Hide 'n Seek

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tonight's Halloween and I'm sure the pumpkin fields are looking pretty bare now.  I wonder if these escaped being found by those looking for the perfect pumpkin to carve.

Hide 'n Seek"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Date Harvest

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's the end of the harvest season and I was surprised to find a grove of dates that hadn't been picked yet.  The Coachella Valley is the largest date producing region in the United States.  And we have all kinds;  Deglet Noor, Barhi, Blondes, Brunettes, Zahadi and my favorite - Medjools.  Date trees can bear fruit for over 100 years.

"Harvest Time"     © Kathy Dunham 2009

Christmas Coloring Page

Breakfast is Ready

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Breakfast was always served at 8 a.m. when we were on our painting excursion in the Dordogne region of France.  We had some mornings when we were greeted with a few sprinkles, but on those days when the sun was up the light was spectacular.

"Breakfast is Ready"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Cat in the tree

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Comments by ZingerBug.com  
 I had to laugh when I saw this graphic. It reminded me of my cat we used to have who is no longer here. I was sitting at the dining room table eating and you can see the tree from the dining room. When I turned to look at the tree, I noticed Casey's tail swaying back and forth from the bottom of a tree branch. He was just sitting inside my tree looking out at me. I wasn't real happy with this and chased him out of the tree.  We laughed about it afterward, but hoped he wouldn't continue getting into the tree. I guess he thought he had a little of the outdoors in the house. One year my dog also thought he had a little of the outdoors inside since he used the tree as his own personal bathroom. Animals! 

Decorating the Tree

Comments by ZingerBug.com   It's almost that time of the year when we dig out the tree and make it beautiful with all of the ornaments that we have collected over the years. Some people put up many trees...God Bless them...I put up a large one and a pencil tree on my sunporch. I do love to decorate the tree, but I have found that as I get older, it gets to be a little more work. When my children were small, we would look for a real Christmas tree, ahhh, the fresh smell of pine, nothing like it at Christmas time. Sometimes there would even be small pinecones on the tree and the warmth from the lights on the tree would make the pine cones crackle.  It was fun...and cold...looking for the perfect tree, but something you will always remember. 
 We did the real trees for a long time and then decided to get an artificial tree. I've had at least four artificial trees. They started out large and then became smaller throughout the years...it must have something to do with the getting older thing! I used to string the lights on and now they are prelit and I must say I like the prelit trees. The lights are strung on nicely so that you can barely see the wire.
My tradition is to have some wine while decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music. It usually takes me all day to finish the tree. Something I find very upsetting is when you get the tree up and plug it in.....guess what....half of the lights work and the other half don't. Nice. This happened after we had bought a tree at Pool City, had it up one Christmas and the following Christmas half of the lights were out. Tested the lights, couldn't find the problem, went to Pool City, took the receipt to show we had it only one year, and they gave us a bunch of replacement lights...with a plug only on one end. Nothing else they could do...nothing else...we paid $300.00 for this tree and that's the best you can do???? Well, I tried to put these lights on a prelit tree and it just wasn't getting it if you know what I mean, so I got really upset after arguing about it with my husband, took the tree apart, stuffed it back into the box, kicking it into the box, sort of like Chevy Chase did in Christmas Vacation, when he got upset because his lights weren't working and he started kicking Santa and the reindeer all over the front lawn...I can relate to that. Anyway, we took it to the nearest dumpster and bought another one. It seems like every year I have some sort of light problems to deal with....yikes....but after it's all done, the tree and the outside decorations, look beautiful. I will always decorate a tree for Christmas even when I'm much older, even if it's just a pencil tree or a tabletop tree. I'll never forget that Christmas magic.


There are many versions of A Christmas Carol/Scrooge and this is yet another from Walt Disney shown in 3-D...my favorite way to see a movie. It's to be released in November 2009 and I think I shall have to go and see it. Update....I did make it to the movie theater to see this with my son, hubby, and grandchildren, and thought it was an excellent version of Scrooge! I loved the 3-D effect also! I finally did purchase the DVD and added it to my other Scrooge collections.

