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Yesterday was the Dia de Los Muertos parade in Albuquerque’s South Valley. It’s also known as the Marigold parade.

I went last year for the first time, and posted about it here. It was so colorful and so adorable, I had to go back. It was a gorgeous fall day so the turnout was huge. They changed the time this year to 2pm (it started at 4 last year), so between the crowd and the sun overhead, my photos didn’t turn out as nicely as I would like.

But still, I wanted to share with you a little flavor of Albuquerque. So, here in no particular order, are scenes from the day. (There was also a huge celebration at a nearby park after the parade, so some shots are from that.)

I hope you enjoy!

Hey look, it’s Trudell (we call him Tru), the cutest munchkin I know:

What a sweetie!

The parade is a really nice community celebration. A good time was had by all. I loved all the colors, and all the dancing and cheering. It was great.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.

Hello sugarskulls, and happy Monday!

Yesterday afternoon was the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) parade in Albuquerque’s South Valley. It’s also known as the Marigold parade, because in Mexico, Marigolds are known as Flor de Muerto, or flower of the dead. The flowers are thought to attract the souls of the dead to the offerings or comments that the living have left for them. Facilitators, those Marigolds.

I’d never been to the parade, despite years of hearing how awesome it was. I brought my camera along, because I thought you’d like to see a little flavor of New Mexico (and regular Mexico).

One quick housekeeping note, these photos are not in strict chronological order (although I tried to keep the sunset ones together so it wouldn’t be jarring to your senses), they are in my personal aesthetics order.

If there was ever a parade that screamed “community love,” it was this one. The vibe was so friendly and warm, despite the scary makeup and death theme. Here, take a look:

One aspect of the parade that surprised me was that it was very political. Albuquerque style politics. I’m not sure why it surprised me, since everyone was just looking out for their families and neighbors, but it did. I grouped the messages together (they were more spread out along the parade route):

You won’t see a scene like that in New York. It felt like a privilege to witness all these folks walking together with a purpose.

There aren’t a lot of one percenters living in the South Valley:

I have to admit, I got a little teary eyed at seeing all the families and community activists. It was so heartwarming.

It was great to see so many people coming together for their community. Even the animals were in on the fun:

Mommies and babies, too!

Hey, it’s Rose (and her son) and Mary! You ladies looked great!

The stroller float was a collection of tricked-out strollers. Adorable!

This was easily the most colorful parade I’d ever seen.

It wouldn’t be Albuquerque without the hot rods:

Everyone was showing off, it was very funny.

Yes we are!

Such a great event. I hope the photos gave those of you who live elsewhere a sense of what this community is like.

I took many messages from the event, but I think one of the most important ones is that life itself should be a celebration. It’s terrible to lose a loved one, but how lucky are we that we got to know that person at all? That we got to love that person. That we get to continue loving people. Life is precious, life is fleeting. Yesterday’s parade was an exercise in living in the moment, and it was glorious.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.

Hi carrots! This past weekend was busy, and this week is looking pretty busy as well. I have all sorts of houseplant news to share with you, including some new babies to introduce to you and photos from a mass “shower” the plants got when they were hauled outside for a fall cleaning. (It was quite the adventure from their point of view.)

But I’ll need some time to get those posts in order. So for now, here are some photos from the International Balloon Fiesta, going on in Albuquerque right now. You can see that we didn’t actually go to the balloon fiesta park (bad locals, I know), but still managed to get a great view of the silliness.

Here’s the first wave of balloons as the sun peeked over the Sandia Mountains, you can see the volcanoes in the distance:

The light winds carried most of the balloons north, but there were enough in the sky to give you an idea of how many are participating this year:

So fun!

In the next shot, you can see how many balloons had yet to lift off – hundreds!

We didn’t stick around to watch them all take off from the park, but hopefully you get the idea.

There were balloons everywhere. Pretty cool stuff.

Ok, I’ll be back this afternoon with houseplant news, hope to see you here.

