Friday, November 30, 2007

Street scenes -- a place to sit

I'm all for getting people out of their autos and onto their feet. Like me. But there are important considerations in designing spaces for pedestrians. Perhaps the most important -- making sure there are places to sit and just watch what's going on.

Or maybe providing a seat for the occasional busker. Music always makes for a more interesting street experience.

This is the style of bench in the middle of town erected by the city or maybe by the Chamber of Commerce. Not sure which. Reasonably attractive, though this particular bench is certainly hot in the summer. Should have been on the other side of the sidewalk, under the awnings!

This bench, similar, faces toward the corner planters. I'm not sure which view is preferable, though the benches down by the Chase Bank are shaded -- very important in the hot months.

Some business provide their own seating...

And, in some cases, it's an advertiser who pays for a place to rest one's feet.

Here's an attractive bit of seating on Gurley (tho I've seldom seen it in use.)

Even more interesting -- a comfy place to look at all those booklets with the real estate adverts, if indeed anyone is interested in buying property these days!! No, you won't see me on any of these neat benches or seats in the next couple of days -- that much advertised pair of storms is indeed dumping wonderful, beautiful, very wet water all over Prescott right at this moment and possibly for the next day or so.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A farewell to autumn

Last year I was caught up in photographing the many moods of late summer and autumn. The world has been too much with me in 2007; thus I've few autumn pictures that say anything new about the season.

However, our native sycamores certainly provide a plethora of crispy leaves for kicking and crunching as you go walking. This wonderful tree continues to rate number one among Arizona trees, at least for me.

However, there is the splendid ornamental pear which provides a cloud of white blossoms in the spring and deep red leaves in fall, here in contrast with the lawn on the Sharlot Hall museum grounds.

In conclusion, lovely leaves on a tree, I know not its provenance. Tomorrow, we are promised our first storm of the coming winter season. I will believe it when the streets are running with water; we have not had rain since mid-September and then it was only a token.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

7 flags over Gurley

My furnace man showed up and the house is finally warmer. In fact, our whole world has warmed. So the bro and I walked downhill to talk to the bankers. (My, that sounds classy; actually, what we both needed was some cash.) What we noticed on the walk were the flags. At the Bead-It shop, the banner was partially wrapped around its staff, so I don't know what the picture was.

It was Christmas three ways at Sandy's, the house of stamps. Hark the herald angels very much in evidence above and a classic Santa below.

What really impressed us, however, was the super- patriotism at Porky's. Those dang stars and stripes are down to waist level right in the middle of the sidewalk. However, it took the bro's sharp eyes to see not one but three flags in the picture below! That brings the day's take to seven flags total.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Women's Work: Never Done!

To look at early labor saving devices, it's easy to see why that phrase! Yet they did save a certain amount of labor. Certainly a yoke with two galvanized pails beats gourds to draw water from the spring; a big tub for boiling clothes gets them cleaner than beating them with stones in the river; ditto for the old fashioned scrubbing board.

But there were advancements, way back when. Here's a hand-operated tumbler, with wringer attachment. Like the other items, to be found at the Skull Valley Historical Society Museum, BTW.

Haven't exactly figured out what the gadgetry in the forward tub is. Something to do with Monday (which even in my memory is the day we wash the clothes...)

More modern yet -- electricity has replaced muscle power.

But, ladies, can you imagine ironing those voluminous skirts and stiff shirts with one of these implements which had to be heated on the stove? I gave up ironing in the 60s, thanks to my husband, who told me to let the laundry do it. And I still do.

These displays from women's past at the little country museum did not include any wood burning ranges -- I'll bet that any that are remain are still in use out at range shacks. Take note of the heavy-duty fly spray and, in the left hand corner, an ice cream freezer that was probably electrified in the work shed.

More kitchen tools...

...and an interesting collection of kitchen and washday products. Rinso I remember -- it was sponsor of the Ma Perkins soap; Peets is not among my recollections. I also see an early steam iron.

More gadgets and products from early in the last century, including a potato ricer and disposable picnic spoons & forks in wood, not plastic. I'd say that despite the problems of modernity, it is a lot kinder to women.

Things at Sixes & Sevens

Sorry, guys -- my mom is having some problems and my little grey cells are all tied up right now. Luckily, my bro has returned from his Memphis adventures, so he is seeing her to the hospital to check things out.

