Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chihully at the Desert Botanical Gardens

In December the Desert Botanical Garden does Noches dos lumanarios. That by itself is very cool. They have many of the paths lined with lumanarios, lit by lots of volunteers. Throughout the gardens they have different musical artists playing and singing. It's all very nice. You can even choose to buy dinner there if you want.

This year is even more special though. The famous glass artist, Chihully, has done an installation throughout the garden. His pieces are fantastic. The glass will be there through May, but it is only now that they have them illuminated at night. I bought a ticket to see them during the day also, because I thought I wouldn't be able to see them very well at night. Boy was I wrong! Not only are the fabulously lit, but they are so dramatic and vibrant at night!
Cindy went with me and we had a delightful evening. It was a mild night, full moon and a beautiful place. Enjoy the photos! And make plans to go see the glass yourself. You won't regret it.
(Only the last one is lit from inside. It's neon tubes. The rest are lit with spotlights, even though they look like they are glowing. cool.)

Hiking with Penny

The day after Thanksgiving, Penny and I went on a hike in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. We took a route that Cindy and I had done once before. It's close to 3 miles and took us a couple of hours. It has some pretty good ups and downs. It was a beautiful day. It had rained the day before and the air was crisp. In the photos it looks smoggy downtown, but it was more foggy/misty actually. We saw quite a few people out with the same idea. We even passed one group of 20 that were hiking with some of the Phoenix park rangers. Penny said she had never been hiking before and had a quite a bit of commentary to make about hiking. It was kind of funny. She walks a lot, but wasn't used to the uneven path and ups and downs. Here are the photos! Enjoy! We are taking a big hike the Monday after Christmas for anyone who wants to join us.

This Fish hook barrell cactus was pretty cool. Talk about making the best of a tough situation. I think this would make a neat cover on a card.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Phoenix Mountain Preserve

Cynthia and I have been going on some hikes through the Phoenix Mountain Preserve lately. She is able to go a lot more often than I and has developed some pretty good stamina and endurance. I usually can go once a week. It's been delightful though. Neither of us had ever really taken advantage of this great resource before and weren't aware of all that was available to us, so close! There are well maintained trails, lots of them. There are beautiful views of the city and mountains. And sometimes you can get around a corner or over a hill and not even know there is a city in the vicinity. It's pretty cool and I feel grateful to my city for preserving these areas for us. I think they really are a treasure and am glad to have finally "discovered" them!

Christmas Getting to Know you

Lezlee tagged me for a "getting to know you" quiz and I hadn't gotten around to doing it yet. And now I have this Christmas version from Joyce. I thought it might be fun to do the Christmas version one here! So here goes:

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. Okay, here's
what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy (not forward) this entire email and paste into a new e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you......Tis the Season to be NICE!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I like both!

2. Real tree or Artificial? I own a small artificial one, but I really like real ones and have been contemplating several times about whether I should get one this year. Of course I no longer own a tree stand.....

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually as immeadiately after Thanksgiving as I can manage.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometimes the day after, but at least by New Years.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I'm not sure...I remeber a chemistry set I really liked and we had a creepy crawler baker (It made rubber bugs) I really liked.

7. Hardest person to buy for? The Adams and my friend Geoff.

8. Easiest person to buy for? My sisters

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't think I want to go there...

12. Favorite Christmas Movie(s)? It's a Wonderful Life, The Santa Claus

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Middle of the summer, often

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not so far

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Everything! Fruitcake, Gingerbread

16. Lights on the tree? Yes

17. Favorite Christmas song? I have a huge collection of Christmas music. I love it. Some of my favorite CD's are the New Yo Yo Ma Christmas Album, Now That's What I Call Christmas Vol. 3,

December by George Winston.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home, although I did have one very memorable Christmas at the Grand Canyon with my friend Robin.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen...and don't forget Rudolph!

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? It depends. I like Christmas morning, but it depends on what is going on with people's schedules. This year I work Christmas and so we will get together on Christmas eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? I love this time! I get ready early on and so I don't generally find it stressful. It's the day before Thanksgiving and I have already mailed all the packages that need to go out but one. I've got most of my shopping done. So now I just get to enjoy the season! Love it! My only issue is that there are too many events and things I want to do. I can't fit them all in.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like the memories that go with the ornaments I have. There might be a slight them of Childhood, Candy, toys...

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I like variety, but we usually have turkey or ham.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Not sure, I am enjoying letting myself cook even though I can' eat it. I am enjoying some novelty cake pans. Maybe some cake decorating tools. Clothes are kinda fun now that I've lost so much weight.

26. Who's is most likely to respond to this? Cathy?

27. Who is least likely to respond to this? Hopefully everyone will respond! Either via email or on their blog!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Son of Rambow

I saw another interesting little movie tonight, Son of Rambow. I got it through Netflix. It had gotten really good reviews. It was a fun movie and I especially liked the ending. Recommended. Four stars out of 5!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sunnyslope, Sweet Sunnyslope

I grew up in Sunnyslope, a neighborhood area here in Phoenix. I went to 8 years of grade school at Desert View Elementary and then 4 years of High School at Sunnyslope High School. This past year I helped put together a reunion of my grade school classmates. Since that reconnection, I have had more contact with some friends from that time and made new friends with folks I didn't know as well. It has rekindled a lot of memories as we share memories. SO...when I saw in the newspaper that the Sunnyslope Historical Society was having a home tour this weekend, I decided I had to go. I didn't even know Sunnyslope had a historical society.

I had the best time. First of all, the folks at the Historical Society, were really nice. They have a museum with several displays. They have a display with things from the high school, old photos showing businesses in the area that were there when I grew up and an Ariel photo of Sunnyslope. They were very excited to here that I had grown up there and are very eager to add to their collection of things. They especially want photos of Sunnyslope that would show landmarks and things that people would recognize. I'm going to bring in my scrapbooks. I have almost all of the little newspapers from my high school, ribbons and things from football games etc. I'm not sure what they would want, but I would love to give that stuff a good home, because I'm not sure what else I would do with it. I told them I would spread the word to my former classmates and maybe they would have stuff to donate too. They said the next time we have an event to let them know, that they would like to have us there for a reception. They could have a display up from our school and we could visit and look at the displays. Very kind of them! Their phone number is on the brochure in the photo if anyone wants to call them!

Then we went on the home tour. They put us in vans that held about 12 people and drove us to the 5 homes. The first home was a block or two from my friend Bonnie's house, near Northern and 12Th St. It was a ranch style home that was built in 1958 for around 17,000. In recent years the guy who bought it updated it and modernized it. He put an I beam across the front of the carport, sided the storage area in rusted metal and sandblasted the paint off the house so it was exposed block. Inside there are stone and concrete floors, gas fireplace, Ikea cabinets, frosted glass doors, etc. It was very nice. It's for sale for 348,000$. That's it's economic downturn price. It was over 400,000. The next house was on the Northeast corner of Northern and 7Th st. I remember this house from when I was growing up. It was built in 1928 and used to be surrounded by a citrus orchard. The couple who owned it, designed it while on their honeymoon. The husband was an electrical engineer (back then!) and his wife was an art teacher. The lady who owns it now, was a student of the wife. It was built of adobe bricks made from the dirt excavated from the cellar. Yes it has a cellar! It still has original oak floors, metal light fixtures, stair railing and doors. The doors are really cool. They somehow got a design put on the wood and protected that part of the door. Then sandblasted around the design. They are really cool, sort of Moorish looking. It was cool to see this house after going by it all the time when I was a kid. It now has an apartment complex built around it where the orchard was. When the family sold the property they made a stipulation that the house couldn't be torn down. And it's classified as historical, so very few things can be changed.
The next house was just down the street, 300 E. Northern. I remember this grand house from my childhood too. It also used to have orchards behind it. It now has town homes. It was also built in 1928. The current owners have done some changing and updating. It is a large and gracious home.

I like the tile they put around the stairs. The risers are still wood.

Amazing master bath! They have a chandelier over the claw foot tub. The chandelier used to be downstairs over the dining table.

Then our next house was on the lower slopes of the "S" mountain. I had toured this house before, shortly after it was built on the AIA home tour. It was built by architect Christine Woolsey. Her clients wanted a modern home that took advantage of the views from the lot, but that was built within a pretty tight budget. The entire front facade of the house is glass. It is one open box that steps up the side of the hill. Inside are "boxes" that help define the space. It's really a pretty cool house.

You can see up and through the back of the house.

The final home was also a contemporary home. It's at the end of Central, through the tunnel, into the gated community there. It is just across the street from another home I have previously toured on an AIA tour. I really liked the livability of this house. It is very indoor/outdoor. It has a fabulous front courtyard/pool/fireplace area. And a minimalist kitchen that looked right at the side of the cliff.

Amazing organized closet in the master suite too.

What a totally fun day!