Hello little birdies, and happy Monday.

I want you to get ready to scroll very fast, so you can follow along as I chase roadrunners. They run fast, so you have to scroll fast. It’ll be just like one of those old flip books. Ready? Ok, go!

See, it’s exactly like one of those flip books, haha!

This is where he slipped through a fence. He did not appreciate me following him one bit.

I did a little research on roadrunners (all I really knew about them is that they are New Mexico’s state bird), and one website said they’re so curious that they’ll walk right up to people. That’s wrong. Every one I’ve seen has run, fast, the other way whenever I came around. Maybe I stink or something, but more likely, they’re scared.

But I did manage to get fairly close to this little guy. Ok, scroll fast again!

I didn’t expect him to be so pretty – I’ve never been close enough to see all the colors in the feathers! I’m pretty sure he’s the male, although online searching was inconclusive. Apparently the males and females look a lot alike.

By the way, a little background, we were taking a walk near Old Town Albuquerque a couple weeks ago when I spotted a pair of the silly birds. I couldn’t resist giving chase. They make me laugh because they look so ridiculous.

Some tourists drove by and were greatly amused as well, so I know I’m not the only one. I am probably the only one to blog about them, however.

Here’s the other bird, I think it’s the female. You’ll have to scroll left, right, up, down, up and down to follow her:

Then poof, they were both gone. Which was fine, because I was sick of chasing them by then. I know, I have the attention span of a 12-year-old.

I’ll be back manana – and I may actually write about houseplants, we’ll see. Hope you’ll join me.

As long as the craft store keeps selling these, I suppose I’ll be a sucker and keep buying them. Because they’re funny.

And because I’m easily amused.

It’s just grass seeds.

Very easily amused.

Haha, I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.

Your Monday is almost over, I know. And this picture isn’t really that great, if you’re looking for a photo to chase away your blues.

These are on Central Avenue in Nob Hill.

I get pretty distracted around the holidays, plus it’s a busy time of year. That’s my way of explaining why this post is light on substance. It doesn’t mean posts between now and the New Year will also be light on substance, but you should keep your expectations low just in case, haha!

Hey tacos, Happy Monday!

So I thought I’d take you with me on a trip to a cool place here in New Mexico. It’s near Cochiti Lake, which is north of Albuquerque but south and to the west of Santa Fe. It’s a National Monument because of the funky rock formations, which are called Tent Rocks but look more like cones, mostly anyway – they’re really varied.

Anyway, I was going to give you some history. Like how right before he left office, President Bill Clinton designated lots of pieces of wilderness as National Monuments and that this is one of them. And that he also bought for the American people that which is now the Valle Caldera Nature Preserve – a stunning 95,000ish acres of land also right here in New Mexico.

But I didn’t want to invite any political discussions.

Then I was going to talk about how the rocks were made 6 or 7 million years ago when the volcanoes exploded and spewed pumice and ash everywhere. Wind and water (New Mexico was once underwater), and erosion, formed the rock formations we see today.

But I didn’t want to invite any batshit crazy discussions about how God put the Tent Rocks there 6,000 years ago to fool us.

My handful of regular readers are smart, they’re adorable, and they love Nature. So I can’t see any of them wanting to debate politics or evolution, and if they did, they’d be polite about it, and open to actual discussion (rather than trying to force one’s opinions down someone else’s throat).

But sometimes I worry about newcomers. What if they’re one of *those* people and decide to tell me I’m going to straight to hell? I find that unkind.

So as a preemptive strike, I’m just going to post a bunch of pretty photos without commentary. You make your own conclusions how or why these became National Monuments.

One quick note, I did not make any changes to the colors of these photos. The sky in New Mexico is almost always a delicious blue, but the sky in the mountains, particularly that day, the day after Thanksgiving, well, it looked just like it does in the photos. The variations depended on high we were (the photos are not in chronological order because I think they are more interesting that way).

Ok, a little commentary, because I can’t keep my mouth shut for more than about 5 seconds. This is the view the other direction, those are the Sandia Mountains off in the distance:

A cave where an ancestor stayed. You can see the soot from fire on the roof:

Some people say that rocks used to be sacred. Now we call people “dumb as rocks” as an insult.

We don’t have plants in the house because they clean the air. We have plants in the house to remind us that we’re a part of Nature. We’re interlocked, biologically, humans are animals.

Instead of embracing that, we collect rocks and seashells. Diamonds and pearls. We bring plants inside. We tell ourselves it’s important for the clean air, but that’s missing the point. We miss Nature.

For this last picture, I was going to make some cutesy remark about how I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. But that’s ridiculous. I know where I’ve been, and I know where I’m not going, and that’s plenty good enough for me.

I may not know exactly where I’m going, but I have a pretty good sense of it.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be back with another post manana, so I hope to see you here.

Hi sugar plums, and happy Monday!

I really like getting something for nothing. I don’t mean getting rewarded without doing hard work – I’ve never shied away from an honest day’s work. I’m talking about getting free stuff.

This time of year, I like to take advantage of what other people (Lowe’s and Home Depot) consider waste. Employees prune the bottom branches of their Christmas trees, then toss them into big boxes, and you can help yourself for free.¹

I went to a Lowe’s a few days ago and went searching for branches. There was a family there buying a tree, and the Mom was standing in front of the scrap box. I walked up and asked her, “Hey, these are free, right?” She said, “Yeah, but what do you do with them?” I told her my plan, and thought I’d show you, too.

I use the branches in a couple of different ways. I make wreaths for clients, family. It works great as long as you have a loose interpretation of what constitutes a wreath.

The first step is to use wire to tie the branches together:

Then you simply tie a festive ribbon around the top and hang your wreath.

Martha over at Plowing Through Life said she has done away with the mess and stickiness of having a live Christmas tree in the house. I was thinking of her when I decided to put some of the branches in vases. I wanted to have the smell of pine in the house, without the mess of a whole tree.

So I guess those big box stores are good for something.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.


¹ My regular readers already know that I do not recommend buying plants from the big box stores – they are always infested with bugs. If you want quality plants, you have to find a good local nursery.

When I was in my 20s, I wanted to know where the road led.

When I was in my 30s, I reflected on my relationship with the road.

Now that I’m in my 40s, I can’t stop thinking about the trees.

I don’t know if it’s because I grew up on a farm, but I’ve always been drawn to the farmers’ markets.

In college, my roommate and I would go to the market on Saturday mornings for fresh flowers. And to scope on the hottie farmers.

After college, I worked long hours, I didn’t have time for my own vegetable garden. So I depended on the farmers’ markets to feed me.

Every new city or town in which I’ve lived, I’ve sought out the local market.

Now that I live in Albuquerque, I’ve found a great community at the downtown growers’ market. I’m grateful to have been on the “inside” for the last two summers, helping Sandra sell her delicious food and drinks. But now I’m sad – the last market of the season for us was this past Halloween weekend.

So no more of this adorableness greeting me each Saturday morning:

That’s Helen, Patty and Sophia – their booth was next door to Sandra’s, so they spoiled us. A LOT.

And no more visits from the fine Lewis Casey (sans his sunflower head you might be more used to seeing him wearing):

All summer, Lewis brought treats from his garden for Sandra and me – peppers, figs, pomegranates! Thanks Lewis!

It was a busy fun day, so I didn’t get a chance to get photos of everyone. But a big thank you to all the farmers, in particular, Viva Verde Farm, Chispas Farm, Amyo Farm, and Dragon Farm. You guys fed me all summer, so thank you! And thanks especially to Sandra for two very fun summers in a row. I’m going to miss your farm bowl, girl!

I managed to get a shot of the pet costume contest:

Haha, bulldogs dressed as tiny sharks – people are funny with their dogs!

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here!

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.