Friday, October 31, 2008

May the Great Pumpkin... with you. I did the Mt. Vernon Halloween madness for the first time. Tired. Pictures tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Visiting churches past

During the great rush to the suburbs that hollowed out most small and medium-sized American towns in the recent past, many churches also relocated, outward bound along with their parishioners. Prescott was lucky to keep its central business district, though with a different, tourist-oriented suite of shops, offices and restaurants. But we, too, lost much of the religious base. Makes a difference, too. One more reason for local folk not to show up downtown. Not only that, there are all these distinctive buildings that need to be "repurposed", to use an dreadful new cyber word coined by Bill Gates or one of his minions. I've been collecting examples of what happens to such structures.

Perhaps the most distinctive is the Prescott Fine Arts theater, which was the original Sacred Heart Church. Interestingly enough, Sacred Heart is one of the few downtown churches that did not relocate several miles away, but moved to the top of the bluff just the other side of Granite Creek. This lovely old building deserves a separate post detailing its many features.

Anthony's, the furniture/antique refinisher on South Gurley, is located in a structure that literally shouts "former church" as does the Chapel Inn, a bed and breakfast on Mt. Vernon Street (below).

I don't know just what business occupies this one-time church in Forbing Park (above).

And I'm guessing that the office buildings above and below, on Marina and Willis Streets respectively, were formerly churches. Both feature that distinctive architecture.

Occasionally, the new use for a structure remains religious. Currently the former Lutheran church on West Gurley is serving the local Greek Orthodox congregation. However, that arrangement is temporary, as the group is said to be planning to build if and when. The previous tenant was an aikido studio and a for lease sign remains posted on Gurley.

St. Lukes moved north since I moved into Prescott. I would guess that parking was a major reason. Now the former chapel has been incorporated into the large, nearby Baptist church complex (which has a couple of fair-sized parking lots.)

Joel's Place is part of the controversial Church on the Street, which is heavily involved in rehab and homeless issues.

The move away from the central city is not really over. Out Willow Creek, the Disciples of Christ First Christian Church has a prominent for sale sign in the parking lot.

The same is true for the Prescott Presbyterian Church, located in a Marina Street building dating back to the 1890s.

Sad to say goodbye to all those congregations, but at least the old buildings remain to remind us of earlier times. It would be a pity to lose the flavor they add to our downtown.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Forbing Park yard art

Forbing Park is a portion of Prescott that most local residents know nothing about, though they might buy a flat of petunias at Watters or order a filet at the Dry Gulch Steak House. Both are located on the periphery of the neighborhood. Fact of the matter is that FP is not a part of Prescott -- this very old subdivision is in the county, though surrounded by the city on all sides. It's a wonderful blend of junk, gentrification and plain living, where old-timers, artists, young families and miscellaneous others are mixed together in a melange that would cause any self-respecting, orderly city planner to pee his pants. I really, really like it.

I've been playing Scrabble with friends who live there; today, the he of the family gave me a quick tour, allowing me to collect some excellent yard art. Such as this huge propeller planted in front of a quite old mobile home.

This sculpt is a large tree cut-off, with the bark peeled, then turned upside down, balanced on three main branches. Makes a quite spectacular piece seen from the road.

And at one residence, a reminder of the old west --a horse, a burro and a pig, plus farm implements and an old wooden wagon. Close-ups follow below.

However, this is the piece de resistance: a great arch of antlers, fronted by the dapper iron man.

Isn't he terrific? He compares quite favorably with the iron man at the Electric Hog on Granite Street, though he is certainly more the country guy who rides horses a lot, compared to that stainless city guy. The hat is quite something special -- a real stovepipe.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The half bird post

Something got into Blogger this evening; it hasn't accepted picture downloads since about 8:30 p.m. So there I am, minus nine images, all cropped and PhotoShopped. Ah, well, half a loaf and all that jazz.

In case you hadn't already guessed it, seated above is my favorite bird, the raven. Not an especially exciting portrait; it is there to remind everyone of your everyday raven pose. That way, you'll understand the picture below. Same guy, same seat. However, he is making his cawing squawk. Watch a raven sometime; you'll discover that he always swings his wings part way out when he caws. It's a curious sight.

I'm glad that my downloads included my acorn woodpeckers, because it's a reminder that two of my regular visitors today posted far better woodpecker photos from far away places (OmegaMom and The Red Squirrel). The birds above are exploring a neighbor's house as a potential storehouse for their nuts. Their MO is to peck a hole, then push an acorn into it, saving it for a rainy day.

