April 28 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Childhood Toys

When I see the toys available to kids today, I am amazed at how much things have changed since I was a kid, especially when it comes to electronics. Still, I have fond memories of my simpler childhood toys. Most of my favorites required a pretty active imagination and some creativity. While I spent a lot of time outdoors, I wasn’t exactly athletic! I did love to ride my bike and play those wonderful games of “kick the can” and “red light, green light” with my friends. At heart, though, I was more of a bookworm and preferred playing in my “own little world”, as my mother would call it.  Here are five of my favorite childhood toys from the ones that I can remember!

Breyer Model Horses

Hands down my absolute favorite toy and they will always have a special place in my heart. I collected them well into adulthood. As a child, I played endlessly with my herd of horses, creating wagons for them made of Legos. Each one was carefully named. My favorites were always the Appaloosas. I was the typical horse-crazy girl. Breyer is still making model horses to this day. They’ve even made some porcelain pieces which I still display in my home.

Lite Brite

Oh, the hours I spent playing with this one! Putting in all the colored pegs and then turning the “screen” on to see your picture light up was magical.

Matchbox Super Garage

I remember getting this for Christmas one year. Inexplicably, I had become enamored with Matchbox cars. I think that cars were considered more of a toy for boys back then. I sure was thrilled with this garage though, despite the fact that it was really tough to put together!

Merlin Electronic Game

Another Christmas gift back in the day. I was over the moon to get this beaut! The commercials for this electronic game were relentless. I still remember the tune. Hah. You could play six different games with Merlin. It was incredibly innovative for its time but put up against modern handheld games, quite simple. I think I still have mine somewhere in my attic!

Sunshine Family

Of course I loved my Barbie and Ken dolls but there was something about the Sunshine family that appealed to me much more. Maybe because they were smaller and fit on my Breyer horses because they had jointed legs. They also had the cutest baby!

It sure is fun to remember all these vintage toys and I am curious to know what your favorites are!

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April 24 2017

Monday, Monday…

I’ve been asked a couple of times why I blog. Isn’t it a bit narcissistic? Am I doing it for some sort of validation? Aren’t I afraid of sharing my innermost thoughts and opening up myself to criticism? Good questions! For me, the main reason I write is for stress relief. Even the simplest of posts will take me a couple of hours to finish. Playing with words and finding pictures to accompany posts are a creative outlet for me. The rest of the world fades away for the time I am focused on writing that post. Still, I do hope that what I write about will resonate with someone whether it’s a shared memory of the past, a similar love of something, or a mutual understanding of the ups and downs of life. So, in a way I am hoping for comments from others on my website or Facebook page – not to give me kudos of some sort but to know that someone else has found amusement or something they can relate to in what I’ve said. One of my most successful posts thus far has been when I shared my five favorite ABBA songs. I was grinning from ear to ear when I saw people share their own favorite ABBA songs. It was good to know that there were others out there still loving those ABBA songs like I do.

My original intent when I started my blogging website was to share about my adopted hometown of Albuquerque. I do still intend to do that but I’ve also discovered that I really enjoy getting nostalgic and sharing memories of things from my youth. My favorite posts to do are the ones for Five Favorites Friday. So I have made a slight change to my website and added a “Five Favorites Friday” tab so that all of those posts can easily be found. I will be delving further back into the past over the next few weeks for my Friday posts. I hope you will enjoy them and I do welcome suggestions.

On to other stuff! It’s Monday and for me that means a busy day. I work at a small church and even though the congregation is small, there is always a lot to do on Monday! The first thing I usually do when I arrive is to check the building to make sure no lights or coffee pots were left on, no doors left unlocked, etc. Now I’m usually the only one in the building at this time and so I’m not expecting to see anyone. On my “rounds” I check the back area of the sanctuary where the baptistry is located. Today I realized that I give myself a fright each and every Monday morning when I open the door and see this:

Yes, that is a pair of waders hanging from the stairs. A quick glance makes it seem like someone is standing there. Hah! I really have no idea why they are hanging there. I can’t imagine someone wearing waders like this to get baptized. But who knows? I’ve never asked. I finally decided to take them down and set them in the corner. I really got tired of having heart palpitations every Monday morning!

The past few days have been really windy which is typical for spring time in Albuquerque. It’s my least favorite kind of weather particularly when my allergies are bad. I am glad that spring is here though as I enjoy all the new green. There are some trees, however, that first bloom with little flowers before they get their leaves. They are ornamental cherry and pear trees. The pear trees have white blossoms and the cherry trees have pink blossoms. I took a couple of pictures to show you how they look:


Let me just say that white is bad and pink is good. Why? The white blossoms have a putrid odor that defies description. I actually hold my breath while walking past them. The odor of the white flowers are so disgusting as to induce vomiting. I am never more glad than when these trees stop blooming and get their leaves. In contrast, the trees with pink blossoms smell wonderful. I’m happy to say that the time of the stinky trees has passed for this year!

One last thing for today. I saw this car recently while driving to work. I was very amused by the bumper sticker. It says: 0 to 60…Eventually   And it’s on a Prius. I hope that makes you laugh as much as it made me laugh. Have a good week everyone!

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April 21 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Animals at the Rio Grande Zoo

Back in October of 2015, Albuquerque voted for a sales tax boost for the BioPark which is expected to raise 255 million over 15 years for repairs and new exhibits at the zoo, aquarium, and botanical gardens. While the Rio Grande Zoo is already a wonderful place, I was thrilled when this measure passed. Almost immediately I began to see improvements happening at my favorite place to visit! Last Saturday, we made a long overdue visit to the zoo. The weather was gorgeous and we wanted to see the new tiger. Turns out that there is major construction going on due to the funding from the sales tax increase; so some exhibits were closed down temporarily. Looks like we will be getting a new penguin exhibit in the near future – just one of the many exciting projects in the works! Anyway, I had gone with the intent of taking some photos for my blog but decided to wait until some things were completed. However, since the zoo has been on my mind this week, I decided to share five of my favorites animals.

My choices may be a bit unconventional considering the elephants, giraffes, lions, polar bears, apes, and many, many other wonderful animals. I really love them all but the following five are ones I have to see during each visit.


One of the cool things about the Rio Grande Zoo is their behind the scenes tours. Last summer, my husband and I took a hippo tour and we got to feed them! It was so much fun and we learned so much. In the above photo you can see the latest baby – Brynn!

Fun fact: Hippos bask on the shoreline and secrete an oily red substance which led people to think that they sweat blood. The liquid is actually a skin moistener and sunblock!



These tiny antelopes are just too cute. Their name means “rock jumper.” Since they are nocturnal, it’s always a treat when we get to see one of them.

Fun fact: Klipspringers have a coat made up of coarse hairs which can sometimes damage their teeth.




This sweet little deer is named Tank. We were able to interact with him during our behind the scenes tour of the hippos. He absolutely loves Cheerios. I was amazed at how affectionate he was despite those tusk-like teeth!

Fun fact: Muntjac is the oldest species of deer. It has existed on Earth 15 to 30 million years.


Prairie Dogs


I could watch these guys for hours. I have witnessed them play hide and seek with each other and try to scare each other by jumping out of hiding places. It’s hilarious! The babies are especially fun. And what’s not to love about a creature that revels in basking in the sun flaunting their chubbiness?

Fun fact: Prairie dogs live in underground burrows. Each burrow has a bathroom, nursery room and resting area.


Sichaun Takin


A couple of years ago, we decided to become zoo parents to the takin. I have always found them to be fascinating and when baby Beau was born, I was totally smitten. There’s just something about them that makes me smile.

Fun fact: The blonde coat of the takin is believed to have inspired the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece.


While I was looking through my photos of the zoo, I saw so many great pictures and realized how much my family and I have enjoyed this zoo over the years. Undoubtedly, I will post about the zoo many more times. By the way, we did get to see the new tiger. He is gorgeous!

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April 19 2017

Nearly 24

My daughter recently reminded me that she is “nearly” 24. In two short months, she will indeed be twenty-four years old. I’m not sure how that happened so, so very quickly. Feeling the pangs of nostalgia, I began looking through old pictures in the archives of my computer. I realized two things – one, we take a lot of pictures of animals; and two, my “baby” girl has been a great source of fun and pride through the years. She was always so independent and willing to try new things, unapologetically marching to the beat of her own drum. That is a joy to a parent. Sometimes I think she has taught me more than I ever taught her. As I looked at the pictures, I could see glimpses of the amazing woman she has become today. Her love of all living creatures, her compassion, her sense of humor, her dedication to her job, and her unique way of looking at the world are just a few of the things I love about her.

There are hundreds of pictures on my computer but a few stood out to me while I was reminiscing – at least in that particular section!

Oh yes, this girl loves furry and feathered critters.  Just like her mama!

What wonders will you discover in your life, dear daughter?

Be sure to always have that cupcake when given the chance!

Thanks for making me a mom!  Love ya, baby girl!

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April 16 2017

Happy Easter!



These pictures of Maxwell were taken last year.  It seems that Easter snuck up on me this year despite the fact that I work for a church. Hah! I did not get any new pictures of Max but since I have not posted these on my website before now, they’re sorta new? Right?

I do have one new picture to share though.  This little guy loving his new basket toy:

Happy Easter everyone!

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April 14 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Flowers

It’s spring and things are blooming! So I thought I would share my five favorite flowers.  Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by one of my picks. If you were thinking sunflower, you’d be right! Here are my top five:

Alstroemeria – They come in so many wonderful colors and they last a long time.  They look great with other flowers as well so they make a super “filler” flower.

Carnations – These flowers last a long time too and I love their scent. I must be weird because I’d prefer a dozen of these over roses any day!

Lilacs – I so wish these would bloom throughout the summer and not just spring.  They smell so divine! And those purples…sigh…

Pansies – Such cute little flowers!  And you can enjoy them all summer long!

Sunflowers – Gorgeous, happy flowers that follow the sun.  Enough said!

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April 10 2017

Nothing Is Inevitable

A Facebook friend of mine recently posted the following quote: “When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.” This is something that I try to work on every day of my life and it’s not easy! There are so many things out of our control as humans; yet we still try our best to live under a false illusion of control. As someone who struggles with a chronic health issue, I often feel vulnerable and at the mercy of forces beyond my control. I get angry and frustrated trying to understand and give some meaning to all the struggles. Yet there are moments when I connect with someone or see something that shakes me out of my self-reverie and draws me out to a bigger purpose. They are just glimpses into possibilities or potentials for us as humans. Nonetheless, they are glimpses of hope for me.

Last night as I was watching one of my favorite shows, “Call the Midwife”, one of the characters was afraid that his unborn child would not live. He thought it was “inevitable” since both he and his wife suffered from achondroplasia or dwarfism. When the Reverend Tom replied, “By trusting in God, nothing is inevitable”, a jolt went through me. YES! Somehow I felt bolstered by this – enough to forge ahead with a new medical regimen I was apprehensive about, enough to share with the world that I struggle most days. While I try to keep my blog posts fun and upbeat, it’s still been a challenge to openly share things at times. I’ve seen how the anonymity of the internet can allow people to say cruel and hurtful things without consequences. Even so, I have to believe that if I can help one person smile, laugh, or feel less alone, it is worth it.

This morning, I inexplicably looked out my front spare bedroom window. It’s not a part of my morning routine. I can’t really say what made me look out but when I did, I gasped at the sight of the setting moon. It was a stunning orange and yellow against a dark azure morning sky. I ran to get my camera, knowing this moment would be fleeting. I managed to capture a fairly decent picture despite my limited knowledge of camera settings. I simply had to capture that moment. Was it a coincidence that I should see this glorious moon to start out my day; especially considering the rough days of last week? Probably. But I choose to see this as a gentle reminder of a Creator that cares for me and that nothing is inevitable.

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April 7 2017

Five Favorites Friday – ABBA Songs


Sometimes when I’m feeling a bit blue, I put on some ABBA songs and I am instantly cheered. This hugely popular Swedish band from the 1970’s had such a unique sound, it’s no wonder their music stands the test of time. I must have listened to my ABBA albums dozens of times as teen. I was delighted when they had a resurgence of popularity with the adaptation of many of their songs into the musical, “Mamma Mia!” and a film of the same name. When it came to choosing my favorite ABBA songs, it was exceedingly difficult. I pretty much love them all. But since it’s Five Favorites Friday, here are my picks:

Dancing Queen – I was actually hesitant to pick this one as it seems the obvious choice. It was their best selling song after all. But what can I say? That opening piano glissando immediately grabs me. I love it.

Does Your Mother Know – This song was the one I put on repeat the most. That beat was infectious and one of the few songs in which the guys had lead vocals. When Rowan Atkinson sang the song into his toothbrush in the movie, “Johnny English”, it just cemented in my mind how great this song is!

SOS – I was debating between this one and Mamma Mia! Ultimately, this one edged the other out by a hair!

Super Trouper – This one just makes my heart sing!

Waterloo – Upbeat and fun and it never fails to make me want to sing along.

I discovered two fun facts about the band while looking online.

  • Their outlandish outfits were actually for a more practical reason than you would think. According to Swedish law, if the outfits were only worn for performances, they could be tax deductions.

  • The band name was indeed an acronym from the first letters of each of their first names. What I didn’t know is that Abba is also a well-known fish canning company in Sweden so it was a bit of a play on words for them!

Yes, I love this band and wish they were still making music but I will have to be satisfied with the many hits they did create. And you can bet that whenever the musical “Mamma Mia!” is in town, I will be buying tickets!



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April 3 2017

Attack of the Giant Cockatiel!

My husband is a fan of Mordheim and has spent many hours building terrain and buildings for his gaming nights with fellow players. Part of the premise of this tabletop game is that a comet has struck the city of Mordheim essentially destroying it. Thus the buildings he has created are crumbling and falling apart. Recently before one of his gaming nights, we decided to let Levi explore parts of the city. He was hesitant at first:

But he quickly discovered the ladders and bridges:

And decided to help with some destruction:

Oh yes, he had lots of fun.  Peek-a-boo!

And I just realized this is my 25th blog post! *pats self on back*

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April 2 2017

Life – Movie Review

Non-spoiler Review: My daughter put it this way: “The highest budget B movie I’ve ever seen!”

My Review With Some Spoilers:

I generally don’t go to see horror movies – it’s not my favorite genre. I prefer humorous horror movies that don’t have me gripping the sides of my chair until my knuckles turn white. For example, I loved “Zombieland.” A little scary but mostly funny! And if I really want to date myself, 1984’s “Night of the Comet” was a fun zombie/end of the world type movie.

But back to ‘Life.” The preview for this movie looked intriguing albeit a little (okay, A LOT) reminiscent of “Alien”, but since my family wanted to see it, I was game. It has some star power: Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hiroyuki Sanada, which left me hopeful it would be a good movie. The movie started off fairly well with a fun look at an interenational space station and the camaraderie of the crew. They are tasked with retrieving samples from Mars. Of course, they make a big discovery: a single cell organism which proves there is/was life on Mars. And here is where science and logic goes out the window (or should I say airlock?) This single cell organism rapidly grows and becomes an extremely crafty and intelligent octopus-like creature intent on consuming everyone. Imagine my disappointment when Ryan’s character gets killed off first. What?! That’s just not right! At times I was frustrated because the actors mumbled through some of their dialogue and I could not understand what they were saying. In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t really matter. There was also a very unnecessary scene involving a rat in which I averted my eyes for a while. It was only there for the gore factor. The alien creature is quite tenacious and it couldn’t even be killed by a blow torch. Eh, it was a crappy blow torch anyway because it didn’t seem to harm all the numerous equipment it was aimed at! Since there are only six crew members who make one stupid mistake after another, it doesn’t take this movie long to come to its conclusion. And that conclusion is rather predictable. I will refrain from spoiling that outcome in case you do want to see this movie. Frankly, the song played at the end of the movie is HUGE comedic relief. Somebody has a really sick sense of humor out there.

My score: D

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