Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 31


What's making me happy today?  Eggs.  Yep, eggs.  I love them.  Have one every morning for breakfast.  And I REALLY love farm eggs.  I wish we had chickens, but I live in a neighborhood with an HOA, so chickens are out.  Getting out to the farmer's market is a hassle, since I live in the back of beyond from where the farmer's markets are held.

I will pay for good eggs.  I recently found a brand I really like, and can get behind, ethically.  So, if you like eggs, I highly recommend Nellie's Free Range Eggs.  Gorgeous eggs, with a lovely dark yellow/orange yolk.  Taste amazing.  

My favorite breakfast?  One Nellie egg (because that what I call them in my head), soft-scrambled, in a Santa Fe Tortilla Company Carb Chopper tortilla (cause they are good and why not), with a little Young Guns Medium Hatch Green Chile, or a few dribs and drabs of Sadie's Not as Hot New Mexican Salsa.  I'm just full of links today!  Seriously though, you can get the green chile and salsa on Amazon, which is a miracle.  All of these are New Mexico products, and really taste good. 

Or you can do what I did this morning--have a fried Nellie egg over stone ground grits from Palmetto Farms.  

Or what I did a couple of days ago....a plain old Toad in the Hole on the bread of your choice. 

If you can get farm-fresh eggs (Kwiz, I'm thinking of you), lucky YOU!

Monday, August 30, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 30


What's making me happy today?  Our public library!  I have been getting back into reading lately, which the pandemic took from me last year.  Anyhow, our library subscribes to a services called Overdrive/Libby, which allows me to borrow books on my Kindle!!!  I'm super stoked about this, and can't wait to check something out.  Although, I have to go to the library first--can you believe my card expired?  It's been awhile, and it's time to remedy that.  I love our library....it's a LEED gold building, sitting up on a hill at the base of this gorgeous red ridge.  

Image Credit

Sunday, August 29, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 29


What's making me happy today?  Reading.  I was in a reading mood yesterday, and bought a couple of Seanan McGuire books and read them both in one night.  I really like her Wayward Children series of novellas.  Her Hugo-winning novella, Every Heart a Doorway, got me started.  

I love portal stories (think Narnia, The Magicians, that sort of thing) and her take on them is really interesting.  And the fact that they are novellas is kind of neat.  

Sunday Stealing -- One Direction Asks


1. Are you a Jeopardy fan?  Who do you want to replace Alex Trebeck? 

I used to love the show, haven’t watched it in some time.  I have been following the controversy around it though.  I’d love to see Levar Burton be the host. 

2. What’s your favourite horror film?

Alien.  Just did a rewatch the other day.  What a great film.

3. Are you a possessive person?

Not particularly

4. Who’s your idol?

I really don’t have one per se.  I have people I look up to for one thing or another, but idol is a strong word. 

5. List five things you can’t live without.

My phone.  Having the world’s knowledge in my pocket is pretty much nirvana for a knowledge-junkie like me.

Books.  Especially my “old friends”, the ones I read and re-read, over and over again, when I’m stressed or down or happy.  Basically everything Guy Gavriel Kay has written, Dune by Frank Herbert, Shogun by James Clavell, Green Darkness by Anya Seton, Grass by Sheri Tepper, The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory, Five Twelfths of Heaven by Melissa Scott, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, and more.  These are the highlights though.

My dog.  Maddie is a joy.  Ginger (RIP) was a joy.  Having a dog in my life is just … necessary, like breathing.

My hubs.  He’s my best friend.

My RN license.  I don’t work as an RN, I “am” an RN.  It’s not likely a healthy thing, hell, I don’t know, but I really can’t separate myself from what I do.  This career has been one of the most, if not THE most, fulfilling thing in my life.

6. Where do you feel home?

Right here, in New Mexico.  I felt at home here the minute I came to this place, and I never want to live anywhere else.  But, and importantly, I also feel “home” at my Mom’s place.  The little blue coiled clay bowl I made in 1st grade is still sitting on the stove.  Pictures of my father, brother, me, our families line the walls.  Felt mice on the floor for the cat.   The flag that covered my father’s ashes at his memorial.  Her 1962 Singer Rocket that she won in a contest, and made all our clothes on.  Oh….I love her house, and it is also “home”.

7. What are your three best qualities?

I’m loyal.

I have amazing focus and will work at a problem until I solve it.

My toes.  I definitely like my toes. 

8. Name three things that make you happy.

My mom living 15 minutes away.  I don’t spend all my days (and nights) in worry about her living out in the boonies all by herself anymore.  I love spending time with her.

Hubs.  We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but more ups than downs.  He has a good, decent, heart and he’s my best friend.  What more could I ask?

My career.  I love being a nurse.  This career has been good to me over the years (29 of them, to be exact), and I’ve gone down so many different avenues.  I don’t know of any other profession where you can reinvent yourself over and over like you can in nursing.  I’ve been a critical care RN, an OR circulating RN, a recovery room RN, a long-term care RN, a risk manager, a director of nursing, a consultant, an inpatient case manager, a utilization review RN, and now I’m learning to be a nurse auditor.  It just makes me happy.

9. What helps you when you’re feeling down?

Books.  A bath.  A nap.  And allowing myself to be OK with being down.  I know it will pass, and if it doesn’t (because my brain is built that way), I have a great psychiatric nurse practitioner who is there for me.

10. Which big cities have you been to?

New Orleans, Atlanta, Orlando, Washington DC, New York, Boston, Chicago (just to fly through though), Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver….those are the ones that come to mind.

11. What’s your favourite lovestory? ( Book, film, etc. )

Pretty Woman.  Who doesn’t like a cinderella story?

12. Talk about the best concert you ever attended.

Bonnie Raitt and John Lee Hooker.  A straight up tie with Joe Satriani. 

13. What’s one thing you don’t ever want to change?

The only constant is change.  I hope I never change the need to change and grow.

14. What scares you?


15. What are three things you want to do before you die?

Go to Europe

See my daughter again

Witness world peace (don’t think this one is going to happen, but one can dream)

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Saturday 9 -- Friends in Low Places



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

1) In this song, Garth Brooks tells us he wore boots to a black-tie affair. When did you most recently get dressed up? What did you wear?

The pandemic and working remotely has pretty much ended my getting dressed up, lol.  I think the last time was a night out at the Union Oyster House in Boston.  I wore navy capris, and a cute white peplum top with navy stars (both from Lane Bryant, my go-to clothing store).  I also had on a neat turquoise bracelet that I bought at the Railyards craft show.

2) The lyrics refer to The Oasis, which was a real bar in Concordia, Kansas. What's the name of the last bar or restaurant where you ordered a beverage? (Yes, Dunkin' counts.)

Spring Rollin' -- Last weekend's lunch out--I ordered a water.

3) Garth was having a stellar 2021. He kicked the year off by performing "Amazing Grace" at President Biden's inauguration in January, and then over the summer he received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor. Now that we're past the halfway mark, how's your year going?

I can’t complain.   The new job is going well, I got a nice raise, and we’re all in good health.  So, yay!

4) But earlier this month, Garth cancelled the remaining August and September dates of his big concert tour. He's provided refunds for the 350,000 tickets that were sold. How do you tend to react when plans change? Are you easily annoyed, or do you roll with it?

I’m better at rolling with it and pivoting than I used to be.  Getting treatment for my OCD has really helped me be more flexible in general.

5) Before he sang about having friends in low places, Garth hung around in some. When he was as a struggling performer, he supported himself as a bouncer. What's the most physically taxing job you've ever had?

Being an ICU nurse in Alaska.  I worked 12 hour nights, and we had mandatory overtime.  Seven, eight nights in a row, 1 day off, and back at it.  It was awful and physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting.  I left critical care and went to the OR when I left Alaska and moved to New Mexico.  I was DONE. 

6) According to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), Garth surpassed The Beatles as the top-selling recording artist of the last 30 years. Who do you listen to more often: Garth or the Beatles?

Neither.  Never have been a fan of Garth, and haven’t listened to the Beatles in ages.

7) Garth and singer Trisha Yearwood have been happily married for 15 years now. Trisha says that as much as she loves her husband, his whistling drives her crazy. Come clean: what's your most annoying habit?

