Bright Orange Flowers

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
This one has me stumped.  I failed to locate its botanical name, let alone the common name, and haven't a clue as to what it's called.  HELP!!!

"Bright Orange Flowers"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Bapistry Panel

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This is just one of ten panels cast in gold, on the doors of the Bapistry in Florence, Italy.  This separate building, just steps from the beautiful duomo, was used specifically for baptisms, quite common in that era.  These ornately and highly detailed carved panels are duplicates of the originals which are now housed in the museum behind the church.  With all that gold, I wonder why!

"Bapisitry Panel"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Giovanni's Mailbox

Monday, June 28, 2010
I found this mailbox in Assisi and it brought a smile to my face.  Someone had fun trying to brighten an otherwise dull piece of metal.  I hope the mailman enjoys it  when he delivers the mail.

"Giovanni's Mailbox"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Field of Sunflowers

Sunday, June 27, 2010
It's not Italy, it's not Provence.....   It's a tiny community in San Diego county called Valley Center.  This small field was formerly a dairy farm that went bust in the economy.  Now it's a bright spot (with lots of fertile ground). 

"Field of Sunflowers"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Some Assembly Required

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house

I searched for the tools to hand to my spouse.
Instructions were studied and we were inspired,
In hopes we could manage "Some Assembly Required."
The children were quiet in their beds,
While Dad and I faced the evening with dread:
In the kitchen, two bikes, Barbie's town house to boot!
And, thanks to Grandpa, a train with a toot!
We opened the boxes, my heart skipped a beat....
Let no pieces be missing or parts incomplete!
Too late for last-minute returns or replacement;
If we can't get it right, it goes down in the basement!
When what to my worrying eyes should appear,
But 50 sheets of directions, concise, but not clear,
With each part numbered and every slot named,
So if there were failure, only we could be blamed.
More rapid than eagles the parts then fell out,
All over the floor they were scattered about.
"Now bolt it! Now twist it! Attach it right there!
Slide on the seats, where the metal is bare!
Hammer the shelves, and nail to the stand."
Honey," said hubby, "you just glued my hand."
And then in a twinkling, I knew for a fact
That all the toy dealers had indeed made a pact
To keep parents busy all Christmas Eve night
With "assembly required" till morning's first light.
We spoke not a word, but kept bent at our work,
Till our eyes, they went bleary; our fingers all hurt.
The coffee went cold and the night it wore thin
Before we attached the last rod and last pin.
Then laying the tools away in the chest,
We fell into bed for a well-deserved rest.
But I said to my husband just before I passed out,
"This will be the best Christmas, without any doubt.
Tomorrow we'll cheer, let the holiday ring,
And not have to run to the store for a thing!
"We did it! We did it! The toys are all set
For the perfect, most perfectest Christmas, I bet!"
Then off to dreamland, at last sweet repose
I gratefully went, although I suppose
There's something to say for those self-deluded
I'd forgotten that BATTERIES are never included!
I just got lost in thought.
It was unfamiliar territory.


Pink Tulip

Saturday, June 26, 2010
Tulips are one of my favorite flowers.  They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.  At one time they were worth more than their weight in gold.  Tulip bulbs were traded feverishly in Holland in the 1630s.  The more rare the bulb, the higher the price.  Then the bottom fell out of the market.  Fortunes were lost overnight.  Luckily in today's market they can be had for a reasonable price.

"Pink Tulip"     © Kathy Dunham 2010


Friday, June 25, 2010
Also known as Frangipani, this tropical shrub can grow to a height of 25'.  The flowers are fragrant and will bloom most of the year in the right conditions.  It comes in many colors and this variety, Plumeria ruba, var acutifolia, features creamy white flowers, sometimes flushed with pink , with a deep yellow center.

"Plumeria"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Tarantula Hawk

Thursday, June 24, 2010
This species of wasp gets its name from the fact that their larva feed on tarantula paralyzed and buried with the eggs laid by the female.  Once they become adults they are nectar sippers.  This one is dining on a milkweed plant.  Be careful of the females, they sting if provoked. 

"Tarantula Hawk"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Waiting for the Bus

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I love the way Italian's dress when they go shopping.  From the looks of it, he didn't buy much but he sure looks dapper.  Sport coat and slacks and a matching fedora.  Now he's waiting for the local bus to come along.

"Waiting for the Bus"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Searching and searching and searching.....

I am searching and searching and searching but I can’t find it... What am I searching for??? The old Vinod I use to know... Yes, I feel like I am lost in a dense forest... I am not the same person I used to know... I hate it at times... When can I regain my old form???... I’ve changed a lot... And it seems to be very difficult to change back to the person I was once... My current form is causing me a lot of troubles mentally... What has happened to me?? I wonder and wonder and wonder... Now, I know why my URL is set as How long do I have to be like this?? All I can do now is hope for a better tomorrow...

Peace out ;-)

Love in a Mist

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
These beautiful flowers, native to Mediterranean countries and Western Asia have a long history of use in folk medicine.  I just don't know what they were used to treat.  They make a good cut flower and also can be found in white and lilac.  And I have no idea where the common name originated or what it means.

"Love in a Mist"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Missing those good, old times...

Monday, June 21, 2010

A few months back, on a usual Friday that one would never expect much... I was waiting in a bus stop with Sujes, a friend of mine... We had classes earlier that day... After our classes, we planned to head to Kolej Cemara /Akasia to photostat some important notes (that’s part of a student’s life right) photostating things, running around here and there and yet having tons of assignments to do... lol...

After having our lunch, we walked all the way to the bus stop outside intec... On Friday, busses would not wait for us in our campus... We have to walk all the way outside our campus past few flats.... And yes, we did... Cendana busses are normally limited as there were more students in Cemara compared to cendana.... On that day, it was all opposite... There were Cendana busses waiting for us and all the Cemara busses had moved earlier... What a bad luck.. When we need cendana, cemara is there and vice versa...

Feeling dejected, both of us thought of waiting for the next Cemara bus if there were any... We waited in a small bus stop facing a kindergarden.... Tadika Priyaah I guess... Without any hesitation, Sujes took his earphone out and listened to some melodious beats... I had my earphone too... However, when I am out, I dislike using it... I prefer observing people and the scenery around me... I was looking all around while sujes was busy listening to his tunes.... All of a sudden, something caught my sight... I saw cute, bubbly kids coming out of the kindergarden... A woman(their teacher I guess) leaded them to the other side of the road where their parents were eagerly waiting for their kids...

That particular scene carved a smile on my face.... It reminded me of my childhood and how much I’ve experienced till that particular moment of my life... I was kinda sad too... Reminded me of home and so on... Being a small kid was nice.... Nothing to worry about... Running and playing around happily with my siblings, friends and so on... Miss those good old moments... Nowadays... life is not the same anymore... We are all apart... I can still remember... During our usual arguments at that time, my mother would often interrupt advice us not to fight as this is the time for us to enjoy being together... At that moment, I did not understand what she actually meant.. I nodded like a puppet... Now, I do understand...

There is one odd thing with us as human beings.... When we are young, we rush to grow up... When we are grown up, we long to be children again... As we get older, greater responsibilities come by our way... Being a kid, we don’t stress up our mind thinking on let downs... We ignore them... Nowadays... a minor let down takes a long time to heal.... Sometimes, I feel like growing up is a tough process... Anyway, nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending... Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.....

-No matter what happens, life has to go on...-

Peace Out ;-)

Vancouver Hydrangea

When in Vancouver, B.C., be sure to visit the Van Deusen Gardens.  These hydrangeas were just some of the many they have.  This propery in the heart of Vancouver, has rolling terrain, large ponds and a wonferful array of plants and flowers.  And this time of year most are in bloom.

"Vancouver Hydrangea"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Soon to be a Butterfly

Sunday, June 20, 2010
This spectacular caterpillar will become a Monarch butterfly two weeks after it turns into a pupa. And if you want to attract some to your yard you'll need to plant milkweed as that's the only food the larvae will eat.

"Soon to be a Butterfly"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Italian Green

Saturday, June 19, 2010
Every time I"m in Europe I look for door knobs and knockers.  The variety, condition and the doors they're on are factinating.  So far the Italians have better looking doors than the French.  They also have some pretty good looking knockers. This ornament is both functional and decorative and something you don't see too much of here in the states.  Too bad, they give a house personality.

"Italian Green"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

"Salvia leucophylla" - Figueroa

Friday, June 18, 2010
I've never seen a purple sage that looked anything like this.  Usually it's the leaves that are purple.  But this hybrid "Salvia leucophylla" makes for a beautifiul and delicate garden color.  It grows quite large so allow plenty of room.

"Salvia leucophylla"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Woody's Boat Repair

Thursday, June 17, 2010
I was in Claremont last week and came upon a classic car show on the main drag Friday evening.  They were polished and the hoods were up so you could look at the engines.  But this old Ford panel truck caught my eye.  When I was little my dad had an old Willys panel and we used to play in it.  How this brings back memories.

"Woody's Boat Repair"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Aquilegia formosa

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Common name, Columbine. We're all familiar with this family of flowers but did you know that it derived it's common name from the Latin for dove, as the flowers were thought to resemble a cluster of doves.  This one is also known as Western Columbine and is the parent of many popular cultivars (hybrids).

"Aquilegia formosa"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

Wooly Blue-curls

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
This is one plant that has a very appropriate common name.  It's blue, wooly and the stamens curl.  I'm always fascinated with the variation in the plant world.  And soft fuzzy plants intrigue me.  Too bad the flower on this plant is so small.  It takes a magnifying glass to see all the intricacies it has to offer.

"Wooly Blue-Curls"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Coming in for a Landing

Monday, June 14, 2010
The Matilija Poppies are in bloom and here's lucky shot #2.  That bee is loaded with pollen but he wants more.  The Matilijas are one of my favorite flowers to paint.  Native to California, these spectacular blooms with white, krinkled petals and a large yellow-orange center are dramatic in the late afternoon light.  They are also known as the "Fried Egg Flower" and I'm sure you can guess why.

"Coming in for a Landing"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Of vuvuzelas and jabulani...

Finally... the time has come... For us to cheer for our respective teams and burn the midnight oil for priceless soccer matches... Yes... FIFA world cup is finally here... I wanted to blog on this even before the start of the world cup... Anyway, I was a little busy... No matter what, I believe it is never too late as only a few matches have been played so far... You might be wondering what do vuvuzelas and jabulani actually mean... Vuvuzela is an instrument which produces a monotonous sound... very noisy... sounds like flies all around... According to a friend of mine, Jeeva, even players can’t communicate with each other during matches with the presence of vuvuzelas... What an awesome instrument...haha... The tradition of South Africa... Meanwhile, Jabulani is the name of the ball used in this World Cup... Jabulani means ‘happy’ in the African language... Just googled it a few seconds ago... :)

FIFA world cup 2010, South Africa- A tournament that unites fans from all over the world... Some people might consider being in the so called ‘football fever’ as crazy... However, I don’t think so as I can see many positive outcomes from it... In a world full of corruption and war, FIFA helps to unite people of different races, skin colours and religious backgrounds for one cause... Let us not go too far... In our very own family, we can strengthen the bond when we sit for soccer matches and watch them together... Do you think we have much time to spend with each other in this fast paced world??... I can still remember... Long long ago, I read an article regarding a girl on how football changed her life and relationship with her dad in the Readest Digest magazine... Initially, she wasn’t close to her dad at all... It’s like staying under the same roof without knowing what happens to each other... FIFA gave her an opportunity that she needed... FIFA provides an awesome platform for everyone... Even though I love tennis to the max, I still have a never ending passion for this tourney which occurs every 4 years... It’s something special...

My pick... Well, let’s see... If Malaysia had qualified for the World Cup, I might have shown support for my very own home team... Anyway, Malaysia is not in... I’ve been supporting the same team since the very first day I know what football is- ENGLAND... England attracts me in certain ways that other teams do not... Watching England on the pitch is really special... As for club, I have been supporting Man Utd for years... I’ve never changed these two squads since the very first day I started watching football... Anyway, this year, I include Germany in my list as my second choice team as I have some sentimental reasons for it... Germany is an awesome team too... Watching England perform in the first round was not that good... In my opinion, their performance was not that good compared to major teams like Argentina and Germany... England managed to grab a draw with USA 1-1... Meanwhile, the Germans started their campaign with a high note... Beating Australia 4-0... No matter what, my support for the English team will never fade... I hope that they will perform better in the next match... I would like to see em lifting the trophy... Let’s see if it happens... Before I end this post, I’d like to emphasise again that soccer is not just about being crazy and so on... For most people out there, it means a lot more than that... Pick your team now and get on the floor!!! That’s all for now my dear blogy...

