October 31 2017

Happy Halloween from Maxwell Smart


Puppy Le Pew!

Completely ready to go trick-or-treating, don’t you think?

Better watch out. You don’t want to get in the line of fire! That would be lethal.

The obligatory tongue shot for Mom.

What?! My ears are supposed to look that way!

Happy Halloween!


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October 27 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Max’s Halloween Costumes

Max loves to dress up for Halloween and this year will be no exception. He is quite excited about this year’s costume but we can’t reveal it yet! Instead I will share five of my favorites costumes from previous years. Even though Max is only six years old, you would think that picking five would be a cinch. Nope! You see, sometimes Max just can’t decide which costume he wants to wear so we go through several options. After all, they have to look great as well as be functional for trick-or-treating. Here are the winning costumes that met all of our criteria.

2012 – Count Dogula

2013 – A Bark-Owl

2014 – A Terrier-fying Monster

2015 –  Superdog

2016 – Max the Minion

I have to say that 2017’s costume is going to be a fun one. Check back – you won’t want to miss it!


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October 26 2017

Lately in Albuquerque

The weather continues to be unusually warm for October. Our afternoon walks are such a pleasure right now. However, in the mornings, I actually have to wear a coat! Because I walk before I go to work, it’s still dark out. It’s a serene time of day which allows me to reflect and meditate a bit. Of course, it can also be a bit spooky with all the Halloween decorations. I’m not saying I psyche myself out or anything…

Max is nothing if not a creature of habit, so as soon as his walk is done, he wants his morning snuggle time. He’s not spoiled at all. I mean, just because he maneuvers my hand to the right spot on his neck doesn’t mean he has me under his control, right?

Anyway, Max has been busy deciding what he would like to be for Halloween this year and this is one of the options he was considering. But it seems too obvious. Everyone would know it’s him!

I guess you will just have to wait until Halloween to find out what he finally decided on! And if you haven’t seen Max’s previous choices, be sure to check back tomorrow for my Five Favorites Friday post.

So this time of year, I get a lot of catalogs in the mail. Okay, so I always get a lot of catalogs. But I know Christmas is coming up when it’s 14 in one day! I really don’t order from all of these companies (I don’t!) but hope must spring eternal for them that I just might. In any case, it sure is fun to look through them all.

The clear winner for what I got in the mail this week though was the new Pioneer Woman cookbook! All of her cookbooks are a treat for the eyes and stomach. Plus I just love her sense of humor.

And in other random news, you know you live in New Mexico when you see this at the Wendy’s drive thru:

So I recently finished my online writing course and feel very inspired. In fact, I am going to do something bold in November. I’m taking the NaNoWriMo challenge! Yes, November is National Novel Writing Month and the challenge is to write 50,000 words in one month. It’s a bit daunting so I need some encouragement from all of you especially since Thanksgiving is in November and I got a juror summons for the week of November 13th. Timing is everything, folks. Hah! Even so, I have decided on the title of my novel as well as the premise. If you want me to share a short synopsis with you, post a comment of encouragement. *wink*

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October 20 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Monsters!

Halloween is only 10 days away! It’s hard to believe as the weather is unseasonably warm here. If it continues in this manner, we will have a ton of trick-or-treaters come the big night. Should be fun to see what costumes the kids favor this year.

This month I’ve focused on a Halloween theme for my Friday favorites posts. As I mentioned last Friday, I really don’t do scary. Even so, I do enjoy all the wonderful decorations as well as the creativity of many who decorate their homes. When I look at all the new things you can buy these days, I am amazed! I also love all of the spooky snacks. Almost makes me wish I was still doing the giant Halloween spread for one of my husband’s gaming nights, but then again, that was a lot work. But I digress. For today, I’m sharing my five favorite monsters. If you are expecting to see vampires, werewolves, gremlins, or zombies, well, let’s just say I prefer the friendlier monsters.

Let the count down to my favorite monster begin!

5. Bumble the Abominable Snowman

He starts out as rather scary in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer but it turns out he just had a bad toothache. In the end he helps to put the star on the Christmas tree!

4. James P. Sullivan

He’s so lovable in Monsters, Inc. even when trying to be scary and I loved his interactions with little Boo.

3. Frankenstein’s Monster

Not the original monster but the one from Young Frankenstein, one of my all-time favorite movies. “Puttin’ on the riiiitzzzz!”

2. Harry

The most adorable Sasquatch ever! If you haven’t seen Harry and the Hendersons, it’s definitely worth a viewing.

And, of course, the cutest most non-scariest monster of all time.

1. Grover!

He’s so cute and fluffy!

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October 15 2017

Balloon Fiesta 2017

Over the past week, I took over 150 pictures of hot air balloons, many of them from my spare bedroom window and the rest from walks around my neighborhood. All in all, it was a successful balloon fiesta with the weather cooperating for successful balloon launches, with the exception of this morning in which the winds kicked up and the launch was cancelled. While some of the balloonists will hang around for a bit longer, I will miss seeing the sight of dozens and dozens of balloons launching in the early morning hours. But I won’t miss the sound of helicopters circling my neighborhood at 5:00am!

My dilemma today was deciding which photos to share out of 150! Ironically, my favorite photo from this year was taken by my husband and not me. Oh well, it is a beautiful shot and I’m grateful he captured it. What perfect timing to have this balloon with the moon next to it. Great job, Star-lord!

Balloons from the state I grew up in and the state I live in!

I think these skinny balloons are starting to grow on me.

Looks like this chicken has a stalker!

Last Friday was the best launch day and the famous Albuquerque “box” was working perfectly. If you don’t know what the box is, here’s an explanation: The Albuquerque Box

Balloons and airplanes sharing the skies.

Marena and Richard helping to bring down the mariachi balloon.

While I love the hot air balloons, I am content to watch them from the ground. It’s not on my bucket list to ride in one!

Just a balloon passing behind my house.

Amazing! That’s it for this year.

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October 13 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Scary Movies

Let me just say right off the bat that “scary” is used loosely in my post for today. I am not someone who likes to watch scary movies by any stretch of the imagination. There are some movies from my childhood that are seared into my brain. I’m talking about The Omen and The Trilogy of Terror. Nope, I do not like those movies at all. Frankly, I really don’t remember the first two stories in The Trilogy of Terror. I only remember the one with the creepy doll with sharp teeth that terrorized a woman in her apartment. Here, let me share my horror of this doll with you.

Yup, the stuff of nightmares. *shudder* Needless to say, I will not see the new IT movie currently in theaters. The original with Tim Curry was traumatizing enough! Speaking of Tim Curry, that guy is seriously creepy. If it wasn’t bad enough that he played Pennywise, he also played the Lord of Darkness in Legend. Another nightmare-inducing character. And don’t even get me started on movies like Jaws, Salem’s Lot, Aliens, or Predator. And then they had the audacity to make the movie Alien Vs. Predator.  I mean, really!

So I don’t do scary. Having said that, I do like a good psychological thriller. Or if the movie is completely over the top ridiculous, I’m okay. Anyone see Killer Klowns from Outer Space? Haha. Guess I just don’t like pop-out scares or terrifying dolls running around on the carpet chasing people with a knife!

If there’s some comedic relief, a slow-build-up, or a surprise twist ending, I can roll with it. Here’s five that meet my qualifications:

The Others

While the ending is supposed to be a surprise twist, it’s not too hard to see what’s coming. This one is all about the mood and slow buildup  – who to trust, what to believe?



This movie really doesn’t start out as that scary but eventually does build up to some terrifying moments. Thank goodness for the comedic relief in this one! It has a few jump scares but I enjoyed it nonetheless.


The Silence of the Lambs

I actually resisted seeing this movie for a very long time because everyone talked about how scary it was. Ironically, I watched it by myself (what was I thinking) one lazy afternoon and was fascinated more than scared. Truly a great psychological thriller. Anthony Hopkins – what an amazing actor.


The Sixth Sense

I think by now everyone knows the surprise twist ending to this one which is why it was such a great movie. At the time, no one saw that coming!



This one is just plain fun even with the gross out factor in some scenes. It’s worth a viewing just for Bill Murray’s cameo.


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October 12 2017


I still get excited when I see a hot air balloon. After all these years, the sight of a mass balloon ascension still thrills me. The sound of a hot air balloon passing by makes me smile. It just never gets old. And I know I’m not alone because I see people stopping by the sides of roads, on hilltops, wherever they are, just to get a picture of the balloons and gaze at their beauty. There is certain camaraderie among the city inhabitants during balloon fiesta time. For a while, we all have a bond of this love for balloons. Even when there are dozens of us gathered brimming with energy and excitement at the sight of the balloons, there is often a companionable silence that is comforting, even spiritual.

While it has been a busy week for me, I have snapped some pictures to share with you today.

This picture was taken from my spare bedroom window. What a great way to start the day!


Two of the new special shape balloons! I love that armadillo!


This is so New Mexico, don’t you think? Fiery!


I’ve noticed a new trend of balloons with a narrow shape. I think I prefer the fatter ones though.


Love it when they fly right over me and you can hear that burner going. Amazing.


More pictures to come this weekend!


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October 6 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Halloween Candy

It’s October already! This time of year goes by way too fast, don’t you think?

