Category Archives: Slideshows

#ALP: Family Album

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#ALP: Family Album

How do you keep your family photos? Scrapbook, shoe box, framed on the mantel? Digitally on your computer? On a website? On the cloud? What are the advantages or disadvantages to your method?

  • Use this prompt any way you wish—for a poem, memoir, painting, short story, photograph, no limits. Enjoy!
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Creative Juice #32

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Creative Juice #32

Thirteen articles to ponder.

Crossing A Mountain Off My List

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Crossing A Mountain Off My List

 

Butte—an isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top (similar to but narrower than a mesa).

When we were house hunting in Arizona in the summer of 1988, one of the sights we saw was a mountain with a big A on it, just a stone’s throw from Arizona State University. The A is supposed to be yellow (ASU’s colors are maroon and gold), but we’ve seen it every color of the rainbow (including plaid), even though unauthorized personnel are forbidden from painting it.

Hayden Butte

Found on Yelp.com posted by Ron G.

We moved to “the Valley of the Sun” (the greater Phoenix metropolitan area) in August of that year, and one of the things I looked forward to doing was hiking A Mountain, also known by Tempe Butte or its official name, Hayden Butte.

Of course, as soon as we moved into our new house, I became pregnant with our fifth child. And other aspects of life intruded. And I never got around to it. But I kept it in mind as something I wanted to do someday.

When I started this blog last year, I thought it would be fun to post photographs taken from the top of A Mountain. I could cross one item off my bucket list and get a good workout in addition to gathering content for the blog. And yet, every time I planned to do it, I got derailed. It was too hot. Hubby needed my car. It was raining. My hip hurt.

Add to that my husband’s suspicions that I wasn’t up to the job. I am a 63-year-old lady with osteoarthritis, after all. And I am not a hiker.

But when Wednesday, December 30, 2015 dawned, there wasn’t a single good reason not to try it.

Parking in downtown Tempe is a challenge, so to be on the safe side, I used a Park & Ride lot and took the light rail to the foot of Hayden Butte. (I actually saw some unused metered parking spaces in the Sun Devil Stadium lot next door, but that’s okay.)

Knowing my physical limitations, I gave myself permission not to force myself to climb to the very top. Yet I got pretty close. Several times I thought I was almost there, just to crest a rise and discover I had another hundred feet to go. Part of the path was made of steps created with railroad ties; another part was paved in asphalt; another part was concrete stairs; another part was rock, at jagged angles (the one spot where I almost fell). When I came to a second rock section close to the top, I pronounced myself high enough.

Here are some of the photographs I took (click on individual images to enlarge and see captions):

 

Mesa Public Art Slideshow

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Mesa Public Art Slideshow

Last week I promised to post some of the pictures of public art that I photographed when I took the Phoenix Metro Light Rail to Mesa, AZ.

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Light Rail to Mesa Slideshow

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Light Rail to Mesa Slideshow

Today marks the 100th post on ARHtistic License. How are we doing? Please take the ARHtistic License 3 Month Anniversary Survey to let us know your thoughts (link at the end of this article). Thanks so much!

I have mixed feelings about the Phoenix Valley Metro Light Rail system. Over a billion dollars to build new infrastructure seems to me like a waste of money. You could buy a lot of busses with that cash and hire many more drivers to expand needed routes in the bus system on roads that already exist. However, I was outvoted, and construction started in March, 2005; operation began on December 27, 2008.DSC00325

The light rail connects Phoenix, Tempe, and a tiny part of West Mesa. Though I’ve hardly ever used it, two of my children utilized it to get to school. For my daughter, a yearly rail pass was a fraction of the cost of a parking permit at Arizona State University.

Recently, the eastern end of the rail line was extended 3 miles into Mesa, finally reaching its vibrant arts district. Mesa was named by Money magazine in their October 2015 issue as one of the five best “big” cities to live in the country, hitting it out of the park for the Southwest. (Mesa has a population of 461,000; not really my idea of a big city, but what do I know?)DSC00385

I decided to check out the light rail by taking it into Mesa. A single ride on the light rail costs $2, an all-day pass $4. It took me several tries to buy a pass at the kiosk. Technology 3, Andrea 1.

The light rail is bicycle friendly, and a lot of passengers brought their bikes along.

I’ve always wondered how the train turns around at the end of the line, so I rode all the way to the eastern end. I wasn’t sure where that would be, and I was daydreaming, so I didn’t notice when the scrolling message board on the train stopped functioning and almost everyone got off. After a while, I became aware that we hadn’t resumed moving. There were now only two other people on the train besides me. Two men. At first, I wasn’t concerned, but as time passed, I felt unprotected and wondered if I had made a very bad decision by not disembarking.DSC00327

About fifteen minutes later, more passengers started getting on the train, and a driver arrived. He took his position in the “cockpit” behind me. (There is a driver’s compartment at each end of the train. He sits in the eastern-facing one to drive east, and in the western-facing one to drive west.) A few minutes later, the train started in reverse (that is, reverse from the first part of my trip, but forward for the return part). Shortly afterward, it came to a switching point and switched tracks to the west-bound one, easy peasy. No turning required—mystery solved.

In Mesa, the light rail runs along Main Street, the historic downtown area, home to quaint, quirky, and quality shops, restaurants, and attractions. I got off at the Center Street station, located right by the Mesa Center for the Arts, venue for concerts, plays, and performances of all kinds, art lessons, and an art museum. Then I headed west along Main Street and looked at some of the shops. At MacDonald Street I turned north to the Arizona Museum of Natural History. (I didn’t go in, but will someday soon, and I’ll post about it then.) After that, I walked back to Main Street and continued my trek to the Country Club station, where I got back on the train and headed home. This is what I saw along the way:

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Next Saturday I’ll post a slideshow of public art in Mesa.

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Morning Walk Slideshow #2

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Morning Walk Slideshow #2

One August morning I went out to take photographs of the footbridge over the canal near my house. On the way I walked through Redden Park. In my town, there is a public park next to every elementary school.

Then on to the canal. The greater Phoenix metropolitan area gets its water from mountain reservoirs through a network of canals based on ones that were built by the Hohokam people 2,000 years ago. An amazing engineering feat built without modern technology, the entire community, young and old, scooped up earth with shells and hauled it away in baskets.

The canals are operated by the Salt River Project, part government agency and part utility company. Either SRP or the city maintains recreational paths along the canals, which residents use for jogging and biking.

On the way home through my beautiful neighborhood, I stopped to admire stuff.

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Morning Walk Slideshow

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Morning Walk Slideshow

Recently I took a walk with the express purpose of photographing trees and doorways. I didn’t get many doorways, though. It feels a little creepy aiming your camera at your neighbor’s front door. Besides, I got distracted by peoples’ landscaping. I live in a particularly charming late 70s-early 80s development.

I used my daughter’s old Sony Cyber-shot, which is the best camera in the house. However, the display is really hard to see in the bright Arizona sunlight, so I had to just point and hope I was framing my shot well. Thank God for cropping.

I took 50 pictures before my battery died. Here are the best ones. Sorry, I don’t know the names of all the flowers.

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