Sunday, December 31, 2023

My Favorite Event of 2023


I thought I'd end the year with scenes from my favorite event of 2023.  That of course, was my trip to London last October.  It was my first trip out of the country since we were all locked up by the pandemic.

London is my favorite city to travel to and it didn't disappoint. The weather turned out to be nice, not too frigid for my sun-drenched bones and less rain than predicted.  In fact, as you can see from these photos, there were days of glorious sunshine.  

I'm already planning another trip!

I decided to activate my Sharon's Sojourns blog once again.  I paused it at the end of April because I felt like I had started repeating things.  It had just been too long since I had traveled anywhere distant.  I've decided to post a series from my recent trip to London and tell a few stories about the places I visited and the things I did.  If you are interested, stop by.  It will be a sort of diary of places I visited with a spattering of bits of the history I've learned.  There is so very much history to explore in the great city of London.  My first post is up and it's about why I chose the hotel where I stayed on this trip.  You might say, the place was calling to me.  

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Polar Bear Land


Remember that former neighbor who puts out all those skeletons as Halloween decorations each year?  I drove by his house last week and saw this very attractive holiday display.  I love all those cute polar bear cubs and a proud mama looking on.  

I've always wondered how he stores all those skeletons.  Now I see that there is a lot more decorations that need to be stored.  He must have a huge storage facility somewhere.  

Friday, December 29, 2023

In Search of Colorful Trees


We've reached the time of year when the trees that will lose their leaves start that shedding process.  I took a drive to see if I could find any colorful ones worth photographing.  This one with the reddish leaves was putting on quite a show.

These two were attracting my attention with the sun making them glow with color.  

I went looking for colorful trees and I found quite a few.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Short Walk, Quick Focus


I went for a walk at the Desert Botanical Garden and it turned out to be a very short walk.  The garden was simply too busy.  I did manage to get two wildlife photos which I assure you was not easy.  The wildlife seem to stay well hidden when there are so many people about.  I spotted this rabbit some distance away and used the telephoto to zoom in on him.  I clicked off three shots when a woman behind me yelled loudly "oh look over here, a rabbit".  The rabbit immediately turned an ran.  I am always surprised when I encounter people who don't seem to realize that watching animals in the wild requires silence and patience.  

The cascalote tree that shades a spot where I like to sit is in full bloom right now.  I snapped a couple of photos of the blooms when I saw the tiny little verdin feeding on flowers.  Verdin are so quick, I rarely get a decent photo.  This one isn't too bad even though the bird is facing away.

Here is another shot of the blooms.  I didn't know I captured a bee in this shot until it was downloaded.  Do bees count as wildlife?  If so, then maybe I got three wildlife shots.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Cloud Illusions


One day last week I stopped at the Biltmore Fashion Park shopping center and when I parked my car I noticed the clouds being reflected in the windows of the office building across the street.  I strolled over in that direction to take a photo while Joni Mitchell's voice was playing in my head.  I think I see some "feather canyons" in there.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Glowing Mountain


It rained all day long on Friday which is unusual for the desert.  Then on Saturday it was still overcast most of the day.  As evening arrived, I was headed to my friend's house when the setting sun made an appearance below all the clouds.  The sun put out just enough light to make Camelback Mountain glow.  I just had to stop for a quick photo.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays


Here's wishing all of you a joyous holiday.  

I found this amazing candle display at that restaurant I mentioned in Saturday's post.  I hope you all are amazed at something on this day!

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Up on the Housetop, Click, Click, Click


I spotted this fellow high up on the roof of a building and I immediately thought of that old song about Santa Clause and his reindeer landing on the roof of homes to deliver all those presents to good little girls and boys.

I'm pretty sure the lyrics "click, click, click" are referring to the reindeer hooves on the roof.  However, in this case that click, click, click was me taking photos of the jolly fellow.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

More Holiday Sightings


Here are a few more holiday sightings from around my neighborhood.  The lions in front of Capital Grill are dressed for the season.  

I had dinner with friends last week at the new restaurant at the Wrigley Mansion.  This was my view from where I was seated.  The glow of sunset was an added treat.

As we left the restaurant, I saw this holiday tree decorating the front of the mansion.  It looked like all the branches on one side had been trimmed off so the tree fit snuggly up against that wall.  I don't think I've ever seen that done before.  

Friday, December 22, 2023

Christmas Wreath with Citrus


There were lots of pretty wreaths in various locations at the Desert Botanical Garden but, this one was my favorite.  It manages to insert a little Arizona citrus into the holiday decor.  

I'd be tempted to put this one on my door!

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Three More Garden Trees


These two trees have a more traditional look to them.  In fact, they look like a tree you  might see in someone's home.  Since these were real pine trees, they sent up that wonderful pine-tree scent.  I love that smell.

Around the corner from the two trees above, is this brilliant poinsettia tree.  Creating a poinsettia tree for this spot has become a tradition at the garden.  It adds a gorgeous splash of color to this little corner of the garden.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A Bromeliad Tree


This is the holiday tree that greets guests at the entrance to the Desert Botanical Garden.  This one is made up of lots of bromeliads with a few ornaments scattered about.  It's another beautiful creation to admire and enjoy.  I saw lots of people posing with this one for holiday photos.  

This one has a more tropical look to it than the one I featured last Sunday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Two Artistic Holiday Trees


While I was in Scottsdale last weekend, I stopped at AZ 88 to see how they have decorated for the holiday season.  They always have something unique to showcase the season.  

This is the 2023 holiday tree.  I was surprised that it was taking up so much space inside the restaurant.  They could get at least four more tables in the space that large tree was taking up.

