·         Thursday, 29 May 2008

This morning, I read this in a blog (Google "37 days" – I enjoy reading this woman's daily blog entries...frequently the stuff is great!).  A phrase caught my attention:

 "...When humans were first contemplating how to fly, they kept asking the question, "how can a machine fly like a bird?" Over and over and over again, that was the question. Until the Wright Brothers and Langley flipped the question. "How," they asked, "does a bird fly like a machine?" Then all hell broke loose and human flight became a reality......"


I read this and my thoughts took off like a bird!  I think of the disconnect between traditional learning environments and more grassroots methods (I am thinking literacy).


We need to flip the question.  The paradigm must shift.


We need to look at adult learners, engage them in ways that meet them where they are...interact in ways that facilitate their goals.  We do not need to coerce them into a curriculum-based environment to study grammar lessons and to parrot back memorized responses... 


The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting the results to change.  So why are we taking adult learners and placing them back into systems that failed them in the first place?


The programs NMCL works with are grassroots and work with people, right where they are, in private settings, 1-to-1...there is dignity and there is progress...


Driving in Santa Fe; the City Different

I saw an 18-wheeler make a u-turn on Cerillos this morning!  That cannot be legal.  It is definitely not safe.


I sat watching this huge truck stop traffic both directions (4 lanes either side).


He did not even use his turning signal.


Santa Fe: the City Different.  Indeed.


The other day in the Lowes parking lot I saw a tiny, roller-skate of a sports car (a Jaguar actually).  It appeared to be driven by a very large, very furry Old English Sheep Dog.  The car cruised through the parking lot with the OESD driving (or so it seemed).  The big dog, fur flying, seemed to smile at Miss Zia and me as he cruised by.


Some people are just sooo special, here in the “City Different”.


·         Thursday, 28 May 2008

Tornado warnings follow me home… 

Weather does not seem to be very scientific.  All over the globe, weather has taken a vacation.  Here in Santa Fe, there are tornado watches/warnings. 


Tornados don’t happen here.


People do not know what to do.  I become an expert.  I am from Iowa, and lived in various locations along Tornado Alley. 


My inclination is to simply stand outside and enjoy the dynamics of wind out of control.  I choose NOT to share this with other people.


We survive the windy evening.


There is still snow on the mountains I see as I walk Miss Zia each morning as the sun comes up.  I think of earthquakes in China and typhoons in Myanmar.  There have been tornados in the Midwest too – some of Aunt Eda Lou’s kids are forced to evacuate…  In Arizona, there is snow fall…global warming?  Weather seems erratic…of course I know that this mortal picture does not reflect the Truth – we are spiritual beings and the mortal picture is simply an illusion…


·         Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Moriah’s Motorcycle – It’s sooo hard to be a Mom!

My daughter finished her Master’s Degree…lots of hard work, juggling school, work, kids and all the stuff life throws at you.  And with such a sense of humor too. 


I like my daughter.  I also respect her, because she does what she sets out to do.  She challenges herself.  She is true to her values and takes risks she needs to take.  She makes me laugh too.

And now, she’s bought a motorcycle; a big motorcycle.  Yikes! 


I had a dirt bike briefly, back in my youth, before my daughter came along.  But somehow it is harder watching my own child straddling a 900cc bike and heading off into urban traffic.  My heart pounds.  My head feels light. 


Of course my anxiety may be more intense since it was a motorcycle accident that took my son’s life just five years ago. 


I respect my daughter’s bravery.  Yet, I wish she could find another way to prove herself.  Of course, I do not have to like what my children do, nor do I expect them to modify their choices simply because I am uncomfortable with them. 


I wish my daughter well.  I hope she find the joy of the wind whipping through her hair as satisfying as she anticipated.  I wish her joy and beauty and I honor her courage and grace.  I am glad she chooses to live a full, rich life. 




·         Monday, 26 May 2008 – Memorial Day…We Remember…


One of these flags on the courthouse lawn honors my son, Caleb J. Pulver.  Another is there for my father, Byron D. Jeys.


In my small hometown in NW Iowa, Memorial Day is acknowledged with dignity and joy. 


I see these photos and I can almost hear the dog tags chattering and the beautiful flags snapping in the breeze.   Each year the list of names grows longer…they read each name (over a thousand).  It is a moment of coming face to face with what service before self means.  There is honesty about facing this challenge.


