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April 30, 2007

It's just....so wrong.....


Got to reading an article in the Albquerque Tribune today titled, "Even presidential candidates have their dream jobs".

It's an insightful bit about the current roster of candidates and their answers to some AP questions. Sort of a "get to know you better".

But that's not the problem.

The problem is that...as is well documented, our Governor, one Mr. Bill Richardson wanted to be a baseball player as a youth. This we know. And to illustrate that, the paper includes a file photo from 2003 of the Guv tossing out a first pitch at an Isotopes game. And when you click the photo it gets large. Real large. Large enough to see more detail than you need....

Click at your own risk: Be Disturbed

I have seen the furry belly of our Governor. I might never be the same......

It also bugs me that Hillary couldn't give a succinct answer and that Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo smarmed it up and said President. But that's another post for another day.....

April 27, 2007

My Karma is Ok Today


I work for a fairly popular global company. It's pretty well known and has managed to impact the way we look at a lot of things. It's wild to me how people associate with the branding of this company.

In fact, my big behemoth of a company is something of a rock star.

In my many years working here, I've seen a LOT of people come by, whole families, mom, dad, kids and the dog, to have their picture taken in front of our corporate headquarters. More times than I can count I've had people ask me of there is a tour they can take. (Of what, I think...people working at their desks?).

Today I was walking back from a meeting, very thoughtful in my head, composing an email I need to send to an executive that needs to be a bit terse, but comes off as not terse. A fine line, I assure you.

I had occasion to walk by the main sign in front of our building and saw three Japanese tourists there taking photos of each other standing next to the sign.

I remembered how when I, hayseed that I am, was in New York and native New Yorkers would stop and ask if I wanted them to take the picture of me standing next to whatever thing I was taking a photo of. I thought it was SO nice and told many of them I no longer believed the bad rap that New Yorkers get for being mean. It was a love fest. And I've told that story to anyone who will listen.

With that in mind, I walked up to the group that was blocking the sidewalk. They turned to look at me, realized I was an employee and got a moment of "she works for the rock star" look in their eyes.

I said, "do you want me to take a picture of all of you?" while pointing and gesturing. The woman looked embarrassed and confused and looked at the man next to her. They exchanged words in their language then looked at the third man. I said again, "I'll take a picture of all of you" and smiled as though that would somehow translate my American English. Then I began feeling bad because they didn't understand me and I'd somehow accosted them on their vacation. I turned to walk away when the third man piped up and said "ok!" and without reservation, handed me his camera.

All grins and giggles the three piled up by the sign. I put down my books and sweater and made sure I had them in frame. I didn't want to mess up this moment. They smiled, I smiled, the shutter went click. I looked at the LCD. It's a nice photo of three friends, so happy to be by the sign of a company they admire, having their photo taken by an employee of the company.

I hope they have a good story to tell when they get home.

April 26, 2007

Does my Heart Good


It does my heart good to know that wild horses still exist in New Mexico. It says that despite all the encroachment of civilization, wild horses still run free, and that speaks to both my heart and deep places in my soul. True, the numbers are greatly diminished and the day will come when they aren't there any more, but as of today, they still run wild.

Read in the ABQjournal today about an adoption put on by the Forest Services from Carson National Forest. Sadly I live in an overcrowded-overpopulated-overgrowth area where a postage stamp of land costs millions. If I did have the land, I'd gladly pay the $125 per head to let a few continue to run wild on my dime. I wouldn't even try to saddle break them or make a mustang conform to my way of thinking. I'd just let 'em blast out the back of the trailer and then take great joy in watching them run, heads tossed in the wind, mane all covered in brambles, but free as the day the pony was born.

I'd like to give a tip of the hat to the Wild Horse Observers Association of New Mexico who are working to protect these wild animals and keep them running free in New Mexico. They also look to limit the roundups and sales that greatly cut down the herds.

I know my view might be a bit controversial, but that's where I stand. Over Christmastime I had occasion to be in Laughlin, Nevada and saw a few of the wild burros that run around that area. It made me smile. I considered it my Christmas present from the universe.

I guess being a child of the West, it makes me happy on a deep cellular level to know that wild things still run free, and no matter how much I have to conform to my boss, my job, my society's expectations, I can still imagine the rapid beating heart of a wild pony as he races across the high desert, ears twitching, nose snorting and tail flying.

Today as I sit in my gray cubicled world, that sounds pretty enticing.

April 25, 2007

So what do you think?


From today's ABQjournal article "Governor Approves N.M. Quarter Design"

The four designs for the New Mexico quarter were:









I guess Governor Richardson approved one today (I think number one is the choice) and that will be our quarter.

Color me....underwhelmed...by the choices.

April 24, 2007

Yes, we have no post-anas....


We have no post-anas, tooooooday!

It's a bad day when work gets in the way of your real life. That being said, watch this space because warm posty goodness will be coming your way soon enough.

Meanwhile, back to the Gods of Corporate who own my ass today and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Wait, yes I am sure how I feel about that. It sucks. A lot.

April 23, 2007

Is that bad?


Is it wrong that this quote from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle brings me joy?

"...the Warriors, made it especially rewarding on a stirring Sunday night in Dallas. Throw in the sight of a petulant Mark Cuban, looking like a 10-year-old kid who just got his bike stolen -- by a girl -- and the Warriors' return to the NBA playoffs was incomprehensibly sweet."

Now, I'm not that much of a basketball fan but I am a *terrible* homer when it comes to Bay Area teams in the playoffs of any kind. Throw in the hard luck Golden State Warriors making their first playoff appearance in the better part of twenty years and in game one beating the number one seed AND making Mark Cuban look petulant and it all is just very, very good....

Nah, that's not wrong....right?

Also...our San Jose Sharks slipped into the second round of Stanley Cup playoff play. It's all *too* delicious!

And my San Franciso Giants have actually won five in a row now. While not potential playoff material yet they are certainly showing some spark.

Added all together and hey, despite it being a Monday, things look pretty bright.

The reappearance of the sun doesn’t hurt either.

Happy Monday, folks. We can get through it all together!

April 22, 2007

Oh Bill....


Been watching with keen interest the run New Mexico's governor is making at the White House.

He's an interesting guy. Honestly, not one of my favorite people (for a variety of reasons dating back to his years as Congressman) but in a weird way, I'm pulling for him.

Though if he actually wins, I might have to reassess my citizenship....but not to worry, it's a long shot at best.

So the article in Saturday's Albuquerque Tribune titled, "Richardson comfortable in Mideast, needs work in Iowa" had me laughing by title alone. Cheers to M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News for the sense of humor.

Quoting from the article, this is the part that had me sucking in air through my teeth and exclaiming...."Oh, Bill..."

_____________
"DENISON, Iowa — In case Gov. Bill Richardson wasn't sure where he was on Friday, a gray-haired woman spoke up from the crowd at Central College in Pella.
"This is Iowa," she said pointedly. "What's your agriculture policy?"
The first words out of Richardson's mouth: "I'm not an expert on agriculture."

____________

Ouch.

Then later in the article.

_____________

"I was embarrassed for him," Shivvers reported. "I'm impressed with the man, but he's going around Iowa blathering this? He's in Iowa. He needs to say something other than these support-the-farms blahs."

_____________

Doh! Well, Bill is a nothing if not a smooth talker and I'm sure he'll find a way to smooth over the ruffles there in Iowa given how important Iowa is to the race.

But...just...ouch. While I appreciate our rasquache governor, I'm not sure rasquache makes it to the White House.

April 21, 2007

My response


On April 20, 2007, Jim Belshaw of the ABQjournal wrote an opinion piece titled "BioPark Vandalism Raises 'Respect' Issue".

In this piece, Mr. Belshaw poses the question about how these kids could do such a thing, and where was their self respect?

Mr. Belshaw ends his article with: "The floor is open for answers as to why a kid would have no respect for himself."

Below is my letter, emailed April 21st.
________________

Dear Mr. Belshaw -

Let me preface this by saying I have been reading your column for many years and am a lifelong fan. Having been raised in Albuquerque and now located in Northern California, I'm happy to continue to be able to read your column via ABQjournal.com.

I'm writing in response to your April 20, 2007 column, "BioPark Vandalism Raises 'Respect' Issue".

First of all, I'm shocked at the level of outrage this particular incident has brought to these children. And yes, at age 13 they are still children. It seems the good people of Albuquerque wish to treat (and try them) them like adults.

Who doesn't expect a pack of 13 year-old boys to find trouble? It doesn't excuse their behavior but it does make me wonder what's behind all the backlash? Where is the righteous indignation for the tagged freeway overpass, the billboard, the school, the church, the cinder block wall, the every place imaginable that taggers will tag, and have been for decades? When I was a kid (this would have been in the early 80's), my dad built an addition on our house. He'd put up the tarpaper in preparation for the stucco. On a Saturday we went to 5:30pm Mass and when we returned, our home had been vandalized and tagged. I grew up in the Northeast Heights.

So why is this one raising everyone's pulse? Is it because fish are cute? Is it all so very Nemo-esque? Is it that the BioPark Aquarium is "scientific"? Why did this one raise such a stink? Where's all the hubbub for vandalism and tagging the other 364 days out of the year?

In your article you bring forth a question formed in response to feedback from one of your readers. You ask "...why a kid would have no respect for himself."

These kids are just that, kids. A human learns respect for themselves and others. It isn't innately born in, it has to be taught. And where is that taught? At home, first, by parents, then later, at school by teachers and yes, other students and later on by friends and coworkers. It isn't a one-time shot given to kids with their measles and malaria boosters, but a lifelong pursuit.

Did you hear about the response one child had when asked why he did this thing? Quoted from the April 20th column by Andrea Schoellkopf, this from the grandmother and primary caregiver of one of the boys, " 'I asked him, 'Why did you do it?' '' she said. "You know what he told me? 'Everybody else was doing it.' ''

We all learn and model the behavior of those around us. This child is still young enough to be taught self-respect. There is still time left. But garnishing future wages, using curse words at them and about them and suing the pants off their parents and guardians is NOT how we teach kids self-respect.

What I want to know is how the people of Albuquerque expect a thirteen year-old boy to be so fully formed he knows "respect for himself" when his mother is in prison, and while on a school sponsored trip there aren't even enough adults around to keep an eye on a large pack of kids.

I think the citizens of Albuquerque might take a step back and look at how they are treating these children.

Is that respect? We're modeling the very behavior we are railing against.

Should they be punished? Yes. What does that model?

That actions have consequences.

Should they be publicly eviscerated in the media, sworn at by actual adults, sued in the courts, and have their names and troubled backgrounds splashed across the headline news? What lesson does that teach?

That behaving badly gets you attention.

Time for us to take a good hard look at ourselves. Maybe self-respect begins with each and every one of us, and we then model it for our children, ourselves and our society.

Oh and how about some lessons in forgiveness and compassion?

Thank you for your time and keep up the great work on your very thought provoking columns.

Regards,

Karen Fayeth

April 20, 2007

Taking Responsibility


One of my biggest rants about "society in general" is the lack of taking responsibility for one's own actions. Within this is consideration for others, meaning, seeing how what you do affects other folks, and being responsible enough to fix your behavior.

All to often, that's just not happening. From where I'm sitting (a way too overpopulated area) it's getting worse by the day. Not to sound like the total curmudgeon that I am, but I think our young kids are missing out on this lesson the most.

Just yesterday I got up to date on the kerfuffle at the Albuquerque Biological Park.

Seems some kids from John Adams Middle School got into some trouble. A couple of APS' finest had the opportunity to scratch into the thick clear plastic on several tanks at the BioPark Aquarium.

On one of the tanks the problem can be buffed off but it will always have a distortion. Another tank the thick plastic needs to be replaced completely. Estimated costs up to $30,000 to fix, with the Park only able to get the maximum allowed by state law of $4,000 from the parents of each of the kids (four students total so they'll get up to $12k on their $30k problem).

In a April 19 opinion piece in the ABQjournal with no byline and in today's piece by Andrea Schoellkopf, the press is coming down pretty hard on these kids, aged 13 or so, and as well they should.

But my question in all this is....where were the grown ups? Today's article said they snuck away from grownups. What? And how did that happen? Were there enough teachers and parents on this trip? Today's article says there was one adult for every five kids (per aquarium policy). So what happened?

I know pre-teens are cagey, but I would be real, real upset to hear that there wasn't enough supervision available and my kid stuck off. Does this mean someone like a kidnapper could sneak IN? And what about security at the Bio Park? At the Monterey Bay Aquarium where I've spent some time, I could no more think, "sharp scraping object" much less get it within an inch of the glass before security or Aquarium employees would toss me out on my ear.

I fear the answer would probably be something like "lack of funding".

I was heartened to hear the Principal of John Adams say they are going to go over their field trip policies. I hope that means what I think it means, taking responsibility for the fact that this *should* have been prevented and making sure it doesn't happen again.

I don't excuse the behavior of the kids. But they are 13 year-olds. Thirteen year-old boys are going to find some trouble, they just are.

Not a good explanation for what happened, but I think there are a few parties not stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility.

Meanwhile, parents and teachers at the school are going to try to hold bake sales and car washes to raise the rest of the money. Mayor Chavez has "commuted" the two-year banning of the school from the park to just the end of the school year (a move I disagree with, I think the Mayor is cutting the legs out from under the BioPark. But that kind of move is something I'd see my own petty management do here at work, so goes the way of politics).

There's talk of garnishing the wages of the kids once they become adult to fill in the gaps. There is a lawsuit on the books. Righteous indignation reigns, particularly on the part of the Aquarium.

So far, I honestly don't think the BioPark is stepping up and accepting their part in this. I think they need to review their security coverage and staff allocation. They rock at filing lawsuits against 13 year-olds and finger pointing...but where's the discussion of how this can't and won't happen again? Where is their plan going forward? Seems to me whoever crows the loudest in a situation like this might be the one most in need of taking a good look at their own behavior.

Just my opinion, doesn’t have to be yours......

April 19, 2007

Sometimes she forgets


Ok, that's not true, I don't forget, per se, sometimes I'm just too far away from that which I love and sometimes distance gives you amnesia. Which is a terrible aspect of the human condition.

I *know* the state in which I was raised is beautiful, stunningly so. This past week seeing some photos, familiar photos, but seeing them again brought it all back to me. The wonder, the joy, the melancholy, the homesick.

At Bellagio in Las Vegas, they are having a show of Ansel Adams work.

I run hot and cold on Adams. Some of his stuff just kills me, some puts me off, but I find him to be incredibly talented and master of striking a mood. Plus, as an aspiring amateur photographer, I am utterly stunned by his style and eye.

This particular exhibit had a side room with many of Adams' personal effects. Family photographs and personal letters were a highlight for me. Learning (and then viewing) his wonder for the natural beauty of New Mexico drew me in all over again. I've been a half click off kilter since. Missing my home state this much will do that to me. I have a foot in both my lives. That of a New Mexican and that of this new life (I still call it "new" after almost ten years).

I learned more about Ansel Adams in the two hours I spent at the exhibition. One of the best things I learned is that he was quite a writer. Personal letters to friends and family had me captivated.

A fave quote I took away from that day was from a letter from Adams to Nancy Newhall dated July 15, 1944. In it, Adams is pondering himself and his talents. He creates a whole list of things he's not. It's both wry and thought provoking.

He ends the letter this way:

"I am really like those very old headstones in New England - demon angels with X for eyes and perky wings. I ain't so soft, but I am amusing."

I keep thinking I should steal that for the tagline of my own life: "I ain't so soft, but I am amusing"

I like it.

Here's some of my faves of the New Mexico shots. The ones that drilled right into my bone marrow and made me melancholy until I see New Mexico for myself again.

For those living there today, don't forget to look out your window at the beauty that's readily available and give thanks you get to live there. I often neglected to do that. It's easy to take for granted when it's there every day.

(These are reproductions found on the web and do nothing to enhance the glory of the actual photographs....)

"Ghost Ranch Hills, Chama Valley, 1937



"Aspens, New Mexico"



Perhaps the most famous, "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941 (the audio feature at the exhibit told a great story of how he got this shot. It's captivating.)



Ok, best to stop staring at photographs and get my maudlin self back to work......

April 18, 2007

Noteworthy vs Notorous


Direct quote from Linda Chavez in her April 17th opinion piece in the Albuquerque Tribune.

"We seem to be losing the ability to distinguish what is noteworthy from what is simply notorious. And in the process, we are creating greater celebrity for people who don't deserve it."

Linda writes a nice piece discussing the shortfalls of today's media and I think she's right on the mark with her comments.

Current case in point: The ongoing saga of the parentage of Anna Nicole Smith's kid was interrupted only by the now non-stop coverage of the events in Virginia.

Tragic events. Worthy of coverage. However, this morning I heard an in detail discussion of the various mental challenges in the life of the man who did this horrible thing. I know too much! I know the kid was held in a mental health institution in 2005! I don't need to know this!

I'm so exhausted by the media, I really am.

I took a meditation class a few years back in an attempt to get my blood pressure down. One of the first things the instructor told us was to turn off the news. Don't read it, don't listen, don't watch. She told us "if there is something you need to know, you will hear about it." So far she's been right.

I've done this for quite some time. Recently I've been slipping back a bit. Partly because I'm doing this blog so I'm looking around for ideas. But partly because the media has become so very pervasive in everyday life. Standing at the airport waiting on my bags, I am accosted by TVs from every corner blaring CNN. In the grocery I go to they've now installed flat screens over the cash registers pumping out content. Ostensibly to keep me occupied while I wait? I open my (free) email to check to see if a friend has sent me a note and on the opening page there are "latest headlines".

And don't get me started on how the results of network competition shows are now top headline news....if I have to hear the word Sanjaya one more time.....

Update: Seems Tim Goodman, the snarky television columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle is on the same page.

April 17, 2007

Happy Anniversary!


It was one short month ago today that I began this blogtastic journey.

I can't believe it's *just* a month because it seems like much, much longer.

It all began on St. Paddy's Day, March 17th with this post.

What have I learned in my 30 days as a blogger?

1) Blogging every single dingle day is a LOT harder than it looks

2) There is a great community out there of bloggers and some wildly smart people blogging some fantastically smart, wry, witty stuff. I am humbled by what's out there.

3) I have a LOT to learn about the blogosphere, blogging and all the associated technologies. RSS feeds, vlogs and Flicker, OH MY!

4) There is such a thing as the blogger state of mind. Natalie on her kick ass blog Petroglyph Paradox nailed in perfectly in her April 14 post "Perceptions":

"Sometimes, I wonder about the lives of my blogger buddies. I wonder how someone actually lives beyond the anecdotal words of their blog. I wonder if they experience the same smelly, downtime or wake up with a story in their head or if they too, drive down the road, see something, and then say to themselves, 'I’m gonna blog about that.' "

I do this all the time. See something and then think what angle I can take to blog about it. I have a tiny notebook in my purse crammed with snippets of thoughts. Many of which have made their way to these pages.

5) I have learned that I am a chicken. Only a few folks in my life know about this blog. I know soon I need to come out of the closet, so to speak, and tell my unsupportive family that despite my Clark Kent-ish day job...in reality, I'm a writer, I have a book on Amazon and I'm a blogger....and then deal with the consequences.

Baby steps.

6) My blog is just as valuable as anyone else's blog. What I have to say matters. Even if only to me. And having the courage to put it out there actually does take courage.

7) Blogging is good therapy. Boy can I get some stuff off my chest!

8) The feeling of elation I get after completing the post for the day is as addictive (more so, actually) as any drug or drink I've ever known. That satisfied feeling is something I crave. (addiction number 2 is looking at the webtraffic statistics)

9) I've always said I work best under deadlines. Doing this every day and only missing one day which was then properly made up for and backdated has proven this to me. I thrive when I have a deadline. I do some amazing work. It's why I kick butt at National Novel Writing Month.

10) When I set my mind to something...look out. It took mere days from deciding I wanted to do this to execution. It's a fact of my personality I actually admire. Should serve me well in my continuing quest to be a writer that people actually pay to write.

So today is a day of celebration for me. I'll blow out the candle on a celebratory cupcake and go nuts.

Thanks to all readers, your webtraffic brings me joy.

Sometimes quiet is ok too


Today I'm going to borrow completely from Avelino Maestas, the force behind the blog Live from Silver City.

He quoted from a post by Radley Balko on The Agitator and I'll use the same quote here:

"When you blog every day, you sometimes feel conflicted about writing on other topics when there are breaking, overwhelming, horrible events going on in the news. Ignoring such news while writing on about other stuff seems callous. But so does commenting on an event about which you have little to say."

The events from yesterday are too overwhelming to discuss. I have nothing profound to add that hasn't been said in every major media outlet. I'm already tired and sad from hearing about it so much. This morning even Adam Carolla, who has a radio show that is normally a diversion for me, spent the morning talking of nothing but the events at Virginia Tech.

My input today is thus...choose to use your day and the energy of your thoughts toward love. For at the end of the day, love endures.

April 16, 2007

In a flash


You ever have one of those times in your life where you seem to be getting the same message over and over and over? As though the fates are trying to drum something into your head. As if all the kismet is just too much to take.

Yeah, I'm having one of those times in my life.

On Thursday I went to an exhibition at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. It was the Titanic exhibit with artifacts recovered from the sunken ship. Now, we all basically know the story of the Titanic, James Cameron saw to that, so I was sort of nonplussed walking into the show. They did a nice job putting together the time line of the events and using lighting and mood to bring the story together. From placing your hand on a big chunk of ice to looking up the name of a passenger they'd given to me on entry to see if they survived (she did).

It moved me deeply.

At the end there was a book for thoughts and comments. I wrote, "The fragility of life has never been more apparent."

It put me in a mood and I thought on that topic for quite a while. I followed the Titanic exhibit by then going to "Bodies...The Exhbition". So yeah, I had a bit of an overload of "life is fragile" and "make hay while the sun shines" that day. Sort of odd thoughts to have while in Las Vegas.

Basically I spent some time contemplating my own mortality. Is this a hazard of being mere weeks from a birthday?

On Sunday I was in a cab going to McCarran airport. The seatbelt in the cab didn't work. I thought about how I almost never wear a seatbelt in a cab. I then thought about how that is silly. Just because the driver is on the roads for a living doesn't make them any better driver or make the roads any safer. Thankfully we made it to the airport without incident despite my not wearing a safe belt.

I boarded a plane and arrived safely to the Oakland airport, got my bags and caught a cab home. I complimented the driver on how clean and nice his cab was. The man had a lot of pride in his car. He told me about how he'd lent the cab to a friend who had returned it dirty. It was a nice new car.

We made our way along the highway and stopped at the toll plaza on the San Mateo Bridge. We were in the far left lane. The next two lanes are FasTrak lanes (if you have a little electronic transponder you can go through without stopping and they charge your account for the toll). As we sat at a standstill, a black Mustang came whipping into the FasTrak lane. I guess he realized he didn't have a transponder so he slammed on the brakes, threw it in reverse, got going way too fast, lost control, hit the brakes, spun backwards and slammed square into the door I was sitting next to. Demolished the door.

Surprisingly, I was fine. The cab driver commented that he saw me leaning way over. I saw the accident coming but couldn't move over because I had a seat belt on. Now, I wouldn't say I shouldn’t have been wearing it. I'm glad I was because I really thought we were going to be slammed into the concrete abutment next to us.

I saw that car hurtling at me and I had that, "I'm going to get really hurt" thought.

Thank whatever entity you choose that I was fine. The door buckled in but the inside panel was only partially bowed. When we came to a rest the door panel wasn't even touching me.

And as the fear and adrenaline coursed through my veins, I got to thinking again about how things can happen in a flutter of a heartbeat. And that thought scares the shit out of me.

So I was left shaking my head when I read Jim Belshaw's column "Don't Forget You're Human" from yesterday's ABQjournal, the same day of the accident and my latest thoughts on mortality. Seems Mr. Belshaw was having the same thoughts.

To quote Mr. Belshaw, "Wear your damn seat belt"...even in a cab.

Confidential Side Note To Fate: I get it already.

April 15, 2007

The Las Vegas Paradox


Simply put, people are *so* happy to get here and *so* cranky to leave.

I just spent forty-five minutes in the security line being herded like something less than cattle and stifling the urge to moo.

Granted, it is my fault for choosing to fly home on a Sunday.

I had a brief flicker of a thought while shuffling my feet and trying to contain my crowd claustrophobia. Back in 2001 after the terrible events of 9/11, I remember the pleading from politicians, famous actors and our President to not let the terrorists win. They asked us to go about our business. They asked us to continue to fly.

I know there was a sharp downturn back then. It was all over the news. I love to travel but was disinclined to fly when just five months after that awful day I flew to San Diego, and was greeted at security by a gentleman from the National Guard with a loaded M16 and his finger on the trigger. A lot of folks were disinclined to fly that year.

Today, looking at the shoving throng trying to get through the squeeze chute with shoes off and ziplocked liquids held high, I realized that here, some six years later...they didn't win. I can't attribute this to some overblown notion of patriotism or the enduring spirit of Americans. I can mostly attribute it to the fact that we all love to have a good time and aren't about to let a little (ok, really really big) kerfuffle stand in our way.

By god, those damn "evil doers" cannot take away our freedom to go to a schlocky town filled with expensive shows, tacky clothes, naked women and cheap frozen margaritas by the yard and blow all our hard earned, middle class dollars on penny slots that cost a couple bucks a pull.

They can't stop us from dressing inappropriately, drinking too much, sleeping too late and putting "just one more" twenty into the machine because you know, just know it's going to hit.

They can't take away our right to have fun.

And that is the American way, now isn't it? The freedom to have a good party.

I like it.

April 14, 2007

The Answer


I posed the question "What's a girl gotta do to get a good margarita in this town?" on April 4th.

I found the answer.

An airplane.

Did you know that Gardunos has a location at The Palms casino in Las Vegas? Yes of course you knew that and so did I, The Palms being owned by those good New Mexico boys the Maloof Brothers.

On Thursday, I entered the establishment with much trepidation. Would it be the same as my beloved Winrock Mall location? Would the margs taste right? Would the menu be the same?

I exhaled a sigh of relief to see the *exact* same menu. I ordered a marg. Aaaah, there it is.

I had an obscene amount of green chile, what they call their "Chile Gourmet", a green chile bowl con machaca. The fruit of Hatch was hot that night, so hot I was "whoo'ing" and sweating like an amateur. Such delicious pain.

Such a happy New Mexico girl.

I'll let you in on a secret. I'm going again tonight! Yipee! And taking some "newbies". Hope they love it! Aw really who cares, *I* love it (and so does that wonderful man who will hold my hand and give me water when I weep "it's too hot" tears) and everything is gonna be all right in my world.

Enjoy the weekend!

April 13, 2007

Update to the Imus story


Well, I loved to bash the guy here on this blog. He got two scathing posts out of me but I'm sorry to report that Don Imus was fired from CBS radio.

Not that I liked the guy, not that he's any less of a maroon. He's still not a New Mexican in my book. It's just that even though I don't like the guy or support his opinions or even listen to his show I believe there is room for all sorts of dissenting opinions. There isn't room for blatant racism, no, but he offered a crusty outdated old guy view of things. Not that he'll be missed. He's of a dying breed of radio guy. I didn't wish him fired and don't feel any gladness at the news. The two week suspension seemed to be enough in my book, but not in the minds of many others and I respect that. I think this is another example of the media grabbing ahold of something like a rabid dog and shaking for all its might. In the middle of all that something is lost, in my opinion. But I can't change the media, I can only change what I choose to read/watch/listen to.

Thus ends quite a long, complicated and controversial career.

When your livelihood depends upon the whims of Mother Nature


It can be a rough go.

Coming up in New Mexico and especially during my college years I had a lot of friends who made a living working the same land that their own parents had worked. They went to college to learn the ag business with the intent of returning home and taking over the operation. From them I learned to watch the sky because it could make the difference between a good day and a very, very bad day.

I dated a boy in college who had to exit early on one of our early dates because it was a nice dew laden evening and he had to go home and bale hay. (No he wasn't lying and yes he called me again.) Another boy I saw for a bit stopped coming to town to go dancing for a while because his family had just planted cotton. Then a huge New Mexico frog stranglin' rain came along and washed all the topsoil (and the seeds) away down the arroyos and out to the Rio Grande.

At a considerable loss to the operation, they had to replant. They never did quite recover from that. To this day he still lives on the land with his wife, raising their kids and I almost hate to ask after him these days because the news is rarely good. I think they declared bankruptcy once and are still struggling to make ends meet.

I remember back then he told me he'd never leave the farming life. It was in his blood. He made good on that promise.

The ABQJournal article "Cold Snap Doesn't Worry Southern N.M. Farmers" got me thinking about him again.

A recent cold spell with temps down into freezing got folks worried, but it looks like it wasn't severe enough to damage most Spring plantings. The Doña Ana extension agent they interviewed says some cabbage and pecans were damaged, but nothing too severe.

An old relief washed over me when I heard that. Being a farmer and/or rancher hasn't gotten any easier over the years and those that can still make it work (and aren't part of some monolith of an overburdened and questionable morality ag company) get my respect every day of the year and twice on Sundays.

There's an interesting bit at the end of the article talking about the fact that demand for corn has gone up due to the ever-growing industry producing ethanol. Corn is getting $4 a bushel meaning a lot of farmers are taking land that once grew chile and cotton and converting it to corn. It might just be a boon for these folks. I sure hope so.

The gentleman quoted at the end of the article also just happens to be a friend of mine. Tip of the cap to that family and may their planting decisions be fruitful....

April 12, 2007

And THAT is how you work your opinions


Props to Jeffery Gardner and his opinion section "Wrong Forums" in the April 6, 2007 Albuquerque Tribune. The piece was titled "Neither a restaurant nor a funeral is proper place to vent".

Reading any opinion piece makes me skeptical, and the ABQjournal's own Polly Summar has really soured me on opinion writers of late.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the bottom of Mr. Gardner's piece and thought, "hey, I can agree with that".

Mr. Gardner takes on the gloating folks in Taos who cheerily report how they publicly insulted former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on a recent visit. Now, I'm not a supporter of the man but I cringed when I read this article where Taos residents boasted of their rudeness.

I will brook no rudeness in this world, especially the self-satisfied kind.

Mr. Gardner seems to agree. Regarding Rumsfeld, Mr. Gardner says, quite rightly, "... any figure who has stepped out of the public square and isn't acting in a public fashion that opens the door for criticism, has as much a right to live his life in peace quiet as you or I do."

Well said, Mr. Gardner. This is something that the vast majority of the world does not get. They think it's their right to harass any public figure whenever and wherever they please.

It's why paparazzi still have jobs.

Mr. Gardner also takes on a group of folks from a Kansas church who use the funerals of fallen soldiers who served in Iraq to launch antigay protests.

Things are well beyond rude in that instance.....

Best to let Mr. Gardner's words speak: "Though cloaked as righteous acts of protests, these displays are actually petty, disgusting acts of egoists who think they're privy to some special insight you and I just don't have. They are simply despicable."

While I agree with Mr. Gardner's views so far, that is not what has endeared him to me enough to cause me to write an entire blog post singing his praises.

THIS is what inspired me enough to take to my Mac and get to typing....

"... it's really none of my business what anyone thinks of me or anyone else."

I almost let out an evangelical "halleluhjah!" when I read that quote. It's a position I wish more people would take. It. Is. None. Of. My. Business. Let people live their lives. Stop getting up into their business and telling them how to run their lives. Stop being so self-centered you expect the world to bend to YOUR will. Maybe a little self-awareness and a lot of tolerance goes a long way.

I'm just sayin'.....

April 11, 2007

Cell Tower Obfuscation


Look at me using a quarter word outta my nickel brain!

Just read an article in the Albuquerque Tribune about Albuquerque adopting those "hidden" cell phone towers.

City Councilor Councilor Don Harris plans to introduce a bill this month requiring the city's cell towers to be of this new variety.

While I like the idea, and I do think it looks better on the landscape, I can't quite get to the mental place of local recording studio owner John Wagner who said, "You just forget about it after a while," in reference to a nearby tree cell tower.

We've been using these towers here in the Bay Area for quite some time and I have to say, they are not that natural. In fact, they tend to draw my eye MORE than the regular tower because my brain says, "something's outta whack over there" and you look...and look longer.

One of the "pine" versions is installed way up on a hill as you go through the Grapevine on I5 approaching LA. I tried to see if there was a photo of that one online somewhere because, you know, you can find everything online. I struck out. This thing is perched way up on a hill, all alone, no other trees in sight. Every time I drive through there (which has been far too frequently lately), my eyes are magnetically drawn to that damn odd looking tree slash cell tower standing alone on top of a hill. I actually look at it MORE than I would if it was just a stupid silver metal tower.

I find them odd and no less an eyesore and I always think to myself "they aren't fooling ANYONE with these things".

That being said, I guess as one gazes out on the horizon, even though EVERYONE knows it is a fake tree it still looks a lot better than metal towers poking up everywhere. I don't know.

A couple samples photos I found online are here. See what you think.....


April 10, 2007

Mixed Emotions


It's probably time I chime in on the whole spaceport tax issue currently stirring up trouble in Doña Ana county. I've been reading all the news for the past weeks and thinking about it a lot. It's hard to say where I come down on this one....

Much like the outcome of the voting....

Seems this is an "on the fence" issue when looking at voters as a whole. A lot of folks are vehemently against this new tax, and why not? Why should they, residents of a poverty state, pay more money in taxes so that one of the richest men in the world can live out some misplaced boyhood dream?

I'd like to think that this is a *good* idea for the State of New Mexico, bringing commercial space travel to the world, media attention to our fair state and dollars rolling in to our coffers. New Mexico has certainly always been on the forefront of space and research and I'd like to think that Sir Richard Branson has only the best ideas at heart for this project.

However, I just can't buy into that.

Richard Branson is a controversial person, ranking on both the 100 Greatest Britons and the 100 Worst Britons lists. He is by all accounts an egomaniac and a cad but he is also a businessman, which by its very virtue means he is not looking out for the best interests of New Mexico on this venture, he's looking out for the best interests of the bottom line. Which, as a businessperson myself, I'm not actually opposed to. But I am very clear in my own mind what this deal is all about.

In the end, if it's not this venture it's something else. New Mexico traditionalists (like me) are often very reluctant to see new growth in our state, especially growth that brings more people, more taxes and more headaches. This would fit the bill on all three counts.

I hate that the residents of the county have to pay for this in taxes, but as a now ten year resident of California, I've learned that usually that's how things, big things like this, get done.

I honestly think that the group behind the spaceport has done a poor job of marketing this to the people who will actually foot the bill. I think with a little marketing spin, a little "what's in it for me", the tides could turn and voters might warm up to the cause.

In the end, the bill passed by a narrow margin. Progress marches on. I hope this whole venture will be worth it.

For the record...if I still lived in Las Cruces...I probably would have voted yes on the tax...

Despite my ongoing sadness at the loss of farm and ranchland in New Mexico and I know that development in Upham (which today is not much) and the area right at the spaceport means ranching families will sell out thus filling the pockets of the real estate elite (again)...but that's another post for another day.

To think of the media attention this will bring to Hatch, that small town near Upham and situated right there on the road to the spaceport...

Wait! Does this mean the world will know our little secret about the most delectable foodstuff in the world?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

April 9, 2007

Whatta maroon....


Actually, even that is too nice an insult for this cat....

I wrote about radio personality Don Imus a few weeks back regarding his idiotic comments about Governor Richardson. Seemed Imus had his knickers in a bunch because he wanted some funding for the small town where Imus owns a whole sh*tload of land.

Last week this yo-yo found his way back into the news by making racist remarks on the morning radio show that no one listens to.

He has since apologized for his remarks. I heard the tape of his apology on another morning radio show and it was hardly an apology.

I could get into the whole "I made a racist remark but then I apologized so it's okay" phenomenon our society seems to be getting into (and oddly ok with). This along with an appearance on a show with a person of the racial group group the remark was made about in order to "show that I'm ok with them" (Imus is due to appear on Al Sharpton's show). Suddenly every celeb can pop off but then feel ok about it. This whole trend makes me flat worn down crazy.

But that's not the point of today's post. I could rant from a lot of angles on this one, but today's rant is that this man dares call himself a New Mexican.

You, sir, are no New Mexican. Never were, and this just completely tears it. None chance.

I don't think most real New Mexicans claimed him anyway, but I'm hostile that this guy goes on his show in his ridiculous cowboy hat mumbling epithets and in the next breath talking about his ranch for kids with cancer and claiming to be a "part time New Mexican".

Bah! I say again, BAH!

I was heartened to see that only the ABQ Tribune picked up the story. The ABQjournal did not. The less press the better in my most humblest of opinions.

I can console myself with the fact that this once relevant man is now a dinosaur that folks in the business whisper and laugh about behind their hands. The other morning show I listen to had some interesting history on Imus this morning. They used to work for the same station some twenty years back and evidently this is not the man's first racial comment, by far.

All this popping off with comments that make the national news seems so...desperate. A bid for ratings? Maybe.

Until then, he is and always will be an outsider, and if you are a true New Mexican, you know how we feel about outsiders. If you don't then please do read "The Milagro Beanfield War" or better yet, "Red Sky at Morning".

Hell, read those books anyway, they both rock.

Thus ends my Monday grumpiness.....

UPDATE: Imus has been suspended but not fired from his job..... The ABQjournal, slow to the party, has now picked up the story as well.

April 8, 2007

Top Ten


With a wink and a nod to the Late Show, I present my own version of the Top Ten.

This came to me on the ride home from work on Friday. I got to thinking about all things New Mexico and how crazy our state must look to an outsider.

Without further ado...

Top Ten Things Said By a First Time Visitor to New Mexico:

(in no particular order)

10) What's with all the orange barrels?

9) Clean water and fast ducks?

8) Ok, so to get from Las Cruces to Albuquerque I get on I-25. Then what?

7) *This* is Roswell? I thought it would be bigger.

6) *This* is the Governor? I thought he would be smaller.

5) Red or Green what?

4) Why is that car on a stick?

3) I wonder how much it would cost to buy land?

2) Why is that car so wide/low/loaded down?

and finally....

1) Wow. You don't *look* Mexican.

Happy Easter and Happy Sunday. I'm out to enjoy the sun.....

April 7, 2007

The high price of popular art


As an artist in my own way, it always hurts me to see squabbles over how to price the stuff of well-known artists. Recent mind-boggling accounts of auction prices for Van Gogh paintings come to mind....

You know, I've never been much of a fan of Georgia O'Keeffe, a shocking admission, I know, for a New Mexican. Actually, that's not true. I think many true-bred New Mexicans aren’t real partial to her work and less partial to all the hubbub made about her stuff. It's an out of towner, Santa Fe/Taos trying-too-hard art society thing and I'm just not in that groove.

But I'm saddened to see the recent squabbles between the State of Tennessee and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe over a particular painting called "Radiator Building— Night, New York" (1927). A picture of this particular painting can be found at the end of this post.

Near as I can put the story together based on an ABQjournal story is that a deal was struck with the cash strapped Fisk University for the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum to buy the paining for $7M. That's a nice tidy sum of money, actually. I don't know what kind of funding the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum gets but I'm certain that's a substantial chunk of change to try to bring Ms. O'Keeffe's work back to the State of New Mexico. It was originally a donation to the university so now they stand to make some money, which works out great.

Since the deal was struck and approved by the Tennessee Attorney General (who looks over charitable donations and such), and I guess since news got out about the deal, there have been a variety of offers from art dealers and the like for substantially more money. Like around $25M. Wow.

This makes me sad on both sides of the table. Fisk University needs the money. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum wants the painting for obvious reasons. Meanwhile I think the damn Attorney General is being greedy, and that makes me grumpy.

While this argument languishes in the courts, the school is still floundering for money, the museum is anxiously twiddling it's thumbs, and the attorneys are getting their rocks off jumping up and down and getting paid by the bounce.

Boy does this make me steamed.

I, of course, didn't know Ms. O'Keeffe but I'd bet she would be a bit steamed by all this too. She was, by all accounts, a humble woman. I'd like to think she'd like to do what's best for both sides. In cases like this it's hard to know what is best.

As a negotiator for a living, I'd love to see this one get settled without the courts. Could the university and the museum get together and agree on a new price? And could the frapping Attorney General just agree to abide by the deal they strike?

I say get them all in a room with coffee and bagels, cater in lunch, and let them hash it out. Good people tend to make reasonable decisions. Just keep that frapping Attorney General out of the room. You know how them law dogs tend to complicate matters.....

Anyhow, here's to the memory of the artist, Georgia O'Keeffe. I'll bet when she painted the canvas, the thought of a squabble over money never crossed her mind. Here's to all the struggling artists of the world who'd give their eyeteeth for twenty-five bucks for one of their pieces.

*sigh*


April 6, 2007

Dining al fresco


The Albuquerque Tribune has a feature called "Viewfinder" which has a picture and a bit of an essay or editorial around it.

I read this one today, just before lunch, so of course it resonated.

I also love dining outdoors. I mean LOVE it in a weird obsessive kind of way. Much like the article's author, Steven St. John, I think eating a meal outdoors has a special feel to it, and one that we who live in nice climates tend to take for granted.

I had occasion to ponder this just last month while in Scottsdale, Arizona for baseball Spring Training. It was a particularly cold winter here in the Bay Area and I was very happy to embrace the mid 80 temperatures in balmy Arizona.

After the game one day, we sat out on the patio of Julio G's visiting with a friends (one of whom is also a minor league player in the Giant's organization). The sun was getting more towards low on the horizon at 5:30ish, the patio was warm but not hot, the guacamole was fresh made on site and the margs were on special. Oh yes, and there was much baseball talk.....

I had a moment, calmly sipping my on the rocks house marg and nibbling at crisp chips and avocado where it felt like everything in the universe was just....I don't know...right. I tend to remember very well those few times in life where there is a convergence of all things good, and you just let your shoulders down, you deeply exhale and you, you know, relax.

Relax. That's a nice thing. It's a nice thing to ponder here on the eve of the weekend.

Maybe if I'm lucky I can convince that wonderful man I carpool with to find a place to eat outside. That sounds like a nice way to start the weekend....

Until then, I remain...nose to the grindstone. Bah!

April 5, 2007

Well whaddya know?!?


My favorite source of material to lambaste has managed to write herself a decent article in today's ABQjournal. Ms. Polly Summar wrote a nice (and for her, shockingly respectful) article regarding the Penitentes who worship in their particular ways during this Holy Week leading up to Easter. Some folks make treks to places like Santuario de Chimayo. Others worship in their moradas as they remember the origin of the Easter holiday.

It is an annual tradition dating back centuries. I remember as a kid listening to the newscasts each year telling about the people making the long trek to Chimayo, sometimes flagellating themselves or inflicting other self-pain. It is a long Catholic tradition with some renewed interest since the popular success of both the book and the movie "The DaVinci Code".

I refuse to get into any religious discussions here because I feel every person needs to figure out for themselves what they believe and how to be ok with that. What I'm here to talk about is a New Mexico tradition that has memory and meaning for me.

I was pleased to see yesterday that the state has taken steps to make those that travel on the highways and roads a bit more safe (for both pilgrim and general traveler). I know in past years there's been tribulations around this on both sides. Here's to a workable solution.

Hearing of the New Mexico Penitentes puts me into the Easter spirit. It's how I know the holiday is nigh. It's been years since I attended Mass, but Easter to my memory was always a nice day. Not only did they throw the dark purple cloaks off the statues at church but we all got to get back whatever we gave up for Lent...which usually makes folks glad.

Then there was the singing of joyous songs. My mom particularly loved "Jesus Christ is Risen Today"(mind your volume if you click that link) and sang it in full voice all day long.

The aaaaaaahhhhhleeeeeeeluuuuuuujahs really got to her...and to me after several hours.....she loved them almost as much as the In Excelcius Deo's from Christmas.

The weather in New Mexico was usually wonderful so it was great to be out in the sun. My mom always got both my sister and I a new dress to wear to Mass. Usually new white shoes too. My mom was, of course, a traditionalist, and so no white shoes and no sandals before Easter, so breaking out the white sandals was a new sense of freedom. Toes got to come OUT in the flip flops! Summer was near! My birthday was less than a month away! And I got to wear a new dress!

AND THERE WAS CANDY! And eggs hidden in the backyard. Easter is usually pretty good memories for me, and that's saying a lot. I think as the years go by, I'll hang on to the good memories like Easter. Seems healthier that way.

So this year, however you choose to enjoy your holiday, either by meditating, worshipping in your own way or eating ham with potato salad that looks like you dropped confetti in it from the colored eggs, do please have a safe and wondrous day (especially YOU, Polly).

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhllleeeeeeeluuuuuuujah!

April 4, 2007

Lime+Tequila+Triple Sec+salt+ice = love


What's a girl gotta do to get a good margarita in this town?

I moved from the great State of New Mexico about ten years ago. This Memorial Day, in fact, marks ten years ago. Oh how far I've come in lo these ten years. The span between 28 and 38 sometimes feels like a lifetime.

I was a wide-eyed innocent back in the day. I've become more cynical, less career driven and much, much calmer in these ten years. Not to say that wouldn't have happened had I stayed in Albuquerque, but I think living in "the big city" has grown me up...a lot.

At first I wanted to throw off my New Mexico roots. I didn't tell many people I was from there thinking it foreign and backward. The people I did mention it to said "oh, like Taos?" Good lord, if they only knew there was SO much more to the state than Taos. Or Santa Fe.

A lot of people in San Francisco have asked me about Santa Fe. I think the Madison Avenue advertisers have done a good job of hyping "the mystique". I guess if you aren't from there it's all mysterious and stuff. For a local, it's a tourist place. Locals avoid tourist places.

In order to help my fellow San Franciscans understand, I began to liken Santa Fe to Pier 39. I'd get a startled "oh!", but they got it. I'd tell them there was much to see in a state that big that didn't include Santa Fe or Taos. Then I'd drop this tidbit on them: you can't fly into Santa Fe on any of the major airlines. That was usually enough to get them talking about something else.

But time has passed and I've gotten perspective on my state. Now I find I'm proud as hell of being from New Mexico, and I'll shout it from the rooftops. My boss at work wears a USC shirt on most Fridays because it's his alma mater and he's very proud. So I got online and ordered up a nice crimson NMSU shirt and began wearing it on every Friday, grinning at him in staff meetings. Sadly he didn't notice until I pointed it out.....

NMSU made it to the NCAA this year. Oh man, after years of looking at the Duke posters and brackets outside of my VP's office (and my executive VP and the VP of the group I worked in a few years back) I was so damn proud to post up the wall outside my office with NMSU schwag this year.

I had a laugh when a group stood outside my office looking at the stuff and laughing about how they hadn't heard of New Mexico State. I said, "hey, by the damn way, our Governor is running for President!" They looked at me with blank stares. I said "Bill Richardson" helpfully. The response was an appalling, "who?"

Bah!

But ok, I've gotten used to people thinking I'm from Arizona. I've gotten used to "oh Taos" being the answer to the statement "I'm originally from New Mexico" or jokes about a left turn at Albquerque. I've learned to deal.

What I'm still struggling with is the lack of good Mexican food around here. You'd think a state with a population of Latinos at or better than half would have some kicking Mexican food. You would be wrong. At least for the Northern part of the state. I lay no claims to the food down south not having spent enough time in research down there.

My loving partner thought he knew from good Mexican food until this past October when, on a road trip, I turned him on to the delights and joys of the fruits of Hatch, New Mexico.

But more than that...more than using tomatillos for the green in your salsa, more than finding *gasp* CARROTS in my fajitas, more than seeing low fat refrieds on my plate, the one thing I miss is a real good margarita.

It can't be that hard, right? And yet it is. It's all about the mix. Gardunos does it well, really well. My mouth is watering as I type.... Sadies also does a fine job. I think one of the best margs I ever had was in Juarez at Señor Frogs (I don't think it's still open at that location). It was great because it was fresh squeezed lime juice, a bit of sugar, and tequila. All nice and unmessed with. Fresh and oh so delicious.

You should taste the crap I have to put up with around here. It's unnatural! It makes a homesick girl want to cry.

Now there is a LOT of food that the Bay Area does REALLY well, (I'm talking to you Peter and Mark Sodini), but so far...Mexican food isn't one of them.

Don't EVEN get me started on guacamole. Avocado, lime juice, tiny bit of cilantro, tomatoes. THAT'S IT!

Why's it gotta be so hard?

Sigh, sometimes it doesn't pay to be an expatriate New Mexican.....

April 3, 2007

People we need a whole lot more of....


Leslie Strommen, a 25-year teaching veteran, currently working at Rio Rancho Elementary.

Leslie is the subject of a nice article in the ABQjournal entitled "Award-Winning Teacher Promotes Reading."

She's been at this game for a quarter of a century, folks, and she says, "...I have taken numerous classes to increase my knowledge of literacy processing. I am currently enrolled in a class that focuses on instructional coaching and literacy instruction."

Did you get that? She's "currently enrolled in a class". Seems Leslie is an educator who knows that her own continuing education matters...a lot. What a terrific concept.

Any educator who takes the time after teaching, planning and grading all day to find educational opportunities...after some twenty-five years of service...gets a great big salute in my book.

My best friend in the world teaches High School English (among other things) in Las Cruces. She blew me away this year by obtaining her Master's Degree, graduating with Honors from NMSU. She had to take classes at night while still managing to kick some serious booty for her students...oh yes, and a mother of two kids and a loving wife to her husband of nearing fifteen years.

She and Ms. Strommen are a rare breed of cat. They are people who genuinely love to educate, and find it meaningful to do this work.

And I take a bow before them today because they are, by far, better people than me.

My grandmother ranks to this day as my favorite teacher. She *loved* teaching and spoke about it often. My biggest debt to her is that she taught me how to read. It's a skill I used everyday in her honor. She gave me my love of words.

So today, in honor of Ms. Strommen, I thank all teachers everywhere for doing what they do.

(by the by, this is my "make up assignment" for missing my post yesterday. Here's hoping the teach will let me slide. Oh, I'm also going to flout all things Sarbanes-Oxley and backdate this post to yesterday...just cuz I can...Blogger lets me bend time which is pretty cool......now if I could only bend time back to 1987 and my godawful yearbook photo...what WAS I thinking?!?!?)

_____________________

April 2, 2007

Update


Well, in checking the results from the Ty Murray Invitational, it appears our local boy Travis Briscoe did not finish in the money this weekend.

I utter a strong curse word and a hearty, "damn it!" for our boy.

I look forward to following his career a little bit. Love it when a New Mexico boy makes, good...Bill Richardson not withstanding.

Oh c'mon, I was only kidding!

April 1, 2007

You go Thelma!


In the March 27th edition of the Albuquerque Tribune, entertainment columnist and etiquette expert Thelma Domenici addressed a problem near and dear to my heart with her column entitled: "Mind your space during plane trips".

In it, Thelma discusses some simple rules to consider while traveling on a plane.

They include (using my words, her direct words are in quotes):

• Consider the space allocated to you and be aware of it. Keep bags, limbs, elbows, stinky feet, snacks, fat rolls and other items out of the space belonging to another
• Walk onto the plane with your bag in front of you to avoid wacking the noggins of your fellow passengers already seated
• Be aware of how you dress. What seemed appropriate in the mirror this morning may not "respect the sensitivities of others". Also go lightly on that Britney Spears perfume.....
• Recognize that not everybody wants to be chatted up by the stranger sitting next to them on the plane...unless both you and they are drunk and then everyone wants to chat.
• Try to keep your little tykes occupied and help them refrain from kicking the seat in front of them...over...and over....and over...and over......
• Also help children refrain from shrieking in a decibel just below what only dogs can hear (ok this bullet is my add on....Thelma didn't address it. She said we can expect "a child's excited squeals of delight or the cries that come from pressure changes"...I only ask that my eardrums remain intact).
• "Avoid behavior that is likely to disturb" other passengers. Too numerous to mention, you know who you are.

She's spot on with her guidelines, but much like our dear Polly Summar's article in the ABQjournal regarding Tourist Etiquette, I fear Ms. Domenici is also shouting in a hurricane.

She has some wonderful suggestions. In fact, her article should be printed out with boarding passes and made required reading for each person boarding a plane. But that won't happen. Even if everyone read it, I'll bet you a day's pay that the people it's most aimed at would nod along with it, saying "yeah, that's true, people should do that"...meanwhile boarding the plane with their too big bag whamming the backs of all heads as they meander down the aisle in their inappropriate outfit, too much perfume and screaming child.

We can ask people to step up to the plate regarding their own behavior. We can ask people be both self aware and conscientious of others. We can ask 'til our faces turn blue, but much like the man Polly talked about who flossed in public, folks are going to continue on blissfully unaware.

I guess at the end of the day, I can only be responsible for myself. My folks raised me to be considerate of others. Always. When I fly, I try...and I grit my teeth at man's inhumanity to man (and, er...woman). Especially when riding that airline which shall go unnamed, but uses all the grace of a cattle drive to load on their valued passengers. Moo!

As Thelma says on her website (her signature phrase), "Good manners never go out of style."

Damn, never knew I was so stylish! (insert a wry smile here)

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