Thursday, January 31, 2013

World Peace

Big night last night.  I went to a Phoenix Suns game with my friend Janet.  I've mentioned before that she has had season tickets for more years than I intend to divulge here but, being in that rarified group, she gets a lot of extra perks.  One of those perks was a special speakers event last night before the game and the speaker was Harvey Mackay, the swimming with the sharks guy.  Well that was a treat.  I've read his books but never heard him speak before.  He's just as motivational in person as he is on the page.
After the talk we headed to the game against the L.A. Laker's thinking we were  going to get clobbered but, another amazing thing happened, we won!
The photo above is the Laker's player who has changed his name to World Peace.

Here we have a photo of Steve Nash the much beloved Phoenix player who was traded to L.A. last year.  It was good to see him and they actually played a little tribute to him between the 1st and 2nd quarters.

In the audience tonight was Michael Phelps the multi-gold medal swimming champion from this summer's Olympics.

There are a lot of celebs in town right now because of the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament so seeing some at the game was pretty much a given.

So, that's it.  Great night all the way around.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Camelback & Clouds

Camelback Mountain has a whole lot of clouds hovering overhead.  I took this photo on Sunday between rain showers.  After 4 days of rain, the sun was back out yesterday!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Playing with Mother Nature

Just a little self expression on one of the photos I took on that rainy Saturday.  By the way, it's still raining here but, it's supposed to move on today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rain and Fog

On my rainy drive on Saturday I headed over to Camelback Mountain where the fog and low clouds were shrouding the mountain in mystery.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rainy Day in Phoenix

It rained all day Saturday in Phoenix.  It's a rare event that most desert dwellers enjoy.  I went for a long drive around town to see what rainy sights I could see.  This one shows a golf course with some hardy players out there in the rain.  In the background you can see the downtown skyline barely visible through the rain.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Queen

This Queen Butterfly was out enjoying Friday's warm weather.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Leaving the garden

An added benefit to my wonderful dinner at the garden last night was this pretty scene as I made my way out of the garden.  I'm used to seeing this entrance pavilion during the day but I really like the way it's lit up at night.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Talk about lucky.  Around 4:00 yesterday afternoon I felt the urge for a walk in the desert so I went out to my favorite spot, the Desert Botanical Garden.  I walked around until about 5:45 and as I was leaving I noticed that the new restaurant was all lit up so I asked someone at the gate what was happening.  He told me it was opening night for the brand new restaurant called Gertrude's.  So I thought what the heck, I should give it a try.  I'm so glad I did.  Since I was by myself, I sat at the bar and proceeded to get the royal treatment.

The bartender Roberto gave me excellent service, explaining everything and offering me tastes of specialty drinks he was preparing.

The general manager John offered me a whiff and sip of the Ransom gin you see to the left.  It was not like any gin I'd ever tasted before.  It's a historically accurate revival of the predominant gin in fashion in the 1800's.

But, I didn't just drink, I had the basil risotto with pesto and mushrooms and the lemon cheesecake with a crust of mesquite and a blueberry compote.

Yum!  I'll be back.

By the way, Gertrude's is named after the very first President (1936) of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society, the forerunner to the Desert Botanical Garden.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Art & Mexican Tile

When I drive on Indian School Road I pass this sculpture that sits on the top of a business.  I finally stopped to take a photo.

It sits atop the One World Mexican Tile establishment but, I'm not sure why.  I checked their web site to see if there was a explanation but, none was there.  What I did learn is that this business has a huge selection of some really beautiful tile.  So if you are in market for some new tile, this might be the place to go.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Things you can buy

On the trade show side of the Barrett-Jackson Auction there was mind boggling array of things you could buy.  Here we have a selection of classic gas pumps.

Or, how about this brand new 2013 Corvette built in the old classic Corvette style.  I might be tempted by this one.  When I was about 17 years old I really wanted this car in this exact color!  But, alas it was not in the cards.  Just so you don't feel sorry for me, I did get a 1964 Pontiac Tempest convertible.  That wasn't too shabby.

If you are restoring an old car and into lots of bling, you could get this rhinestone covered engine to jazz things up!

Obviously, practicality is not an issue with any of these items.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Favorite

I saw a lot of really cool cars at the Barrett-Jackson auction but the one I would have enjoyed taking for a spin was this 1949 Delahaye.  I had never heard of this car company before Thursday but, have since learned that it was started in 1894 in Tours France.

This car sold on Saturday for a total of $1,210,000.00.  I'd sure love to drive it around the block once but, I'm sure that will never happen.

News update:  The Batmobile I pictured on Saturday sold for $4,200,000.00 plus a 10% commission for a grand total of $4,620,000.  The buyer was a Phoenix collector so who knows, I might see it driving down the street one day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

I thought I'd give you an overall view of the auction area of this event.  On either side of this area were areas about twice the size of this space.  To the left was a huge trade show with vendors displaying a huge array of auto related items.  To the right was the area where all the cars that will be on the auction block are on display.

Here is a 1937 Chrysler Airflow 4 Door Sedan that was being auctioned as I took this picture.  It ended up going for $49,500.00.

This is Fatty Arbuckle's 1919 Pierce-Arrow.  It was on display in the room with the yet to be auctioned cars.  Don't you just love those tires?  I can't even imagine what it would cost to replace one of them.  I would think they would have to be custom made.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


My close friend David had VIP tickets for Thursday at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction that has been going on in Scottsdale all this week.  I was the lucky one that got to go with him.  Wow, what an experience.  The auction has been going on in Scottsdale for years but, this is the first time I got to experience it and I must say, I was impressed.  First of all, it's huge!  Second, the numbers of people attending are astronomical.  We were told that on Friday and Saturday the crowds would exceed 200,000.