Pedantry.  Defined as “excessive concern with minor details and rules”.  Thinking I'm smarter than everyone (Horrid habit).  Think Hermione in the Harry Potter movies and that’s me, and it's my most annoying (according to my husband) habit.  I try to catch myself, because I KNOW it’s annoying, and I really DON'T want to be THAT person.  I chalk it up to my OCD, but frankly, it’s probably just me.  Here, enjoy some of Hermione’s pedantry.

8) In 1990, when this song was a hit, Soviet President Gorbachev traveled first to Ottawa to meet Prime Minister Mulroney and then to Washington DC to meet President Bush. Do you have any travel plans? We want to hear about them, even if you aren't meeting any politicians or heads of state.

We got all the traveling out of the way earlier in the year with our trips to Boston and Ruidoso.  I don’t have anything coming up.  I would like to go to New Orleans with hubs one of these years, but I haven’t a clue when.

9) Random question: Your dear friend spends weeks planning a party. After just 30 minutes, you find yourself having a terrible time. Would you leave at the earliest (polite) opportunity? Or would you stay till the bitter end out of loyalty?

I’d leave.  If I stayed, I’d be pissed off, and not a good friend at all, so it would just be better if I left and got it over with.

Lastly--please get vaccinated, mask up, etc, etc, etc.  PLEASE.  Don't be this guy.  (PSA made by the staff at Hillcrest, a hospital in OK that is part of the company that I work for.)

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 28


Happy Saturday!  I love getting up and going to my office and snuggling on the couch with Maddie--and NOT having to go to work.  I love "my" space--just me and the girl.  A couple of the cats like to come in, but not during our morning snuggle time.

Monday, August 23, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 23


What made me happy today?  


Now maybe some of these yahoos will get the damn shot and stop putting everyone around them at risk. 

All I know is I am eligible for a booster on September 8, 2021, and I will be there...with bells (and a mask) on.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 22


What's making me happy today?  I love living in such a multi-cultural place.  New Mexico is known for it's mix of Anglo, Hispanic, and Native American cultures, but you might not be aware that we have so many folks of other cultures living in the ABQ area.  Hubs and I love exploring different cultures through food, and in our area we can get amazing food from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Turkey, Korea, Germany, Brazil, Puerto Rico, India.... and the list goes on.  The food truck scene has exploded recently too, giving us even more cuisines to explore.  Yesterday, we stopped in a new place called Spring Rollin' and we had this amazing combo platter.  It was 2 shrimp spring rolls, 2 pork egg rolls, and a small bowl of pho with thin sliced beef.  It was delicious and perfect for two to share!  An inexpensive ($10) lunch and oh so delicious!

Sunday Stealing -- Sad and Sleepy

Join us here.

1. Has anyone ever made fun of your taste in music?

Oh, hubs does, all the time.  He’s not a fan of bluegrass and folk.  I make fun of the prog rock and death metal he listens to.  It’s all in good fun. 

2. Do you have pop-tarts in your house right now?

Ick, no.  I’m not a fan of sweet stuff, and those things are sugar bombs.  I did love them as a kid though….

3. Does someone owe you over twenty dollars?

Nope, I’m happy to say no one owes me anything.

4. When was the last time you burned any part of your body?

Right before Mom and I went to Boston, I was making something in a sheet pan in a 450 degree oven.  I don’t remember what, but I burned the HECK out of my inner elbow—I had just put the pan down, so it was still 450 degrees and I turned right into it.  Then the blasted thing got infected because every time I bent my arm the blister would break open and it’s in such a weird place I couldn’t keep a dressing on it.  Finally I gave in and I spent the first couple of days of our vacation with my arm wrapped from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm, but it finally healed up. 

5. What kind of booze did you last take shots of?

I haven’t had something in shot form since about 1985—back then it would have been tequila.  Happily, I’ve been sober since 2000.

6. If you could see any musician live, front row, who would you choose?

Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange), at the Ryman in Nashville.  That would be my perfect show right there.  Here’s a cut from their new album.  I like the sort of trippy feel it’s got, while still staying true to their sound.

7. If I gave you ten dollars, what would you spend it on?

Well, I’m taking Mom for coffee/pastry before our haircuts tomorrow morning, so probably that.

8. Does / did either of your parents serve in the military?

My father proudly served in the U. S. Navy Submarine Service and served aboard the U. S. S. Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine.  My father-in-law is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the U. S. Army, and is the recipient of two Purple Hearts.  I’m proud to be the daughter of them both, and wife to a former Marine.

