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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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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