30 January 2010

Trompe L'oeil Loveseat ~

So - maybe at first glance this looks like a cozy spot for resting your feet after a hard day of shopping... but look again. These festive floral "cushions" aren't fabric - they are cement and tile! Yep, you will definitely NOT get to sink down into these cushions. Oh my aching back!


28 January 2010

Rest, contemplate, enjoy Tucson's sun ~

Rounding out the week of images, here's even more wonderful, colorful tile work to enjoy in St Philip's Plaza. This brick and tile bench is so festive. I'd love to have a bench like this on my patio at home!


Walking on fruits, flowers, fish & sunshine ~

Here's another view of the plaza. These gorgeous and colorful tiles transform an ordinary staircase into a fun walkway. Each stair riser is decorated with a different theme - flowers, fish, birds, fruits, stars & planets, and - on the top - the everpresent Tucson sun.

27 January 2010

Luscious planters with luscious plantings!

During our conference sessions' breaks we get to enjoy the lovely plaza that surrounds the hotel. Here are some of the gorgeous, brilliantly colored tile planters. Bright tile work is everywhere ~ planters, steps, benches, tables...


26 January 2010


Lucky me - this week I'm attending a conference at the lovely Windmill Inn. Here is an assortment of bicycles that are available for guests. The hotel is situated in beautiful St Philip's Plaza ~ a charming shopping area with several nice restaurants, courtyard fountains, and festive tile work.

25 January 2010

Cactus for Cleveland, Bobcat for Boise ~

The group of vendors who sell their wire & metal art in this gas station's parking lot tell me that most of their sales are to winter visitors who want to bring a bit of Arizona back with them. I suppose nothing suprises airport security - including a 4' long metal cut out of a bobcat.


24 January 2010

Snowy Succulent ~

I just love it when it snows here! The desert landscape is totally transformed and even the ubiquitous agave suddenly looks regal and mysterious. The agave is often referred to as a cactus but it's actually more closely related to the lily and amaryillis. And the heart of the blue agave is the source for... you guessed it.... tequila.


23 January 2010

Still life with Palm Trees and Snow ~

A fun fact about Tucson is that the northernmost mountain range (the Catalinas) contains the southernmost ski area in the United States - Mt Lemmon Ski Valley. Skiing hasn't started there yet for the season but maybe the ski runs will be open this weekend. Ah, Tucson - golf in the morning, ski in the afternoon!

22 January 2010

Tucson is missing its mountains ~

We're having some extraordinary weather right now. It is very windy and a low cloud cover has settled in over the Catalinas. The airport cancelled flights due to the high winds. There is a high wind warning and also a blizzard warning for Mt Lemmon. Snow for sure!


21 January 2010

Rainy sky but sunny news ~ Tucson's Solar Zone

It was a cloudy, cold and rainy morning but there was a shimmering rainbow right before the exciting announcement of the newest solar project in Tucson - the Solar Zone. It's a partnership among the UA Tech Park, Tucson Electric Power, Bell Independent Power Corp, and TREO.

To read more and for additional photos of the proposed project, click here:

and here:
Dais photo courtesy of Chance Agrella.

20 January 2010

Tucson canine with an attitude ~

Here's a great license plate ~ how's THAT for attitude? Lots of dog lovers in Tucson, for sure!

19 January 2010

Tucson Weather: Dark, Cloudy & Sunny ~

Because Tucson is surrounded by mountain ranges, the weather has its flukes - dark & rainy in one spot and bright & sunny very close by. Today - we had rain and sun. And as you can see by this photo, the weather had a split personality today!

18 January 2010

Road construction surprise ~

I ran into some unexpected road construction the other day and decided to make a quick turn through a residential neighborhood. When I saw this charming doorway and walled courtyard I just had to stop. In fact, I have decided to create a separate label for "Doorway/Entry" in these posts so that anyone can view them as a group. There are so many beautiful doorways all over town - not just in the Barrio Historico. Enjoy!