9. Do you like sour candy?

Not a big fan of candy in general, and if I do eat it, it’s generally dark chocolate.

10. What do you do to stay awake when you’re tired?

Coffee, and lots of it.

11.Do you wear your shoes around the house?

I have a pair of sandals that I wear in the house in the warm months and a pair of wool clogs that I wear in the cool months.  My other shoes are just for outside.

12. Is there ever a time that you enjoy cold showers?

After working in the yard on a really hot day.

13. Are you good at filling silence in awkward situations?

Not particularly, it makes me babble.  I have to literally silently tell myself to be quiet.  I don’t do awkward silences very well.

14. Any TV shows you sit down weekly to watch?

Not particularly, since we cut the cord a couple of years ago, everything we watch is streaming.  However, I do love America’s Got Talent, and it streams the day after the live show, so I do watch that weekly.

15. Are you one to sneak food into movie theaters?

Nah, the popcorn is part of the experience.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Saturday 9 -- Woman in Love


Saturday 9: Woman in Love (1980)

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

1) In this song, Barbra dreams of love. What's something you've been dreaming of, or wishing for, lately? (It doesn't have to be romantic.)

I’ve been dreaming about my daughter a lot lately, and wishing that I was more of a part of her life.  I understand why I’m not, it is what it is, but it doesn’t stop me from wishing I could talk to her, actually see her in person, see my grandbaby, stuff like that.  I don’t hope anymore that someday things will change, I stopped doing that a long time ago.  I just try to be at peace with how things are without too much regret and try to have humility and gratitude that I'm in her life in the small ways that I am.

2) She sings that she and her lover are oceans apart. Tell us about someone who is far away, and that you wish was nearer this Saturday morning.

See #1.  Other than that, I would really like to see my brother and his wife, and I know my Mom would too.  Unfortunately, they are back east in Georgia, and circumstances just aren’t right for them to head out to NM right now.  My sister-in-law's mother is very ill, and she (they) need to be there.

3) This was a #1 hit for Streisand, so popular it knocked Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" out of the top spot on the charts. Are you a Freddie Mercury/Queen fan?

Not so much.  I really enjoyed the recent movie about his life though.

4) This song was written specifically for Barbra by Barry and Robin Gibb of the BeeGees. During the late 1970s, when the BeeGees were riding high on the success of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, she let them know she was a fan and would love to record one of their songs. The collaboration went so well that they ended up writing not one but nearly a dozen songs for her. Tell us about something that went way better for you than you predicted it would.

Making my recent career change.  I wanted out of my former department and I would have taken a job at another hospital or insurance company (the horror) if I had to, but I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to get a job and continue with my current company.  Huzzah!

5) Barbra traveled to Miami Beach to record this song in Barry's favorite studio. Have you ever been to Miami Beach?

Only to drive through on the way to the Keys.  I wasn’t impressed—I’m definitely not a city girl…

6) Barbra went to Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn. She had a mad crush on one of her classmates. That boy was Bobby Fischer, who grew up to be an international chess champion. Do you remember one of your big high school crushes? Do you know whatever became of him or her?

Yes, I married him.  At 19.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  We divorced when I was 22.  We ran into each other again 3 or 4 years later, and dated for a while.  It fizzles (I can’t imagine why, ha) and we went our separate ways.  I have no idea what ever happened to him.  The internet says he still lives in the same place I saw him last, and has for decades.

7) Barbra is responsible for the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai. It's dedicated to the study of heart disease, its impact on women, and the search for more effective treatment. If you could fund a not-for-profit, as Barbra has done, what cause would you champion?

Same non-profit that I already donate to via my annual United Way contributions at work (I love that work lets us choose any non-profit we want as long as 10% of our donation goes to the actual United Way), a monthly contribution from my bank account, and cat litter and dog and cat food every time I buy for OUR dog and cats.  Watermelon Mountain Ranch, the largest no-kill shelter in New Mexico.  I wish I could afford to give more.    

8) In 1980, when "Woman in Love" was popular, Macaulay Culkin was born. He's best known for the Home Alone movies. Have you seen them? If yes, did you enjoy them?

Only bits and pieces, and didn’t care for them.

9) Random question: On social media, people keystroke LOL all the time. When is the last time you literally laughed out loud?

