1.3_Lumi 2Last Thursday night, December 19th, the last storm we ever expected in Phoenix was a rainstorm. We had in hand  tough-to-get tickets for all of us (six plus a stroller with baby) to spend an illuminating evening enjoying the luminaries, with music too, in the Desert Botanical Garden.

rainy-2183As we drove to the Garden it began to drizzle. By the time we arrived, it was pouring. We could never figure out if the light show was cancelled as there were as many cars leaving as were arriving.

1.3 Lumi_4 headerThe parking attendants, somewhat protected in rain gear,  were guiding the traffic both ways, in and out of the Garden. I waved to one of them, as the rain pelleted my face, and asked, “What do we do?” He said, “Call them tomorrow at 8AM. They will exchange your tickets.”

rain cloudsYup, it was raining torrents. And I got soaked. Umbrellas would not have made a difference. I called right then and left a message. Good thing, because calling in the morning was not a pushover. But they called me, and connected me to the correct agent. I was on hold for thirty minutes to discuss my plight. Finally, once she figured out who I was, I got my money back. But honestly, we were all so disappointed. When will we ever go? Phoenix is far away, and this is a once a year Christmas celebration. I guess our Phoenix family can go sometime, but for Tom and me, nah, won’t happen.

1.3 Lumi_2 headerI had planned to take spectacular night pictures. Now, the only pictures I have to share comes from them.

The Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ

As the Desert Botanical Garden celebrates its 75th anniversary, we invite you to join us this holiday season as we bring Las Noches de las Luminarias and Chihuly in the Garden together for 31 fabulous nights.

Each night of Luminaria, the Garden will come to life with the soft glow from more than 8,000 hand lit Luminaria bags, thousands of white twinkle lights and Chihuly’s vibrant works of art. As you walk the paths with a warm cup of cider, the sounds of hand bells ringing and Dickens Carolers singing remind you of what the season is all about. Make plans with family and friends to attend this year’s very special Las Noches de las Luminarias.

The bell

The bell

Wishing for your good health and happiness in the New Year.

How was your Christmas Day?



Everywhere you go in Phoenix, you will find no snow on the ground. For snow you have to go to the mountains. Choices, it’s good to have choices. Do you snow ski?

But oh, the sand. It is the desert after all. Sand underfoot, sand in your shoes, sand in your car. And when there are sandstorms it gets in your mouth, your eyes, your hair, everywhere. I love the tepid temperatures of sandy Phoenix, and the thorny plants, the florals, the cactus. It is beautifulP1080010P1080015.

There is a wonderful zoo and the botanical gardens to visit where Chihuly art glass abounds. It would be good to spend those few months of the snowy East in Phoenix.P1080052

Look for more next week.

Have you been to the desert? Have you been to Phoenix?



My red box

My red box in my studio. This one is a table desk divider too!

I am addicted to boxes, all kinds, all shapes, all designs and empty of course. How can anyone function without boxes? In my boxes I keep lists, neighbors phone numbers, my fireplace ignitor, kaleidoscope (a small one), special pictures, coasters, my cell phone, my little Panasonic camera, anything you want handy, but not on a table or counter, and money, what about all that change, in the box it goes. In fact, like my colleague Paula Sharon, I see ‘things’ as dust collectors. But I love those ‘things’. My boxes can help with those accessories. Put them out, put them away, in the box, fun to change. I buy boxes to give as gifts, who doesn’t need a box, or want a box? Then when you visit whoever you gave your box to, you get to enjoy your gift box again. I sometimes make a box to organize my closets. Let’s say when you can’t find the perfect fit for a drawer or closet, why not make one? It’s in my DNA, my mother was OCD. I learned from the best.

Here, I share a few Christmas decorations .

The ArrangmentThe Arrangement (at our front door)


Christmas CactusChristmas Cactus


The BellThe Bell

Sparkle of ChristmasChristmas tree sparkle

Merry Christmas!

Picture boxMy bigger box. Perfect for sheet music, harmonicas, my guitar picks and my capo

I even like those flat cardboard boxes with handles. The ones we get at Costco to carry our goods to our car and into the house. We just bought the most fantastic wood box to hold our fatwood stiks for our wood stove. We will always keep fatwood in it because we use them all winter long. We’ll put it away in the summer, then be pleased to see it again come November.

Our wood stove, keeps the house warmBest box of all, our wood stove keeps us warm all winter. We keep wood in it. Think you can toast marshmallows or roast chestnuts in it?

Fatwood box from LL Bean (filled with fatwood)Fatwood Box

This post was inspired by Author Thea Devine’s Wednesday blog “The Red Box” at the Seven Scribes.

Do you have your own box story?



Lord & Taylor history of the US Post Officexmas lord&taylorpostoffice01. My Historic Romance, still being written, takes place in this era of major movement.

The Lord & Taylor xmas l&Tpostoffice022004 holiday windows along Fifth Avenue feature scenes depicting the history of the United States Postal Service.



1835 – Mississippi River, MO: Steamboats traveling on U.S. rivers became important in transporting mail to local postmasters.xmas l&t postoffice03 docking







Local postmasters received mail within three hours of the ships docking.xmas l&t postoffice04stagec





The Continental Congress encouraged the use of stagecoaches to transport mail.




xmas l&tpostoffice05 growth of stagec


The use of stagecoaches to transport mail stimulated the growth of stagecoach lines.

xmas l&Tpostoffice06rr interior


As the railroad expanded, railroad lines were designated as postal routes.


xmas l&t postoffice07rr mailsort



Mail was sorted by route agents at many railroad stations.





xmas l&t postoffice08snow



Scheduled airmail began providing service in 1918. Pilots flew without navigation instruments.


xmas l&tpostoffice09residents




In cities where postage income would cover the cost, free delivery was provided to residents.



xmas l&tpostoffice10delivery


City delivery required that Americans use street addresses on their letters for the first time.


The above were the Lord & Taylor 2004 windows along Fifty Avenue, New York City.

This link will give you more history about Lord & Taylor windows: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/deliver-the-joy-lord–taylor-holiday-windows-to-unveil-history-of-delivery-and-us-postal-service-holiday-ornaments-stamps-75375762.html (To view, copy and paste the link in your browser)

Read some about Christmas:

The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Christmas music and caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.


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