Thursday, January 11, 2007

Now it's my turn - my annual letter

Hello all,

Now it's my turn. I planned to write an annual letter this year to send family and friends that I am not in regular contact with. Of course, there isn't much point in sending one to friends living here in Mountainair or those on my regular e-mail list or who subscribe to my Mountainair Arts blog

My best and probably most intersting 2006 news is not really about me. My daughter Pilar got married in late October - to another Albuquerque lawyer, Duane Brown. I was hoping to have pictures to include with the letter but I still don't have the CD. The wedding was very small - just the immediate family attended. In addition to the couple, that was Duane's two children from his first marriage (Liz and Andrew), his mother, me and Deacon (Pilar's and Duane's son). She is preganant again now and due in May.

Otherwise, my own life has been quiet - much more than usual - and probably not that interesting. On the other hand, "interesting" is overrated. It usually means all kinds of problems and upsets, as in the curse, "may you live in interesting times." I am, however, smack dab in the middle of another major life change. I'd like to be through with those as they are tiring and turn everything upside down. Death is probably the only sure fire way though, and the price tag there is way higher than I have any intention of paying for as long as possible...

I am still here in Mountainair but more or less retired. When, despite earning a bonus for high evaluations, Kaplan Univeristy did not offer me any more online classes last January, I did not send out applications to other schools. Something in me snapped - I'd had enough. So I am not teaching college either on line or in person at the UNM Valencia Campus. It's a long story I don't completely understand myself, but I am burnt out on college teaching. I don't think it is all me though. College and teaching have changed, especially in the past 10 or so years. Administrators call students "customers" and tell us it is more important to "satisfy customers" than to teach students or for students to learn. Reading discussion boards and talking with teachers all over the country, I have learned that this is common everywhere. Is it like this in your countries as well?

Anyway, teaching under those condition is very stressful if it's not just a job and you really care about learning. When I ran the numbers, I realized I could afford to retire and live here modestly. Maybe I will regret the decision and want to return to teaching college courses online but not yet. Istill crave teaching because here I now, back teaching this class after taking a long break.

I am still keeping busy though. I am trying to write more. In addition to blogging, this past fall I wrote a novel. That makes two, maybe three if I count the almost finished draft from 2004. There are more starts never followed through in my files. I don't know if any will be worth the work of rewriting, let alone readiing, but I thought it was time to make an effort. And for writing more, there are my blogs and extensive personal correspondence. I've started saving the longer letters to recycle in other writings.

The blogs are mostly essay and article writing practice. In addition to this one and Mountainair Arts, I have one about small town life in Mountainair, one about teaching, one about Welsh ponies (I used to breed them), and another, Virtual Voyages, about travel and places. So far, the last three have no more than a few posts. None are as active as this one or Mountainair Arts. This is the only private one.

I was also more active in the community this past year. Unfortunately, I overextended myself with the local arts council and especially with the Mountainair Arts Tour in May. This aggravated exisiting health problems (fibromyalgia and COPD), forcing me to reduce community involvment drastically. By the time the annual Sunflower day came around, I had limited myself just to working with the Poets & Writers Picnic at the Shaffer Hotel - and less of that than usual.

I also maintain the local Chamber of Commerce website. The Chamber pays me but considerably less than standard rates. Since some members expect development as well as maintenance for the same rate, renogiating rates with them may become necessary. Keeping up with that and the blogs has caused me to neglect my own personal web pages. Page work is interesting because it involves layout, design, graphics, and writing. A Mountainair newcomer aked me to design her a minialist site for her bed & breakfasts and gallery - really more a "web presence" page than anything else. So that may develop into something, although past forays in that area have been less than satisfactory.

I have friends scattered all over, some have drifted away because the habit of staying in touch is so fragile and hard to maintain. I do keep up many e-mail correspondences, which replace most face to face contact save for the most immediate and local ones, since I no longer travel much. This Novemer, however, I had a real treat when my best friend from California came to New Mexico for a visit. Meriel had 6 days of vacation condo time in Santa Fe so she picked me up here and we spent the week in Santa Fe. It wasn't all sightseeing: we hung out just visiting and catching up.

Then Meriel dropped me in Albuquerque on her way to the airport and I spent part of the week end with Pilar and my grandson Deacon. I don't get to see him as often as I would like but hope that will change this year now that there is rail servic from Belen to Albuquerque and rural transit bus from Mountanair to Belen.

My 2007 goals are to survive (manage health so it does not get worse before I am eligible for Medicare & to make ends meet), see my family more often, keep teaching this class & coming up with new materials & ideas, write more, not let myself get sucked into as much volunteer work as last year (more time but fewer energy reserves), stay interested in the world around me, and do what I can to help the environment and be an ecologically responsible citizen of the world.



  1. Teacher Vanessa,

    Teacher is higher position In our society. We define teacher is a person who preaches,teaches, and consults. Personally, I think you have those qualities. I am lucky to have a good teacher. Thank you for cffering us so many to learn.

    Sorry to hear about your health. I hope you feel better and maintain good condition. Good to know something interesting( I mean being a grandma, attending your daughter's wedding, and having good time with a friend) coming to you. It must brighten your life a lot.

    In 2007 year, I wish you have a better health and enjoy your life.


  2. Teacher Vanessa,

    Teachers built the future of the country because from the childhood to adulthood most of the thing we learn from our teachers. I still miss our teachers. The things I tell my daughter to do I can remember most of them I heard from my teachers.In our country teachers are like you. I felt very sorry to know that people can consider student as a customer.No this thing still has not come in our country. We are really lucky to have you here. You will definitely get the job what are you looking for. students still need teacher like you.

    I will request you please give first proference to take care of your health and reduce your work stress.

    I wish your good health and you can fulfil your all the plans and wishes.


  3. Ginyin & Nandita

    Thank you for your kind words and good wishes.

    It's time for me to get used to be retired. That way I have time for myself, family, and doing things that interest me. I do stay busy. I wouldn't mind having a part time job like Sadamu but this is a very small town. Not much is available.

    I am trying to write more. That is a definite plus. I have been telling myself for years that one of these days I was going to start writing more - but putting it off. Papers to grade, too tired when I got home from work, and so on.

  4. Teacher Vanessa,

    I am return now, but it's too later.
    My vacation feels unhappy,Because I was ill.
    I stayed my home to watch TV, talk with my parent.
    I returned my work on January 3.
    The January is a busy month in China. Festive follwing with january. I will have a long day for the Festive.that is really the end year for chinese, and it's important to chinese.For the Spring Festival,all people is busy with them work.They hope to finish the work before the Spring Festival.I am busy with my job,too.


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