Friday, May 31, 2013

Lily and the bug

I found this beautiful lily at the Japanese Friendship Garden last weekend.  I didn't see the interesting bug until I downloaded the photo.  I love the way the sun as lit up this flower like there is light inside it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Attractive store front

This business in old town Scottsdale sells high quality linens and household items.  I didn't go in, I was just struck by the attractive store front.  I love that striped awning against the siena colored walls.  The name of the business "Valerianne" is on the wall behind that tree, and even it is an attractive addition.

It also had a wonderful garden on one end of the building.  I love little spaces like this.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Teaching Moment

Momma is teaching the young ones how to forage!

The Gambel's Quail at the botanical garden have been very busy.  The last time I was there, I saw babies everywhere all being watched over by their dutiful parents.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Ever feel like someone is watching you?  I found these little guys watching me at the Desert Botanical Garden gift shop.  Yes, I brought one home with me.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Iron Chef encounter

Brace yourself, this post is all about food!  This last week was restaurant week in Arizona when participating restaurants offer a three course meal for a fixed price.  I made it to three altogether but, the one I went to last night was outstanding in so many ways.  The photo above is looking through the lobby of the Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale and way in the back there is Distrito, the restaurant of choice.  I had never been there before and in fact hadn't heard of it but, my friends decided we should give it a try.  When the waiter arrived he gave us a little background and when he mentioned that the chef was Jose Garces, I said "you mean the Iron Chef Garces"?  He said yes.  So now I'm thinking I'm in for a treat and boy was I right.  There were three of us so we each ordered different things for each course so we could try them all.  For the first course, Gaucamole with roasted jalapeno and Cotjia Cheese, Ensalada de Caesar made with Tuscan kale, Cotjia-pepper dressing, Pear & polenta croutons, and Gordita, which was Wagyu Beef Picadillo with Chayote-Carrot slaw inside a masa crust.  All were excellent and I was so busy enjoying them I forgot the photos.

I didn't forget to take photos of the main courses, starting with Camarones Al Ajillo or shrimp with garlic, blistered cherry tomatoes, green olives and a chile sauce.  Delicious.

Next was Pollito a la Yucateca, or Mesquite smoked chicken with popcorn grits and a orange-habanero glaze.  This was my favorite.  The smokey flavor of the chicken was perfect.

And, the third entree was Carne Asada which was made with an adobe rubbed NY strip with plantain, gremolata, refried beans and red rice.

I didn't take pictures of the desserts but they were all outstanding.  Lime and coconut panne cotta, canela & kahlua cheesecake, and Dulce de Leche cake.

I told the waiter that I felt like I was a judge on the Iron Chef TV show trying all these fabulous creations.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Saturday morning, I took a walk at the Japanese Friendship Garden.  The garden is a joint project with Phoenix and Himeji Japan, a sister city of Phoenix.  The name RO HO En comes from:

RO  the Japanese word for Heron, the symbol of the Himeji Castle
HO  The Japanese word for the Phoenix Bird
EN  The Japanese word for Garden

 The garden closes for the summer on May 31st so I'm glad I went yesterday.  They will open again in the fall.  Someone maintains the garden all summer but, it's just too hot to keep it open during our scorcher summers.  The garden is located on the edge of downtown Phoenix, very close to where I live.  It's a wonder I don't go there more often.

This beautiful condo building is located just south of the garden and I've often envied the view the residents must have.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hard to resist

I lured these colorful little love birds into my backyard by putting out seed and seed blocks and I've discovered that they are pretty smart little birds.  If the feeder is empty and I happen to be in the back yard, they swoop down onto the empty feeder and squeak at me to get my attention.  "Hey lady, time to get more bird seed!"

