People we need a whole lot more of….

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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?!?!?)

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Update

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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!

You go Thelma!

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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)

Next on the list of people who are not like you and me…

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Travis Briscoe

Read up on him in the Albuquerque Tribune. I did.

It made me homesick. Real bad.

California, or at least the part of California where I live, the over populated part, isn’t real big on rodeo. I have to say, I miss it. I think about it on a warm summer day…or on Fourth of July. The sights, smells, sounds. I really miss it.

Oh sure, people will jump up and down about how it’s bad for the animals. I can’t say I can entirely disagree….I mean, spurring the sides of a horse and strapping sharp object to a bull’s huevos isn’t exactly dainty treatment. I do actually understand that.

But I was raised watching rodeo. It’s a sport I love. Very few events am I so totally engrossed in every moment of the action. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it kind of sport that inspires gasps and shouts from the crowd. Love it.

Travis is a local guy, from Edgewood, who has made it big on the circuit. And he is all of 19 years old. Nineteen.

In regards to the toughest bull he’s drawn: “‘You never know what he is going to do. I got on him twice, and he gave me a concussion both times.'”

I think about my bad days…the boss was stern, the food in the work cafeteria was bad, it rained puddles so big I can’t get my car out to go home. But my work doesn’t involve me getting concussed with regularity (just, you know, normal cussed), and then going back in to get concussed again.

Travis took some time off from work recently. “I tore two ligaments and chipped some bone off so there was some loose bone floating around in there,” he said.

Ow?

I also took some time off from work recently. I watched Giants Spring Traning Baseball and drank margaritas on the patio at Julio G’s in Scottsdale (the one by the ballpark). There were, you know, some loose brain cells floating around in there, but that’s the extent of the damage.

Travis is competing this weekend at the Ty Murray Invitational at Tingley. (is anyone else as tickled as I am that Tingley Coliseum has a Wiki entry? *giggle* I should file that away for a whole blog entry all to its own….)

Sure wish I could be there this weekend to watch this event and to watch Travis compete.

Here’s to a good ride, cowboy.

Governor Bill Richardson has a sense of humor…almost…

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On Wedneday, March 29, 2007, the Governor of our Fair New Mexico appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

You can watch the clip by clicking here:Now I have to say that to see our Guv on such a big stage is pretty cool. It’s a big step up for our state. Richardson is bringing us to the spotlight.

Are we ready for that?

In all I think it was a decent appearance. Ol’ Bill was kinda, sorta funny, helped immeasurably by Jon Stewart, of course. I’ve seen Jon make politicians look like bigger buffoons, so all in all Richardson did ok. Even got a couple laughs but managed to step on his own best joke which was that his rankings in the Presidential race are below the percentage “margin of error”. Pretty funny, actually. He could have gotten a big laugh from it…oh well.

His shameless plug at the end for his book was both embarrassing and to be expected. He IS a politician after all.

In looking for the Daily Show clip online, I also found this little gem. Not living in New Mexico currently I’ve missed this slice of Madison Avenue fluff.

Seems Bill Richardson kind of has a sense of humor. Or at least he’s trying to……. Who knew?