18 August 2007

Starting a New School Year

Back to School for 2007-2008 School Year

I'm back at school, and after the first week of being with children, I am happy to be starting my thirty-second and one-half year of teaching. Of course the first week is our honeymoon period. Ever student is on their best behavior. I'm still in their good graces and haven't asked them to do too much, yet. The smiles on my student's face makes every day I'm there worth the hard work it takes to do my job. We also have many new and young teachers on our staff. There is a lot of very positive energy and enthusiasm which I know will really help my school.

Every new school year is a new start with new hope. I even know that students who were difficult to work with last year, can be very different in the next. I'm often asked why I don't retire, well in what other profession can I begin a new each August, and have as much love in my life as I do with teaching. What other profession can I know that I have made a difference in some way for at least some of the people I've worked with. Also, in most other professions there are always “down times” that can be boring. There is never a boring minute in teaching.

I had a wonderful conversation with a girl in my advisory class about the death of Dulce and that of her first dog. The empathy of some 12 year old girls has delighted me over the years. Twelve year old girls often reinforce my belief that we have past lives and old or young souls. I've know too many twelve year old girls that had the grace, wisdom and presence that can only go with an old soul.

I'm still mourning the loss of Dulce, my cat that lived over twenty years. I miss waking up and finding her curled around my head on my pillow. I miss our twice daily ritual of the past 20 plus years of my stroking her soft back as she eats. I miss having her curl up in my lap, and the worst is not seeing her in the window watching and waiting for me to come home from school each day. I haven't stopped missing Tesuque, my other cat who died about one and one-half years ago. Or Polly, but the year that has passed helps. Dulce's death is so close by, and she was with me for so very long.

It is unfortunate to have had all our cats be about the same age because the loss of so many so close to each other has been devastating to us. We still have Quatro and Cassy, and we are giving them all our love. The death of their fellow cats has hit them in many aspects. They were always on the lower rung of the kitty social ladder. They were always the cats that weren't into cuddling. Quatro has always been on the edge between feral and tame, yet lately he is crawling into my lap more often. Of course never for very long, but I feel honored that he comes in the first place.

To my fellow teachers beginning school soon, remember that the love and caring you give your students will repay you time and time again. Start each year viewing every student, even those you already know too well, as perfect children. They will be more responsive to you if you do. Remind them everyday just how glad you are to be there, how much you love your subject and how much your job means to you. Show passion for your work, and tell them something unusual about your subject. Smile, smile, smile until your face knows nothing but smiling. Take the time to say something nice to as many students as you can. Thank your students for their good behavior from the first minute, and always try to be positive. Work hard to learn their names by their faces, not by where they sit, as soon as possible. I promise you this is the best way to start a new school year.

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03 August 2007

A Sad Day, Goodbye my dearest Dulce & Who Gives Money to Politicians

Early this morning my cat Dulce died. I was expecting it. I stayed up until 3 holding her and giving her love. She must have died shortly after I went to bed. Even though I was expecting it, I'm feeling very sad. She was such a great cat, and she gave me so much love for a for such a long time, for which I'm grateful. Dulce loved life, but she just couldn't hold on any longer. There will always be a emptiness without her. When my husband's cat, Polly and my Tesuque died, we decided that before we get more cats, we'd give all the love we had for them to the cats we still have. Now, the same is true. My Quatro, my homeless feral kitty and Cassy will get lots of love. You can see all the cats that have been in my life beginning with Tigre & Dulce, to Tesuque & Quato, and lastly Polly & Cassy on my website. Tigre, Dulce, Tesuque and Quatro were all strays that decided they were going to move in with me. Polly & Cassy were given to my husband as kittens by his daughter, Chamisa, to keep him company because he was separated from her mother.

So I've tried to keep my mind occupied by working on the following information which I got from Campaign for America's Future. They keeps track of how members of Congress voted on issues I'm concerned about. On their sister site TomPaine.common sense there is a satirical video that made me giggle. I'm placing it below to share with anyone who happens to pass by.

I personally feel that “big money” interests controls Congress, so I'm glad the information included just how much money donated to each person. I also am concerned with how Congress and the Executive Branch of our government has dealt with the aftermath of Katrina. The Executive Branch refused help that was offered in lieu of giving contracts to their cronies, especially Halliburtan. The lack of humanity of the present government is at an all time high. This government has been all about serving a small group of their business cronies, and has stopped serving the interest of the people.

I copied some of the information to write about here. I have the data for New México's Congressional members, and for those folks in Congress who are running for President. I have not decided who I'm voting for in our state caucus, so I'm looking how candidates voted instead of just listening what they say. It takes time to figure out how our Congress people vote, but if we want to make our country a country were people are more important than more profits for the greedy, it is worth it.

I apologize for the terrible formatting.  What I put in an OpenOffice document didn't transfer well.

1. Reduce federal government use of foreign oil
2. Promote renewable electricity sources
3. Invest in renewable fuel technology
4. Collect royalties for private drilling on federal land in Gulf of Mexico
5. Prohibit gas price gouging
6. Prosecute companies engaged in gas price gouging
7. Vote Scorecard
8. Big Oil Total Contributions

                                 1  2  3 4  5  6       7         8
Wilson     NM   R  N N N N N N     0%     $71,050
Pearce     NM   R  N N N N N N     0%     $77,750
Udall        NM  D   Y Y  Y Y  Y Y   100%            $0
Kucinich OH   D   Y Y  Y Y  Y Y   100%     $2,250

1. Reduce foreign oil imports
2. Promote renewable electricity sources
3. Impose obstacles to wind power production
4. Close tax loopholes for oil company drilling costs
5. Make energy price gouging a federal crime
6. Create a household tax credit funded by a temporary tax on oil company profits
7. Create a consumer petroleum tax credit funded by a temporary tax on oil company profits
8. Vote Scorecard
9. Big Oil Total Contributions

