Sunday, July 21, 2019

Where's the Wonder, the Dreams?

I love space.  As long as I can remember, I've been fascinated with space, with space travel, with science, with the bigger picture.  I remember seeing the Apollo 11 launch on a tiny TV in my elementary school.  One of the most amazing things I've ever heard is President John F. Kennedy's speech at Rice University.

 I truly believe he BELIEVED what he was saying, that it wasn't just politics.

Our politicians don't dream like that anymore.

We, as a planet, as mankind, seem to just be hanging on.  Just getting by.

Where's the wonder?  Where are the dreams?

I'm watching Hidden Figures, one of my favorite movies, tonight, and feeling like we're just going backwards, not forwards, outwards, upwards.

I really hope we're not done with dreaming.

Sunday Stealing--Book of Questions

Play here.

1. Do you think the world will be a better or worse place 100 years from now?  I’m really looking forward to seeing what others have to say on this.  For myself, sadly, I think it will be worse.  Global warming will continue, which I find the scariest thing, because it can’t just be turned around or stopped or even paused.  A book that really brought that home for me is an amazing piece of speculative fiction by Paolo Bacigalupi called The Water Knife.  From Amazon:  

"In the near future, the Colorado River has dwindled to a trickle. Detective, assassin, and spy, Angel Velasquez “cuts” water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, ensuring that its lush arcology developments can bloom in Las Vegas. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in Phoenix, Angel is sent south, hunting for answers that seem to evaporate as the heat index soars and the landscape becomes more and more oppressive. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist with her own agenda, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas migrant, who dreams of escaping north. As bodies begin to pile up, the three find themselves pawns in a game far bigger and more corrupt than they could have imagined, and when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only truth in the desert is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink."

2.  Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country and never set foot in it again.  More than likely.  I love my Country, but I don’t love the return of nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and hatred that is being supported and even encouraged by the current administration. 

3. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the body or the mind of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?  The mind.  The other is just window dressing.

El Meson
Image credit
4. What would constitute a “perfect” evening for you?   Staying in a 5 Star hotel (like the Inn and Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe, NM) within walking distance of an amazing tapas restaurant (like El Meson), with my hubs.  We try to do this every 3 or 4 months or so.  
Along with a massage before 
dinner and room service breakfast the next morning it totally 
rejuvenates me—almost as much as a whole vacation.  This hotel has a fabulous lobby bar called "The Living Room".  It's literally just that--a gorgeous room with comfy couches, chairs, a huge fireplace, live acoustic music, and warm lighting.  They have great food, service, and, according to hubs, great drinks.  The mocktails are pretty good too, I have to admit.  Not the cheapest mini-vacay ever, but it's only 45 minutes away.  You really can't go wrong with an evening in Santa Fe.  There are lot's of great hotels, and more restaurants than I could possibly ever go to.  Walking the Plaza at night is pretty fabulous too.

5. Whom do you admire most?  In what way does that person inspire you?  My late father.  My Dad grew up dirt poor, hungry and abused.  He busted his butt all his life, in the US Navy as a submariner, and later, as a nuclear test engineer.  He was brilliant, fearless, unmistakably a hard-ass, and was an incredible role model when it came to how to go from nothing to something.  He sometimes wasn’t the nicest guy, and drank way too much for a lot of my life, but he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, and always only ever wanted us to be a success.  Every day of my life, I tried to live up to his example.  He was a huge personality and never knew a stranger.  He inspired me every day to do more, be better, and, in his words "kick some ass."  

6. Do you prefer being around men or women?  Do your closest friends tend to be men or women?    I prefer being by myself, or with my husband.  I don’t have a coterie of friends.  My husband is my best friend, so men?  I like women, but as a nurse, I’ve spent a ton of time with groups of women most of  my life.  The cattiness thing can be a pain in the ass.  Why do women need to do that?

7. If you could use a voodoo doll to hurt anyone you chose, would you?  Nah, I’m not the hurty type. Nurse, remember?

8. What is your most treasured memory?  Graduating nursing school—our pinning ceremony.  Walking across that stage, knowing I was going to be an RN after all that hard work while working full-time nights, is pretty high up there.  Being a nurse isn’t just a job, it’s who I am.

9. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?  Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?  (Let’s exclude raising children, if you have them).  Getting my Bachelor's in Nursing (BSN) in a year, and then my Master’s (MSN) a year later was right up there.  I’m the first person in my family to do that, which is pretty cool.  As far as doing something that’s even better…I’d like to retire with a little money in the bank someday.  That’s an accomplishment in my book, lol.

10. If you went to a dinner party and were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it, even if it sounded strange and not very appealing?  It really would depend on what it looked like.  I’m picky, there I said it.  I’m not crazy about my food touching (Bento boxes are the bomb!) and there are veggies I will not eat (Lima beans, I’m looking at you). 

11. Do your close friends tend to be older or younger than you?  Younger, by 10-15 years.

12. How do you feel when people sing Happy Birthday to you in a restaurant?  I can’t stand it.  Fortunately, that hasn’t happened to me in a million years.  Hubs knows better, lol.

13. When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate or embellish it?  If so, why?  I’ve had an interesting life, never really felt like I had to embellish my experiences…

Image Credit

14. If a friend were almost always late, would you resent it or simply allow for it?  Can you be allowed to be on time?  I have two friends who are perennially late.  Every.single.time.  And not just a few minutes, we’re talking a whole hour.  It’s irritating, because I’m always early because I want to be on time.  So yeah, I do resent it, and have avoided lunches with them, because 1pm turns into 2:30.  I don’t want to eat LUNCH at 2:30. 

15. If you could have free, unlimited service for five years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, or personal secretary, which would you choose?  Housekeeper, hands down.  OMG, that would be the best thing ever.  I am a uninterested housekeeper, and constantly feel bad that my house isn’t sparkling clean and neat. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday 9--Secret Agent Man

Secret Agent Man (1966)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) This is the theme of a TV show that ran on CBS from 1964-1967. The series was produced, and originally aired, in England. The BBC has shared many shows with American audiences over the years. Can you name another?  Downton Abbey—I own the whole set.  Can’t wait to see the movie.  I also loved Orphan Black.  Tatiana Maslany was amazing.

2) The show is about John Drake, a special agent dedicated to exposing plots that threaten world peace. A quick check of Netflix and Goodreads reveals that spy stories are just as popular today. Is espionage a genre you enjoy? Do you read books, or watch shows and movies, about spies?  I don’t enjoy reading espionage books, but I do like movies and TV with spies.  Love the James Bond and Daniel Craig iterations of James Bond; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was a cool movie too.

3) The lyrics tell us Drake travels from the Riviera to Bombay. Where were you when you last spent the night away from home? Why were you there (vacation, business, international intrigue)?  I was home at my Mom’s house in Aiken, South Carolina for a family visit.  I really needed to reconnect with my Mom, sister-in-law and brother on a different level after the grief of the last several months during my Dad’s illness and passing.  It was a happy, positive trip and we shared lots of wonderful memories about Dad, plus made lots of new memories of our own.

4) The refrain states, "They've given you a number and taken away your name." In today's digital world, that could now be said of all of us. Are you good at remembering your computer passwords?  Nope.  I use a password vault, because I’m paranoid about getting hacked.  Dashlane creates all my passwords, and stores them for me.  I use a master password to access them that is about 20 characters long and random.  Memorizing THAT was a beast, but worth the peace of mind.  We have a similar thing at work on an enterprise level.  I use at least 10 different applications, with constantly changing passwords, so thank goodness we have something like that!

5) Patrick McGoohan, who played Agent Drake, went from being a good guy to appearing as a murderer on Columbo four times. Were you a fan of Columbo?  Not especially.  I thought it was sort of goofy.

6) Born John Ramistella, this week's featured artist, Johnny Rivers, grew up in Louisiana. He took "Rivers" as his stage name because he grew up along the Mighty Mississippi. If you were to change your last name based on the geography of the area where you grew up, how would you be known?  My last name could be Desert, Mountains, River, Mesa, Valley, Arroyo, or Bosque.  I kind of like Mesa, Arroyo, and Bosque.  Arroyos are dry rivers that only fill when it rains, which is practically never.  They run down from the mountains into the Rio Grande eventually.  The Bosque is a land area on either side of the Rio Grande that is cottonwood forest.  It’s a beautiful stripe of green, and gold in the fall, that winds through the Rio Grande valley.  Here's the view from the West Mesa, looking down over the Bosque and the Rio Grande River, and across to the Sandia Mountains....this is from the backyard of our first house in New Mexico.

