Saturday, September 25, 2021

Another Move, Another New Home


Luckily, I sold the condo I featured yesterday long before it suffered from its current lack of care.  After another work transfer, I moved to the city of Mesa where I eventually purchased this townhouse.  It was also brand new when I moved in and I loved living here.  I stayed in this home for almost 20 years.  The only reason I moved from here is because most of my friends (some who lived nearby) had all moved to Phoenix.  I loved everything about his house.  If I could have picked it up and moved it to Phoenix, I would have.

I took this photo last winter when I took a drive out to Mesa.  It still looks great and the neighborhood is still as nice as it was when I left.  

Friday, September 24, 2021

First Time Homeowner


Yesterday I posted a photo of the apartments I moved to in Tempe Arizona many, many years ago.  Today I have photos of my next move.  My roommate got married and I decided it was time for me to become a homeowner.  A few weeks ago, I went searching for this place in south Phoenix near the border with Tempe.  I knew the address but it still took me a while to find it because the place looked so different.  In fact, it looked pretty bad.  I wish I had a photo of what it looked like when I bought this little condo.  It was such a nice little neighborhood with beautiful grassy, park-like areas.  The buildings were all painted a combination light and dark brown.  It was a nice neighborhood with lots of young families and singles living there.

The neighborhood has taken a serious turn for the worse.  In fact, I was a little nervous getting out of the car to take these photos.  It was a shock to see it looking like this.

I bought this place when it was brand new.  I got to pick out the appliances and carpeting and I was very proud of it.  It was a great little starter home with two bedrooms upstairs and the kitchen, dining and living area downstairs.  It's so sad to see how it looks now.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Tempe Apartment


Last month I posted photos of the very first place I lived when I moved to Arizona (here) and the next day I posted a photo of my first apartment (here).  I lived in that first apartment for two years and when my roommate and I were transferred to an office in Tempe Arizona, we decided to move closer to work.  We got an apartment in this complex in Tempe.  Our apartment was the one on the second floor to the left of the bushy tree. When I was living here, the paint was much lighter in shades of tan and green.  It was a large apartment with green shag carpet.  Anybody remember shag carpets? 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

September Blooms


Here are a few blooms I found on my walk at the Desert Botanical Garden last Friday.  Above is a bloom on a gourd plant.  

To the right is a Yerba Mansa bloom.  There is a whole group of Yerba Mansa plants that grow near the little pond on one of the garden trails.  I love their unusual looking blooms.

A single bloom was open on the top of a barrel cactus.  If you look closely you can see some tiny little ants inside the bloom.

And of course I had to photograph more desert rose blooms.  I love these plants and they are blooming like crazy right now.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Savage Pruning


When I was at the Desert Botanical Garden last Friday, I was sitting in the contemplation garden waiting for some birds to come down for a drink when I spotted this gardener doing some trimming off in the distance.  Since the birds weren't inclined to get a drink, I snapped a photo of the gardener instead.  Then I walked down to see what it was he was trimming.  That's when my heart sank.  It was that gorgeous guayacan bush. I post photos of the blooms on that bush every spring.  

I asked the gardener if it would grow back and he said "I hope so".  

Me too!

In case you've forgotten what the blooms on this bush look like, here are two photos I took back in May.  

Fingers crossed that it bounces back with new growth.  I love these gorgeous  blooms. 

You can see how big the whole shrub used to be by clicking here.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Is It a Mural or a Sign?


I noticed this one just last week on the side of a neighborhood Market.  It is so bright and colorful that it draws attention immediately.  I'm just not sure if it should be classified as a sign or as a mural.  With all that color and detail, I think it belongs in the mural category.  Unfortunately, there is no signature on it so I can give proper credit to the artist.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Blending In


Look who I found chowing down in the herb garden on my walk yesterday.  He seemed to be all by himself which was strange.  These peach-faced lovebirds usually travel with friends.  

I know I say this every time I post a photo of one of these colorful birds but, I really do miss seeing them in my back yard when I lived on the other side of town.  I'd see as many as 30 to 40 enjoying the trees and the seed blocks I put out for them.  They are so much fun to watch.  

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm featuring a truly "green" house.  

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Queens of the Desert


I got to take a long walk at the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday morning.  It's finally cool enough in the morning to take walks outside again.  We still have daytime temperatures in the 100s but it's only 81 in the mornings.  There was also a heavily overcast sky so it was just about perfect for walking.  And to top that off, at 7:00 AM on a Friday, there was hardly anyone else there.  

