Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Number 94

I haven't featured a home from one of our historic neighborhoods in a while so I thought it was about time.  This one is located in the Alvarado neighborhood.  It's a wonderful old house with a coach entrance on one side.  You don't see those very often in the southwest.  I like the arch over the front walk with the house number on it.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Red Head

Sometimes you can find art in the strangest places!

Such as in the front yard of this modest home with the scraggly yard.  It does make me wonder what it is doing there and why the red head.  Art is supposed to make you think and this one sure did that.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Harvard Gardens

The Harvard Garden apartments are located in Midtown right on the edge of downtown Phoenix.  They are in a single level mid-century modern building constructed of grey block.  I really do like the look of this building.  It looks like there are only four apartments in the building and the grounds are beautifully manicured with two wonderful orchid trees in the front.  This is where I saw the orchid tree I featured yesterday.


The place really lives up to it's "garden" name.  besides the trees and all those hedge like vines surrounding the sign, there was a huge rose garden on one side.

But it was really the orchid tree that drew me out of my car.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm featuring a memorial that pays tribute to women.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Orchid Tree

I was driving in central Phoenix yesterday when I spotted an orchid tree in full bloom.  Anyone remember when I had one of these in my yard?  It was kind of weak when I moved into that house and about five years ago it gave out completely and had to be cut down.

Seeing this tree made me pull over to get some photos.  I really did love that tree.  It blooms in the spring and is completely full of these gorgeous orchid-like flowers.  Tomorrow I'll show you where I found this tree.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Eagle

This eagle helps guard the doors into the old Phoenix City Hall.

City Hall has moved across the street from this building but, the eagles are still there guarding the door.

This building its still an official government building.  It houses the  county courthouse but, this side entrance still bears the "City Hall" name.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Butterflies

I stopped to see the spring butterfly exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden late yesterday afternoon.  (It's best to go after 2:30 when all the bus loads school kids have departed.)  I liked this shot looking right into the eyes of this Julia butterfly.

In fact, I cropped the photo way down just to see how good those eyes look.  Not bad for hand held.  

I thought this one was especially pretty.  It's called a White Peacock.  I like pale turquoise/green tones in the wing.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pretty Umbrella

When I was taking my walk at the botanical garden last Friday, I spotted the pretty white umbrella making it's way along the path.

Pretty umbrella, pretty girl to go with it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Valley Ho

The Valley Ho Hotel in Scottsdale's old town arts area is listed on Scottsdale's Historic Register and is considered to be one of the best preserved mid-century hotels in America.  If you've ever seen the old Hanna-Barbara animated TV show "The Jetsons", that will give you an idea of it's space-age charm.

Designed by Edward L. Varney, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, it opened in 1956 and quickly drew movie stars and famous ball players as frequent guests.  The Ramada hotel chain bought the property in 1973 and redecorated to cover up the old 1950's design which was seen at the time to be outdated.  Ramada operated the hotel until 2001 but since it had lost it's popularity, they let the maintenance on the property slide downhill.  It closed in 2001 and was headed for the wrecking ball until admirers of it's architecture rallied to save it.

In 2002 it was purchased by Westroc Hotels & Resorts and renovation continued until 2005.  The hotel's original jet-age design was restored but with all the features that modern travelers expect.  George Jetson would love the place.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Visitor in green

I was in Scottsdale yesterday and I stopped to take a photo when this little fellow flew right in front of me and started examining these aloe blooms.  He wasn't more than 3 feet away which kind of surprised me.  I had to be quick to get this one shot and then he was off to the other side of the street.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Semi-annual luncheon

When I first moved to Arizona (a very, very long time ago :-) I took a job at a local bank called Continental Bank.  The owner of the bank had been in the mortgage lending business for a long time before becoming a bank and the people I worked with all knew each other.  I quickly became part of the "family" and I continued to work there for many years until the bank was sold to Chase Manhattan.  The list of mergers that happened after that is too long to list here and most of the people I worked with went off in many directions but, we still meet for lunch twice a year and catch up.  That is what happened yesterday, our spring luncheon.

Being at the lunch yesterday reminded my just how long I've been taking photos.  The bank had a monthly in-house publication and they would feature some of my photos from time to time.  Someone brought a handful of these old publications to the lunch and it was fun looking at them again.  The child above was one of my portraits from a Christmas publication.

In this one I actually spotted a photo of me cheering on our bank softball team.  That's me right there on the end in the photo above.  Gosh I was young back then!!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  If red, ripe cherries make you smile, check it out.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring has Sprung!

Actually, I think spring sprung here in Arizona several weeks ago but nonetheless, I celebrated the day by taking a long walk at the Desert Botanical Garden.  Boy, was it busy!  I think there were just as many people there as there were when the Chihully exhibit opened two years ago.

There was also a lot of blooming going on.  The wildflowers were in full bloom as expected for this time of year but, there were quite a few cactus blooms popping out which is a little early for them.  We usually don't see so many cactus blooms until April.  My fellow photographers were determined to get some good shots like this young lady above.

Here we have a lovely primrose peeking out between a frame of Baja Fairy Dusters.  

Even the taller cactus were getting busy with their blooming business.

When I saw how full the parking lot was, I almost left without going in.  I'm so glad I decided to face the crowds.  There was quite a lot to see.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Flowers

When I was at that food event at the Phoenix Art Museum last weekend, I saw these flowers growing in the courtyard and surrounded by those thousands of guests who were milling about with plates and glasses in hand.  The flower patch seemed like a little area of calm in the center of all that chaos.  The flowers were so petty, I snapped a shot or two.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fire Damage

It's amazing the photos you find when you review your photo files.  I took this photo back in February and then promptly forgot all about it.  This is a little corner shopping center that was located just a few blocks from my old house.  I don't think I ever went in any of the stores but I certainly passed it every day.  I happened to be in that neighborhood on this day in February when I spotted all this damage.  I stopped to take a few pictures and spoke some people there and learned that it burned down the night before I was there.  That's why there is still water on the ground.  A day or two later, I heard a story on the radio about the city losing one of it's very few remaining video stores in this center.  I always wondered if that store had any business and according to the radio story, it had quite a lot of business.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I didn't know wisteria could be grown in Arizona but, I found some at the Desert Botanical Garden and was certainly surprised to see it thriving.  I found it growing in the herb garden and trailing along a trellis.

I've seen it many times on trips to Europe but, I don't think I've ever seen it anywhere in the United States.  I'm sure they must bloom in the southeast but I don't remember seeing any.  They are such beautiful, draping blooms.  According to the sign, this is Chinese Wisteria.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Earlier this last week I took a a couple of photos of St. Patrick's Day decorations to use for my photo today but both pictures turned out awful so I wasn't quite sure what I'd post.  Then I decided to check my photo file and what do you know, I had this photo sitting there that had never been used.  So Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you.  Enjoy yourselves what ever you do to celebrate.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate

Lately when I have a craving for very good chocolate I've been heading to Julia Baker Confections, an elegant little shop at Biltmore Fashion Square.  Julia studied at Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts and graduated first in her class with a Grande Diplome de Cuisine & de Patisserie, the highest diploma of pastry and cuisine.  She did an internship with chef Jean-Louis Nomicos before founding Julia Baker Confections in 2006.  She specializes in luxurious chocolates, custom cakes and decadent desserts.  I can certainly vouch for the chocolates.  They are some of the best I've ever tasted and I've tasted a lot of them.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

"Beware the Ides of March"

That was the warning to Julius Caesar in 44 BC on the day of his assassination.  Caesar dismissed the warning and his fate and the fate of Rome was sealed.  I thought a mysterious looking blood-red flower was a good way to mark the day.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  A visit to a grand villa is on the agenda.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Round and round we go!