In the meantime, here are a few interesting links you might give a try:

* A new blog by Wendell Duffield, the vulcanologist who gave that recent lecture over at Sharlot Hall.

* A sort of amazing story from the Daily Mail about an Italian oddball who, with his followers, hollowed out a hill north of Turin to create a fantastic temple. I checked with Snopes last night & thus far they've no record of whether it's real or imaginary. Hah. I decided it was time for The Google. There is indeed such a crowd. Here's their home page.

* A long bicycle trip through Eastern Canada by JuliaR. And, speaking of bicycles, a day trip through the English countryside by Avus on his completely refurbished classic Raleigh. I should also mention that Julia has a new blog about her locale, Castlebrook Village.

* And, finally, a reminder that if you're behind on the buzz, there's no better way of keeping up than checking in with the digest published by Arts & Letters Daily.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mural at Sky Harbor

Hooray -- my little bro is returning tomorrow evening. This, in turn, reminded me that the last time I was at Sky Harbor down in Phoenix I chanced upon an old mural. Obviously old because the interior of the lobby was being redesigned, with no attention paid to the wall work in, I believe, Terminal 3. The Alaska Airlines terminal, in any event.

Were I a six-footer, I might have seen more of the hidden painting; however, this is the best I could do.

The least interesting portion of the mural -- directly above the entrance to security -- remained unobstructed. I find the assortment of images here to be somewhat helter-skelter, with no focal point except for the hand cliche.

I much preferred the big, wild firebird, which I've blown up so you can enjoy it, too. Wonder if they're keeping the mural in this truncated view.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Naked Autos

When my friend pointed out this vehicle parked at the restaurant, I did a double take. For heavens sake, it was like a bad movie of the aging burlesque queen who insists upon taking it off once more for all to see. The dang sedan simply looked naked. Bare. Badly in need of a housecoat. The doodads at the windshield just added to the sluttish impression .

In the strange world of collectible autos, I'm used to cars showing off their innards. Like this one, with a mirror, yet, to make sure no passer-by misses any of the chrome.

Or even dandied old vehicles driving the boulevards to display transplanted gear that makes them over into street rods. Hmm. Now that I mull it over, maybe the owner of the first car is merely thumbing his nose at the excess chrome. I'd like to think so.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Butterflies to warm a chilly night

I mentioned back awhile that butterflies were not much in evidence this past summer and autumn. There were a few and I even caught a handful with my camera. However, it was a disappointing year for the real thing.

One persistent yellow swallowtail did fly back and forth past my lower level garden of pots many times. Never, mind you, when I was ready with the camera. The only one of its kind to sit still was the poor broken critter above.

So I make do on this chilly night with all manner of surreal or at least unreal butterflies. Such as these flimsy little trifles on sticks to flutter in the garden.

Or a flamboyant creature impaled in the window of a travel agency downtown.

How about a butterfly bodice... wear at a garden party where the HM (Highly Magnified) insects land on stumps instead of flowers.

Here is just a piece of a complete stained glass window on display at the Sharlot Hall Museum Shop.

A neighbor's highly decorated garden...

...a strange balloon butterfly at the supermarket...

...and, as a finale, a gilded lepidopteran for your Christmas tree. There. This exercise did warm up my thoughts, if not my toes or fingers.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving -- turn on the Christmas lights

What more can I say -- Thanksgiving dinner with Mom and her tablemates is past. It's now officially Christmas, even though the worried merchants have long since opened up their boxes of Santas, reindeer, lights and other seasonal decorative paraphernalia . But let's pause a moment for a few more turkeys before we move on. And speaking of Thanksgiving, I should mention that my bro, over in Memphis visiting daughters & grandchillen, made four pumpkin pies for expected guests. Not bad for someone who's lived in Oz for at least 30 years now.

In the meantime, back to the birds. This turkey hen -- a real one, once -- was photographed at Koldoff's Arizona Gems & Beads last year; the lead-in turkey, also for real, was on display at the Drake Station antiquery on Iron Springs Road.

Believe me, I was tempted when I saw the fellow above at the Tru Value hardware store -- especially since harvest themed items had already gone on sale (also below) some two weeks ago.

But as I said at the beginning, it's now officially fitting and proper to turn on the Christmas lights, as represented by these snow flakes adorning most of the city street light poles. The big downtown lighting ceremony is scheduled for December 1, after my bro gets back from his family visit. In the meantime, enjoy these photos of the Square at night from last year, posted by Vision in Time.

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