Friday, May 31, 2024

Just One Bloom


When I was at the garden last weekend, I noticed that the big toothpick cactus had only one bloom on it at the very top of the cactus.  This is one cactus that blooms all year long and I usually see two or three blooms at a time.  

The big surprise was finding this bloom.  This type of cactus usually is done blooming by this time of year.  However, this one managed one more bloom.  It was the only one of the big blooms that I saw and I'm glad I happened to walk down this particular trail to see it.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Last Garden Walk Before the Heat


I took another walk at the Desert Botanical Garden on Memorial Day and it might be the last one for a while.  Our heat has arrived and walking at the garden will slow down greatly.

I was impressed by this Desert Rose plant with all these blooms.  I've never seen so many on one plant and all at once.  This plant is certainly an overachiever.

It was truly a beautiful sight to see.  I'm glad I didn't miss it. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Look Who's Back


I thought I saw a robin in the courtyard last week so I took my camera and went down to see if I was right.  Sure enough, this fellow was hopping across the lawn and picking up pieces here and there.  This year he wasn't the least bit skittish.  I stopped about two yards from him to take some photos and he stayed put and even appeared to pose.

He must have thought that I looked pretty harmless.  It was great to see the robins back again.  I only saw one this time.  Maybe more will arrive when that tree starts dropping its seeds.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Arizona Restaurant Week


Last week was Arizona Restaurant Week.  It's a time when participating restaurants offer a special 3-course meal at a special price and they try out new recipes that aren't on the normal menu.  I only indulged in one restaurant this year but it was a winner.  It's a place called The Market by Jennifer and I hadn't been there in a long time so it was great to return.  My fantastic dinner started with Vanilla Shrimp with cauliflower puree, grilled corn and crispy fried shallots.  It was every bit as good as it looks.

My 2nd course was Pan-seared Salmon in a shiitake mushroom broth with caramelized shallots on a bed of sticky rice.  Another delicious dish.

I ended the meal with a Chocolate Italian Sweet Vermouth & Caramel tart with crushed pistachios and whipped cream.  It was a perfect ending.  

It was all so good, I wish I could do it all over again.  

Monday, May 27, 2024

Memorial Day


Today is Memorial Day here in the USA.  It's time to give thanks to all those serving our country in the military and of course to remember those we've lost.  

I should see lots of flags flying today when I'm out and about.  

Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Little Garden


I had lunch on Friday at a favorite spot that happens to have a little garden just outside the front door.  Guests always walk right past this garden to get to the  restaurant's entrance.  It was looking very lush on Friday so I stopped to take a few photos.

There is all kinds of things growing in this edible garden, I see Swiss Chard, mint, basil, thyme and a little sage.

This smallish artichoke caught my eye.  

These peppers were looking like they were ready to harvest.  

The one thing I didn't see were tomatoes.  I might have been temped to pick a tomato so it's probably a good thing there weren't any.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  You can see some famous London clocks.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Unusual Piece of Art


We all know that art comes in a vast variety of forms however, here is one that surprised me.  This is from my trip to Tucson and it was hanging in one of the galleries at the Tucson Museum of Art.  It's called "Everything in my Apartment, 2006" and the artist is Paho Mann.  Here is the description:

"One day in 2005, Paho Mann dismantled his Tempe apartment. Mann photographed everything he owned, each object in the same thumbprint size, a car key equal to a bra, a chili pepper equal to a book.  Then he arranged the photos into a grid and made a gigantic Inkjet print. In this manner, the artist speaks about the insignificance of things while also  commenting on how much 'stuff' we all accumulate."

Here's a close up of one tiny section of the piece.  

It's certainly a unique way to create art.  

Friday, May 24, 2024

Healthy Hibiscus


When I was at my friend Glenda's house last week, I noticed that her neighbor had one of the healthiest hibiscus bushes that I've ever seen.  Just look at all those blooms.  I don't think I've ever seen one with so many blooms all at once.  

There are several bushes on the property where I live but they usually have only one bloom at a time. Hibiscus blooms are certainly one of my favorite flowers.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

A Visit to SkySong


I was near the SkySong Innovation campus of Arizona State University last weekend so I decided to take a drive through the campus to see what has changed.  The growth here is amazing.  I posted a photo back in 2012 when those pretty sails were more visible than they are now. There are a lot more buildings here now.

There are buildings on all four corners of this central spot that is covered by those sails.

It's still a good place to take some interesting photos.  Those sails are very appealing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

At the Watering Hole


A few birds I enjoyed watching at the Desert Botanical Garden a week ago.  They were all enjoying the water in the Contemplation Garden.  It's a favorite spot for the birds to get a drink of water and sometimes have a quick bath. Above is a house finch.

This little lesser goldfinch stopped by.

A white-winged dove needed a little drink of water.

And, a Gambel's Quail took his turn.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Progress at the Mall


A little over a year ago, I posted some photos of the construction that was going on at Scottsdale Fashion Square.  They were doing a major remodel.

This spot is where an elevator was located.  The elevator was glass sided except for that decorative panel.

When I was there in September, the elevator had been removed and construction was still in progress.

I was there again this past weekend and construction is done.  This is the spot where that elevator used to be.

The mall now is filled with very, very high end shops.  I was walking down one row and it felt like I might be cruising Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  Many of the stores have guards at the door and they only allow a few people in at a time.  It's a whole new world of shopping that I find quite unusual.

Monday, May 20, 2024

A Woodpecker Tribute


I found another painted utility box this time paying tribute to the mighty woodpecker who I featured a few days ago.

Oh, there's a tiny hummingbird on there too.

I didn't see a signature for this one which is shame.  I really like it.  

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Arizona Handshake


When I was downtown last weekend, I spotted this public art piece in one of the entrances to the huge convention center.  It's called Arizona Handshake and was created by Steve Farley.  There were a lot more of these "handshakes" along the wall but I think you get the idea.  Farley describes it as an acknowledgment of the spirit of human connection.  

Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Sonoran Desert Trail


The last time I was at the Desert Botanical Garden, I took a walk on the Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Trail.  It's a longer trail that points how indigenous people lived and prospered in the desert.  The photos in this post are all from that trail.  Above is a plant growing in one of the historic demonstration garden spots. I liked the look of this plant but I'm not sure what it is.  It's probably some type of teasel or grass.

In this grassland area there are signs explaining how these grasses were used to weave baskets and other things.  I just like how it looks like I'm in a vast wilderness area.

Near the little pond there is a large patch of Yerba Mansa.  I love these unusual looking flowers.  I didn't see that little bug with the long, skinny legs until I downloaded the photos.  

All of the saguaro cacti are blooming right now.  There are lots of happy bees buzzing around all the blooms at the top of each one.

Even the crested saguaro has a few blooms on it.

Friday, May 17, 2024

The Mighty Woodpecker


I always hear a woodpecker before I see it.  It's either the rat-a-tat-tat of their pecking or their distinctive call that grabs my attention.  Last week at the Desert Botanical Garden it was the call that made me look up to see this one.  

I believe this is a female and she was sitting at the top of this saguaro skeleton and calling out to anyone who would listen.

I watched her for quite a while hoping to see another one stop by.  No such luck.  She finally flew off to another location.  I hope she found who she was looking for.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Road Monster


I saw this parked on a residential street over last weekend.  I had no idea what it was but a friend told me it was a Tesla Cybertruck.  It has to be one of the ugliest vehicles I've ever seen.  It's not only ugly, it's pretty expensive too.  I saw one listed for $169,000.  It looks like something out of a Star Wars movie. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Saying Goodbye to the Conductor


The reason I was in downtown Phoenix last Saturday was to attend a performance of the Phoenix Symphony.  They were playing Mahler's Symphony No. 2, a symphony I had never heard before.  My friend Riley said we should be prepared for a very long symphony with a lot of exuberance.  He was right.   To quote from the program:  "Mahler took an unusually expansive view of what a symphony could be, once declaring that the symphony 'is the world' and that it 'must embrace everything'." I don't think I had ever seen so many musicians on the stage before.

In addition to this great music, this was our conductor's last performance in Phoenix.  Tito Munoz has been the conductor of the Phoenix Symphony for 10 years and this was his last performance.

We attended a going-away party for Tito after the performance where the orchestra presented him with this great portrait as a parting gift.

Hopefully he will be back from time to time as a guest conductor.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Short Trip to Africa


I took a very short trip to Africa last Saturday evening.  There is a new restaurant in downtown Phoenix called Latha and my friends and I had dinner there Saturday evening.  I loved this wonderful map of the African continent in the entrance to the restaurant.

The food was outstanding.  I had a dish called a "Dayboat" which was composed of rice grits, pickled onions, roasted coconut chutney and the fish of the day which was grouper.  The sauce on this dish was phenomenal. 

My friend David had the Berbere Strip Steak served with cilantro and lime rice and topped with raisins.  David said it was great.

My friend Riley had something called Hypha Mushroom Criolla which was a vegetable stew.  Riley said it was simply delicious.  The waitress told us it was her favorite.  

In addition to these fantastic dishes, we each had some very tasty cocktails.  We all decided we would be making a return visit.

Monday, May 13, 2024

The Lady and the Rose


I recently saw this new mural along Indian School Road.  It faces the parking lot of a Circle K store so I pulled in to get a photo.  I couldn't decide if it was for the Circle K store, or the building it was painted on.  

I did a little research and discovered that "B" emblem is the trade mark for a place called The Bespoke Salon which happens to be inside the building this mural is painted on.  Mystery solved, it's for the salon.

The artist is Geremy Cites.  The mural has such a solemn look. 

Taking part in Monday Murals.