Free calendar page offer, any month, any year

My wise old grandmother

Back in 1966, when I was 11 and my wise old grandmother was helping me set up a typing business for college students, she introduced me to many four-letter words: free, give, help, love, need, want.

She told me that when I got to the point that I loved to give free help to people to meet their needs and wants, I would know that I had a career, and my career would provide for my own needs and wants. She taught me all about marketing, yet all she had was a partial first grade education, having dropped out of school to work in the fields after her dad died.

At the time, what she was telling me didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Now it does.

Since we are now in the fourth quarter of 2014, I have to start seriously thinking about the new year, and that always means calendars. I have rarely liked the calendars that you buy in the stores. They are always too big, too small, have a few pictures that I didn’t like, would not remain flat against the wall, were too heavy to hang on the wall with a pushpin…. whatever.

For 2015, I have resolved to create my own calendar, and that’s where YOU come in.

Here is my October 2014 calendar page:

October 2014

So what’s different between my calendar and store-bought calendars?

Well, first, my page is 8½x11…. easy to print on any printer.

Second, I use my own photos.

Third, I start the week with Monday. I never understand why religions say that Sunday is the seventh day of the week but calendars make it the first day of the week. With my calendar, the weekend is not together instead of split.

Fourth, I have six rows instead of four or five. That means that every day gets its own square…. always!

Fifth, if I have a calendar hanging on the wall, I’ve always disliked having to remove it in order to look at the previous month’s last days. My calendar fills in all the squares with days of the month…. last month’s, this month, and next month.

So here’s the deal:

I’ve made October 2014, but I need November & December 2014. And I need 2015 months…. January, February, March, April…. well, you get the idea.

For the first 50 people who leave a comment here on this post on my WordPress blog, YOU get a free calendar page. You can make it any month and year you like…. You can send me a picture to use (needs to be high resolution, at least 800 pixels wide at 100 ppi) or you can choose any of my pictures, one that you’ve seen in my blog over the 2½ years I’ve been here, or one in my galleries at Fine Art America.

Once you’ve decided, leave that comment here, and then email your month, year, and picture choice to me at

photographicart@russelrayphotos.com.

Attach your picture if you want me to use one of yours. I will create your calendar page and email a digital file to you.

These calendar pages are not easy to make, so I’ll acknowledge those first 50 comments and acknowledge your email. After that, you’ll just have to be patient.

This would make a great present for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I won’t walk on it

Picture of the Moment

As I continue to create works of Photographic Art, I find myself gaining a great appreciation of art of all kinds, even art that previously I didn’t particularly care for—Yoko Ono comes immediately to mind.

One thing I know, though, is that I could never walk on art, so when I find walkway art, I tend to walk around it and take pictures while everyone else is walking on it.

Such as these two pieces, found in the walkway at the Scripps Ranch branch of the San Diego Library:

Sidewalk snake art

Sidewalk lizard art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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You can see their fort from our fort

Out & About

Since we finished exploring San Diego Historical Landmarks #1 and #2, I had to go out and about to get pictures of #3.

Landmark #3 is right next to #4, so I was able to get two sets of pictures in just one trip. Yahoo for saving gas!

As I wandered around #3 and #4, which have awesome views from up on high, I saw across the way this structure:

University of San Diego

That is part of the campus of the University of San Diego, a private Catholic-affiliated university of about 5,500 students founded in 1949.

Looks kind of like a fort. Imagine a fort manned by men and women who are mostly 18-22 years old. Hmmm. Sounds just like the United States military….

To take that picture, I was standing at the site of the Presidio:

Presidio in San Diego

The Presidio was built in 1769 and was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the present-day United States. It was the base of operations for the Spanish colonization of California. It was a fort.

There are no structures left from the original Presidio. What often is referred to as the Presidio, shown above, is actually the Serra Museum, built in 1928-29 on the site of the original Presidio. It is named after Father Junipero Serra (1713-1784), founder of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first mission in California, and eight other missions.

The Serra Museum was built by George Marston (1850-1946), a wealthy department store owner. He had bought Presidio Hill with an intent to preserve the site. The building was designed by noted San Diego architect William Templeton Johnson (1877-1957) in Spanish Revival style to house the collection of the San Diego Historical Society. (For more about William Johnson, see San Diego Historical Landmarks #1, part 6, part 8, and part 10.)

Marston donated the museum and surrounding park land to the city of San Diego in 1929.

Sadly, city budget cuts during the Great Recession caused the Serra Museum to be unstaffed and closed. Those cuts have not been fully restored, so the Museum is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. That’s where I will be in a few of days in order to get more pictures of San Diego Historical Landmark #4.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Plastic bags banned (mostly) in California effective 7-1-15

Did you know?