Yesterday, when Maddie climbed up on the back of the couch.  She has moments when she REALLY wants to be one of the cats.  It’s hilarious.

Friday, August 20, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 20


What’s making me happy today?  I finished the data collection on my first audit in my new job.  Just for context, that's a deep dive review of 40 operating room cases--every single charge and all the matching documentation (or lack thereof...it is an audit after all).  Put together an email to the department requesting clarification on my findings.  Boss is happy, so I’m happy.  AND I have an appointment this afternoon with Mom, so I get to leave early.  Leaving early from a home office doesn’t quite have the impact that it did when I was in a real office at the hospital, but STILL.  Also, it’s a gorgeous day today, cool and there’s a nip of fall in the air.   There’s a Maddie walk in my future.  Not a bad day, all in all.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 19

 With all the bad news out there the last few days, I've had trouble coming up with "happy" posts.  But this morning, it was easy.  I'm an avid reader of the Washington Post, and this headline above a story by Joshua Partlow this morning really, really made me happy.

In amongst the mess of the world right now, a punch of good news, not only for Alaska, but for our environment.

I'll take it.  Thank you, U. S. District Judge Sharon Gleason, for doing the right thing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 17


What's making me happy today?

My silly llama.  I have a terrible time buying myself things that I think are "frivolous".  Like silly llama here.  We were in World Market a couple of days ago, and I saw this super soft, cuddly lamb that I thought would be a perfect gift for my new grandbaby, who is due in November.  So I grabbed it.  On the shelf next to it, was silly llama here, and I WANTED IT.  Yes, I am a 58 year old woman, but I love soft, cuddly, stuffed things.  

I bought him (and the lamb).

Hubs was very proud of me, and I was pretty proud of myself.

Monday, August 16, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 16


What's making me happy today?  The ability to sleep.  For the last few months, my sleep has been terrible, worrying about this, that, and the other thing.  Things seemed to have settled, and I've been getting a good night's sleep lately.  Huzzah!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 14


What makes me happy today?  Pivoting.  Pivoting is an art, people, and one that it took me a longggg time to learn.  Or maybe treatment for my OCD...  Well either way, I used to be TERRIBLE at change.  If I made plans, and someone changed them or they had to be changed for whatever reason, it pretty much paralyzed me.  And pissed me off.  

Nowadays, I'm really happy about my ability to accept change and pivot without getting all in a snit.  Here's a great example--a couple of weeks ago, hubs and I got it in our head we were going to go to Madrid (NM).  We look at the map, there's a road from the Kewa Pueblo exit on I-25 that goes there. Yay!  In the car we jump, and off we go.  We get off at the so-called road, which rapidly turns into a barely road, then into the washboard gravel "road" from hell.  A sign says 11 miles to Madrid.  Oh HELL NO am I washboarding 11 more miles.  We turned around, bailed on the Madrid idea without being pissed off, and promptly went to Bosque Brewing Company and had a fabulous lunch.

That was a world-class pivot.

I had planned to go to the Botanical Gardens with Mom today, however, she texted me yesterday and suggested we take Maddie for a walk up the arroyo, and go have BLTs at Denny's.  She knows how much I love BLTs, and Maddie loves walking.  I'm thrilled that she DOESN'T want to drive 45 minutes to the Botanical Gardens.  Another world class pivot, great job, Mom!  

Saturday 9 -- Smelly Cat

Join us here.

1) Poor Smelly Cat lives with negligent humans who refuse to take it to the vet. Who is the last doctor you spoke to (vet, MD, dentist, PhD ...)?

Ex-boss lady.  Who has a PhD in bioethics.  I’m really going to miss her…she was a good boss.  I didn’t leave because she wasn’t, I left for a bunch of reasons that have nothing to do with her leadership abilities.  I still interact with her on FB, so I’m glad of that. 

2) This song was introduced during the second season of Friends. Were you a fan of the show?

Never really cared much for it. 

3) On the show, the song was performed by Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), an amateur folk singer and a professional masseuse. There was a debate on Reddit about massages -- some loved them because they are relaxing and therapeutic, others think it's "creepy to be undressed and handled by a stranger." How about you? Do you enjoy massages?

