Monday, April 30, 2018

Mexican Village

The inside of the Arriba Mexican Restaurant is painted with murals in almost all of the rooms.  I always liked this one of a street scene.  It kind of reminds me of a street in Nogales Mexico, south of Tucson, just across the border.  The only exception is that I've never been there when the streets were that quiet.  It's always busy in that town.

In another of the dining rooms, the mural is more tropical with the beach close by and that church in the background.  It's all there to make you feel like you are really dining in Mexico.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Just a House

What is it about this house that attracts me?  I look admiringly at it every time I pass by which is quite often.  I finally stopped to take a photo.  I think it might be the combination of the red brick and those white pillars.  It's not big or elaborate or sprawling.  In fact it's quite modest.  It just looks so...homey.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I've posted a bit about my recent trip to California to see Sunnylands.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Two Bars

When I discovered the Schmooze Workspace and Cafe that I featured last week, I decided to walk down that same street and see what else I could find.  I found two bars a few doors away from each other and looking very similar in style.  This one is called Rock Bar.

This one is called Old Town Gringos.  They both have rooftop drinking areas.  With two bars so close to each other, I bet this street can get pretty busy in the evenings.  I should drive by sometime and see how crowded it gets.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Restaurant Observations

It's time for another one of my series of miscellaneous shots.  This time I selected a group of observations made at different restaurants.  The above shaded chandelier was seen at Central Wine Bar, a cute little place for a glass of wine and light snacks.

This gorgeous copper coffee and espresso maker was decorating Mancuso's Restaurant in downtown Phoenix.  That's a pretty impressive looking machine however, I think it's only for show.  I don't believe they are actually using it to make coffee.

This large scale photographic triptych was on the wall of Ocotillo Restaurant near downtown Phoenix.  That view of a road across a desert and heading toward a smoky storm really caught my eye.  If you have to drive across the desert, a dramatic sky is a bonus.

This last one is a view of the majestic horses that grace the front of the Scottsdale PF Changs restaurant.  This seems to be a standard decoration for PF Changs establishments.  If a PF Changs restaurant is located in your town, you might have seen these horses before.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sky Blue

What a pretty "sky blue" this old truck has been painted.  Someone has beautifully restored this old pickup.  I doubt that this color existed for Chevrolet trucks when it was brand new but, it sure does look good robed in sky-blue now.

It even looks like it's grinning at me!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Time to Schmooze

When I was in Scottsdale last week for the grand opening of XO Confections (the chocolate place), I noticed something new just across the street.  The first thing that struck me was the beautiful entrance adorned with flowers everywhere.

So I went over to investigate and saw from the sign out front that is was some type of cafe.

I stepped through those gates and discovered a little oasis where tables sat among all the flowers and fountains and people where having coffee and tea while working at their laptops.  I went inside to explore further and learned that it is designed to be a workspace and cafe.  People can come in to this relaxing atmosphere and work on their computers while enjoying something to eat and drink.

There were several sections inside but this one really got my attention.  Each of those "booths" on the wall is a workspace that can be rented by the hour if you need to do some serious work.  Or you can bring your own computer and work at one of those tables in one of those comfy looking office chairs.  The counter serves coffee, tea, smoothies and small treats and will soon add sandwiches and salads to the menu.  What a great looking place.  It's called Schmooze Workspace and Cafe.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Breaking News: Giant, Smelly Bloom

The Tucson Botanical Garden has a plant called the  "corpse flower" and it's blooming as I write this. The real name is Amorphophallus Titanum and it's one of the largest and rarest flowering plant.  I'm not in Tucson to see it but no worries, they have set up a live web feed so people all over the world can get a glimpse.  But, hurry to take your peek, the blooms only last 24 to 36 hours.  The link to see the live feed is here.

When I snapped these photos off of my laptop, it was 5:00 PM Arizona time.  In the photo above, the guy in the white shirt is a newsman waiting to go on the air.  He's the second one I've seen.  There was another newsman doing a broadcast around 2:00 PM when I checked the site.  The garden believes this plant is about 7 years old.  It takes this plant 7 to 10 years to bloom.  Oh, and it has that name "corpse flower" because it is said to smell like rotting flesh.  So far, I haven't seen anyone near it holding their nose.

