Too many houses springing up outside of Las Cruces? People actually knowing what we know…that New Mexico livin’ is pretty easy? Ugh!

Slow down, Land of Enchantment! Slow down!!!