31 December 2009

Toasting the New Year - with sugar water!

Hummingbirds are so utterly amazing to watch! Not only are they beautiful (and so tiny) but they express themselves with true grit. I thought that five feeders would be plenty big as a selection but I'm only half right. All of the feeders attract visitors but some of the hummers prefer a certain feeder and they will wait patiently on a nearby branch if another hummer is feeding. They'll wait for a little while, that is. I've seen them waiting, waiting, and then simply fly directly at the feeding bird - squawking all the time - to run the other bird off. Then placidly they will take their place on the rim and sweetly sip at their own pace.


30 December 2009

Bristol Coffeebus - will it brew again?

This fun double-decker Bristol K bus has served coffee and scones in Tucson since 1997 (and was a tour bus in San Francisco long before that!). For years the bus had rented space in the Christian Faith Fellowship church's parking lot at Broadway & Wilmot but the coffeebus was forced to move in February when the church doubled their rent. The coffeebus reopened at Wilmot & 22nd Street but I noticed today that it has sadly closed (looks like last day of operation was December 18). It's for sale if you want to be the next Queen Mum of Coffee in Tucson.

29 December 2009

Secret Santa Saguaros ~

Christmas is over but Santa hasn't quite left the area yet... check out these enormous saguaros and their festive Santa hats!

28 December 2009

Magical Saguaro ~

I can assure you that the thorns on the mighty saguaro cactus are large and sharp. Anyone who can tangle with one and create this kind of beautiful display with a string of lights deserves big praise!

27 December 2009

Out with the old, in with the new ~

This windy sky created a beautiful cloud formation that seems fitting for the end of the year ~ stirring things up. Are you making any New Year's resolutions?

26 December 2009

"Hot Air Balloon Lands in Tucson Carport!"

While driving I noticed a bright yellow hot air balloon landing in what looked like a residential neighborhood. Was it crash landing? I followed its descent to the parking lot of a shopping mall where it landed and was deflated. Fascinating!

25 December 2009

Tucson's Christmas Angel ~ a buffalo

Maybe not a traditional angel but I think he's great ~ Fred the buffalo at Copper Country Antiques. He has all the requisite markings: white, wings, halo - and he even has little gold hooves! Enjoy! Merry Christmas, world!

24 December 2009

What to wear while waiting for Santa ~

I couldn't resist posting these "Mrs. Claus" outfits on Christmas Eve! The store is in the heart of downtown and you can see other storefronts and traffic reflected in the windows - kind of interesting (I hope!).

And here is a classic: Bing Crosby wishing you a white Christmas.... enjoy!

Bing Crosby’s Music Videos – Discover music, videos, concerts, & pictures at Last.fm

23 December 2009

Ahhhh.... now that's a Christmas tree!

A few days ago I posted a photo of the first phase of the decoration of the Arizona Inn's famous Christmas tree. Here you see it in all of its splendor - tall, lush, and sparkling! Merry Christmas!

22 December 2009

Definitely the weirdest rattlesnake I've ever seen ~

Here's another image from the dirt lot storefront I visited ~ a rattlesnake (price tag $45.00). Yes, the snake IS made out of river rocks and has some kind of metal electrical coil thing for its rattler. Definitely a conversation piece but doesn't it look like it's wearing a gas mask? Or is it just me?

21 December 2009

Still need a gift for that special someone?

One of the things I miss about NYC is the street vendors. Designer knockoff handbags, jewelry, scarves, toys... sooner or later you can find anything displayed on tables near subway entrances. Here in Tucson there is something similar - weird stuff for sale on the side of the road. Today I stopped to check out a dirt lot filled with metal sculpture. Here's a trio of mariachi band members assembled from scrap metal and rebar. They stand about 3' high. Just the thing for that person on your list who has everything...

20 December 2009

Ansel Adams & Tucson ~ a special bond

World renowned photographer, Ansel Adams, has a special bond with Tucson, AZ - the archives of his work are stored at the Center for Creative Photography here. Until February 14, 2010 the Tucson Museum of Art's exhibit, "Ansel Adams: A Legacy" is on display.


19 December 2009

Traditional, beautiful Christmas ~

This week I attended a business function at the Arizona Inn and I want to share the beauty of the meeting room. Every part of the room set up from the linens to the centerpieces to the evergreen accents combined to make the room sparkle. A very nice setting for a work meeting, indeed! http://www.arizonainn.com/

18 December 2009

Like no other gingerbread house ~

Sure to be one of the world's most memorable gingerbread houses ~ here's a miniature version of the charming Arizona Inn - an edible one! Every year this is displayed in the lobby and the details and characters and animals are charming!

17 December 2009

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas ~ Arizona Style

One of the most beautiful Christmas trees in Tucson is the lovely one that graces the Arizona Inn's library. Today the Inn staff was busy transforming the evergreen into an "ahhh" inspiring treat. The lights have been hung but the ornaments are still to come. Stay tuned! www.arizonainn.com/

16 December 2009

A Day for a Big Bark ~ it's my birthday!

It's a happy day today - my birthday! To celebrate I'm posting this cheerful image of an Arizona license plate I saw when I stopped for a light. Wufff! To everyone reading this post today: Happy day to you!

15 December 2009

Great Downtown Tucson Hangout ~

Ike's is downtown Tucson's answer to Starbucks. It offers all the specialty coffee drinks plus awesome fresh salads and huge sandwiches ~ made fresh on the premises. But hey... Ike's... please add SOUPS to your downtown menu like your Speedway location has! Downtown Ike's opens into the lobby of the former Pioneer Hotel (now an office building that houses, among others, Tucson Pima Arts Council). Check out the lobby's great retro armchairs!

Ike's Coffee & Tea
100 North Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ
(520) 792-1800‎

14 December 2009

Not your typical holiday lights ~

Here's a storage yard of lights - big ones! These portable lights are used on construction sites (think night time road work) and special events.

13 December 2009

Miles of aisles of holiday flowers ~

It's hard to believe that a home improvement store can offer "one stop shopping" for Christmas decorating but here you go... buy your tree, your holiday lights (indoor and outdoor), lawn decorations (twinkling reindeer, illuminated polar bears) and save room in the cart for poinsettia in red, white, and pink. Happy shopping! Happy decorating!

12 December 2009

Santa's Helper ~

Whether you have been naughty or nice, this cute candy cane striped dress is so fun! Flirty & festive. Happy holidays, Santa!

Hydra Leather & Moremaps.google.com
145 East Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701-1707
(520) 791-3711
Get directions

11 December 2009

Nutcracker Santa? Nutcracker Elf? You decide!

So today I spotted this interesting nutcracker standing guard near the elevators of the old Pioneer Hotel (now an office building). A lot is going on ~ he holds a paint brush and a hobby horse toy which makes me think he's one of Santa's toy-making elves. But he is wearing that distinctive Santa hat and has that white beard... Maybe he is Santa doing quality control?

10 December 2009

Christmas Cheer at the Checkout ~

Don't want to bother with setting up and decorating a big tree this year? You can have a mini lemon cypress tree that will fit perfectly on a tabletop for just $6.99. Or a cluster of poinsettia plants (red, pink, white) for just $7.99 each. Easy holiday decorating from the great Sunflower Market, one of Tucson's best supermarkets ~ organic foods, delicious prepared foods & more.

Sunflower Farmers Market
(520) 325-1320
Get directions

09 December 2009

A Peek ~ Gorgeous Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain

The official grand opening of the Ritz Carlton/Dove Mountain resort hotel is next week but here is a glimpse inside of one of the private dining rooms. These stunning light fixtures feature hanging strands of minerals - quartz and amber - that positively glow as they move.

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
15000 N Secret Springs Drive
Marana, AZ 85658
(520) 572-3000

08 December 2009

Music & Magic ~ Luminaria Nights in the Gardens

For the Tucson Botanical Gardens' Luminaria Nights not only were the grounds decorated with glowing candles and white lights, but also the night air was filled with live music. Local choral groups and musicians provided holiday tunes. Lots of Santa hats in evidence, too! Hot cider, cocoa, and cookies completed the evening. Yum!

07 December 2009

Tucson's Magical Garden ~ Beautiful!

Once a year the Tucson Botanical Gardens provides a truly memorable nighttime experience - Luminaria Nights. All of the winding paths are lighted with luminaria and the effect is... magical!

The talented Roxanna Baker greeted every visitor at the entrance with jolly holiday music played on her accordion.

And, by the way, the luminaria on the grounds are real ones (paper bags weighted with sand to hold a candle) not the horrible molded plastic bags with an electric light inside!

So many beautiful moments from this lovely evening – come back tomorrow for more photos!

06 December 2009

Purple Mountains, Pink Sky ~ Tucson Sunset

Tucson (and the Sonoran Desert in general) is famous for its sunsets and you can see why. For an interesting explanation about what makes our skies so gorgeous, click here:

05 December 2009

Why can't javelina mind their manners?

Back in November I posted a photo of the results of a javelina herd stomping around in my front yard. They ate & ran (leaving behind a prized pumpkin in their hurry to escape). Last night they visited again. The top photo shows what I saw when I opened my front door. They ate my big philodendron - leaves, stems, roots, and DIRT! And then they deposited the empty pot on my doormat.
They also uprooted ice plants, overturned asparagus fern, and they figured out how to open my sealed tub of bird seed. Look closely at the lower photo and you'll see TWO javelina (one is behind the tree). What a mess! And they left smudges of dirt on my front door ~ I guess they bumped into it with their noses.

04 December 2009

Upscale & Upstairs at La Encantada ~

Tucson's chic shopping center, La Encantada, offers a multi-level setting for a collection of upscale shops and a variety of restaurants. Tiffany, Brooks Brothers, L'Occitane... oh it's easy to melt down your credit cards here!


03 December 2009

The Ubiquitous Poinsettia ~

The Southwest has a lot of special decorating traditions for the holidays - stringing saguaro cactus with lights, hanging chili pepper wreaths on doors and chili pepper lights on the Christmas tree... And like every other community across the land, there is a display of poinsettia in every public place. The lovely La Encantada, one of Tucson's most upscale shopping areas, has placed pots of these red blooms everywhere - even in their fountains!

Did you know that the poinsettia has been associated with Christmas for 500 years?

La Encantada
www.laencantadashoppingcenter.com2905 East Skyline DriveTucson, AZ 85718-3097(520) 299-3556Get directions

02 December 2009

Mexican Red, Cherry Red, Santa Red ~

This is one of the Sensory Patios at the Tucson Botanical Gardens ~ areas that have been designed to stimulate all five senses with a theme. Notice the red chili peppers hanging between the rustic shutters. These lovely and serene spots invite a visitor to sit down, rest, and contemplate the beautiful surroundings.


01 December 2009

As Red as Rudolph's Nose!

This bright red classic beauty is part of the holiday display at a Tucson car dealer's lot. Check out the white wall tires! Grazing reindeer and twinkling evergreens complete this festive tableau. December ~ it will be gone in a flash!

30 November 2009

Tucson's Big Sky ~

We are having unusual weather - rain, cold temperatures, and...HAIL! A storm came in right before dawn and delivered a huge amount of rain along with that distinctive clicking clattering sound of ice pellets pummeling the roof. It was mostly gone by first light and this photo shows the storm quickly moving out of the area.

29 November 2009

Artistic Entryway with Personality ~

This charming residence is in Tucson's Sam Hughes neighborhood ~ an area honoring the man who helped develop a public education system in what was then known as the Arizona Territory. The Sam Hughes neighborhood is a charming and desirable area to live - many beautiful, historic homes and old growth trees.


28 November 2009

Recession? Not at Tucson's Target!

This Target store was jammed with cars, carts, & shoppers ~ no recession in sight. I don't have the fortitude to sleep in my car and charge into a store for the much-advertised specials. How is your holiday shopping shaping up? Did YOU venture out on Black Friday? Did you wear protective clothing??

In the background are the beautiful Catalina mountains.


26 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Tucson's Favorite Buffalo!

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that your day today is filled with friends, family, food, and fun. This is my favorite holiday ~ a day whose purpose is to recognize all of the things we can be thankful for in our lives.

Here's Fred, Tucson's favorite buffalo, dressed as a pilgrim! In fact, there is a whole Thanksgiving tableau on the roof right now - a ship, a pumpkin, a teepee, and a Native American watching the horizon. Winged Fred stands guard on the roof of Copper Country Antiques, a fun (huge!) antiques store with its own cafe.

25 November 2009

Can a scarecrow be sexy?

The artist(s) who created this scarecrow at the Tucson Botanical Gardens named her "Camencita" and she is a lovely lady with a skirt made from a Jack Gold potting mix bag, a head made from a California license plate, and hands made from garden trowels. And she has wings! And crazy spiral hair...

The "Scarecrows in the Garden" exhibit closes on November 30 so if you'd like to see the rest of this wonderful collection, you have just a few days left to get over there. For photos of other scarecrows in this exhibit, click on the label "Tucson Botanical Gardens."

24 November 2009

And let the feast season begin!

We have a year-round fundraising drive at our office where each department takes turns and provides food that co-workers can buy. The money all goes to a charity that we support. Today we kicked off the holiday season with a dessert sampler ~ yum! The homemade goodies consisted of peanut butter brownies, pumpkin cheesecake, sour cream chocolate Bundt cake, and spicy ginger squares. And did I mention whipped cream?

Some white holiday lights and spicy pumpkin-scented candles added a festive touch. The conference room looked and smelled WONDERFUL!