February 28 2017

This Week in Albuquerque

I thought I would share a few pictures from my cell phone of the past week.

I don’t know why I get excited when I see the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile but I do.  I had spotted the Weinermobile earlier in the week on one of my walks but was unable to get a decent picture.  Imagine my delight when I saw that it was at our local grocery store!  Note the lady giving me a thumbs up!

Spring appears to have sprung in Albuquerque which means I’m sneezing A LOT and the wind is horrendous at times.  But I do enjoy getting out on those days when it’s calm and my Allegra is working. These daffodils are in my neighbor’s yard and I know spring is near when they make an appearance.

Another clear indicator of spring – the buds on my lilac bush. I hope I get lots of blooms this year.

Went to Hobby Lobby on Saturday and had to get this for our yard.  Fun.  It’s probably spinning like mad today in the crazy wind!  But I’m not going out there to check – no way.

Speaking of my yard, I was cleaning up some stuff yesterday and came across this.  Ugh!  It appears to have fallen out from under our deck.  Old wasp’s nest.  Yikes.

And here’s Starlord flying his little drone that he plans to take on fishing trips.

And last but not least, this little guy who I affectionately call Chicken Little.  He likes to shred stuff!


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February 24 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Songs to Sing in the Car!

I was stuck in the 1980s musically for many years.   I think the music we listen to as angsty teenagers influences us for a long time.  Those songs that brought us to incredible highs and lows become a part of us in a way.  So when we hear an old familiar tune, it can immediately transport us back to that time when we were young and all the possibilities for our life lay ahead.  Yes, it’s bittersweet.  For me it was all about that unique 80s sound and you have to admit, some darn good music came from that decade. At some point, however, I stopped listening to new music.  It started to sound whiny and self-indulgent to me.  I got stuck in the 80s.  I think my daughter didn’t know other music existed for a long time. Hah! But she’s probably one of the few 23 year olds who could ace an 80s music quiz.  Yup, I raised that girl right! Anyway, over time I started to crave new music and in recent years have discovered some new bands that I love.  My favorite music is pop because it’s generally upbeat and makes me want to sing.   Now I would never even remotely be a candidate for The Voice but who doesn’t love to sing in the shower or car?  We ALL sound good there!  So here is a list of my five favorite “newer” songs (in no particular order) to belt out loud in the car!

Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake

A part of me can’t believe that I love a Justin Timberlake song.  It’s from the recent movie Trolls.  This infectious tune grabbed me instantly.  Justin has so much fun in this video that I couldn’t help but smile and I love that it features people from all different age groups.   I immediately had to buy the song on iTunes.  It’s so worth it.  I dare you not to want to sing or dance while listening to this one!

Speak Life by TobyMac

The lyrics to this one are just beautiful and I love the message.  I think we all should keep this in mind every day in our interactions with people.

Love You Like a Love Song by Selena Gomez

I first heard this song while shopping at the commissary (hey, I guess it does have some perks!).  There is something about the beat to this one that really makes me happy.

Style by Taylor Swift

Oh my, I love, love this song!  Perfection.  Taylor Swift’s 1989 album was brilliant.    Really, I could have listed any song on this album because I love them all but “Style” is definitely my favorite!

Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon

I think I discovered this one on Facebook when it was used with a montage of dances from movies. Another song that just grabbed me right away and I had to have it!  It’s got such a fun vibe.

If you click on the pictures, you can see the videos to these songs on YouTube.  If you have a favorite song to sing in your car, let me know about it!  I’m always looking for new songs these days!

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February 21 2017

Starlord Goes to the ER

I can’t even stop giggling over the title of this post.  Bear with me as I try to explain.  You see, Starlord is my husband.  And, no, I’m not married to Chris Pratt.  It all started innocently enough when I told my husband that he should have a catchy name in case I ever decided to blog about him.  I was thinking about the Pioneer Woman and the way she refers to her cowboy husband as Marlboro Man.  I tossed around a few ideas which were met with shrugs.  In exasperation, I asked him to come up with something that was related to his job.  Then my husband of 28 years got this sly look on his face and said “Starlord”.  And I knew just why he picked it.  You see, my guy takes the twinkle out of stars.  In the world of engineering and adaptive optics, he is a Starlord.  He’s even had his 15 minutes of fame on the show, “Modern Marvels.”  Okay, it was really 8 seconds but still impressive.  Starlord works at the Starfire Optical Range – of course!  I like to joke around that he is tracking aliens to which he only says, “not as far as you know.”  But in a nutshell, the technology he works with can allow him to see stars (and other stuff) amazingly clear.  So when I say he takes the twinkle out of stars, it means he can fix atmospheric distortions enough to see a star clearly.  Here is a picture (taken by Robert Fugate) of the SOR at night:

