Friday, August 22, 2014

Focus on Life Week 34: About the Ground (Monsoon!)

Last week I wrote about the cloudy skies and rain. Well, this week, rain returned with a vengeance and brought a huge monsoon storm that kept hubby and I housebound for several hours on Tuesday. Although the rain comes from above, it sure made it a mess "about the ground". I thought I would share a couple before and after photos with you.

Before the Monsoon: School House Road

After the Monsoon: School House Road

Before the Monsoon: Lane to Our House

After the Monsoon: Lane to Our House

After the Monsoon: Happy Flowers

In addition to rain for thirsty flowers,
 the monsoon brought some magnificent sunsets.

And for more exciting news about the ground, take a stroll to our other neighborhoods.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Focus on Life Week 33: The View of Above

I haven't shared any Arizona photos in awhile and this week brought a special treat to our skies: clouds and rain! Now this might not seem cause for celebration for everyone but when your average annual rainfall is about 8 inches you really start to look forward to those clouds. This week, some parts of Arizona received 3 of those 8 inches so it was a wet one.

Here are some wonderful clouds I captured.

Now let's paint those clouds with some groovy colors.

And just because I haven't posted anything beady for awhile, here's what I finished this week. The necklace strap is a simple bead crochet and the heart is a polymer clay piece that was part of a huge eBay lot I purchased awhile back.

Now let's see "what's up" in our other locations.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Focus on Life Week 32: Fresh Air

Sally has encouraged us to get outside for this week's theme. Well, it's not such a pleasant experience here in the summer desert as you can see from the average temperature chart below.

Phoenix Temp Graph Courtesy of

But, I did have a great time outside last week-end when I attended my high school reunion in Pennsylvania. It was the first one I attended since graduating oh so many years ago and thought I would share our group photo. No, the photographer didn't goof by not focusing. I purposely blurred everyone but me since I wasn't sure how thrilled all my classmates would be to be to find themselves on the pages of my blog. Can you find me? Our senior class was a modest-sized 200-ish students and 46 of us attended this reunion.

The best part was spending extra time with four of my lifelong friends who all traveled in from their far-flung locations. We all had a giggle at this sign for a local business. We agreed it was a great depiction of the past and present altogether in one advertisement!

I was on the fence about attending but am so, so glad I did.

Now let's see what everyone else is doing outside.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Focus on Life Week 31: Outside the Box

Someone was thinking outside the box when they brought home this pet! I can just hear the conversation now. "Yes, honey, I think a camel would make a wonderful pet. I think he would really love the dry heat."

Imagine my surprise the first time I saw him. (I am assuming it's a him but would encourage any camel experts to clarify the gender.) I was driving to our friend's house and had to stop the car and back up just to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. I guess he enjoys shrubbery!

Here he seems to be saying, "What chu lookin' at?"

No offense, Mister Camel, but I think I will keep my kitties.

Let's see what other fun surprises await us outside the box this week.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Focus on Life Week 30: Documenting a Life Moment

Hmmmmmm.... This week’s post got me thinking and thinking…. until my brother, Paul, saved the day on Tuesday when he told me he was just appointed the Artistic Director of Cresson Lake Playhouse. Here is a copy of the Facebook newsfeed with the announcement.

Facebook Newsfeed

You may be asking how this event is connected to one of my life moments. Cresson Lake Playhouse has been an artistic touchstone in my family since its opening in 1974. It is a jewel located in the Allegheny Highlands of Pennsylvania about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh or 20 miles west of Altoona. You don’t just stumble upon it. It requires a commitment on the part of the artists and theater-goers to find their way to its forested location where they are rewarded with an intimate structure of about 200 seats in a totally unique setting. Here's another Facebook photo that captures its special charm.

The theater is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with a program entitled: I Remember...40 years at Cresson Lake Playhouse. This prompted me to dig out my scrapbooks since I had the good fortune to appear in several CLP productions and also completed a college internship in public relations under the tutelage of Eleanor Lantzy, its founding force. I had roles in Mountain Myths, Seven Keys to Baldpate, Bye, Bye Birdie, South Pacific and The Fantasticks. Here I am as Mrs. Rhodes from Seven Keys to Baldpate and as Luisa from The Fantasticks.

I am so proud of Paul as he begins this exciting new chapter of his artistic life. He has achieved amazing success as a beloved, award-winning teacher in the Central Cambria School District and as an artist who together with his wife, Cathy, operates One Creative Couple specializing in upscaled vintage and new furniture and home decor items. His credentials and accolades are too many to mention. What should be highlighted is that he is a terrific brother, husband and father. Here he is below (right) with his family, who all have Cresson Lake connections too.

Paul and His Family

Congratulations, Paul!

Now, let's read about some other life moments.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Focus on Life Week 29: Celebrate Sweetness

OK - confession. I gave up sugar in February so when Sally encouraged us to celebrate sweetness this week, I started to develop some serious cravings. Instead of indulging, I looked back through my photo library for inspiration and realized that I am a helpless Cake Snapper! What may you ask is a Cake Snapper? That is the bizarre person who, no matter what the cake or occasion, has to take a picture of it. Here I present to you my cake snapping for the past several months in no particular order.

Here we have our son's birthday cake, celebrated as we do most years, at the Pitt football game that aligns with his birthday. Section 211 is our section in Pitt Stadium and has some of the best football fans ever.

Next we have my birthday cake last year made by a colleague at work who is also a certified pastry chef. This cake tasted even better than it looked.

OK - now I feel really spoiled: another birthday cake for me - also for last year - from my Steeler football fan friends. We watch all the games together at our favorite watering hole here in Cave Creek. Is it any wonder I had to give up sugar?

Here's the cake from a birthday party we hosted for five of our nephews who all celebrate birthdays in the fall. We took them to neon bowling and served up a delectable menu of pizza and cake.

I'm cheating a bit on this cake which was from my brother's 50th birthday party a couple years ago. I use it because you see it's one of those cute photo cakes and I wanted to close with the adorable photo that is somewhat hidden beneath all those candles.

Here he is at age 1 - sweetness personified, I think!

Let's see what other sweet goodies our friends are showing off this week.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Focus on Life Week 28: Celebrate the Season... with a Vacation!

I wasn't on vacation this week but I was traveling for work. My destination was the wonderful city of San Francisco where tourists were out in abundance. So that gave me a good jumping off point for this week's theme to celebrate all the folks taking their summer vacations.

I didn't have too much time for photo-snapping but managed to take this one of the iconic cable car.

And I'm wondering if you recognize this landmark from an unusual vantage point? (It's the TransAmerica Building.)

I found this great carousel on my way to dinner. The Zeum Carousel was created in 1906 making it over 100 years old! It is currently located in Yerba Buena Gardens but was originally planned for another park. Unfortunately, it could not be installed as planned due to the earthquake and fire which decimated most of the city. It also survived the 1911 fire in Luna Park so it is a real tough lady!

Arriving back at Sky Harbor Airport last night, I was waiting for my luggage and happened to notice this beautiful mural hanging above the water fountains. I had seen it many times before and wondered how many other people were pleasantly surprised by its beauty. I took a photo with my cell phone so it really doesn't do it justice.

And now let's see how everyone else is celebrating the season: