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My First Weekend in Arizona

I got in a week ago (boy, it does not seem like it was that long ago!). The trip was not the best, we left Melbourne after sitting on the runway for 30 minutes to arrive in Atlanta and almost miss my flight; then we sat on the runway for almost an hour to arrive in Phoenix about 30 minutes late. I was starved by the time I got here and exhausted, a young teen spent her trip with the table down and kept wiggling as she tried to find a comfortable spot. Never happened. .. . not the whole trip!

On Friday night Whit and John took me to Claim Jumper to have dinner with my long time friend Mary, and her daughter. Great food, even better drinks! Their dessert menu sends you in to sugar shock without even taking a bite; they have a chocolate cake/chocolate frosting desert that Whit ordered that just blew my mind. The cake must stand about 12 inches in height and they give you a nice wedge - that they slid into a specially made to-go box because it is so massive. A bit much for me, I went for the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. I was able to satiate my sweet desire on three separate occassions it was so big! Honestly though, the food was amazing here, I would certainly go back there again. What I truly liked about the place was their delicious large portions (two meals in one!) and the ability to sit, chat and not be pushed out the door. It was a VERY nice way to start my weekend and my stay here in Arizona.

Whit worked all weekend so I took Monday off as she was off for the day. We took a day trip over to the Desert Botanical Garden and walked around for a few hours. Aside from it being incredibily hot (unseasonably, just like every where else this year), we wandered around and I was able to take some great shots using Whit's camera. Yes... Once again I left my camera at home and did not bring it. Yes. . . stupid move on my part; I did not expect to be doing any sight seeing and I really had no room! I brought Whit some baby stuff that took up all my extra space

The admission is a bit pricey; I paid $51 for both Whit and I and tickets into their Butterfly Garden. If we could have weathered the weather, we might have felt like we got our monies worth but certainly an expensive afternoon. Our first stop? The butterfly garden of course!

The butterfly garden is in a contained area and encompasses a relatively small space so your opportunity to get up close and personal with the butterflies is ever present. Aside from the usual assortment of butterfly attracting plants they also had several bird baths outfitted with slices of citrus to help attract the butterflies. I did not know that butterflies like citrus! As you will see when you visit the album, they love, love citrus!

Not only does the variety of the plants provide a beautiful array of colors this time of year, but the Artist Dale Chihuly provides a unique compliment of color by way of glass sculptures that can be found throughout the park. Chihuly has works in over 200 museum collections world wide, has been the recipient of many awards including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Make sure you check out the album for a peek at some of his work.

I plan on going back when Whitney is not pregnant and the temps are a little less harsh. The gardens include a Discovery Loop Trail that teaches about the unique characteristics of desert plants around the world; a Plants & People Trail that teaches about how the Sonoran Desert plants have been used for food, fiber, medicine and other purposes; the Sonoran Desert Nature Trail Loop trail which features dramatic vistas of distant mountains and up-close views of the surrounding desert; a Center For Desert Living Trail that showcases the ideas and strategies that demonstrate useful, sustainable and harmonious ways to work with nature in a desert environment and; last but not least, the Harriet K Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop trail to help you discover the beauty, color and diversity of wildflowres in the desert and how they play a role in the desert's ecosystem. The colors are breathtaking!

I wish I had brought my camera with me but still managed to get some great shots. A macro lense would have made some of these images over the top, but I think I got a few that are pretty spectacular. If I can find the time I may crop a few while I am here and get them ready to be printed when I return home. I am thinking that some of these images in the glass-only frames might look pretty nice in the area above my windows and below the ceiling. Take a minute to check out the album and enjoy the view.

If you are in the Phoenix area and can spare the day, this is a MUST see. The entrance fee will seem less expensive when you spend a bit more time there then I was able to. Bring your fluids with you although there are several places to purchase beverages as well as eat.