June 30 2017

Five Favorites Friday – USA

When I was in elementary school, we would start each school day by standing next to our desks, facing the American flag, hands over our hearts, and saying the Pledge of Allegiance together. It was this simple act of respect that planted the seeds of love for my country. Some days we would sing together patriotic songs such as “America the Beautiful”, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”, and “This Land is Your Land.” During those formative years, I learned our independence had been hard won and I was grateful to have been born in a land where freedom rings. I was also taught that America was a great “melting pot” of cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. Our differences were celebrated and we worked together to make the USA a better place for all. Over the past few years, I have been disheartened to see a breaking down of this fundamental ideal. Time and time again, I think of the words of Abraham Lincoln:

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

I sincerely hope that Abraham Lincoln was not a psychic! America’s 241st birthday is coming up and so this Friday I am sharing my favorites things about my homeland.

The Diversity

50 amazing states – you could spend your whole life exploring all the wonders! Mountains, beaches, rolling hills, forests, swamps, deserts, volcanoes, fields of flowers, and amber waves of grain! Monuments, museums, skyscrapers, farmhouses, subways, dirt roads, small towns, big cities, and everything in between. Diners, restaurants, food trucks and food stands with every type of of meal you can think of and more. Festivals, fairs, parks, concerts, plays, and don’t forget Disneyland!

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me!

(lyrics by Woody Guthrie)

The Dream

America is the country where you can achieve a better life for yourself regardless of the circumstances of your birth or social class. Sometimes I think we’ve forgotten that this is not something that is handed out to you. You actually have to work for it. Countless Americans have done it and in the process have made the lives of others better as well.

The Flag

George M. Cohan said it best:

You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.

The Military

For those who fought for freedom and for those who continue to fight to protect it, I am eternally grateful.

The Statue of Liberty

Standing on the broken shackles and chains of oppression and tyranny and holding a torch that lights the way to freedom, she has been a beacon of hope for generations.

God Bless America!


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June 29 2017

Hitting the Big 50!

Nope, I’m not referring to my age although that birthday is just around the corner – ugh. Today, I’m excited to say that this is my 50th blog post! It took me less than six months to reach this goal. Woot! But can I do better?!

We? Yes, this is my blog but I don’t just write for myself, I write for you! So, I need you to encourage me to keep going!

Anyway, this is going to be one of those meandering posts about things on my mind this week. First off, I have to give props to my husband for spotting a baby praying mantis in one of our flower pots recently. I was able to get a pretty amazing picture of the little guy! If you look very closely, you can actually see two little droplets of water on him. How cool is that? If you click on the picture, a larger version should load so you can see a closeup.

Secondly, the dogs days of summer have set in. I bet you thought that phrase refers to the extreme heat of summer making you want to lie around panting like a dog? However, it was actually a phrase used by the Greeks and Romans referring to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the sky. “Dog days” were when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun in late July. Over time, the phrase lost its true meaning and became associated with the hottest days of summer. Speaking of dogs, Max isn’t overly fond of the heat. Our morning walks are when he’s most energetic  – before it starts to get hot. Still by the evening, he is ready to play. Since it’s been in the 90s this week, he enjoys a good game of tug-o-war in the air-conditioned house while waiting for it to be cool enough for his evening walk. What a cutie patootie.

Have you noticed the trend out there for monthly box subscriptions? I’ve tried a few different ones over the past year or so. My favorite is my subscription to the Book of the Month Club. It helps me to discover new authors and books I might not otherwise have noticed. I recently decided to try a monthly subscription to a German food box. Since the only German deli closed down in Albuquerque, I haven’t been able to find German products as easily. Wah! Sure, there’s Amazon and other German food websites but a monthly surprise in the mail sounded so much more fun. Here’s what I got in my first box:

Let me know if you have any suggestions for monthly box subscriptions. I’ve tried Barkbox. Max loved it and there were some really cool toys in the boxes. After a while though, we started to have WAY too many dog treats piling up and Max didn’t always like them. I’ve also tried Graze. The snacks were fairly good but I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the cost. Even so, it’s always fun to try a new one so I’m eager to hear if you know of some good ones!!




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June 23 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Sounds of Summer

It’s officially summer – my favorite season… I think. The past week has been extremely hot in Albuquerque. Temps have been over 100. Is it ironic that our AC unit broke down on the first day of summer? Fortunately, it was a quick fix; otherwise, I may have had to go to a hotel. Heat like this is no fun. I much prefer temps in the 80s, just like my music. Hah!

I’m glad that the forecast is showing cooler temps in a few days. I can go back to really enjoying summer. I love wearing sandals and being jacket-free. When I was a kid, it was truly the lazy days of summer. Running through sprinklers and eating popsicles, walking barefoot through cool, green grass, and games of “kick the can” and “red-light, green-light” – those were the days!

