Thursday, September 27, 2012

When there are no words...
know that the silences are carrying
the thoughts and prayers of all who love you.

D. Dais

Thursday, September 20, 2012

separation, mourning and solace

There are moments that
hold eons of separation.
Yet parting is not but
an exhaustion of the mind.
Perhaps we have not parted.
-K. Gibran
Yesterday morning, god called my brother home.  I can't believe it still.  I guess it won't be real until I can get closer...  here are some scenes from his life...unfinished, imperfect, but full of love and generosity and wonder and humor and light.  May you rest in peace, Greg.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Just a little orienting, in case you aren't sure where Siena is...
It is famous for this:
and this...
From the outside, it looks a little like this...

It is in a good neighborhood... some call it Tuscany -- check out those names you've seen on the wine labels.
It has some famous neighbors...
People love this about it:
I think it is lovely ... but I am in love with the less sparkly parts.
This is my favorite part about Siena ... small windy roads, impossible inclined...
I want to spend enough time in the area to see this season:
I want to explore this...
I want to get to know every nook and cranny when I am there for a year to write.
Did I mention that this is my plan?  I am putting it out there in the universe.  When I finish field work, I want to have enough money to go to Siena to write for a year ... and finish my dissertation in that year.  I believe, I believe... it's crazy, but I believe!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

mean, fierce or just herself

I have been struggling with how to write about this situation I lived through a couple of weeks ago (and then again more recently), and then I read this.

Too often, in my opinion, I am accused of (and treated accordingly) as being mean, too forceful, etc.  I find myself either just dealing with it or not dealing with it by allowing those judgements to live inside of me.

Several weeks ago -- actually months at this point, I ran into a woman that I know at the "community" acupuncture place.  It was my first time there and I was finishing up the treatment. It had went well, and I was seriously considering making this my regular acupuncture place.  I haven't returned there since that time ... and I realize now that there is a reason. 

I ran into this woman, let's call her Marjorie for fun.  I don't know her very well.  She attended some of the boot camps that I led last year.  We have some common points in our histories with regard to geography and profession -- but we didn't become fast friends -- though we are that faux hugging kind of acquaintance.

So, I was enjoying catching up with her when she introduced me to her significant other ... she said something about meeting me at boot camp and how we knew some people in common -- small world -- and then she said, "She's mean" about me, with a big smile on her face.

I said nothing.

I was hurt and couldn't believe that this was the characterization of me that she carried around or felt was appropriate to share with others, in front of me. 

I said nothing.  I think I smiled and found a way to get out of there... "let's stay in touch" and all...

I said nothing, but I took that characterization and the hurt (I think legitimate) that it produced in me.  I didn't fight back or counter or laugh, I just sat there.  I was not 100% physically or emotionally, so maybe it hit me harder than I realized at the time.  I see now that I attached her remarks (which I would call an attack on my person, at least my personality) to the place -- and decided not to return there.

But not going back didn't stop the pain I felt.

I grappled with it a bit ... reread Venus' piece about assuming my power ... and tried to feel proud of "mean" -- but it wasn't working.  I can own a lot of pieces to my personality that I feel are not the rosiest, but I have to tell you -- I don't think I'm mean. 

Am I willing to say how I feel? -- YES

Do I do it to hurt people or make them feel less than? -- usually not -- if I want to, I can injure with my words, so generally I am very careful.

Am I mean?  I don't think so ...

But, apparently others do ... 

Several years ago now I tried to embrace my strength of character by printing FIERCE on one side of my word of the year pendant (the other side said OPEN).  I was trying to love the fierceness that has kept me safe -- physically and emotionally -- for so long while simultaneously calling on myself to be vulnerable ... OPEN to the world.

But when that woman who barely knows me called me MEAN she opened a wound I didn't know how to heal.

I have had this piece in the draft folder since July ... it was sometime in early July that I saw that woman and read Venus' piece -- I thought it was some kind of sign.  But I didn't really have the will to put it all together.

Last week, I ran into Marjorie again ... we chatted pleasantly and she was introducing me to a woman (a friend of hers who happens to also have attended a boot camp with me) not realizing that other woman already knew me.  Again, Marjorie said something about boot camp and "she's mean."  The other woman didn't say anything about the characterization ... and I calmly looked at Marjorie and then the other woman, and I simply said, "I'm not mean."  I think I added in, "I'm disciplined..."

