Denise's Mother Visits Us - June 2010

Denise's mother, Annie, and Denise's cousins, Betty and Barbara, came out west to visit us Californians for five days of gossip and tourism. Denise and her sister, Pam, hosted their eastern relatives as well as local cousins who dropped by for the occasion.

Annie (in front) and cousin Barbara, having just arrived from the airport, get their first glimpse of the photographer in his office. Fortunately, I was prepared for them.

The family came to our place for a barbeque. Below, left to right, gathered around the coffee table in our family room, are Denise's cousins, Barbara and Betty, Denise's nephew, Matthew (a.k.a. the Albino Rhino), her mother, Annie, Denise, Denise's nephew, Mark (a.k.a. Marcus Hank), and Barbara's husband, Tony.

Matt mugs with his mother, Pam. 

And here Denise works on preparations for the barbeque in her kitchen.

Later, more local members of the family joined us and we moved outside to eat under our backyard gazebo. Below are Denise's cousin, Carrie, and her husband, Rob. (Photo by Betty. Image processing by me.)

Carrie and her daughters, Chloe and Sophia.  (Photo by Barbara.  Image processing by me.)

Nephew Mark, on the left, and cousin Mark, on the right. (Photo by Betty. Image processing by me.)

Annie poses with her grandsons, Mark and Matt. (Photo by Barbara. Image processing by me.)

Pam, Denise's sister and mother of Mark and Matt, above, somehow remains serene despite the chaos around her.  (Photo by Betty.  Image processing by me.)

A broader view of the proceedings.


Mark poses with his brother, Matt, who apparently couldn't handle all the excitement.

Later we moved indoors for coffee and dessert.

Sister Pam, cousin Mark and nephew Mark converse.  (Photo by Barbara.  Image processing by me.)

Cousin Betty holding Chloe and Sophia, her nieces. (Photo by Barbara. Image processing by me.)

Rob, Tony and I discuss wine.

Cousin Barbara and her children, Mark and Carrie (with her daughter in her lap), share a laugh with mother Annie and cousin Betty (backs to camera).

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Denise and I decided some tourism was in order since we couldn't sit around and do nothing but eat and drink... well, we could have, but we decided we needed the exercise.

Here Tony, Annie, Betty, Barbara and Denise stand in front of the entrance to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose ( This museum is a must see if you're playing tourist in San Jose. From their website: "Architecturally inspired by the Temple of Amon at Karnak, it houses the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit in western North America -- including objects from pre-dynastic times through Egypt's early Islamic era." Without a doubt the museum is architecturally beautiful, and the exhibits are fascinating.

Here's another view of the museum's entrance.

Stained glass windows within the museum displaying Rosicrusian iconography.

After touring the museum, we walked into the Peace Garden for some peace after several hours looking at many mummies of people, dogs, and even a fish, and absorbing the history of ancient egypt. The museum, its planetarium, and several associated Rosicrucian administrative buildings fill an entire city block and enclose many gardens. One could easily spend a beautiful day here in contemplation.

Posing in the Peace Garden behind the museum, are Barbara, Betty, Tony, Annie and Denise, from left to right.

The central fountain and one of the many administrative buildings that surround the Peace Garden.


Here I'm standing in the herb garden. All of the buildings surrounding the gardens are beautiful.

I don't know what this building is, but it's cool looking and restricted to Roscrucians only.

The group takes a load off their feet beside the fountain.

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The next day we drove to the vista point north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Betty, Annie and Denise admire the view of San Francisco looking south from across the Golden Gate. The Bay Bridge and Yerba Buena Island can just be seen through the fog to the left of downtown San Francisco. Unfortunately, Tony and Barbara had already headed home to get back to work and couldn't join us this day.

We drove part way out to the Point Bonita lighthouse in the Marin headlands. Here's the view looking back at San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Since we were playing tourist, the gals had to pose at the Ghirardelli chocolate shop at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco.

And the photographer was made to get into the shot as well. (Photo by Denise. Image processing by me.)

Alcatraz, the former federal penitentiary, and Angel Island (in the background) from near the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (

Moonrise over Coit Tower taken near Fisherman's Wharf.

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And the next day, we drove to Nepenthe on the Big Sur coast, one of our favorite escape places: Below, in front of the restaurant, are two column water features that have always intrigued me.

The Nepenthe Restaurant. Denise and her mother talk while we wait for a table

Betty and Pam enjoy the sun in front of the restaurant.

The Big Sur coast, with its beautiful trees, rugged coastline, and its incredible morning and afternoon fogs that take the edge off the heat on a hot summer day. To me, in a word, it's paradise. Here, I'm looking south from outside the Nepenthe restaurant.

Denise, Annie, Pam and Betty pose in paradise. We're just outside the Phoenix gift shop at Nepenthe (

An art shot. I love the Escheveria that grow along the Central California coast. This was also taken near the Phoenix gift shop.

The photographer finally got a break from carrying his camera. Denise took this photo.

Looking north along Highway 1 as it winds its way along the edge of the Santa Lucia Mountains where they plunge into the sea. Yellow Bush Lupine bloom amongst red iceplant as the afternoon fog rolls in off the Pacific Ocean.

The Bixby Bridge crosses a chasm along Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast. Constructed in 1932, it is 714 feet long, 280 feet high, and has a main span of 320 feet. It was considered an architectural marvel when it was built, and it was so over-engineered in 1932, that it remains sound today in this land of earthquakes.

Denise and Pam acting silly during a break from the drive home. Their mother, Annie, must be very proud.

We stopped at Monterey's Cannery Row ( for some last minute gift shopping and a desperately needed cup of coffee on our way home.  In the far distance is the Monterey Bay Aquarium ( which we would have visited had we more time.

Denise stands outside the members' entrance to the aquarium.

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