Monday, June 30, 2008

Next to Wildflower

After breakfast at the Wildflower, I always have to spend an hour or so book browsing at Changing Hands. Changing Hands is a wonderful book shop, one I have shopped at for years - probably 20. Their previous location on Mill Avenue downtown was a great place with 3 floors crammed full of old and new reads. They've been in their current location for as long as a lot of their customers remember.

Besides offering the best in new and used titles, my favorite bookstore has created an entire community around authors, booksellers, and readers that truly feeds the souls of those of us who care about good writing and good reading. Besides the many cozy nooks for getting to know a book before you buy it, Changing Hands offers book groups, writer’s workshops, and readings from authors both local and national. I've met Tibetan buddhist, Robert Thurman, as well as the talented writer and writing instruction guru, Natalie Goldberg, here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sundays at Wildflower

Most Sundays I eat at Wildflower Bread Company at the southwest corner of McClintock and Guadalupe. Get there early or you'll have to stand around waiting for a seat. Their food is great and it's a relaxing place to spend a morning reading the paper or doing a crossword.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


There's a huddle of election candidate signs on every street corner, it seems, and random signs sit in vacant lots. This one caught my eye, and I had to do a double-take. Schmuck? Is that a joke? Seems like Frank has probably heard that once or twice in his life, and has the perfect slogan - That's Right! Made me laugh.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Gold Bar - McClintock and Southern

Ah, Friday. A perfect day to telecommute. My favorite place to telecommute? Gold Bar Espresso Coffee Shop. A great little independent that has been around Tempe for 6 years in the current location, plus another 12 at their previous location when they were in a bank building across the street. They serve Allann Brothers coffee, from Eugene, Oregon. I love this quaint little shop, and the owners and atmosphere set it apart from being just another place to drink coffee. The stained glass hangings, artwork, bright colors and table lamps invite you to stay awhile, and the customers - who are all regulars - make you feel like you're hanging out with family and friends. And I got a lot of work done!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Few Feet West of the Dam

Just a slight head turn west from yesterday's photo, some nice spillage from the dam creates a little wetland. Lakes (even artificial ones) are great things for people, the fish that we stock, waterfowl, and dragonflies, but what most wildlife want are some nice meandering wet areas (no channeling!). It's common to see blue heron, egrets like this one, green heron, and all sort of song birds in these little areas. So important and so full of life!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tempe Lake Inflatable Dams

The Tempe Town Lake is contained by an inflatable dam system consisting of eight bladders, four in a row at the east end (located between Rural and McClintock roads), and four in a row at the west end (located between Mill Avenue and Hardy Drive). The rubber dams are made of 3 elements: a strong, flexible, rubber coated fabric tube which is fixed securely to a concrete base slab by clamping bars and anchor bolts; an operating system which controls inflation and deflation of the tube; and an automatic safety device which ensures tube deflation in flood situations.

Each section of dam, or bladder, is about 240 feet long, weighs 40 tons and is more than one inch thick. At times, a small amount of water can be seen flowing over the top of the west dams, creating a 19-foot waterfall. This water can be recaptured by a recirculation system and pumped back into the lake.

The dams were shipped across the ocean from Japan, arriving on large spools, that were transported by truck to Tempe. These spools were stored until construction of the lake was ready for installation of the bladders. The spools were then moved by crane into the river bottom, and unrolled into place.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Perhaps graffiti is one thing most cities have in common. I may be in the minority, but I think it adds a bit of spice to an otherwise drab, white, abandoned building like this one which used to be an art store called "the shop". As I looked at this closer I noticed that it is meant to represent the 7 deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

barrio historico

playing catchup with photos from an historic neighborhood in tucson. this was a hot weekend in tempe, our version of a winter blizzard - so hot, it was hard to make it out of the house to take photos!

Friday, June 20, 2008

barrio historico

borrowed from a visit to tucson, i love the buildings in the barrio historico

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bird Candy

I was on my way into the Desert Botanical Gardens for a class tonight and it seemed that every other saguaro lining the roadway had bright red fruits poking out of its crown; each one had its own white winged dove nose deep in big red refreshing plum-sized fruits.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

beautiful moon

the moon was beautiful tonight (and sharper around the edges than my photo!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Whole Foods - Baseline and Rural

One of my favorite places to food shop is Whole Foods Market. I've figured out a big part of the appeal is the aroma when I walk through the door. To the immediate left are fresh cut flowers, and straight ahead are fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. A big bin of strawberries is the first thing I see. All this translates into bright, vivid color, and sweet, fresh aromas. Other stores, I walk in to stacks of top ramen, cases of gatorade, pyramids of cans and a stale, forgettable smell.

There's a cost. Whole Foods is expensive, more so than those stack and case fluorescent lit stores. So I shop at multiple stores, spending as little time as possible in the big unfriendly stores and savoring my time in the smaller markets like Whole Foods. Wouldn't it be something if the presentation, cleanliness and smell of all food stores were this satisfying?

Monday, June 16, 2008

P.O. Box

Today was hot. The high was about 112 F. What does 112 F feel like? Imagine standing in front of a camp fire on a hot summer day. Kind of like that. But I'll take 112 over a day with humidity any day. Call me crazy, it's just my personal discomfort preference. We all have to put up with a bit of discomfort at some point during the year, this is ours. Though after sitting in my icy cold office all day 112 actually feels pretty nice. For about a minute. Then it's hot again. What does this have to do with P.O. Boxes? Nothing. I just went to the post office at Southern and College today. Nothing too exciting, just outgoing mail.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Yucca Tap Room - Mill and Southern

One of Tempe's famous dives, the Yucca Tap Room is a nondescript little bar in an old strip mall that features live music 7 nights a week. One of the best small venues in Tempe to see a live band has inexpensive beer, plenty of parking, and no pretense. In the mid '90s, The Refreshments used to play at the Yucca every Sunday night. It wasn't advertised and there was no cover - only those in the know actually knew. I knew some diehard Refreshment fans who let me in on the little secret and was lucky enough to see them play one Sunday. There's nothing like seeing a great band play in a little dive.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

People Watching at Casey Moore's

No smoking indoors these days. This tattoo'd gal in lizard skin cowboy boots reminded me of a groupie character from the movie, "Almost Famous." The shorts, tshirt, hairstyle, sunglasses, boots, and cigarette are sooo 70s.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thomas the Cat

Thomas the cat, lounging at Casey Moore's Oyster House and Bar, a popular hangout for people and cats.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I love that there are so many soccer/futbol fields scattered around Tempe. Just like in so many places throughout the world, though found less often in other parts of the U.S., futbol is simply available to anyone who has a ball and a few friends.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Slider on a Stone

It must be great to be a turtle, all day basking in the sun and when it gets too hot, a dip in the water. Taken at Kiwanis Park.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Boats on the Water plus a Duck

This photo of paddle boats was taken at Kiwanis Park - a great park half a mile from my house with a large lake and baseball and soccer fields, batting cage, fishing, an indoor pool with a wave pool, outdoor movies in the summer, an occasional small concert,
barbeque grills, ramadas....all the essentials of summer.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Look, here comes the Ice Cream Man!

It's the ice cream man! I remember being young and hearing that faint sound of a song, coming from down the street - it sounded tinny, and sometimes slow like it was coming from a wound-down music box. My favorite ice creams were Good Humor Chocolate Eclair bars. The ice cream man is more of an "endangered species" these days, but I'm glad that some of them still patrol my neighborhood and parks.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Public Art Irrigation Standpipes

Just west of Arizona State University and south of downtown, the Maple Ash Neighborhood is the oldest extant neighborhood in the city of Tempe. It is a neighborhood of front porches, sense of community and wonderful, lush vegetation. Flood irrigation is largely responsible for the oasis of greenery and is delivered through a series of irrigation standpipes prominently perched on street corners throughout the neighborhood.
The standpipes are often magnets for graffiti, garbage and transients. To bring visual interest to the neighborhood and deter unwanted elements, a multi-phase project was initiated to transform the irrigation standpipes into works of art. Each standpipe will have a unique but related design that will be of mixed media and will carry historic architectural elements reflective of the heritage of the neighborhood. The design also will be unreceptive to graffiti, garbage and vagrancy. The design, fabrication or installation will be done collaboratively with neighborhood artists and neighborhood children. This one features a Gila woodpecker in a colorful mosaic.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Outdoor Gym

While riding my bicycle through random Tempe neighborhoods I stumbled upon this tree ornamented with punching bags - I figured there are names for all types of punching bags and checked on Wikipedia - looks like they have a speed bag, maize bag, focus bag, and heavy bag here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Intellectual Capital

The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University is working to improve human health and quality of life through use-inspired biosystems research and effective multidisciplinary partnerships. The buildings and surrounding landscape are beautiful. The Institute is made up of several Research Centers that focus on finding solutions to global challenges. For example, the Center for Environmental Biotechnology is working toward creating a more sustainable future through a better understanding of microbial ecology - microorganism communities - by understanding how these complex communities work.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Field Trip

Well, I wasn't in Tempe much today so I figured I'd post a fresh photo from my road trip. Here's the sign outside the "Space Age Restaurant" in Gila Bend. It's just about the only building not crumbling in Gila Bend along I-8 which runs through town. The funky space age looking building with a flying saucer on top is eye catching. The food however, is not their specialty. I was in town to spelunk into a lava tube cave.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Bulldog in Progress" Art Dog for a Good Cause

Today I received word my Tempe Daily Photo is officially a member of the CDPB Community. I am really excited about this, so to celebrate I went out to Arizona Art Supply to buy new colored pencils. While there I got my photo for the day - a drawing of a therapy "bulldog in progress" in the showroom. The bulldog drawing has been gridded off so patrons can artistically fill in a square for $1 to benefit GABRIEL'S ANGELS, Pets Helping Kids. That made me even more excited because I am in the process of preparing my dog, baloo, to be a therapy dog for Gabriel's Angels.

The bulldog portrait is part of Arizona Art Supply's summer project to benefit a local charitable organization. Gabriel's Angels' mission is to deliver healing and pet therapy to abused, neglected, and at-risk children, nurturing their ability to love and trust, thereby freeing them from the cycle of violence ( Starting June 1 at Valley locations and Tucson, Arizona Art Supply patrons will have the opportunity to use their artistic talents to help Gabriels Angels. Each of the stores will have a gridded portrait of actual therapy dogs. For a minimum donation of only $1, customers can "paint a grid, and help a kid"!! At the end of the summer, the completed dog portraits will be given to Gabriel's Angels for their future fund raising efforts along with the monetary donations. Stop in to Arizona Art Supply's 4 valley locations and make a difference in the life of a child.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Serious about Chocolate

I know today's theme is corner stores, but I've posted several store fronts and scenery shots. What this blog really needs is a shot of a kid with chocolate and strawberries all over his face.