May 30 2017

Not One, Not Two, But Three Movie Reviews!

I have always loved to go to the movies and this is the time of year when there are so many movies to see. I love summer! Okay, it’s not technically summer yet; but the movie feast has begun.

I also love that our theater has converted all their seats to recliners. *bliss* It’s a double bonus that you get assigned seating as well. No more having to get to the movie theater early to ensure a good seat. Now we can just stroll in ten minutes before the movies starts, head to our seats, kick back with our feet up, and enjoy the film!

In the past month, I have seen three movies and decided to lump them all into one, hopefully unique, review. (warning: slight spoilers ahead)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (or how to do a sequel right)

The guardians are back and this time they are a cohesive team (well, mostly). Everything that made the first movie fun is continued in the sequel. The humor is there as well as the special effects. This time around, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot are hired by the Sovereign alien race to protect their valuable batteries from invaders. But Rocket decides to steal one of the batteries and so the Sovereign send out their army to seek revenge and kill the guardians. Meanwhile, Star-Lord discovers who his father is and that’s when the fun begins. I thoroughly enjoyed the new character, Mantis, and hope that she will be joining the team in future movies. Baby Groot is a hoot. Hey, I’m a poet and don’t even know it! And what’s not to love about getting to see an old favorite like Kurt Russell playing Ego? Yes, this sequel is how it should be done – with one tiny exception – the soundtrack from the first movie was better. Eh, you can’t have everything.   My score: B+

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (or how not to do a sequel)

This is the fifth Pirates movie and while there were some parts that were good, I found many of the action scenes incredibly ludicrous. Yes, the Pirate movies are known for some over-the-top stuff but I still had trouble suspending my disbelief at some scenes, in particular the team of horses dragging a giant building through the streets of town at top speed. Yeah… no. This new adventure has the pirate-killing ghost, Capt. Salazar, and his deadly ghost sailors escaping the Devil’s Triangle and hunting down their nemesis, Capt. Jack Sparrow. Meanwhile, Will Turner’s son, Henry, has discovered that the legendary Trident of Poseidon will free his father, who is living a cursed life at sea as the captain of the Flying Dutchman. He is aided by the headstrong astronomer and horologist, Carina. Eventually, everyone is after the Trident because of its power to command the ocean. Much of the “humor” in this film fell flat. Johnny Depp as Capt. Sparrow was inept and bumbling throughout the movie, relying on others to save him time and time again. The flashback to his younger days with the use of CGI wound up being very creepy. I just don’t think they have perfected CGI technology enough to convincingly show someone as younger. For me, the best parts of this movie were the scenes with Capt. Barbossa, played so well by Geoffery Rush; and the eventual reunion of Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner. And yet that end scene was still not long enough to satisfy me. It’s obvious they are trying to revive the franchise with new characters, namely Henry and Carina, but I think it’s time to let it all end.   My score: C

Snatched (or how to do ludicrous right)

Frankly, the only reason I went to see this movie was because of Goldie Hawn. I’ve always been a big fan. Despite that, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this movie and it certainly wasn’t the best comedy I’ve ever seen, but I still found myself laughing heartily. Sometimes I think that the audience and the person you are seeing the movie with (in this case, my daughter) can make all the difference in a viewing experience. Maybe that was the case for me. I mean, some of the humor was crude but the plot was so ludicrous at times that it became hilariously funny. And the people in the audience were loving it. There were even some endearing mother/daughter moments. Amy Schumer plays Emily who gets dumped by her boyfriend shortly before her planned “non-refundable” vacation to Ecuador. She persuades her reluctant mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn), to accompany her. Emily and Linda are almost polar opposites in their vacationing style and views on life. They have some squabbles and differences in opinion but when they are kidnapped by some bad guys, they have to work together to escape their captors. When all is said and done, these two women wind up doing more bad things than their captors. Joan Cusack as a stealthy ex-special ops agent trying to help them is a riot. And Emily’s freaked out brother and a less than helpful State Department official working to get the ladies rescued is a funny side story. I do think that some of Goldie’s fun-loving silliness was missing in this movie. Even so, it was good to see her acting again. When all is said and done, the best part of the movie was afterwards when my daughter gave me an extra long hug. So this movie ranks right up there with one of my best memories.   My score: A