 Other versions, and I'm sure there are many more, include:

1. 1938 version with Reginald Owen "A Christmas Carol".

2. 1951 version with Alistair Sim "A Christmas Carol", my favorite.

3. 1970 version with Albert Finney, a British musical, "Scrooge".

4. 1979 version with Henry Winkler, "An American Christmas Carol," a little different from the others, but I still enjoyed it.

5. 1984 TV. version with George C. Scott "A Christmas Carol".

6. 1999 version with Patrick Stewart from (Star Trek: The Next Generation), "A Christmas Carol".

There were even a few cartoon versions:

7. 1962 "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" w/Jim Backus which I loved to watch when I was young.

8. 1992 "The Muppet Christmas Carol" w/Michael Caine as Scrooge.

Medusa's Head

Some flowers have very simple centers - stamens, pistil and pollen.  But this one has a unique center.  Same components but very different in shape and form.  That's one of the joys I have photographing flowers.  I see some of the neatest things.

"Medusa's Head"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Drummer Girl

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Montmarte area of Paris is an eclectic mix of artists, mimes and musicians.  I came across this beautiful Japanese drummer who was part of a large contingent of musicians performing for a special occasion.

"Drummer Girl"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Holiday Cookie Recipes

GreetingSpring.com   Here are some cookie recipes for those of you who love to bake for the holidays.

Merry Christmas Computer Wallpaper, Merry Christmas Computer Backgrounds

Enjoy our free gallery of merry christmas computer wallpaper spreading cheers of winter, snowfall, santa, fireworks and other scenes. Download them for free by clicking on these thumbnails. First view the large size and then save it to set as background.

Merry christmas computer wallpaper

Free Merry Christmas computer wallpaper

Download Merry Christmas Computer Wallpapers

Magenta Heart

Monday, October 26, 2009

I normally don't find orchids in sunlight so during breakfast in Tuscany one morning, the drapes had been pulled and the sun spilled through the windows onto the orchids on our dining room table. 

"Magenta Heart"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Flock of Hummingbirds

Sunday, October 25, 2009

These Peaches 'n Cream salvia are beautiful.  The delicate peach color is stunning against the white throat and stamen.  But when I looked again, I saw hummingbirds.  Isn't Mother Nature great??

"Flock of Hummingbirds"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Just Watered

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I had a special treat this morning.  I was able to visit a lovingly cared for garden dedicated to the memory of the owner's sister.  I was amazed at the variety of plants.  Many that would normally not survive our desert heat were happy campers.  It's all about location, location, location. 

"Just Watered"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Look at My Stamens

Friday, October 23, 2009

You've heard the saying "Stop and Smell the Roses".  It means many things but one of the advantages to stopping and enjoying the beauties of nature is getting to see the more unique entities that make up our world.  If asked to describe a stamen, most of you would say it's a long filament with a bump on its tip covered with pollen.   That's a good general description but look at these stamens and how they bend and curl.  They add interest to an otherwise generic flower.

"Look at My Stamens"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Green and White

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Rhododendrons are beautiful when in full bloom.  Something we never see in the desert.   So when I find some in bloom I take lots of picture so I can enjoy them year round.

"Green and White"    © Kathy Dunham 2009



There's music of the holidays

Playing on the radio -
There's Christmas decorations
Almost everywhere you go.

The Salvation Army bells
Ring out for the poor -
The 'Ho,ho.' of Santa Claus
In the department stores.

Carolers sing Christmas songs -
Going, house to house -
Tales about, where no one stirs
Not even, a mouse.

Hoofbeats in fresh fallen snow
Pulling, an open sleigh -
Children asking Mom and Dad
'Is Santa on his way?'

Cracklin' from the fireplace -
Roasting chestnuts 'neath the coals -
The soft murmur of prayers
Said, for the lost souls.

Friends and family gather
To toast, Christmas cheer -
There's sounds of angels singing
(If, you really want to hear.

The sounds of Christmas, fill the air
As we celebrate His birth -
Wishing joy, to all mankind
And peace to all on earth."