16 January 2010

Astounding! 25 cents is all you need ~

My workhorse of a washing machine konked out so I thought I would venture into that staple of modern American life - the laundromat. I had not stepped inside one since my college days so it was comforting to see that the concept is exactly the same: put coins in, load laundry & soap - voila - clean clothes. For drying, though, I was surprised to have the option of buying 8 minutes at a time for just a quarter.

15 January 2010

Science & Nature ~ Peace & Harmony

Here are more photos from yesterday's grand opening event at sanofi-aventis. The meditation garden includes a bronze "Cluster Model" and a "Medicine Maze" to represent the challenges that confront the facility's scientists every day in their research.

The peaceful space was designed by Rebecca Thompson. For more about this artist, go to: http://www.rebeccathompsonsculpture.com/

14 January 2010

Celebrating Bioscience in Tucson ~

Today the team at sanofi-aventis (no capital letters) held the grand opening/ribbon cutting of their beautiful new facility on Innovation Park Drive. To say this research & development building is "state of the art" doesn't even come close to describing it. The site was designed to combine the best in green technology (it is LEED certified) while integrating the building into the surrounding landscape and masking/minimizing much of the necessary industrial fittings from view. (The nearby community appreciates it!)

Public art was an important component of the site and today's posting highlights the 28' high steel century plant designed by Joe Tyler. The agave stalk's 100 leaves represent Arizona's 100 years of statehood (coming up in 2012) and the 15 blooms represent Arizona's 15 counties. It is solar powered ~ I bet it's gorgeous at night! For more on Joe Tyler, go to: http://www.artistic-vision.com/

To read more about sanofi, the site builder, and what LEED certification means, here are the links:http://www.sanofi-aventis.us/live/us/en/index.jsp

13 January 2010

Dr Volt's partner in crime ~ the Evil Queen

Here's the other side of the prison/tower that was posted yesterday. (Aren't these murals at Bookman's just fantastic?) As you know, the staff there has nicknames for all of the characters. Dr Volt is threatening Pip but it looks like she has even more problems. Making her own vile plan in the next room is the Evil Queen (a.k.a. Wendy according to staffers). Let's hope Hugh, the dragon slayer, arrives soon.

To see all the murals, click on the "Bookmans" label.

Bookman's is a true Tucson treasure - used & rare books, new books, wonderful collectibles, music and lots more.


12 January 2010

Tucson's Own Evil Wizard lives at Grant & Campbell ~

The fantasy murals that decorate the exterior east wall of Bookman's (Grant & Campbell) are so fun! Staffers have given all of the characters nicknames. Here the wizard (a.k.a. "Dr Volt") holds a lovely damsel prisoner. Her name? "PIP" (for "Pretty in Pink").

Bookman's is a great Tucson institution - used & new books, weird & wonderful collectible items, music & much more.

For the full range of these delightful murals, click on the label "Bookman's" at the bottom of this posting to see "Dragon Slayer," "Mr. Be-header," "Venus's Sister," and "Parthenon + "Pinto Bean."

11 January 2010

Beautiful Tucson Sunrise ~ or is it a Sunset?

We have been having some extraordinary weather! Here is a sunrise (yes, sunrise) that I hope you enjoy. In the last week the morning skies have been as vivid as our famous Tucson sunsets. But the brilliant colors are very very brief.

10 January 2010

Tucson's Favorite Chickens ~

The wonderful Community Food Bank started a community garden about 5 years ago. The chicken coop houses a few different types of chickens and the only ones I saw today were this pair ~ I think they are Rhode Island Reds but my knowledge of chickens is pretty limited! The eggs are sold at local farmer's markets.

For more info about the Food Bank, click here:

09 January 2010

If only everyone did this ~

Here's another piece of the great mural on the west wall of the Girl Scout headquarters building on Broadway. I particularly love the merit badges that form the border. Stretching along the wall's expanse is a ribbon that contains the Girl Scout promise and the Girl Scout Law. Here they are:

The Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try: To serve God* and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.
* The word "God" can be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on one's spiritual beliefs. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, it is okay to replace the word "God" with whatever word your spiritual beliefs dictate.