7) In 1966, when this song was popular, Jacqueline Kennedy was the woman most Americans admired. What famous woman do you admire most? (She doesn't have to be American.)  Well, I was going to say my Mom, but she’s not famous.  Famous…hmmm.  I’m a pretty big admirer of Elizabeth II, Queen of England.  She was never supposed to be queen, but managed to pull it off for all these years.  She’s an interesting person to read about. 

8) 1966 also found another Jacqueline was in the news. Jacqueline Susann's first novel, Valley of the Dolls, was atop the best seller lists, even though it was savaged by the critics. What's your guilty pleasure? What book, movie, TV show, or song do you enjoy, even though you know it has little artistic merit?  Baby Shark.  LOL!  That song is an earworm.

9) Random question: Imagine you've been stranded alone in the woods for 10 days. No companionship, no internet or phone or TV. You have been sleeping in the dirt, living on berries and river water. Your rescuers drive you to a hotel. Upon check-in, what's the first thing you do?  Take a shower.  Stat!

Five Random Things

1.  I miss my family.  I miss my Dad.  The world seems a little less bright without him in it.  I expect I'll work through that, but it still hurts that he's gone.  I went home a few weeks ago to my Mom's house in South Carolina, and we opened a new chapter in the family "book".  It was much needed, and great to reconnect with my brother too.  I was shocked he actually took the whole week off.  I think that's a first...  Here's the fam, cruising the Augusta Canal.  I'm the one in the back, lol.

2.  Kwizgiver gets a HUGE shout out for mentioning a Snapfish sale.    I got this photo made into an 11 x 14 canvas print for my Mom for only FIVE BUCKS.  Whoa.  Great sale.

3.  Hubs bought us a membership to the Albuquerque BioPark, which includes the zoo, aquarium, and botanical gardens.  We've already been twice, and were all set to go this weekend, however, it's half-price for NM residents this weekend, so we decided to stay home, since it's highly likely there's going to be a large crown.  Plus, it's supposed to be over 100 degrees, so that's probably a good plan.  Twin brothers Kiska and Koluk, have a refrigerated pool, ice cave and plenty of water slides and water falls.  I seriously could use that in my back yard... We really enjoyed these guys playing and swimming.

4.  OMG, hubs has an interview with the school system next week.  I'm so very proud of him for sticking it out all these years, through all the moves, changing majors, etc. and he's finally graduated with his bachelors degree in elementary education.  He's found his calling, and how awesome is THAT?  

Image credit

5.  Off to the big mall in ABQ tomorrow.  It's kind of a haul, about 40 minutes, but we figured we could enjoy the AC and stroll a bit.  Today it's housecleaning and Maddie's obedience class.  Plus, brunch at our favorite New Mexican restaurant.  Mmmmm, carne adovada stuffed sopaipilla, with an egg on top--YUM.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Stealing--Sad Sleepy Survey Rambles

Play here.

Have you ever been teased because of the things you like?  OMG, yes.  You like sci-fi?  Hahahaha.  You like fantasy? Hahahahaha.  You like the history of England through the 16th century?  Hahahahahaha.   You read the ENCYCLOPEDIA????  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!   On the up side, I can kick their ASSES in Trivial Pursuit, collect facts as a hobby, and  have embraced my inner Hermione.  So, I think the laugh is DEFINITELY on them.

Do you hold grudges?  Unfortunately, yes--but not for everyone.  A select few are on my shit list forever.  It’s a personality flaw for sure, but it is what it is. 

Were there any classes you enjoyed because of the teacher?  AP Literature senior year of high school.  Mr. Roberts.  He was amazing, so much creativity.

Was there a dress code at your school?  It was the 70s, in the South.  We couldn't wear pants in elementary school, but I hated dresses, so my Mom made me culottes which I think now we would call skorts.  She made all my clothes which I loved!

Have you ever been a bad friend?   Sadly yep.  Regrets are a big part of my life.

Has a friend ever replaced you with somebody else?   Yep, in the most awful way possible.  And that's all I'm gonna say about THAT.  