It is disappointing to find the citizens of Santa Fe do not really celebrate and honor Memorial Day.  People here put stock in their spiritual nature and like to think they are liberal and open-minded.  The Veteran’s Day recognition last fall made me think there would be a suitable ceremony for those who fought and died in service to their country.  But, I was wrong.


It seems to me that regardless of one’s politics it is appropriate to honor those who gave their life in service to our country. Regardless of where one stands on war and politics, those people who serve and follow the direction of our elected officials deserve some recognition…of course the recognition comforts the survivors and not the one who served and died. 


How many people serve in our armed forces and do not agree with the choices made by those in command? 


We spend much of this day working in our garden.  And remembering those who served. 


The Memorial Day ceremony in Le Mars, IA (my hometown) honors those who put service before self.  The family and friends honor tradition and regardless of politics pay respect and come together as a community. 


·         Sunday, 25 May 2008

A day at the zoo…

We headed down to Albuquerque for a lazy day at the zoo.  Our lives have been usurped by work lately and it has been months since we simply let a day unfold and simply enjoyed ourselves. 


The Albuquerque zoo turned out to be quite a pleasant diversion.   The polar bear exhibit kept us laughing out loud for most of an hour as the beautiful creatures romped and played. 


The zoo is so clean and pleasant with delightful landscaping.  Cottonwood Park is a tempting grassy, green-space where a band shell on a man-made lake invites patrons to relax and enjoy life.   


Later in the day we had a leisurely lunch at a restaurant and then we headed off to the Air Force Base and filled our shopping cart with about 6 weeks worth of food.   We also fueled up – gas on base was only $3.70 a gallon while the rest of the nation seems to be paying closer to $4.00 per gallon. 


We drove back to Santa Fe via Madrid, a tiny, rural, mountain village (featured in “Wild Hogs”) that seems to be a place to spend weekend afternoons checking out small galleries and dining on New Mexican cuisine.  


Albuquerque is nice…

I spend some time considering what it might be like to live in Albuquerque.  How do people ever choose where to call home?  I think those who have the opportunity to travel and choose simply grow tired and say, “This place, is good enough”…then they stop.


·         Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Canine Good Citizenship Award…

Miss Zia completed intermediate dog training at the local community college and is now the recipient of the Canine Good Citizenship Award. 


Good Citizen Zia is snoozing happily at my feet.


·         Saturday, 17 May 2008

Home from the Gulf…

The Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps team arrived home from the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Annual Build in Biloxi, MS.  About 700 AmeriCorps Habitat volunteers from all over the US participated in the re-hab and building work.


After 7 days of 0400 wake-up calls, Mark is ready to get some sleep.  He spent his week on the kitchen crew.  His days started early and dragged out until after the evening meal. 


·         Friday, 16 May 2008

Would I like Some Cheese with that Whine?  Yes, please!

The weather this week while Mark has been gone, has been cold, windy and rainy. 


My health and attitude match the weather.  I dragged around all week, fighting a bug that kept me feeling sleepy, my throat raw and my hearing and balance impaired. 


My usual pal (my laptop) failed to keep me distracted and projects were delayed because of challenges with it.  The culprit is the new VISTA software Microsoft foisted on the public.  It has left me frustrated and stymied.  


An impatient individual, eager for my inputs and unaware of my fragile attitude this week, tries repeatedly to contact me on Skype and my land-line…the phones ring incessantly for long periods.  I bury my head under a pillow.  I suffer through it, and resist banning him.  I leave the lines open, awaiting calls from my spouse before I call it a night and try to catch up on sleep.


Warning lights on the truck warn of possible problems with the brake system so I am uncomfortable using it.


All week I have crashed on the couch rather than in my bed.  It is nice to awaken to the sound of birds outside the window and under the gaze of my loving pet, Miss Zia. 


Tomorrow Mark returns home.


·         Thursday, 15 May 2008

Yay!  The Answering Machine Died!


·         Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Does anyone else feel overwhelmed by telephone, cell phones, text messaging, instant messenger, etc.


E-mail is passive…I can deal with it, but oh how intrusive all these other tools are. 


I feel as if I must hide in my own home.  My meals are interrupted, my quiet reading time stolen, my journaling moments intruded upon.  I try to focus on personal projects, but the answering machine chatters in the distance.  I need time alone. 