I took a lot of pictures and I won't bore you with all of them but, I will show you a few of my favorites starting with the original BATMOBILE that was used for the old TV series from the 1960's.

Check out the Bat-phone inside the car!

Here we have a front view!  Isn't that fun?

Friday, January 18, 2013


This ladder-backed woodpecker appears to be working hard on the side of this saguaro cactus.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Four Seasons

Back in early November, I introduced you to these sculptures by Philip Haas inspired by the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo.  Here is a photo of all four of them in their place at the Desert Botanical Garden.  I took this shot on day when some low clouds were hanging over the city.  A perfect sky for photography.  The sculptures will be up through April 28th.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


It's nice to know that even impeccably dressed quail can have bad hair days!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Town and Country

Way back in November of 2008, I posted some photos from the Town and Country Shopping Center in Phoenix.  You can see one of them here.  At that time, there was a lot of talk about closing the center so the property could be redeveloped.  Well, we all know what happened economically around that time so the center has been spared for a while longer.  I've always liked this center and it's rustic look and big trees.  I snapped this photo when the sun was aiming just right to make the light look like it was coming from in between the trees.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mickey Mouse....


Spotted at a traffic light.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fall scene

The look of fall has finally arrived in Phoenix now that it is full winter in the rest of the northern hemisphere.  We here in the Arizona desert are having a cold spell this weekend.  The temperature is not going to rise above 50 (10c).  You can tell the long time residents from the visitors by the amount of  clothing, scarfs, and coats vs. the shorts and T-shirts.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Iceland Poppies

These Iceland Poppies are not only pretty to look at......

...they must also be pretty darn tasty too.

Iceland Poppies seem an odd flower to be growing in the desert but, I'm seeing them in quite a few places lately.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Always remember..... stop and smell the roses!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

At ease in front of a camera...

You all know that I go to the Desert Botanical Garden quite often and I always find something to photograph no matter what time of year.  Since the end of November, I've seen this little guy sitting in almost the exact same spot on four separate visits.  It happened again when I visited on Tuesday afternoon.  The strange thing about this (besides being in the same spot all the time) is that the spot I find him in is within arms reach of the walkway into the garden; right there at the entrance watching all the people coming and going.  Another strange thing is that I can stand there for several minutes clicking away with the camera.  I actually saw someone hold up an iPhone just a few feet away from him and take a photo.  And, yes, I've seen him fly away so I know he's real.  I'd say this little fellow enjoys having his photo taken as much as he enjoys watching the people walk by.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Urban Farming

On the south side of Phoenix you can find farm lands growing many different crops.  That's where I found this tractor working in the shadow of the downtown skyline.  I think it makes an interesting juxtaposition; rural vs. urban.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Big pile of rocks

How would you like this big pile of rocks in your backyard?  This is a house located on the west side of Fountain Hills in an area of rocky terrain.  All of the houses in this area have big rocks like this surrounding the homes.

There is also a very nice view from this area.  This is looking southeast.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Big Fountain

Here is a close up view of the base of the Fountain Hills Fountain that I featured yesterday.  I like the misty look with all that water falling around it.

I also liked the reflection of the spray in the lake water.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fountain Hills

I took a drive out to Fountain Hills (east of Scottsdale) to bring you a photo of the famous Fountain Hills fountain.  This fountain was built in 1970 by Robert P McCulloch, the same man who brought the London Bridge to Lake Havasu City one year later.  The fountain is the fourth tallest in the world but, in 1970 it was the tallest when it was built.  Since then, it has been surpassed by fountains in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, St. Louis Missouri, and Karachi Pakistan.  The  Fountain Hills fountain sprays up to 562 feet in the air when all three pumps are engaged but, most of the time they only use two pumps so it rises up to 330 feet.  

Fountain Hills Arizona has grown up to a population of about 23,000 people who have homes in the rolling hills of the McDowell Mountains east of the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  When I was standing there taking these photos I suddenly realized that I hadn't seen the fountain from ground level for maybe 15 to 20 years.  I have seen it several times from the air as we approach Phoenix for landing.  It seems to be right in the flight path.

I'll show you another Fountain Hills scene tomorrow.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I wasn't sure what kind of bird this was so I had to do a little research.  It turns out it's a common starling (also know as a European starling).  It gets those white spots during the winter months.  I love the iridescence of his feathers.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Young photographer

The camera is almost bigger than he is but that didn't stop him from aiming at dozens of objects. When he let that camera hang by the strap around his neck, it reached his knees.  I'm betting there might be a photo blog in his future.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Back to a normal routine

Well the holidays are over and it seems like it's time to get back to life's normal routines.  My grocery shopping chore seemed a little dull today.  No more chocolate and baking supplies.  Now it's back to the healthy choices.

 Good old Trader Joe's seemed like the perfect place to find some healthy yet interesting options.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Start the year....

I started my new year with my traditional lunch of Mexican food and great friends.  This time we went to Barrio Queen in Scottsdale and I happened to notice that the horses in Horse Fountain appeared to be a different color.  Sure enough, I looked up a post from 2010 and found that they have definitely changed the color of the horses.

It's still a pretty fountain but, I think those horses looked a lot more natural in the chestnut color they were before.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking Forward.... 2013