Rooftop Deck



This is the rooftop deck of The Clarendon Hotel, a small, funky boutique hotel in midtown Phoenix. These photos aren’t the greatest but they might give you an idea of what Phoenix looks like, if you don’t know. (Click photos for more detail.)


The State Fair is going on now and is about 5 miles from this deck. The ferris wheel was visible from our perch. The strangely-shaped building to its right is the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which is no longer used for many events as we have much better concert and sports venues now.


This is the view to the south. Note the hotel parking lot at the lower right~I’ll mention that later.


This is St. Joseph’s Medical Center with South Mountain to the left. The television and radio stations have their towers there.


Phoenix isn’t known for giant skyscrapers or a dramatic skyline like other big cities.


But we do have a lot of palm trees…and blue skies.


The pollution wasn’t too bad on this day.


We’re in the “Valley of the Sun” so there are mountains in every direction.


The “S” is for Sunnyslope, an area of north Phoenix.

The Clarendon Hotel is famous/infamous for something else and they don’t try to hide this dark event in their past…quite the contrary. The hotel (actually the parking lot, which I showed you earlier) was the site where Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles was mortally wounded in a car bombing on June 2, 1976. He didn’t die for 10 days and endured many surgeries during his last days. He had gone to the hotel to meet an anonymous source who promised information on a land deal involving top state politicians and possibly the mob. While he waited inside, the bomb was planted under his car and exploded when he started it. I had only lived in Phoenix a short time when this all happened and remember it vividly. Although 3 men were convicted of his murder, the whole motive has never been discovered. You can read more about it here.

The Clarendon does not try to keep this a secret. In fact, on the first floor, next to the amazingly delicious restaurant, Gallo Blanco, the hallway is filled with photos of the grisly crime scene and there is even a meeting room named after him. Others are called the “Press Room” and the “Media Room.” Here’s a little sampling:

Bolles 9_edited-1

The best thing about The Clarendon Hotel is that it’s quite close to our house and the rooftop deck (5 stories high) is open all the time to everyone.

The following 2 photos are from the hotel’s website:




Elegant Ornaments

DSC_0043 ornate

If you’re in the Phoenix area and want to get the Christmas spirit, go to the Arizona Biltmore, infused with all that Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired historical significance.

DSC_0047 goth

Wander around the beautiful outdoor gardens, sit outside on the adirondacks, relax in the elegant lobby and have a drink where countless Presidents and movie stars have done the same.

DSC_0041 roundDSC_0045 gold

We have a lot of beautiful resorts in town but, to me, this is the best one any time of year. You can almost imagine that it’s the 1930s again. I wish I had taken more photos of the outside but since it’s 2 miles from where we live, maybe I’ll get back there this season.

DSC_0039 sparkle

DSC_0036 sf

You can see some photos I took of the gardens at the Arizona Biltmore, the Jewel of the Desert, in the springtime here.

Photo Year in Review

Hope your shiny new year is off to a great start! I wasn’t planning to do a 2011 year review but it seems like a good idea to take stock now and then and look back but, mostly, it’s an excuse to use photos I already have since I’m running low right now. So, in no chronological order, here are some of the highlights of my blogging year (some coincide a little with my personal year).

In April, after 17 years together, Tony and I got married.

We had a little wedding but a big party.

I made the invitations for the party.

We went on a staycation at the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley.

I did some “imaginary vacation” photos around town in the heat of summer when I couldn’t think of anything to photograph. The first place, El Maya, was torn down a couple of weeks after I photographed it. Oh, and I learned how to do rounded corners and played with textures a lot more in 2011.

A few weeks later I did another local imaginary vacation in the sweltering heat.

We did a day trip to Sedona, I took a lot of photos, and got 2 blog posts out of them. It’s really hard to take bad photos in Sedona. One of those posts was Freshly Pressed on WordPress!

2011 was the year that I FINALLY got some good butterfly shots! Some Giant Swallowtails:

Some Skippers:

And a Variegated Fritillary:

As if that weren’t enough, 2011 gave me some good hummingbird shots, on two different occasions, something I had also never gotten before.

I continued shooting murals in downtown Phoenix, something I’ve done for 2.5 years now.

I got all enthused about another downtown Phoenix project, the Valley of the Sunflowers, and will post some new shots in a few days.

I took a lot of photos of our 3 indoor cats as well as our numerous outdoor cats. Sadly, 3 of our outdoor cats died in 2011, including WB, our faithful friend for many years (as well as Snowy and Isabella).

My hibiscus plant was the subject of a few posts. It almost croaked last winter through a few frosts even though it was covered. It recovered and thrived through the spring and early summer. Again it got very sickly looking during the intense summer heat, and now it is once again thriving…

I learned how to do animated gifs, providing myself hours of fun!

I got hooked on my old 50mm f/1.8 lens from my old Nikon film camera and have to shoot manually when I use it on my DSLR which is fun. I like the looks of the photos with it, too.

We grew a giant basil plant from seed and it provided a lot of seasoning for us until quite recently when it died. We’ll be doing that again as soon as it gets warmer. They flourish in heat and sun, which we have plenty of here.

I took a zillion rose photos, some got texture added to them, some didn’t.

We took another train ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad with Tony’s sister and her husband when they were out visiting in November. The railroad asked for permission to use a couple of my photos, this one in particular, and in return sent us two first-class passes for another trip (and a photo credit, of course). Someone else has asked for permission to use another photo from that same train ride and it will also result in a photo credit and some goods that I may mention at a later date.

Some photos I liked, just because.

And a lot of my photos were just taken around my yard and neighborhood.

So that about sums it up for 2011 on this blog. Thank you to all of you who read it and I really enjoy reading yours, too, and seeing your photos of your lives. Photoblogging is one of my favorite pastimes as I’m sure it is for most of you, too. I hope we all have a fun, productive, creative 2012 blogging experience.


Thanks for this day, 
for all birds safe in their nests, 
for whatever this is, 
for life.~Barbara Kingsolver

These are a few more photos from our staycation last weekend at the beautiful Hermosa Inn.

So, I’ve been working on my gratitude journal (in words and through the lens) that I mentioned in a previous post, based on One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp but things can get one down, as we all know, and it’s sometimes difficult to see the gifts. As I like to share inspirational quotes, I’ll share one (not quite so positive) by a friend of mine from the other day:

Not to rain on your parade, but I’ve done the grateful journaling thing and my life is still crappy.~Mary

Ugh, I hope that isn’t the conclusion I make…


We spent one night of the long (4 days for me!) Memorial Day weekend at the lovely Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley which is actually only about 4-5 miles from our house. It’s a beautiful, award-winning resort that bills itself as a “boutique hideaway.” It’s small, with only 34 casitas, and even though it isn’t far from the heart of metropolitan Phoenix, you would never know it when you’re there. It’s quiet, isolated, and surrounded by desert. The Hermosa Inn began as cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee’s home and studio in the 1930s and evolved through the years to a guest ranch, a resort, and now the Inn.

Weather-wise, this has been a gorgeous weekend in Phoenix with temperatures in the upper 80s the last 2 days. If you know Phoenix, you know that is a treat this time of year. So far, we have actually had a spring here. Today the high is going to be 86!!!!!

This was our patio where we had a private breakfast of mesquite pancakes (not so good) but, all in all, it was a lovely experience. And, I got enough photos for a couple posts so stay tuned for more flowers and desert plants!