November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving is over, but feeling thankful is not!

I don't know who to credit for this (or where it was taken).  I stole it from Facebook, he he.

~As I ponder this sign, I wonder if my inability to knuckle down and work on the paper that's due in 5 days is due to my natural procrastination or maybe wondering if the stress of realizing that I need to finish it NOW is a creative process for me.  Nah, probably not.  Most likely I'll be kicking my own ass for not working on it more often in the past couple of weeks.  This always happens to me at the end of the semester.  I'm tired of it all, even if I thoroughly enjoyed the class.  I just want it to be over (& it will on 12/4).  I plan to write today, after I go to the gym.  It's a rare Friday that allows me to participate with the group that plays racquetball on Friday at noon, and I'm glad to have some time to enjoy doing something physical instead of sitting on my butt.

~Thanksgiving turned out very well.  The turkey was marvelous.  The homemade rolls delicious.  The potatoes my friend brought to dinner were great I guess ~ I don't eat potatoes but everyone else chowed down.  The only dish that wasn't quite up to par was the stuffing, which turned out a tad bit dry, but if you added enough gravy, it was good.  Next year I'll have to remember to add more chicken broth to up the moisture factor.  

~I am thankful for:
-My husband of nearly 34 years, who is my rock, friend, lover, soul mate.
-My Mom, who has taught me how to stand tall during the tough times.
-My family, who support me through thick and thin, good and bad, fun and sad.  I love them so.....
-My friends, who make me laugh when I'm sad, and allow me to help them when they need it.
-My dogs, who always love us all no matter what.  They're always ready to cuddle and play.  
-The ability to attend college, which is out of reach for so many.

Time to do some writing!  Enjoy your weekend!
Love, 365
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November 23, 2013

I love coffee....


Oh, how I love thee, let me count the ways...

~For many years, I never drank coffee.  I was/am a tea drinker.  My Mom gave me tea in my bottle (a practice that I'm sure would be frowned upon these days, although I suppose it beats Kool-Aid and the like).   
~A friend/co-worker of mine (who now lives in Australia, working on her PhD) absolutely loved coffee, and couldn't understand anyone who didn't share her coffee habit.  She would croon (oh, yes she did!) over a good cup, and would constantly ask me if I wanted some.  
~Eventually I wanted to know what it was about coffee that created this obsession.  So, I tried it.  I had to work on it, experimenting with the combination of coffee, sweetener and cream until I found it.  Now, I can't imagine spending a day without having one or two cups.  Black?  No thanks.  But slightly sweet with a nice dollop of creamer?  Heaven.  
~I don't consider myself a coffee snob.  I use a plain Cuisinart coffee maker.  For awhile I bought the whole beans and would grind them just before making a pot.  But now I just purchase the ground coffee (or at Costco you can buy the beans and grind them in their machines, although the thought occurs to me to wonder : how often do they clean these machines?).  I occassionally go to Starbucks for a cup, a favorite indulgence when I'm grocery shopping.  
**Thank you, Candice, for turning me own to coffee!  Love you, girlfriend!

#####And now I must work on my final paper for class.  I have less than one page written, but I figure it's a start!

Enjoy the weekend!
Love, 365

November 17, 2013

Once upon a time.....

Courtesy of Huffington Post, Dan Snow

When I first decided to return to college to earn a bachelor's degree, my goal was to teach high school students science....biology to be precise.  I was/am literally "working" my way through while holding down a full time job and taking classes online, in the evening, and once on a Saturday (it's rare to find classes on the weekend).  Then I hit a snag.  Chemistry.  I tried it twice, and failed both times.  Oh, I didn't go all the way through and fail.  I realized 1/3 of the way through the class that I was never going to make it and dropped the class.  I changed my major (as most college students do) and chose Anthropology, mostly because I thoroughly enjoyed my Intro to Anthro class, and figured "why not?". I am still enjoying anthropology.  But not because I'm going to make any money at it.  It's a joke I've heard from nearly every professor I've had who's an anthropologist.  I remain thrilled, because after all these years on earth, I have come to the conclusion that making lots of money might make having a nice car, or taking a European vacation for a month easier, because I simply want to do what I enjoy, and to hell with money.  Truth is, retirement isn't terribly far away for me anyway. I jokingly tell people who ask "my goal is to be the oldest archaeologist on earth", although the truth is I'll probably be the oldest person to earn a degree in archaeology, lol.  

Anyway, I have a quote on my blog that caught my eye some years ago.  "Always remember that you are unique...just like everyone else" with an unkown author.  Well, this morning I was catching up on reading my fairly new subscription to the Wall Street Journal and ran across this quote:  
"Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else" by Margaret Mead, an anthropologist.  

Somehow, I'm seeing that I've always been a student of anthropology...I just didn't realize it.

Love, 365


November 16, 2013

It's just so hard...not to scream

Dang, people!  Jump on board!

***I went to the car wash yesterday for a badly needed cleanup of my SUV.  I went inside to pay, only to be bombarded by Christmas music.  Really?  It's a car wash.  I can't figure out why they would jump on the Christmas bandwagon so early.  The employee who graciously accepted my payment told me they had started it on the 8th of November....we both agreed it was completely ridiculous.  I'm sending a message to their Facebook page as soon as I'm finished with this post.  What's the point unless you say something, right???  Get out there!  Let these businesses know how you feel!!!
****************
~This semester - my first at UNM (Univ. of New Mexico), I signed up for a "topics course" in Anthropology.  I really had no idea what a topics course was, until I received an e-mail from the instructor before class started that the topic is "primates in captivity".  Now, I'm really not a big fan of monkeys & apes with the exception of gorillas.  But, I had to find a class offered in the evening/weekend/online variety, so I figured I would move forward and at the very least earn another 3 credits toward my degree.  
     I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I've learned and how interesting the topic is.  One of our assignments was to create an "enrichment" item for the primates at our zoo.  (see the link for an idea of what I'm talking about)  I created this:


It's kind of difficult to tell what you're looking at ~ there are dried beans inside the pvc pipe, and hopefully the spider monkeys will run across the rope, and jostle the pvc which will make a little noise. 
~What I'm trying to get to is that the prof. told me my piece was the only one that would be a permanent item, which really surprised me!  Class is nearly over now ~ I only have one project left, which is to write a 10-20 page paper on a topic of our choosing.  Um, I haven't really started it yet, so I'm going to be very busy for the next 3 weeks.  
~If you've never been to our National Zoo (I haven't either), and you're planning a trip to Washington D.C., pay them a visit.  My professor has shown us some photos and explained some of the innovations they have made in housing their primates, and it looks fantastic!

November 7, 2013

I think my SUV has a sign that's invisible to me....

Nah, this ain't Albuquerque.  Image courtesy of Bing.

~It's true.  I do think my 12 year old Isuzu has a sign on it that is invisible if you aren't driving, or if you're in it.  Because, if I have just a smidge over a car length in between me and the vehicle in front of me, someone has an overwhelming desire to swerve in front of me, causing me to either slam on my  brakes, or at the very least, stop the cruise control.  This includes driving on the freeway at 65mph.  It never fails to freak me out.

~Did your city/town once have red light cameras?  We used to.  People kept getting pissed off that they were caught going through a red light or speeding through the intersection, so Albuquerque halted the use of them.  Now, the left turner's just keep on going even though the light has turned red - like, 3 cars ago.  It's stupid, but they just keep going.  They don't care if you have the green, because, "I know they see me and will wait until I complete this completely illegal traffic maneuver before starting up".  *&#&@%#* stupid drivers. 

Slightly irritated.

Love, 365

November 5, 2013

Pros & Cons

Wendy Connett ~ Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque

The pros and cons of living in New Mexico!  It took me so long yesterday with San Antonio, I'm going to cut to 5 instead of 10.  

Cons 

1) It's really, really (really!) dry.  We average 9.45 inches of rain for the year.  This includes snowfall as well.  The plants you see in the foreground have evolved to survive on a small amount of moisture. 

2) The winters can be cold ~ not like Wisconsin or Minnesota!  In the winter of 2011, we did have temp's of -7 degrees that lasted for about a week.  Brutal.

3) The seafood sucks.  Nearly everything in the grocery store was farm grown in Thailand and "flash frozen", meaning there's not much flavor left, and you never know the conditions the shrimp (or whatever) were grown in.  We have Red Lobster, Landry's and Pappadeaux ~ ugh.  

4) The winds.  In the spring the wind is awful, blowing from 17 to 35 mph.  Not all the time, but usually every day during April and May (& sometimes June).  This is the main reason I prefer fall in Albuquerque.

5) The "good ol' boy system" ~ I thought I had left this behind when I moved here from Texas, but to my dismay, discovered that New Mexico has a long history of political corruption and nefarious activities by those in political positions.   When I was taking my New Mexico history class, I read about a governor in Santa Fe (prior to becoming a state, during Spanish colonial times) that had indians weaving for him and selling the rugs to pad his own pocket.  I don't think it's improved a lot since then, although I admire Gov. Susanna Martinez.  

Pros

1) Hatch green chile.  I love it on eggs, burgers, stew, sandwiches, etc.  There is nothing that says fall is on it's way as the smell of roasting green chile.  I should also mention that New Mexican food is so great, that I no longer enjoy Mexican food from other places anymore.

2) The air and sunshine.  We rarely have bad air days, except in the winter with people burning wood in their fireplaces and wood stoves.  300 sunny days per year?  Love it.....

3) The culture.  As I'm a student of anthropology, I've done some studying and appreciate the history of our Native tribes (Tewa, Apache, Pueblo, Navajo) and the Spanish colonial time periods.  Fascinating.  One of my favorite places to visit is the Acoma Pueblo, or "Sky City".  

