Saturday, November 30, 2019

Old Town Albuquerque Christmas 2014

What Do 135 Christmas Trees Look Like?

The weekend before Thanksgiving I went to Albuquerque for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards banquet. As an aside my book Heads in the Clouds did win the Romance category. But even without that thrill spending a weekend in Old Town Albuquerque at the elegant Hotel Albuquerque was a delight.

Shops, museums, art, lots of jewelry. And chilies – hanging from rafters and mixed into luscious New Mexico dishes.
While visiting the historic old San Felipe de Neri church on the Old Plaza, I noticed a tall pole with skeleton-like protrusions in the Plaza Don Luis. Left over from the Day of the Dead celebration? I didn't think so.

When a bucket truck arrived and placed a pine tree on the top, I asked the clerk at the gift shop, located in the Sister Blandina Company that once housed the Sisters of Charity, what was happening. Then I saw a flatbed truck pull up with a lot more, really a lot more, trees. And workers began inserting trees into the skeleton from the top down.
As the day progressed, so did the tree, until one hundred and thirty-five (135) trees merged into one gigantic tree.

Workers continued to decorate the the tree with lights, white snowflakes, and red bows until the glorious tree was complete!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

New and Gift-Worthy Books

“A Dog’s Promise” by W. Bruce Cameron (October 15, 2019)
“A Dog’s Promise” is Cameron’s newest Dog’s Purpose novel. Like the original “A Dog’s Purpose” it stars Bailey whose lives began in “A Dog’s Purpose” and continued in “A Dog’s Journey “(both books and movies). Now old soul Bailey’s back and ready to experience more purpose-driven lives. Cameron’s heartfelt style merges tenderness, humor, and wisdom as Bailey is helped by Lacey, a new dog.  W. Bruce Cameron is the top-selling author of dog books globally! And, of course, there will be another movie.

“Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein
Any dog lover that missed seeing the recent movie debut of “Racing in the Rain” needs to reread the book before  the movie is available for streaming and on DVD. For a special treat, listen to the audiobook. Note: there are 2 audio versions: the original (the same as the book) and a shorter family version. Since the entire book is from Enzo’s point of view, listening to a dog think and complain about not having thumbs takes readers into the mind of a smart and loyal dog. 

“Heart of Barkness” (A Chet and Bernie mystery, 2019) by Spenser Quinn
Chet, as philosophical as Enzo in his own way, and funnier, narrates another mystery though canine eyes. Chet and his (human) partner private investigator Bernie Little. Since both are music lovers, the partners take on a case in the country music world.

David Rosenfelt has two new Andy Carpenter mysteries: “Bark of Night” and “Dachshund through the Snow.”
Rosenfelt is the author of the Andy Carpenter mysteries, with nine books in the series. Dog lovers and mystery lovers alike follow Andy’s work to help clients and help dogs through his Tara Foundation. The Rosenfelts’ real life Tara Foundation has placed over 4,000 dogs in loving homes and continues to be active in the rescue community. He is also the author of two non-fiction books: “Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure” and “Lessons from Tara; Life Advice from the World’s Most Brilliant Dog.” 

“Katt vs. Dogg” by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. 

A book written for middle grade kids but too much fun not to be shared with the entire family. Oscar is a happy go lucky dogg who (along with his dogg family) thinks katts are good for nothing but chasing up trees. Molly is an aspiring-actress katt who, like her dogg hating family, despises drooly disgusting doggs. A laugh-out-loud story of cooperation over prejudice. With brilliant cartoon illustrations.

“Fearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cats” by Kimberlie Hamilton (Scholastic, November 5, 2019)  Delightful cat stories like the Scottish cat Pyro who flew with RAF pilots in WWII. Plus amazing cat facts that will make cat lovers purr and dog lovers laugh. “It a cat sneezes, rain is on the way.” “Put a cat whisker in your wallet to attract money.” Charming illustrations by 17 artists. For ages 8 and up (and up).

Previously published in the Oct.-Nov. issue of The Flagstaff-Sedona Dog magazine. Print and online.