I wish I was there to get a my own photo of it!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Jam-Packed Weekend

I apologize for being a bit absent this last weekend but, I had one very busy three days which started on Thursday evening when I attended the end of term recital for my friend the pianist and student at Arizona State University.  Then I was up early Friday morning and drove to Palm Springs California with another friend.

We were headed to Palm Springs to take a tour of a historic home called SunnyLands.  I've been wanting to tour this home of a former US Ambassador for about two years but, it's not that easy to get the tickets.  When I finally was able to snatch two tickets, I jumped at the chance. (I'll post more about this place on my travel site in the next two weeks.)  It was a quick trip. Four hours to drive there, a visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum to see the Andy Warhol exhibit, the tour on Saturday morning and four hours to drive back to Phoenix.   (I really wish we had a rail network like Europe!)   That's me above in front of the front doors at SunnyLands. 

We had to rush back because we had tickets Saturday night to see the Sgt. Pepper's 50th Anniversary Mystery Tour with the Phoenix Symphony.  Nothing like a rousing set of Beatles tunes after a full day of driving!  

And, the fun didn't end there.  Sunday night I had tickets for one of my Valley Broadway Series shows in Tempe.  This time we saw "The Color Purple" which was very good.  It's such a difficult subject but it was done extremely well.

That was one very full weekend full of art, history, architecture, entertainment and music.  I was in my zone!  

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Bike Sharing

Last November I did a post about the new Scottsdale bike sharing company called Lime Bike and I mentioned that the city had opened up the program to more than one company.  The second company to set up business is called Ofo.

The Lime Bike company is based in San Mateo and the competitor, Ofo is based  in Beijing.  These are all free standing bikes that can be picked up or left anywhere, not just at bike stations.  The result is they are EVERYWHERE.  Almost everywhere I go, I see one (or more) of these bikes sitting around either waiting for another renter or waiting for the rescue team to come and pick it up.  Some think it's a blessing, others think it's a curse.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm taking a look at a Paris Museum.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sweet Tooth

Do you have a sweet tooth?  Or, do you just like to browse the old fashioned candy you liked when you were a kid?  I found this old fashioned candy store in downtown Tempe.  It's called Old Town Candy & Toys and I spent quite a bit of time in there looking at things I hadn't seen in many, many years.  Things like Necco wafers, circus peanuts and Bit-O-Honey.  My grandfather used to take my sisters and me to a corner store to pick out some penny and nickel candy.  What fun that was!  What was your favorite candy as a kid?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Birds and Fountains

I love watching birds as they gather at a fountain to get a drink....

...or take a bath!  I bet that feels good on a hot summer day!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bottle Brush Tree

I was driving through a nearby neighborhood recently trying to avoid some construction when I discovered a beautiful bottle brush tree.  The sight of it made me turn around to get some photos.

I've seen bottle brush as shrubs and bushes but I don't think I had ever seen one that was a full grown tree before.

What a beautiful tree it was!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Building a Mountainside Mansion

I was driving around on Camelback Mountain recently a came across this construction site for building a new home on the side of the mountain.  You might think that where that fence is located is going to be where the home goes, but look closely above where all that equipment is located.  They are using some large and heavy equipment to level out a place for what will be built there.

Perhaps it will look similar to this one located nearby.  One thing is for certain, it will be impressive and expensive.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


I asked this fellow what he had done to get himself kicked out of the Phoenix Art Museum.  He didn't answer me.  He just sat there looking rather forlorn.

This statue by artist Nathan Mabry used to sit in the contemporary gallery.  The piece is called Two Vessels (Unpacked) but, I couldn't find any information that gave an explanation of that name.

He was recently moved to a position just outside the entrance to the museum.  When I saw him there I thought he looked a little unhappy about the new location but judging from this older photo inside the museum, he wasn't in the best of spirits there either.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Cycling Painter

I saw this cute little mural painted on a wall in old town Scottsdale.  There is no signature on it so I can't attribute to any artist.  It looks like this fellow is carrying a paint can so maybe it's a sort of self portrait.  I'm not sure why but, it makes me think of Charlie Chaplin for some reason.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Jewels You Can Eat

Do you remember those gorgeous chocolates that I featured on my blog two years ago? 

That chocolate maker, XO Confections recently opened of retail store of his own in the Scottsdale Old Town area and yesterday was the grand opening.  When I heard about the grand opening I made a point of putting it on my calendar so I wouldn't miss it.

I'm so glad I went.  I got to meet Jason Wasser, the founder and chocolate maker.  And, to top things off, they sell beautiful pastries as well as those gorgeous chocolates.  Jason is holding one of his creations in the photo to the left.

I read that Jason has a degree in molecular biology and has used that knowledge to learn how to make exquisite chocolates and desserts.  Now that is putting a science degree to delicious use. 

As you might guess, I brought some home with me and I'm thrilled to know where I can go to get a really spectacular dessert.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting one of the historic California missions.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Saturday Odds and Ends

Saturday seems like a good day to post a few more odds and end shots from my files.  Above is a pretty lamp I saw hanging against a wall surrounding a house.

This one is taken from my balcony looking at a neighbor's balcony that is overflowing with plants.  What a petty sight!

A friend and I had dinner last week at a great little pizza place called Craft 64.  We ordered the caprese salad and I loved the way it was served like a whole tomato sliced with the fresh mozzarella inserted between the slices.  It was every bit as delicious as it looks.

Here's a silly shot I took with my cell phone at dinner with friends last week.  One of those spot lights that businesses use to light a room was shining right over the top of the pepper shaker and creating those dots of light inside the shaker.  Sometimes I just can't stop myself from snapping a shot.

This last one is also a phone shot so it's not the best.  All I had with me when I spotted the full moon over Camelback Mountain was my cell phone.

Just another set of observations along the way!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Contemporary Art Exhibit

I went to the Phoenix Art Museum last weekend to see an exhibit I read about in the Museum's monthly newsletter.  It's called "Any Moment Now" by Brazilian artist Valeska Soares.

It was a wide-ranging exhibit of pieces she has created over the past 20 years.  Some of it looks like collections of items that she has accumulated, but the purpose is to trigger memories in the viewer.  And this glass collection did just that for me.  I was suddenly remembering things I had seen in the homes of family friends and relatives.

This room was rather fun.  Each one of those light bulbs in the ceiling had a pull chain that went all the way to the floor creating a sort of beaded curtain.  Visitors were encouraged to walk through the beaded curtain and pull the chains to turn the lights on and off.  On the other side was another collection, this time of a variety of headboards for beds.

I enjoyed this one very much and will probably visit it again before it's gone.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Air Bee & Bee

Just outside the butterfly pavilion at the Desert Botanical Garden is a series of "bug houses" for us to admire before we enter the pavilion.

This one is called the Buzz Inn, an air bee & bee.

The use of pesticides to control the "bad" bugs has killed more than it originally intended and the bugs that keep our ecosystem healthy have been suffering.  Many gardens around the world have taken to making safe havens for the bugs that are so important to our plant life.

So just like those little "free libraries" that are popping up everywhere, don't be surprised if you start seeing these attractive little bug "hotels" around town too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spring in the Desert..... feeling a lot like summer.  While it's been unseasonably cold in some parts of the globe this spring, it's been unseasonably warm here in the desert.  About 10 degrees warmer than it should be this time of year.  So if I want to take a walk at the Desert Botanical Garden, I need to get there early. I'm glad I was there early this last weekend to see the palo verde trees blooming and making a canopy of yellow to walk through.

I also saw the Chinese Wisteria blooming and I snapped a photo because it won't last much longer with the temperatures so high.

And I really liked this bougainvillea bonsai.  For a plant whose growth is difficult to control, seeing a bonsai version makes it patio perfect.