With these memories in mind, I am sharing my favorite sounds of summer:


The cheerful chatter of birds in the early morning hours are a pleasant way to wake up and start your day. You just know that those birds are happy it is summer and the bugs are plentiful.


Now I am no fan of insects; and crickets are no exception. Still, there is something soothing about the sound of crickets chirping on a summer evening. It makes me feel like everything is alright with the world.

Ice Cream Truck

Nothing says summer like an ice cream truck! Boy, did I have a popsicle obsession as a child!


I’m not sure why this sound is pleasing to me but maybe it’s just because I love the smell of freshly mown grass. Ever taken a giant blade of grass and put it between your thumbs and blown on it to make it whistle? That’s a good sound too!

Rustling leaves in the breeze

A little breeze blowing through the leaves of a tree is serenity.

Happy Summer!


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June 20 2017

The Apple of My Eye

Twenty-four years ago today, a very special baby was born. Her arrival was ten days later than expected and her father had to crash through the ceiling to scare her out of my womb! But that’s another story entirely! This fair-haired and blue-eyed girl was always happy and would start her day with a big smile. She shared my love of books, animals, crafts, and movies. Fearless and always excited to learn new things, she kept me on my toes. Over the years she has taught me so much. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around? Of the many wonderful memories I have of her growing up, I often think of just the ordinary days when she would come home from school, sit down in the kitchen, and tell me all about her day while I cooked dinner. Oh, for just one more ordinary day like that…

In honor of Marena’s birthday, I’m going to describe her using the letters of her name. It’s a silly but fun thing I used to do back in elementary school and since I’m feeling nostalgic these days, why not?

is for “maverick” – my daughter is an independent thinker, an original, a nonconformist, paving her own way through life. You go, girl!

A is for “artistic” – she’s got mad drawing skills (even though she doesn’t think so!)

is for “rare” – unique, compassionate, beautiful, strong – a true gem!

E is for “endearing” – enough said.

N is for “nerdy” – back in my day, this was kind of an insult but it seems that it is more a badge of honor these days. And I’ve come to realize that she comes by it honestly!

is for “authentic” – there’s nothing phony about Marena and you always know where you stand with her. I like that a lot.



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June 18 2017

On Top of the Watermelon Mountains

We recently decided to get away from the city a little and hike along the top of Sandia Mountains. Since Max was tagging along, we drove to the top. In the past, we have sometimes taken the tram to the top but there are no doggies allowed on the tram so it was by car we went!  It was still fairly cool when we arrived but very pleasant weather for hiking. Unfortunately, I once again picked a day when it was windy; so the clear pictures of the city I was hoping for did not happen. Still, I did take a few pictures to share!

Max enjoyed the excursion and all the wonderful new smells to discover!

Once the trail headed into the woods a bit more, we couldn’t feel the wind and it was quite pleasant. Since we arrived early, there were very few people around and we could enjoy the sounds of birds chirping and a breeze blowing through the tops of the trees. The trail can be a bit rugged in spots where there are stones and tree roots but as long as you are careful, it is a nice hike.

Our starting point was the Sandia Crest and we hiked about two miles to the Sandia Peak Tramway. We took a break at the tramway so I could get a couple of pictures. Looking at the tram heading back down kind of made my stomach do a flip flop. I can’t believe I’ve actually ridden in that thing! The ride takes about 15 minutes each way and the views are amazing. But I still shudder a little because I’m pretty scared of heights. The temperature is usually about 30 degrees cooler on the peak than in the city so it’s a nice place to go in the heat of summer.


I’m not a skier so I’ve never been on the peak in the winter time but there is skiing if you like to do that.

After our break, we headed back to the car. I was pretty tired at this point and it was a bit tougher going back as we had to head up to the crest. I distracted myself by taking pictures of flowers.

So Sandia is Spanish for watermelon. There are two possible explanations for the name. Many people believe that the mountains got their name because they often look pink at sunset. And if they are viewed from the west, there is a line of green conifer trees near the top which could be the rind of the watermelon.  Pretty cool!  However, some people believe the Spaniards first called them the Sandias because they thought the squash growing there were watermelons and the name was then associated with the mountains. I know which explanation I believe.

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June 16 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Puns

It’s been a bit of a tough week and so I’m ready to have some fun today! I’ve been told I have a weird sense of humor, to which I say, “better a weird one than none at all!”

Puns are my favorite types of jokes. Did you know that puns are also called paronomasia? Me either! Well, that is, until now. So now we all know and we’ll remember it in the morning, right?  Uh huh.  Anyway, is it any wonder that I love a good pun? After all, they are a playing with words, exploiting double meanings or similar sounding words all in the name of humor. There are an endless amount of puns out there and so it is pretty tough to only pick out five favorites. I could probably list a few dozen quite easily. But I have persevered and come up with these gems:

Why don’t cannibals eat clowns?  They taste funny!


