A Cold End

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 22.47

The last night of the year is the coldest. Here are some pics of El Presidio and the Catalina mountains from yesterday's aftermath.  Happy New Year!
A special thanks for these photos taken by Katherine Burdick 

Labels: ,

Happy New Year- Guten Rutsch-Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 09.41

Orędzie Janusza Palikota from Palikot on Vimeo.

Will be a good one.

Last Christmas project posted for the year....

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 00.07

Wow!! We're almost to the year 2011! Unbelievable!!! So here is one last post showing you one more Christmas card along with a set of to/from tags. For my card, I used #3058 Jolly Tilda from Magnolia-licious along with the presents which are also a Magnolia stamp but I can't find them in stock right now. If you're interested, please be sure and ask Diana about them. Tilda and the presents are colored with Copic markers, and then I fussy cut and popped them up off the card base for lots of dimension.  You might be able to tell a little better with the next pic.

The background papers are from Nitwit Collections, and the cardstock is Bazzill. I know it almost looks black, but it's a dark green color. The flowers are from Wild Orchid Crafts and I used some Angel Wings Shimmerz on them. The bow is made from May Arts silk ribbon of course and I believe the charm is from the Charm Barn.

Here is a set of to/from tags I made using #3070 Sitting Angel Tilda from the Merry Christmas 2010 collection from Magnolia-licious. Again, it doesn't look like she's in stock right now, but please check with Diana if you are interested.  The box is just a standard jewelry box that I decorated to match the tags. That's it for me today. Tomorrow I will have my project for the Magnolia-licious Design Team Sketch Challenge, so I hope you check back for that!

Have a safe and Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for another fabulous year of your friendship! I am truly blessed. Thanks so much for stopping by to see me today, and hope to see you in 2011!! Hugs!

Labels: ,

Butterfly Magic at the Gardens

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 22.40

Frosty.  Rainy. Cold morning.  Until I got to the butterfly exhibit and then it was....hot, humid, and steamy.  I don't know what both extremes will do to a body, but I'll find out tonight. Hopefully I won't get sick. On this gray and cloudy day, a moment of sunshine and color presented itself in the gardens!  Today I went to volunteer at the gardens in the butterfly exhibit and it was a wonderful contrast to what was really going on outside.  I love convservatories and greenhouses because you can grow things inside that you normally wouldn't be able to plant outside....for example, you'll see tillandsias(or air plants) all around the tropical garden.  Here are pics and a vid from today's outings.
The Morphos Butterfly(wings closed)
                                                                 Morphos with wings open.

The exhibit will be open until April 30th, 2011. 

The Glass Wing Butterfly

Birdwing Butterfly
The video contains several shots from the exhibit before visitors arrived plus you'll get to see how they move about the greenhouse.

The Atlas Moth

Tomorrow I'll show what we did to prepare for the super freeze that is happening tonight and throughout the weekend.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

india sexy hot 15

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 08.05



Sanjay Dutt says producer threatened him through dons

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 21.46

A day after a court ordered the attachment of two properties of Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt over a financial row with producer Shakeel Noorani, the actor's lawyer claimed on December 29 that he received extortion calls from the underworld in 2005 at Noorani's behest.

The film producer rubbished the allegation.

"Sanjay Dutt does not owe a single penny to Shakeel Noorani. Noorani, in the past, has been demanding money from Sanjay Dutt. Mr. Dutt has received extortion calls at the behest of Shakeel Noorani. The complaint was lodged with the Anti-Extortion Cell and late (senior police inspector) Vijay Salaskar was investigating the case," said Rizwan Merchant, Dutt's lawyer.

"Statement of Sanjay Dutt has been recorded. Shakeel Noorani was also personally called to the office of the Anti-Extortion Cell," he added.

Merchant said that when Noorani did not succeed in his extortion demands in 2005, he (Noorani) made a complaint to the Indian Motion Pictures Producers' Association (IMPPA), which was rejected.