Yeah, Starlord is pretty amazing and has always been my “rock”; somebody that I can always count on to bring a smile to my face and make my day better.

Speaking of rocks or *ahem* stones (sorry honey!), Starlord is battling a kidney stone.  As someone who has had several kidney stones, I feel like I know a little bit about them.  They just flat out suck.  I’d rather give birth than deal with a kidney stone.  So when Starlord got one, I was hugely sympathetic and immediately suggested he go to the ER.  But at this point, his pain level was no longer a 15 on a scale of 1-10 and he didn’t think they could do much to help him.  He just needed to drink a ton of water to get it to pass.  Well, this went on for a couple of days – excruciating pain at night followed by feeling better during the day. Still, I knew he was at his limit when he didn’t go into work – he NEVER misses work.  So once again I suggested the ER but he stubbornly resisted, instead heading to Urgent Care where I at least thought they would give him pain meds.  In all fairness to Starlord, his aversion to the ER might have something to do with the fact that he has had to take me there more times than I care to remember. Well, Urgent Care was a huge waste of time – no X-ray and no meds.  Unbelievable.  But still he resisted an ER visit. You can’t force this one to do something.  It has to be his idea.  Kind of reminds me of the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Anyway… one more painful night and he was finally ready to go. Hallelujah!  I think we were both ready to get some answers and a little peace of mind.

As a frequent ER visitor, I have to say it was extremely odd to be on the “other side” of things.  Sitting in the waiting room without pain was really weird.  Once they heard that Starlord had a kidney stone, he was quickly moved to a bed. As I sat next to him, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should be the one in the bed.  As it turns out, I am particularly glad that I was not on this occasion.  You see, a nurse came in to start an IV and while that is not unusual, her words struck terror in our hearts.  “So… I’m going to try to put an IV in – used to do it all the time but I’m old now and I’m having a mental block about it.  I haven’t been able to do one correctly.”  What the hell?  I looked around the room.  Maybe there was a hidden camera and this was a joke.  Nope, not a joke.  She had another nurse with her who was there to supervise.   I felt compelled to mention Starlord’s extreme fear of needles.  They ignored me.  Alrighty then…  There was a lot of discussion between the two nurses that morning – none of it good.  The IV was not inserted correctly to put it mildly; although they did manage to draw some blood.  As I sat there helplessly looking at my husband with his eyes squeezed shut so he wouldn’t have to see all that was going on at his arm, I could only reach out and hold his hand.   Frankly, I think we are better at me being the patient and him being the strong one.  They eventually finished and he was whisked off to get a CT.   Yes, there was a 4-5mm stone that was just out of the kidney heading to the bladder.   It was a relief to know that things were progressing but still not fun, of course. The doctor finally came in to talk with us and offered pain medication which Starlord deemed unnecessary.  I think he was just trying to get out of having an IV!  I graciously offered to take the meds for him.  Haha.  But when the doctor looked at me in shock, I quickly said I was kidding  (I wasn’t).   At this point, the nurse came in with some filters to catch the stone.  She made some joke about using them as coffee filters if we didn’t use them all.   Seriously? She gave us THREE.  Considering they are one use only, I felt we needed a case of them but what do I know?  So after waiting at the pharmacy for some oral medication, we were heading out to the car.  It had been a fairly short ER visit all things considered.  I could see the relief on my husband’s face.  I couldn’t help but think that we should have done this from the start and to Starlord’s credit, he did tell me I am always right.  I’m sure he will deny saying that!  As of this writing, the stone has yet to pass but I’m hopeful it will be very soon.  Starlord has stars to un-twinkle!  And fish to catch on his days off:

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February 17 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Movies (Comedies)

All of these favorite comedies are oldies but goodies.  They are movies that I can watch over and over again and still laugh.  There is such a happy comfort in knowing all the lines – many of which my family quotes regularly.  Two of them happen to be Mel Brooks movies!   I love his sense of humor.  And here they are in no particular order!