The frame of the tree is made of plywood with flat areas where what appears to be ceramic mushroom gardens sit.  There was also a LED light shining on it but since I was there in the daytime, it's hard to see that.

It's quite unusual which you might say is normal for AZ 88. 

I'm adding a photo I took earlier in the month at AZ 88's sister restaurant in downtown Phoenix, Hanny's.

That restaurant also creates unusual holiday decorations.  This one is made of acrylic rods beautifully stacked to shape the tree.  It's lighted from inside with series of colors undulating through it.

Monday, December 18, 2023

The Desert's Garden


This last weekend, I discovered the new mosaic mural at the Scottsdale Civic Center.  It was created by Tammi Lynch-Forrest and it's called The Desert's Garden.  She created all the tiles and installed them in front of Scottsdale's City Hall herself. The mural depicts all the flora and fauna found in and around Scottsdale.  As you can see, it's quite large spanning a length of 40 feet and framing the fountain in front of city hall.  It's a beautiful addition to the freshly renovated civic center park area.  

Taking part in Monday Murals.  

Sunday, December 17, 2023

The Holidays at the Garden


The Desert Botanical Garden had several Christmas trees placed in different places around the garden however, this one was my favorite.

This one is composed of lots of succulents, cactus and bromeliads along with some colorful ornaments.  It's a beautiful and festive work of living art.  

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Holiday Tables


I love seeing all the holiday decorations this time of year.  This was the table decoration on Thanksgiving at the friend's house where I enjoyed a wonderful meal and lots of laughter.

Last night I was at my friend Glenda's house for a light dinner and great conversation.  She had this pretty decoration on her table.  Things are looking seasonally festive wherever I go.  

Friday, December 15, 2023

Brilliant Sunset


I noticed a red glow coming through my windows so I went outside to see what was happening.  The clouds that had been hanging around all day were glowing in the southwestern sky as sun was setting.

In the opposite direction looking north, the sky was looking very rosy.  I love a colorful sunset and this one fits that description perfectly.  

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Silhouette Art


I saw these two silhouette style art pieces on the wall at the entrance to a building.  It's not the kind of art I'm used to seeing in a commercial setting so it caught my eye.

Not only are the two panels done in silhouette style but, the lighting on them casts shadows behind each one.  It creates an interesting effect.  

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Two Cars, Different Countries


I saw this Rolls Royce recently parked in an office complex near me.  It took me a while to figure out it was a Rolls.  It doesn't look like other models I've seen around town.

Then I saw this photo that I took while I was in London.  This isn't a Rolls Royce but it certainly is similar in shape and size.  This is a new electric London taxi called an LEVC TX.  I like it! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Silly iPhone Photos


It's time to unload some more random iPhone photos.  This sign gave me an uncomfortable feeling.  Something about it just didn't seem right.  Why are those abstract runners heading in the opposite direction of the arrows.  I finally figured it out.  The runners are the trademark for a fitness center located on the back side of the shopping center. The arrows are pointing toward the center.  

I mentioned a few months ago that the office where I work has been undergoing some remodeling.  Consequently, I only go into the office once or twice a week.  When I do go in, this is the space where I land.  Look at how narrow that desk is.  It's probably an age thing, but I could certainly use a little more space.

Here is some political graffiti that a friend texted to me.  Great name for this group.

I saw these unusual tissue boxes on an office window recently.  Apparently the manufacturer of this brand of tissue has a good sense of humor.

Monday, December 11, 2023

One Man's Arizona


I found this mural just this last weekend and I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't stopped to buy a cookie.  It's located behind a row of businesses one of which is a bakery.  The artist's signature is easy to see on this one.  

About that cookie, the bakery quit making the one I wanted to get.  It was a chocolate, peppermint crinkle cookie.  They used to make them during the holidays but no more.  I guess I'll have to find a recipe and make them myself.  

Taking part in Monday Murals.  

Sunday, December 10, 2023

A Surprise Bloom


I took a walk at the Desert Botanical Garden and was totally surprised see a red torch cactus with a bloom on it.  This cactus usually blooms in the spring so this is quite unexpected.  But, very welcome.  

I wonder if this cactus was inspired by all the holiday decorations at the garden.  

There were more than the usual decorations all around the garden when I was there so that means, I'll have lots of holiday photos to share in the days to come.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Before and After


I took this photo on November 16th in the lobby of the building where my chiropractor's office is located.  I could see that they were getting ready to decorate the tree for the holiday season.  It was looking a bit bare at that moment.

Here's how it looked on Thursday when I was there.  They did a good job.  It looks very festive now.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Reclaimed & Reformed


There is a contemporary art exhibit at the Heard Museum that has been on view all year but I've never featured it before.  That is because it didn't seem that the photos of the pieces were as impactful as seeing them in person.  

However, I love the idea of what the artist does so I decided I'd show you a few of her pieces.  The artist is Brenda Mallory and she uses reclaimed objects to create her art.  She says "The idea that an object has more than one use, more than one life in it, is what appeals to me."  I love that idea.

The piece at the top is called Biophilla: Emergent Properties and it's made from waxed cloth, wires and nuts and bolts.

To the right is a piece called Presession and is made of ceramic.  

This one has an interesting name, it's called Demeter Does the Math (and Cries).  This one is also made from waxed cloth and wire.

This last piece has a great name.  It's called Recurring Chapters in the Book of Inevitable Outcomes.  This one is also made from waxed cloth along with wire.  

I love the idea of making something new from things that would otherwise be discarded.