November 24 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Famous Dogs

It’s the day after Thanksgiving which means I have a turkey hangover, I can officially start playing Christmas music, and I’m avoiding the Black Friday madness by shopping online! And since today is Friday, it’s time for some favorites. As I was contemplating my choices for today, it occurred to me that I may have to eventually do two posts – one for famous real dogs and one for famous animated dogs. For today, I am focusing on the real dogs. Be sure to let me know what your favorites are too!

Lassie – I can still remember watching Lassie on TV every afternoon when I was in elementary school. It didn’t matter how much fun I was having playing outside, at 3:00pm, it was Lassie time. I loved it when she lifted her paw to say goodbye to her viewers.

Benji – This little guy had so much personality and so many great expressions – almost human! My favorite scene is from the second Benji movie (For the Love of Benji) in which he steals a string of sausage. I laugh every time.

Hooch – Speaking of dogs with great facial expressions, this guy from the movie, Turner and Hooch, was hilarious. The slow motion scenes of him running are too funny. Of course, his tendency to drool made me cringe.

Wishbone – Of course, we all loved Wishbone in our house because he was a Jack Russell Terrier and he loved imagining he was the lead character in classic books. There have been quite a few Jack Russells on TV and in film. It’s really not surprising as they are so cute and smart.

And speaking of cute and smart Jack Russells…

Maxwell Smart – Okay, he’s not famous on the scale of my previous choices but he has a decent group of faithful followers on Facebook. And, well, I just think he’s the most awesome dog ever!


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November 21 2017

7 Things I Learned At Court

If you follow my blog, you will know that I was recently summoned for jury duty. I have to admit I was not thrilled to receive my summons. I sternly reminded myself that this was a privilege and honor to do for my fellow citizens and my civic responsibility. With that in mind, I began to prepare for my week at the courthouse in downtown Albuquerque. I read everything I could online but the information wasn’t quite as detailed as I would have liked. It was frustrating and I had to resign myself to not knowing what to expect. After my term of service, which wound up being three out of the five days, here’s what I did learn:

  1. You do A LOT of sitting around and waiting. It’s boring, boring, boring! Yes, I had my iPad with books to read, the internet to browse, and games to play. But the hours dragged by.
  2. The boredom tends to make you want to people watch. One young woman was working on her laptop computer which entailed watching videos of women in lingerie pole dancing. She appeared to be editing the videos in some way but I couldn’t tell for sure and I certainly didn’t ask! Wonder what her job title is?! Another gentleman was reading a book that had him laughing loudly at times. I became so intrigued by a book that would cause so much laughter, I made a note of the title: A Man Called Ove.  Must read that at some point.
  3. Every employee at the courthouse was very nice and friendly. It was almost uncanny. After we were dismissed the first day and were exiting the building, the security personnel were waving at us, smiling, wishing us a good day. Maybe they knew the majority of us didn’t want to be there and were trying to make it as pleasant as possible.  I lost count of how many times I was thanked for being there and serving as a juror.
  4. Every time one of the court staff entered the room, there was immediate silence. Secretly, you hope your name won’t get called but then again, you are curious to find out what happens next if you do.
  5. Eventually my name was called and I wound up in a courtroom with 20 other jurors. We were given a brief rundown of the case by the judge and then the lawyers started asking us questions, presumably to determine which of us would make the best jury of six. Yes, a jury of six and not twelve. Guess that’s all you need for misdemeanor trails. All I’ve ever known about courtrooms is from what I’ve seen on television. Yeah, it’s really not like that. No slick talking, clever lawyers. In fact, they seemed rather nervous and it was a bit disarming. I did find the judge to be a bit stereotypical – not happy with interruptions and stern when necessary. The most interesting thing to me was that they played “white noise” whenever the attorneys approached the bench to talk to the judge – so, of course, you couldn’t hear what they were saying.
  6. Courtrooms are FREEZING! Are judges’ robes made of wool? Hah.
  7. I was not chosen as a juror and I’m not sad about it at all. I really have no interest in the law, don’t want to be on the wrong side of it for sure, and I certainly prefer a TV drama to the real thing! But I did my duty and let’s hope that will suffice for a long time.


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November 19 2017

Murder on the Orient Express – Movie Review

One of Agatha Christie’s most popular novels is brought to the big screen and it is done lavishly and with style. I confess to not having read Christie’s novel but, of course, that made the movie all the more fun, not knowing the ending. It is refreshing to see a movie come from Hollywood that is not filled with gratuitous language, sex, or violence.  A good old-fashioned mystery with lots of interesting characters portrayed by some great actors – Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, and Willem Dafoe to name a few. I was pleasantly surprised to see Olivia Colman in the movie, a wonderful British actress who I first noticed in the BBC program, Broadchurch. Kenneth Branagh plays Hercules Poirot, the self-proclaimed greatest detective in the world. Yes, he’s arrogant but with good reason. He is able to solve mysteries that stump others largely due to the way he views the world. Poirot is obsessed with symmetry, perfection, and order. He’s almost a tortured soul in that regard – viewing the world as he thinks it should and could be, but disappointed in how it falls short. I could really relate to him on that score.

The story takes place on a train ride from Istanbul to Calais when twelve passengers come under suspicion after a murder takes place. Detective Poirot is intent on having a vacation in which he wants to do nothing more than read “A Tale of Two Cities.” But after the murder takes place and an avalanche has stopped the Orient Express, Poirot is reluctantly drawn into solving the murder. As he interrogates all the passengers and searches for clues, you can see his transformation from reluctant sleuth to determined detective bent on discovering the killer before he/she strikes again. I loved the use of camera angles in this movie, particularly the overhead shots which cleverly helped you to see clearly into the tight spaces of the train. Being a mystery, the pacing has to start slow while building up to a quick conclusion in which all the clues come together to reveal the culprit. Since I have not read the book, I do not know if the movie had glaring oversights or blunders. All I know is that I enjoyed watching the mystery unfold and I really had no idea how it would end. I’ve seen a lot of discussion about Poirot’s incredible mustache but I think it speaks to who he is as a person and I, for one, would like to see him in another movie.

My score: B  (or 4 out of 5 mustaches)


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November 17 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Pie!

As Thanksgiving draws ever closer, my thoughts turn to comfort foods and decadent desserts.  In particular Thanksgiving makes me think of pies, so for this Friday, I am sharing my five favorites.

Cherry – I have to say I’m an oddity because I do not like apple pie – positively un-American, right? Oh well, I hear George Washington was a fan of cherries!


Chocolate – I especially like it if the layers of chocolate and whipped cream are of equal height!


Peanut Butter – I first had a peanut butter pie at The Daily Grind here in Albuquerque. Oh my! Positively decadent.


Pecan Cream Cheese – This pie is soooo easy to make and it is so delicious too. Click on the picture for the recipe.


Pumpkin – This simple pie just screams Thanksgiving to me. I never have it any other time of the year. Guess that keeps it special!

What pie will you be making for Thanksgiving?



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November 15 2017

Autumn at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens

It has been a spectacular autumn in Albuquerque this year. Delightfully pleasant days and cool, crisp nights. Perfect weather that has lasted for weeks. On a whim, Star-Lord and I decided to head to the Albuquerque Biopark and walk around the Botanical Gardens last week. While I’m sure that the foliage would have been even more vibrant had we gone a week earlier, I was still in awe of the colors of the cottonwoods. They really are such magnificent and interesting trees.

It was such a serene day and everyone we encountered was walking silently and just absorbing the atmosphere. I love it when there is an unspoken understanding among strangers.

It was clear that much of the preparations for the annual River of Lights had been done as we could see many of the holiday light displays already set up. Seeing this dinosaur during the day is a very different experience! It makes for a very cool pic.

If you looked closely, there were other hints of the upcoming holiday show.

Mostly I was intrigued by the unique wonders of this season.

Somehow it got me thinking about one of the few poems that resonate with me.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
~Robert Frost
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November 11 2017

Catching Up

Did you hear that? That’s the sound of the days going by way too fast! Why does this time of year always seem to go by so quickly? I really want to savor it. The weather has continued to be just beautiful around here. I took this picture about a week ago as the trees were beginning to turn. That tiny white speck is the moon! Anyway, things are progressing much more rapidly now and there are glorious reds, oranges, and yellows on all the trees. Sometimes I think these bursts of striking autumn colors are God’s way of making the imminent dreary brown of winter a little more tolerable.

