Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Along with the Gila monster, the chuckwalla is one of the largest lizards native to the USA. Normally they love to bask in the sun - something or someone must have spooked this one into a hiding place.
Oh, and by the way, the cicadas have been buzzing away this past week. I posted that picture a week too soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jake is 9 Today!!

A McDonalds with a water slide! I suppose if they can build a waterpark in a hotel, they can have water slides at McDonalds. Anyhow, Jake's friends couldn't be over swimming so we had to go somewhere other kids would be. Not many kids playing outside, but that didn't bother Jake.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Birthday Boy

Jake turns 9 on Monday. We celebrated a day early with Grandma. I guess that makes up for his party not being until this coming Saturday at - Amazing Jake's - of all places! His parties are interesting in that there's a mish-mash of kids he knows from various places - most of whom don't know each other. Doesn't seem to matter much to them. They all have a good time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vultures from the Zoo

Took this one last year also but I really like it. It's almost as if they are plotting to bust out of the zoo. These aren't the turkey vultures we have here in the desert.


Usually these guys come out with the heat in June. I haven't heard them this year (picture is from last year) but I thought I would post this picture anyhow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Simply Amazing!

Alright now, this is a super shot. It is a small Fishook Pincushion (Mamillaria) in full bloom. I don't think I've ever seen them bloom this full before. At least I hope I didn't miss it if they have!
I spoke with a photographer from the early days of Arizona Highways Magazine and he said they would pick flowers and use toothpicks to hold them to the cactus to get a full bloom like these here (usually on the saguaros). Those were the old days - they really don't go for that now. In my opinion, these shots are Arizona Highways worthy, and that is saying a lot!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Palo Verde Root Borer

Nothing like a giant beetle to scare the b'jeebers out of you. These guys are clumsy fliers and seem to come out at night. Like the name suggests, they bore into the roots of the palo verde tree as larva and come out in the summer to mate and lay eggs - you guessed it - at the base of a palo verde tree. Don't know how this guy (or gal) got into the men's room sink; maybe looking for a little drink.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back to the Old Grind

We were just settling back into a routine after vacation and now Karen has started back at school already. This week is just teachers, but next week Monday already they start with the kids. Erik starts back at the end of the month and Jake in August. Looks like we'll have coordinated fall breaks, so that might mean SoCal (southern California) in the fall - Disneyland???

At work I had done a project with ASU students planting about 150 seedlings. After the 3 weeks of 115+ temps we have about 4 or 5 still alive. I had some old mesquite seeds (the seedlings were all mesquite) that I planted inside the chickenwire they had put around the seedlings. Fortunately, I got them in before our big rains (almost 2 inches! - double the average July rainfall). We'll see if they come up, and more importantly, if they survive...I'll post some pictures if they do. Pretty soon I'll have some new trees & shrubs to start planting and watering throughout the end of summer and into the fall.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Great Egret

Was just driving by at work and saw this egret looking intently into the water. As I watched, he darted his head into the water three different times - each time coming up empty. I tried to capture the action on the camera and each time would only get the head after it had come up out of the water. The strike is lightning quick, yet he came up short 3 times in a row.

Hopi Pottery

This bowl is very likely of Hopi origin and may date from the mid-1300's. Unfortunately, the reference pictures weren't the best so the top is cut off because it was in the picture as well. I did this one in colored pencils to try to get the most accurate coloration I could. I will probably give this to the Pueblo Grande Museum run by the City of Phoenix. They may just hang it in the office area, but that's OK by me. The crack is not as pronounced in the photo, but the more I looked at it the more I was convinced it was a crack with a couple holes...would need to see the real thing or get much better photos to know for sure.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Show

This time a 'real' art gallery. A City-run art gallery, so kind of small. The show is for City of Phoenix employees. There are some very talented artists in the City. I put four pieces in, so we'll see how it goes...All stippling with Micron markers.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Bell - $375

Another Taste of Spring - NFS (Not For Sale)

Barrel Cactus Flower - $875

Tea Set on Lace - $275

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One More Fireworks Show

Karen's Birthday

Karen chose a family outing to Amazing Jake's for her birthday. We got 3-hour passes

for games and rides. Karen wanted to go bowling there, too. Now, granted the bumpers were up, but Jake stole the show with a turkey and high score of 179!! I'm bowling last, and I have no chance of beating him.

Back Home

We flew allegiant air, from smaller airports and what a nice change from the big ones - smaller lines and times through security for one! On the way out we entered the plane from the back - not the door visible by the engine, but from underneath. That was different. The flight was good, and it was good to get home. We thought we had escaped the worst of the Phoenix heat, leaving behind 2 solid weeks of 115+ temps. Little did we know there would be one more week before it ended. Now at only about 106 or 108 it actually feels much better.

Science & Industry

The Museum of Science & Industry is too big to try to take in in one day. We got through a few things, but had to move pretty fast. There are several buildings all connected, each with its own theme. The huge German sub was pretty cool, but too dark for a good picture.

They had working periscopes sticking up outside the building to 'spy' on unsuspecting passersby.

Erik tried his hand at a signal light. I think he was signalling 'send money.' Must be preparing for college already.

There was a small space exhibit. I like this display of a future moon station. There is a man in a space suit outside the hatch to give a sense of scale.

Jake found time to play.

Kind of blurry, this is Erik standing amid the displays of a 727, several other planes a land-speed record-setting rocket and a train. A scale model of Chicago is behind him with a number of model trains. The trains go around or through the mountains and behind the mountains is a scale model of Seattle. Pretty cool.

More Sears Tower

The Hancock Building

The Loop!

Summerfest and/or a Taste of Chicago were going on at the time we were there. Traffic was a bit confusing, but certainly not bad as we went on a Sunday.

Ever wonder were cubists got the idea for that particular style of art?
Here's the Sears Tower reflected in the building across the street.
More reflections

Sears Tower

Here are a few shots of downtown Chicago from the ground and from atop the Sears Tower. The buildings look pretty tall from the street, but somewhat puny from the tower.

Check out the statue from the ground then from up above!

Karen & the boys walking toward the entrance & elevators

The little bit of land jutting out to the left is where the Adler Planetarium is. The large, white building to the right is the Shedd Aquarium and the very large, sand-color building is the Field Museum. Just to the right of the tallest building in this shot is Soldier Field.

This one doesn't really show a sense of height - until you see the next shot...

Now that's impressive.

More to come...Jake is getting antsy, gotta run.

Another look at Chicago

If Chicago isn't your kind of town, you'll want to skip the next blog....Unless it is already posted and you had to scroll down to see this - then it will have been to late to warn you.