Tag Archives: Arizona

‘Tis the Season…For Hummingbirds!?

The first holiday I ever spent in a warmer climate was: Thanksgiving, 1989 on Captiva Island in Florida.  I said to myself, “hmmm, this isn’t so bad!!

This year, I spent Christmas in Phoenix and we were visited by a winged angelic creature – a hummingbird.

I used to be bummed as kid in Chicago when I got a bike or skateboard and the streets were filled with snow — that, or it’d be so cold, it’d chase the likes of me back indoors in a hurry!!  In Phoenix, when you find out you’ve gotten photography lessons, you can run outside and practice for awhile with your newest lens.

Christmas flight:



more wings!


the "usual" hummingbird photo






less than satisfied

It does get chilly here…this is frost on December 24, 2009.  Tee-times delayed by hours and hours!!

Troon Golf

I know, I know…life is rough!

Happy holidays wherever you may be…

(And joking aside, “please be safe”…just finished reading msn.com about weather hazards.)



Filed under 2009, AZ, Christmas, Nature

Scottsdale Spectacular on the Lake

McCormick Ranch, off Scottsdale Rd

You can’t miss this great light show on the east side of Scottsdale Road at the entrance to McCormick ranch…the great thing too was..

so many lights

…as I stood outside and got closer to the tree…walking on the grass toward it…what was I hearing…

inside the limbs and lights

…GEESE!!  There were what appeared to be at least a hundred of them floating on the lake in the darkness.  They did make themselves heard though.

Wonder if they were honking, “Merry Christmas?”


Filed under AZ, Christmas, Christmas trees

Phoenix 100 Club Tree

I popped out of Chicago just in time, what with the chilly temps!  I took a couple classes this past week in Phoenix and saw this little gem in an office window:

Phoenix 100 Club Office


remember service professionals


Phoenix 100 Club Office

Interestingly, later that evening, I saw the front page of local paper, The Foothills Focus (Dec 9, 2009 issue), “Couple’s light show aids families of service personnel” – a story about the home of Mike & Barb Mulvenna which features over 70,000 lights and this year is accepting donations for the 100 Club.  “The 100 Club is a non-profit organization that comes to the aid of the families of police and fire personnel who are seriously injured or killed in the line-of-duty.”

The Mulvenna home is located at 505 E. Desert Ranch Rd in Phoenix and the lights run nightly from 5:30 – 10 pm until January 9, 2010.

Now, that’s bright Christmas Spirit!  I’ll post pics from our future visit to see these lights!

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Filed under AZ, Christmas, Christmas trees

Travel, The Sanctuary, Thankful

Spa Foyer, Sanctuary Resort

So many things for which to be thankful.  Today, I’m thinking of safe travels.  I wish everyone making journeys this turkey week a swift, good and safe experience.

Travel and holidays can be stressful so I’ve put together these photos from our stay last summer from The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  If you’re a local, it’s a wonderful place to rejuvenate and if you visit from out of town, you won’t be disappointed!  The grounds and the spa truly evoked “serenity,” it was a wonderful sanctuary.  Sharing serenity~

"Praying Monk"

Camelback Mountain is to the west of The Sanctuary.  Its views include this, “The Praying Monk.”  The photo is taken from within the Spa meditation area where the water running spills your cares away.  Ahhhhh…

I had the Wild Lime-Blossom treatment and all I can tell you is that I will definitely be going back!

View from in front of the room

"Praying Monk" from closer elevation, outside the entrance to our room

We stayed in one of the Mountainside Casitas – all rooms have a contemporary feel.

This resort is one of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World.”




Master Suite

Master Suite

View north from the balcony

View north from the balcony

If you plan a visit, just to mention to you: the grounds are vast and hilly – you’ll be walking inclines (if you workout on an inclined treadmill or hike/climb regularly you’ll be in shape for this.  I recommend not wearing flip-flops – cramped calves!) It’s also mood-lit at night so you will have to tred lightly (they supply a small keychain flashlight which is great.)  They all have a golf cart service so you don’t even have to walk much if you choose not to.  I definitely recommend taking the golf cart back to the room after that massage!

No matter where you are, treat yourself well (be thankful for you!) and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Filed under Resorts & Hotels, Travel

Sonoran Sounds and Skyscrapers

Fall in this part of the Sonoran Desert doesn’t look terribly much different than Summer in the Sonoran Desert.  It just feeeels different.  (79 vs 110 deg. F)


October 31, 2009

In the Spring though, there’s usually some pretty good color (depending on the rainfall.)  I’ll come back to this spot in April and see what’s bloomin’.  This is where we were hiking,


the Overton (OV) to where it meets the Go John (GJ) Loop.  What you’ll see:


Looking south

Desert skyscraper

Looking up




This horse was soaked with perspiration, first day out in awhile


It's very quiet except for the sound of the wind


Did I getcha!?

Thankfully, we didn’t see any of these on the trails, but we did learn about them that day at the Nature Center.  The snake shown is a Sonoran Gopher Snake, the largest of the snakes in the desert (can grow to eight feet.)  Of course, the desert is populated with such wonderful creatures and critters but I’d rather not run into them, personally.  One of my other personal favorites is:


The Gila Monster (protected species)

Yes, he had a rattler (Western Diamondback Rattlesnake) too who did not! come out of the enclosure.  It did rattle away though & that, I will say, is a spine-tingling  sound (top middle). I’m sure that it doesn’t help I have insanely good high-frequency hearing.

I’ve been around the desert 15 years now and never have heard nor seen one at large!  In Sedona once, I saw woman all bloody-on her leg, running out from a trailhead, saying “Rattlesnake.”  Turns out, she wasn’t bloody because it bit her, but because she’d fallen down running from it.  (The “official” advice is: if you hear the rattle.  Freeze.  Look around. Once you see where it is, back away slowly.)

OK, but back to quickly finish up the hike:


Sun disappearing


If you look closely, you can always find a little color

And when the day is nearing its end, some hit the road:


While others hit the trail:


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Filed under AZ, Fall, Photos