Friday, January 29, 2010


Yes it's true the weather here in Arizona is wonderful.....most of the time.

But like anywhere else in the country, this State too experiences its share of winter weather. Last week a tremendous winter storm ripped through Arizona, dumping over 22" of snow on Flagstaff residents alone. To skiers, as well as Phoenix tourists, apparently a snow event in the North country is a great opportunity to make a trek several hours upstate to see the winter wonderland. I, on the other hand, prefer to stay home having seen enough of the white powder during Indiana winters.

Here in the middle of the State, we did not go unscathed and for a time, thought it might be a good idea to start building an ark! Rain poured non-stop for three days accompanied by winds of up to 40 MPH. If that wasn't enough, a tornado was said to have touched down in Scottsdale. Unheard of!!!

The empty lot next to the house had so much standing water that I was beginning to wonder if I was living on lake front property!

Many of Arizona's beautiful Palo Verde trees were uprooted from the wind. Their roots are so shallow and when the tree grows tall it becomes top heavy.

A strong wind simply blows them over.

Some can be righted and replanted such as the one in the picture above will be. However that does not always mean the tree will survive after having it's roots exposed.

This winter storm in actuality seemed to me more like an early spring storm in Indiana. I love the crisp fresh smell of the air after the storm cleared out. All is refreshed and renewed again, dust washed away. The landscape and desert animals seems to give thanks for the respite from the normally arid conditions. We snowbirds go back to enjoying the outdoors, sitting on patio's, cooking on the grill, walking, biking and......thinking about how cold and nasty it is back in the Midwest! Whew....glad we dodged that bullet!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Yes Virginia, there is Christmas in the desert!
And I have the pictures to prove it.

I remember the first Christmas season I spent in Phoenix. Four years ago, we headed out to the sunny State of Arizona on the morning after a cold snowy Christmas in Indiana. Intent on finding somewhere to spend the winter in warmth and sunshine, we arrived in our targeted area a few days prior to New Years Eve. How strange it seemed to me to see Christmas lights and adornments everywhere. I thought I had left the land of Christmas behind.

It didn't feel right. It was warm, no snow and we were in the desert. Christmas is supposed to be about all those things we were escaping and all the festive decor in the warm desert sunshine just wasn't computing! Everywhere we looked there were cactus aglow with red, green, white and blue lights. Santa hats sitting atop tall thorny spines. Christmas balls stuck on the ends of others.

Slowly, as the New Year came and went, the out of place decorations disappeared and I forgot all about my convoluted opinions on the subject. That is....until the next Christmas!

The coming of the second Christmas in the desert found us arriving a month well before the Holiday. Bathing suits and sun tan oil were the routine of the day until one strange day, out of the blue, lights appeared on my neighbors house. There it was, in the middle of the desert....... a gingerbread house.

Complete with a mailbox that opened and closed automatically, the unique decoration contained of all things, a letter to Santa. Their backyard was also a riot of colored lights and a sign proclaiming it to be of all things, The North Pole! Suffice it to say that this house has won the annual community decorating contest for two years running.

Somehow though, it must have inspired me for a made a feeble attempt to decorate by hanging a stocking on our front door. This Christmas I even hung a second stocking on the back door. And while I still have not embraced the idea of a decorated tree, I did concede to putting out a 12" tall metal fire tree with a a Santa standing next to it. And....shhh.....please don't tell anyone this but, I have really come to enjoy the decorated golf cart parade lead by a large and fancy local firetruck, that goes right by my house every year.

Who knows, maybe next year I'll decorate our cart and enter the parade!
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