Italian Bougainvillea

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Named after French Navy Admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville, this tropical flower, native to South America, was discovered in 1768 in Brazil by Philibert Cammercon, a French botanist traveling with Bougainville during his voyage of circumnavigation.

Now they can be found around the world.  btw....   the tiny white, tublar part is the actual the flower.

"Italian Bougainvillea"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Charlie Brown Christmas

Linus tells the true meaning of Christmas.

Wendy's New Look

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I like to eat at Wendy's, and tonight our local eatery was holding a fundraiser for a nearby school.  When we walked in we were greeted with a hearty handshake and "thanks for coming" from this lovely lass.  I thought it was great everyone at the school got in the spirit, even though tattoos are not normally part of the Wendy's look.

"Wendy's New Look?"  © Kathy Dunham 2009

Christmas Danger Game

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stay away from the food and collect all the presents that you can with the tree. After so many presents though, your tree grows bigger and it's harder to stay away from the food. My highest score was 267 so far.

Christmas Puzzle 3


Puzzle Game

Christmas Memory Game

Have fun!

Ain't She a Beaut!!!

As I was leaving the Farmer's Market yesterday morning I spotted this '54 Bentley.  I talked with the owner who's had her for over 40 years.  The paint, upholestry and interior were all done 30 years ago and they are still "cherry".  Obviously lovingly cared for.

"Ain't She a Beaut!!!"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

At the Farmer's Market

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Farmer's markets have become a hot boutique item here in the desert.  We now have three, each open on a different day, providing locally grown produce (usually withing a 50 mile area).  Today was my first visit.  It was small but had plenty of selections.  Organic herbs, fresh flowers, vegetables, dates and even a performance by the Boys and Girls Club Band.  A great way to spend a leisurely morning.

"At the Farmer's Market"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Collecting Pollen

Saturday, October 17, 2009

There were a lot of bees collecting pollen on a bush outside my window so I decided to see I could get a picture of the critters while they were busy.  I realized you need a lot of patience to capture one.  Every time one would land he'd immediately scoot down into the heart of the flower.  This one hadn't collected much yet.  He'd better get busy.

"Collecting Pollen"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

In the Pumpkin Patch

Friday, October 16, 2009

He doesn't look happy but I'm sure this little tyke went home with a pumpkin.  It's great that there are still farms where families can have fun selecting pumpkins for Halloween.

"In the Pumpkin Patch"     © Kathy Dunham 2009

Dinner Fixin's

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When we were in Bordeaux we had dinner at a one of those wondreful hidden restaruants.  You need to be a local to find it.  Unless of course Rachel Ray tells everyone about it on her TV show.  As we entered, we were greeted with this beautiful display of fruit and vegetables.  And we weren't disappointed.  The ambiance was spectacular, including a wine celler in the basement that can be used for private parties.  Oh, the name of the restaurant is La Tupina.

"Dinner Fixin's"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Bermuda Palm

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The storm never made it over the mountains and we have a perfectly beautiful day here in the desert.  As I sit looking out my window at the palm trees I was reminded of the tropical breezes through the trees in Bermuda and the aquamarine blue waters that surround the island.  But luckily, I don't have humidity like they do.

"Bermuda Palms"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Storm's a Comin'

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

California is getting hit with a big storm.  From San Francisco to Los Angeles.  But here in the desert we get entirely different weather.  There are two tall mountains (both over 10,000') guarding our valley and very little wet weather makes it over.  We get plenty of wind as storm fronts move through, but very little moisture.  Right now it's really blowing where I live but I doubt we'll see any of the rain hitting the rest of the state.  Too bad, we're in a drought and need the water.

"Storm's a Comin'"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Three Coins in a Fountain

Monday, October 12, 2009

When in Rome it's customary to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain to assure your return to Rome.  I tossed mine in three trips ago and I enjoy seeing the sights everytime I go.  So it must work.  And for those of you old enough to remember, the movie "Three Coins in a Fountain" was about this fountain.

"Three Coins in a Fountain"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Wagon Load of Pumpkins

Sunday, October 11, 2009
Fall is here and soon it'll be Halloween.  One of the best memories children have is getting to pick the pumpkin they'll get to carve.  There's plenty in this wagon.  And look at all the different shapes and colors.

