Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween!

Once again, I drove over to my old neighborhood to see if my former neighbor had rounded up his pals for another Halloween reunion.  And sure enough, the whole family was there once again.

Even the family pets have joined the celebration.  That one fellow on the right has developed a sort of big head!

It was good to see that they still have the energy to come out every year for this ghoulish family reunion.

Happy Halloween!  Enjoy some treats!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Silly Pumpkins

Those silly pumpkins at the Desert Botanical Garden were up to all kinds of hijinks.  Here's a couple with fairy wings flying among the tree branches.

There was a chase going on here and this one poor fellow has tangled with a thorny cactus.

These two were doing some tree climbing.

And, this sweet lass has stopped to smell the roses!

It was just another fun garden experience.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Pumpkin Mayhem

I went to the Desert Botanical Garden over the weekend to see this year's "Strange Garden" exhibition.  That's the one where the pumpkins get to play instead of being carved up.

On top we have one pumpkin painting a 'day-of-the-dead' face on another pumpkin.  To the left is the host for this strange garden adventure.

I'll show you a couple more of the creative pumpkins tomorrow.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Whooping Witches

These two colorful witches appear to be having a very hardy laugh at their directionally-challenged friend who hit the tree in yesterday's photo.

The fellow to the left looks as though he's been waiting for the oranges to ripen for a very, very long time.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

More Seasonal Sightings

Jack-o-lanterns are making an appearance at this time of year.  Many of them are made of ceramics so the owners don't have to do any of that messy carving.

However occasionally I'll see one of the real kind.  This one was lovingly carved to give it a huge Halloween grin.

I also spotted this rather unfortunate witch who appears to have misjudged her landing abilities.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I have photos from my recent visit to the Very Large Array.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Seasonal Sightings

I've been noticing some rather scary things showing up around town.  This house has gone all out on the decorations for Halloween.  The whole front of the house was covered with tombstones, skeletons and various ghouls.  It's getting a bit creepy out there in the city.

I'll do some more exploring this weekend and see what else I can find.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Purple Prickly Pear

I was keeping my friend Julie company one evening when she was watering her neighbor's plants when I noticed this gorgeous purple prickly pear cactus in the yard.  It looked so pretty framed by the rocks and the tree that I couldn't resist snapping a photo of it.

I featured a purple prickly pear once before back in May when our theme was Purple.  Of all the different prickly pear varieties, the purple ones are my favorite.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

I'm Seeing Purple

Violet silverleaf is a shrub that is perfect for this desert environment because it needs very little water and loves to grow right in the bright Arizona sun.  For that reason, it is used in landscaping pretty much everywhere in this valley.  They bloom in the fall with these great purple flowers.

Since fall has arrived, they are blooming like crazy everywhere I look.

Some people let them grow naturally like the photo above and some trim them into hedges or shape them to form a more rounded look.  I like them with the natural look.

I'm enjoying seeing these purple flowers everywhere in our city.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Waiting to be Planted

On the same day I saw those green oranges in yesterday's post, I saw these palm trees sitting on the side of a newly remodeled home.  It looks like in addition to a remodel, the home will also get some new landscaping.

I'll have to make a trip back to see how it all turned out.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Not Quite Ready Yet

It's not quite picking time yet.  I saw these big fat oranges on a tree near me just two weeks ago but as you can see, they have a little more time in the sun before they they turn a delicious shade of orange.  In a few more weeks it will be time to start picking the oranges.  There are still a few orange groves around the outskirts of the city.  When I first moved to Arizona, back when the "outskirts" were a lot closer in, there were a lot more.  In fact, I remember my parents sending boxes of citrus back to Illinois for friends and family as a holiday present.  I wonder if there is anywhere around here that still does that.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Weekend in the Mountains

I was away again this last weekend, this time up in Flagstaff Arizona among the tall pines and the fall colors on the aspens.

We weren't the only ones interested in these colorful trees, there were huge crowds up there.  The parking area for this aspen grove was completely full.  You are only seeing about a tenth of the cars.
We packed a lot of things into this weekend, we toured a historic home in Flagstaff and spent almost an entire day at Lowell Observatory seeing the telescope that discovered the planet Pluto.  And, then on the drive home we made two more stops to see Montezuma's Castle once again and to see what was happening at Arcosanti.  It was fun!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Flying Fish

The exhibit called Wild Rising at the Desert Botanical Garden brought some very unusual scenes with it as evidenced by the posts I've had this last week.  Seeing these bright fish floating in the air was just another unique experience.

The message we are supposed to take from these fish floating high above the desert floor, is that there will soon be more plastic in the ocean than fish if we don't do something about all the plastics we are tossing out.  That's a very frightening thought.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting Bellagio, the city not the Las Vegas hotel.

Saturday, October 19, 2019


What is this I see as I head down the main path at the Desert Botanical Garden.

It appears to be some giant snails!

Did you know that a group of snails is called an escargatoire?  I didn't.  
The snails were present at this exhibit to share a message of regeneration.  

Friday, October 18, 2019

Mexican Grey Wolves & Friends

A Few Mexican grey wolves were lurking in another section of the Desert Botanical Garden.  Their future is looking much better since they rebounded from the very brink of extinction.

When the Mexican grey wolf was placed on the endangered species list in 1976, there were only five wolves left.  Today there are more than 144.  They were looking very proud of their accomplishment while hanging out in this section of the garden.

A few of their more colorful relatives were also very happy to see them making a rebound.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Prickly Penguins

The next group of colorful plastic animals visitors at the Desert Botanical Garden see are a group of penguins.  What a totally foreign animal to see in the desert.  The artists have given these creatures thorns so they mimic the plants of the desert.

The statement about this group says that the penguins have grown thorns in response to the prickly situation they find themselves in with the melting ice and rising temperatures affecting their arctic home.

As you can see from the top photo, some of the animals light up so they glow at night.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Colorful Meerkats

Yesterday I introduced the new exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden, Wild Rising.  Today I'm featuring one of the first animals visitors see when they enter the garden.  Meerkats!

Meerkats are a close-knit group of animals who always work together for the good of the community.  Their collaborative nature helps them survive in the most hostile conditions.  We humans could learn a lot from these creatures.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Elephant in the Room

There is a new art installation at the Desert Botanical Garden.  It's called "Wild Rising" by a Milan based collective of artists called Cracking Art.  The theme is centered on the so called elephant in the room, global warming and climate change.

The exhibit consists of brightly colored animals scattered around the garden and all are made of recyclable and recycled plastic.  Each grouping of animals has a story to tell about survival and adaption.

I thought it would be appropriate to start my photos from this exhibit with the "elephant in the room".  This is the only one of the animal sculptures that is located inside a building.  The sign on the wall reads "The elephant in the room is the powerful, intimidating and unavoidable challenge that faces our environment.  Let's dive in together."

Just what we need, a little team work!  I'll have more photos of the animals in this exhibit in the days to come.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Third Time is the Charm

I went back to the butterfly pavilion at the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday to see if there were any new butterflies released and I lucked out.  I found my favorite butterfly, the malachite.  I'm not sure what it is about these greenish butterflies that appeals to me but, I love them.  One of the attendants in the pavilion said there were only six in the whole pavilion.  They tend to be rarer than the others so they only get a few every year.

I almost tossed this photo out because I clipped off the top of its wing but then I noticed the reflection of its wing in the water below so I decided to keep it.

And, here is a bonus shot.  I snapped this picture of a white peacock butterfly and I didn't notice until I downloaded the photo that I captured a monarch caterpillar in this shot.  Can you see it over there on the far right?  What a great surprise.  So the third trip to the pavilion really was the "charm".

Sunday, October 13, 2019


I didn't make it to the Greek Festival last year so I made sure I got there this year.  I went Friday night and met up with friends there.  We watched the young kids dancing.

And the adults dancing.

And we ate some saganaki (flaming cheese).  This is where the cooks have everyone shout "Opa" when they flame the cheese.

And we indulged in one plate of Loukoumades (donuts soaked in honey).  Honest, only one plate for us.  These were someone else's sticky treats.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today. Rooftops take on a whole new meaning when you are in Milan.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Pink Ribbons

I bet most of you know that I LOVE chocolate but, you probably don't know that I'm also a breast cancer survivor.  I was diagnosed 4 years ago.  So, I'm on my way to the 5 year mark!

With this being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I was seeing pink ribbons show up in different places and when one of my all time favorite chocolate stores  (Zak's Chocolates) sent me an email saying they were making these special pink ribbon clad chocolates all month long, I decided I needed to get some.  Not only were they selling these specially made raspberry & rose truffles, they were also donating 100% of the proceeds to a charity called The Joy Bus who provide chef prepared meals for home-bound cancer patients.  How could I not participate in a deal like that!  So I bought some and then I bought some of their other chocolates to go with them.  It's all for a good cause, right?

If you live in this area, go get some.  You won't regret it!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Beef Eaters

In the pavement before the entrance a local bookstore, not many people notice the words Beef Eaters inlaid in the stone.  This building used to be the home to a restaurant called Beef Eaters and it was a place I dined several times many, many years ago.  When I first moved to Phoenix I went to work for the Continental Bank (long gone) and the chairman of that bank used to hold all the bank's special events and celebrations here.  It was one of those dark wood paneled, leather booth kind of places that specialized in prime rib.  You might say it was very masculine, the perfect place for a bunch of bankers.

The man who owned the restaurant, Jay Newton retired in 2001 and the property was eventually sold.  The people who bought it did some expansion and now the property is home to the Changing Hands Book Store, First Draft bar (inside the book store), Southern Rail restaurant and the Southwest Garden center.  It's a great mixed use complex that has become very popular.

It's all new now but, every time I go to the book store, I look down to see if the Beef Eaters sign is still there.