"Once a complaint is rejected, a subsequent complaint is barred. The IMPPA could not have passed any award once the first complaint was rejected," Merchant said.

Noorani, however, rubbished all allegations made by the actor's lawyer.

"In fact, Sanjay Dutt has threatened to get me shot if I chase him to complete my film. He had personally thrown me out of the set where he was shooting for his film "EMI" when I requested him to finish my film," Noorani said.

Noorani also denied making any extortion calls, claiming that he had no underworld connections. "It is Sanjay Dutt who has underworld connections. He often met people from the underworld when we went for shooting abroad," he said.

"I was also never called for questioning by Salaskar. You can check the records if you want," he told reporters.

Noorani also claimed that the IMPPA had never rejected his complaint.

The Bombay High Court Tuesday ordered the attachment of two properties of Dutt. The decision followed an arbitration award passed by the IMPPA in January in favour of Noorani.

The properties ordered to be attached include the actor's flat in the Imperial Heights building at Pali Hill in suburban Bandra and his office in suburban Santa Cruz.

Dutt has 30 days to pay Noorani, failing which his properties will be auctioned. The actor can also challenge the order in the high court.

Labels: ,

After Christmas Travels

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 15.46

Have you been missing my blog posts?  We are traveling visiting the Grandmas, stretching our Christmas a bit longer.  We spend a few days in the mountains of NC, where 12 inches of snow greeted us!  It was quite lovely.  The photo above and the others like it were taken on the mile drive up to my mom's house.

Currently we are in Chattanooga, TN, dining at Panera Bread, simply because of their Wi-Fi.  I am posting photos because obviously there are no crafts.

We should be home this weekend and next week I will return to a normal schedule.  In the meantime, I will wish you all a Happy New Year!!

Well...things are getting back to normal now....

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 10.11

My daughter and grandson left this morning to go back home. *sigh* We had so much fun and it is really hard to let them go. But such is life I guess, huh? Just wanted to show you his first grade school pictures. This is what has been keeping me busy for the past couple of weeks... Gotta love the "cheesy" grin in the first one! LOL!!

So I'm back to getting some crafting done and will be back to posting again. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I wish all of you a Happy New Year filled with many, many wonderful blessings! Thanks for stopping by to see me today, and hope to see you back again soon!  Hugs!

Apple Pears

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 09.47

I don't usually write about a fruit unless it's "new" to me and it's noteworthy like the persimmons.  This year a student gave me the gift of the "apple pear".  I don't like pears because I did one of those things that we all do when we are younger.....eat too much of something that makes us never want to eat them again.  Before I begin this blog, I should note that these pics were taken from the internet and are not my own.  They come from fruit companies and I chose pics as they appear in the grocery store including one with a cute little skirt:)

Story time.  My grandparents, on my father's side, were avid gardeners in Wisconsin.  They had two very large healthy pear and apple trees growing behind their vegetable garden hidden amongst a secret grove of pine trees.  We would climb the pine trees as kids and hide in our forts. When it was time for a snack break, we'd head over to the fruit trees where we'd grab an apple or pear.  Apparently, even though I don't remember too much of why I did this, I ate A LOT of pears one day.  In my head, it was like a million.  I don't think it was a dare....I just think the pear flavor took over me and I couldn't stop eating them.  Afterwards, I remember turning green and getting "sick" by my Grandma's kitchen sink with Grandma yelling at me for eating too many pears.  My sister was with me and she kept saying, "I'm not throwing up Grandma. I didn't eat all those pears like he did." (There was always this sibling rivalry between us as kids...now we're super close)  At that time, I wanted to smack her, but I was too sick. Once my poor stomache calmed down...and poor Grandma!, she told me to be careful the next time I started eating fruit. Unfortuneatly, there would never be a next time because when I had tried to eat a pear, I started feeling sick....that's how traumatic the experience was. Fast forward to present day....

My student, who brought me these "apple pears" said that I'd love them.  Secretly, I kept my personal story from her.  They were beautifully wrapped in a fruit crate.  I thought, "Oh it's one of those hybrids." Why do they do this?  (i.e. the Grapple) And what an unoriginal name?  The fruit itself was yellow like a pear, and to me, it was unattractive but it had the name apple in it so I said to myself, "Keep an open mind."  I took my first bite.  Holy %$^$!  I couldn't believe the flavor!  The fruit burst with dripping juice all over my hands and mouth.  I couldn't stop eating it because IT WAS THAT GOOD!  So like a geek, I kept the seeds to plant later on because I didn't know if they were just a seasonal thing or if they were just a random one time only thing.  Turns out that you can buy them all over the place and they've been around for years.  I purchased another crate of them from Sam's Club.  They were pricey, but the flavor is out of this world!  The fruit is also known as the Asian Pear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrus_pyrifolia
They also appear to grow as trees here in Arizona with fruit bearing in mid-summer. This is NOT a hybrid but an actual real fruit! It looks like another fruit tree is going into the ground in spring:)  I just need to remember not to over do it because Grandma is not around anymore to help me out:) Try it out!

On a side note, thinking of that horrible pear experience, makes me smile.  It's sad today because both of my grandparents have passed away and their large forested backyard is now an empty lot of grass.  The house was sold and the lot that used to produce amazing things is now empty.  The fruit trees were cut down to keep the riffraff from entering their property. The wooden gate covered in grape vines with the very cool totem pole in front....gone.  The dying pine trees are shabby and not taken care of......and I'm one of the few people to remember this place in its' full glory. The only thing that remains is a patch of rhubarb that comes back every year as a reminder that something used to grow there.  Here's a parting thought. Our role, as gardeners, is an important one....educating others is our legacy for future generations.  My grandparents passed their knowledge onto me and now, I share my love with others. Today, with our busy schedules, we are losing the art of gardening amongst other things.  My grandparent's empty gardening lot is a reminder of why I do what I do.

Labels: ,

hot bollywood actress

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 22.32



Jack Frost!

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 21.16

I am afraid.  I am scared.  I have worked my tail off this year in the gardens!  And for what? I am angry. I am in a state of panic.  I won't sleep.  A snow storm is heading our way that will bring A LOT of snow to the Tucson valley and blizzard conditions in the sky islands/mountains.  Is this normal? Absolutely not.  Maybe a one day event at most, but this is promising much more with temps dipping into the low 20's for at least 4 days!! Citrus must be protected!  This sounds like a joke to our friends in the North, but this is a major event in Tucson.  The last time this happened, the snow storm killed millions of dollars worth of plants at nurseries. Of course, Phoenix is not in any danger of the severe wind or cold temps, but Tucson most definitely is.  I'm sure the pics that will follow in the following days will be interesting.  I have called upon my neighbors for sheets to protect the gardens here at El Presidio. People tell me to use lights to warm things up but there are no electrical outlets for such things....this is also not going to be a light freeze or a one night event.  This freeze is going to kill plants.  In my 12 years here, this will be the second time I have experienced a cold snap like this....but that was one night and it killed half of my, then, small garden. Today I purchased what was left of the "plankets"....or blankets for plants.  The large sizes were sold out by 9 AM this morning. And people are purchasing sleds.....SLEDS!!  in the desert.  Unnatural, I tell you.  What follows in the next  several days should be very interesting....pray that Mother Nature be merciful.

Labels: , , ,


Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 11.44

This is the post I have been putting off for a couple months and not because it's not interesting but because there is a lot of information to present. Ethnobotany is the study of people's use of plants for things like food, medicine, and shelter. This was a really wonderful presentation at the gardens, but I think I had heard most of it from my experiences elsewhere.  However, for many who do not know the desert, you may not know some of the info that I will share today.  I'll showcase some of the defining Sonoran plants and give their uses.  Some of this is also from my personal experiences while traveling around Mexico and the Southwestern desert.