Share this:
Category: Main blog, Reviews | Comments Off on Not One, Not Two, But Three Movie Reviews!
May 26 2017

Five Favorites Friday – James Bond Movies

I was saddened to learn this week that Sir Roger Moore had passed away. In tribute to him, I am sharing my five favorite James Bond movies. The iconic character has been played by seven different actors over the years. Frankly, I’m not sure that David Niven fully counts as the film he was in was considered a satire. George Lazenby was also in only one film and foolishly decided not to do any further 007 films paving the way for Sean Connery to make his mark. After Sean Connery retired from the role, Roger Moore stepped in followed by Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. Timothy Dalton did a fair job but lacked that something “special” to make him stand out. Pierce Brosnan was never even close to a proper James Bond, in my humble opinion, and utterly forgettable in the role. I feel that the whole franchise was rebooted with a much darker and less fun vibe when Daniel Craig stepped into the role. I was unsure of Craig at first but he eventually won me over once I stopped expecting his movies to be like the ones I grew up with – I just had to think of them in a different way. Still, when it comes to James Bond fans, it seems you are either in the camp that prefers Connery or the one that prefers Moore. My first exposure to James Bond was through the Roger Moore films and, consequently, he is my favorite. He brought the sly humor, gadgets, and outlandish escapes to the Bond films and that’s why I loved those movies. So it will come as no surprise that my five favorite 007 movies are all Moore films.

 For Your Eyes Only

Of course, the Bond movies are known for their opening credits with an original song. This movie’s theme was sung by Sheena Easton – love it! There were lots of fun underwater scenes in the movie and it’s great that a parrot is the one to give away the location of the bad guy.

Live and Let Die

This was the first Bond movie to star Roger Moore. Awesome and powerful theme song by Wings. This is a wildly fun film and has one of my favorite scenes in which Bond, trapped by alligators, runs along their backs to escape.

The Man With the Golden Gun

I love the end scene in this one with Bond outwitting the bad guy, Scaramanga, in a fun house. Hervé Villechaize (of Fantasy Island fame) is a fun accomplice to Scaramanga and it’s so amusing to see the way he gets his comeuppance at the end of the movie.

The Spy Who Loved Me

My absolute favorite Bond film. Love Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does it Better,” one of my favorite songs. Barbara Bach is great as the Russian spy forced to help Bond. And this is the movie that introduces the hilariously fun character, Jaws, played by Richard Kiel. Fabulous sets on this one and I love the car that turns into a submarine!

A View to a Kill

The last Bond movie that starred Moore. *sob* Christopher Walken was a great villain and Grace Jones was a bizarre addition but amusing henchman (or should I say henchwoman?) The end scene on the Golden Gate Bridge can still make me cringe even though I know how it ends. The theme song by Duran Duran is a great one and I will still turn up the radio whenever it comes on.

R.I.P. Sir Roger Moore. Thanks for the memories.

Share this:
Category: Five Favorites Friday, Main blog | Comments Off on Five Favorites Friday – James Bond Movies
May 25 2017

It’s All About the Dinosaurs



I recently paid a visit to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. The day of my visit was rather surreal for me. Having been to this museum countless times over the years with my husband and daughter, this time was vastly different and left me feeling a bit melancholy. You see, it was Mother’s Day and my daughter, unfortunately, had to work that day; so she could not join us in visiting the museum. On top of that, the museum did not appear to be a Mother’s Day destination. It was practically empty – great for taking pictures but oh so very quiet and a bit eerie. As we walked around the exhibits, memories of past visits flooded my mind:

My ever curious and enthusiastic girl in awe of the dinosaurs… her small hand tentatively reaching out to the starfish in the touch pool… hiding from her dad in the volcano exhibit and giggling when he didn’t see us… learning about planets… watching the latest movie in the IMAX Dynatheater…

Yes, it was a more subdued visit than in the past but the memories were good ones and the magic of this museum was still there.