I’ve decided to focus on Halloween all month for my Friday favorites posts. I’m kicking things off with some nostalgia for the bygone days of my youth when I would go trick-or-treating and get lots of candy. Was it me, or did it take forever to get dark on Halloween? It was uncool to be trick-or-treating if it was still light out. And do you remember those costumes back then with plastic masks that you could barely breathe in and that nasty little rubber strap that would never stay on? Ah yes, those were the days.

I remember being fond of the neighbors who passed out candy bars. Those were the prized candy items. If you were giving out popcorn balls, Smarties, Sugar Daddys, or those tiny Dum Dums lollipops, you were not my favorite house. And just what were those weird, orange peanut-shaped candies? Blech! Of course, you may disagree with me on these. Maybe you loved Smarties? I always felt they tasted a bit like chalk, not that I know what chalk tastes like. I just think that Sweetarts are way better. But then along came Sprees…

Anyway, here are my top five favorites for vintage Halloween candy.

Charms Blow Pops

Now this is a lollipop. Decent size, great flavors, and there was gum in the middle! Which reminds me of the Tootsie Roll pops. Those were gross. Chocolate in the middle of a fruit flavored lollipop?  No, thank you!


Pixy Sticks

I shudder to think of eating these now. Basically a packet of flavored sugar. The trick was to open them wide enough so that you could spill the entire contents in your mouth at once. Yikes! But I sure loved them as a kid. They were a cheap candy so you got a lot of them in your trick-or-treat bag. By the way, I knew some kids that used pillowcases to collect their candy. Meanwhile, I had a rather small plastic orange pumpkin that required me to go home every now and then to unload! The trials and tribulations of a trick-or-treater. Sigh…



Yup, Snickers were the best candy bar to have in my Halloween haul. Milky Way was my second favorite. I wasn’t too fond of 3 Muskeeters but they would do when the other two ran out. Haha. These days I much prefer Almond Joy but I won’t say no to a Snickers! I do have to wonder what the deal is with these “fun size” candy bars now. What’s fun about less candy? Give me the full size, please!



These strawberry licorice sticks were the only kind of licorice I would eat. If it was an off brand or had a different texture – nope. And do not give me black licorice. Eww! I’m not picky, really.



I have to say that I still love these. If you like sour candy, they will rock your world. These hard candies have a wonderful sour and fizzy center.

So what’s your favorite candy that you remember from your trick-or-treating days?

If you want to see a funny skit about Halloween, check out this fun video from a Jerry Seinfeld stand-up routine: Halloween




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October 4 2017

Albuquerque Old Town

It’s always fun to make a visit to Old Town in Albuquerque but it’s especially nice this time of year when the days are ever so pleasant – mild temperatures and those pristine blue skies. Founded in 1706 by Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdez, Albuquerque’s Old Town covers an area of about ten blocks. You get that Southwestern feel with the flat-roof adobe buildings and plentiful local artwork. The plaza is the central point and depending on the day, you can see a variety of entertainment in the giant gazebo – sometimes even a wedding!

There are lots of trees and porches offering shade as you wander among the many shops, art galleries, and restaurants. One section of the plaza even has vendors sitting on the sidewalk offering their handmade items for sale as you pass by. There are plenty of benches should you need to rest for a spell. It is definitely much more crowded in the summer time during tourist season which is why I recommend waiting until autumn if you plan a visit. Or you can come for the lighting of the Christmas tree on December 1st and do a holiday stroll.

On the north side of the plaza is the San Felipe de Neri Church, a historic Catholic church that was built in 1793. It is the oldest building in the city! And the church continues to offer liturgical, pastoral, and educational services to parishioners and visitors.

Everywhere you look there is interesting artwork, so take your time and absorb the atmosphere.

Should you get hungry, I recommend the Church Street Cafe. A deceptively humble restaurant that is actually much larger than you would think when you see its outside entrance. The food is reasonably priced and so delicious – a true taste of New Mexican cuisine. And if you don’t like it spicy, there are other options as well.

There are several tours you can take whether it’s a historic tour, a ghost tour, and even a Breaking Bad RV tour! If you are feeling adventurous, you can visit the Rattlesnake Museum.

There are actually several museums nearby Old Town. There’s the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History (stay tuned for a post on that!) The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (see my post on that museum here), the Turquoise Museum, as well as the Explora Science Center.

Don’t forget to get a souvenir before you leave Old Town! Everyone needs a scorpion key chain, right?

By the way, while there are free two-hour parking spots on the streets of Old Town and small paid parking lots, I recommend paying for parking in the giant lot near the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History. It’s conveniently located so once you park there, you can walk to all the museums, shops, and restaurants. If you want to get the feel of Albuquerque, you definitely need to visit Old Town!



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