31 December 2012

Closing out the year in style ~

Looks like one of the private party areas at the Arizona Inn is being readied for a New Year's eve celebration. What a lovely way to ring in 2013! Have a wonderful evening everyone and drive safely! Tonight is definitely "Amateur Night" on the roadways. Did you make any New Year's resolutions?

30 December 2012

Cat nap ~

If you look closely at the upper photo you'll see George, the beloved Desert Museum mountain lion, napping on his rock. And if you walk around the back of the enclosure you'll come upon another window that is just inches away from him! Very exciting to be so close to such a magnificent wild creature...

29 December 2012

Mouse on the move ~

Here's one of the famous Truly Nolen pest control company's "Mouse Cars" that can be seen around town. The ears flap in the wind! Note the mouse tail, too!

28 December 2012

Beautiful layered sky ~

A big storm front is moving into Tucson. Rain/drizzle is expected but if the temperatures drop we may get hail! The clouds over the Catalina Mountains are just awesome!

27 December 2012

An Ark in the Desert ~

In the 1950's Tucson children were mesmerized by Hal Gras and his "Desert Ark." In his station wagon, Gras would transport live animals to visit local schools as an innovative outreach program by the Desert Museum. Gras was part educator and part entertainer and touched the lives of thousands of children and adults with his "hands on" approach to showcasing the natural world around us. Here the Ark has a place of honor at the Museum's entrance. 

26 December 2012

Is this how you feel today?

For any of you who may have eaten a wee too much yesterday or maybe were "toasting" just a little too often, take some advice from the magnificent bear at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum - REST! Hope your holiday was wonderful!

25 December 2012

24 December 2012

It wouldn't be Christmas in Tucson without ...

seeing the annual tiny Santa hats appear on the ears of Father Kino's horse. Does anyone know who keeps up this tradition? One year I remember seeing Father Kino, also, wearing a Santa hat but usually it's just the horse who gets dressed up. Have a wonderful Christmas Eve, everyone!

23 December 2012

Perfect sky conditions for Santa's sleigh ~

Hey check out our perfect sapphire blue sky! Yes our sky is really that blue! Here the lightpoles rimming the roundabout at La Encantada are sporting big red bows to herald the holiday season. This is the last weekend before Christmas and this upscale mall was buzzing!

22 December 2012

Tucson's Live Nativity - awesome!

The Calvary Tucson Church hosts a live nativity each year and it is quite a spectacle! The wonderful donkey, Jasmine, and the "sheep" (really a GoldenDoodle dog), Otis, are scene stealers. The church is set up like an ancient Bethlehem bazaar and the variety of shops and craftspeople in period dress is just astonishing. This retelling of the birth of Jesus is quite memorable when depicted in this way.

21 December 2012

Picture Perfect Christmas Tree ~

It would be difficult to find a more beautiful tree than this one at the Arizona Inn. Placed in the corner of the library, the tree can also be seen from Elm Street. Notice how the lights reflect in the windows - beautiful! This photo was taken at dusk. 

20 December 2012

Winter wonderland - fantasy

We don't get much snow in Tucson but Mt Lemmon is just a short drive for the snow-deprived to enjoy some of the fluffy white stuff. This beautiful mural captures the serenity of a cold mountain lake in winter, doesn't it? This mural is on the side of the feed store building that displayed yesterday's equine Rudolph.  

19 December 2012

Rudolph's equine cousin, Black Beauty ~

Maybe it's because we rarely get snow but it seems like everyone gets into the spirit of decorating for the season in Tucson. Here we have an equine Rudolph - check out the added on red nose! This Santa-hatted black beauty is on the roof of a feed store on Ft Lowell.

18 December 2012

The Three Amigos ~

Every year at this time Tucson Medical Center decorates their campus saguaros with Santa hats. It's a whimsical nod to the holidays that is particularly fun coming from a hospital. Thanks, TMC!  

17 December 2012

Bountiful, Beautiful, Birthday Bouquet ~

It was my birthday yesterday and I just had to post this astonishing bouquet that I received! Lilies and eucalyptus and several other non-evergreen, non-holiday-related flowers. Isn't this a lovely break from the holly, pine, and red and green we are seeing everywhere now? Wow - beautiful!