I like them, but it really depends on the masseuse.  I’m only comfortable with women, and only if they LISTEN.   I have so many trigger points and painful areas that I feel like it makes my body a minefield for a masseuse.  I probably should be having them weekly (daily, lol) with someone amazing, but that is just too much money to spend.

4) During the run of Friends, Phoebe was roommates first with Monica and then with Rachel and finally with her true love, Mike. Tell us about one of your roommates.

After I got divorced the first time, way back in the dark ages, I advertised for a roommate to help pay the rent.  This girl moved in (I don’t even remember her name) and ultimately it didn’t work out.  After that, I either lived alone, with my parents, or with a romantic partner.   

5) Phoebe often performed for tips on street corners or at her favorite coffee shop, Central Perk. Where is your favorite place to go for a cup of joe?

My refrigerator.  After that, Starbucks is the closest, about 6 miles away.

6) This song was originally called "Smelly Dog," inspired by a pooch named Gouda. The childhood pet of Friends writer Betsy Borns, poor Gouda could have smelled better. Is there an odor you'd prefer to never smell again?

When I was a bedside RN, working in the ICU and OR, there were MANY odors that I would prefer to never smell again.  Fortunately, I no longer work in that kind of nursing.  Much respect to my sisters and brothers who still do, but it’s no longer for me.  The worst?  Certain kinds of infection have an odor so foul we would have to put a bit of Vicks Vaporub under our noses and/or a drop of wintergreen or clove oil on the inside of our masks.  Sometimes both.  FOUL, I tell you.

7) 35% of American households include a cat. Are there any pets at your house?

Bahahahaha.  Yeah, you could say that.   We have an Australian Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog mix named Maddie and 4 cats.  In order of age, Randall, Ellie, Lucy, and Lily.  Maddie is a delightful, smart, goof (she is also part Australian Shepherd and Border Collie--she herds us around the house).  Randall is DEFINITELY a boy, and loves to sit on your shoulder and lick your hair.  Ellie is the loviest and snuggliest, and most cat-like of the bunch, and like to yell at us her in her baby voice (she never grew out of the "kitten meow").  Lucy is very shy, and loves her cat tree. Lily is a former feral that has finally come in to her own, oh, 8 years later.  She loves belly rubs (!?!?!?), hates Maddie with all her being, and loves HER cat tree (the tallest and highest one in the house, that only she is agile enough to climb).  They are our children.  RIP Ginger, who crossed the rainbow bridge almost 3 years ago.  You are missed sweet girl.






Ginger (RIP sweet girl)

8) In 1995, the year Phoebe first performed "Smelly Cat," Steve Fossett became the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific in a hot air balloon. Have you ever ridden in a balloon?

Nope, and never will.  I live near the hot air ballooning capital of the world, and I love seeing them in the sky, but it’s not an experience I have any interest in.  I’m chicken, frankly.  We recently had a tragic crash that killed everyone on the balloon, which really clinched it for me.  To be fair, crashes are very, very, very rare, but it was enough for me.  On the up side, Balloon Fiesta is a blast!  Here's a picture a took a few years ago of the beginning of opening day's Mass Ascension.

9) Random question: Looking over your romantic history, have you broken more hearts, or had your heart broken more often?­­­­

I think it’s been about 50/50 over the years.

Friday, August 13, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 13


Happiness is..... PAYDAY!  It feels good to sit down, pay the bills, move on with life.  It took me a long dang time, but I finally (mostly) learned to live within my means, and even save a little.  I'm so grateful that I'm finally adulting in that regard. 

Happy Friday the 13th--I'm not superstitious about this day, because 13 was my Dad's lucky number :)

Thursday, August 12, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 12


What's making me happy today?  Today's air quality index is "good".  We've had the worst air quality this week--the fires in California, Arizona, and one here in NM have all conspired to turn the middle Rio Grande Valley into a smoke tunnel.  Sunday, we literally could not see the Sandias.  Which are right on the other side of the valley.  An entire mountain range, hidden behind smoke.  Not pleasant.  Hubs has been hiding in his office with his air purifier/humidifier.  No walkies for the girl.  

We had a thunderstorm come through last night, dropped some rain, and blew the smoke away.  It's clear and beautiful today.  Maddie gets a walk, hubs can breathe, and I'm happy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 11


Today's thing that makes me happy--having my Mom 15 minutes away.  Being able to have dinner with her every week.  Being able to go places and do fun things with her EVERY WEEK.  