The carousel at the Phoenix zoo is a great attraction popular with little kids.  Each of the "seats" are different wild animals.  I heard kids saying I'm riding the giraffe....I'm riding the tiger, I want to ride the ostrich.  It was fun to watch them race for the entrance.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A short walk to dinner

There are 20 restaurants (I've counted them) within walking distance from my new house and I've been taking advantage of that fact especially now when the weather is nice enough for a walk.  Wednesday evening David and I tried a new place that recently reopened with a new look, a new menu and a new name.  Previously it was a very small take-out shop where you could get some pretty darn good burritos and tacos.  A few months ago, they took over a space next door, closed up the take-out shop and started remodeling.  It reopened this week under the new name so we thought it was a good time to give it a try.  The name is Mexx 32 (because it's on 32nd street I think) and it now has a full Mexican menu and a full bar.

We were both very impressed with the food.  We had smoked pork and smoked chicken enchiladas that were devine and we shared a banana-chocolate flan for dessert that could easily become very addictive.  We'll be back!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Billboard Discovery

Never before has a billboard stopped me in my tracks but, that is exactly what happened yesterday.  I was walking along when I looked up and saw this enormous billboard with that distinctive face looking down at me.  I stopped and stared!  You might be wondering why this advertisement would have such an impact on me.   You see, last Friday I went to the zoo and I took lots and lots of photos and when I downloaded them the photo I loved the most was....well....this one!!   I literally thought someone had stolen my photo!  See for yourself, my photo is below.

Comparing the two photos I now see subtle differences but, they are pretty darn close, wouldn't you say?

I even cropped my photo a bit so I could do and exact compare.  Still pretty close!

The funny thing is, this particular Mandril was pretty far away from me and was constantly moving so when I took the photo using the telephoto lens in the bright sunlight, I really didn't know until I downloaded the photos if it was going to be worthwhile.  And, I only got this one shot of him.  The second I snapped the shutter this guy got up and walked inside his enclosure.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Luxury Transportation

When driving around in Scottsdale, one will most likely see any number of expensive vehicles in the next lane.  On this particular day, I was passed by this sleek Rolls-Royce.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Anyone for tea?

While walking around in Carefree on Sunday, I discovered this little place called the English Rose Tearoom.  It was the British flag out front that made me check it out.  

The place had some very cute decorations around starting with this old bicycle out front with the flower display in it's basket.

But, it was all the teapots and cups hanging from the chandelier that really caught my eye.  I didn't stop for tea myself.  I just stopped to snap a few pictures.  However, there were lots of people inside enjoying tea with all the trimmings.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Avoiding the crowds

After Friday at the zoo and Saturday at the food and wine event, I opted for a quieter Sunday.  I took a drive out to Carefree Arizona and strolled around the town center.  That's where I found this indoor shopping center where almost all the shops were closed up.  Some of them were closed for Sunday but, a good number of them were just plain empty.  It struck me that this was a rather ornate shopping area that may have lost it's appeal.

I was looking for quiet and I found it.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Friday was the Phoenix Zoo and Saturday was another kind of zoo altogether.  It was the annual food and wine event called "Devoured" and put on by the Phoenix Art Museum.  Hundreds of food and wine booths all crammed into the courtyard of the museum.  It gets so crowded that it can be a bit overwhelming.

Here is my friend Heather getting a taste of wine from a very big bottle.

And this guy is serving up some very tasty green chile and pork posole.  Just look and that giant cauldron he's cooking it in!

I've posted more photos than normal today because this might be the last one of these events I attend.  It gets way too hot in that courtyard under the sun, it's way too crowded, and the event has gotten way too expensive, $80.00 this year and that is with my museum discount.  It's $90.00 for non-members.  

I loved this lady's hat.  She was very smart, it kept her eyes and shoulders shaded.

And of course, I saw several ladies in shoes that seemed totally inappropriate for four hours of standing and juggling plates and glasses.  My feet ached when I got home and I wore flats.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm looking at some of the "hidden" gems of Venice.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Love Nest

I went to the Phoenix Zoo yesterday and I happened to catch these two beauties (and I use that term very, very loosely) tidying up their nest.  Storks are certainly not the prettiest birds around.

But, regardless of their lack of elegance or charm, these two seem to have found each other irresistible.  It looks like there may soon be a baby stork on the way.