Somehow the tiny effort of countering the statement aloud made all the difference.  Suddenly it wasn't my character flaw that needed to be acknowledged and fixed... it was just something that I didn't agree with ... and I said it, and there it was.  Two opinions ... and I didn't have to hold the ugly one.

And so, I leave you with Jen's blog and her honesty and the tenderness it inspires in me for myself (not exclusively, but this is the hardest one for me to reach).  When in doubt, we should try to remember this, and we should feel free to gently remind others as well.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Favorite Characters, Part 3

I have been catching up on Once Upon a Time in order to get ready for the season premiere... and because, once again, I had some mindless work to do that required background noise.
I realized that Henry, the character, is the main reason I come back to this show.  I can enumerate the flaws of the show and what makes me crazy about it.

However, Henry's earnest belief in his birth mother's ability to save a world that he doesn't know or belong to hooked me.

Check it out... there is time to catch up before the season 2 premiere on the 30th...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Visualizing Peace

The only way for peace to rule is for the peaceful to speak out as these women did.  May those who perished 9/11/12 rest in peace.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Poetry Thursday, with Gibran (again)


Upon the bank of the nile at eventide, a hyena met a crocodile and they stopped and greeted one another.
The hyena spoke and said, "How goes the day with you, Sir?"
And the crocodile answered saying, "It goes badly with me. Sometimes in my pain and sorrow I weep, and then the creatures always say, 'They are but crocodile tears.' And this wounds me beyond all telling."
Then the hyena said, "You speak of your pain and your sorrow, but think of me also, for a moment. I gaze at the beauty of the world, its wonders and its miracles, and out of sheer joy I laugh even as the day laughs. And then the people of the jungle say, 'It is but the laughter of a hyena.'" 
-Khalil Gibran, The Wanderer

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

two posts in a day, two days in a row?

I have been feeling all week like I am living Mean Girls, Graduate School Edition.

I recognize that when I am not feeling 100% physically that every little slight gets magnified, so I appreciate and own the drama in that comment.  However, it is, indeed, how I have been feeling.

So, when I took the time to open this love missive from om gems just now, I realized I needed to share it with the blog (and the blog readers... whoever you are).

September 12, 2012
Your Allies on Life’s Journey
Finding Your Tribe

by Madisyn Taylor

We all desire to find our tribe, a community of those that feel comfortable to us and nurture our journey.

Part of being human is the search for an individual identity. Bound to this strong need to establish a unique persona, however, is an equally intense desire for acceptance. It is when we find our individual tribes that both are satisfied. Our tribe members are those people who accept us as we are without reservation and gladly accompany us on our journeys of evolution. Among them, we feel free to be our imperfect selves, to engage unabashedly in the activities we enjoy, and to express our vulnerabilities by relying on our tribe for support. We feel comfortable investing our time and energy in the members of our tribe, and are equally comfortable allowing them to invest their resources in our development.

The individuals who eventually become members of your unique tribe are out there in the wide world waiting for you. You are destined to find them, one by one, as you move through life. Sometimes your own efforts will put you in contact with your future tribe members. At other times, circumstances beyond your control will play a role in helping you connect with your tribe. If you look about you and discover that you are already allied with a wonderful and supportive tribe, remember that there are likely many members of your tribe you have not yet met. On the other hand, if you feel you are still living outside of your tribe, broadening your horizons can help you find your tribe members.

However your life develops after you come together with your tribe, you can be assured that its members will stand at your side. On the surface, your tribe may seem to be nothing more than a loose-knit group of friends and acquaintances to whom you ally yourself. Yet when you look deeper, you will discover that your tribe grounds you and provides you with a sense of community that ultimately fulfills many of your most basic human needs.

Silver Lining News Round Up

Sometimes, it is important to find the good in the news.  Here is my attempt...

Recasting watching reruns from slovenly spending the day on the couch -- into a powerful way to replenish our resources to tackle life.  I can't tell you how much I love this story -- even if I don't need this kind of reinforcement.
This other story talks about how a (literally) back breaking job shifted one man's consciousness -- and, in some ways, changed his life.  And it features some of the most beautiful parts of the world -- the coastal mountains of southern California -- yes, I am biased.

I read the next story in the mobile version ... the desktop version features this picture (among other great ones):

It discusses how a Muslim family built a business and many friendships at a poultry store in East Los Angeles... really worth the read.  One wonders, however, how the got this story and not the
This story features another one of my favorite people in the world, Father Greg Boyle, revving up some teachers in my home county, if not hometown.  In the world of start of the school year "professional" development, this is the kind of "workshop" that I can get behind.  In my brain, using this kind of inspiration to get more teachers to see the possibilities is really worth the time and the money.
 More about Father Greg Boyle, his work, and his initiatives in East Los Angeles, and in his own words...

...there are some super silver linings in those links that always make my day and inspire me not to give up.

These two stories I heard one morning this week offer another glimpse of some silver.  The first is about how President Obama makes decisions.  I guess it mostly struck me because while we are listening to increasingly strident anti-Obama campaign ads, this piece offers a wholly different vantage point from which to view our president.  I am admittedly biased on this point -- I don't love everything that he has done these past four years -- but I admire the hell out of his willingness to take on many of the hard issues.

The other is a truly fascinating interview with Junot Diaz -- I love the introspectiveness and openness of this piece -- I think he startled the interviewer with his candor -- honesty, vulnerability, courage -- those are some large ingots of silver, my friends!

Okay, you might have to squint at this one to see the silver lining, but I swear it is there.  I read the headline several times before I could even bring myself to open it:  Leaders of mass-murder sites share pain, support.  Um... who are the leaders of mass-murder sites?!  I wasn't sure what that meant, and ultimately, that is what brought me to the piece.  I was struck by several things:  1) there is good in the internet -- I know this, but sometimes, I really have to be reminded.  It was wonderful to see how easy it was to send "love" notes via email to someone you don't know (actually as easy as it is to send not love mail); 2) there is power in feeling connected -- I like the paying it forwardness that the journalist reported.  Each one saw the power in "repaying" the favor by reaching out to the next one; 3) perhaps the most important part of this piece... in most cases, the person they contacted did not write back or take the writer up on any offer.  But because each of these men was reporting what it felt like also to be contacted, we know, as readers, that those who received the messages were touched and comforted.  You can send message in a bottle missives and know that someone is being comforted.  Can you feel that power?
photo from the CHP, lifted from
One last one that you will have to stretch to see... CHP Officer's Organs Go to 4 Recipients.  It may seem morbid, but truly this was a gift of life - given unselfishly by his family to honor the officer's wishes.  When my cousin died, almost four years ago, at 39, leaving three children of her own, the only solace I found was in the gift of life that my aunt conferred on many recipients.  My mother was the "witness" when my aunt signed the paper work, so at Christmas that year, she read us the letter from the organ donation organization.  It was a bittersweet moment to be sure ... but more sweet than bitter.  We couldn't get Michelle back, but we could now that she was breathing life into many others.  I hope in time Officer Youngstrom's family will come to see their generous gift in the same way.

Good can come from evil ... if we let it.  Be the change...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Superhero Life

One of my favorite people in the world launched her new site... you need to check it out.

here is a piece I copied from her "Meet Andrea" page:
To me, a Superhero is someone who invites her wisest, bravest, most alive self to come out and play, every day. This doesn’t mean having all the answers, being unshakably strong, or performing dramatic feats of heroism. It means being someone like you – and someone like me. Someone who is anxious and uncertain, oh, say, 50 – 80% of the time. Someone who wants to live a juicy, full, courageous life — but doesn’t always know how. Someone who understands that vulnerability just might be the greatest superpower of all.
 Andrea gives me courage and hope on a regular basis... I love to see that something new has popped up on my google reader.  It is sure to dig deep and tell me something true that I needed to hear.

She has posted to the new site some of her best blog posts ever. From these pieces you might start to understand why she is such a beacon for me ... and many others.

If that is not enough, she is giving away a ton of things next week to people who comment and sign up for the mailing list.  Do yourself a favor and get to know Andrea -- she is a superhero!


It is hard to let this day pass without remembering.

Today I am focusing on the good... that the two friends who worked in the towers were late for work.

It is a small piece of good.

