Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tucson Botanical Gardens Butterfly Magic

Tucson Botanical Gardens Butterfly Magic is awesome because there are so many butterflies in such a small space. It was especially fun for me as a photographer because the photo ops just don't stop. The light was perfect. Wear something bright, preferably a flower print if you really want to attract these winged darlings, but don't forget to double check that none of them are taking a ride out of the exhibit - on you.

The Catalina Highway

Andrew and Frida take in the view from Windy Point Vista off The Catalina Highway.

Tucson Sunsets

Tucson sunsets are always amazing. Say goodbye to the old year by catching a sunset at Gates Pass or even better, at Signal Hill. It is completely worth it every time. Not to mention, when you turn around and drive back into the city, the night lights are pretty spectacular.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas in Tucson

Christmas in Tucson is awesome. I didn't like it the first time - I was too used to the snow and cold and the manic brand of Winter Holiday traditions that permeates the Midwest. Tucson does everything a little more relaxed, including Christmas. (*Please note that although I respect and disrespect all religious traditions equally, I come from a Christian family tradition so the winter holiday I have been most exposed to and have my psyche most enmeshed with is Christmas.)

I like Tucson's arms length approach to Christmas because it allows you to decide for your self what you want out this freaking season anyway. Do you want to overspend on presents for people who don't care enough to give you anything? Send impersonal cards to nearly 100 people? Overeat and battle seasonal depression disorder with chocolate? Act pleased to spend time with people you barely like? And let's not forget my personal favorite: a nice whopping serving of religious guilt. I don't believe in half the things most churchgoers do. I can't really call myself Christian because according to most of them, I am not one. But the truth is I don't need anybody else's labels and practices to be tight with God. Even so, that doesn't mean I don't feel the pressure to conform.

Anyway, enough Christmas theory. I'm not here to give Christmas a bad wrap. The point of this post is to let you in on my favorite Tucson Christmas traditions. Enjoy!

The Tucson Downtown Parade of Lights and Festival - Andrew, Frida, and friends sat outside at Enoteca to watch the parade go by over dinner and wine for the first time this year. The whole experience had a unique downtown Tucson feel, which is hard to describe since downtown Tucson is so weird (but good weird) - especially for me after living in Chicago.

Tucson Botanical Gardens Luminaria - Andrew and I also went to this event for the first time this year. The lights are lovely (for lack of a more fitting, less old-fashioned word) and just strolling around with hot cider, listening to the musical acts is romantic and festive. I really liked the cute old white white hairs singing a capella and the bagpipes. The toy trains were fun, too.

Winterhaven Festival of Lights - Unfortunately, due to Andrew's cold our plans to attend fell through, but I really want to take a hayride through Winterhaven next year, especially to cancel out the negative act of some person who decided to drive a pick up truck through Winterhaven lawn decorations this year. Whoever you are, that was mean.

Reid Park Zoo Lights - This was also part of double date plans that got canceled, but next year I'm there!

Feel free to add your own favorite Christmas in Tucson events and traditions!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

I always, always, always enjoy going to The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. I don't care that it is a major tourist spot nearly smothered in visors, blue blockers and pancake butt bermudas. Nothing keeps me from feeling awe at the magic of the wildlife of this desert. To know that they are of this land and I am now of this land makes me feel a mystical bond. Okay, I know that sounds so hyper romantic. I mean, they are in a zoo, basically, but this zoo is more natural. In fact it's the only zoo I can swallow. It's actually peaceful.

I suppose the only way for me to kind of explain why this place is special to me is embodied by the website my fiancee and I made together in 2005. He wrote the code and I wrote the text and helped design it. View Un Tour Azteca del Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. If you can read Spanish you'll be impressed.