Arizona Summer

What? I didn’t hear you.

That’s for sure. It’s going to be 115 on Saturday, how fun! But it was already 115 this week so no biggie. Earlier today I heard it would hit 119 this weekend but it looks like the forecast has changed for the better…if 4 degrees matters…and it does, actually.

Our little basil, grown from seed, seems to be flourishing in the heat and sun, though. Flies like it, too. And our patio smells delicioso.

Have a good weekend, I hope to get out and shoot a couple things I’ve been wanting to do…


When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

~ Mary Oliver ~

This mighty pine is in our backyard (as well as the two trees below).

Did you know that when people carve their names on trees, there is a name for it? Arborglyphs “are carvings on trees that record names, dates, images, even poetry and prose. Beech, birch and aspen have traditionally been the trees of choice, preferred by most “artists”. These species’ smooth bark and light color makes a ready-made canvas for carving. Some consider arborglyphs to be a legitimate form of artistic expression and honor trees with these carvings. Others think it is just so much grafitti and another form of tree defacement.

Whether you agree or disagree that an arborglyph is a tree trashing or a treasure trove, there is a budding science devoted to the study of the oldest of these tree carvings. Historians now study tree carvings to gain better historical, cultural, and ethnic insight into North America’s past. Nearly every early culture, starting with the American Indian, has produced arborglyphs and many if not most have disappeared.”

This well-carved, mammoth tree, is at Scottsdale Civic Center.

My cousin and her husband, as a lovely wedding gift for us (along with the pretty tree-etched dish below), donated a tree in our name with the Arbor Day Foundation. “Our National Forests are in desperate need of replanting because of recent unprecedented fires.” We, unfortunately, in Arizona have unprecedented fires this summer, most notably the Wallow fire, the largest in AZ history. Although it began on May 29 (caused by humans), it is still burning now, almost a month later, 538,043 acres destroyed, with 77% containment. To see a map of the fire’s destruction and the devastation it has caused (up to June 20th), you can click here.

Going to the woods is going home. ~John Muir

Dog Days

It’s the dog days of summer here. We had a beautiful spring, that was actually differentiated from summer, but that is over. We’re back in it for the long haul now until October. It still is cooling off at night but not for long and, in a couple of weeks, it will get humid, too. So, while most peeps in this hemisphere are out and about and photographing things, if that’s what they like to do, here it takes a concerted effort to go out shooting.

These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago, at Scottsdale Civic Center, the park I go to sometimes at lunch, close to my work, but not close enough now with the heat. This space has rotating art exhibits. This installation is called Anthropomorphic Bicyclist: A Kinetic Weathervane by John Randall Nelson. This is how he describes it:

A new form, a cyclist who becomes one with the bike, joyfully revolves amongst altered signs on the orange wall. Made with re-Cycled (pun intended) traffic signs salvaged from the Scottsdale Transportation Department, the signs and symbols are both ambiguous and familiar. The iconic folk art style of the forms and the imagery of re-imagined bicycles and signs touch on social dexterity and creativity as a means of crossing boundaries. Taken as a group the images take on the sense of a day dream, of a blue sky ride.

As most of my photos taken during work hours are, these were taken with my cute little point and shoot that goes almost everywhere with me. The Casio Exilim EX-S200 has 14 megapixels. My Nikon D80 only has 10.2 megapixels. So, does that mean the p&s takes better photos? Um, no, but we knew that. Here is my comparison to vouch for that. Both cameras were set on auto, autofocus. The photos were taken seconds apart from the same vantage point.

Above was taken with the Nikon DSLR. Below I used the Casio p&s. Enlarging makes the differences in quality more dramatic. So, it’s not all in the megapixels but we knew that. At any rate, I’m glad I have the little Casio because there are plenty of shots I never would have been able to take without it.

Red and Lavender

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life? ~Mary Oliver

A few remaining photos from our staycation at the lovely Hermosa Inn. (You can read my Trip Advisor review here.)

In other news, I started an actual cat blog so if you like cats, check it out. It’s Cats Only and won’t be my primary blog (this will be) but I want my cats to contribute to their comfy lifestyle so they need exposure. It’s not for everyone but, if you like cats or are looking for cat models, check out Pimp My Cats, also on the-very-user-friendly WordPress. Don’t worry, you’ll still see kitty shots here, too, from time to time 🙂

Imaginary Vacation

A couple weekends ago, Tony and I went on a staycation. This past weekend, I went on an imaginary vacation. They’re even cheaper than staycations.

The imaginary destination has a lot in common with where I really was, a mile from home in Phoenix: it was hotter’n hell in both places, there are palm trees in both places, the skies are very blue, there are a lot of Spanish speakers in both locations and, from what I understand, there are a lot of pigeons in both places.

Can you guess where I imagined myself?

Here’s your imaginary postcard~

Okay, so it’s not even close…but it’s vaguely suggestive of it, right? Want to know more about the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas? Check out this informative website. And this is where I really was~

It’s a long abandoned former bar/restaurant. I can’t even remember what it used to be called.* It’s in a lot of disrepair and quite a ruin (haha, get it?) itself now. Are you going on any vacations or staycations? How about an imaginary one?

*Update: My local friend, Diane, just told me the restaurant was called El Maya. And then Montucky, who used to live in the area years ago, told me the same thing. At least I had my cultures right since the Mayans are from the Yucatan.

**Update #2: Diane also said that after El Maya closed, this restaurant was called La Cucaracha (no wonder it didn’t last long) and then it was briefly a bar called Friends, which has since moved down the street.