Phoenix Flora

photo 2 (95)At the beginning of my summer break, my children and I accompanied my husband on a business trip to Phoenix, Arizona in the United States. On our first day there, the children and I took a walk around the hotel and its environs. As I expected, we saw a variety of cactus-like plants in the flower beds. Some I had not seen before and were interesting to look at. We also saw interesting looking insects buzzing around the plants but they were too fast to capture in a picture.

photo 1 (95)Some of the cacti I recognised from South Africa. These were surrounded by small yellow flowers in the bed (these I had not seen before). I noticed as well that the bed was covered in small stones – probably to help keep the moisture in the soil. The look definitely added a desert-like feel to the arrangement – as did the overwhelming heat. The heat was dry and was preferable to the humidity we experience in Toronto.

photo 4 (60)What I did not expect to see in Phoenix were the palm trees that line many walkways. Palm trees make me think of warm islands and ocean beaches; not of deserts and large cities. I would expect to see these plants in a place like Miami; not in a place situated in Arizona. I did learn later that these trees are not indigenous to this southern state in America.

photo 3 (76)We enjoyed our walk but were eager to go back to our air-conditioned room, change into our swimsuits, and go to the pool for a refreshing swim. With the temperatures above 40 degrees centigrade, it was advised that we avoid visiting the botanical gardens. We took the advice and preferred to leave that visit for another time. We did have a taste of the flora, though, on our walk.

cees-fun-fotoDo you enjoy looking at desert flora?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. The prompt for this week is sense of seeing.)

Reading Habit

One habit I am never willing to forgo is my reading habit. This habit I developed as a young child who spent many pleasurable hours within the stories created by a range of authors. As an adult, a trip to the library means coming home with more than one book.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Result of library visit. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Reading means that I am never alone – even when I am the only person at home, or the only one awake in the household. If I am alone at breakfast time, company is often found within the pages of a book.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Reading while eating. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

This is a habit I learned from my parents – and it is one my girls have learned from me. Reading while eating is a habit I would find difficult to break.

cees-fun-fotoDo you have a reading habit?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. The prompt for this week is habit.)

Burned Apartment

The harsh sound of the fire alarm often echoes in our building, the noise painful and so loud it hurts the eardrums. A few years ago when the fire alarm went off, the cause was a real fire and not a false alarm.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Result of a fire. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The smoke travelled far up into the building and its scent lingered for days. The fire completely gutted the apartment, leaving nothing in its wake.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Burned apartment. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The cause of the fire was due to carelessness. Someone flicked the butt of their cigarette off the edge of their balcony. The cigarette butt fell onto one of the mattresses that someone had thrown away and placed next to the garbage bins down below. The mattress caught alight and the fire spread to the apartment above.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
From the bottom up. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My heart went out to the people who lived in the suite above the dumpsters for they lost everything.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Desolate. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As a result of the fire, the landlord moved the position of the dumping area. Each day the workers move the furniture that has been thrown away to a distance beyond the walls of the building. Notices continue to be placed in our letterboxes reminding us not to throw things of the balcony. Sometimes I think a visual reminder needs to be added.

Have you been a victim of a fire?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Photography prompt: fire/season of summer)

A Communal Garden

As soon as the days begin to warm in spring and the forecast indicates no cold spells, landscapers come in to plant flowers in the communal garden of the building I live in.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A hanging basket. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As the trees become green and the flowers take hold, the garden becomes a haven in the city.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
View of a communal garden. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

And sometimes you may even come upon one of nature’s shy creatures who scamper away as soon as you are seen.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A chipmunk sighting. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The start of spring brings budding flowers and colour to our world after the grey, browns and whites of winter. An array of colour and beauty which is enjoyed even more during the summer.

Do you enjoy spring and summer gardens?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge prompt: wood/season of spring)

Airport Angles

When we stopped over at the Charles de Gaulle airport from South Africa a few years ago, I noticed were a lot of metal angles in the new section of the airport.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Looking out a planes. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The angles were evident when we looked outside to do a little plane watching.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Plane watching. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

We had not seen a view like this at another airport. It looked very modern with all the glass and metal that had been used.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The ceiling. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Even the angles of the ceiling showcased the trusses. Though, of course, some were covered with billboards:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
An airport billboard. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

We did not enjoy our stopover in this French airport: there was not much to do except sit and wait. We read a little and ate a snack. Luckily the wait was only five hours – then we boarded the plane for the next stage of our journey.

