Sunday, July 31, 2016

Remembering Spring

It's the time of year when Phoenicians start to think about cooler temperatures.  We've suffered through two and a half months of extreme heat and we either want to get out of town to the mountains or stand in front of our refrigerators with the door open.  It won't be until late August before I can leave to enjoy some ocean air in California so instead I just dug through my spring time photos for reminders of the times when I could take long walks.

I took these photos back in April when I took a long walk in one of our historic neighborhoods where I found all kinds of flowers blooming.

I'm looking forward to those long walks again but, I'll have to wait a couple of more months.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm craving something that only Tucson has to offer.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A while back on one of my photo drives around town, I pointed my telephoto lens up toward the top of Camelback Mountain.  I liked the way the late afternoon sun was making the mountain look red and with the telephoto, I could see the saguaro cactus up there.

Then I pointed right up to the very top and I caught a glimpse of somethings up there that didn't look like rock or plants.  See that speck of white just left of center?  Then there is something nearly in the center.

So I cropped the photo and pulled in what I was seeing.  It looks like two guys with white caps on on the left side.  Possibly a woman in a red or orange shirt sitting and over to the very right, I spotted two shirtless guys soaking up some rays on the rocks.  Can you see them?  The two guys to the right were a bonus.  I couldn't see them at all in the original shot.  I have to remember to do this more often.  It's fun finding these things that you can't normally see.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Don Quixote

It took me a while to decipher this sculpture at the Scottsdale Civic Center.  Against such a busy background it just looks like various pieces of metal.

I finally decided that it's Don Quixote on his horse that is rearing up.  He's carrying his shield and long lance.  Maybe that's even a broken down windmill in front of him.  Anyway, that's what I think is going on here.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Lobster

Sometime last month I joined some friends to see a move titled "The Lobster".  Have any of you seen it?  I'd love your opinion.  I have to say it's not one I would recommend to people but the message was very interesting.  It's about the social pressures of modern relationships and although the concept is very strange, the message came through clearly.  If you would like to read a short review about the movie, check this one out.  The guy who wrote it clearly liked the movie.

Now, after I've said all of that, you might be wondering about the photo.  I recently saw this plate on display at a store and it made me think of that movie.  It also made me curious if anyone else had seen it and what they thought.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Contemplating the Stormy Skies

Yesterday I mentioned that we had some rain last week.  I took this photo a little earlier in the evening that same night when I went out to collect my mail.  I noticed this bird sitting on the wall and watching the sky.  I went down and got my mail, came back up and he was still there.  He was taking in the whole scene.  We got quite a bit of rain that night and were supposed to get more the next night but that never materialized.  We've had a sort of blah monsoon season so far this year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Another Burger Review

Since I started reviewing some of the tasty burgers I've tried lately I thought I'd continue the theme.  This time I tried the burger at Tarbell's Tavern, one of the many restaurants I can walk to (when it's a little cooler).    This one featured all the burger trimmings and served on a grilled soft bun.  I'd give this burger top marks for flavor and extras.  Delicious.

Tarbell's Tavern is one of my favorite places for a casual meal.  The food is always top-notch as is the service.  And, by now everyone working there knows me so that makes it extra special.  When I took this photo just last week, it was pouring down rain.  In fact, I got a bit drenched just walking from the car to the front door.  Once the rain slowed down, the place filled up as usual.  We haven't seen a spot of rain since.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cooking Class

On Saturday afternoon, my friend Julie treated me to a cooking class that was all about cooking with figs.  Our instructor was Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz who is a "natural chef" using all natural ingredients especially those that can be found in our area.

In the top photo she is make these delicious chocolate dipped figs that have been rolled in pistachios. She used the small bite sized fresh figs for this dish and it was delicious.