One of the most important trees in our Sonoran desert is the mesquite tree.  It is a native to this desert and can be seen in and around Tucson.  Mesquite is an interesting tree in that it can provide shade in our hot desert. But did you know that the bean pods(below) can be used to make a flour? Here in Tucson, there are several places, for a minimal cost, that will ground your bean pods up to make your flour so that you can make pancakes, etc.  You may also see your dogs chewing these up.  Don't stress as they won't do anything to your puppy.  They have a sweet flavor and make an excellent food product.  Be aware that the Argentine or Chilean varieties are not as sweet and are not as good as our native Mesquite here.  The other use of mesquite?  You know the answer.  It's the wood.  When used in  grilling meats, etc, it can add that special flavor many people enjoy. For medicinal purposes, the mesquite was used by the native americans for eye drops.  They infused water with the leaves to create this eye product.  Finally mesquite is also used as a building material. If you are interested in any of this information beyond what I'm writing here today, a great place for detailed things like where to mill your mesquite pods or find certain items, is the Native Seeds/SEARCH organization. For more information contact the Native Seeds/SEARCH here in Tucson.

Mesquite pods that are ground up can be used as a sweet flour...

The prickly pear.  There are several fascinating uses from this plant.  It produces a fruit that is sweet.  You can make jellies and syrups from it. Also depending on the variety of prickly pear, the pad segments are delicious over the grill, pickled, or chopped up into small pieces.  We eat these in Mexico and they are called "nopalitos" and they are absolutely delicious.  You ask, "What about the cactus spines?"  They are removed from the plant before you eat them.  If you have never tried it, you should....amazing flavor! Finally, depending on which variety of prickly pear cactus(opuntia) you have,  the stem of the cactus can be used to treat type 2 diabetes or diarreah.  This is being advertised on TV as the miracle cure right now.  I don't believe anything is a miracle cure, but this plant does have some medicinal properties....if you are interested, check it out online.

The prickly pear...the red fruit on top is edible, but if you don't get to it, your javelina or birds will:)
One last item with the prickly pear.  You may notice a white fuzzy goo mass all over the pads.  Do not worry as this will not kill your plant.  You can wipe them off if it bothers  you, but believe it or not, this is also another product that is used as a dye for foods and fabric all over the world.  The white fuzz is from the cochineal bug.  This insect was used by the native americans,for trade, hundreds of years ago. The red dye that comes from this insect was/is used for food coloring, cosmetic dye, paint pigment, and clothing dye. In food products at home, this dye may be titled E120.  It's cleverly retitled to hide the bug reference....however as of January 5th, 2011, the bug title "cochineal" will replace the E120 coding:)

The Cochineal Bug on the Prickly Pear Cactus
The next plant featured is our agave!  Wonderful, beautiful and daggerlike agaves make fantastic plants in our landscape.  But did you know they make a wonderful drink known as tequila? You need to ferment the stuff first.  In the village of Tequila, Mexico, you will see blue agaves as far as the eye can see and it's quite the work.  I was there in '93 tasting all the fine varieties of tequila and I have to say that it was really fun.  The village of Tequila is an hour or two outside of Guadalajara and worth the visit. Did you know that you can make your own tequila but can't call it that?  "Tequila" is a copyright property....so while you will have made "tequila" from your agave, you can't call it that.....so come up with something creative:) Mezcal is the official term used for the drink.  The plant is also used for its' fibers which make a great rope.  It also can be eaten!!  There is this thing going on here in Tucson now called the "Agave Roasts".  They are themed parties and apparently you can grill agaves to be eaten.  Again this information can be found online.  I have heard mixed things from people about the flavor.  Some LOVE the taste while others could do without it:)  I've never tried, but I would be willing to do so. One last product that comes from this plant is the agave worm. I have tried this guy as it was served in a taco to me with guacamole.  Um, I imagined eating a french fry even though it wasn't.  The worm is also the one you will see in the bottle.  It absorbs the mezcal and makes it a potent finish to end the bottle.  One last thing about this amazing plant, for those of you who are sufferers of diabetes, the syrup from this plant is sweet and okay for you to use in your cooking.  It is a replacement for sugar here in Tucson.

The Agave worm or "gusano" that is used in Mexican cuisine as an appetizer.
 The next plant is the date palm.  Again this plant through fermentation makes a fanstastic food product that many people love.  You must process the dates like everything else, but added into your recipes or just straight out of the container, dates make a delicious addition to your table.

2 more plants to go.  As I'm writing these out, I am remembering how much I enjoyed the discussions of these plant groups.  The saguaro is a a native to the Sonoran desert and in fact, is the one plant that makes up the look of the Sonoran landscape.  It is also used/was used by native americans.  Today you can find native americans still picking these sweet and delicious fruits off the cactus.  They also have workshops to show people how to do it.  The saguaro WAS used in building material but now it is protected and cannot be used at all.

Note the long stick used to knock the fruit down

Once they are knocked down, the sticky fruit is cleaned out to make the jelly
Finally, I saved the best for last.  The creosote bush is the mother of all plants when it comes to helping out people in the desert. It is one of the indicator plants of the Sonoran desert.  The creosote is the oldest living plant in the world and has many medicinal uses.  It is used as an antioxidant, treatment for blood poisoning, skin disorders, nerve calming, anti-fungal agent, and can be used as a salve for cuts and lesions.  I know several people who have used this plant and it does indeed work.  Perhaps this will be the next "$19.99" gimick on TV.
The Sonoran Desert taken by yours truly

While there are more plants out there that are used today by people, these are the top ones that have contributed to our history here in the desert southwest and currently are making headlines around the world.  I hope you found this posting interesting. This post serves as an educational look into our desert culture. Some of the pics for this particular blog are not my own except for the mesquite pods, creosote, date palm, the Sonoran desert, and the title pic.  Happy adventures!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sexy Bollywood Actress Picture

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 11.00

Sexy Bollywood Actress Picture


Shahrukh Khan, the highest paid host ever?

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 22.24

Looks like Shah Rukh Khan is proving that he is the 'Badshah' even of Tellyland. TOI has learned that King Khan is apparently charging Rs 2.5 crore per episode for his forthcoming reality show Zor Ka Jhatka on TV.

Top industry sources claim that with this astronomical amount, SRK certainly becomes the costliest B-town A-lister to be signed on for a reality show. Whenever Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan have hosted TV shows, the industry debated whether they were the highest paid actors. However, this time it looks like the figures are on SRK's side. A source from the show reveals, "No one will speak openly about how much he is earning, but SRK charging Rs.2.5 crore certainly seems a believable figure.

As of now what can be revealed is that Shah Rukh is on for four weeks, Monday to Thursday, and if you calculate it, he is getting Rs 40 crore for 16 episodes. Bring on the superstar who can charge so much even after his last stint on TV (Kya Hum Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain) was panned and did not get the TRP that he got during Kaun Banega Crorepati."

Labels: ,

When Rani bowed before Madhuri

Diposting oleh alexandria joseph | 22.21

Rani Mukerji made for a Kodak moment when she prostrated in a 'sashtang namaskar' before dancing diva Madhuri Dixit on the reality show 'Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4'. Check out the pic right here.

Rani admitted she is a self-proclaimed Madhuri Dixit fan after she shook a leg with the 'Dhak dhak' girl on 'Dola re dola' on the show's episode to be aired Monday (December 27).

Rani came as a special guest along with Vidya Balan to promote their upcoming film 'No One Killed Jessica', releasing Jan 7.

The two actresses, who have burst the bubble of catfights in Bollywood by being unusually pally with each other, also danced together on 'Ibn-e-batuta'.

Labels: , , , , ,