4)  Albuqerque is planned on a grid, with the mountains in the east, the plateau on the west.  I rarely become lost.  In San Antonio, the joke is that they "paved the cow paths".  Even after I lived there for 38 years, I would get lost anytime I strayed from the areas I was familiar with.

5) The mountains.  I love living in the foothills, and the view is amazing every day.  I've never lived near mountains before, and have to admit that I love watching the, hiking them, and photographing them.  The Sandia Mountains translates to the "Watermelon Mountains" & here's why:

Courtesy of Bing Images.  I have a suspicion that there was a filter used for this photo.

This is a bit more natural looking.

Ok!  I hope you might think of coming to visit sometime, as it is a beautiful place.  

Love, 365

November 4, 2013

Pro's and Con's

Please don't forget to pledge.....

It's been a long week, and it's only Monday.  Worked last Monday, Oct. 28th, went to a conference on Oct. 31 (I know, right?  We left on Halloween, kinda dumb), returned from the conference today.  Work tomorrow through Friday.  As I said, it's going to be a long week.

I was thinking about how everything seems to have a good and bad side to it ~ and I began to compare the good/bad thing between San Antonio, Tx & Albuquerque, NM.  

San Antonio

Con's

1) It's too big.  It takes too long to get anywhere.  God help you if you live on the Northside and have to drive downtown to work.  I'm sure it's not as bad as other places you hear about, like L.A. or New York, but it can be awful.

2) The property taxes are high, and are raised regularly.  This is how they fund public school in S.A.  It's not an equitable system, because the kids that live in the wealthier neighborhoods have great schools....and you can guess the rest.  I think it should be distributed in a way that all can benefit.  

3) They have a lot of strip malls.  Every time I go back to visit, I notice another damn strip mall, just down the street from one that is now abandoned.  

4) The summers are too damn hot.  It's too damn humid.  You can't do anything outside (in the summer) after 11am unless you're going swimming.  I'm talking about hiking, walking, biking.  I know that lots of people do these things anyway, but in my opinion it's just too hot.  

5) It's too far away from everything else.  If you want to go to the Grand Canyon, or any other National park outside of Texas, it practically takes a full day just to get out of the state.  Other cities like Dallas and Houston are a little closer to nearby states that make it a bit easier to "get out of Dodge".  

6) They are having water problems.  Texas has been experiencing a severe drought.  The nightly news often discusses the aquifer levels, which is where the drinking water comes from.  Nearby lakes have dry docks.  They've been through restrictions that are at times severe (but necessary).

7) Traffic sucks the big one.  Even driving to the grocery store is an ordeal. Costco is a freaking nightmare on Saturday, so unless you can go during the week, or enjoy a frustrating experience, you might just want to forget the membership.

8) Did I mention its hot?  Forget 4 seasons, there's really only 2.  Summer, and January.

9) Rednecks.  Oh, yeah, they exist alright.  

10) Lone Star beer.  Ugh.

Pro's
1) It's a large city (in the metro area, 7th largest), so there's a lot to do.  There is the Riverwalk, the Alamo, Sea World, Six Flags over Texas, and tons of great shopping.  Even though it's a large city, it has a very hometown feel ~ it's very casual.

2) The cost of housing is low, comparatively speaking.  If we had purchased a house in San Antonio with the budget we had in Albuquerque, we could have purchased a really nice place.  Not that our house was bad, but we ended up in a neighborhood that was just way too large for our taste.

3) They have great restaurants.  One of my favorites there is Sea Island Shrimp House.  I miss it, and try to eat there every time I visit.

4) The winters are not very cold.  I recall a few Christmases that were warm enough for either a light jacket or no jacket at all.  

5) The unemployment rate is 6.7% (approximately ~ it's hard to find accurate records, ya know?).

6) They have great road systems.  Actually, Texas spends a lot of $$ on improvements, which of course, can be a pain if the roads you take to work are under construction.  

7) They have lots of great Universities.  Univ. of Texas, Trinity Univ., and Our Lady of the Lake (which I mention mostly because my husband obtained his Masters in Business there) to name a few.

8)  It's close to amenities that are nearby: Schlitterbahn (the worlds best water park), the Hill Country (tons of wineries and restaurants), Enchanted Rock (a fund place to hike and camp), Natural Bridge Caverns (along with a lot more caves to visit), the Texas Gulf Coast where you can fish, walk the beach, etc.  

9)  They have The Spurs, a great basketball team!  

10) The friendliness of the people ~ I missed this aspect of Texas when I lived elsewhere.

See you soon with the pro's and con's of Albuquerque!

Love, 365

It's been lovely......

Hot tubs at 10 Thousand Waves, Santa Fe I was going to post some photos from FB's "Memories and Photos in New Mexico", ...