I saw a group of queen butterflies hovering over a butterfly bush so I stopped to snap a few photos.  Obviously, these beauties are a lot better looking than the ugly bug I posted yesterday.

Friday, September 17, 2021

An Ugly Bug


Here is a photo that I forgot I had.  I took this about three years ago when I was on a road trip in northern Arizona.  I saw a strange looking bug sitting on the bannister along a steep trail and I snapped a photo of it. From a respectable distance of course.  I wasn't about to get too close.  Just look at that eye! 👁  It looks octagonal and very large for this insect's body.  And look at those feet at the very end of those hairy legs.  It looks like it has two large toes at the end of each leg.  Its whole body is the shape of a helicopter! 🚁 I think it looks almost mechanical.

Here is the photo before I cropped it down to get just the insect.  Does anyone reading this know what kind of bug this is?  It is completely alien to me.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Three More from Creative Knots


Today I have three more pieces from the art exhibit I mentioned yesterday at the Shemer Art Center.  Up first is my favorite of the pieces, this portrait of the late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  This piece was created by Scott Stanton.

He states that while visiting a cemetery he noticed how much waste is involved with artificial flowers and other decorations.  He decided to create art with the "up cycled" pieces he collects.  He calls this piece "RBG in Blue".  

This piece is very small, only about 8 or 9 inches across.  

This is by Kate Hughes and is called "Moonrise over South Mountain".  This is hand embroidery on linen.  She uses both traditional and non-traditional stitching techniques to create scenes and portraits.  

I like this last piece too.  It's called "Roadrunner" and is painted on mesquite wood with acrylic paints. The artist is Jan Basil who is an interesting person.  She was one of the first of five women television news camera operators for ABC News.  She has traveled all over the world covering major events.  She calls her works "contemporary, mystical realism".  

Another fascinating show at the Shemer Art Center.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Creative Knots


I went to the Shemer Art Center last weekend to see their latest show called "Creative Knots".  It was composed of works primarily in fiber and wood.  

Here are some examples from the show.  Above is a work by artist Shelly White called "Book of Days".  Ms White describes it as an accordion book made with hand dyed silk and stitching.  The swirling patterns of the pages were somehow calming and peaceful.

To the right is a piece called "Tree Spirit" by artist Elizabeth Frank.  She uses sustainable and reclaimed materials to create her sculptures.  She says "her artwork is a reflection of her worldview that we are all here to care for one another and to act as stewards for the earth."  I like that thought and I like the Tree Spirit.

Here is another piece made from wood called "Elm Tower" by Roger Asay and Rebecca Davis.  They state that they work with a desire to let the materials used be the subject and focus of the sculptures.  You can plainly see the pieces of wood used, they are just put together in a simple but different form.  

I'll show you a few more pieces from this show tomorrow.  

I love seeing the shows at the Shemer because they feature local artists and because the space is so small and easily accessible.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Back to the Theatre


I was back at a theatre production Sunday night after two years of dark stages.  The first play in this season's Broadway series was "Hamilton".  I saw the show the last time it passed through the area three years ago and loved it so I was excited to see it again.  The story told in this production felt even more powerful than the first time I saw it.

It was an excellent production performed before a full house of masked theater goers.  I wonder how that looks from the stage; all those people out there with masks on.  

I do have to say that the crowded theatre did make me feel bit nervous.  I think it might be a while before I'm comfortable in crowds again.

Monday, September 13, 2021

View of Central Avenue


This mural is painted on the side wall of some apartments in Tempe Arizona.  In the background you see a sign on one of the buildings.  It says "San Carlos Hotel" which is actually on Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix.  I didn't see a signature on this one so I can't say who the artist is.  But it is certainly a little tribute to downtown Phoenix in the middle of the city of Tempe.  

Taking part in Monday Murals

Sunday, September 12, 2021

California "Flora"


I'm still sorting through all those photos I took while I was in California last week.  Since I already featured some "fauna" with my hummingbird, hawk and godwits photos, I thought I'd feature some of the pretty "flora" I found while enjoying my California experience.  First is a tiny purple bloom that grows on very long stems.  It's an odd looking plant that appears to have no leaves, just long stems or branches dotted with the pretty little flowers.

At one of the beach cottages at Crystal Cove State Park, there was a yellow hibiscus plant that was full of these gorgeously large blooms.  How could I resist a photo or two (or maybe three).  

I noticed this monarch butterfly enjoying these pretty purple booms while I was walking around Roger's Gardens.  

These California White Lillies grow all around the resort property where I was staying.  There were almost as many of these as there were bird of paradise blooms.  

Speaking of birds of paradise, I might as well include one of the 30 or so photos I took of these blooms while I'm posting flora.  One of these days I'll have to make a collage of just these blooms.  I've got more than enough photos of them.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Do you like clowns?

Saturday, September 11, 2021



Just a few weeks ago, I found this post card that I had written to my Mom and Dad way back in the late 1970's.  I can't read the exact post mark on the card but it was probably around 1978 or 1979.  I took a trip to Washington D.C. and New York with some friends and I wrote mom and dad about my experience of standing on top of one of the twin towers.

In fact, here's a photo of me standing at the top to admire the view.  

That hair is definitely 1970's hair when we all wanted to look like Farrah Fawcett.

As most of you know, today is the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack that brought these two buildings crashing to the ground.  Finding that post card a few weeks ago seemed very timely and a perfect opportunity to use the card for this post.

I had to do some digging to find the photo of me on the top.

It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since that terrible day.  As with most Americans, I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news.  I was working one of my contract jobs in San Francisco at the time and I had flown back to that city just the evening before this happened.  So waking up to this news was quite a shock.  I will never forget that evening when I walked to a co-worker's apartment building.  There was not a sole on the street and no air traffic flying over the city.  It was so strangely quiet.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Beyond Extravagant


A few days before I went to California to join my friend Julie, she observed this very fancy car when she was out for dinner one evening.  She new this was a very special car but at the moment had no idea how special.

It's a Bugatti.  Not just any Bugatti, but a Bugatti 16!

This is a vehicle that sells for around three million dollars.

Yup, you read that right. $3,000,000.00!

Julie took these photos and texted them to me.  We went to dinner one evening at the same place she saw the car and we hoped it might be there again.  It wasn't so I'm sharing Julie's photos.  

Even if you had a few million stashed away, would you spend that kind of money on a car?  I wouldn't. I guess you have to be a true aficionado to do that.  A truly rich aficionado.  

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Immersive Van Gogh


On Monday afternoon, I joined friends at the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibition in Scottsdale.  Above is the entrance to get into the projection rooms.

The room was marked with safely distanced circles for people to sit or stand while a stream of images from Van Gogh paintings are projected all around the room.

The whole show is set to music and the images break-up into fragments and flow into other images.  In other words, it was very fluid.  

It was an interesting experience.  I enjoyed it.  It made me wonder how many people seeing this show know anything about the actual artist and his troubled life. 

I really do think that Vincent Van Gogh would be astounded by how revered his images have become and how his name has become synonymous with art itself.  He could thank his sister-in-law, Jo Van Gogh-Bonger for his ultimate fame.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Pretty Little Thing


I've been sorting and editing the 550 photos I took while in California and have decided that these three are on my "favorites" list.  I was sitting and relaxing with a cool drink while enjoying the view when this little Rufous hummingbird landed on a plant close by.  I took these photos with my telephoto lens but they are hand held so I was both surprised and pleased that they turned out so beautifully.

I'm so glad this little guy was kind enough to pose for me not once but twice while I was sitting there.  I love it when things turn out so perfectly.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

California Recap!


I had a wonderful five days in California.  We walked on the beach at Crystal Cove State Park every morning early between 7:00 and 9:00 AM.

Every day was overcast except the last day when the sun was out early in the morning. I enjoyed both the clouds and the sun.

One day we watched a hawk and its trainer going through some exercises at the resort.  Apparently there are several bird trainers who bring their birds to the resort from time to time so the birds can show off for the guests.  This fellow looked so beautiful when he swooped down over the swimming pool.

I made a trip into Laguna Beach to visit the Laguna Beach Art Museum and then took a stroll along Heisler Park next to the ocean.

I got to have my favorite chocolate and banana milk shake at the Shake Shack above Crystal Cove.  It's been two years since I last had one.  

And on our last evening, we got to see Catalina Island from our balcony.  That's a rarity.  Catalina Island is usually shrouded in the marine layer and mist and barely visible from the coast.  On Saturday evening it was very clear on the horizon.  It was a fun and relaxing five days.  I'll miss that cool ocean breeze!