Friday, April 15, 2011

Phoenix, Day Two and Three

The day began...(although this is how I see myself, I don't think others do in quite the same way) when I had to go to breakfast in my yoga pants. It's OK to wear yoga pants on the way to and from yoga but it is not OK, for me, to wear them to an gathering of egg heads before they've had their coffee. (both google images)

I was afraid I would be mistaken for the server, or their wives (thankfully, I don't yet resemble a husband) or possibly the coffee urn itself. So I skittered to a table with my imported food (I said I would let that go, didn't I) and found that I had plunked my fanny down with last night's key note speaker and the chair of the breakfast session and the person who had run the pre-conference workshop. Who was I, they wanted to know? “Oh, I'm not applicable” I said. “My name tag says n/a under my name, so just ignore me while I have a Chelsea bun.” That stumped them.

On the other hand, that stumped them. Conversation didn't exactly get shiny after that, but the nice young man who sat down a bit after that blunder into humour before coffee hadn't heard me. We had a very nice chat about asbestos and policy, health research and community investment in revitalization relative to their personal health. Bet you all wish you had been there!

My beer soaked pants, shirt, shawl and bra from last night are all off to the laundromat. Another strike against personal sustainable practice, my clothes are being dry cleaned. Hopefully, they will be done in time for the baseball game where I plan to have a beer, and drink it all this time, along with a health ruining hotdog. This trip is one fun and crazy choice after another.

At lunchtime, we headed out to Talliesan West, the building that Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built for himself and wife number three or four, Olga Vana. Above you see the entry courtyard. The sun is blistering if you are a person of very pale skin. Both Steve and I suffer in the sun and the tour was a bit difficult in those terms. However the tour guide was very knowledgeable and the buildings very interesting. Certain moments were even charming.

This is the Garden Room. Originally, the room had no glass at all and the roof was made of canvas slats. Good old Frankie changed the roof 10 times before he finally decided on the first one. Those of you who keep up with the antics of our kitchen gazebo at the camp might realize that means a precedent has been set and Steve has 7 roofs left to do on that building before he has to stop. While Steve found the room just a joyful place to be, he was pretty excited by this news also.

This is a lovely room. It's intention was for the guests and workers at Talliesen to have a place to gather when the day was over. The fireplace was added later. The gang were there only in winter (a Nova Scotian summer) so some heat trapping was needed. It still turned hot at times so a covered roof was essential. The windows were added many years later.

This is the garden it overlooks. The steps lead up to the private quarters of Olga and Frankie.

This is Frankie's room.

I don't know, I stopped listening. I was taking pictures of anything with a corner or a stone and seeking out the shade. I think it was a good place to visit, a bit precious, but interesting walls and rooms.

This photo was taken towards the end of the trip when we were all scooched up into the sliver of shade. I don't have a bird book with me, I think it might be a mocking bird, but anyone who knows these things should write back with the right answer.

Since this is a historical conference, in the interests of historical accuracy vs narrative, the clothes came back, each item on it's own hanger with its individual plastic sleeve. The bra and hankie each in their own plastic baggie attached to a hanger and the jeans are starched. My arse noticed the starch.

We went for drinks and met up with the Canadian contingent. The area we met in had been reserved for the "University of Ontario". Ontario was scratched out by a witty Canadian and then read, "University of Cannucks". Steve and I trotted off to the baseball game with two other Cannucks. The Arizona Diamond Backs vs the San Fransisco Giants. Steve has those photos on his camera and since he is supposed to be working here, as opposed to meeting my every whim, the photos will have to wait. (grumpy moment) But it is a great stadium here. We loved it. The hotdogs and beer were awful. We arrived at the moment that the Diamond Backs, or maybe the Giants hit a 3 run homer. I never did get around to identifying which team was which. Exactly what we wanted.

This morning at 7:30, we caught a cab to the Desert Botanical Gardens and they are amazing. Just out of this world. And my camera battery died. I will do a post, hopefully tomorrow, about that day trip. The butterfly pavillion is so beautiful I nearly cried. I love butterflies and they were gorgeous. In the meantime.....

As you come up the main approach to the admission gate, these three yucca sort of plants are made of hundreds of fronds of glass by Dale Chihuly. They glisten and are magical.

Below is shot of one of the two mountain tops that bracket the gardens. One is made of a sediment that breaks down with erosion, making it possible for plant life to establish itself. the other has a kind of bitter granite that won't break down and where there is soil collection, it just remains barren

The growth you see is at the foot of the mountain, about two miles away. The next photo is of the mountain top that has growth. The branchy-out cactus are federally protected and should not be moved. I wouldn't want to move one of these beasties. All the cactusii are very prickly. We touched one or two of the prickly bushes and the thorns can be so long and hard that it is possible to see why they would be used in traps. Once on, you don't get off.

The rest of the photos will have to wait until I can get Steve to send me them from his camera. There was a lovely oasis with its several bull frogs (bull frogs in a desert!) the butterflies were so wonderful and there were some really clever plantings of different desert plants. The battery on mine is now fully charged, the memory increased and we are off to the Grand Canon at 7:30 sharp tomorrow morning.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there! Wonderful to follow your adventures. But I cried about the beer. And then about the starched jeans. I have posted by first entry in my blog!
    "The Bland Adventure"
    Can't wait to chat about your trip and the one to come.