Half Moon Bay

28 08 2007

After we left Filoli, we drove the short distance north to the city of Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County. For more information about this quaint town, click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half_Moon_Bay,_California.

We toured the shops, had lunch and hot chocolate at a deli, and spent some time sitting on one of the beaches (http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=531). We made fast friends with a family who had never visited this particular area in the ten years they’ve lived nearby. I got a sweet and fun shot of Sue photographing Wendy, husband Steve, daughter Jennifer, and a son (whose name escapes me at the moment…Alex?). Wendy is a fellow gardener and highly recommended that we visit the Huntington Library gardens the next time we’re in California. (http://www.huntington.org/BotanicalDiv/HEHBotanicalHome.html) I checked out the site and it’s now on my list of garden-related places to visit.

The top photo pretty much sums up the feeling of being on the beach, surrounded by cool breezes, sand between your toes, with no pressing agenda, away from technology and computers and cell phones, on a beautiful August day.


© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.

Exploring Filoli with Sue 8.23.2007

28 08 2007

This past Thursday, Sue and I visited Filoli, a private property of the National Trust for Historic Preservations, in Woodside, California, just thirty miles south of San Francisco. Jeff was there last month and highly recommended it. The 654-acre estate has a 36,000 square foot historic house and sixteen acres of formal gardens. Filoli was built for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn II and his wife, Agnes, in 1917. Mr. Bourn arrived at the unusual name Filoli by combining the first two letters from the key words of his credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.

The Gardens grandeur was once shown in the opening scene of the popular TV series, Dynasty, and in movies such as Heaven Can Wait and The Joy Luck Club.

I had seen the photo of the knot garden (on the first page of Filoli’s web site) by photographer Saxon Holt (http://www.saxonholt.com/) a few years ago and never knew where it was shot until now. The best time to visit the gardens, according to a volunteer we spoke with, is in late April/early May. That’s the time when the knot garden is at its peak, and the garden is blooming with all the Dutch-inspired spring flowers. From late April to June, 500 rose bushes come into bloom. Their garden shop is one of the best (and most extensive) we’ve visited (and you know how we love garden shops). The weather was perfect (80 degrees or so), but then, almost every day in California is like that!

The garden is a succession of garden rooms, terraces, lawns, and pools. There is a large cutting garden, myriad fruit trees (ripening pears and apples abound, and Sue found some on the ground for us to sample), a cutting garden, and an extensive rose garden that would have Debbi smitten in no time. We were a little surprised at how much was still in bloom in this part of the country, particularly when our own gardens are waning in the recent summer heat. Go to the site here: http://www.filoli.org/garden_gen.html and peruse their gardener’s reference sheets. If you’re ever in San Francisco, it’s an easy half-hour drive to this beautiful estate.

© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.

Green Spring Gardens 8.12.2007

12 08 2007

Jeff and I went to Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria early this morning to do some shooting and came away with some great butterfly photos…we saw Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Monarchs (several attached), Silver-spotted Skippers, cabbage moths, and various (yet to be identified by me) bees. We also saw several golden finches but they were far too quick to photograph. The weather was wonderful (80+ degrees), but the bright sunlight isn’t the best for photographing flowers and insects…but we got some great images despite the lighting conditions. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/gsgp/


© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.

The grammar guru strikes again…

10 08 2007

An e-mail from my Dad, in reference to me using “thankfully” inappropriately in my “Raindrops on Roses” posting….(in all honesty, I knew I was most likely using it incorrectly…I was just being lazy):

Thankfully is an adverb, a word which takes the action of a verb. The statement “And enough to soak the ground, thankfully” seems to indicate that the rain was thankful that it managed to fall in an amount sufficient enough to soak the ground. The use of a comma between “ground” and “thankfully” adds to that misperception—it causes the reader to pause, and thus adds emphasis to the notion that the rain was pleased with its performance.

One cannot say, with a high degree of certainty, that the rain was not, in fact, thankful that its efforts were fruitful, but given the vagaries of rainfall (at least in my part of the country), it’s doubtful that the rain felt such emotion—in fact, it’s somewhat doubtful that rain is capable of feeling any emotion, regardless of its output.

The misuse of adverbs is almost universal—learned people from all disciplines, some with impressive titles preceding their names (doctor, governor, senator, president, etc.) and long strings of letters after their names identifying degrees and specialties—MD, BA, RN, BS, MBA, SOB, etc.) frequently (no, not frequently—consistently) misuse adverbs.