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Peace Out ;-)

Front and Back

Sunday, June 13, 2010
Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden in Claremont, California just opened their butterfly exhibit Saturday.  By some standards it's small, but this intimate enclosure gets you up close and personal with these beautiful winged creatures.  These two are Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies.  How lucky could I get?  To capture both sides in one photo.  Sometimes it pays to be lucky.

"Front and Back"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

First Christmas Gift

Friday, June 11, 2010  Well, I bought my first Christmas present yesterday. It's for my sister-in-law. Saw it on I love it and I think she will too. I can't say what it is because she may read this. I sent her an email with a Christmas background and a Christmas song. I told her ho ho ho, he he he, bought you a Christmas gift from QVC. No hints as to what it was. I don't think I've ever bought a Christmas gift this early. It could turn out to be a good idea to start early in the year instead of waiting until November.

Alaskan Totem

Thursday, June 10, 2010
Big, bold and pristine.  Those are words I use to describe Alaska.  It's a beautiful state and if you haven't been there yet, put it on your bucket list.  I'm impressed with Alaskan art. They use very few symbols and usually tell a story in the works they create. 

"Alaskan Totem"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Vatican Clock

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I never cease to be amazed at the beautiful work the artisans created in the spectacular buildings and monuments in Italy.  This clock, which sits atop the colonnade surrounding St. Peter's Square, is an example of magnificent craftmanship.

"Vatican Clock"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Peppers For Sale

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I always think of the Southwest when I see dried peppers.  New Mexico specifically.  But I found these at a street market in Rome.  Yep, Rome, Italy.  Then I remembered my favorite pasta dish gets it's unique spicy taste from little beauties like this.  The dish?  Penne Arribiata.  A spicy tomato based dish that's even better topped with lots of parmesan or pecorino cheese.

"Peppers for Sale"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Pachypodium lamerei

Monday, June 7, 2010
Native to Madagascar and South Africa, this spine covered succulent only has leaves at the very top.  I've had one for over 8 years and it hasn't bloomed yet.  But this is the time of year they bloom and these frangipani-like flowers in white are nestle among the leaves.  Apparently the trunks need to be at least 3' before they bloom which probably explains why mine haven't yet.  It's almost there and these are slow growers.

"Pachypodium lamerei"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Up Against the Wall

Sunday, June 6, 2010
This beautiful Peace rose is taking advantage of the rough stone wall behind it to show off.  This was my Mother's favorite flower.  She had a huge bush in the back yard that she diligently tended to produce spectacular blooms.

"Up Against the Wall"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Busy Little Bee

Saturday, June 5, 2010
This little guy was so busy collecting pollen he didn't even stop beating his wings.  Work, work, work.

"Busly Little Bee"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Van Dussen Gardens

Friday, June 4, 2010
If you're ever in Vancouver, B.C., take the time to visit the Van Dussen Gardens.  You'll be surprised at the variety of the plantings.  One fun item for those who are kids at heart is the hedge maze.  And yes, they do give you a map so you won't get lost. 

"Van Dussen Gardens"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Sandstone Formations - Canyon de Chelly

Thursday, June 3, 2010
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is truly a wonder of nature.  Nestled in the northeast section of Arizona and part of the Navajo Reservation, this small but might canyon, carved by the elements, makes a dramatic statement.  The Navajos still farm the canyon floor and in an conjunction with the National Park Service, protect the ruins of the cliff dwellers who once lived there.  Definitely worth the side trip to get there.

"Sandstone Formations - Canyon de Chelly"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Blue Butterfly Bush

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I am always amazed at the things Mother Nature can come up with.  The very small flower, no bigger than 1", certainly has the look of a butterfly.  Maybe if I watched it long enough it'll fly away.

"Blue Butterfly Bush"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Pink Primrose

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The light was right and these delicate primroses, which were beginning to take over the garden, begged to be captured.  The weather is getting hot here in the desert and these gentle flowers will soon be gone, wilted away in the heat of the day.

"Pink Primrose"    © Kathy Dunham 2010