31 December 2014

Countdown to midnight ~


Fair warning to these Desert Museum prairie dogs... you have just a few more hours until that New Year's Diet Resolution kicks in - eat faster!  (:

30 December 2014

Can you spot the sunbathing couple?

These impressive rams blend into their habitat pretty well, don't you think? They are enjoying basking in the desert sun - relaxing!

29 December 2014

Photo larger than life size!

 
I am no hummingbird expert but I think this is a Costa's Hummingbird having a deep drink of nectar from a feeder at the Desert Museum. Visitors can walk inside a hummingbird exhibit and be inches away from many varieties of these beautiful little birds. It is magical! And click this link to hear hummingbird sounds. Fun!

28 December 2014

Tucson Tradition - Winterhaven Festival of Lights




This marks the 65th year of the beautiful Winterhaven Festival of Lights. A Tucson neighborhood raises money for the Community Food Bank by putting on an amazing display of lights, imagination, and humor every year. You can walk through, drive through, or take a trolley or a hayride. It's really fun!

26 December 2014

Delicious Desert Dessert ~

When you get invited to a Christmas dinner hosted by a professional caterer, you know it will be pretty awesome! And here is the non-traditional dessert that we enjoyed and the recipe to make your own! Yum! Put off those diet plans for a few more days and enjoy this cheesecake.....  (:

24 December 2014

The mysteries of the Nativity ~

The mysteries of the Nativity as seen through canine eyes. My boys had to get up close and personal with this electrified tableau. What I would give to know what their perspective is on the plastic baby Jesus! And those lambs and camels are pretty small...and Joseph and Mary look like toddlers.... yes, very mysterious!

23 December 2014

Yes, Vultures Wearing Reindeer Antlers!


Well a few days ago I showed you Stanley the Spider pulling Santa's sleigh. Now I bring you a fleet of vultures. Normally they might be a little scary in a big flock like that but once they put on their reindeer antlers, they seem just like another team of Santa's helpers!

22 December 2014

Weird 'Hood Ornament ~

 
Here I think we have the Wicked Witch of the East's cousin, Ella the Elf. Same great taste in shoes and patterned stockings. Same unfortunate encounter with a house. In this case the house is in my neighborhood so I vote for this as my 'hood's weirdest holiday ornament!

20 December 2014

Make shift Rain Hats ~

We have had a tremendous amount of rain in Tucson in the last few days. This van is decorated with giant Christmas tree lights on one side and candy canes on the other. Check out the plastic bags as rain hats!

19 December 2014

Non-seasonal Sweets ~

These red velvet cupcakes were made for a French potluck I attended. It was just French themed, no holiday decor anywhere. Notice the cupcakes have red, white, and blue sprinkles (French flag colors), and crowns, and Eiffel Towers decorating them. And, no, red velvet cupcakes are NOT really French but they qualified for inclusion because they are delicious! Vive la France! (:

18 December 2014

It's Santa Ears Time Again ~

As long as I have lived in Tucson these little Santa hats have been slipped onto the ears of Father Kino's steed to celebrate Christmas. The statue stands on Kino Parkway near 15th Street. If you would like to learn more about this remarkable man, click here. I have read that there is a movement to promote him for sainthood.

17 December 2014

Santa's Southwest Spiderman, Stan ~




Wow! Until today I didn't know that Santa had an arachnid helper here in Tucson. Here's what the big storybook in the sleigh says:

" 'Twas the the night before Christmas in 1805, when Tucson was in for an unhappy surprise.

The stockings were hung by the chimneys with care, in hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

But dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen were not acclimated to our famous dry heat and had to change course to prevent sweaty feet.

So quick thinking St Nicholas had to draw up a plan, he met with the wilds, who told him of Stan. 

They knew right away that he would light his skies path, and help to deliver to those sad from the pass.

The one and only Stanley West, the only arachnid that flies like the best, with web stronger than steel and feet grippy with feel, he'll bring Christmas back and do it with jest. 

For centuries now he's a known trust ride each holiday time that St Nick is stateside.

So - you heard it here first: Stanley West is a Tucson folk hero! And check out his shiny red nose!


16 December 2014

Galloping steeds ~

These handsome new equine sculptures greet shoppers at the renovated Plaza Palomino at Swan and Ft Lowell. The center's new owners widened the entrance and (sadly) removed the charming gate that flanked the driveway. I posted a photo of that gate a few years ago. If you would like to take a little trip back in time and see the former entrance that featured a wonderful Hopi Clown, click here.

15 December 2014

Cheerful holiday advice ~

I LOVE receiving handmade gifts! And after shopping at the St Michael's International Bazaar last week where just about everything was handmade, I know there are many beautiful items to be purchased that will help so many worthy charities. Think local, think handmade, and maybe even think HOMEMADE. Wouldn't your friends love to receive a box of your special recipe fudge? (WAY nicer than a Starbucks gift card....)

14 December 2014

Santa is at the Reid Park Zoo!


During December Tucson's Reid Park Zoo hosts "Zoo Lights," an evening of twinkling lights, illuminated animal sculptures, snow, and Santa! Fun!
Photos courtesy of Nathan S Bunker.

13 December 2014

Sabino Canyon Colors ~

Sabino Canyon is one of Tucson's hiking treasures. Here you can see that it is alive with fall color at the moment. Beautiful!
Photo courtesy of Rick Ranger.

12 December 2014

The Last Round Up ~

So after the children's pinata event at St Michael's International Bazaar, this enterprising little fellow gathered up a bag full of candy, grabbed a leg of the bull and made a run for it!

11 December 2014

Nothing like a pinata for fun!

 
Part of the festivities at the St Michael's International Bazaar was the pinata event where all the kids could take a whack at the candy stuffed bull. The kids were blindfolded, turned around a few times and then given a stick to try their luck. Fun!

Ourdoor shopping with a twist~

The St Michael's International Bazaar spilled into the courtyard to accommodate all of the nonprofit vendors who participated in this year's "Shop with a Conscience" event. Here you can get a peek at some of the Fair Trade/Green Cotton clothing and textiles that were offered for sale.  Beautiful stuff!

10 December 2014

Fair Trade Beauty ~

Here is a glimpse of the indoor market area at the St Michael's International Bazaar, the annual "Shop with a Conscience" event. Beautiful hand made beads, gorgeous textiles, baskets, and other hand crafted items of beauty filled this room. I brought home an intricately painted flute and some delicate hand-painted eggs. This is a wonderful event!

09 December 2014

A Cup of Coffee Makes a World of Difference ~

Just drinking a cup of "Justo Coffee" can make a difference in the world. This coffee is grown, harvested, and roasted in Mexico as part of a vigorous co-op project to provide organic coffee to the world and to provide good jobs in Mexico. As part of my ongoing series, "Team Tucson," let me introduce you to Tommy Bassett, Director of the Just Trade Development Center. He brought this coffee to the St Michael's International Bazaar. It was delicious!

Cafe Justo is a network of coffee growers providing sustainable wages and practicing environmentally sound growing practices. Fair Trade is not just a phrase for them - they really do it! If you love coffee as much as I do, try this coffee! Order it on their website and when you receive your coffee it will be labeled with who grew it and the date when it was roasted. Hard to get more personal and fresh than that! www.justcoffee.org

08 December 2014

Tucson's "Shop with a Conscience" event ~

This past weekend Tucsonans got to enjoy one of the nicest shopping events of the season. Each year St Michael's church hosts an International Bazaar and only nonprofit organizations can participate. Shoppers get to help many worthy charities and find unique, hand crafted gift items. The church makes this a real festival with food and live music. This fun t-shirt was offered by the folks at Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter. There were so many great organizations staffing tables!

07 December 2014

Secret Santa ~

As a public art display there are many metal sculptures on the median of Harrison Road between 22nd Street and Golf Links. Every year someone in the neighborhood decorates the big desert tortoise with a Santa hat. This year the Secret Santa added a festive red scarf! +

06 December 2014

Ah...the season has started!

For me, it's officially the holiday season when the Arizona Inn's tree is decorated. It is always a beauty and the library where they put it is my favorite place for a drink!

05 December 2014

Perhaps Tucson's Oddest Building?

This structure - I'm not sure if it is a residence or an office - has puzzled me for years. Note the big columns in the front which flank a blank wall. There is a tile bench between the columns but it isn't a bus stop. The triangular window above the columns is mirrored glass. The front wall looks like it is made out of a cargo container. And what's up with the sort of scalloped roof line??

04 December 2014

Workers working hard; Hardworking workers

This powerful mural is on the west side of the Alamo Woodworkers Collective on 6th Street. They specialize in custom cabinetry. This mural looks very "WPA"-era to me but it's modern. Great piece of artwork!

03 December 2014

Move over, Rudolph!





When my Husky's ears went up this morning I thought he spotted a cat. Nope, he saw this pair of Huskies wearing Santa hats! He pulled me over to investigate and soon discovered these wee Huskies are plastic and they are pulling a tiny sled decorating a neighbor's front yard. Now isn't a team of Huskies a brilliant idea to pull Santa's sleigh? But I do think he'll need more than two...

02 December 2014

Guaranteed fun - the Gaslight!

All year round Tucson's Gaslight Theatre is fun but there is something really special about their holiday shows. If you haven't been there in a while, GO! It's corny and funny and you will leave happy. (:

01 December 2014

30 November 2014

Tucson's Winter Wonders ~

 



While other cities in America are bracing for bitter winter to hit, Tucson is still beautifully mild. Check out these fantastic roses in bloom now! What color ~ they are gorgeous!
Photos courtesy of Camille Pons.

29 November 2014

Octoman Cactus ~

The icon of the Southwest, the saguaro cactus, is breathtaking in its size and diversity. Here is one that has sprouted 8 branches (or arms) and also developed a crested top. Octoman! (And now I can't get the tune of Macho Man out of my head!)
Photo courtesy of Nathan S Bunker.

28 November 2014

Pumpkin pie, anyone?

As you recover from TMF (too much food), I thought you might enjoy this happy photo. Although this is not a Tucson photo, I couldn't resist posting it. A friend in NYC sent this to me. He captured this happy squirrel munching on a pumpkin that was on his stoop in Brooklyn. Mmmm! Pumpkin pie for the wild critters...
Photo courtesy of Gene Brown.