Pompei Bakery

Sunday, January 31, 2010

2,000 years ago they had a commercial bakery in Pompei.  That's right.  Want some bread?  Just send the kids to the town bakery to pick up a loaf.  It would be fascinating to see what type of products they created in these ovens.

"Pompei Bakery"         © Kathy Dunham 2010

Wolf Moon

Saturday, January 30, 2010
They say this is the closest the moon will be to the earth during it's routine rotation causing the moon to look larger than normal.  Hence, the name, Wolf Moon.  It was beautiful coming up tonight.  And viewing it through the naked branches of a tree gave it an erie feeling.

"Wolf Moon"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Red Sky in the Morning

Friday, January 29, 2010

The sunrise this morning was pretty awesome.  I'm normally not an early riser but today was an exception and I was rewarded with this great scene.

"Red Sky in the Morning"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Grand Canal

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Venice is my favorite city and the Grand Canal is the "freeway" of this spectacular water bound metropolis.  No cars or trucks.  Just lots of boats to move from one point to another, unless you like to walk a lot.

"Grand Canal"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Fuzzy Center

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This time of year we have lots of Iceland Poppies in bloom.  They are one of my favorite garden flowers.  Bright colors and lots of drama in the wrinkled petals as the early morning sun skips across their ridges always delight my artistic eye.

"Fuzzy Centers"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

Bumpy Tomatoes

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I spotted these neat looking tomatoes at a street market in Italy.  They have natural sections that would make it easy to cut them into wedges.  Great for salads!

"Bumpy Tomatoes"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

The Little Matchgirl

On a cold New Year’s Eve, a poor girl tries to sell matches in the street. She is freezing badly, but she is afraid to go home because her father will beat her for not selling any matches. She takes shelter in a nook and lights the matches to warm herself. In their glow, she sees several lovely visions including a Christmas tree and a holiday feast. The girl looks skyward, sees a shooting star, and remembers her deceased grandmother saying that such a falling star means someone died and is going into Heaven. As she lights her next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. She strikes one match after another to keep the vision of her grandmother nearby for as long as she can. The child dies and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the dead child in the nook, with rosy red cheeks and a smile on her face. They express sadness at her death and the burnt-out matches she must have used to warm herself, but they cannot know the wonderful visions she saw in her final moments or how gloriously she is celebrating the New Year with her grandmother.

Another favorite of mine, but so sad.

Cafe de Pays

Monday, January 25, 2010

From the looks of the sign, wine, music and fun are what you can expect in the "Cafe de Pays".  We were too early to check it out but I discovered lots of signs created in this manor in the Dordogne region of Southwest France.  Whether it was the baker, artist or cafe, they all had unique signs of their trade.

"Cafe de Pays"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Legend of the Candy Cane

Sunday, January 24, 2010
Many years ago, a candy maker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus. He began with a stick of pure white hard candy; white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus; hard to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church; firmness to represent the promise of God. The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd, with which he reached down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.
Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life. Unfortunately, the candy became known as a candy cane - a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the true meaning is still there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

GreetingSpring.comThere are several stories about the candy cane, and this is just one of them which I happened to enjoy. I found it at: http://home.att.net/~scorh3/CandyCane.html
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Image on the Floor

I love how light passing through transparent objects creates fascinating patterns.  I spotted this one while in an art gallery in Sarlat, France.  I quickly pulled out my camera to capture it when I noticed the gallery rep glaring at me.  I made sure she knew I was only going to take a picture of the light patterns on the floor, not the paintings on the wall. 

"Image on the Floor"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

I Wish It Was Spring

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The storm has passed, the sun is out and in another month the wildflowers should be blooming.  But the daffodils are showing up in the flower shops so it must be getting close to spring.

"I Wish It Was Spring"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Winter Storm

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another cold day and rain.  We had some sun in the morning but there was snow on the hill tops and you could see the next storm front coming in.  One more day and we should get some relief.

"Winter Storm"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Hills of Gold

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We've had a lot of rain the past few days but the silver lining in all this is the potential we have for a great wildflower season.  Good rains in the fall followed by good rains this time of year should provide us with a banner year.  This shot was taken 2 years ago at the California Poppy Preserve near Lancaster.  Well worth the trip to see the hills covered with California Gold.

"Hills of Gold"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Christmas "2008"

Christmas "2009" Slideshow

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Family & friends pictures.

Heart of a Sago

One of the few plants that have pre-historic roots, the Sago Palm is a popular landscape plant.  Native to the islands of Southern Japan, this slow grower, is one of the most primitive living seed plants.  Its origins can be traced to the ancient flora of the early Mesozoic era.  Often called "Living Fossils", the Sago has changed very little in 200 million years.

