Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our aspen buds

I guess this is the first sign of spring here. Our aspens are budding.

The fuzzy-appearing buds are called catkins, and are a normal spring occurence on quaking aspen trees. They contain seeds, and last for a short time in the spring.

They kind of remind me of the pussy willows we used to see back east. Since the aspen trees are closely related to willows, this all makes sense.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The March wind doth blow and we shall have snow.

More snow - on March 15!!!

This may have been our single biggest snowstorm of the winter.

"UGH - too much snow!!" many people tell us. But we live in a high desert area where water is a precious commodity. Every bit of rain and snow helps our water table and provides us enough water for the dry summers -- as well as a hedge against fires in our beautiful mountain forests. So we love the snow here!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March Madness

We may be in New Mexico, but we are still Kansas Jayhawk fans forever.

Our team is #1 in the country going into the final week before The Big Dance, the NCAA tournament, begins.

The KU flag was a Christmas gift from my son Brian and daughter-in-Law Katy, and it is flying today over a proud Jayhawk house.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Our choice for Governor

The Republican side has five candidates for governor in 2010: State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, Pete Domenici Jr., Susana Martinez, Doug Turner, and former NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh. We have met all of them but Domenici in recent months. Everyone of them has different strengths, and seem to be good people, but not all of them would be equally good as gubernatorial candidates, or as governor. In our opinion.

Last night we went to a private meet and greet event for Susana Martinez. She is the District Attorney in Doña Ana county (Las Cruces), down in the very southern part of New Mexico, with 14 years of experience and accomplishments. We met her and her husband once before - at the Santa Fe GOP Christmas Party, where we signed her petition to get on the ballot. And, several weeks ago she personally called me on the telephone to ask for our support in the campaign.

Last night we had another opportunity to talk to her and her husband Chuck personally. First of all -- what nice people! Down to earth and friendly and easy to talk to. But that is only the surface.

Susana talked to the crowd and answered questions. WOW - we loved her message. She is smart and tough and motivated and she knows the issues and she already has plans for what kind of admnistration she wants to have. I agree with her on every issue - smaller more efficient government, getting our HUGE bloated, corrupt, broken state government under control, especially reducing our enormous debt, making New Mexico once again attractive to businesses wanting to locate here, attracting gas and oil companies that left the state (crippled by high taxes and regulated to death by the current governor) to return, as well as her views on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, Second Amendment rights, the deplorable education system here, etc. She had the crowd cheering with many of the points she was making.

What I liked best was that she is positive -- enthusiastic and hopeful about the future of the state if we can get good government and fiscal responsibility back.

John and I are sold on her as our candidate - we are committing ourselves to jumping in and working on her campaign.

She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

(Oh. One more note. Just yesterday Susana was named New Mexico Prosecutor of the Year by a peer group within the state bar association.)

Go Susana! (More to come on her campaign in future blog posts here.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The New Mexico Coalition for Literacy

John and I spent an interesting hour yesterday at the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy right here in Santa Fe. We heard from the director, the recruitment consultant, and our friend Rosina who is a volunteer in the office, and has been encouraging us to come to one of their monthly open houses to see what they are all about. They gave us a nice tour of their offices and told us a lot about the work they are doing here in our state.

The NMCL encourages and supports community-based literacy programs and is the New Mexico affiliate and coordinator for the national program of ProLiteracy America, overseeing certification and coordination of its volunteer, tutor trainers.

We were told that the percentage of people in New Mexico who are considered functionally illiterate(unable to read above fifth grade level) is 45%. That is a shocking number of people and completely unacceptable in a country like ours. Illiteracy in this state cuts across all ages, all parts of the state and is seen fairly equally in urban and rural areas.

The NMCL has a very nice facility in Santa Fe. Virginia, the recruitment director, is going to be calling us in the next few days to see if we would like to volunteer in the office. My dream is to be trained as a tutor so that I can work one-to-one with students teaching them to read. I still need to find out what the training entails.

The New Mexico Coalition for Literacy

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another gorgeous New Mexico sunset

John got these pictures Saturday night (Feb. 27):

They reinforce one of my prime rules for life in New Mexico: