rise with the sun

July 16, 2015

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The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Switching to a new schedule at work has shuffled life around a bit- but in good ways- and it’s felt as fresh of a start as the first day of school. Every morning I jump out of bed, scroll through headlines and zip into work. Shows are fun but hectic, and go by in the blink of an eye. And as each show begins to end, the sun rises- and we’re treated to what I think must be some of the most beautiful skies.

I’m also deeply passionate about some of the stories we’ve been planning, and have been feeling really excited about the opportunity we have to shed light on some of the solutions-oriented work people in our state have been working on to improve the community. So work couldn’t be much better, right now.

But maybe most of all, my new schedule has made it so easy to squeeze in coffee dates, and I’ve been taking advantage of the chance to get to know a lot of new people- both for work and socially. Now that I’ve planted a good set of roots in New Mexico, I have a lot of time and energy to invest into starting and growing relationships, and I don’t think there’s anything that makes me feel more alive. I’ve had some really meaningful, inspiring conversations over the past few weeks and am just making an effort to say “yes”- to everything.

I’m in this place where I love my work, and the relationships I have, and the place where I live. And I’m mystified by the beauty of New Mexico’s landscapes and touched by so many of the stories I’ve had the chance to tell and so deeply passionate about the chance we have to make the bad things good and the great things even better.

It’s a good feeling.

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big chair, pretty city

July 8, 2015

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Over the past couple years, the city of Albuquerque has been trying out a variety of attractions and programs to draw people in to “Civic Plaza.” It’s a courtyard centered between City Hall and the Albuquerque Convention Center, and when I first got to Albuquerque a couple years ago, it was typically empty, with a fountain occasionally running and basketball courts rarely filled with people. But recently, it’s been made a priority. There’s an idea that bringing people downtown for fun not only funnels money into nearby businesses, but adds a little extra spice and culture to everything going on at the city’s governmental center.

Now, I never know what I’ll find when I head downtown for an interview with an official or a city council meeting. This week we were doing a story about the Albuquerque mayor’s “police-community relations collaborative,” and weren’t let in right away because the building was having a fire drill (the daily quirks of TV reporting), so we had some time to kill… and snapped a couple pictures at the “ABQ Adirondack” chair. It’s one of those fun little novelty features perfect for sharing on social media and bringing a quick smile to someone’s day… and it’s the kind of thing you only find in cities with character. (You can view more photos here.)

Now is such an exciting time to live and work and play (and report) in Albuquerque. There are creative, unique entrepreneurs, musicians, artists and policymakers trying new things, and there’s a sense of accessibility and openness that lends itself to experimentation. There are big changes happening- in education, in business, in the public and private spheres. And there are little changes too- a colorful piece of public art on the street; a new wave of architectural design on a busy street. There are people “giving it a go”- and I’m grateful and excited to live in a place that feels like it’s beginning a new stage. I loved it when I first got here, but I constantly feel like I’m falling all over again. #NMTrue!

rise & shine

June 30, 2015

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Let me start this post by saying that it is almost impossible to get a good screenshot from a live shot. This laugh was chosen only because it was better than looking like I was shouting or chewing (none of which have happened on air, promise!)… but it’s probably an appropriate pick because this morning, I did a solid amount of laughing. My photojournalist and I reported on fun stories (and some serious ones), and reunited after not working together for over a year!

Morning reporting was my first gig in Albuquerque, and I loved it. I’ve loved dayside and nightside shifts too, but every show is different, and there are special things about each one. I haven’t reported for the morning show in a long while now, and I’m happy to get some time to do so! The stories we work on are focused on getting people ready for their day, and waking up with them- it’s a different style, and one that we can have a little more fun with.

So… what does reporting for a morning show mean? It means a 3 a-m wakeup call, a couple cups of joe, and a lot of planning ahead. It also means lots of little adventures, and some lifestyle changes, too… I can’t wait to share it all!

But first… for my *afternoon* cup of coffee! 😉

albuquerque rose garden

June 17, 2015

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There’s little I love more than rows and rows of gorgeous flowers. This spring and summer especially, I’ve tried to take advantage of the prettiest places in Albuquerque. There’s a lot of natural beauty, but I also love carefully curated displays and have tried to check to-do’s off of a list of must-sees. I’m a big fan of the Albuquerque BioPark Botanical Garden, but recently stumbled on a a slightly more secret spot.