California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation today that makes California the first state in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags. Interestingly, the news about the legislation says that it will prohibit “large stores” from using the sacks beginning in July 2015. I could find no definition of “large stores,” but the news article states, “The law applies to stores that sell groceries and pharmacies— think Safeway, Target, Walmart, Rite Aid— but not stores that don’t sell those items, like Macy’s.” Hmmm. I think Macy’s qualifies as a “large store.” I’m confused, but government often confuses me, so no big deal there.

Over 120 local California cities and counties currently ban plastic bags. I know the bags are dangerous to our wildlife, but so are the plastic rings that occupy the top of your six packs of canned beer and sodas…. and string…. and rubber bands…. and fishing line…. I don’t see anyone rushing to ban those. Oh, what a tangled web we weave….

Last night, Zoey the Cool Cat had an incident that frightened her, as well as Jim and me. I found a sack stuffed in a cupboard so I put it on the bed for Zoey the Cool Cat to enjoy:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Does she not look happy and satisfied, probably having pleasant dreams of finally catching the mourning doves outside our office window.

I mention the plastic bags because wildlife often get tangled up in them and die. Last night, Zoey the Cool Cat got tangled up in that sack. See the two handles? She got her head through one and couldn’t get out. She took off through the house, trying to get rid of the thing around her neck, frightened and howling. She finally got stuck in a corner where I was able to reach her and get the sack off her neck. It took about 30 minutes of me holding her and talking to her before she calmed down, though. Poor kitty….

I can only imagine what the wildlife outside goes through when they get their necks, feet, and wings caught up in plastic bags, plastic ring tops, fishing line, and string.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The work of Ricardo Breceda of Borrego Springs CA

Out & About

When I went to Palm Springs in mid-August, one of my goals was to see the statues of prehistoric wildlife in Borrego Springs (see A short visit to Galleta Meadows).

Little did I know then that the guy who created the statues, Ricardo Breceda, lives in Borrego Springs and sells much smaller statues to common people like me.

Following are some of the smaller statues that I found exhibited on properties throughout the area, and some for sale at a business.

Longhorn cow Mountain lion Desert buffalo Desert bighorn sheep Porker grill

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Breceda’s work celebrates the history and culture of Southern California, the desert environment, and pure fantasy.

Breceda originally is from Durango, Mexico. One day he made a dinosaur statue for his daughter, and the rest, as they say, is history. Breceda eventually met Dennis Avery, owner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs.  Avery had the vision of using his land as an enormous outdoor art gallery, and it became home to Breceda’s artwork featuring prehistoric and fantasy creatures.

I now know that there are over 150 of the larger statues scattered throughout the Anza-Borrego desert. I only saw 27 of them. I am trying to find a complete list, and a map of their locations, and when I do…………. ROAD TRIP!

The chase

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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It might be the most beautiful of all time

Picture of the Moment

When I visited La Quinta back on August 12, it was my first time. I drove down two main thoroughfares for many miles, and all I saw were golf resorts, condominium resorts, and monster homes behind huge fences and gates.

They also had the most beautiful and immaculately maintained medians and road sides.

I would not mind being a homeless person over there, although come to think of it, I didn’t see a single homeless person on a street corner asking for food and money. Hmmm. Maybe being homeless is against the city code….

Well, anyway, this was the most beautiful gate I saw, and it might rank as the most beautiful gate I’ve ever seen in my life:

Horsey gate

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (9-29-14)—Tie me kangaroo down sport

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My mother died in 2012 at the age of 81. I had only seen her twice since my wise old grandmother adopted me in 1965.

The last time was in the late 1990s at a Mardi Gras party at my sister’s house in Slidell, Louisiana.

We got into a discussion of music, and that’s when she told me that I was a singer at a very young age.

Apparently I liked to lay on the floorboard in the back of the car and sing along with whatever was playing on the radio, or beg mom and dad to play certain records at home so I could sing along.

She could remember the names of only four songs that I loved singing along to, and here they are:

“I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash, 1956

“The Wayward Wind” by Gogi Grant, 1956

“Tom Dooley” by The Kingston Trio, 1958

“Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport” by Rolf Harris, 1963

I was only one in 1956, and three in 1958, so those probably are records that mom and dad had at home.

Those last two are pretty gruesome songs for a young boy to be singing….

By 1963, age 8, yeah, I probably was singing everywhere since I was in the school chorus at that time.

I sang in school choruses through twelfth grade, and then joined the Century Singers at Texas A&M University. After college I sang in the Chancel Choirs at whatever church I was attending, as well as community choruses.

When I came to San Diego in 1993, I joined the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego. Since then I also have sang with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (at the time it was the largest Gay Men’s Chorus in the world with over 350 men) and then back with the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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