The show-stopper dish she made was a fig tart with a crust made with mesquite flour.  I've seen mesquite flower in various specialty stores and I've tasted dishes made with it in a couple of local restaurants but, I've never attempted to cook with it myself.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to see how it's done.  You can't use it on it's own, it has to mixed with other flower because the mesquite flower has a high sugar content and will burn quickly if you use it alone.  That tart was so good!  I loved it.

She also made one more dish that I didn't snap a photo of.  It was a Fig and Ancho Chile Sauce that was fantastic. It was thick like a chutney and dark from the dried ancho chilies and was wonderful with chips or would be equally wonderful with meats or on sandwiches.  I'll definitely make some of that at home.

It was a fun event hosted by a very knowledgable and talented chef!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Art, Friends and a Spectacular Sunset

Most of my readers know that I belong to an Art Challenge club that meets during the summer months.  Our July meeting was Friday night and the challenge theme was "Masks, Mannequins and Marionettes".  Above is a photo of my entry.  I stepped out of my photography comfort zone to create a sculpture.  It was a true challenge figuring out how to paint it and fit the pieces together.  It was also another fun evening with great friends and interesting and inspiring art.

The meeting was at a friend's second floor condo in central Phoenix and in addition to fabulous art, we were treated to a spectacular sunset.

What could be better, a fantastic sunset view, loads of close friends, great food and wine and many wonderful works of art.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm looking at my favorite lions standing guard.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Real or Fake?

Back in March when I went on one of the two private garden tours I enjoyed, one of the yards had a lovely deep red wall around the garden.  As I walked along I admired the cactus so neatly planted along the perimeter.

But this one didn't look quite right.  It turned out to be a sculpture of a prickly pear cactus. With the exception of those multi-colored "blooms", it looks pretty natural to me.  In fact, that would look good at my house.  At least I'd know I couldn't kill this one.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Inside the Resort

I'm finishing up my tour of the Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass Resort today with a little tour of the main building of the resort.  This was the first time I had visited this part of the resort and I was impressed with what I saw.  You enter the lobby on the third floor where reception is located but, the main part of the lobby is below looking out over the pool area.

There is a big rock formation in the center of the area with water flowing out of it and through a stream, under the bridge above and out on to the patio area.

Above it all is a ceiling painted with different images of Native American history and activities. 

There was even a quiet little fireplace area where someone could sit and read the paper or talk with friends.  

All in all, I was genuinely impressed with the beauty of the place.  Someone mentioned on one of my previous posts that it reminded them of Santa Fe and I have to agree.  It does have a very strong Southwestern look reminiscent of Santa Fe architecture.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Native American Decor

I paused my tour of the Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass Resort to celebrate a historic anniversary yesterday but, today I'm back inside the convention facility at this beautiful resort.  This is the building full of meeting rooms and ballrooms.  The design is still very native and yet very modern at the same time.

I loved the light fixtures that run along the walls in this long hallway.  What a unique and attractive design.

The area is full of wonderful southwestern artworks by artists who actually live and work in this area.  

This painting is by Amil Pero and it's called "Estrella Trails".

Tomorrow I'll show you the main building at this resort.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

One Small Step....One Giant Leap

I know exactly where I was on this date in 1969.  I was sitting in front of an old black & white television set in the family room of my childhood home in Quincy Illinois along with my parents as we watched Neil Armstrong make that first step on to the surface of the moon.  What a monumental event.  It was one of those events in life that stays with you for a long time.

Today our explorations into the space outside of the earth's atmosphere have evolved and advanced and we now have an International Space Station that is in constant orbit around our planet.  Many times, I've walked outside to watch that station pass overhead.  It's just a light in the sky but it thrills me every time I see it.  Did you know that you can see it too?  Go to the "Spot the Station" website and enter your location information and they will give you a schedule of when the station will pass overhead where you are.  The time and direction is very precise and accurate.

So, where were you on this date in 1969?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Natural Landscaping

Yesterday I told you about the Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass Resort and the convention facility of that resort.  Today I have more photos of the landscaped area around that convention facility.

Although the grounds have been sculpted, the grounds look very natural and represent well the land familiar to the Native American community who lives here.

The setting is very natural and very peaceful.  I saw a lot of small wildlife and birds also enjoying this picturesque area.  If it hadn't been approaching 107 degrees (41c), I would have spent more time there enjoying the view.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Wild Horse Pass

Several years ago I attended a one-day conference at a resort in the far south reaches of Phoenix and I was so taken with the beautiful buildings and landscape that I swore I'd go back for photos.  It took me a few years but I finally made it.

The Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass Resort is a premier, Native American owned resort located on Native American land just south of Phoenix.

The part of the resort that I saw years ago was the convention center and I thoroughly enjoyed the architecture, decor and the outdoor facilities around the center.

Just outside of the convention facility is a vast area of conversation places suited for outdoor events, evening cocktail parties or just a place to take a break and relax.

The entire resort was designed to be an authentic representation of the Gila Indian Community's heritage and culture.  The architecture, design and art is all working together to represent the Pima Indian culture.

Tomorrow I'll have a few more photos of the landscaping around this facility and later in the week, I'll show you the decor inside the convention space and I'll visit the main resort facility and show you the beauty of that spot.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Alien Invasion?

It looks like a flying saucer has landed along Camelback Road on the border between Phoenix and Scottsdale.  But, I think it's pretty safe because it's been sitting there from many years now.

This structure is part of the campus of a church.  It's the Camelback Seventh-Day Adventist Church to be exact.  I pass by it when traveling to Scottsdale and I finally decided to stop and snap a few photos.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Where do you get the best ice cream in Paris?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Speaking of Domes

Here's another dome my camera found.  This one is located in downtown Phoenix and is now part of the downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University.

I did a post about this place back in 2010.  It started out as a shopping and entertainment center with a Spanish ambiance.  I think the economic downturn of 2007/2008 hit the shops rather hard but, at that time ASU was expanding its presence in the downtown area.  The school snapped up the space and it still remains part of the campus.

It's kind of a quirky dome, don't you think?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Copper Dome

Our state capital building isn't the only building in the valley with a copper dome.  This newish shopping destination in Mesa has one too!  Actually it has two but I only took a photo of one of them.  This shopping complex was just beginning to be built when I moved away from Mesa 12 years ago.  And, it was within walking distance from my old house.  Since I moved to Phoenix before it was finished, I never got to enjoy its proximity or its stores.  Sometimes when I find myself in Mesa, I'll stop by for a look around.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

An Unusual House

Driving around in the foothills of Phoenix and Paradise Valley, I often see some unusually shaped houses with a look all their own.  This is a perfect example.  I thought it looked a bit unusual from this angle.....

....and when I got up next to it I decided it definitely qualified for the "unusual home" category.  I do wonder what it looks like inside but, I don't think I want to live there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Finding the Unusual

I've shown you many of the "lions" I've found roaming the hills of Paradise Valley but, this was a most unusual find.  I was peeking up a long driveway when I spotted the flash of pink.  I had to back up to take another look.  There they were, pink flamingos, lots of them.

As I've said before, I just never know what I'm going to find on my drives.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Estate

On Sunday, I featured The Castle, the wedding/event venue I found in Chandler last week.  Today I have Bella Rose Estate another wedding/event venue that just happened to be right next door to The Castle.

This venue has more of a Spanish flair with lots of Spanish tiles and arches.  The grounds were undergoing some rather serious landscaping efforts while I was there so I wasn't able to take a lot of photos of the grounds.

I did enjoy seeing a lot of beautiful pottery sitting about the place.

Given the proximity to The Castle, I'm venturing a guess that they two facilities might be owned by the same company.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Enjoying a Bike Ride

I spotted this new mural on the side of a Bicycle Store in Midtown Phoenix over the weekend.  What a cheerful mural it is.  It kind of reminded of me when I was a kid living in Illinois and I'd set out on my bike and spend the day exploring my city.