Have you visited any interesting airports?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge)

Spring Daffodils

As you all know, it was my daughter’s birthday party last Saturday and our living room was filled with the sound of teenage voices. Some of these girls have been friends with my daughter for many years and I have enjoyed seeing them grow up together. As they come each year to celebrate, I try to send them home each time with a little something different. “Loot bags” have contained items such as a picture book, a set of pens and crayons, costume jewellery, hair clips, and last year even a novel. I decided to go with something completely different this year – a pot of flowers.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Loot Bags ready to go. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I went to the nursery and decided on mini daffodils. They looked bright and suggested the beauty of spring. It is still a little cold at the moment so I thought it would be a good idea to bring the warmth of the season into each young girl’s room.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Mini Daffodils. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The gifts were taken with smiles of pleasure. I did not, however, forget about my home. The few extra pots I had bought, I transferred into a bigger pot and put on my coffee table. We now have a little yellow brightness in our living room to enjoy each day.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Planted mini Daffodils. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The sight of Daffodils always reminds me of Wordsworth’s poem, I wandered lonely as a Cloud, that I read when I was in high school: 

I wandered lonely as a Cloud

That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: –
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gaz’d – and gaz’d – but little thought
What wealth the shew to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

 William Wordsworth Poems in Two Volumes: Moods of my Mind 7 (1807)

Unlike Wordsworth, I have never seen fields of daffodils. How beautiful it must be for him to have written a poem about it, or to even remember when relaxing on his couch.

Do you enjoy the sight of Daffodils?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge prompt: flowers)

A Winter Memory

The shiniest weather result I have ever seen was in December 2013, a week before Christmas. We experienced an ice storm and the ice covered everything. The Christmas decorations, which were shiny anyway, became even more so with the film of ice.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Planters after the ice storm in December 2013. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Nothing, though, was as shiny as this shopping cart we saw outside Ikea:

Icy Shopping cart. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Icy Shopping cart. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The ice took months to melt. We are now past mid-April and thankfully the ice has disappeared. We are still waiting, however, for warm and sunny days to melt the memories of a long winter.

What are your memories of the last winter you experienced?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge prompt: shiny)

A Patterned Floor

One of the things one has to do when visiting the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, South Africa is to climb to the top of the building. From the top, one looks down and is about to see the beautiful patterned floor.

Sunlight lightens the interior of the building as seen from the top of the monument. From this view you can also see the Cenotaph. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
The patterned floor of the Voortrekker Monument. . © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

They have recently installed a small elevator so that those who are unable to climb the steep, narrow stairs can still look down from high.

Where have you seen patterned floors?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. This week’s prompt is: patterns)

 

Spring Blooms

My children and I pass these blooms at least three times a week – and every time we stop to admire them, and to smell the blossoms. Yesterday I decided to take my camera and take some pictures.

Tulips and a park bench. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Tulips and a park bench. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The beautiful tulips encourage one to sit on the bench and admire them while looking at passers-by. Often when we pass, we see someone sitting on the bench who has given in to the temptation.

Tulips in a park. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Tulips in a park. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

And who would not be tempted by such a beautiful garden? The trees are green and alive with the colour of blossoms.

Lilac tree blossoms. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Lilac tree blossoms. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The colour, the scent, and the warm spring breeze encourages one to sit on a bench and soak up the beauty of the moment.

Blossoming trees in a park. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Blossoming trees in a park. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The profusion of blossoms is what I enjoy most about this springtime garden – a garden which my children love running through every time we pass.

Bountiful blossoms. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Bountiful blossoms. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

When all the blossoms have fallen off the trees, we will know the heat of summer has arrived. In the meantime, we enjoy the beauty of Spring.

Do you pass by many blooming trees during your day?

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013