My brother-in-law and sister in law’s time in Phoenix overlapped with ours by a couple of weeks. Although their rented home is over an hour away from ours we have still managed to get together for two games of golf, a lunch and supper that included our children and grandchildren, a night at the Handlebar restaurant and dinner at Arrivedercis a family owned and operated Italian place with fabulous food. We also managed to fit in a few games of euchre. We always have a great time with Paul and Shirley!
Showing Off Our City
Trilliums Food For the Soul
Filed under Arizona, Family
My husband Dave had tried the game of pickle ball once or twice before coming here to Arizona but now he’s joined a community league and he plays virtually every day for two hours or more. He wasn’t sure about investing money in a pickle ball paddle till he knew if he really liked the game. Our Steinbach friend Ric who spends half the year here in Arizona came to his aid . Ric wasn’t using his pickle ball paddle due to an athletic injury and said Dave could borrow his. Dave contacted the local pickle ball coordinator on-line and the first week we were here he hit the courts. I love hearing his stories about the various players every time he comes home. He is making lots of new friends from all over Canada and the United States and is really having fun. The other night he actually went to a sports store to look for a paddle of his own to take back home. A couple from Winnipeg plays regularly in his Arizona group and they have invited him to join a league in St. Boniface that meets at a facility not too far from our home. Dave doesn’t really need another sport to get involved in but there is not doubt he’s a life-long athlete as the shots in this post attest to. I had to take them through the wire mesh around the courts but I think they still give you a pretty good idea of just how much he’s enjoying his new sport. Other posts……….
Dave Tries Boogie Boarding
Watching the Regional Ultimate Tournament
I Did the Limbo on the Golf Course
Filed under Arizona, Sports
A man who has taken to drinking and smoking since his girlfriend left him, a fellow who murdered a two timing partner and someone bidding their lover good-bye. Sounds pretty sad and it was. Those were themes of songs we heard at a concert at the Higley Performance Centre here in Arizona. We listened to three different folk groups. Each sang at least one blues song that talked about just how sad love can be.
Linda Bilque and the musicians who accompained her sang The No Account Blues.
You left me oh my darling
And now I have to live with me
So I’m smoking and drinking darling
I’ve got a case of those no account blues
I toss and I turn in my teardrops
Like a fool whose got nothing to lose.
J.C. and Laney a talented duo performed Don’t Need a Good Reason.
Don’t need a good reason for things to change
When you’re not looking time steals what you arrange
We’re on borrowed time and our love was over
Long before you said the word good-bye.
Three Legged Dog a group of three amazing musicians who each played so many different instruments it left you dizzy did a number called Three Quarter Time.
One verse talks about how a man catches his girlfriend cheating on him and says she “trod upon my heart in three quarter time.”
The following verse describes how he killed that girlfriend and threw her in the pond where “the bullfrogs sang in three quarter time.”
The song ends with the man being hung for his crime and “doing the gallows dance in three quarter time.”
On Valentine’s Day we celebrate the beauty of love but the folk concert we attended reminded us that sometimes love can have a pretty dark side too.
The most interesting performer of the evening was James Sallis, referred to as the “irascible banjo player” who we discovered is an American crime writer best known for his novel Drive which was adapted into a movie in 2011 starring Ryan Gosling.
The Arizona Opry
Burton Cummings in Arizona
Organ Music With Your Pizza Anyone?
Filed under Arizona, Music
Trails in the San Tan Regional Park where we have been doing a fair bit of hiking are open to cyclists, hikers and horse back riders. In order to make the hiking paths as safe as possible park officials have made it clear who takes priority on the trails.
Horses rank number one. Every one else must give them the right of way. Hikers are second in line. They must yield to horses but not to cyclists. And cyclists are on the bottom rung. It is their responsibility to yield to everyone else on the trail.
So far riders, bikers and hikers on the trails have all been extremely polite and friendly and following park etiquette admirably. But I guess you know you are out west when horses are ‘top dog’.
Visiting Uncle Herb
Cowboys Coffee Hour
Mailboxes of Distinction
On our visit to the Phoenix Art Gallery I wanted to concentrate on finding art that told the story of the southwestern part of the United States. This stunning piece called Majestic Cat is by Tom Palmore. He specializes in paintings that include wild animals and look almost like photographs. By putting the animals in a setting that has connections to the human world he wants to remind the viewer that we share our planet with other beings. The southwest Sonoran Desert is home to many mountain lions. Artist Lew Davis was born in the copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. The Phoenix Art Gallery has a whole series of his paintings which depict life in a copper mining town including this rather haunting one of a young boy called Little Boy Lives in A Copper Camp. Georgia O Keeffe is probably the most famous artist of the southwestern United States. She lived and worked primarily in New Mexico and painted many pieces that depict canyons. This one called Canyon Country was painted in 1965. Although the Grand Canyon is the most well-known of the southwest canyons there are an abundance of canyons throughout the area. Like Georgia O Keeffe artist Paul Pletka lives and works primarily in New Mexico but he studied at the University of Arizona. This piece of his called Our Lord The One Who Is Flayed shows a group of Mexican people reenacting the passion of Christ during Lent. The painting has images from the biblical story of the crucifixion as well as the story of the Mexican deity Xipe Totec the god of renewal. Dave, my brother and our art gallery guide check out a recreation of the Colorado River by artist Maya Lin. It is called Pin River and made up of thousands of metal pins pushed into the wall. The artist digitally mapped the topographical lines of the river and then recreated it. Part of the Colorado River flows through Arizona’s Grand Canyon before emptying into Lake Mead on the Arizona Nevada border. I was particularly interested in Phoenix artist Ed Mell because he taught for a time on the Hopi Indian Reservation just as we did. This piece of his is called Sweeping Clouds.
The Phoenix Art Gallery provides a good introduction to art of the southwest.
Getting Into Art
Are You Sure They Aren’t Photographs?
Sleeping in an Art Gallery
Dave and Hans ready for the walk.
At the invitation of our friend Hans, who lives not far from us here in the San Tan Valley we went on a photography walk to see the Arizona sunset. The walk was in Lost Dutchman State Park an Arizona park we had never visited before.
Hans gets ready to take a photo beside a saguaro cactus that we learned weighs 10 tons. We hoped it wouldn’t fall on him!
Hans who belongs to a photography club carries all kinds of photography equipment along with him on these adventures. We even had to turn the car around just after setting off for the park to go back for stuff he had forgotten. I’m sure the photos he took on our walk were stunning and I am looking forward to seeing them. We were on the walk with forty-five other people. When we introduced ourselves we found out there was one other couple from Canada. They live near Ottawa but otherwise our group had visitors from more than a dozen different American states.Barb, a park volunteer was our guide for the walk. She has a comb pick in her hand. She told us this is an essential tool for a desert walk because it helps to get unwanted cacti burrs off your clothing without hurting your hands. Barb stopped to point out a whole bunch of different plants and trees on the hike. These are hedgehog cacti. Early in our walk we got our first view of the snow-capped Four Peaks way off in the distance. They are part of the Mazatzal Mountains. Only one of the four peaks has an official name-Brown’s Peak so I wondered what we could call the others.
Perhaps one should be named the Amethyst Peak since our guide Barb told us that between the third and fourth peak is the only commercial amethyst mine in the United States. Helicopters take supplies in and minerals out. The miners hike nine miles to work and usually spend about a week at a time at the mine site which has no running water or electricity. Hand tools are used to extract the amethyst. Because we were on the hike with Hans we actually got a picture of the two of us together.
During our two-hour walk it was interesting to watch the sun change Flat Iron, the rock formation behind us. Formed by volcanic activity some 25 million years ago it is a pillared mesa.
Here Barb is showing us some mistletoe growing on a tree. Desert mistletoe will eventually kill a tree but it can take 10 to 15 years to do so. The parasite is spread from one tree to another by birds who wipe their bills on branches or deposit droppings on the tree after eating the mistletoe fruit. Mistletoe is just a fact of life in the Sonoran Desert and there isn’t much you can do about it.
Don’t Dave and Hans look fascinated with all the facts they are learning about the mistletoe?
At this point in the evening Flat Iron reminded me of the red rocks you see in the Sedona area. This rock formation has been dubbed The Praying Hand. It is a favorite ascent for rock climbers.I thought the formation on the bottom left here looked like a hand too and in the one in the centre I could see a face with eyes, nose and mouth.
Later in the evening the light on the distant mountains reminded me of that line from God Bless America about the purple mountains majesty. The song was written using the words from a poem by Katherine Lee Bates. She and her life partner Katharine Coman were fellow Wellesley professors who traveled often to the American West and were tireless advocates for America’s poor. The rock formation in the background of this photo figures prominently in a First Nations legend that tells the story of a group of people who escaped a flood by climbing to its peak. The white line on the rock shows how high the water came. See the hoodos to the left? They are tall thin spires of rock also called fairy chimneys or earth pyramids. There is also a tragic modern story associated with this rock formation. On Thanksgiving in 2011 a plane crashed into it killing six people including a father and his three children. As we neared the end of our walk the sun truly set and we got some colourful views. The news is just full of all this rhetoric about a divided America and so it was kind of reassuring and lovely to hike through the sunset with this huge group of people of varying ages, from varying cultural backgrounds and various geographical regions in the United States who were all so friendly and enjoying nature’s spectacular show together.
Six Toed Cats, A Birthing Chair and His Last Penny
Better With Friends
Filed under Arizona, Nature