Friday, May 24, 2013

Blooming Palo Verde Trees

This one is for Randy of Santa Fe Daily Photo.  He mentioned that he loves seeing the blooming Palo Verde trees.  I took this photo about 3 weeks ago and then promptly forgot all about it.  This is a neighbor's house just down the street from me and they have three palo verde trees in their yard and they were all blooming at once.  That agave with the tall bloom in the center left just adds to the golden color.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pink Harley

Do you think this might be a husband and wife team of motorcycles?  I don't believe I've ever seen a pink Harley-Davidson before.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Flowers everywhere

I took this shot at the Desert Botanical Garden last week.  There were flowers in the tree and flowers on the ground.  I think the yellow flowers are a type of columbine but, I'm not sure what the tree is.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Out with the old, in with the new

Way back in 2009, I posted a photo of the outside of Sophie's Bistro a favorite restaurant of mine.  Last year, Sophie's closed and the space was purchased by a chef, Kevin Binkley who has a renowned restaurant called Binkley's in Cave Creek Arizona north of Phoenix.  The new place opened earlier this year under the name of Bink's.  Last week I met a friend there for lunch and had a very tasty meal with excellent service.

While I had a wonderful salad.....

 friend Janet had a very tasty burger (she let me have a bite) and homemade chips (she let me have lots).

If my favorite restaurant had to close, it's nice to know that it was replaced by something interesting.  I'll be back for sure.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fine Wines

This photo involves a story.  Way back in 1999 or 2000 while I was still working in Chicago, my best friend David (who was working in Minneapolis at the time) and I flew to San Francisco for a weekend trip.  We stayed with great friends who were living there at the time.  On one of the days we took a trip to Napa where I bought this very expensive bottle of wine.  It was somewhere around $95.00 at the time.  Well, I've held on to that bottle all these years.  Yesterday, David and I attended a show at the Phoenix Art Museum and after the show we went to my house where I decided it was time to uncork this bottle which had now increased to a value of $150.00.  (If only my 401K had done so well.)  I'm here to tell you that it was one supurb bottle of wine.  As I right this, I'm now wondering where I can conjure up something this delicious again, without going broke.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Sunday!

How about some bright sunflowers to brighten up your Sunday?  I found these beauties at the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.  They are such cheerful flowers.  I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saguaro Blooms

Beautiful saguaro blooms.  I'm lucky to have caught this shot without any birds or bees.  Both have a very special attraction to these blooms.  I think the bees are attracted by the sweetness and the birds are attracted by the bees.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Climbing among the high-rises

There are Desert Bighorn rams climbing around at the Eslpanade Center in central Phoenix.  The whole property is adorned with these bronze statues of wild desert animals.

Sometimes I think it looks like they are saying "what happened to the mountains?"

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Even though they are quite beautiful, it seems a terrible shame to let a delicious artichoke bloom.  Once it blooms, it is no longer edible.

The artichokes in this garden have all gone to flower so there won't be any grilled artichokes on the menu here.  Now that I have my taste buds craving one, I think I'll see if I can find one to grill.  A little, butter, a little lemon.....yum!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Weekend Adventures, part 4

On Sunday I decided to stay in town but, I did get up early to take a walk in the botanical garden at 7:00 am before the crowds arrive.  I was lucky to find this hot pink bloom on a night blooming cactus.  One of the benefits of getting there early because by 9:00 am it will be closed and withered.

Another benefit of the early walking is that you might catch momma quail taking the kids out for a little stroll.  Poppa was sitting on a rock overlooking this scene and keeping a watchful eye out for danger.  These two babies were so tiny I almost missed them there.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Weekend Adventures, part 3

On Saturday morning I drove in a different direction east of Phoenix to visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum just outside of Superior Arizona.  I couldn't have picked a better day.  The wildflowers were blooming everywhere I turned and the weather was perfect with a wonderful cool breeze keeping the Arizona heat at bay.

I followed many of the paths admiring the gorgeous flowers and all the special garden areas that are there to enjoy.  Of course, I was taking photos as I went.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekend Adventures, part 2

After visiting Out of Africa, I drove just a few miles further north and visited Montezuma's Castle National Monument.  The castle is a five story, 20 room dwelling built 100 feet above the valley.  It was built by Southern Sinagua farmers around 1100.  It is quite an impressive sight.  Don't you wish you could actually see how the people lived in this place way back then?  Too bad time travel hasn't been invented yet.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weekend Adventures

I've had a busy weekend already.  On Friday I took a drive about 80 miles (140K) north of Phoenix to visit a place called "Out of Africa" a wild animal park.  While I was there, I had a close encounter with a very friendly giraffe.