Galaxy Quest

I’m a huge sci-fi movie lover and this parody of Star Trek is absolute perfection.  The cast is brilliant, in particular Alan Rickman (RIP).  Of all the movies, this is the one my family quotes the most.  It is simply a gem.  Sam Rockwell steals every scene he’s in.   My favorite line:  Let’s get out of here before one of those things kills Guy!

Princess Bride

What’s not to love about this movie?  A mysterious pirate, a fire swamp with ROUS’s, a giant, a six-fingered man, an albino, miracles, and true love…  This was Robin Wright’s film debut – she was perfection as Buttercup.  Oh, how I wanted her hair! And the sweet segments with Peter Falk and Fred Savage melt your heart.  My favorite line: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Young Frankenstein

Gene Wilder, another brilliant actor, gone too soon.  His facial expressions in this movie tickle my funny bone so much.  The fact that this movie was filmed in black and white give it just the right feel and it allows you to really focus on the actors and dialogue.  It’s definitely a film to watch numerous times so you can catch all the nuances and sly humor.  My favorite line:  Put…the…candle…back!


The original (not that horrible remake).  I’m a huge Bill Murray fan.  His calm and sarcastic demeanor are the perfect foil to the more high strung Harold Ramis and Dan Ackroyd.   I still remember the first time I saw this movie.  My brother-in-law grabbed by arm at the opening scene when the ghost librarian turns and screams!  I think I jumped two feet in my seat!  My favorite line:  Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say “YES”!


Another great sci-fi parody – this one of Star Wars.  I love that Mel Brooks has a role (or two) in this film!  I’ve seen this countless times.  Love, love, love it!  It’s tough to pick a favorite line from this one. So I will pick two:

What’s the matter, Colonel Sandurz? CHICKEN?

So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.


Have you seen these movies?  If so, what’s your favorite line?  If you haven’t seen them, what are you waiting for?

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February 15 2017

Roadrunner! If He Catches You, You’re Through!

Today on my daily walk, I encountered the New Mexico state bird – a roadrunner!  We love roadrunners in Albuquerque.  We even have a rail runner that’s painted to look like one:

So I was delighted to see a roadrunner on my walk.  They really are interesting birds.  Their wings aren’t really built to fly although they can if they need to.  They really just like to run fast and do flying leaps. So much fun to watch!  I managed to get a quick picture.  This guy had some gorgeous coloring on his face but, alas, I did not have my good camera on me to get a better shot.  He was watching me very carefully though.  Eventually, he took a flying jump to a higher spot for safety.  They really are quite graceful.  It got me to wondering though…  How did this elegant bird:



turn into this cartoon creation:

Something went horribly wrong here!  The size proportions are all wrong.  This looks like a skinny ostrich to me.  And look at this:

Since when is a coyote the same size as a roadrunner?  Okay, I confess, I was never a fan of that cheeky roadrunner on Looney Tunes.  I just wanted that coyote to barbecue and eat him.  Hah!  Don’t even get me started on Tweety.  If all I knew about roadrunners was based on that cartoon, I wouldn’t be impressed.  In real life though, these guys take on rattlesnakes and scorpions!  They leave behind cool X-shaped footprints.  They actually save water by excreting a concentrated solution of salt through a gland that is in front of each eye rather than passing the solution through their kidneys and urinary tract.  And another fun fact:  they have a small un-feathered area just below their beak which they will flutter like a fan to dissipate heat.  How cool is that?

I love our state bird!

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February 13 2017

Jane Steele – Book Review

Several months ago, a friend and I started a book club.  We didn’t have many objectives – just wanted a reason to get together!  So we decided to meet at a different restaurant and discuss a new book each month with some other ladies who love books.  We’re a casual group and it’s a fun time.   But I must confess we got off to a rocky start.  It seemed like every book we decided to read turned out to have a very unsatisfying ending.  For me, when it comes to books and movies, there has to be a happy ending. Yup, give me a happy ending every time.  At the very least, don’t leave me confused and wishing I hadn’t bothered!  Just as I was beginning to think we were cursed, along came Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye.  I simply devoured this book!  Lyndsay Faye has an astonishingly beautiful way with words.  I found myself rereading sentences and just savoring them.