While the dinosaurs will remain my favorite part of the museum (and the obvious focus of most of my pictures), there are many other exhibits to explore and new temporary exhibits that keep the museum fresh and fun. I also love the artwork and painted murals. It really is a beautiful museum and we are fortunate to have it here in Albuquerque.


If you are in Albuquerque, be sure to visit the museum and plan on seeing a show in the Dynatheater and/or Planetarium! Click here for the museum’s website.

Share this:
Category: Albuquerque, Main blog | Comments Off on It’s All About the Dinosaurs
May 19 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Vintage Board Games

As a kid, there was nothing like spending a lazy afternoon playing a board game, whether it was to escape the heat of summer or the chill of winter. My family often played board games as well as countless games of Yahtzee, Chinese Checkers, and Memory. My sister and I had even had our own version of how to play Monopoly. We always decided beforehand who would get which properties. Then the game just became a matter of who could land on their properties first to acquire them and build them up with houses and hotels. Consequently, our game of Monopoly could go on for hours. Haha.

Even as an adult, I still love to play a good board game. Balderdash is one of my favorites. I still remember when Pictionary was the latest and greatest game that everyone had to play. It was so widely popular that they even started a game show on the premise called Win, Lose, or Draw. Fun!

When it come to games, I definitely prefer games of luck to games of strategy. Hmmm….guess I don’t like to think too hard when playing a game! Here are five favorites from my youth:

Go For Broke

This was the opposite of Monopoly. You started out with a million dollars and you had to be the first player to spend all your money. It was surprisingly difficult to get rid of all your money and the game could go on a long time. But I loved it and wanted to play it all the time. A few years ago I found a vintage Go For Broke board game on eBay that I just had to buy!



My childhood friend, Luke, and I played this game endlessly during the summer. It’s a relatively quick game so we devised a way to make game play last longer by going around the board 3 times before heading to the end scenario. I can still remember the sound that spinner made and how it would sometimes pop off the board if you spun too hard!


Mouse Trap

This game was an absolute bear to set up and get all the components working together properly. I think the toughest part was getting that guy to jump in the tub. When he did jump in the tub, it was all about that cage making it to the bottom to catch the mouse. Oh, the frustration as it would often get stuck! But when you did get it right, it was fabulous!



The ultimate game of luck. This one could get brutal but it was all okay because you could say “Sorry!”



Just looking at the picture for this one makes me happy. I LOVED this game. You had to ask questions to try to figure out which card other players were holding. The best part about this game was that some of the characters could lie and so it made it much tougher for others to figure out which card you were holding. I think I need to see if they have it on eBay. I want to play it right now!

Share this:
Category: Five Favorites Friday, Main blog | Comments Off on Five Favorites Friday – Vintage Board Games
May 12 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Songs by Train

This coming Wednesday we will be going to a Train concert! They put on a great show and I’m looking forward to hearing some old favorites and some new songs as well. Train is one of the bands that helped me to once again appreciate music beyond the 1980s. For a while there, I was not impressed with the new music. But Train has such a unique sound and such an awesome way with lyrics, I couldn’t help but love them. With my thanks to them for expanding my playlist, here are my five favorite songs by Train:

Angel In Blue Jeans

I first heard this one while shopping at Kohls. Haha. But it was one of those songs that instantly grabbed me and I loved it right from the start. The old western sound to this is just so haunting and beautiful.


Drive By

Peppy and fun. This will get you singing along and tapping your foot if not flat out dancing.


50 Ways To Say Goodbye

Oh, the lyrics to this are hilarious and the video is too funny. It’s so unusual. Who else can incorporate a mariachi band into a pop song?


Hey, Soul Sister

This is the song that got me listening to Train – I had to laugh when he mentioned his “untrimmed chest” and threw in the band name “Mister Mister” just because it rhymed with the title of the song.  I love Pat Monahan’s sense of humor.



Once again, the lyrics are brilliant and throwing Johnny Depp into them is too clever. I always want to sing along to this one.


If you want to hear the songs and see the videos, just click on the pictures. Enjoy!