See what I mean...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A great combination...

Papago Park with its ubiquitous rock formations, tall palm trees, lots of clouds and a wind blowing.  It's a good combination for a photo.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Smart Police

I did a double take when this little smart car pulled up next to me all decked out with the Phoenix Police emblems and lights.  Since it's marked as "parking enforcement" I'm guessing they don't chase down any bad guys in this little car just bad parkers.  Hmmm....that could be a lot of people.  I wonder if it's equipped with a siren.  All joking aside, I love it.  I really think I should test drive a smart car.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Here is another statue from the Allan Houser collection that I found at the Hermosa Inn in Phoenix.  This one is called "Prayer".  There was no date on these statues so I'm not sure where these statues fall in the long career of Houser.  I do know that his work ranges from intricate and life-like scenes to the ultra-modern.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dance of the Eagle

Kate of Visual St. Paul inspired me to locate a photo I took just a few weeks ago when I visited the Hermosa Inn for lunch.  While I was there I discovered an area full of Allan Houser sculptures and benches to relax and enjoy them.  This one is called Dance of the Eagle.  An appropriate name I'd say.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unexpected site

This is an ugly picture with those garbage cans in the way and that overgrown yard, but I wanted to show you this unexpected site, a pay phone by the side of the street.  That is something you don't see very often these days.  I love that sign up top that say calls 25 cents.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cinco de Mayo

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday celebrating Mexico's victory over the French forces of Napoleon III.  I understand that in Mexico, the day is celebrated with parades in some places and political speeches in other places.  Here in the southwest, it's generally celebrated at Mexican Restaurants promoting food and drink.  It is a good day to partake of some delicious enchiladas.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sibling rivalry

I made a trip to the zoo Friday morning hoping to get a few shots before the summer heat made zoo walking impossible.  I found these young zebras engaged in a friendly battle.

There was a lot of biting, jumping and battering involved but, they appeared to be having a good time.

It kind of made me think of my very early childhood when my sisters and I would engage in some hand to hand combat that sometimes ended with bite marks on one or the other.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

First Friday Event

Last night was first Friday so my good friend David and I went downtown to visit a couple of galleries.    One of them was having a "1000 Cranes" event and this drummer was outside welcoming guests.

He was putting a lot of energy into that welcome.

But, later he came inside and played some more soothing music.

And, here are some of the 1000 cranes that graced the gallery.  It was a very entertaining event.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Black Cloud

Back in April when I went to the Art Museum for the Arts & Flowers exhibit I was met with this rather overwhelming infestation of black butterflies.  It was part of a temporary exhibit called "Order, Chaos and the Space Between".  It featured works from the Diane and Bruce Halle Collection of Latin art.

This piece entitled "Black Cloud" was the work of artist Carlos Amorales and it covered many walls and the ceiling leading from the entrance of the museum to the exhibit  room.  I found it somehow exhilarating.  I stood in the hallway looking in every direction.

Carlos had another piece in the exhibit that would be impossible for me to explain but, I went back three times to look at it.  It was similar to this.  
If you Google his name and look at the images, you'll see a lot of photos of his interesting works.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I mentioned that I'd feature the work of a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice who lives on the Taliesin West property and here it is.  Her name is Heloise Crista and she made her way to Taliesin after reading Wright's autobiography.  She had studied applied arts at UCLA but, was drawn to Taliesin to study Wright's philosophy and architecture and become part of the Taliesin Fellowship.

She spent years in dance and costume design for Taliesin Festivals of music and dance.  In 1956 she created a bust of Mr. Wright but it wasn't until 1978 that she became a full time sculptor.  There is a very large collection of her works at Taliesin and can be seen on the tour.  You can see by the flow and movement in these sculptures that her years of dance has influenced her work.

I photographed these sculptures in Scottsdale near the  FLW spire that I featured here.  The park in which the spire stands is surrounded by her sculptures.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Theme Day: The Creative Artisan

I happen to be a creative artisan.  I take photos and manipulate them into something entirely different.  So, for today's post I've made a collage of the results of one photo.  In the center is the original photo and all around it are the different looks I created for this flower.

To see how other City Daily Photo Blogger's expressed "The Creative Artisan", click here.