Category Archives: Photos

Friday in Arizona

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I had never been to Arizona and was surprised by how different it was. I may as well have been in a different country…

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The middle school my kids have gone to looks nothing like this one!

Or maybe even a different planet with alien life forms…IMG_3596IMG_3599

I’m so disappointed I didn’t get a picture of the two scorpions who terrorized us in our airbnb house.

 

On Friday morning we went to the Tohono Chul Park Botanical Garden & Galleries at the foot of the Santa Catalina mountains.IMG_3558IMG_3555The gardens were filled with cactus and wildlife…

IMG_3561Here’s a fun fact! Those iconic saguaro cactus can live for hundreds of years. They don’t grow their first arms until they reach about 70 years old. We saw birds feasting on ruby wreaths of fruit that crowned the tops of some of them. Birds nested in holes in the sides of the cactus.

Others just plopped their nests right on top of the prickly spines:

IMG_3571…which just goes to show you that you can find a home in the unlikeliest of places.

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Southwest Coral Bean

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Jimson Weed

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Bougainevillea

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Two rare desert flowers.

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Desert Willow

The garden was humming and buzzing and rustling with all kinds of wildlife, from jackrabbits to…

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Let’s play “Spot the Critter”:

IMG_3562IMG_3586IMG_3595.jpgIMG_3602We cooled ourselves off in the bistro with Arnold Palmers mixed with pink prickly pear lemonade…

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In the afternoon we headed to the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. Ettore (Ted) DeGrazia (1909-1982) was an American artist who is probably best known for his paintings of Native American children. To be honest I didn’t love his art, but I was impressed by the Gallery in the Sun, built so his paintings would have a place where they would “feel good inside.” A self-taught architect, DeGrazia designed and built a whole complex of adobe structures in the 1950s with the help of Yaqui and Tohono O’odham friends. Other than the gallery, the complex includes his own house and the Mission in the Sun –  a chapel which was unfortunately closed to visitors because of a very recent fire. The complex is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

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In one area of the gallery, DeGrazia used slices of cactus embedded in concrete as flooring.

IMG_0090The cactus courtyard was filled with an unearthly, metallic thrumming.

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Weekend Snapshots 48, or: Amor vincit omnia

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Friday

Twenty years ago, I woke up early in the morning and crawled into bed with my mother. I was going to be married later that day in an outdoor ceremony and I had been fretting all week over the iffy-looking weather forecast. We flipped back and forth from one TV channel to another to compare the different local weather reports, which were all  slightly different. My mother humored me by agreeing that the most believable forecast was the one with the most favorable prediction.

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Even if it did rain, my mother reassured me, it would mean good luck for our marriage. She soothed me by repeating: “Showers of blessings” like a mantra. It eventually did rain that day, though not until we moved indoors after the ceremony.

Our twentieth anniversary was on Wednesday, but my husband and I decided to celebrate the occasion on Friday. Leading up to the day, we were both privately scrambling to figure out a way to mark such a momentous milestone. In desperation I turned to my 11 year old daughter for advice:

“What do you think I should get Dad for our twentieth anniversary?”

She didn’t have an answer for me, but she laughed out loud and said, “Daddy asked me the very same thing!”

My husband finally took matters into his own hands and announced that he was going to pick me up from work and whisk me off to a secret destination. On Friday, the weather was not just iffy – it was downright dismal. The rain was coming down in sheets. My husband kept sighing and saying, “Too bad the weather’s going to be so awful for our rugged hike in the mountains…”

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The last time I got dragged up a mountain…

We drove through the rain for a little more than an hour, past the neighborhood where we bought our first house together, through little hamlets, and past fields of cows and horses. The whole way there, he kept tutting about how our picnic on the mountainside would be ruined, while I gave him serious side eye and badgered him to tell me where we were really going.

The secret was finally revealed when we pulled into Washington, Virginia and to the Inn at Little Washington. We were first ushered to a beautiful foyer with a crackling fire…

IMG_9769and then to “Anniversary Row.”

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Everybody sitting to the left and right of us was celebrating an anniversary. The waiter asked each couple how many years they had been married, and as we overheard the answers from the other tables, we were very proud to have been married the longest! IMG_9784

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Saturday

From the violin recital…

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…to the soccer field:

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We went to a party later that evening. Our hosts had devised an ingenious adult scavenger hunt with stops along the way for wine and sake tastings complete with paired hors d’oeuvres.  As we hiked through the woods and up to the top of the mountainside to find the grand prize, I remarked to my husband: “We’re having our anniversary hike, after all!”:

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The Grand Prize

Sunday

Our last day of choir:

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This boy’s Confirmation:

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Mother’s Day Photo Op…FullSizeRender 15FullSizeRender 13FullSizeRender 7IMG_9834

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She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister…

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Purple Passion afternoon tea break with my buddy…

I rejoined my family for dinner and then got dropped off at another friend’s to head to the Downtown Mall…

You may have seen the news about a group of torch-bearing, knuckle-dragging Neo-Nazis who marched in Lee Park in Charlottesville on Saturday. On Sunday night, a much larger group of people gathered at the park and vowed to love and protect each other.

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This is the Charlottesville I know and love.

Some days the rain will fall. Some days a band of retrograde half-wit Nazis will try to spew their hatred in your beautiful little town. In the end, love conquers all and showers us with blessings. That’s the forecast I want to believe.

Weekend Snapshots 47

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Friday

My daughter and three of her friends are playing in a quartet together. On Friday after work I went to pick them up and got to listen to the last half hour of practice…

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We met up with my 15 year old and his friend at a restaurant for dinner. IMG_9178As the kids piled into my trusty old minivan after dinner to head to the movie theater, I said, “Hey, please turn a blind eye to the mess inside. Just ignore it all! Pretend you don’t see a thing…”

As one of the kids gingerly stepped over the mess to take his seat, he deadpanned: “Like…the balloon punching bag, a Holy Bible, a warm six-pack of Gatorade, aaaaaaaand the brochure on chameleons?”

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I’m not messy, really – I’m prepared. We could probably ride out the apocalypse in that minivan. We have reading materials. We have entertainment. And there’s probably enough food in crumbs and half-empty bottles of various liquids to keep us going for months. And if we happened to have chameleons during the apocalypse – we’d know exactly how to take care of them.

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Saturday

The next morning I did a baby photo shoot. My camera stopped working halfway through, so I had to finish up with my camera phone. I’m planning to post more photos later, but here’s a sneak peak:

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I had to dash home to get this girl to her soccer game:

Later that evening we met up with the quartet girls and their mothers and headed over to Staunton, Virginia to hear the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra.

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Elgar’s Concerto for Cello and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 were the musical highlights of the evening. The girls loved hearing their violin/quartet teacher play the violin.

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Happy Easter

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The five of us sang at four different Easter services at two different churches this morning. IMG_9088The Easter Bunny visited our house while we were at church and left an obscene amount of candy hidden around the yard.

IMG_3171IMG_3178IMG_3186IMG_3191IMG_3198IMG_3201IMG_3209IMG_3216IMG_3220IMG_3222IMG_3228Those beatific smiles disappeared as soon as the Easter Bunny’s mean, mean wife immediately confiscated aaaaaaaallll the candy and hid it away.

And then the poor Easter Bunny, who, after all that egg-hiding,  would have much rather sat on a couch reading a scholarly tome, tried to change the air filters. He ended up having to get four stitches on a very important finger…

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