Home is where the heart is! Oh how true the words. Born in Arizona raised all over the world, my father having been in the armed forces, my heart was always longing to be in a special place I could call home. At the the tender age of three, I left my beautiful Arizona and took a journey around the world, not to return for another 34 years. Europe and the Netherlands were wonderful places to visit but there is no comparison to my sunshine-filled summers here in Arizona. Hawaii was stunning, but paled against the magnificent Arizona sunsets, which display an unparalleled range of colors crossing over the color spectrum many times in one setting --- simply breathtaking! Likewise, mere words cannot illustrate the visual effects created by an Arizona lightning storm as they are absolutely phenomenal. Arizona is home to a rich oasis of copious beauty, heritage, fame, sports, education and diversity. Furthermore, the bouquet of clean scented aroma created by showers cascading over the desert is a unique smell, perhaps as distinctive as the fragrance produced by the creosote bush. Arizona is home to a rich oasis of copious beauty, heritage, diversity and education.

Recognizable by its yellow flowers, creosote bushes’ emanate a fresh pungent aroma, characteristic in signifying to locals ‘rain’! Traditionally, the creosote plant was fundamental in medicinal value. Native Americans boiled roots and inhaled it to relieve congestion; they also made it into tea to cure such ailments as flu bugs, coughs, colds, and even stomach cramps. Scientist’s records have indicated some creosote bushes' lives span over one hundred years. Like the very old creosote, the Heard Museum is rich in ancient traditions and artifacts as well. One unique exhibit is the Barry Goldwater collection of Kachina Dolls, which are on permanent display year around. Historic events held by the Heard Museum include the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest and the Guild Indian Fair & Market. These events spring from traditions that originated over more than a thousand years ago, from a highly developed civilization the Anasazi, ancestors of the Hopi Indians. Additionally, is The Desert Botanical Garden The museum, containing one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants? Situated on fifty acres, it is one of only 44 botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums nationwide.

Arizona holds a special place for antiques not only in museums but also in antique automobiles. Arizona is home to The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, which is famous nationwide for being the premier classic car auction company. Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction deals with the world’s serious collectors who are captivated and charmed by some of the most sought after automobiles ever. The world-renowned Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction celebrated its 35th anniversary this year here at home in Scottsdale, Arizona with some of the most desirable vehicles available in the world. From famous car shows to famous people, we have them all. Arizona is home to former vice president Dan Quayle, and the likes of the celebrated Mr. Cesar Chavez. As a master at golf and a Masters Open legend, the skillful Mr. Phil Mickelson calls Arizona his home too. In addition, Arizona is home to rock legend Mr. Alice Cooper. His passion for humankind founded the Solid Rock Foundation, a Christian nonprofit organization to help inner city kids stay out of gangs and away from guns and drugs, which benefits the cause to a tune of $150,000 each year. Then there is Alice Coopers other passion: golf, hosting his own charity golf tournament. Cooper's excitement for sports and food established him a restaurant. ‘Cooperstown’ opened in 1998 featuring a variety of memorabilia,  autographed jerseys and balls, opening day tickets, and sports photos. Contributing to the ambiance are Alice's gold records and a fantastic collection of autographed Fender guitars.

 

One of my favorite things about Arizona is the plethora of edifying opportunities available to suit any intellectual endeavor. Schools span the valley with 43 vocational and technical schools, 35 accredited four-year universities, graduate schools and two-year colleges honoring degrees and technical certificates. My neighborhood is my favorite place, home of the Cardinals Stadium, a state of the art architectural phenomenon, named one of the 10 most impressive sports facilities on the globe by Business Week Magazine, designed by the famous avant-garde architect Peter Eisenmanhas. It is the newest edition to my neighborhood, just a mere 10 minutes driving time from my house. The stadium has a natural grass field that takes 45 minutes to roll out, and a retractable roof. The Tostitos Bowl is going to be held there this year. Tomorrow night, on the same block, my parents and I are attending Cirque Du Soleil at the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey Arena. The Arena is also home to the Arizona Sting, our professional indoor Lacrosse team. Located across the street from the arena and new stadium, is Cabela’s, the outdoor sportsman’s shopping extravaganza dream. Throughout the store, exhibits full of Arizona wildlife are on display, attracting thousands of students yearly on fieldtrips and tours.

 

As a military brat, I am quite fond of Luke Air Force Base. Home of the United States Air Force’s largest fighter wing, and only active duty F-16 training base in the whole world, Luke Air Force Base plays a critical role in protecting America’s freedom and security. With a financial impact of nearly $2 billion annually, Luke Air Force Base is a viable key holder to the state of Arizona’s economy. In addition, I love shopping on base as there is no sales tax. Speaking of shopping, Historic Downtown Glendale has some of the most awesome antique shops I have ever encountered, and the mouth-watering restaurants feature food from around the world, Polish, Mexican, Asian, and German. Tree lined sidewalks with white picket fencing and gaslights are one reason why Sunset Magazine named it one of the country's top ten best places for antique shopping. Arizona also hosts Spring Training Baseball as all the major league baseball teams come to Arizona for exhibition baseball. The beach is just a four hours south, and skiing is just a few hours north! What a combination, I couldn’t ask for more! The beauty, heritage, diversity and educational opportunities are the reasons why ‘Arizona is my Home’.