I feel a sense of violation when people expect me to be available simply because they call.  I have few precious hours alone in my home.  I spend my days at the beck and call of those who require me in the working world.  I frequently work at home too. 


When I am home, I have much to do before I can focus on my own interests and needs.  Frequently my scant free time is usurped by the intrusions of technology. 


In my own home, I feel captive. 


I long for time to be absorbed in a project, time to think, to consider, to create.  Time to be me.


Too many people…too much technology…


Or is it a boundary issue?


Do I have to be available?


I’ve let my cell phone die, I seldom answer my answering machine messages and because of a couple individuals, I seldom use my Skype.


Trying to reach me?  Send an e-mail.  I generally peruse the daily 200 notes that fill my home e-mail box each day and respond as needed. 


Oh for the civilized days when people sent letters!




·         Sunday, 11 May 2008 – Mother’s Day

Spaces in our Togetherness

It is good to have some time alone.  It is good to have a day with no expectations and time to simply enjoy it.  It is a novelty to simply eat when I feel hungry and to eat only what appeals to me.  It feels good to dominate the channel selector, to sprawl across the bed and hog the blankets.  It feels good, because it is a rare event.


There is nothing I love more than just hanging out with my husband.  But there is a little novelty about having the house all to myself, for just awhile at least.


·         Saturday, 10 May 2008

Up at 0500 on a Saturday morning – Mark has an 0600 shuttle bus to catch across town.  He and his AmeriCorps counterparts are heading off to Biloxi, Mississippi to join in the annual Jimmy Carter Build. 


Volunteers from all over the USA gather each year to support the Carter’s annual project.  They will renovate houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.  Thousands of volunteers’ team up for a one-week marathon build.


It’s all good.


Miss Zia and I will hold down the fort here in sunny Santa Fe. 



·         Friday, 9 May 2008

Support Global Worming!

I have the bumper sticker and I am doing my part. 


A thousand red wigglers moved into our home today.  They are rather shy little creatures and are quietly acclimating to their new home, a smallish, blue plastic tub in the corner of our kitchen.  We gave them quite a feast to welcome them – bread, coffee grounds, radish greens and some other refuse that appeals to worms. 


·         Thursday, 8 May 2008

A Middle of the Night Surprise…

0300 – that’s what the bedside clock says.  I sink bank into my pillows and close my eyes.  What seems an eternity later, I put on my glasses and focus on the red digits emanating from the clock: 0310. Sigh.


I can’t sleep.


I quietly slide out of bed, slip my feet into my flip flops.  I hear Miss Zia’s tail flopping up and down on the floor.  She stretches shakes and follows me as I walk out into the dark hallway and head off to the living room. 


Without turning on the light, I reach for my faithful laptop.  I put my index finger where I expect to find the on switch.   Some thing doesn’t feel quite right.  I run my hands over the edge of the laptop.  It does not feel right. 


Is this Mark’s computer? 


I reach up, turn on the lamp and gaze down at the newcomer resting on my knees.  To my surprise I see a brand new laptop.  I press the on switch and see my name on the screen; the new laptop is all loaded with my files and photos and documents. 


What a delightful surprise.  What an unexpected gift. 


What a wonderful husband I have!


Now I really can’t sleep!


·         Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Doggie Graduation…

The dean donned her graduation garb and carefully adjusted it as the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” filled the room.  A few of the students, growing a bit restless, wiggled a bit and one of them let out an anxious bark. 


Yes, tonight was graduation at dog training classes.


Miss Zia passed her exam and confidently walked up to accept her certificate and to shake hands with her instructor.  After the solemn ceremonies, the dogs and their companions had the opportunity to try out a few doggie-dance steps.  (Actual dances classes are available and the graduates are encouraged to enroll!)


Just a few short weeks ago the students of this class were not so well-behaved.  Those first few classes, man of the dogs had issues and there was often barking and some growling.  Now, the graduates sat quietly, tails wagging and occasionally sniffing one another.  They have all gained confidence and demonstrate social graces. 


I don’t know about Miss Zia, but I will miss seeing the rest of the dogs and their companions.  Watching them learn and grow was very satisfying. 