But I am adding to it the fact that the rebuilding is nearing completion.  On some level, this is a real healing to the scar -- albeit cosmetic.

I am not sure if it will ever really heal... if there will be a time when this day is not painful especially for those who were touched in much more personal ways.

May we all send peace out to those who we consider enemies, especially those we do not know...

Monday, September 10, 2012

L'avventura in Toscana

We named our little car Lucia.  She struggled up the hill (very steeply inclined) the first day -- my mom suggesting turning off all other moving parts (radio, air conditioning) as we slid backwards, red poppies lining the road that could barely fit two small cars such as these closing in on us.  But she was a trooper as we got on and off the super autostrada -- we could never figure out just where we were to get on the right way -- as we traveled to Firenze, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Pisa, and the grocery store. 

And this was her theme song (actually dedicated to the crazy couple that split up and were on the Today show while we were in Tuscany):

[Later on I dedicated it to John Edwards and his "girlfriend/baby momma" but that is another story altogether.]

When we were in Rome, we spied this calendar that featured a young, good looking priest on the cover. I told my sister it was the Hot Priests of Rome calendar. We laughed but didn't buy it. But then, she realized that it was the perfect gag gift for a friend's mother. In fact, we looked high and low for the real gift in the Vatican until she had decided on a cross from the gift store. But she wanted the calendar so she could tell our friend, I found the perfect gift for your mom at the Vatican! And then hand him the calendar. She was sure that he would be a little more than shocked, and then she would give him the cross.

She kicked herself up and down for the rest of the trip because we couldn't find it anywhere.  And this is how it ties into Tuscany - you can tell there is a dividing line between those loyal to Rome and those not ... we got the sure sign when the only town in Tuscany (that we visited) where we could find the Hot Priests of Rome calendar was Siena.  I am not critizing.  We had been looking for it.  It was just another reason to love Siena, grouchy waitress at the piazza bar notwithstanding.

I have much more on Tuscany, but I think it will come out slowly....

Friday, September 07, 2012

election season

This election season has been brutal for me ... watching and listening to the barely truthful (seemingly incessant) campaign spots grate my nerves.  But even worse, for me, was the so called First and Main series on Morning Edition.  Too many mornings I was roused from sleep listening to earnest Americans give their negative opinions about our president... except these opinions sounded like they came word for word from Fox News.  It was more than disappointing to 1) hear people unquestioningly spout less than half-truths rooted in prejudice and hate, and 2) that the so-called journalists rarely questioned the remarks. 
This post will necessarily be a little disjointed because I wrote it over several days ... after collecting some articles and not having the courage to write it ... and finished after I watched my president speak.  I needed this convention like I have never needed one.  I am a newshound... this is overwhelmingly clear from this blog, so I would have tuned in anyway.  But I found my way home in time to watch as much of it as possible.  And I sat, tears in eyes, most nights, talking back to the tv and wishing, for the first time in my life, that I was there -- and that is nearly ten years after I rescinded my membership in the democratic party.  So here are my thoughts, issues and musing on this election season, so far. No doubt, there will be other posts.
This piece about the other side of Mitt Romney was interesting and thought-provoking. However, like the author of the piece, I was not sure how it translates into what Mitt would be like as a president.  Frankly, I am less concerned about how often, in the past, he can be shown to be level-headed, generous or forward thinking.  I am worried that his performance during the primary (and now regular) election season, as the party-line towing, hardest-ass Republican there ever was, demonstrates that any backbone he had was sold to the devil for the nomination.  How can we know who will show up as president?!  I don't think we can survive more of this staunch party line votes and behavior ... not that we won't get it from the other side as well.  Just to say that, as far as I can see, it doesn't matter how human Mitt was in his previous incarnation, that is actually no predictor of his future behavior.
Jon Stewart facetiously named his coverage of the 2012 Republican Convention: The Road to Jeb Bush 2016.  It is hard not to see the real life aspect of this little joke, when you read pieces like this.

Please let me say that I agree with Deval Patrick when he said we need to grow a backbone... but, of course, that includes our president.  I love me some Barack Obama, but I recognize that somehow he has not been standing up for himself ... for what he believes in, for us, frankly.  And this mess about how we would "cave" in to criticism about OUR PLATFORM from Republicans is truly unconscionable.  