This little guy must have had a flea or a mite that needed excising; shortly thereafter, he hopped to the top of the telephone pole to survey the world. Telephone poles and tree trunks (as well as parts of neighbor's houses) are often studded with acorns.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Punkin carvin' time

Albertson's certainly let everybody know that October is the time to buy your pumpkin. Look at the size of certain of those overgrown squash, will ya? I'm impressed. However, not enough to plan on carving one; I haven't done that since I was a little girl. When the dotter was of the appropriate age, her Evanston grandmother not only took charge of the jack o'lantern operation, but also baked yummy pies with the inards.

Albertson's also was selling decals the day I went shopping -- a cop-out if ever I saw one. Besides, with no holes in the rind, there's no reason for a candle. But then, what would be reason for the pumpkin in the first place? On the other hand, the special plastic pumpkins at Watters (below) can definitely be carved, tho I've no idea how well they would hold up to the heat of a candle inside.

Even without a scary face, the bright orange does make for neat displays, at homes (above) or in front of an downtown antiquery (below).

Of course, during October, pumpkin art abounds, whether flags (above) at JBs or a pair of objets along Cortez Street (below).

Far more upscale: this pair of art pumpkins in the window of Creative Interiors on Gurley.

However, there's a bittersweet taste in my mouth as I write about the rites of autumn. The picture above should remind us of years past at the Young's Farm pumpkin festival, which came to an sad end, thanks in part to the big housing bubble. Ironically, the Dewey-Humbolt folks still haven't figured out the zoning for the parcel that once was the farm and at this point in the business cycle, who knows when M3 might get around to breaking ground. If ever. The last time I heard any news, a farmer was renting the land to grow corn. Just like the Young family, but without a festival. Anybody been to the fall events on farms up in Chino?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The paisley ladies

Long-time readers may recall the post in which I declared my passion for paisleys. Imagine then how delighted I was to come across the paisley ladies carefully sketched on the show windows at the Lavender's Blue boutique on Gurley Street. Much more interesting than the merchandise on display.

But I am reminded 1) that I have not found a paisley trifle to purchase since I wrote that post and 2) the featured pink paisley shirt has disappeared. Either the laundry has eaten it or, with luck, my dotter borrowed it one time and hasn't returned it. In the meantime, I had totally lost sight of the shirt. A reflection either of our world of plenty -- or my declining memory cell count. More likely, both.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Needed: good Arizona sweats

If one were to make a list of the problems with Arizona, I'm sure that the summer desert heat would top the list. Another: too many people moving in too fast. But I'll bet that I'm perhaps the only one whose list would include the lack of decent topical sweatshirts. Probably related to issue #1, the desert heat; designers must figure that there's no market in this state for a stylish, warm sweat featuring, for example, one of many possible local Indian designs.

They're wrong. I do have one such: the trio of snakes above, given me years and years ago by Sson and his lady. However, I regularly check out the Whiskey Row shops -- and the resales too. I've only scored once in all that time; see below. From the NOAH thrift; I'll have to check in there more often.

Quite in contrast, back when I was ferrying my mother up to Victoria BC every summer, I found that the Goodwill and the little independent resales were both good sources for sweatshirt fun. For instance, Garfield, above -- or the butterflies below.

And what could shout Canada! like a loons in a pond. But my pride and joy, for just one $Canadian was the orca (below), like the loons, a find at the Goodwill store in Victoria. The design is by Haida artist Clarence Mills, one of whose totem poles is installed at the President's Palace in France. I dread the day when it wears out, but plan to cut out the design to use as an applique.

I've checked on the web for orca designs; this is the only one I've found with a raven inside the whale and a little shore critter inside the raven. My immediate response: food chain. However, I wore the sweat when dotter and I visited the Alaska Native Heritage Center and had an opportunity to talk with a young Haida woman. Her interpretation centered around a series of species interminglings and the resultant births. Oh, what a different outlook! Now I wonder what would be a Haida man's interpretation.

One day very recently, as I was walking down Gurley toward town, a woman with a little boy in tow spotted this sweat and called to me, "Haida!" Turns out her heritage included Haida and that she had lived in Alaska. We had a pleasant long chat there by the big pine at Catholic Charities.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cat Xing

I thought my luck was with me this afternoon. There was the handsome neighborhood tuxedo cat posing, right next to The Sign recently erected at a nearby house. So I tried to get an image with both cat and sign. Hah! Dang car was in the way. You'll see I did my best, even as cat was getting bored.

However, I had seen a display down at the pharmacy. Same sign. Cutesy pooh. But then I'm a bit of a connoisseur of kitsch. As long as I was there, I had to take pictures of several similar signs (below).

There was even this Arizona special, which stylistically looks to have come from a totally different source.
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