Have you ever disliked something just because it was popular?  I dislike the whole "social media influencer" thing, but not just because it's just seems so vapid and self-serving.  Athough, I've noticed some backlash here lately.  A guy who owns a soft-serve ice cream got sick of influencers asking for free ice cream, so he posted a sign..."Influencers Pay Double".  The idea that someone would go up to a business and ask for a free item in exchange for possible clicks just cracks me up.

Sorry about that tangent, lol.

Have you ever watched a movie just because it starred an actor you liked?  Yep, and it fortunately worked out (John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves, GREAT film).

Are there actors/musicians you have met?  Nope

Do you ever judge people based on the music they listen to?  That makes no sense.  Music is so personal…

What about your top five music albums?   These kinds of questions are hard.  I could give you the top 5 albums today, but ask me again in a month, and you’ll get a whole different list…

Do you remember the first album you ever owned?   I have no clue.  We always had a record player, kids records, my parent’s records, it’s all mixed up and lost to the ocean of time.

Do you still use an mp3 player, or just your phone?  I use my phone.  All hail Amazon Music, which I listen to 8 hours a day at work.  And 2 hours a day of podcasts on Stitcher….

Do you like Elton John?  I like his story, some of his songs, and his sheer audacity.

Have any celebrity deaths hit you hard? Which one(s)?   No.  Deaths that hit me hard are those of people I love.  Some random celebrity is just that….a random celebrity.  I’m sorry for their families and all, but it doesn’t have anything to do with me.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saturday 9--Bonanza

Saturday 9: Bonanza (1959)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Bonanza ran on NBC for 14 seasons. Today it's rerun on Me-TV and TVLand.  Were/are you a fan?  

I’ve always loved Westerns.  Being horse-mad from childhood into my 20s, I watched anything with horses.  I loved Hoss—such a gentle giant.

2) The show centers on The Cartwrights, who lived on a massive ranch in Nevada. License plates in Nevada read, "The Silver State." What's on your license plate?  

We have the BEST license  plates here in New Mexico.  The newest plate has even won awards (I had no idea there were National awards for license plates, but there you go).  We used to have the classic yellow plate with our states Zia symbol, but liked the new plate so much we switched.

3) Ben Cartwright made his fortune as a cattle rancher. What's the last beef dish you ate?  

Just last night, hubs and I split a gorgeous prime New York strip that he grilled.  Melt in your mouth!  I say split, but it was more like tried to split, lol.  The scraps are going on a salad.

4) Patriarch Ben had his eldest son, Adam, with his refined, bookish first wife, Elizabeth. Unfortunately, Elizabeth died in childbirth. Still Adam inherited her love of the written word. What's the last book you finished?  

Green Darkness by Anya Seton, for the umpteenth time.  It’s a great re-read and stress reliever for me.

5) Ben's second son, Hoss, was born to his second wife, Inger, who was killed as the family traveled West by wagon train. Hoss inherited her open, friendly manner and her way with animals. Are there pets in your home?  

Oh yeah, lol.  Four legged children.  Maddie the Australian Cattle Dog, and four cats—Randall, Ellie, Lucy, and Lily.  Ginger is no longer with us, but lives in our hearts forever.

Ellie and Randall as youngsters


RIP Ginger, always in our hearts.  We miss her so much.


6) Ben's youngest, Joe, arrived after Ben married a third time to the passionate Marie, who died in a riding accident when her son was only five years old. Little Joe inherited her impetuosity. Do you consider yourself more spontaneous or predictable?  

Quite predictable.  I have a hard time being spontaneous.

7) Samuel Clemons was a reporter in Virginia City at the time when the Cartwrights would have been there, and a fictionalized version of Mr. Clemons appeared in an episode of Bonanza. Without looking it up, do you know Samuel Clemons' famous pen name?  

Mark Twain!  I loved A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

8) Hair was a big deal in the Bonanza dressing room. Three of the original four stars -- Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts and Dan Blocker -- all wore hairpieces. (The fourth, Michael Landon, began dying his hair while still in his 20s because he was going prematurely gray.) Have you ever worn a wig or a hairpiece?  

Nope, but I did dye my hair for years after I started going gray.  I gave that up a few years ago and decided to own the gray.