I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago that I was taking the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge, which is to write 50,000 words in November. I was pretty confident going into the challenge but have since discovered that my life is a lot busier than I thought and finding the time to write consistently is a challenge in itself. Then there is my writing style. My first efforts were very slow as I was editing as I wrote, which is not conducive to a high word count. Then my daughter reminded me the challenge is to get over those editing tendencies and just write. First drafts are never supposed to be great anyway. I think it would be better for this challenge to be in January which tends to be a less hectic time of year! With jury duty this coming week and then Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, I fear I will probably not reach the goal of 50,000 words. However, I have written more on my novel than I ever have, so I will continue to persevere.

Here is a short synopsis of my work in progress:

Title: Shattering Limbo

Samantha is living two lives, but not intentionally. When she wakes each morning, she is either living with the love of her life anticipating the birth of their daughter, or living in fear for herself and her unborn child from an abusive husband. She doesn’t know in which world she truly belongs. As the birth of her child nears, she becomes increasingly desperate to find a way to remain in the world where she feels safe. But does she deserve to be in that world? She doesn’t remember how she got trapped in this state of limbo. Searching for clues as to how there can be such an existence, she instinctively knows that she is running out of time. When her daughter is born, in which world will she remain?

Does it intrigue you? Do you want to know more? I hope so!

Anyway, I’ve been very busy preparing things at work for my upcoming absence for jury duty. So I was grateful for the nice weather as walking Max is great stress relief. One afternoon, we wound up at the dog park and I struck up a conversation with a nice lady. As we talked, I mentioned NaNoWriMo which led to talk of my blogging website. She encouraged me to sign up for a Twitter account to help it get more exposure. Well, I have resisted joining the Twitter universe for fear of being bombarded by political craziness but the lady assured me I could control the types of things on my Twitter feed. So with some trepidation, I decided to sign up with visions of hashtags and tweets jumbling in my brain. Turns out I have had a Twitter account for two years already. Yup, someone in Vietnam decided to used my email address to set up an account. I’m not even sure how that is possible. But she promptly got the account suspended. So I spent a lovely afternoon trying to sort out my Twitter account and make it my very own. Hah! I’m still figuring things out so if you have any Twitter advice for me, I’m all ears. For now, I’ve added a Twitter feed to my webpage.

I just realized that I am way behind on my movie reviews as well so I decided to quickly catch up and do a mini review of each movie I’ve seen over the past month.

Blade Runner 2049

This sequel to the 1982 movie with Harrison Ford really captured the feel and sound of the original. I wasn’t a huge fan of the original as it paints a pretty bleak picture of the future. Still, the story line was a good extension of the first movie if a bit overly drawn out. Considering that they used the same music from the first movie and were spot on with the visuals, I think they missed the mark in a big way by not having Ryan Gosling do a voice over as Harrison Ford did. That would have been perfect.  My score: B

Let There Be Light

Kevin Sorbo and his wife produced and starred in this movie. I’m a big Kevin Sorbo fan and I admire his efforts to bring Christian movies to the big screen. I think the world is in need of more wholesome and meaningful movies. Not everything has to be about CGI and action. While I feel the movie had a good overall message, I wanted them to delve more deeply into the topic at hand. Of course, my thoughts on religion and God have begun an evolution (or should I say revolution) over the past couple of years and so I am craving things that aren’t trite. Having said that, go see the movie. It’s still good and we need to show Hollywood that we want more movies like this.  My score: B

Thor: Ragnarok

This is the third Thor movie and definitely the most fun and visually appealing. There is a lot of humor in this one which I appreciated. The previous movie, Thor: The Dark World, was well, dark.  And I am glad that the new director decided to have fun with this movie and do something different. I did find the plot a bit weak in some spots but the ending was intriguing. Gotta say I am not happy about Thor losing his eye though. I don’t care if he’s more like his father now. Ugh! My score: A-

So there you have it!

And last but not least, since today is Veteran’s Day, I would like to thank all the men and women of the military for your dedication, courage, and sacrifice for America. I would especially like to thank my father, husband, brother-in-law, and boss for their service. I love my freedom and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

And my thanks to Texas Roadhouse for giving out free meals to all veterans today and for this:





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November 10 2017

Five Favorites Friday – 40 Posts Celebration!

Today will be my 40th post for Five Favorites Friday. When I started these weekly posts, I wasn’t sure where they would take me but it’s turned out to be lots of fun and I’ve enjoyed coming up with something different each week.  I hope that you have enjoyed them too. So today I decided to share my five favorite Five Favorites Friday posts. Say that three times fast! Just click on the pictures to see the original posts.