"Wagon Load of Pumpkins"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Trimmed in Purple

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dahlias come in many colors, sizes and shapes.  I found these in the garden at the Getty Center in L.A.  My climate is a little too warm to grow them successfully.

"Trimmed in Purple"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Catalina Mountians at Sunset

Friday, October 9, 2009
Sunset in Tucson offers a multitude of awesome sights.  No matter which way you look, north, south, east or west, the fading rays of the sun paint colorful portraits.  Just be sure to carry your camera.

"Catalina Mountains at Sunset"     © Kathy Dunham 2009

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

This is such a magical song. I found the instrument he's using to play the song on, very interesting. Never knew such an instrument existed! It's a glass armonica.
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Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song

Changing picture scenes with this music video. No one sings this better than Nat King Cole!

Little Drummer Boy

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One of my favorite childhood Christmas movies.

Christmas Screensavers


Something I love to do at Christmas is to decorate my computer with beautiful screensavers for the holidays. I look for the freebies most of the time, and there are a lot of them out there, some without adware, spyware, etc. which are the best, and some are wrapped with the stuff you really don't want on your computer! I love the animated ones with music. I have so many on my computer I could probably put a new one on each day for the whole month of December. I have a couple that are transparent snow which are really nice with a Christmas wallpaper under it. I used to have a program Snow for Windows, but lost that when my computer crashed. It had settings for how hard you wanted the snow to blow, and the snow would build up on windows, also settings for polar bears that walked across the screen, settings for Santa and his reindeer, and even for Rudolph and his shiny red nose.

You can download a 10 day trial version at http://snow-for-windows.en.softonic.com/ . It's for windows XP. I don't see anything about it being for windows vista, which is what I have now. Some other places for free screensavers are http://www.scenicreflections.com/. There are some nice 3-D savers here. If you hover over the picture, if it's free, it will state it's free. Downloaded many nice ones here and am having no trouble with my computer. Another place I've downloaded nice screensavers were from http://freechristmasscreensavers.com/christmassavers.html. Also http://www.freeze.com/. It's probably a good idea to always read the terms of use policy. These places may put their cookies on your computer, but as I said, so far I haven't had any problems. Some places during the install may want to put a toolbar on your computer and I always uncheck that box. You just have to read everything during the install. If there is something you don't want on your computer, uncheck the box if that option is available, or just cancel the install, and always, always, always, before installing, scan the download with your antivirus, antispyware program, then you can enjoy the beautiful holiday screensavers. Themeshack http://www.themeshack.net/group_projects.htm is always a safe place to get screensavers, but not all of them are free. You just have to hunt for them.

Italian Door Knocker

One good door knocker deserves another.  Yesterday it was Parisian, today it's Italian.  I was so amazed at the variety I found as I visited the different towns. 

"Italian Door Knocker"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Our Traditional Santa Facts

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle or simply "Santa" is generally depicted as a plump, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. One legend associated with Santa says that he lives in the far north, in a land of perpetual snow. The American version of Santa Claus says that he lives at his house in the North Pole. Santa lives with his wife Mrs. Claus, a countless number of magical elves, and eight or nine flying reindeer. Another legend of Santa says that he makes a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior ("naughty" or "nice") and that he delivers presents, including toys, candy, and other gifts to all of the good boys and girls in the world, and sometimes coal to the naughty children, on the single night of Christmas Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the reindeer who pull his sleigh.