9) Random question -- Tell us the story behind one of your scars.  

I have a scar on my forehead, right in my hairline.  The first house I really remember well was a brick house in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  It had a carport, which had a wall that was about waist high on an adult and a bricks horizontal with across.  My brother and used it as a balance beam.  When I was 7 and he was almost 5, we both fell off and have nearly identical scars on the forehead, right at the hairline.  Didn’t stop us from climbing on the wall, though.

Happy Tails

Maddie got to be famous this week.  Her story was posted on Facebook and Instagram by Watermelon Mountain Ranch, the no-kill shelter that saved her life.   Here's her story.

Here is a Happy Tail from Lisa Gonzales who adopted our sweetie Maddie! We are so happy Maddie is apart of your lovely family! Thank you for sharing your Happy Tail and we hope you have many many more!

“In March, we lost our beloved 13 year old rescue dog, the day after my father died. A few weeks later, we knew that our family wouldn’t be complete without a rescue dog. We came down to the Ranch, and one of the volunteers mentioned a dog that was currently in foster care that might be a good fit for our 4 cat household. Her name was Noelle. She showed us a picture, and that face! We knew we had to meet her.

The next weekend we went to the adoption event at Petsmart, and the minute we saw her bob-tail behind wiggling hello, we knew she was coming home with us. She looked like a Maddie, so that became her name. David helped us with the adoption and told us a little about her. Found in Carlsbad, with her puppies, Maddie was severely underweight. A wonderful WMR foster family helped her back to health and began training her. All her puppies were adopted as well.

Maddie is such a joy. We’ve been taking her to training classes at Petsmart every Saturday, and everyone she meets is a new friend. She adores the trainer, Skyler and she remembers David, and can’t wait to jump into his arms. She loves dog parks, chasing and herding just about everything, and has learned lots of good manners. She is such a joyful girl.

Thank you, Watermelon Mountain Ranch, for saving her life, as well as her puppy’s lives too. Thank you, foster parents, for giving her a great start. She is a beloved part of our family, thanks to all you do!”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


Thanks to my friend Paula for the idea.

Outside my window...
The sun is just coming up.  It’s July in New Mexico, so it’ll be another hot day, in the low 90s.  At least we have very LOW humidity, only 36% today.  Our monsoon season has started, so hopefully some rain in our future.

I’ve been pondering so damn much that it’s overwhelming sometimes. 

Just finished binging Season 3 of Stranger Things on Netflix which was great.  I’m also watching Chasing the Moon on PBS.  Hubs and I are still enjoying Forged in Fire on the History Channel.  And of course, there’s always Americas Got Talent and Chopped.  

I've really been getting into podcasts lately.  My husband really enjoys them, and I decided to give them a try.  I use Stitcher as my listening app on my phone.  I have a 40 minute drive each way to work, so they fill that time up nicely.  There's so much interesting stuff out there.  I am a space junkie, so I've been listening to the BBC World Service podcast 13 Minutes to the Moon.  Absolutely RIVETING.  You can also listen from your computer, btw.  I'll be bummed when the series is over.  If you have any interest at all in the Apollo 11 mission, run, don't walk to listen to this podcast.  I also enjoy The Splendid Table and Spectacular Failures.

I’m reading A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine and just finished an old favorite for the umpteenth time, GreenDarkness, by Anya Seton


Elotes.  Fresh corn on the cob, grilled, slathered in butter or mayo (we like butter) then sprinkled with chile powder and cayenne, covered in cotija cheese (kind of like a fine feta), and finished with a squeeze of lime and some cilantro.  We cut the corn off the cob and put it in a bowl before we mix in the cheese and lime.  OMG it’s addictive.  Not exactly the most healthy veggie, but what the hell, you gotta live a little.

At the moment, diet ginger ale.  Daily—iced cold-brew coffee and a ton of water.

A quote to share...
“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.”
Not sure who said it, but I like it.

A final thought...
I’m pretty bummed out about my inability to keep some forward momentum on this blog.  This has been a beast of year so far, and some days I just don’t have the spoons for one more thing besides the basic “go to work, come home, walk dog, eat dinner, TV, bed”.  I hope my few readers will keep coming, and will understand.