In my experience the misuse of “hopefully” leads the pack, with “thankfully” running a close second.

If all the above seems to be a severe case of nit-picking, that’s because it is. I’m guilty. I admit it. I am a zealot—a registered, dyed-in-the-wool, confirmed card-carrying NIT-PICKER, and as the slogan of one of the nation’s hamburger chains says, “I’m loving it!”!

(Note the double exclamation point in the last sentence—that’s allowable when the exclamation points are separated by a quotation mark).

Bees (and Wasps) I have known

9 08 2007

I love photographing insects in the garden. Among my favorite: bees…they’re of ample size to fill a macro lens frame, they move fairly slowly, and they love a variety of plants, so you can always get a different background. If you want to learn more about the plight of bees, here’s a great article:



Egads! Another Zena Bethune?

8 08 2007

Not to be upstaged by her pesky brother, our cat ZenaB must have her share of the spotlight in this blog. We named her ZenaB after a not-so-well-known actress (at least to us) named Zena Bethune. When my sister Debbie and I were younger, we would always try to guess who a particular actress or actor was and my Dad would always pipe in (from his prone position on the couch), “It’s Zena Bethune!” No matter what movie, no matter whether the unidentified person was male or female, his answer was always the same. So throughout the years Debbie and I never realized there really was someone named Zena Bethune…that is, until a movie we were watching ended and in the credit listing was Zena Bethune’s name. (We apologize to Dad for thinking he made up the name).

When we got our born-in-a-barn-to-a-barn-cat-mamma kitten, we were searching for an appropriate and highly original (or so we thought) name…Michael and I were at a crossroads until Debbie reminded me of what Dad would always say when we were at a loss for a name….so that’s how ZenaB got her moniker. If Debbie hadn’t piped in, ZenaB would be Sexy Sadie or something to that effect…and given her clumsiness (ZenaB, not Debbie), that name would have definitely been a misnomer. On the other hand, judging by the not-so-ladylike shot of her sprawled out below, Sexy Sadie might have been a better fit.

I always thought it was Zena Bethume (with an “m”). In searching for information on Zena Bethune (the actress, not the cat) on the Web, I actually found another cat named Zena Bethume http://redfield13.tripod.com/ Apparently the owner of this cat and I think alike about the misspelling! And here we thought we were being original!

Regarding the human ZenaB, I’ve discovered she was on the soap opera, Guiding Light, for a number of years in the ’50s and was in the movie, Mean Streets, with Harvey Keitel in 1973. On one Website, http://www.ballettalk.com (no, I’m not a dancer nor do I have a fascination with ballet…the Web took me to some seemingly disconnected places in my research on ZenaB), someone wrote, “Does anyone remember Zena Bethune? I thought it fascinating when I was young that a ballet dancer would become a soap opera actress. This was back in the 60s. She later went on to star in a TV show called “The Nurses.” I seem to remember that after her television experiences, she went back to the performing arts in some capacity.”

She apparently started a dance company at some point—Zena Bethune Theatre Dance Co.

So, there you have it…the human ZenaB was a dancer prior to becoming someone whose name has inspired us (and apparently at least one other cat owner).

In the bottom photo, ZenaB serves as a consultant (and silent partner) to Michael as he starts his new business, JumpStart Computing.


© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.

Kenilworth Gardens

6 08 2007

Jeff and I took a photo road trip over to Kenilworth Gardens this morning…while the weather was perfect for humans (sunny but not hot), the breezes made it difficult for photographs! These are a few of the shots I was able to get when the breezes took a break….my jaunt there last year (as well as the year before that) was more fruitful, photography-wise. And since we were delayed by the drawbridge going up on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, we got there later in the morning than expected, so the harsh sun was also not conducive to garden photography….but I did get some nice ones. If you haven’t been, it’s really beautiful when the lotus plants bloom in mid-July (http://www.nps.gov/keaq/).

Mary Ellen (www.happytonics.org), you will be pleased to know that milkweed grows alongside the lotus ponds like, well, WEEDS! And we saw several Monarchs, as well as female and male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies, taking advantage of this very important plant.
More Kenilworth Garden photos: www.cindydyer.com/KenilworthGardens


© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos