‘Phoenix’ Category


Give Me The Simple Life

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — Why do cactus plants have thorns? I always thought it was to protect them from being gobbled up by hungry desert animals. But in studying the plants and animals of the desert in which Phoenix sits, I’ve read that those thorns, or spines, have evolved over time as a water-saving adaptation. It’s a matter of living simply.

The beautiful Sonoran Desert is a lesson in simplicity, in paring down to the essentials. It’s about taking what you have and making the best use of it; adapting in a practical and simple way.

Consider the saguaro (suh-WAH-row), the trademark of Arizona, a “tree” that can live for two hundred years and grow as tall as fifty feet. How does it survive scorching desert heat, frigid nights, precious little rain? It’s a “water tower” – a storage tank that can hold gallons and gallons of water. As it expands and grows, every branch, or arm, adds to its storage capacity.

And the saguaro doesn’t exist just for its self. It provides a home for much desert life. Woodpeckers and flickers peck out nesting holes in the saguaro, making a new home every year. It’s a safe place for raising babies, and it doesn’t hurt the saguaro, because it heals itself by growing a shell around the injured tissue. When the next year comes, the woodpeckers and flickers make new holes, but their old nests make good homes for other birds, bats, pack rats, lizards, insects and spiders. Talk about recycling!

There are many opportunities for observing desert life in Phoenix, from residential yards to the incredible Desert Botanical Garden, 145 acres housing more than 50,000 plants. Five trails get you up close and personal with cacti from around the world, and exhibits highlight desert wildflowers, conservation, desert plant adaptation and ethnobotany. On top of that, it’s simply a beautiful place to be.

It’s open every day till sunset from October through April; attend Music in the Garden on Fridays from 7-9, and watch for special events such as the current spring butterfly exhibit, continuing till May 13. Just off E McDowell Road on N Galvin Parkway, near Papago Park and the Phoenix Zoo. http://www.dbg.org/

Kids, read 101 Questions About Desert Life by Alice Jablonsky; everyone, learn more about the Sonoran Desert at the Center for Sonoran Desert Studies: http://www.desertmuseum.org/center/



Play Ball

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — Warm sunny days and baseball. About 300 warm sunny days, goes the claim. And ten stadiums serving as Spring Training Home to fifteen teams that come to the Phoenix area to prepare for their season because, well, in most cases the weather sucks back home. It’s known as the Cactus League http://www.cactusleague.com/ and just look at this list.

  1. Camelback Ranch, the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Goodyear Ballpark, the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds
  3. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. Hohokam Park, the Chicago Cubs
  5. Maryvale Baseball Park, the Milwaukee Brewers
  6. Peoria Sports Complex, the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners
  7. Phoenix Municipal Stadium, the Oakland Athletics
  8. Scottsdale Stadium, the San Francisco Giants
  9. Surprise Recreation Campus, the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers
  10. Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


The schedule makes for a magnificent March, it’s not hard to get tickets, and the price is right.

But that’s not all. There’s March Madness basketball. Today and Saturday the NCAA West Regionals are happening at the US Airways Center. News note, No 1 Seed Michigan State lost to Louisville 57-44 tonight, so it’s Louisville and the Florida Gators Saturday. Of course you can catch the Suns at the Center regularly. http://usairwayscenter.com/start/

And don’t forget golf. There are 185 golf courses with 3,600 holes in the Phoenix area. What a city! http://www.phoenixgolfsource.com/

Play ball.


Making a List

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — Making a list and checking it twice; so many choices. Tomorrow I’m starting on Central Avenue, the route of the train. The Valley Metro light rail, that is. The station is a block away, the fare for a ride is $.85 for a senior (I can get a 7-day pass too). I’ll buy my ticket from a machine right there at the station via credit card (remember the Olden Days when you had to have tokens for public transportation?). According to the online Route Planner, I will reduce carbon emissions by 0.748 lbs by riding the train. If I drove my car I would burn 1.109 lbs of CO2. Not to mention what I’d spend for gas and parking!

Check it out. Valley Metro Light rail. http://www.valleymetro.org/

It will take me four minutes to get to the Heard Museum at 2301 N Central. http://www.heard.org/

I’ll tell about my visit in another post; two things I’m interested in are an exhibit on Native American Bolo Ties (Arizona’s official state neckwear), and Beyond Geronimo: The Apache Experience, which presents a more accurate view of this celebrated personality than the sensationalized stories that have circulated for years.

The Phoenix Art Museum, also on N Central at 1625, http://www.phxart.org/ has an exhibit entitled “Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century.” Wright’s architecture focused on the concepts of energy, materials, climate, transportation, and urban planning.  It’s also on my list.

So many choices.


Palms, Protests and Politics

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — Palm trees line Central Avenue. Keep going south to downtown, Washington Street, turn right, go to 17th, park free for two hours, walk across the street to the State Capitol Museum. It’s not overly fancy but it’s pretty; all the materials to build it came from nearby when it was constructed back in 1900.

They’ve added new buildings since; the governor and secretary of state have offices adjoining; the Senate and House chambers are now on either side of the copper-domed original.  It’s a peaceful sight, green lawns punctuated with native plants in graveled beds; an aging cactus propped in place.Today a line formed by a festive tent; corn dogs and fresh-squeezed lemonade served to legislators and invited capitol staff; hosted by the Arizona Optometry Association; it was Optometry Day at the Capitol. The AOA is pushing for passage of SB1224 which would require insurance provider panels to include optometrists if they provide medical eye services.

In other ways of speaking up, the TV evening news showed students sitting in the street in front of Trevor Browne High School; parents and friends watched nearby as police lined the curb.  The group chanted “Undocumented and unafraid,” protesting the immigration policies of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “We’re tired of living in the shadows,” said a young woman who has been in the United States since she was a year old. “I know no other country. We’ll go to jail if that’s what it takes.” Six students were arrested and are expected to be charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a thoroughfare. 

Also reported, former Senator Russell Pearce has joined the race for the state Senate seat in the new Legislative District 25. Pearce was the first legislator in state history to be recalled when voters ousted him in November, losing to challenger Jerry Lewis in Mesa’s District 18. Pearce came under fire for his views on illegal immigration. He was author of the state’s controversial immigration enforcement bill.


Last Day of Winter in the Valley of the Sun

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — The news is in the numbers.

56 inches at Snowbowl, what a gift! Going out with a flounce, Old Man Winter zapped northern Arizona with a 1-2 punch. Snow Sunday. Snow Monday. Kids out of school. Snowplows out on the road. Snowboards out on the slopes. Boom for business. 29 inches of snow at Flagstaff. I-40 was closed for a while, open now, with slush.

56 degrees was the high today in Phoenix. Normal? 70’s. After all, this is the Valley of the Sun. This is the Season. This is where people come to get away from the cold! But the TV weather-persons were raving about today’s good fortune. Water here, after 90 days with no rain. Precious water.

Spring is official at 10:14 PM today, and the promise of “nearly 90 degrees” by Friday is laid before us. Meanwhile, a hummingbird tried to fly in my window as the cats napped in the afternoon sun, startling the two of them. Just beyond, against the Phoenix skyline, a helicopter rounded the high-rise, headed for the station with footage of Ponderosa pines to the north, branches weighted down with white.

Other news today. Continuing speculation on the why’s of the shootings. 16 civilians, mostly women and children,  shot in Afghanistan by a US soldier. 2 little boys in Phoenix shot by their father, who then shot himself. 1 young man shot by another in Florida.

Ron Barber, Gabby Giffords’ long-time aide, announced in Tucson he will run for a full term in Congress this year. He was shot 2 times in the January 2011 assassination attempt on Giffords, who has vacated her senate seat to focus on her recovery, miraculously surviving a gunshot wound to the head. 13 people were injured and 6 killed in that incident, including a 9-year old girl.


Frying Pan or Fire

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — The Little Pigs Wolf came out of the fairy tale to huff and puff and howl all night, wind screaming through the cracks around the door. It was cold and the air was restless and fearful. Alex Cat took refuge in a dresser drawer; Jack Cat burrowed under the covers beside me. I did not sleep. A weather front was coming through, sweeping in from California, threatening Arizona with vicious winds, pounding rain, and if you were above two thousand feet, snow. Sierra Vista sits at 4,200 feet, Tucson 2,500. This was scheduled as a driving day, the reservation in place for Phoenix tonight. Last night I’d decided to delay, to wait for the weather to clear, to stay off the roads and sit safely in my room. But the relentless noise had turned me into a bundle of nerves. I asked myself: is the fire really worse than the frying pan? There is equal misery in either one. What to do? Outside, it wasn’t raining yet, but trees were bending sideways in the wind. I chose fire. In 30 minutes we were in the car. » read more