This little photo, folks, is an actual, not retouched, not enhanced in any way (only cropped) photo of a section of the hood of my black Jeep (taken with an iPhone4s).

At the end of my workday, I found my automobile cowering under a pile of the yellow sticky stuff. Driving fast doesn’t even come close to knocking that stuff off of there.

It’s in the air, on my car, covering the sidewalks and whaaaa-choooo! I’m officially one of the seven dwarves.

Um. Happy Spring?

Image from Neurotic Physiology.

That’s the night that the lights went out at the ‘Stick

Our poor beleaguered Candlestick Park. The windy old jewel is really starting to show her age.

Well, not starting, really. Rapidly declining is more like it.

Last night she had a show to deliver: A contending team vs a contending team and an audience on the big stage of Monday Night Football.

Then this happened:

That blue light you see off to the left is a power transformer blowing up.

In a packed stadium in a hotly contested game with rafters full of fans from the opposing team out at Candlestick point…that’s not exactly where you want to be when the lights go out.

After some waiting around, the lights did come back on and the 49ers did prevail over the Pittsburgh Steelers, so all’s well that ends well, I suppose.

But what a sad state of affairs for the ‘Stick.

Transformer blowin’ gif found here.

Quality Control

You might recall a few months back (July, actually) I posted a story about San Francisco’s celebration for a glass.

A perfect, petite glass, just ripe to be filled to the rim with Irish coffee.

This past weekend, The Good Man and I had much to celebrate, so we spent the weekend rabble rousing from one end of the beautiful City of San Francisco to the other.

It was a magical weekend.

After consuming an insane amount of food at Tadich Grill, a venerable old place dating back to 1849, we set out on the quite stormy Saturday night and ultimately found ourselves at the Buena Vista down on the Wharf.

The Buena Vista is one of my most favorite places in the City. Especially on a cold, rainy night.

I was there in an official capacity, of course. It was necessary to investigate this whole glass issue for myself.

You know, in the interest of quality control and all that.

After the first Irish Coffee, I was intrigued.

After the second Irish Coffee, I was quite contemplative.

After the third Irish Coffee, I was…wait…what were we talking about…..?

*hic* Yes, I found the glasses at the BV to be of fine quality and most upstanding in their capacity to serve a nice warm beverage.

Or something.

I slept rather well that night, too……

All photographs Copyright Karen Fayeth, 2011, and subject to the Creative Commons license found in the right column of this page.

Photos taken with my iPhone4 and the Hipstamatic app.

Oh…That’s Not A Good Sound

Last evening, I sat curled up in the corner of my comfy couch, sleeping feline nearby, laptop lid up, idly surfing about, catching up on the news of the day. The Good Man did something similar in the next room. Giants baseball on the radio, the sounds of Duane Kuiper calling the game.

From out of nowhere, the lights flickered, and then went out. The instant it went dark, a loud whining sound could be heard outside. The unmistakable sound of a power transformer under extreme strain. It went on for a long time. Stopped, then started again.

And I slipped back into memory. It was the early 1990’s. My folks were living in Carlsbad and I was home for a few weeks between summer school and the start of the regular school year at NMSU.

It was a beautiful, clear summer day. I decided to take a long walk and get some exercise in before my folks came home from work. I left the house about 3:30 in the afternoon and walked down long country roads. My folks were living on the outskirts of Carlsbad at that time (if you’re from there, it was out on Cherry Lane near the CARC farm).

The first half of the walk was great. It was a gorgeous New Mexico day. On my return trip, things started to get ominous. In August in the southeastern part of the state, storms come in fast and furious. Emphasis on furious. Carlsbad is at the tail end of tornado alley, but being at the tail end doesn’t mean the tornados are any less frequent.

As I walked a little faster, the sky turned deep black, and then green. The clouds started to boil. This was bad. Very, very bad.

The rain came quickly and the temperature dropped twenty degrees. The powerful winds whipped raindrops into my bare legs and arms. Then the hail started. Small icy bits at first, then growing larger.

My whole body shuddered when I heard the sirens I’d come to both fear and hate. Tornado sirens. That meant a tornado had been spotted and all we could do was wait.

I was still about a mile from home, on foot, and in the center of the storm.

I picked up the pace a lot more. I ran off and on, but as I’m not a runner, I had to slow down so I could catch my breath.

Already drenched, I groaned when the rain picked up intensity. Thunder shook the ground, the trees, the terrified girl by the side of the road.

Lightning cracked out of the sky and hit a power pole across the street and ahead a bit.

That’s when I heard that sound. A power transformer under strain.

The power transformer exploded, sending flames and sparks into the sky.

I dove headfirst into a now very soaked alfalfa field, remembering my early training on “get low when lightning is around,” and lay as flat as possible, hugging mother earth while lightning struck all around.

Soon the heart of the storm moved on and I could hear the thunder a couple miles away, counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi” between lightning strikes and thunderclaps.

When it seemed I was safe, I leapt up and ran for my folk’s home as fast as I could. I got home safely. I called my mom (a no-no in the storm, but I needed my mommy!) and since we had no tornado shelter, she recommended that I stay to the center of the house and if a tornado was coming to get into the bathtub and hunker down.

“Get ready to leave the house!” The Good Man commanded sharply, snapping me from my reverie. I was back in Northern California and that transformer sound had stopped.

I jumped to action, running to get the cat carrier out of the closet and once The Feline was secure (she loves the cat carrier and walks right in with no complaint) I ran room to room and unplugged every device that was attached to a socket. The Good Man was on the phone with PG&E advising them of the situation.

We dashed outside to see what was going on and the neighbors were all outside too, talking over what they saw and heard. Soon the sirens of a fire engine came racing toward us and the firemen let us know a powerline was down two streets over but no explanation as to why the powerline came down on a quiet evening. PG&E were on their way and we should go back inside.

We lit candles and got out flashlights and settled back into the couch. Safe. On that summer day back when in Carlsbad, I was also safe. Tornados did touch down, but several miles away.

This past April when an earthquake came along and the house and ground shook, The Good Man, a longtime veteran of the Bay Area, commanded “Get in a doorway!” and I did.

I’m grateful to have a partner who is the epitome of grace under fire, and I’m grateful for my Mom’s wise support from two decades ago, too. Mostly, I’m just grateful when there is someone strong and wise to guide me through a crisis.

That makes me feel safe.

Image from Ring Electric’s blog.

In Like a Lion, Out like A….

Been reading via the ABQJournal that April has been a rather windy month for my Fair New Mexico.

Or as my NM friend Natalie so eloquently put it on Twitter: “Life’s glitter just fell off…it’s so damned windy, dusty, smoky here!”

Indeed. The glitter not only fell off, it was sandblasted away.

In an article today regarding education cuts in New Mexico, Leslie Linthicum says:

“I’ve been thinking about the wind lately. And by thinking about the wind, I mean hating it…”

Leslie posits that the wind makes everyone a little bit nutty:

“In addition to picking up tons of grit and garbage from the Arizona state line and moving it over to the Texas state line and then moving it all back again, the wind makes people nuts.

Yes, it will loosen your screws and knock you off your rocker. It will drive your train off the track and turn you dippy, loony and screwy.

Did I mention cuckoo? The wind will gladly make you that, too, just as soon as it finishes blowing some bats into your belfry and the cheese clear off your cracker.”

Ah, home sweet gritty home.

It’s been rather windy here in the Bay Area, too. I mean, we get a good wind up off the water and often it’s that coastal wind that drives the fog inland. But whenever I hear my fellow Bay Arean complain of the wind, I just smile.

These people don’t know from wind.

New Mexico knows.

I used to work at Sandia Labs in a building just off the Eubank entrance to Kirtland Air Force Base.

Our huge parking lot was uniquely located to catch the full blast of wind that channeled through the gap where the Sandias end and the Manzanos begin. That wind would come hurtling through the gap like a runaway freight train, picking up speed as it hit the valley floor.

Wind that brutal made walking to my car in order to drive home at the end of the day a unique and not enjoyable experience. More than once, I was physically knocked to the ground by that Spring wind. I once just simply crawled the rest of the way to my car, sand filling my teeth and eyes and ears. Oh, and my nose. Oh the nose. *honk, honk*

Freeloading on all that wind is millions upon millions of particles of pollen, all ready to provide itches, hives and sneezing so hard I’d see stars in front of my eyes.

My best friend’s dad spent some time in Amarillo where I’m convinced the wind never stops blowing. He likes to say that the best way to tell the force of the wind is to attach a logging chain to a sturdy post. If the wind blows so hard the chain is standing straight out, well, that’s pretty darn windy.

It’s when it’s gusting so hard that links are snapping off the end that you might wanna get yourself inside.

I feel for you, My Fair New Mexico, suffering through an April that came in like a lion is going out like a really, really pissed off lion.

Photo by Lize Rixt and used royalty free from stock.xchng.