Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020

It's been a year that will not be missed by anyone.  The pain that this last year has cast upon us has touched every corner of our planet, some places more so than others.  I realize that we will be carrying the baggage of this world-wide health crisis into 2021 but, at least there is hope on the horizon.  I hope the vaccines that have become available will help to reduce fatalities and move us to a place where this disease can be controlled.  

For us here in the United States, we are hoping for a smooth transition to a new presidency.  But that change too will carry some heavy baggage with it.  Half of our country seems to have descended into some sort of madness where reality does not exist.  It's one thing to have divergent political views.  It's entirely something different to follow a notorious lier over the cliff and into an abyss of conspiracy theories and destruction.

I for one have my fingers crossed the 2021 will be full of hope and health.  I wish you all a very Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Just Looking

Yesterday I mentioned walking at the garden.  It turns out, I didn't stay there very long.  It was much busier than I expected and I noticed large groups of people walking together and most of them not understanding the concept of sharing the path.  Under normal circumstances I would have excused myself to get past but with the dreaded virus running rampant again, I found myself standing around waiting for people to move out of the way.  I finally decided to leave.  I still wanted to walk some more so I drove to downtown Scottsdale and took a walk along Main Street.  There were hardly any people walking the street there.  So I started admiring all the pretty things in the shop windows.  Like this cute piece of pottery.  I love the grasshopper just above the young girl's head.

These glass bowls were something different.  

This piece of Native American pottery was extremely appealing.  It must have taken a lot of skill to create that pueblo scene.

I found some humorous things to go with the pretty things.  This cowboy-Santa group made me smile.  I especially like Rudolph standing there between Mr & Mrs Claus.  


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Poinsettias, Roses and Something New


I took another walk at the Desert Botanical Garden last Sunday and I couldn't resist a close up of the bright red poinsettias scattered all around the garden.  

A little later, the rose bushes caught my eye.  They didn't have a lot of blooms but this one that is called Violet's Pride, had two nice looking blooms that I found very appealing.  

After admiring the roses, I found this new plant that was growing a large pot.  The sign named it "Vermillionaire".  I had never heard that name before.  I've seen something similar called a firecracker plant.  But I must say vermillionaire sounds way more elegant.  

Monday, December 28, 2020

Amelia Earhart


There is a new sculpture in front of one of my favorite galleries in Scottsdale.  This time it's Amelia Earhart taking a rest on that park bench.  The last person I photographed here was Albert Einstein and before him it was Mark Twain.  Sculptor Gary Lee Price does an amazing job bringing these people to life.  

I love the quote that is printed on the bench.  "Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless?  Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?"

Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Very Quick Stop


Yesterday I mentioned the band playing at Biltmore Fashion Park when I stopped to pick up something at Williams-Sonoma.  What I didn't mention was that the store didn't have what I wanted.  So I had to make a trip to Scottsdale Fashion Square, a shopping center that I had not been inside since February.  

I wasn't excited about going inside an enclosed mall so I made a strategic plan.  I'd make my way to the store, the shortest way possible.  That way was a quick walk through Nordstroms.  That's where I saw these holiday decorations.  I stopped long enough to snap a couple of iPhone photos.

After snapping the photos, I made my way to the store, made my purchase and then exited as quickly as I could.  

Life has certainly changed drastically!  At least the stores are still open.  There are many places around the world where that is not the case. 

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I had a great apartment when I worked in Chicago.  Take a look.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

A Surprise Party


Early last week, I needed to pick something up at the local Williams-Sonoma store at Biltmore Fashion Park.  I parked my car in the parking lot and noticed there were a few more cars than I've seen here lately but, that made sense.  We were days away from Christmas.

As I rounded the corner toward the store I heard music playing and then I saw this crowd of people all gathered at the center of the mall.

I spotted that fellow with the blue shirt and his dog who was wearing reindeer antlers and from a safe distance, I asked if I could take a photo of his handsome, four-legged friend.  I was hoping to get those great antlers but this fellow was so happy for the attention, he struggled to sit still.  Isn't he cute?

It's been so long since I've seen a musical group performing, I had to snap a photo.

I also snapped a photo of the annual poinsettia tree that was nearby.

The people had spaced themselves so they weren't close together and most of them were wearing masks. They were clearly taking advantage of this rare occasion.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!!


Merry Christmas one and all!

I hope everyone is having a great Christmas in spite of all the restrictions.  Here's hoping Christmas next year will be one we can celebrate in style!

The Christmas tree at the Desert Botanical Garden this year.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Remembering a Christmas Eve of the Past


I found this old photo of me and my sisters on Christmas Eve a very long time ago.  Mother had made us each those Christmas tree skirts and Dad wired them with real lights powered by a battery hidden in the pocket.

That is my sister Judy standing on the left and my sister Pam in the middle and me on the right.

We always spent Christmas Eve at our grandparents house and that is where this photo was taken.  I can even tell you what we had to eat because grandma always made the same thing for Christmas Eve, her version of sloppy joes.  

My sister Pam texted me a few days ago asking if I remembered those skirts.  So I dug around in the photo box a found this photo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Decoration Destination


Yesterday I mentioned this place that goes all out for Christmas decorations.  I hadn't been by this house for several years so I wondered if it was still there drawing crowds.  Indeed it was.

This place has so many lights that it's hard to know where to point the camera (or in this case, the iPhone).  As you can see from these photos, there were a lot of people there to take in the scene.

You can see that even the front window is full of Christmas decorations.  I think the last time I visited this place was at least 10 years ago and I remember walking through the house at that time.  I'm sure that isn't an option this virus-filled year.  