"Heart of a Sego"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Morning Fog

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fog is not a weather phenomenon that we see in the desert.  Let's face it, no humidity.  But it rained all day yesterday, another phenomenon we normally don't see.  And this morning the valley was covered with a thick blanket of fog.  At first I couldn't believe my eyes.  And by the time I grabbed my camera it had lifted partially but I was able to capture the sunrise through the trees and fog.

"Morning Fog"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Location of Santa's Workplace

In 1879, Thomas Nast, revealed to the world in a series of drawings that Santa's Workshop is at the North Pole. However, it is less clear which North Pole Thomas Nast was referring to. The two commonly referred to North Pole's for Santa's workshop are the Geographic North Pole and the Magnetic North Pole. However, one can deduce from film and pictures the aurora borealis centres on Santa's Workshop, indicating the workshop is at the Magnetic North Pole in Northern Canada. Once a year a train, the Polar Express travels to the Santa's Workshop. It is doubtful train tracks could be rebuilt on polar ice each winter. In 1994, United States Air Force pilots reported they have seen no signs of a workshop at the Geographic North Pole in the physical realm.  In the same year, Canada Post issued Santa's Workshop it's own postal code H0 H0 H0. In 2004 nuclear submarines surfaced at the North Pole, proving once and for all Santa Workshop is not at the Geographic North Pole.
From Wikipedia

Girl with a Pink Ribbon

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's fun taking pictures of children when they aren't looking at you. Catching them in a candid shot can yield some spectacular photos.  I don't know who this little tyke is but with the messy face and innocent expression I just couldn't resist.

"Girl with a Pink Ribbon"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

A Warm Bahama Beach

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It started sprinkling tonight and the weather report for the next week doesn't look good.  Heavy rains and winds are predicted to make a big mess and for the golfers, make for miserable play in the Bob Hope golf tournament.  We need the rain but not a deluge in a short period of time.  So this gorgeous beach scene with white sand beaches and turquoise water makes me feel warmer.

"A Warm Bahama Beach"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Gothic Quarter

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Barri Gotic, or Gothic Quarter, is the true heart and oldset part of Barcelona.  Chosed by the Romans during the reign of Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD) it has been the location of the city's adminsitartive buildings ever since.  Located in this area is the royal palace where Columbus was received by Fernando and Isabel on his return form the New World in 1492.  Now that's some history!!

"Gothic Quarter"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Clip of "Yes Viriginia, there is a Santa Claus"

Friday, January 15, 2010

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

In 1897, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, a coroner's assistant on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was asked by his then eight-year-old daughter, Virginia (1889–1971), whether Santa Claus really existed. Virginia O'Hanlon had begun to doubt there was a Santa Claus, because her friends had told her that he did not exist.

Dr. O’Hanlon suggested she write to the New York Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." While he may have been passing the buck, he unwittingly gave one of the paper's editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, an opportunity to rise above the simple question, and address the philosophical issues behind it.

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.                                                         
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

The picture is of  Francis Pharcellus Church, writer of the famous editorial. 

The original letter sent asking about the vera...Image via Wikipedia
Picture of the original letter.
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Virginia O'Hanlon (circa 1895)

Knock on My Door

I've taken an interest in Eurpoean door knockers.  I was amazed at the variety, size and subject matter.  Even though they have door bells like we do, door knockers are part of the door decor on must European homes.

"Knock on My Door"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Daffodil Hill

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Near here in the mountains, on the way to Big Bear, is a place called Daffodil Hill.  It was started many years ago by a lady who started planting daffodils.  And each year she kept adding more bulbs.  Then she planted tuplips and hyacynths in oak barrels, created paths, added benches and now she has over 3,000 bulbs planted.  When they bloom it's fantastic.  A blaze of different yellows and all the colors daffodils come in. I don'tknow how many varieties she has but there's probably over 15, at least. 

"Daffodil Hill"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Colorado State Flower

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I am always amazed at nature's palette.  How does she do it?  And do it so well.  The other thing that is so cool about plants is the variety of unique shapes.  Look at the the long purple extensions and the deep "wells" on each petal. 

"Colorado State Flower"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Tahitian Sunset

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The colors of this flower remind me of the colors I've seen at sunset in Tahiti.  Rich and warm.  Over a tropical blue ocean.  Ahhhhh..... to be sitting on the beach now with a cool drink in my hand. 

"Tahitian Sunset"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

It's All About the Greens

As an artist, greens are challenging colors to re-create.  Mother Nature has given us such a huge array of them that many painters become overwhelmed.  But then that's the beauty of painting the out of doors. 

"It's All About the Greens"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Joshua Tree Blossoms

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just north of here is Joshua Tree National Park.  Named after the unique plant that is indigenous to this region, the park is popular with rock climbers. But in the spring, after good rains, the joshua tree unveils huge stalks of blossoms.  I've never seen any of these open any further than you see here.  But these giant spikes of flowers are an added sight to an otherwise stark desert.

"Joshua Tree Blossoms"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Think Spring

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Most of the U.S. is pretty darned cold. Not here!  The National Weather report said it's warmest where I live.  Aaahh..... warm sunny days around the pool or on the golf course.  And in a month or so there'll be rhododendrons blooming.

"Think Spring"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

This is Retirement!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's a must for me to carry a camera at all times.  You just never know when a photo op presents itself.  And sometimes it's just too good to pass up.  As was this shot.  I was giving a presentation this morning and when I entered the facility I discovered this gentleman taking a cat nap.  And I couldn't resist the shot. 

"This is Retirement!!!"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Christmas Traditions

Thursday, January 7, 2010
What is your Christmas Tradition? If you would like to comment on this, please do. It's interesting to learn how others celebrate Christmas with their own holiday traditions.

Elf Magic Tradition-Making Mischief

Someone has brought to my attention the Elf Magic Tradition which I also did not know about, but really enjoy the whole idea of it!  Unlike the Elf on a Shelf, children can play with the Elf Magic Tradition elves. This link will take you to the Elf Magic website to learn more about the tradition.

Two more links for Elf Magic Videos:

In this video the elf has a cracker and water which apparently is a treat for them. The crackers sound like crunching snow and the water is melted with North Pole snowflakes!

Pow Wow Feathers

I enjoy going to Native American Pow Wows.  The excitement, the rhythm of the drums and the regalia, the spectacular regalia.  Feathers, beads, frings and jingle bells.  The creativity in the design of each dancer's outfit is amazing.  And a photographer's delight. 

"Pow Wow Feathers"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Delicate Shadows

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This time of year Iceland Poppies are common landscape flowers in the desert.  They range in color from pale yellows and pinks to vibrant red-oranges.  They've always attracted my interest due to the "krinkled" nature of their petals which provides lots of texture.

"Delicate Shadows"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Happy Accident

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We have a saying in the artistic world, "Happy Accidents".  That's when something unplanned and often times destructive happens to a work in progress and turns out to be a cool thing.  Today I spotted a group of Ranunuculus in a planter bed.  I grabbed my camera and looked for a good shot.  When I checked my image it was blurred.  I thought it was out of focus due to being too close to the subject.  I took another shot from farther away and it was still blurred.  Boy was I bummed.  Then I looked at the lense and discovered a greasy fingerprint right in the middle.  But when I looked closely at the photo I liked the soft edges created by the dirty lense.  You just never know when something will happen that works out.

"Happy Accident"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition [Home]

Here is a fun place to visit. Many things to do. You can make a cookie for Santa, send it on and even print it out, games to play, quizzes to do, etc. What fun!

Elf on a Shelf Tradition

Where have I been all of these years? I love Christmas and have never heard of the Elf on a shelf tradition!! What a cute idea for children and what fun! I want my elf!!

Sorrento Sunset

Monday, January 4, 2010

The hillside farms in Sorrento are small and terraced.  Many are no more than four acres with some as large as 10 acres.  I know that doesn't sound like a lot of property for a farm but this works quite nicely in this hilly landscape.  They grow lemons, olives, tomatoes and other row crops in addition to having farm animals like pigs, chickens and goats.  Being a farm girl myself, I appreciated the opportunity to visit one of these farms where I was able to capture this colorful sunset.

"Sorrento Sunset"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Amalfi Coast

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Amalfi Coast is very similar the the rugged coast of Central/Northern California, only warmer.  The sheer drops of rugged rock, straight down to the water offer spectacular sights around every bend.  This shot was taken early in the morning before the haze burned off.  The rest of the day was vibrantly clear and colorful.

"Amalfi Coast"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Colors of the Sunset

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Nature's palette comes fully loaded.  This hibiscus, beautifully tinged with coral around a vibrant pink, is just a sampling of the wide range of colors to be found.  I couldn't have painted it better if I tried. That's what's so intriguing about using flowers as my primary subject.  They always inspire me.

"Colors of the Sunset"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Winter Color

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mother Nature is amazing.  These beautiful flowers would not look as spectacular when the Coral Tree is covered with leaves.  But on bare branches they make a bold statment against a blue winter sky.

"Winter Color"    © Kathy Dunham 2010


Holly berries are somewhat toxic and will cause vomiting and/or diarrhea when ingested by people, partly due to the ilicin content. The fatal dose is estimated to be around twenty berries for adults. However they are extremely important food for numerous species of birds, and also are eaten by other wild animals. In the fall and early winter the berries are hard and apparently unpalatable. After being frozen or frosted several times, the berries soften, and become milder in taste. During winter storms, birds often take refuge in hollies, which provide shelter, protection from predators (by the spiny leaves), and food.

Other popular holiday plants are the poinsettia, misletoe, Christmas cactus, and amaryllis.
Me and my Gino.