The author was inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and has reimagined the heroine as a serial killer. Yes, you read that correctly.  But this is no horror story.  At it’s heart, it’s a love story with well-fleshed out and interesting characters.  And you really needn’t have read Jane Eyre to enjoy the book.   Ahem, yes, I haven’t ever read Jane Eyre.  Anyway… it’s a story that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let you go until the very end.  There are enough twists and surprises in this novel to keep you reading past your bedtime.  I think there was a vibe to this story that reminded me of some of Victoria Holt’s novels that I loved to read as a teen.  But don’t get me wrong, this is not a sappy romance.  Orphaned at a young age, Jane is abused by her aunt and cousin to the point that she allows herself to be sent away to a school that turns out to be an even harsher environment.  But it is at this point that we are introduced to some intriguing characters and a grim school system that will leave you shuddering.  Jane eventually escapes to London, by now having left a few dead bodies of her tormentors in her wake.  It is easy for her to hide from the law in the city and she manages to earn a living for herself by writing “last confessions” of criminals that have gone to the gallows.  Without revealing too much of the plot, Jane eventually returns to her childhood home after learning her aunt has died and a new owner has taken up residence that is in need of a governess.  Believing she may be the rightful heir to Highgate House, she returns there in the guise of a governess to find out.  It is here that she meets the mysterious Dr. Thornfield who has returned from the Sikh Wars along with his equally intriguing Sikh butler.  Quickly becoming enmeshed in caring for her new charge, a precocious yet delightful young girl, and a secret regarding stolen treasure, Jane finds herself falling for the enigmatic and brooding doctor. Of course, Jane’s past will eventually catch up with her…

The author’s attention to detail and wry wit make this a great read.  What’s not to love about an old ancestral home with a hidden treasure and a heroine serial killer that you wind up rooting for!?  Oh, it sounds strange but just read it!

My score: A


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February 10 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Premiere Edition

Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things…

I’ve decided to start a regular weekly post about my favorite things. This premiere edition will be a random selection of favorites but future posts will be more focused on one topic. So here we go – five random favorites:

Sunflowers – roses may be the “go-to” flower but I love sunflowers!  They just make me smile.  Wild sunflowers track the sun throughout the day and there’s something about keeping your face to the sun and looking up that resonates with me.

Horses – I think I sprung from the womb loving horses because I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t love them.  My mom tells me that when I was a very young girl, I would get up in the morning and the first thing I would do was ride my rocking horse.  Now isn’t that a great way to start the day?!  My mom also tells me that my grandfather loved horses.  Can these sorts of personal “loves” be passed down through generations?  I like to think so.  Since I never knew my grandfather, I still feel a connection to him knowing we share a love of horses.

Pepsi – At the risk of starting a debate, I gotta say Pepsi rules.  It’s way better than Coca-Cola in my humble opinion.  There’s nothing like that carbonation burn from a freshly opened Pepsi.  Ahhhhh…  And it keeps that great fizz long after a Coke has gone flat.  But hey, all you Coca-Cola lovers, drink on! More Pepsi for me!

Jack Russell Terriers – I still remember the first time I saw a Jack in a big picture book of dog breeds. I was smitten right then and there.  I’ve had three of them in my life – each of them unique and crazy in their own way.  My current Jack Russell, Maxwell, is the sweetest boy ever – so very smart and such a great little companion.  The TV show, Frasier, made these dogs popular but I always caution people who want one that they are not for everyone.  They need lots of attention, exercise, and discipline.  But the rewards sure are great when you have a happy Jack as a friend!

Minions – In particular, Dave.  Gosh darn it, these guys are cute and I wish they were real.  I have a sneaking suspicion that whoever dreamed up these wonderful little characters tapped into a simple truth about us humans.  We are generally sweet and helpful but have that “naughty” side that likes to come out now and then!

So there you have it, my first edition of Five Favorites Friday!  I think I will focus on my favorite campy movies next Friday but if you have a suggestion for Five Favorites Friday, let me know!

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