16 December 2012

Miniature Arizona Inn ~

Every year the Arizona Inn chefs create a replica of the Inn as a gingerbread house and display it in the lobby. This year's version features an alarming pumpkin orange icing and neon blue shutters. Dunno. I will say that I definitely miss the little giraffe that has been featured for many years as well as the tiny ice skaters on the roof. Oh well, maybe this year's team didn't want to yield to whimsy....

15 December 2012

Can't have more fun than this!

I can't imagine where you can have more fun than at Tucson's Gaslight Theatre! The shows are just wonderful and the ensemble cast never fails to deliver fun, laughter, and a great time! The current show is "Scrooge" - this version is set in the 50's and delivers the universal message of giving is good. Waitresses are dressed as Mrs. Santa. You will definitely leave the theatre in a good mood so get tickets and GO!

14 December 2012

Fantasy Getaway ~ Destination Paradise

If you are feeling like you need a little break right now from "THE HOLIDAYS" then I hope you enjoy this little trip to Mexico via a mural on a restaurant wall. The plane is headed to "Destination Paradise." And note the great fake palm tree created from a drain pipe and paint! Cool!

13 December 2012

Well dressed Snowman ~

This charming gent with his bowler hat and nice green jacket looks ready for a great holiday party! He is waving to motorists on 22nd Street near Kolb. 

12 December 2012

Yoda Santa/Santa Yoda

When you see Yoda dressed up in a Santa hat, it's enough to get your attention! May the holiday force be with you as you shop, wrap, and bake!

10 December 2012

One size fits all Christmas shopping!

As the holidays get closer I just want to remind you that your purchase of a now-nearly-famous "Monday Already?" t-shirt or mouse pad benefits the AZ Sonora Desert Museum. Both gifts are UNISEX and are suitable for anyone on your shopping list who has a computer and/or wears t-shirts! Easy, huh? T-shirt is $16; mousepad is $6. I can ship them directly to your gift recipient if that makes life easier for you. And I'll tie a nice festive bow on your gift. You can buy them both on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TotallyTucson
Thank you and happy shopping!

09 December 2012

Cactus Chimneys ~

In the beloved poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas," Clement Clarke Moore states, "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care." I doubt if anyone could have imagined that saguaro cacti would be holding red felt stockings to await Santa's arrival in Tucson!

08 December 2012

French Tucson ~

A classic holiday dessert in France, the "Buche de Noel" (Yule Log) is, a spectacular centerpiece on any dessert buffet. This beauty was created by the pastry chef at Ghini's on Prince near Campbell. Order in advance!

Here's what Wiki says: The traditional bûche is made from a Génoise or other sponge cake, generally baked in a large, shallow Swiss roll pan, frosted, rolled to form a cylinder, and frosted again on the outside. The most common combination is a basic yellow sponge cake, frosted and filled with chocolate buttercream; however, many variations on the traditional recipe exist, possibly including chocolate cakes, ganache and espresso or otherwise-flavored frostings and fillings.

Bûches are often served with a portion of one end of the cake cut off and set on top of the cake or protruding from its side to resemble a chopped off branch, and bark-like texture is often produced in the buttercream for further realism. This is often done by dragging a fork through the icing. These cakes are often decorated with powdered sugar to resemble snow, tree branches, fresh berries, and mushrooms made of meringue.

The name Bûche de Noël originally refers to the Yule log itself, and was transferred to the dessert only after this custom had fallen out of use, presumably during the first half of the 20th century. It is attested in 1945 as referring to the cake. The cake recipe itself is older, and known to date to the 19th century.

07 December 2012

An Ode to Tucson in Winter ~

Thanks to a loyal follower who shared this with me, I can now pass it along to all of you who have enjoyed Tucson in the winter. I don't know who wrote this poem so if you do, let me know!

(Sung to the tune of Winter Wonderland)

Palm trees wave, are you listenin'?

In the pool, water's glistenin'.

A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight,

Livin' in a Tucson Wonderland.

Gone away is the blizzard,

Here to stay is the lizard.

A warm sunny day, we like it that way,

Livin' in a Tucson Wonderland.

In the desert we will have a picnic,

Cactus, sand and rattlesnakes and sun.

Christmas dinner is an old tradition,

It's pinto beans and tacos by the ton.

Later on we'll perspire,

Temperatures risin' higher.

A warm sunny day, we like it that way,

Livin' in a Tucson Wonderland.

06 December 2012

Secret shopping ~

This is a wonderful store that is on the grounds of the famous El Corral restaurant - so it's a little hidden from view. "Diamond Lil's" features vintage clothing and jewelry. I can't find a website for them but I did find this basic info on Yelp:  2201 E River Rd,Tucson, AZ 85718; Open Wed-Sun 3 pm - 9 pm

05 December 2012

Fake icicles -

Just because it doesn't snow here very often it doesn't mean we don't love snow and ice! These fake icicles decorating a tree outside the popular El Corral restaurant shows that we are happy to display the holiday spirit - even if it has to be with plastic versions of the real thing.

04 December 2012


This giant panda peeping from the windows is announcing a new fast food restaurant on Campbell.

03 December 2012

Sit. Stay. Watch.

This alert pup was sitting on the outdoor table at Trader Joe's. He watches EVERYTHING going by!

02 December 2012

01 December 2012

Leaping bunnies ~

Here's a close up view of the fence surrounding the view of the wash that I posted yesterday. I really like these fence panels. The cut out metal is a fun way to incorporate a pattern. And those leaping rabbits are great!

30 November 2012

Seems like a joke sign ~

For most of the year Tucson's "washes" hold not a drop of water. So this Coronado Ridge Wash is bone dry right now. But come July or so - when the monsoon season begins - this wash will be rushing with water.

29 November 2012

New cactus species: metal

Tucson boasts 350 sunny days a year so it can be hard to believe that we actually also get FREEZING temperatures - at least briefly. To prepare for that cold spell this clever and artistic homeowner has designed and constructed a trio of metal of cacti to cover his outdoor pipes! I love it - a marriage of beauty and utility.

28 November 2012

Old and even older ~

These homeowners have used a beautiful saguaro and an equally beautiful saguaro skeleton to landscape the front of their house. Saguaros begin to grow "arms" at 50+ years so the live specimen is old but the skeleton (with arms) was much much older when it died. Old and older!

27 November 2012

Tucson's Stonehenge ~

Adjacent to yesterday's eagle totem sculpture are three rock formations that are all interesting. Scroll down to see a close up of their unique feature - cut outs. A keyhole to peep through and see the mountains or the sky. A memorable grouping!

26 November 2012

Tucson totem - magnificent eagle

This huge, impressive totem sculpture, "Messenger," is on Speedway near Houghton. Scroll to second photo for full info about this piece. A four part message is inscribed under its wings:
The Eyes of the Future Are Looking Back at Us; To Protect What is Wild is to Protect What is Gentle; We Have it Within Our Power; To Create Merciful Acts.

25 November 2012

24 November 2012

The holiday sweet tooth fairy ~

Sweets that might have actually stolen the spotlight from an amazing roasted turkey! Here is a Grasshopper Pie and a companion dessert that is equally awesome - a Carrott Cake with Ginger Marscapone Frosting. Mmm, quite a holiday feast was had by all! Are you still recovering? (:

23 November 2012

No Black Friday Hassles ~

If you want to totally avoid the hysteria of Black Friday, let me suggest a kinder, gentler way to shop! For all of you who LOVED the image of the depressed big horn ram that I posted months ago, let me remind you that I was prompted by TDP followers to put the image on a t-shirt. I did that and more ~ it's also available as a mousepad! Part of the proceeds go to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (where the ram lives). To purchase the t-shirt and mousepad, go to this Etsy link. Get a big piece of your holiday shopping done with a click of the mouse. Your friends will thank you for the unique gift and the Desert Museum will thank you for your support. Happy shopping!

22 November 2012

Happy Turkey Day Everyone!

So how big of a bird are you cooking today? I bet this one tops it! He is ENORMOUS! Standing guard at the corner of Kolb & 22nd at the Toyota dealership, this Mr Tom Turkey is impressive. He's even wearing a Pilgrim's hat. Do scroll through the photos so that you can see him front, side, and back. Wow - gobble, gobble, indeed. I hope you are all having a wonderful day filled with food and fun. Happy Thanksgiving!