I was needing some bucking up after all the crazy campaign commercials, etc... so I tuned into the DNC on Tuesday (9/4) ... and then again on Wednesday (9/5) -- though it was not as all around fantastic -- there were many bright spots.  Thursday was the main event, but I wasn't sure if I'd get to watch it live because I had an appointment. I made it home in time to catch a piece of Vice President Biden ... who was looking and sounding as presidential as I have ever heard him.

If you want to be inspired, you should listen to the speech given by Michelle Obama.  She really did knock it out of the ball park.  The day after, there were those who argued hers was the best speech of the night; and others that thought that Julian Castro (and his twin brother and family) was the star.  Personally, I thought it was Deval Patrick.

Or, you could listen to Cristina Saralegui tell you why she is, at least, one Cuban American for Barack Obama.

  Elizabeth Warren was another beacon not to be missed...

and, of course, Bill Clinton preaching and teaching like only Bill can... "now listen to this, this is serious..." he admonished the crowd that was enjoying his speech so much they were annoying Bill with their laughs.  "THIS IS SERIOUS!"

Barack, proving he is MY president, said this:
"We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense."
What has been most painful about the Republicans sell of their candidates this year is that they seem to be suggesting that their followers only respond to mean-spirited, ungenerous, and spiteful rhetoric.  The country they want to lead has nothing to do with how I feel about my place in this world.  The fact that they believe that this is the only way to reach their base makes me cringe. 

I will happily admit that my president's speech accepting the honor and responsibility for four more years brought me to tears.  Mostly because he called on us not only to vote, but to see our recovery, our way forward, as our charge ... not residing in someone or some body out there -- to take the step forward and say, as citizen, I accept the challenge.  Yes, we must vote.  [I feel another post, perhaps a letter to the occupiers on the importance of voting.] But this is the least we must do.

This is getting overly long... so I will end this and post here, with hope in our better selves.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Quote Thursday...again

I wish I knew if this quote really were from Fanny Crosby.

I tried to follow up on it, but then I had a million other things to do.

Here is what I found out about Fanny.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

More NM Education

Along with letting the NCLB AYP standards slip and slide, apparently the state is also rethinking what diplomas mean.  See article below.  It is most interesting to me from the perspective of where these kids will go after they get their diplomas.  The university is already talking about toughening admissions standards and isolating some of the students into an honors college ... what can kids do with a diploma that means something other than what is a standard high school diploma?

In my opinion, this is just another sign that we do not all agree on the purpose of public education.  Somehow the magical diploma makes everything alright ... regardless of what it stands for.

I was coincidentally listening to this piece recently ... when you hear the Pew guy talk about the diploma making kids eligible for college -- and then the other guy talk about how those who are going to community colleges are invariably getting stuck in "developmental" (read: remedial, he corrects himself midway through the conversation) courses.  These students generally are not making it to the golden BA diploma or even AA diploma.  They spend a lot of time getting to know just what it means to have a substandard education -- even if it has been faux gold plated with a diploma.

What we forget is that these students, by and large, are doing exactly what we ask of them only to find that their compliance leads to an empty diploma... empty of promises and surely devoid of any thing that might be of use to them in the future.

We need to seriously consider the meaning of our actions as we rush to give students (read: schools and parents) the feel good of a "diploma" or school ratings of A-F.  In the end, it is what the students LEARN and are able to take away that matters.

Here are some articles, in entirety since I can't trust the links.

State Gives Other Options For Diploma

Hailey Heinz / Journal Staff Writer, Published: Sep 1, 2012 
For the roughly 10,000 New Mexico high school seniors who didn't pass the Standards Based Assessment last year, hope is on the horizon.
The Public Education Department on Friday released the details of how students can show their knowledge and receive a high school diploma in other ways. Moreover, the PED clarified that students who fail to demonstrate competency can still receive the lottery scholarship to attend college in New Mexico.
This year's high school seniors are the first class that must get a passing score on the 11th grade SBA or prove their knowledge through other criteria in order to receive a diploma. "Passing" the SBA means achieving a certain total score in math and reading, and scoring at least "nearing proficient" in both subjects. Students must also reach a set score in the "nearing proficient" range on the science section of the test.
Required scores
If students don't pass the Student Based Assessment on the second attempt, they can earn a diploma by getting certain scores on several common college placement tests. Here are the scores they need for the ACT and SAT.
Social Sciences (reading): 21
College Algebra: 22
Biology: 24
Reading: 450
Math: 450
Students who don't meet these standards or the other criteria outlined Friday, but who meet all other high school graduation requirements, will receive a "certificate of completion" instead of a diploma.
Policymakers in 2010 decided to scrap the state's previous high school exit exam, which the state had been using since the 1980s and which measured skills at an eighth grade level. The SBA tests 11th grade standards.
The law that authorizes the lottery scholarship says students are eligible to receive it "immediately upon completion of a high school curriculum at a public or accredited private New Mexico high school or upon receiving a graduate equivalent diploma."
PED spokesman Larry Behrens said he interprets the statute to mean students who receive a "certificate of completion" from their high schools rather than a diploma can still get the lottery scholarship.
But there may be other hurdles for students who earn a certificate instead of a diploma. The federal government's "basic eligibility criteria" for federal financial aid says students must have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent like a GED or completion of an approved homeschool program. In other states, students who received certificates found they were not eligible for federal aid.
In their first attempt at the test last spring, 57 percent of students across the state received a passing score. The other 43 percent will have another chance to take the test during the first two weeks of October.
And if they don't pass on the second try, they have other options for receiving a diploma.
According to a PED manual released Friday afternoon, students can demonstrate their knowledge in core subjects by meeting a minimum score on one of the following tests: Advanced Placement, ACT, SAT, PSAT, AccuPlacer or International Baccalaureate.
Students can also demonstrate their skills by passing designated core subject classes, or an equivalent end of course exam. Specifically, to show math competency, students must pass Algebra II, Integrated Math 3 or an equivalent course. For reading, they must pass English 3 or an equivalent course. And in science, students must pass either chemistry or biology.
This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

Given that NM is a majority minority state (the only one in the US) and UNM is the only research one Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the numbers in the article below matter -- and are directly related to the article above, my commentary and that piece on NPR's Tell Me More... we've got to start putting all the pieces together rather than living our lives in sound bites.

This dip in enrollment is not unique to NM, however, as I read a similar article from California.

N.M. College Enrollment Dips

Astrid Galvan / Journal Staff Writer, Published: Sep 1, 2012 
[Photo not available in the version I read] University of New Mexico students at the school's main campus walk to class at lunch hour recently. Classes started Aug. 20, and enrollment has stayed steady at about 28,000. Photo Credit Roberto E. Rosales/Journal
Enrollment at some of New Mexico's colleges and universities has decreased since last year, but only slightly.
For most schools, the numbers aren't final, as students can still register late. But trends have emerged: a drop in the number of graduate students and an increase in freshman classes.
Enrollment at the University of New Mexico has stayed steady at about 28,000. It is seeing a slight increase in its freshman class, most notably among out of state freshman, which grew by 6 percent.
However, there's a 3.75 percent decrease in the number of graduate students, from 4,268 to 4,108.
Such is the case at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, where the graduate student population has dropped from 504 to 485 students, or 3.76 percent, according to spokesman Tom Guengerich.
Guengerich said that's in large part due to the school's year old policy of allowing students to graduate every month. For example, a graduate student who finishes degree requirements in September can officially graduate within the month instead of having to wait until the end of the semester. That opens up more job opportunities, Guengerich said.
"For some students that created a real problem," he said. "We've heard nothing but positive feedback from graduate students who are now getting their diploma off schedule."
An 11.3 percent increase in Tech's undergraduate population, to 1,676 students, helped offset the decrease. What's more, the university this year has its largest freshman class in the school's history with 373 first year students.
At New Mexico State, enrollment has dipped about 2 percent since last year at the school's main campus in Las Cruces, according to university data. That campus has more than 17,000 students enrolled, but there are an overall 28,000 students in the university's campuses around the state.
Central New Mexico Community College's enrollment numbers have seen gains since the Journal reported a 10 percent drop earlier this month. The gap has closed to about 2.9 percent, spokesman Brad Moore said. There are now 28,346 students in classes, which started Monday.
Perhaps the biggest changes in enrollment were within UNM, CNM and NMSU's satellite campuses.
CNM's Rio Rancho campus saw a nearly 16 percent spike, from 1,466 to 1,700. UNM's Rio Rancho location grew from 407 to 572 students. Both campuses opened in 2010.
As for New Mexico State, enrollment at its Grants branch fell 9.5 percent, and at its Carlsbad one it grew 14 percent. "Students can adjust their course schedules during the first two weeks to better balance their academic, work and family life," Bernadette Montoya, NMSU vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said in a statement.
"In addition, late registration continues through Sept. 4, so enrollment numbers will continue to fluctuate."
This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Gifts from the Universe

I have been struggling, since I don't feel well, all day ... I wondered, is it that mercury has secretly gone retrograde?  Did I do something to upset the blue moon?

And the universe answered with this DailyOM:

September 3, 2012
Being Your Own Voice of Reason

by Madisyn Taylor

How we attach meaning to events in our lives has a large influence on the quality of our life.

The meaning we assign to our experiences–whether pleasant or distressing, is a very powerful factor in determining the quality of our lives. What we imagine events to mean will color the way we feel about ourselves, about the people in our lives, and about the world at large. If we want to encourage a positive outlook, well-being, and a sense of self-confidence and even trust in the universe, we can begin by assigning more peaceful, loving meanings to what we experience.

Imagine, for example, that a friend fails to show up to a lunch date. You have choices as to what you will make this experience mean for you. You could allow being “stood up” to reinforce your feelings of unworthiness, you could begin to mentally attack your friend’s character, or you could assume that something big must have happened to cause them to miss the date—then, you might open yourself up to enjoying some relaxing time alone.

If you were recently laid off and are having difficulty finding a new job, consider that you might have hidden gifts or passions that were untapped in your regular career that you are now available to explore. The universe might simply be moving you in a more fulfilling direction. If you have recently lost a loved one, gained weight, lost money, or gotten in a fight with your partner, see if you can infuse the experience with meaning that feels loving and empowering and opens a door for you to embrace life and the world a bit more.

When we begin to bring consciousness to what we are making things mean, we may be shocked at the messages we have been feeding ourselves all these years. Try taking the reigns and begin assigning a kinder meaning to the events in your life and you will likely find yourself on a much more pleasant ride.

Monday, September 03, 2012

The perils of google and the trouble with information, too much and too little....

I was listening to a discussion about ethics and it turned to how the internet had changed our lives in terms of ethics over the past ten or twenty years.  One thing the ethics guru mentioned was how over the past ten years, his answers had changed about the intrusiveness of googling someone.  He said when he was originally asked about whether it was appropriate to google someone -- say you were going on a blind date, etc., people were inclined to feel it was too intrusive. Now, he said, it would seem imprudent not to use all the resources available to get information about a prospective (fill in the blank).

I wondered as I listened to him... you could, for instance, pay for a background check on anyone in minutes over the internet.  Is that intrusive? Does it matter how the information would be used? And then I saw this article.  I am the last one, internet sleuth that I am, to tell anyone not to try to find out information.  However, using it against someone in this way seems like an overstep.  Clearly the parents were upset about not being consulted about the change in teachers.  However, what level of control should parents have over personnel in a school?  If they are in charge of deciding teacher moves, why do you need a principal?  Certainly, the parents have every right to google the teacher, to use that information to form a rational reason for being extra vigilant ... but do they have the right to ban her from a classroom?  If she had been convicted, perhaps ... but she took part in a program specifically designed to get her back into the classroom. 

Well, in other news, I have been following this story about the hanta virus in Yosemite for at least the last two weeks.  I was disturbed to see the first story ... simply saying that two people had contracted it and one person had died.  Now it turns out there were at least four and two of them have died, this year.  The problem here is not too much information, it's too little.  Turns out that there were people infected last year, and maybe the year before.  But were the people staying in these popular and apparently coveted cabins aware of the situation?  Worse than that, what did the agency in charge of these cabins do to protect the public they weren't warning?  It is a little more than ironic that it is the "luxury" cabins that create the haven for deer mice.  Poor little deer mice, they have no interest in being infected themselves, nor in infecting others, they are just making their homes in the best environment available to them.