What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire?  Frostbite!


I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  It’s impossible to put down.


I was addicted to the hokey pokey, but I turned myself around.


I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger, then it hit me.


I hope you find these as amusing as I do. If not, share with me your favorite pun or joke. Laughter is good for the soul and it’s the best medicine, you know!


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June 9 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Childhood Books

I’ve always been a bookworm. It’s rather dangerous for me to go into a bookstore. I have piles of books next to my bed waiting to be read and yet I still want to buy more. It’s a sickness – what can I say? I love all kinds of books but, in particular, I love thick books that have tiny print with super thin pages you can almost see through. In fact, I won’t buy a book if the print is too big. This will probably change now that I appear to need reading glasses in addition to my contacts. Ugh! I’m going to be one of those women with reading glasses hanging around my neck. Yikes! I plan to fight that for as long as I can though. When I buy a new book, I always choose a book from the back of the shelf. I want it to be pristine –  fresh, if you will. It’s gotten so that even my daughter wants a “fresh” book.

Having said that, I also love old books. Ever go into an antique store and browse the books? They have such a wonderful smell and feel. It makes you wonder about the people who read and cherished them before you. If I could have a giant room in my house filled with books…

Anyway, when I was in 4th grade, my teacher, Miss Cox, would give her class spelling tests each week. After a couple of months, she would take the students with the highest scores and treat them to a book of their choosing! I still remember one time when I beat everyone in the class because I didn’t miss one single spelling word. So I was the only one to go to the bookstore with Miss Cox! She took me to the delightful Chinook Bookstore in downtown Colorado Springs. I was thrilled to be getting a brand new book. When Miss Cox told me that I could pick out three new books because she had expected to buy for more students, I was over the moon! That was a wonderful afternoon indeed. Sad to say that the Chinook Bookstore closed in 2004. The big chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble are wonderful but I do love an independent bookstore. They have such charm and you never know what you might find.

I am grateful to all the people who encouraged my love of reading as a child whether it was my parents or teachers. It’s a wondrous thing to be able to lose yourself in a different world for a few hours. As a kid, I was particularly obsessed with any book that had a horse in it. I’m fairly certain I read them all! So while I am on this nostalgia kick, I have decided to share my five favorite books from my childhood. Surprisingly, not all of them are books about horses!

I am not one to reread a book unless it is particularly good. After all, there are so many books and so little time. I don’t want to reread something if I can read something new. Still, there are exceptions and these books from my childhood were ones I read numerous times.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Wonderful story of an orphan girl adopted by unmarried siblings. This book has such heart and humor. Anne had such an extensive vocabulary and wasn’t afraid to use it. I loved that she insisted that the spelling of her name be “Anne with an e” because my own middle name is Anne (definitely with an e!)


The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

I was absolutely crazy about this book and the many others in the series. I still have them all and will never give them up. Unless I have a horse-crazy grandchild one day…


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Charlotte is the only spider I’ve ever cared for. Haha. And that cute little pig, Wilbur..oh my! I so wanted to have a pig of my own. What a beautiful story of love and friendship. I cry at the end every time.


My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara

I actually adore the entire trilogy that Mary O’Hara wrote which also includes Thunderhead and The Green Grass of Wyoming. The characters are so well-written and the love O’Hara has for horses and Wyoming shines through.


Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

The first time I heard of this book was through Miss Cox. Every afternoon, she would read a few chapters to the class. I was enraptured by the story – one I probably would never have thought to read on my own. Oh, but what a tearjerker! It’s one of the all-time greats.



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June 4 2017

Star-Lord and Galileo

Memory is a funny thing. I recently came across a song I had not heard in many, many years but somehow my brain remembered every word and I was able to sing along. Amazing considering I couldn’t have told you at that moment what I had eaten for dinner earlier in the week. I’ve heard that as we age, the past becomes clearer as the present becomes foggier. I don’t know how true this really is but as I get older, nostalgia has become a preoccupation and a long lost song rediscovered can bring back a fountain of memories.

Many of those memories are those I’ve shared with my best friend. Twenty-nine years ago today, I embarked on an adventure called marriage with Star-Lord. I had no idea where life would take us but I didn’t worry about things like that back then. All I knew was I wanted to be with him and if that meant following him across the world, I wanted to do it. Fortunately, I did not have to go that far. During the twenty years of our Air Force life together, we didn’t even get an overseas assignment, staying stateside in California, Ohio, Colorado, and New Mexico. Still, we’ve had our share of adventures – some good, some bad. There’s a song that sums up my feelings today:

Vanessa Williams’ version of this song is my favorite: Oh How the Years Go By

In our times of trouble
We only had ourselves
Nobody else
No one there to save us
We had to save ourselves

And when the storms came through
They found me and you
Back to back together
And when the sun would shine
It was yours and mine
Yours and mine forever

Oh how the years go by
Oh how the love brings tears to my eyes
All through the changes the soul never dies
We fight, we laugh, we cry
As the years go by

There were times we stumbled
They thought they had us down
But we came around
How we rolled and rambled
We got lost and we got found
Now we’re back on solid ground, yeah

We took everything
All our times would bring
In this world of dangers
‘Cause when your heart is strong
You know you’re not alone
In this world of strangers

And if we lose our way
Any night or day
Well we’ll always be
Where we should be
I’m there for you
And I know you’re there for me

Oh how the years go by
Oh how the love brings tears to my eyes
All through the changes the soul never dies
We fight, we laugh, we cry
As the years go by


When I look back on photos, I have to laugh (and cry) at how young we were:




This is us celebrating our 20th anniversary in Maui:



And here we are nine years later:


Seems like the biggest change is our hair color! …okay, that and some extra *cough* pounds.


Oh, and that song that I rediscovered? It’s by Amy Grant and the name of it is Galileo (ironically, Amy also does a version of the above song.) I guess it’s a bit sappy but it’s how I feel and what better time to be a bit sappy than on your anniversary?


In the year of 1492
When Columbus sailed the ocean blue
Had he landed on India’s shore
You might never have come to knock on my door.
Who needs a rhyme or a reason?
Some dreams we’re made to find
So I know that I must follow
Ask me just how much I love you
You are starlight (Star-Lord), I’m Galileo
Even on the darkest night oh
I will find the shining light of our love.


Happy 29th Anniversary, Star-Lord!


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June 3 2017

Wonder Woman – Movie Review

I had been eagerly anticipating this movie for a long time. I just couldn’t believe that there had never been a feature film with Wonder Woman and yet there had been numerous Superman, Batman, and Spiderman movies. A part of me thought that there could never be a new actress to live up to Lynda Carter’s version of Wonder Woman and maybe that’s why they took so long bringing her to the big screen. When I first saw who they cast, I was skeptical but I gotta say I was not disappointed. Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman. She has captured the essence of Wonder Woman and surpassed my expectations. This movie is her origin story and I love that she is unequivocally a god(dess), not just an Amazon princess. She’s got better powers than all the male superheroes combined. Yeah! She’s a badass and yet she’s still compassionate, feminine, and vulnerable  – everything I believed Wonder Woman to be watching her on TV as a kid.

The beginning of the movie shows Diana growing up on Themyscira, an island hidden from mankind. Diana desperately wants to be a warrior although her mother, Hippolyta, does not want her to learn to fight. Eventually, Hippolyta sees it is futile to stop Diana and she allows her sister, Antiope, to train her. There are some pretty cool fighting scenes and Antiope, played by Robin Wright, is fierce. Of course, Diana will become the best warrior of all the Amazons and she will learn a few surprising things about herself.

When WWI soldier Steve Trevor crash lands on the island and Diana rescues him, she learns of the Great War and is determined to put an end to it. Things kick into high gear at this point but there are also humorous moments in the movie that help Diana’s personality to shine through. Despite being a warrior, she has an innocence about the world that is endearing and eventually heartbreaking. In the end, Diana does help to end the war but she also learns what her life mission must be.

The best special effect of this movie is her Lasso of Truth. It was a brilliant idea to make it glow while in use because it helps you to follow the action. Slow-motion during the film is also used to good effect. Was this a perfect film? No, but it was darn close. I would have liked for her to actually have been called “Wonder Woman” at some point in the movie and I think that the role of Ares was miscast. But these are minor grievances. They need to start filming the next Wonder Woman film immediately!

My score: A

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June 2 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Rocks

I recently saw a new flavor of Oreo cookie called Fireworks – they have pop rocks in them. No really! That popping candy is now in Oreo cookies for a limited time! This trend of different flavored Oreos is getting a bit wild, don’t you think? Although the blueberry ones are pretty dang good which means I can never find them anywhere. Anyway… it got me thinking about rocks and a Five Favorites Friday post was born!


Diamonds – Shiny Rocks

Shiny rocks – what girl doesn’t love them? Particularly when set with gold and surrounded with other gems. Haha. I particularly love blue diamonds. And chocolate diamonds… Yessss….pretty rocks….preciousssss


Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

And speaking of pretty rocks… this one has the best smile. I know, I know! But really it’s his smile and great personality. Really


Earth – Third Rock from the Sun

Well, it’s home after all. And such a gorgeous one at that.


Rocky Mountains

I’m a mountain girl for sure. You can have the beach. I want to be near mountains. One thing I miss about living in Colorado – getting to see Pikes Peak every day.


Rock n’ Roll

I love rock n’ roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby!

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