Share this:
Category: Five Favorites Friday, Main blog | Comments Off on Five Favorites Friday – Songs by Train
May 5 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Dennis aka Starlord Edition

It’s Friday, it’s Cinco de Mayo, and it’s Starlord’s birthday! As a special birthday present, I have decided to shine the spotlight on my husband and list five of my favorite things about him. Of course, there are many more than five things but here are some that come to mind:

1) He’s a great dad! In the early days, he did his share of diaper duty, bottle feedings, and getting up in the middle of the night. And while those days are long behind us, he’s still ready to jump to help out our daughter when she calls. Over the years, he’s coached soccer games, driven her to various activities, cheered her on at karate meets, helped with homework, taught her to ride a bike and drive a car, and so much more. Two flashback photos which make me a bit weepy.


2) He loves the United States of America and proudly served in the US Air Force for 20 years. His heart beats red,white, and blue just like mine does. And while our time in the military was sometimes difficult with moves, TDYs, and deployments, there are still days when I miss seeing him leave for work in uniform. Some more flashback photos that make my heart flutter.

3) He loves animals and has indulged my need for furry, feathered, and finned creatures to share our home over the years.

4) He spoils me. He’s never forgotten a birthday or anniversary and he’s helped me check off several items off the old bucket list whether it’s places I’ve wanted to visit or things I’ve wanted to do.

5) He’s unfailingly supportive. There have been some rough bumps in the road due to my health issues but he’s never complained and always been at my side through all the scary stuff. I know I can count on him. He’s one of the good guys and I’m lucky to be loved by him.  Happy Birthday, Starlord!

Share this:
Category: Five Favorites Friday, Main blog | Comments Off on Five Favorites Friday – Dennis aka Starlord Edition
May 3 2017

Garlic, Asparagus, and Broccoli, Oh My!


If you follow my blog, you know that every Friday I do a Five Favorites post. I have to say it’s pretty fun sharing my favorite things whether it’s movies, songs, or something else. And it’s also fun when you let me know your own favorites. But today I must go down a dark road. Yes, I have to confess some things I don’t like for the simple reason that I feel like a true oddball for some of my dislikes. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a “foodie” but I do like to cook and I enjoy watching cooking shows, especially cooking competitions such as Master Chef and Chopped! I also follow a couple of food bloggers on Facebook. Over the years, I’ve come to learn what chefs get excited about, what is considered the best cook on a steak, how to properly chop an onion, and more. I’ve also come to learn… I’m not chef material.

You see, I don’t like garlic. There! I said it. I do not go over the moon about it and I don’t want to add it to every dish I make. Nope! And I consider asparagus a weed. Blech. Seeing chefs wrap bacon around asparagus makes me think it’s a total waste of good bacon. Eww! Not only that, I don’t like broccoli. Gasp! This foul weed seems to be on every menu as a side dish. Giant chunks of it barely cooked. Ugh. They don’t even have the decency to smother it in cheese.

When people find out I don’t like these things, they just stare at me in disbelief. I’m an oddity. But it doesn’t end there. I don’t drink coffee. Never have, never will. Do you know how pervasive coffee is in our society? It’s practically the first thing someone asks you if you want wherever you go. So awkward to have to decline…repeatedly. The only benefit to not liking coffee is not having to wait in line at Starbucks. Hah!

As long as I’m confessing, I guess I should say I don’t like pineapple…or olives…or dark chocolate.

Not only that, I like my steak only slightly pink in the center, not medium rare – ick! Gordon Ramsey would be so dismayed. I want to try to make his Beef Wellington so badly but the cook on that is just bloody rare and I can’t do it. Sorry, Gordon!

I suppose I can comfort myself with the knowledge that our differences are what makes the world a unique place. So I will continue to chop my onions finely no matter the recipe as I abhor giant chunks of onion in my dishes. I will request no garlic in my food when I go to restaurants. I will ask for green beans or corn instead of broccoli. I will eat my way around any olives and leave them lonely on my plate. I will politely decline a coffee after my meal and watch the waiter shake his head as he walks back to the kitchen to get my dessert (which, by the way, does not have pineapple in it.)

So…my question is this. Am I the only one? What do you dislike that makes you feel like an oddball?






Share this: