Monday, December 10, 2018

Owls Come Out at Night

I was at an event at the Desert Botanical Garden last  Friday evening and at one place they had some wildlife handlers showing off a couple of beautiful birds.

The first was this wonderful owl who seemed to be enjoying all the attention.

The second was a much smaller burrowing owl.  I didn't realize when I snapped the photo that he was so shaded but, I think he looks a bit mysterious this way.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Window Peeping in Scottsdale

My friend Glenda and I went to AZ88 last Thursday so that I could get the tree photo I shared yesterday.  Old Town Scottsdale was looking so festive with decorations up that we decided to walk around a bit.  I would have missed this scene if Glenda hadn't pointed it out.  We are looking into a window of the office space of an art gallery.  The scene of that woman working at her computer with her hat on was too appealing to pass up.

It looks great in black and white too but, I think I like the colors in the top one even better.  I'm so glad that Glenda made me go back and peek in this window.  I LOVE this photo!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Greek art and a legal challenge.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tree Made of Metal Strands

I made it to AZ88 to see how they had decorated for the holidays.  You might remember that last year they had a tree made of real one dollar bills....five thousand of them.

This year's tree is made up of strands of metal.  Some of the strands are safety pins.  You might be able to pick those out from the close up to the left.  Other strands were straight pieces of metal and occasionally round pieces that sort of look like key rings.

The close up shot just looks a like dense bunch of shiny objects.

  From a distance it's quite pretty.  It sparkles like a crystal chandelier.

I took the top photo around 5:00 PM before the crowds started to arrive.  The last photo I took around 7:00 PM after the place had filled up.  I thought that couple at the table next to the tree framed the tree perfectly.

Friday, December 7, 2018

One Last Time

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I had a "thing" for dishes, fine china and every day tableware.  When I was living in the house on the other side of town, there was a time when I had accumulated 12 sets of dishes.  I know, I know....that does sound excessive.  When I moved to my present place, I cut back by quite a bit.  I now have only 7 sets.  Well, I decided that it was time to pare that down again and the first to go will be this set of Lenox China in the Ming pattern.

I love the pattern but, I've only used these once since I moved four years ago so why keep them when someone else might get much more use out of them.  So, Saturday night, I cooked dinner for friends and got these dishes out one last time.  After this, I'm taking them to my favorite consignment store to be sold.

When I got them out of the cupboard, I found this matching vase that I'm sure I never used before.  So I filled it with roses and made it the centerpiece.

By next week, I'll be down to 6 sets.  What will go next?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I Finally Got A New One

I had the same Christmas wreath hanging on my front door for the past 10 years.  I featured it back in 2015 when it was only 8 years old.

The little sprigs of holly were starting to fall off of the old wreath so I finally bought a new one.  It came just with the greenery with pine cones attached.  I added the big bow that I used to use as my tree topper.

Any bets on if this one will last 10 years?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Glass Tree

Yesterday I mentioned that I had lunch with a friend in downtown Phoenix.  We ate at a place called Hanny's.  I've written about Hanny's before back in 2009  when it opened.  Hanny's used to be a clothing store many years ago. (You can read about it's history on my old post.)  It is owned by the same people who own AZ88, the place in Scottsdale that does my all-time favorite burger and has  the very eclectic art displays that change all year long. Hanny's doesn't do the same changing art display but, they do follow the tradition of very creative Christmas Trees.  This year's tree is made entirely of textured glass and is lit from the inside in a soft blue.  I like it!

This reminds me that I need to get over to AZ88 to see what kind of tree they've put up.

One other note, I heard the guy sitting at the next table tell his lunch partner that his father brought him here to buy a suit when he was 16 years old.  This place always spurs on those memories of the building's former life.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Designed for the Desert

While I was downtown last Friday to see the ice skating rink, I had lunch with a friend who works  there.  In the lobby of the building where she works was this Christmas Tree all decorated with a desert decor.

You can see a few barrel cactus stuffed in the tree. The barrel cactus were made of plastic but, there were also little glass bulbs holding real plants.

The glass bulbs held tiny "air plants" or Tillandsia, the kind of plants that can grow almost anywhere and need very little water and practically no soil.

I cropped the photo down to one of the bulbs so you could see it better.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Ice in Phoenix

That metal tree with the Phoenix on top of it that I featured yesterday is sitting in the center of this year's ice skating rink in downtown Phoenix.  I went downtown last Friday to snap a few pictures.  The skating area is all frozen and ready to go but, there were no skaters taking advantage yet.  I guess I need to try a Saturday or Sunday if I want to catch people on the ice.

The skating rink is sponsored by Arizona Public Service, one of our main energy utility providers.  They produce the energy to keep it frozen throughout the month of December and give us desert dwellers a little slice of winter fun.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

High Flying Phoenix Bird

I found this Phoenix Bird perched up high on the top of this lacy, metal holiday tree in downtown Phoenix.  Tomorrow I'll show you where I found this new holiday decoration.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I've had Venice on my mind lately.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Theme Day: Joy

Today is December 1st (where has the year gone) which means it's theme day for City Daily Photo Bloggers.  The theme for December is "Joy".  I chose this photo of a friend's niece as she was enjoying a Christmas party a couple of years ago.  She was in full party mood and was excited to open presents at a big gift exchange. I think I caught her mid-air as she headed toward the gift exchange.

If you would like to see other bloggers joyful photos, click here.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Rescue on the Mountain

I was at Julie and Dave's house Sunday evening while a mountain rescue operation was going on.  It was late in the day (around 5:30) so it was starting to get dark.  Obviously, I think it's crazy to go climbing a treacherous path in the late afternoon but, apparently that's just me.  As Julie and Dave can attest, it happens all the time.  They have witnessed many such rescues.

I apologize for the quality of these photos.  I blame it on hand held telephoto shots at slower shutter speeds because it was so late in the day.  At least you can make out the guy in the lift being pulled up toward the helicopter.  That's not a ride I care to take!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

First Sign of Fall

I saw the first sign of leaves changing color here in the valley of the sun.  This tree was very yellow and was starting to shed some of its leaves.  It prompted me to take a drive to some areas of town where I've spotted colorful trees in the past but, those trees are not quite ready to put on a colorful show yet.  I'll have to check back in a two or three weeks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Are You Ready.... put up your Christmas Tree?

I saw this beautiful assortment of fresh Christmas trees in front of my local Whole Foods Market over the weekend.  What a gorgeous assortment of perfectly shaped trees!  I got a good whiff of that wonderful pine scent as I walked along that walkway.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Decorations are Up

I stopped at Town & Country Shopping Center over the weekend and noticed that they had their Christmas decorations up.  They trim all those big trees with lights and trim the pretty light fixtures with greenery and ornaments.

I just love the look of this shopping center.  It has such a small town feel to it. Hmmm, I guess you'd call it a "town and country" feel.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Painter

I saw this truck parked in the lot of a business that was closed for the holiday and I had to stop to get a closer look.  The truck was completely covered with graffiti-like murals.  The name "Denzone" appears several times on the truck.

So I Googled the name and I think I'm probably too old to understand.  I just see an assortment of object for sale on and an Instagram account with more graffiti.

But, that's okay, I don't need to understand it.  I can just admire the work on the truck and let it go at that.  

Sunday, November 25, 2018

And so it begins....

The Holiday Season has officially begun, even though to all retailers it began a month or more ago.    When I was growing up, the official start was always right after Thanksgiving.

Here are a couple of holiday scenes to start off the season.

What about you?  Are you ready to plan for some holiday magic?

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  It's all about one of my favorite places to visit in southern California.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Shelves Were Bare

I went to the grocery store early Friday morning and found the selves pretty bare.  Apparently no one was working Thanksgiving night to restock the shelves.  This is the place where all the flower bouquets are located and it is usually overflowing with gorgeous bouquets.

Then I walked over to the salad area and found those shelves empty too.  However this isn't because of Thanksgiving, this is because of the E. coli scare that is going on right now.  They've taken all romaine lettuce off the shelves everywhere.  There won't be any Cesar salad on the menus for a while.  Those few bags that are left are either spinach or cabbage.  Luckily, I wasn't shopping for lettuce anyway.  However it did take a trip to two more stores to complete my shopping list.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Around the Fire

On Wednesday evening, the night before Thanksgiving, I went to my friends Julie and Dave's house for dinner.  It was a mild night so we ended up sitting around the fire pit and enjoying wine and dessert.

Julie's mom, Glenda was dog-sitting for little Tucker (remember him?) so he joined us around the fire.

The blue glow to these photos is from the blue Christmas lights that Julie and Dave have up around their home.

Here's a shot that Julie and Dave took with the lights on the house reflected in a wine glass and the lights of Paradise Valley glowing in the background.  That one round white light reflected in the glass is the full moon overhead.  Pretty creative, huh?  These were all taken with iPhones.  As you can tell, we were having a great time!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Being Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving here in the good ole’ USA.  People will be getting together with family and friends to enjoy a day of cooking and eating.  It’s also a day to give thanks for our blessings no matter how grand or humble they may be.  I feel like I have many blessings to be thankful for but, let me give a special thanks to all of you, my readers.  Starting this blog a little over 10 years ago has been so enriching to my life.  I find that I take advantage of more public events and belong to more museums and organizations than I ever have before.  I enjoy scouring my city for interesting scenes to photograph and share with all of you.  But, most of all, I’m really thankful for the blogging friends I’ve made around the world.  Some of you I’ve met in person and some I’ve never met but still feel close to.  So, on this day of thanks, I say THANK YOU to all of you!  

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Art Challenge Meeting

My Art Challenge Club met last Sunday and our challenge for this meeting was "Tree".  Our good friend Ted Wolter, decided his piece would be a community effort.  Ted is a college art instructor so these things come natural to him.  He drew out the form of a tree and then asked each of the club members to draw lines following his drawing using different colored pencils.  We had three opportunities to add lines.  Above is my friend Kim adding a line.

Here is a closer view before the tree got too thick.

This is Jim adding his line as we almost finished our third round.

And here is the finished tree.  We all thought it look more like a center cut of a brain when we got done but, we liked it and enjoyed the process.  You can see that we started out with nice straight lines and then got a little more creative as we went along.

I decided to get even more creative and apply some digital editing to the above photo.  I did several of them but, these two were my favorites.

What a fun evening, creating art together!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Centerpiece

We Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday, that all-American excuse to eat, eat and eat some more.  The traditional Thanksgiving table usually features a roasted turkey but, I found a new twist on that staple at my local grocery store.  They were taking orders for this very unusual Thanksgiving Turkey cake.  You read that right, it's a cake.  I don't know about you, but to me, that is just about the most unappealing cake I've ever seen.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Looking Up

I met some friends for drinks late Saturday afternoon at the Phoenician Resort and we were sitting on the balcony patio.

I looked up and spotted all these birds, grackles I think, sitting on the edge of the patio cover and looking down on us.  After I snapped the first shot, I noticed the great clouds so I snapped another one.  An hour later when we were leaving, the birds had all vanished.  They must have called it "a night" and headed home.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Observing Refections

I was sitting at a table at the gelato store at Biltmore Fashion Park when I noticed the reflections on the building across the street.  I used the zoom to zero-in on on specific level.  That glass was so clean it made a crisp, clear reflection.

The whole building is big glass box with little levels to make it more interesting.  I'm glad I had the camera handy while I was enjoying a scoop of Nutella gelato!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Take a look at "City Dreams".