The Phoenix UFO blog I posted yesterday, was a point of interest for all you Sci-fi fans. Today my blog is about the Phoenix my kids live in. I found poky mountains, fine funky restaurants and fantastic family, and just like home in Connecticut, yellow dust, all in one week.

Phoenix has always been hot, hot, hot in the summer, that’s a given, but the air you breathe was pretty clean and had none or little pollen and most important, no humidity, whew. Allergy and arthritis sufferers moved to Phoenix for relief. Gone are those days. Phoenix is overpopulated. With overpopulation came trees and grasses, and well, you know . . . yellow dust, AKA pollen.

Still, you can’t miss the beauty and mystery of this place. No other like it. In spite of the yellow atmosphere, the skies at dusk are gorgeous. Mountains, poky and black, hiding buried treasures in there somewhere, so different from the green mountains in the Northeast.

The bridges that cross the highways have fences repeating the shapes of those poky mountains. Highways have sound barrier walls, tall, carved and some hand-painted with animals.

Entrance ramps have traffic lights permitting one car at a time. I couldn’t stand that with my background growing up in Brooklyn, but no one there knows about the New York minute. Maybe they did, but as residents, you do slow down far, far, outside of the big Apple. Stop laughing, I’m not kidding.

My daughter-in-law, Andrea, took me to an authentic Mexican restaurant, Barrios Cafe. Tiny, filled with diners. The food was 5-star, from cocktails to dessert. Best Mexican food I ever had. They were gracious—the service outstanding. It seems like there are Mexican restaurants on every corner. Andrea said about several we passed, “That place has good Mexican food, but it’s Americanized.” All the restaurants we visited were excellent, but Barrio Cafe was the best.

We visited the Musical Instruments Museum, AKA MIM. Instruments from the beginning of time to now, even the recycled orchestra. MIM was by far the best of Phoenix.Be sure to watch this about the recycled orchestra:

Our accommodations were the best. Marriott Canyon Villas, way to go. Always close to perfect. Even though we were there for family, Marriott is the easiest for us. The JW Marriott, down the road apiece, has the ‘River pool’ a river all want to play in, I’m no exception. Sitting in a big tube and floating down the river . . . not too shabby.

Coming home was the toughest part of the trip. Ever take the red-eye? Ugh. You feel fine when boarding, exhaustion when debarking. Can hardly catch a wink. The red eye boards at 10:30 p.m. With the three-hour time difference, we landed at 6 a.m. I have heard that it’s the change from the dark to the light, not the other way, that causes the mess-up. It took three days to realize, yes, I am alive.

When we were there temperatures ranged up to 105 degrees. We carried water everywhere we went and drank lots. The highest recorded temp–Phoenix mark of 122°, set on June 26, 1990. Do you know how hot that is?



We just returned from Phoenix, Arizona. When we were there, we heard about UFOs, so here’s the scoop.

Drawing of Phoenix Lights and accompanying form

Drawing of Phoenix Lights and accompanying form

A drawing of the object created by witness Tim Ley appeared in USA Today.

The Phoenix Lights (also identified as “Lights over Phoenix“) was a UFO sighting which occurred in Phoenix, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico on Thursday, March 13, 1997.

Lights of varying descriptions were reported by thousands of people between 19:30 and 22:30 MST, in a space of about 300 miles (480 km), from the Nevada line, through Phoenix, to the edge of Tucson.

There were allegedly two distinct events involved in the incident: a triangular formation of lights seen to pass over the state, and a series of stationary lights seen in the Phoenix area. The United States Air Force later identified the second group of lights as flares dropped by A-10 Warthog aircraft that were on training exercises at the Barry Goldwater Range in southwest Arizona.

Witnesses claim to have observed a huge V-shaped (several football field sized), coherently-moving dark UFO (stars would disappear behind the object and reappear as it passed by), producing no sound, and containing five spherical lights or possibly light-emitting engines. Fife Symington, the governor at the time, was one witness to this incident. As governor he ridiculed the idea of alien origin, but several years later he called the lights he saw “otherworldly” after admitting he saw a similar UFO.

Recently, a mysterious formation of lights has been spotted in the sky over Phoenix, catching the attention of UFO watchers who point out the incident’s dramatic similarity to the iconic 1997 UFO sighting.

The strange lights were observed on February 2 and 3, with independent videos of each incident making their way online. On February 2, a group of three men were walking in the Sunnyslope area of Phoenix when they noticed the strange array of lights hanging over the horizon. The trio were able to film the inexplicable UFO, yet from a distance, little detail is evident.

On February 3, witnesses in the Goodyear area noticed a similar horizontal array of eight lights in the sky, and recorded the UFO from their car. The group described the strange object as a craft, with one occupant of the vehicle asserting near the end of the footage that it looked like a “huge circle.”

“I saw this UFO while driving. It was moving south over the Estrella Mountains. The lights were a fiery color. What is not visible in the video is the shape of the craft and the massive size of it. After it disappeared we continued to drive in the direction it was headed, eventually driving behind the mountain but saw nothing.”

Media outlets have suggested that the strange lights may be the result of flares or a formation of drones. Some have alluded to the idea that the lights may also be connected to aircraft, and note the similarity of the incident to a mass sighting in Houston last August, when aerial lights caused a flood of UFO videos and images on social media. But none of this has been proven.

The above is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seriously! We didn’t see any UFOs when we were there. But our grandchildren are stars!


Have you ever witnessed a UFO? What do you think? Are there others besides us? Someplace else?



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?



Wrigley Estate In Phoenix, Arizona. In Arizona, it’s all about the mountains.

Wrigley was famous for giving us the tantalizing chewing gum. He gave us culture and influenced the character of Phoenix, Arizona with his presence and architecture.

Wriggley rooftops. Arizona rooftops look like Portugal rooftops.

The Wrigley Mansion was built by chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley, Jr., as a 50th wedding anniversary gift for his wife Ada. They named it “La Colina Solana,” meaning the sunny hill. After enjoying his new home only a few times, Wrigley fell ill and died there.

The custom, in the late 19th and early 20th century, for the big money men, were to build small country homes, this one 16,850 square feet. Check out the number of rooms.

The Wrigley’s winter cottage was the smallest Wrigley house, covering 16,850 square feet, with 24 rooms and 17 bathrooms.

After Wrigley’s death, the house passed through several owners, serving for a time as extra space for the Arizona Biltmore and then as an exclusive, private club. Eventually, local millionaire George Hormel bought the house. An egalitarian sort, Hormel wanted everyone to be able to enjoy it. The Wrigley Mansion is required to operate as a private club because of zoning restrictions, but to allow everyone to enjoy it, he set the annual dues at only ten dollars, which are donated to local charities. The dues can be paid in advance or at the door.

The Wrigley Mansion is located on a hill just above the Arizona Biltmore, and they offer tours twice a day. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance for all tours.

Today, the Wrigley Mansion is used mostly for events and weddings, but they also serve dinner on weekends and Sunday brunch, and the bar is open on Friday and Saturday evenings. We recommend getting there shortly before sunset and snagging a table on the balcony for some of the best views in the city.

Other Wrigley Houses

Wrigley also owned houses in other places. His primary residence in Chicago is used mostly for filming these days and his Pasadena house (bought so his wife Ada could watch the Rose Parade in comfort) is now the headquarters of the Tournament of Roses. His Catalina Island house operates as a high-end bed and breakfast called the Inn on Mt. Ada. His fourth home was in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Getting to the Wrigley Mansion

Wrigley Mansion
2501 East Telawa Trail
Phoenix, AZ

Ninety-three degrees and no humidity. Great for swimming and suntanning.

Last week, we were in Phoenix. We are treated with a visit to Phoenix, now and then, to visit our children. The weather was gorgeous, everyday. We swam. Our grandkids prompted and pushed us on the water slide. Unexpected fun.

Early evening sunset in Arizona.

Evenings with family.

From New England to the Southwest. Would you go in the winter, spring, summer or fall? What’s your guess? If you had a choice, would you choose the southwest or the southeast?

Wrigley Mansion info from

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