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The Albuquerque Rose Society tends to a gorgeous little garden surrounding a local library. It’s a fragrant oasis tucked in between businesses, busy streets and normal city life. And as it turns out, it’s about five minutes from home. Shaun, his three-year-old son and I picked up donuts and made a pit stop there on the way to the park. Of course the baseball and bat came with, and the boys turned the morning walk into an impromptu practice time.

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According to the Albuquerque Rose Society, the garden has featured more than 1100 roses that grow well in New Mexico. It’s located at the Tony Hillerman Library at 8205 Apache NE.

reporter’s notebook: a changing industry

June 16, 2015

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(Me before the shot panned down to a soon-to-be-defunct newspaper vending box….view video below!)

It’s no secret that the way people consume news is changing. When I studied convergence journalism at the University of Missouri, media outlets were still navigating through how to best serve online news consumers. We were just hitting the tip of the “social” iceberg and “mobile” was a buzzword. Not even a decade later, almost every newsroom places priority on online updates and viewers/readers/listeners have their pick when it comes to how they want to get their news. It’s an exciting time to be a journalist, but there are moments that are bittersweet. I read newspapers on my tablet now, but it was the feeling of crisp pages spread out on the kitchen table that got me into the field. Now, taking the time to do that with a big cup of coffee is a treat.

So this week when I was assigned a television news story about the local newspaper getting rid of what was once how a good number of people got their window to the world- I felt my heart flutter a little bit. I’ll be honest- I’ve only bought a newspaper from one of those metal quarter racks maybe three times, ever… but talking with people on the street about it, heard them say a lot of the things I’ve started to feel when my favorite magazines release mobile issues before the glossy ones on newsstands, or when people turn down the chance to watch a visual, moving television story because they’ve already gotten the basics through Twitter.

In the end, I think this specific development- reported with the context that the paper has increased in overall readership when counting digital subscriptions- shows that people simply have more options now. We pay for speed and convenience. And when done right, these options are a good thing. They have the potential to create a more informed electorate and more compassionate community. But in an age where word has never traveled faster, we must be discerning about what we read…and we have to be able to trust the sources of our news. The stakes are high, but it’s an interesting time, and an exciting one.

(By the way, the irony of a television story waxing nostalgia about a newspaper tradition was not lost on me. But I think we’ve gotten to a point where TV news viewers and newspaper readers know they’re getting something very different from each medium…and I think there’s value in that!)

chicago trip

June 15, 2015

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I always say that after growing up in four different states, studying in a fifth and working in two more, “everywhere feels like home.” But since I spent the largest number of years in Illinois and, more significantly, part of my family still lives there, the Land of Lincoln is where I get the warmest feelings when my plane lands and where I have the most memories. I went home for my youngest brother’s graduation party and made a week-long trip out of it — and while it was a blast, it was also bittersweet.

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There were reunions with relatives I hadn’t seen in awhile, walks along Lake Michigan, deep-dish pizza and graduation cake. But there was also a lot of change. Good change, for the most part- normal change- but changes that tug at your heartstrings, make you remember and make you wonder what else the future holds. This summer, two of my brothers graduated from college, landed jobs and are moving off to different states. My youngest brother is headed to school in the city, and my parents are making changes in their lives, too.

As I went to bed in what’s now the guest room but was once my bedroom through high school, charmingly repainted but still arranged the same way, I heard kids laughing outside and looked out the window to see scooters rolling down the sidewalk, signs of summer nights in the suburbs. It made me smile. That home made me who I am, and it made my brothers who they are- and though I’ll miss going home and knowing everyone will be there, I’m so proud of who they’ve become and where they’re going. Seeing everyone grow up is emotional- I remember when, my youngest brother especially, were still just little guys- but now, they aren’t just my little brothers. They’re my friends.

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It was an emotional trip- but also a chance to recharge and reset. Being out of the loop of work and New Mexico life for a week has me refreshed- and ready to take on the changes that are soon to come here!

summer vibes

April 22, 2015

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There’s a joke that if you don’t like the rain outside your window in New Mexico, you can just wait five minutes and the sky will be clear and sunny again. Spring here is notoriously unpredictable, but lately we’ve been getting some gorgeous days that have felt much more like summer. Shaun and I took advantage of that by taking his son to the ABQ BioPark Zoo (I’ve been there for stories, but this was my first time going for fun!) and eating ice cream outside.

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I’ve also been sipping lots of iced coffee and sleeping with the windows open- enjoying every reminder that long summer days, evenings eating dinner on the patio and windows down while driving are almost here to stay. I already have a to-do-list for the months to come- filled with mini road trips, gorgeous trails to hike and ways to take advantage of the reliably sunny days Albuquerque always delivers!

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abq biopark botanical garden

April 9, 2015

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It’s hard to believe I was kicking my way through snow just weeks ago! Spring is now in full bloom, with warm but breezy afternoons and almost balmy evenings. I’ve been wanting to spend every moment outside, and today took advantage of an unexpected day off work with a trip to the ABQ BioPark Botanical Garden.

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The garden features seasonal displays (this month featured pastel blooms in the atrium) in addition to the regular landscapes. There were lily ponds, a butterfly garden and railroad miniatures, as well as a farm exhibit with berry patches and rustic barns. But what I loved the most were the endless rows of flowers, all with vibrant colors and whimsical designs. I’d absolutely recommend it.

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carlito springs

March 31, 2015

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In most places I’ve lived, people took water- both the water we use and big bodies of water- for granted. But New Mexico is in a well-known long-term state of drought- meaning any time it rains, we celebrate… and any time people hear about a new spot to get to water (a river path, a spring), it’s time for a road trip.

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This week at work, one of my co-workers (our fabulous meteorologist & environmental reporter) did a story about Carlito Springs– a newly opened trail on the southeast face of the Sandia Mountains. Immediately after seeing the story, Shaun and I decided we needed to make a weekend trip…and it turned out a lot of people had the same idea! (The upside and downside to sharing gems like this one on the news!)

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The trail was easy enough for me, Shaun, his mom, his sister and his three year old son to do in about half an hour (maybe even less). After a pretty easy trek through trees, cacti and yucca (with some spectacular views of homes in the foothills) we made it to the springs themselves, surrounded with places to sit, bathrooms (sounds like no big deal but if you hike a lot it is a big deal), little gardens and some spectacular views. There were also some old cabins that added a little extra charm.

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We had a great time- the perfect little morning trip- but I could tell the area must be even more gorgeous as spring goes on or, better yet, in the fall. We’ll definitely be back. One of the best parts was that it only took us maybe 20 minutes to get from our house, down the highway, off the exit and up to the parking lot at the trailhead! Other highlights of the weekend included donuts and a TV show marathon…the perfect way to ease back into the work week.

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snow patrol

March 19, 2015

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As a general assignment reporter, every day is different. Sometimes I’m covering upsetting crimes; other times, a heartbreaking tragedy; some days, a dramatic court hearing or city council face-off. But there are some days when the stars (and cold fronts) align and we reporters are gifted the loveliest low-hanging fruit there is: snow coverage.

Of course there is an important viewer-benefit element to coverage… tracking road conditions, watching how and when and where the largest amounts of snow are coming down and making sure people are okay… but the last snowstorms of the season treated me to some pretty calm coverage, focused more on beautiful landscapes than icy road closures and structural damage.

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For a few days, a photojournalist and I were sent up to beautiful Chama, New Mexico. I snapped the photo above behind one of the charming bed and breakfasts that sprinkle the main road into town. The not-so-pretty story behind it is that it had been snowing on and off for about a week so everyone in town had been working hard to keep up with it…. but let me tell you, driving around town with the clean blankets of perfect snow- nearly burying the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic railroad and then warming up by a fire with coffee in hand (and, okay, a few too many plates of carne adovada nachos) felt a whole lot more like fun than work.

On some stories, stopping people on the street and asking to talk with them can be tough. If it’s a touchy or controversial issue, it can be nervewracking. If it’s something obscure, it can feel like you’re annoying people and sucking up their time. But weather’s basically universal, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation when your opening line is, “wow, look at all this!” Trips out of town for snow coverage are a chance to meet new and different people and see new places — my two favorite things about my job, hands down.

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If Chama was charming, Las Vegas was lovely… and delicious. I know there’s probably lots of good food in town, but Charlie’s Spic & Span was amazing– comfort food at it’s finest! It was obviously a cold (but beautiful) day, so that could have been part of it… but homemade bread is one of my weaknesses and the giant grilled cheese (simple choice) I inhaled after we were done working but before we hit the road back to Albuquerque was likely the best I’ve ever had. Their donuts were also fabulous- they weren’t that sugary, like the Rebel Donuts I rave about… instead they were chewy and flavorful and different. They were also gigantic- the kind where you only take half…but then eat the other half… and maybe two more. :)

The trips out of town were a blast- I liked the work I produced, my photojournalist and I had a fun time and we got to meet lots of great people. But it was nice to come home to cozy couch time… complete with some sweet cinnamon rolls, straight from the oven.

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