The tradition of Santa Claus entering dwellings through the chimney may reach back to the tale of Saint Nicholas tossing coins through a window, and, in a later version of the tale, tossing coins down a chimney when he finds the window locked. Rituals surrounding Santa Claus are performed throughout the world by children hoping to receive gifts from the mythical character. Some rituals (such as visiting a department store Santa) occur in the weeks and days before Christmas while others, such as preparing snacks for Santa, are specific to Christmas Eve. Some rituals, such as setting out stockings to be filled with gifts, are age-old traditions while others, such as NORAD'S tracking of Santa's sleigh through the night skies on Christmas Eve, are modern invention's. Writing letters to Santa Claus has been a Christmas tradition for children for many years. These letters normally contain a wishlist of toys and assertions of good behavior. Some people have created websites designed to allow children and other interested parties to "track" Santa Claus on Christmas Eve via radar; while in transit, Santa Claus is sometimes escorted by Canadian Air Force fighter jets. In the United States and Canada, children traditionally leave Santa a glass of milk and a plate of cookies. American children also leave a carrot for Santa's reindeer, and were traditionally told that if they are not good all year round, that they will receive a lump of coal in their stockings. OtherChristmas Eve Santa Claus rituals in the United States include reading Clement Clark Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas or other tale about Santa Claus, watching a Santa program on television, and the singing of Santa Claus songs such as Santa Claus is 'Coming to Town, Here Comes Santa Claus, and Up on the Housetop. Last minute rituals for children before going to bed include aligning stockings at the mantlepiece or other place where Santa cannot fail to see them, peeking up the chimney (in homes with a fireplace), glancing out a window and scanning the heavens for Santa's sleigh, and (in homes without a fireplace), unlocking an exterior door so Santa can easily enter the house. Tags on gifts for children are sometimes signed by their parents, "From Santa Claus" before the gifts are laid beneath the tree. Santa Claus's home traditionally includes a residence and a workshop where he creates-often with the aid of elves or other supernatual beings-the gifts he delivers to good children at Christmas. Some stories and legends include a village, inhabited by his helpers, surrounding his home and shop.


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Parisian Door Knocker

On a whim, I started taking pictures of door knobs and knockers when I was in Paris this year. Well, several hundred photos later, after visiting both French and Italian cities, I have a huge variety of knockers and knobs. This was one of the unusual ones. Very ornate and beautifully polished.

"Parisian Door Knocker" © Kathy Dunham 2009

San Raphael Valley

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I always think of Arizona as state with lots of cactus and red rocks. They do have plenty of that but the other day I saw another side of the "Grand Canyon State". We drove through the small rural town of Patagonia, south of Tucson, then headed east on a dirt road into this wonderful valley of grassland. No telephone poles or cell towers. Just plenty of cattle, horses, clean air and spectacular blue skies. Taking the road less traveled certainly has its rewards.

"San Raphael Valley" Kathy Dunham

Sunset in Tucson

Monday, October 5, 2009

I've joined some friends in Tucson to shoot photos and enjoy the scenery. It's been several years since I've been here and the town is growing. Today we spent most of the day driving and seeing the rural sights near the Mexican border. I mean dirt road rural and cattle ranches. It was beautiful. But not as gorgeous as the sunset that awaited us when we returned to Tucson.

"Sunset in Tucson" Kathy Dunham

San Xavier Mission

Sunday, October 4, 2009

As luck would have it, the tech guy made a late night call (on Sunday no less) and I have internet!!! So here's today's photo. The White Dove of the Desert. As the mission is so affectionately know as for it's pristine white exterior. We didn't go inside as there was a long line, but we did a 360 and took lots of photos. don't you just love that clear blue sky?

"San Xavier Mission" Kathy Dunham

Beautiful Day in Tucson

Here I am in Tuscon, the weather's perfect, great places to photograph and I can't get on the internet with my computer, which has all the wonderful pictures I shot today. So sorry. I may not be able to connect until I return home on Tuesday so be patient. You will be rewarded.

Red Ruffles

Friday, October 2, 2009

There aren't many flowers in the desert this time of year but we do have our share of hibiscus. However, most of them have a single row of petals and aren't too exciting. I found this ruffled number in downtown Santa Barbara while having lunch last year. It pays to carry your camera.

"Red Ruffles" © Kathy Dunham 2009

Fountain - Place St. Michel - Paris

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The plazas in Paris, or as they are known in French - "place" - are beautifully appointed, many with wonderful fountains such as this bronze dragon spouting water. But it was the early morning light creating dramatic highlights and shadows that caused me to stop, but only after I had finished my "petit dejeuner" of fresh orange juice, a warm croissant and hot chocolate on a clear morning along the Seine.

"Fountain - Place St. Michel - Paris" © Kathy Dunham 2009