Since I like to blog about Albuquerque, my first choice is obvious:

Things I Love about Albuquerque


This was a fun one, especially since it was one of my more popular posts.  Everyone loves Abba!

Abba Songs


This was during my nostalgia kick and it was great fun reminiscing – oh heck, I’m still on a nostalgia kick!

Childhood Toys


When Sir Roger Moore passed away, I just had to do a tribute. I’m such a James Bond fan.

James Bond Movies


This is a favorite because I thought it was pretty clever and since I’m rarely clever…


As always, I welcome suggestions for Five Favorites Friday!


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November 4 2017

New Mexico Chinese Lantern Festival

This was the first year for the Chinese Lantern Festival here in Albuquerque. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but when it comes to light displays, I’m always interested. In the case of this festival I was not disappointed. I think there were some wonderful lantern displays that were thoughtfully put together. Held at the state fairgrounds, we arrived an hour or so before sunset with the intent of grabbing something to eat beforehand. The advertisement for the festival had touted a variety of Chinese and traditional fair food. Unfortunately, there were only three vendors and the food was just terrible. So if you plan on going, eat somewhere else first! The festival continues to be open through November 12.

After we managed to choke down some food, we checked out some of the vendors selling their wares (also not what we had hoped for as there weren’t many artisans); so we headed to one of the two nightly performances. Side note: there are three performances on Friday and Saturday. While some of the acts were a bit odd, overall I enjoyed the show and was amazed in particular by the contortionists. I was in such awe of them that I forgot I was supposed to be taking pictures! But I did manage to capture a few shots when I came to my senses. This is when they were spinning plates:

And here they are showing some incredible strength and flexibility.  These ladies were amazing and they looked like they were having so much fun!

But the best part of the evening was all the wonderful lighted lanterns. By the time the show was over, it was dark and we were able to wander around looking at all of them! Here are just a “few” of the pictures I took.

I definitely recommend going to the festival. Hope they come again next year and expand their display.


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November 3 2017

Five Favorites Friday – Harrison Ford Movies

When it comes to my favorites actors, Harrison Ford has always been on my list. It started out as a teen crush when I fell in “love” with Han Solo. Ruggedly handsome with a healthy dose of snark; a lot of swagger with a vulnerable side. And when it came down to the wire, he was the one who saved the day by shooting Darth Vader’s Tie-fighter allowing Luke to get that one in a million shot.  Now while I will probably never forgive Harrison for encouraging the demise of my beloved Han Solo, I am still a fan.  In an effort not to be too predictable with this post, I will not be listing any favorites movies from the Star Wars or Indiana Jones franchises. Instead, I am going to talk about some possibly lesser known Ford movies (unless you’re a die hard fan like me).

Force 10 From Navarone

I’m not typically a fan of war-type movies but this one is really interesting and features a very young Harrison Ford. This movie has a wonderful ensemble cast. It takes place during World War II in which a team of assorted military experts are on a mission to raid and destroy a bridge vital to enemy strategy. There are a lot of twists and turns to this one. An oldie but a goodie!


The Frisco Kid

If ever there was an odd pairing for a movie, it’s this one. Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford in the Old West? Sounds crazy! But this is such a fun movie with lots of heart to boot (pun intended!) The plot centers on Wilder as a Polish rabbi trying to make his way through the Old West to lead a synagogue in San Francisco. His adventures are sometimes heartbreaking but often hilarious. And, of course, Harrison Ford as a tough cowboy with a heart of gold is what makes the movie for me.


Regarding Henry

I will never understand why Ford did not win an Oscar for his performance in this movie.  I just thought he did a wonderful job portraying a man who loses his memory and must relearn speech and mobility after he gets shot. Warning: this movie may require a few tissues while viewing it.


Working Girl

Okay, this movie is mostly about Melanie Griffith’s character.  She plays a secretary whose great business idea is stolen by her boss so she seizes an opportunity to steal it back when her boss gets sidelined by a skiing accident. Harrison Ford is helping her even though he doesn’t know she is pretending to be more than she really is. Ford is his usual charming self and this is one of those movies I can watch again and again.


Six Days Seven Nights

In this one, a magazine editor and pilot must put aside their mutual dislike after crash landing on a deserted South Seas island in order to survive. I suppose it’s a classic opposites attract kind of movie. What can I say, I liked it!

Do you have a favorite Harrison Ford movie? Let me know, although I’m sure I’ve seen it!

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