As a small gesture, I made bandanas for all the graduates.  It was fun to see the dogs wearing their new scarves as they left the classroom, walking calmly beside their proud owners.  (Here’s Zia modeling her scarf.)


Life is about simple pleasures.





·         Tuesday, 6 May 2008

I learned how to make a million dollars today.

 “Five coffees and five sausage biscuits, to go, please,” I said, stretching a bit and rubbing my eyes. 


0600 and I am already out and about.  I was at McDonalds when the doors opened this morning.   Next stop – the office.


We have a road trip today.  We pile into the rental van and head south to Albuquerque.  The excursion is kind of an offsite, teambuilding event for all of the employees at NMCL.  We are going to an all-day motivational seminar with dynamic speakers such as the famous Zig Ziegler and George Foreman. 


The speakers were quite good, but soon it became clear their agenda was to sell us opportunities to enroll in expensive workshops to learn about get-rich quick schemes, err, umm, I mean investment techniques. 


There were also many emotional references to patriotism and Jesus, as if Jesus was a spokesperson for the products they were selling.  With one Jewish woman, a Unitarian, and a couple skeptics in our crowd, we had fun poking some gentle fun at the references (WWJD morphed into WWBD after many references to how Warren Buffet made his millions!)


Despite the infomercial nature of several of the presentations, there were some excellent speakers and the day was quite pleasant.  We lunched together on wonderful Mexican food and relaxed.  At 5 PM we headed back north. 


It was a million-dollar team-building experience.


·         Saturday, 3 May 2008

“Lars and the Real Girl”

What a great film.  Do not be put off by the mention of a young man purchasing a sex doll…this is NOT some lame movie pandering to teenage boys with bathroom humor, etc. 


It is a thought provoking film with some fine acting and some very tender moments.  It is also quirky.


And so Midwestern.


Just see it.


·         Friday, 2 May 2008

Miss Zia has a Sleepover

Sonny’s “Mom” is away for the weekend so we are a two dog household for a few days.  Like children, dogs seem to take on the characteristics of their friends.  I enjoy watching the two pups learning new tricks from one another.  I love watching the tails wag as I try to navigate around the kitchen. 


The two dogs keep a close eye on anyone in the kitchen.  Tails wag constantly.  There’s lots of sniffing and some almost begging when the scents are just too much.  Sometimes a little morsel falls to the floor and quickly disappears as the pooch patrol does their job.


Zia and her sweetheart Sonny (see photo) are outside enjoying the fine spring day.  They are stretched out under the tree, soaking up sunshine.  Occasionally they leap up, run toward the fence and bark a bit.


What a joy to have the gift of animals in my life. 


·         Thursday, 1 May 2008 – May Day

Every May Day a Picture of my Next-Oldest-Sister Pops into my Head.  There was a May Day many years ago (back in primary school) when R. was acknowledged as the queen she really is.  As Queen of the May festivities, R. was stunning – she was like a young Audrey Hepburn (or some ay a young Elizabeth Taylor).  


I can picture her standing on the dais in her flowing white gown.  Atop her raven-black hair is a crown of spring blossoms with ribbons trailing down her back.  She holds a nosegay of flowers and looks so poised and serene.  


The playground has been converted into a festive place complete with a tall maypole and tiny dancers weaving brilliant streamers around the pole as the music plays.  Music spills out of the old phonograph.  Proud parents perch on folding chairs around the perimeter and enjoy the weak Iowa sunshine bearing down on them.  The smell of lilacs wafts over the assembly, perfuming my memories of the day my sister was Queen of the May.


Dad took lots of photos of R. that day.  For years we would have the opportunity to see R’s image on the large screen when Dad shared his family slide shows with visiting gests.  It is wonderful that he captured that special moment in time and helped me carry it on into my future. 


What has become of May fest, the energetic May pole dances and pretty May Day baskets hung on people’s doorknobs? 


Are there places where children are still taught these rituals of spring?  Or have these charming celebrations just faded away?  When did we stop celebrating the joy of spring?  And what happened to my father’s slides? 


Well, here’s to you my sister, Queen of the May!  Your image still returns to me each fist of May and you still look vey regal.







FYI: If you want to read about our

Peace Corps Ukraine adventures,

start with January 2005 - May 2007.


Now we are having AmeriCorps*VISTA adventures

right here in Santa Fe, in the USA!


Life is good!