                                 1  2   3  4  5   6   7       8      9
Dodd          CT   D   Y Y  N  Y  Y   Y  Y  100%  $ 1,000
Biden         DE   D  Y  Y  N  Y  Y  N  Y    83%  $ 7,300
Obama       IL    D  Y  Y  N  Y  Y  Y  Y  100%  $ 9,000
Bingaman NM  D  Y  Y  N N  Y  N  N   50%  $12,250
Domenici  NM  R N  N  Y N   N N  N     0%  $52,500
Clinton,     NY   D  Y  Y  N  Y  Y  Y  Y 100%   $ 5,300

1. Limit contractor activities
2.S.A. 24762
                                 1        2
BingamanNM D  NV    Y (5)$6,000   (6)$1,000
Domenici NM R  N      N (3)$1,250 (5)$6,000 (6)$3,000
Clinton     NY  D  Y       Y (5)$250 (6)$2,000 (7)$100
Obama      IL   D   N/A  Y
Edwards   NC D   NV    N/A
Dodd         CT D   Y       Y  (3)$1,000
Biden        DE D   Y       Y

1.Stop paying excessive unreasonable costs
Pearce       NM  R    N  (2)$4,000  (5)$1,000
Udall         NM  D    Y  (5)$1,000
Wilson      NM  R    Y   (2)$6,000  (3)$5,000  (4)$13,250 (5)$2,000
Kucinich   OH  D    Y

1 Protect Wages for Katrina Relief Workers
2 Help Small Businesses Obtain Loans to Rebuild
3 Extend Emergency Hotel Stays for Katrina Survivors
4 Repair Voting Machines Damaged by Katrina
                                    1   2    3    4
Pearce      NM   R    N  N   N   N
Udall        NM   D    Y   Y   Y    Y
Wilson     NM   R    N  N   N   N
Kucinich  OH   D    Y   Y   Y   Y

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02 August 2007

My Cat Dulce

Twenty years ago, a pretty calico cat came into my yard. She was very shy, but with “sweet talk” she came over close enough for me to pet her a bit. Within the next few weeks, she showed up at my door and window meowing loudly and shaking her beautiful fluffy tail. I noticed that the people who had lived in the house where I had seen her had moved out, and poor thing was coming to the person in the neighborhood who had shown her affection. I put a bowl of food out on the porch and sat a few feet away so as not to scare her. She ate a bit, then ran over to me to get affection. She was starved for both, so I moved over and gave her both at once. For the past twenty years, we replay the beginning of our relationship when I feed her.

Dulce was never very trusting or fond of people, especially men. It took my ex-significant other, Bob, years of sweet talk before she would let him near her. For the most part, I was the only person she wanted, and at times she didn't even want me. She has long been a loner cat. It took my husband even more years to get Dulce to trust him than it did Bob. These days she will let him pick her up, which was something no one could do in the years past. When people were visiting or working on our house, she hid. In fact hiding became a fine art for Dulce.

For years I could never figure out where she went every time the cat carrier came out, until one day I captured a glimpse of her jumping into one of the drawers under my water bed. I looked in the drawer, and there was no Dulce. She managed to squeeze between the drawer's edges and the empty space under the water bed where she was untouchable. Now these drawers stay closed. That doesn't mean that there are times when I absolutely can not find her, but she isn't hiding under the water bed anymore.

If there was an IQ test for cats, Dulce would easily be considered a genius of cats. She could figure out how to open cabinet doors so she could hide inside. I would open a kitchen cabinet that was about face level and find my sweet girl inside. When my husband and I married, I had three cats, Dulce being the oldest of the group, and my husband had two. I always kept my cats inside, but inside the house didn't seem a large enough space for five cats. Most of my back yard is surrounded by buildings, except for one side with a wooden fence, and a gate on the other side between the house and garage. We put wire fencing as high as the house above the fence.

All the cats were safe in the back yard, and we left the door open in the back building to give them even more space. Dulce figured out how to get out in less than a week. And she left just enough Dulce fuzz to make sure we'd know that we weren't going to fence her in. Jim would alter the fencing. Shortly after, there was new Dulce fuzz. Jim gave up trying to keep her inside, and Dulce lost interest in getting out.

By the way, Dulce means sweet, often sweet to the taste, in Spanish. I named her Dulce because she was from the first moment we met, the sweetest being I'd ever known. I know she must have an old soul, because she has that “knowing nature.” There have been many mornings when I've woken with feelings of love and happiness, and I've found she has wrapped her body around my head on my pillow. She has gotten me up for work when I didn't correctly set the alarm clock. She has been such a bright spot in my life for the past couple of decades.

It has been over twenty years since Dulce claimed my home and myself as her own. My 2007 summer has been the summer of Dulce. I have been her dutiful servant and friend. Up until recently, she still climbed to the highest bookshelf. Now she has been spending a lot of time rolled up in a ball in my lap or under my computer desk. She is so frail and thin. I wasn't sure she would make it through the entire summer, but she has. She is deaf and almost blind. It has been difficult for her, but she now lets Jim and I help her more than it is her nature as an independent kitty.

I won't be able to talk about her after she dies. I can still barely talk about my dear Tesuque, even a year after he has passed on. I want to praise her now while she is with me. This summer has truly been the summer of Dulce. I have found that because I take care of her, even washing her, cleaning up after her and mincing her food to point where she can easily eat it, I love her more than ever. One day I couldn't find her, and I felt the rush of pain over her lose that I believed I was prepared for, but in reality am not. I've lost so many loved ones in my life, I believe I'm always prepared for it. I've become very philosophical about it, but in my life the only beings that have been constant were my cats. No human has lived with me for twenty years.