I can't even imagine going to all this trouble to decorate but it looks like these people have been doing it for a very long time.  I wonder where they store all this stuff for the other 11 months in the year.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Holiday Decorations Detour


When I drove home from the botanical garden last Thursday night, I decided to take a little detour and see if I could find some colorful Christmas decorations.  This one was looking very cheerful with the candy-cane lights lining the sidewalk.

This one has quite a lot of lights all over the front yard area.  The NOEL is looking a tiny bit askew.  Maybe those deer gave the letters a bump.  I picked the neighborhood because I knew of a house that always goes all out for the season.  I hadn't been by there in years so I wasn't sure if they still went to all that trouble.  They do!  Tomorrow I'll show you that place.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Candy Wrapper Sun

My Art Challenge group met last Friday evening (via Zoom of course) to share the results of our December challenge.  The subject was "The Sun" and once again, there was a huge variety of art works depicting the sun.  This is my entry.  I painted a blue sky background and then created a sun made from candy wrappers I had saved.  Several months ago, I bought a packet of Dove candies filled with soft caramel.  I thought the wrappers were so pretty, I saved them thinking I might be able to use them in some sort of art project.  This was the perfect one.

Our club never used to meet during the winter months because that is when everything happens here in Arizona.  All the big charity and sporting events happen between December and March making those months so busy, it's hard to find meeting times that meet everyone's schedules.  We usually only meet May through October.  That has all changed this year for the obvious reasons.  So we are continuing on.  After all, it gives us something to do during this stay-at-home year.  Our January challenge will be "Kite".  I'll have to give that some thought.  


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Christmas Spirit All Around


Here is that same Desert Botanical Garden Christmas wreath that I posted a few days ago only this time at night.  It looks pretty both day and night.  

The garden had colored lights shining on many of the  cactus.  This time on the cardon cactus, the tallest in the garden.  

I loved the butterflies projected on a big tree.  This was located near where the butterfly pavilion is located so it was a perfect addition to the winter lights.  The butterflies swirled around this tree looking for a place to land. 

All the buildings at the garden had luminaries all around the roof line.  In past years, this is where they would put the poinsettia tree but this year they did the three red trees and placed them on the little entertainment stage.  I pictured those poinsettia trees yesterday.  

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm reminiscing over a sweet personal memory.  

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Christmas in the Garden


I went to the Desert Botanical Garden Thursday evening for their annual Los Noches de Las Luminarias Event.  It goes on every night in December with the garden trails all lined with the traditional luminaries and a few food and beverage stations scattered around the garden.  

Even though reservations were required and timed, there still seemed like quite a lot of people there.  Not as many as in years past but still enough that I decided not to have any food or drinks because I just didn't want to remove my mask.  I just walked around the different trails and enjoyed the lights.

In one spot they had this little photo scene set up for people who wanted to pose for a photo.

Up in the area where they usually have entertainers, they had these three brilliant poinsettia trees.  People were posing with these too.  I just admired how bright they looked with the spotlights shining on them.

I have a few more photos to share.

Friday, December 18, 2020

More Holiday Decorations


Here are a few more photos of the decorations at the Desert Botanical Garden.  These flowers are in the fountain at the entrance to the garden.  

These pillars are located all over the garden.  They are topped with a variety of holiday plants.

And of course, there are poinsettias every where you look.

There is also a tall Christmas tree.  It is located where they always put the tree.  I photographed  it framed by nearby cactus.  

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Positioning Nature's Plants


Sometimes I see plants as artistic objects that I can photograph in a way that makes them look different from their normal viewpoint.  When I saw this prickly pear cactus in front of the fanned out branches of an aloe plant, I thought it made a great frame for the cactus.

I like this pot full of small plants.  I'm not sure what they are but they looked great all clustered together in that pot.

I took the photo above at the Desert Botanical Garden back when those plastic animals were still on display.  I used one of the giant yellow snails as a background for the prickly pear cactus.

The photo to the left was taken in Scottsdale.  I just liked the way the vine-like plant was climbing up that decorative concrete wall.

I enjoy looking at nature from a different point of view.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Time to Rake the Leaves


We have finally reached the stage where our trees that shed their leaves start doing exactly that. 

I don't see many trees that get a red tint here in the desert so I had to stop and take a photo of these three that appear to be turning a nice ruby shade.  

I also hardly ever see anyone raking leaves here.  Instead they use those noisy leaf-blowers that are so annoying.  

When I was growing up in Illinois, raking the leaves was a fall chore that I enjoyed.  Many of our neighbors would rake them into piles by the street and then burn them. My dad hated the smell of the smoke so we didn't participate in the burning part.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Little Christmas Flourish


I don't put up a tree at home any longer but I do add a few Christmas decorations around the house to enhance the holidays.

I have my little lighted Christmas tree.  It looks great when all the lights are off.

I have a copper bowl that sits on my coffee table that is usually full of colored glass chips.  I've filled it with a variety of Christmas ornaments. The sun was shining through the window right on the bowl when I took this shot.

This is one set of glass trees that I have acquired over the years.  I put these on the bookcase in front of my "Waterfall" ladies photo.

I have a wreath on the door and my little Santa statue in the window.  I think I'm all set for this strange holiday season.  

Monday, December 14, 2020



I've had these photos of this mural in my files for a year or two now.  I was hoping I could find some information about it and the artist or artists involved.  But I've had no luck.  So it's time to post these photos anyway.  I located this mural in one of our older historic districts in south Phoenix.  It's a long mural and depicts portraits of a special people.  Unfortunately I don't recognize the person in this first section.

This second section features Mohammed Ali and Mother Theresa.

In this section we see Ghandi and Frida Kahlo.

In this last section is Cesar Chavez.  

Taking part in Monday Murals.