I'm so glad she made the decision to move out here.  I know it's been an adjustment--I mean, she moved from the verdant, lush South Carolina countryside to the high desert of New Mexico.  We have trees, mountains, wide open spaces, but one could never mistake this part of New Mexico for "lush".  I think that's probably why she really enjoys going to the Botanical Gardens--there are parts that are definitely lush.

That's going to be our morning out on Saturday--the Botanical Gardens and lunch.  I feel so fortunate.

My Mom at the Botanical Gardens, May 2021

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 10


Happiness is .... having iced coffee in the fridge.  I hate it when I forget to buy the coffee.  Makes me cranky all morning.  Lately, instead of making my own cold brew, I've been buying this stuff, mixing 4 oz with a few ounces of cold, filtered H20 and a few ounces of milk.  

Perfect cup of iced coffee!

Monday, August 9, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 9


My home office makes me happy.  Hell, working from home makes me happy.  I first came home in 2013 as an inpatient case manager for a health insurer.  Back then, we didn't have the space for a separate home office, because we couldn't let go of the idea that we needed a 2nd bedroom.  Our 3rd bedroom is huge, and is full of hubs' several guitars, amps, collections, computer gear, etc.  I had no idea where to put all THAT stuff, so we made our dining room into my home office.  Then, when I decided I wanted a dining room, I moved my home office into the master bedroom.  Terrible idea.  Terrible.

Fast forward to 2018, and I left that job and went back to an office.  Last year, we were sent home during the pandemic, and my company made it permanent and gave away our offices at the hospital.  Yay!  

It just so happened that we also were remodeling the house, and finally gave some serious thought to the whole home office vs second bedroom thing again.  I'm happy to say the home office won.  We did compromise and put a nice futon couch with a real innerspring mattress on it so that we'd have somewhere for someone to sleep should they visit.  

Good thing, because Mom used it for a week while waiting for her furniture to be delivered.  Now it's mainly the place the dog hangs out while I'm working, lol.

I've decorated my office with prints, photographs, my degrees, and my favorite tchotchkes.  The whole thing just makes me happy.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 8


Cooking makes me happy.  

Lately, we've been having an existential food crisis, as in we are sick of what we are eating, sick of cooking in general, and sick of the whole meal preparing THING.  We decided last payday to just buy a bunch of pre-made or super-easy meals, to take the pressure off and sort of reset.  It's working!

I actually felt like cooking last night, and since the green chile harvest is in full swing here, I made green chile stew.  I used a couple of mild "sweet heat" chiles from our little container garden, roasted them over my gas stove, and added some medium chopped green chile from Young Guns that we had frozen from last season.  We can buy this great Hatch chile in our grocery stores here, but it's available on Amazon as well.  Hot tip--once you open the container, it only lasts about two weeks.  I pour mine into 4 oz. plastic screw top containers from zip-loc and freeze them.  It's the perfect amount for stews, eggs, whatever.  We processed our own chile one year, but it's a ton of work, and ends up making wayyyy too much.  This is just easier, and the quality is the same.

It's a very easy recipe, because I use a wonderful mix from Desert Gardens as the base, which makes it super easy.   Again, we get this in the grocery stores here, but it can be found on Amazon.  Each can has the ingredients for 6 batches of soup.  There is also a single batch package.   

Easy New Mexican Green Chile Stew


1 packet Desert Gardens Green Chile Stew soup ingredients
1 packet Desert Gardens Green Chile Stew soup spices
1 15 oz can diced potatoes, drained
1 pound ground beef (you can also use ground pork, or a mix of the two)
1 onion, diced
2-4 oz Hatch Green Chile of your choosing, to taste
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
7 cups chicken broth


In a stockpot, saute chopped onion and hamburger together.  Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.  Drain excess fat if you wish.  Sprinkle Desert Gardens spice packet over the mixture and stir in.  Sprinkle soup ingredients over the mixture, stir in.  Add the chicken broth, bring up to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.  Add potatoes and green chile, and simmer an additional 15 minutes.  Serve with warmed tortillas or crusty bread.

Cooking, and eating, this made me happy.  It's one of my favorite New Mexican dishes, and while not uber-traditional, is easy to make.