Wednesday, June 30, 2010


This is an unusual design for a doughnut shop!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


 Many cell phone towers around Phoenix are camouflaged as tall palm trees.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Would Chagall be flattered?

A close friend and I stopped in to our local Cheesecake Factory late one evening for a night cap after viewing a movie that hadn’t lived up to its hype. Seated at the bar, I noticed the Chagall-like fresco on the ceiling.

So what do you think? Would Chagall be flattered?

Sunday, June 27, 2010


This car is just barely big enough to transport this dog.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I’m ready for my close-up

This bird was having fun playing in a fountain and when I produced a camera to get his picture he obliged by looking right into the lens.

Friday, June 25, 2010


These chocolate creations made by the students at the Le Cordon Bleu School might be beautiful to look at but they can’t beat the chocolate creation that was placed before me when dessert arrived. Decadent!

Le Cordon Bleu

Would you like to be a chef? One good way to reach that goal is to attend the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris. If Paris is a little too far from home, you can go the one in Scottsdale Arizona.

A good friend invited me to dinner meeting at the Scottsdale location recently and besides a fabulous dinner, it included a tour of the facility. There were many kitchen classrooms busy with future chefs learning the trade.

The photo above shows the chef’s tools that are given to each student as they begin their training. One should be able to prepare just about anything with this assortment.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Desert Fruit

The saguaros at the Tovrea Castle were laden with fruit and attracting the all kinds of birds. This one shows some of the fruit that has been broken revealing the bright, juicy goodness inside.

The small photo is of one of the art deco light fixtures that grace the patio that surrounds the castle.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Castle Living Room

When the city gets the Tovrea Castle restored and ready for public visits, this is one of the rooms you will see. The hardwood floor is original and the stenciling on the walls has been beautifully restored to its original look.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tovrea Castle

Today’s photo is a close up view of the castle that most people only get to see from a distance. Do you see those little circles around the top of each wedding cake-like layer? Those are actually lights that are lit up each night. I plan to do some night photography of this place to share with you one of these days.

In the small photo, you can clearly see those lights I mentioned.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Tovrea Castle is located in southeast Phoenix on a little rise called Carraro Heights after the man who built the castle between 1928 and 1930. Alessio Carraro was an Italian immigrant who purchased the land here in order to build his dream of a resort surrounded by desert vegetation.

His dream was dashed when Edward Ambrose Tovrea expanded his cattle business to build sheep pens abutting the Carraro land. Knowing that guests would not want to vacation in close proximity to the unpleasant by-products of penned cattle and sheep, Carraro sold the property. The buyer turned out to be Della Tovrea, wife of E.A. Tovrea the offending cattle baron.

The Tovrea’s moved into the castle, but two short years later, E.A, Tovrea died. Della continued to live there until she married William Stuart when the two began living in Prescott during the summers and spent winters at the castle. When Stuart died in 1960, Della returned full time to the castle and lived there alone until her death in 1969. You can read more about the amazing history of this place here.

Since that time, the property was largely unused and as you might expect significant deterioration has taken place. The city of Phoenix bought the property in 1993 in hopes of restoring it to its historical elegance and opening it to the public.

The downturn in the world economy has had a devastating effect on all such non-essential projects so once again the castle restoration has been stalled. However, the city now is encouraging volunteers to help with restoration efforts. Regular volunteer opportunities are available to help keep the gardens healthy. (Click this link for more information.) More volunteer and contributory opportunities are in development.