Seemingly simple words but they hold a lot of power. Millions of young girls pledging to "make the world a better place" is certainly inspiring.

Why do you think keeping such a simple pledge is so elusive?

08 January 2010

Thin Mints, anyone? Cookies on demand - wow!

When I was a Girl Scout we actually went door to door, rang the doorbells of strangers, and took cookie orders. Seems unbelievable nowadays! The newest thing to change in the way the Girl Scouts do business is that they have preordered thousands of boxes of cookies and you can simply... buy them! No preordering. No waiting. Cookies on demand kicks off tomorrow - Jan 9.

Mmmm... Thin Mints, Trefoils, Samoas, Tagalongs... so many yummy choices!

This photo is just a small portion of the great mural on the west wall of the Girl Scout headquarters on Broadway.


07 January 2010

Fierce Tiger on the Loose ~

We are definitely still in the Wild West if exotic tigers can roam free. We're not at the AZ Sonora Desert Museum and we're not at Reid Park Zoo. Where are we?

06 January 2010

Tuscany in Tucson ~

Don't you just want to sit on this patio with a glass of red wine? And enjoy some fabulous bread dipped in olive oil (pressed from the villa's own olives of course)? Well you could do that on your lunch hour if you worked here ~ it's a beautiful office complex on Tucson's east side.

05 January 2010

Typical Tucson Sunset ~ really!

These wispy orangey-pink clouds caught my eye as I was driving home today. Believe me, as common as beautiful sunsets are here in the Sonoran Desert, I never take them for granted. And for those of you who might want to learn about the science behind these spectacular displays, click this link to read what the experts at the AZ-Sonora Desert Museum say - very "enlightening" reading! Scroll down to "Left Over Light."

04 January 2010

Popular Tucson Shrine ~

Would you like to guess where this popular shrine is located? And - do you know who the statue depicts? Some clues: It is within the city limits and has no church affiliated with it.

03 January 2010

Tucson's Ghost Bikes

Around town there are a handful of ghostly white bicycles that mark the place where a bicyclist was killed. These poignant memorials are installed by the biking community to honor the rider as well as to create awareness of how vulnerable a bicyclist is competing with motorized vehicles. This particular ghost bike honors Jose Rincon who was killed by a drunk driver.

http://www.ghostbikes.org/ (The site was down when I tried to access it today.)

02 January 2010

This will challenge your thinking...

The start of a new year inspires and motivates many of us to do better, be better, live better. This photo of Tucson's first dawn in 2010 - a soft pink & purple masterpiece - brought a poem to mind that I hope you enjoy. The concept is extraordinary. The poet is Lisel Mueller.

Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.

I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.

Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate from the bridge it covers.

What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolves
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?

I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.

To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air and change our bones,
skin, clothes to gases.

Doctor, if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

01 January 2010

Wishing you a sweet, happy New Year!

Two of my wonderful girlfriends treated me today to a birthday tea at the lovely Chantilly Tea Room. And how sweet it was! What a way to end the year and start a new one. We enjoyed delicate pastries, fragrant hot teas, savory treats, and oh la la ~ our delicious scones were made even more scrumptious with the addition of a dollop of Chantilly cream (the tea room's own recipe made with Grand Marnier).

This is a marvelous restaurant and gift shop ~ a place to find all things tea related from special tea blends to enchanting tea pots to opulent serving utensils for your own special cakes. We are already planning our next visit - another sweet treat.

Wishing you a very happy New Year filled with all good things! Thanks for visiting the site and for sharing your comments, opinions, and observations. Here's to a wonderful 2010!

Chantilly Tea Room & Gift Boutique

5185 North Genematas Drive
Tucson, AZ 85704-5246
(520) 622-3303