Over the next few days, I’ll show you more photos I took on the day a close friend of mine and I volunteered to work in the gardens.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pigeon Holed

I drive by this building often and have admired the 1950’s look and the disappearing stair case. When I stopped to take some photos, I saw that the building is vacant, but the pigeons have made fine use of that concrete block fa├žade that covers the top floor.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


There is a little bit of blur in this photo because I was panning and clicking while this roadrunner ran across my path. This wasn't the cartoon Wiley Coyote, but I still heard “beep-beep” in my head.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Desert Wildflower Towers

The Chihuly Desert Wildflower Towers are still gracing the entrance to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and the garden is still trying to raise the money to purchase them so they will be there permanently. I’ve had photos of them on my site before, but never with such a dramatic sky in the background.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Condos, #5

I saved my favorite one for last in this little series. I can’t really say why these appeal to me so much. I guess it’s the lines and angles and all that glass.  Even the front doors and the garage doors have glass in them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Condos, #4

This looks like it might be a two story house, but it really is a condo unit with another entrance on the opposite side. This one has more of a southwestern look to it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Condos, #3

This condo community appears to be a victim of the bad economy. They are sitting there vacant and not quite complete. This group has little front entrances.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Condos, #2

This set of condos has a bit of and eastern look to them. A few days ago, I said you don’t see many picket fences here in Arizona but here’s another one.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Condos, #1

Lately I’ve been noticing how uniquely designed condo communities are. So, I took a few pictures to share with you. This first one is very different with second floor looking like it’s a big box sitting on top of the first floor.

The second photo shows the view from the side.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer Dreams

This building is now sitting vacant, possibly a victim of the sad economic times. I don’t know what type of business used to be housed here, but visions of splashing waves are on the mind of we Phoenicians as the hot summer months roll by. Perhaps the former tenant had sweet dreams of cool ocean breezes and thought this mural would make him feel cooler when the temperature rises to triple digits.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Promise....

.....of future beauty.  A bud on a large cactus.
 The bud is beautiful so I bet the bloom will be too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Building a Mansion

I drove by this place a little over a year ago and there was a large brick ranch-style house abandoned on this lot. I remember it well because it was unusual to see an abandoned home in such an upscale neighborhood. I drove by again last week and saw that the old home was gone and someone is building a new home on the spot. It’s going to be a big one.

I’ll have to drive by again in a few months and show you the finished product.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pueblo Style

The landscaping around this pueblo-style home is quite dramatic. The fountain to the right was attracting birds and the flowers along the front are a nice touch. I wouldn’t be surprised if the owner was a landscape architect.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


There is a little restaurant across the street from where I work called Taylor’s. They have great salads and a charming atmosphere! I snapped this shot one day when I was finishing a late lunch and the normal lunch crowd had already left.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I found a patch of huge sunflowers growing in the space between the sidewalk and the curb just a few short blocks from the high-rise buildings of downtown Phoenix. Look at all the patterns in this beauty.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Just a little Farmer’s Market tableau spotted at yesterday’s market.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Long Wong’s

I can’t review this eating establishment because I’ve never been inside. However the eclectic (or maybe I should say ‘strange’) collections of artifacts on the outside always attracts attention. This crazy looking place has been here a long time so it must have appeal to some.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Touch of Greece

You might think I took this photo somewhere in Greece, but I didn’t. While driving around in central Phoenix, I spotted this home with the blue door and thought about how much I’d love to visit the Greek Islands. Maybe soon.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Monastery of Saint Anthony

I discovered this place quite by accident while driving around town. I saw this tiny chapel through a chain link gate. That explains that black line in the corner of this photo. I tried to take the photo through the fence but couldn’t quite get it without one of the links showing.  It appears to be a small Greek Orthadox Monastary.

The two smaller photos show the roof lines of the chapel seen over the wall that surrounded the place and the tile sign that was placed on that wall. I looked up Saint Nectarios of Pehtapolis and found this information.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


How do you modernize an old house? These people have given this old house a very appealing update.

The smaller photo shows the house next door and presumably what this house looked like before it was updated.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Theme Day: Funny Signs

This mural is painted on the side of a bar and it appears that an unknown critic has done a covert critique of this work. According to the spray-painted remarks on the side, this piece has beer (that’s what the ad is for), it has boobs (can’t deny that), but can you call it art? Not so much!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants