Monthly Archives: December 2012

Wine a bit -- You'll feel better!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE!

Wine a bit -- You'll feel better!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you do decide to wine a bit:

  1. do it at home
  2. arrange for a designated driver
  3. have someone deliver you and pick you up
  4. get a hotel room
  5. call a cab.

Don’t take public transportation (like the train or a bus) if you’re inebriated. The train and bus police will be out in force because drunk folks tend to damage mass transit facilities, either intentionally or unintentionally. Also don’t go traipsing down the street all wined up; that is also called public intoxication. You don’t need the financial penalties that come with being drunk in public.

Have fun, and best wishes for health, happiness, peace, and prosperity in 2013 and beyond!

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

About these ads
Action on the San Diego waterfront viewed from Coronado

Action on the Waterfront

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you come to San Diego and want some great pictures of the San Diego skyline, the place to go is Centennial Park across the San Diego Bay in Coronado:

Coronado map

View Larger Map

Action on the San Diego waterfront viewed from Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Action on the San Diego waterfront viewed from Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Action on the San Diego waterfront viewed from Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Action on the San Diego waterfront viewed from Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Action on the San Diego waterfront viewed from Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Action on the San Diego waterfront viewed from Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Water, water everywhere

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Possibly my favorite place to go shopping in all of San Diego County is the Viejas Outlet Center.

Viejas map

View Larger Map

The reason why I like it so much is because there are billions and billions and billions of flowing streams and water falls. Once one gets tired of shopping (ha!), one can simply sit, relax, and listen to the flowing water.

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Viejas Outlet Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #1660, Texas state flag

History through Philately — Texas becomes the 28th State

History Through Philately stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #1660, Texas state flagOn this date in 1845, the Republic of Texas entered the United States of America as the 28th state.

When the United States bought the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803, the U.S. attempted to include Texas in the Purchase. In 1819, after sixteen years of dispute, the boundary was set at the Sabine River, which is the current border of Louisiana and Texas.

Scott #776, Texas centennialFrom 1819 to 1836, Texas was part of Mexico. On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico, becoming the Republic of Texas. As most declarations of independence do, this one resulted in a war between the Republic of Texas and Mexico, including the Battle of the Alamo, lost by the Texans, and the Battle of San Jacinto, which resulted in the Texans soundly defeating the Mexicans.

Scott #1043, The AlamoTexans elected Sam Houston as President of the Republic but also endorsed Texas entering the Union as a State. The likelihood of Texas joining as a slave state delayed formal action by the U.S. Congress for more than a decade. Congress agreed to annex the territory of Texas in 1844, and on December 29, 1845, Texas entered the United States as a slave state. A dispute involving the southern boundary of Texas resulted in the Mexican American War, which the United States won.

Scott #1038, Texas statehoodThe Mexican American War ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which Mexico ceded the current lands currently comprising California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as parts of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. The southern boundary of Texas was set as the Rio Grande river.

Other interesting facts about Texas:

  1. 3738 Texas greetingsThe south Texas farming and ranching community of Kingsville welcomed me to the world on March 11, 1955. Kingsville is located in the disputed territory between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande.
  2. Texas is pretty much a red state, which is one of the many reasons why I don’t live there anymore. I left on April 15, 1993, and arrived in San Diego 12 days later, taking a circuitous route to Fargo, North Dakota; over to Seattle, Washington; and down to San Diego.
  3. Scott #1995, Texas mockingbird and bluebonnetTexas has a gross state product (GSP) of $1.307 trillion, second behind California’s $1.936 trillion. If Texas were an independent country, its gross domestic product (GDP) would rank as the world’s 11th largest.
  4. Texas does not have a State income tax. Its money comes from property taxes and sales taxes.
  5. Texas has a population of 26,059,203, making it the second most populous state (behind California).
  6. Texas is the second largest state (behind Alaska), with 268,820 square miles.
  7. Scott #2968, Texas statehoodTexas is headquarters for 57 Fortune 500 companies (tying for first with California).
  8. Texas has three cities ranked in the Top 10 for population: Houston at #4, San Antonio at #7, and Dallas at #9. (California also has three cities in the Top 10: Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose.)
  9. Kingsville, TexasMy hometown of Kingsville has an average high temperature of 65°F in December. However, on Christmas Even 2004, six inches of snow blanketed the city.
  10. Texas has the most farms and the highest acreage in the United States.
  11. Texas leads the nation in livestock production — cattle, sheep, and goats.
  12. Texas leads the nation in cotton production.
  13. Texas A&M UniversityMy alma mater, Texas A&M University, is the state’s first public institution of higher education and has the state’s largest enrollment at 53,337 students (fourth largest in the nation). It is the nation’s only land grand, sea grant, and space grant university. Texas A&M also has the largest main campus of any university, with 5,500 acres.
  14. Two presidential libraries are located in Texas: Lyndon B. Johnson in at the University of Texas at Austin and George Bush at Texas A&M University. A third one is in the workds, George W. Bush at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
  15. Scott #1742, Texas windmillThe Texas healthcare system is ranked third worst in the United States by the Commonwealth Fund; 25% of Texans do not have health insurance, the largest percentage in the nation.
  16. Texas emits more greenhouse gases than any other state, with Port Arthur (a heavy oil refining locale) having some of the dirtiest air in the United States.
  17. I survived many hurricanes and tropical storms while living in Texas, the most significant of which were Beulah (1967), Celia (1970), and Allen (1980).
  18. The deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 people.
  19. My childhood home in Kingsville, courtesy of Google Streetview:

420 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville, Texas

I planted the two oak trees after Hurricane Celia in 1970. They were just a foot high.

Scott #2204, Battle of San Jacinto

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #1242, Sam Houston

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta (12-27-12)

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As much as I love flowers and creating my Friday Flower Fiesta posts, it’s hard to believe we’ve gone three weeks without one. My apologies to all my Friday Flower Fiesta fans.

Thunbergia mysorensis

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Canna 'Yellow King Humbert'

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Canna

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unknown flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unknown flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zinnia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unknown flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Tuberous begonia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hibiscus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unknown flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Special Visitor

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I can recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dead trees in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Dead can be beautiful

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Long-time readers know that I have a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management from Texas A&M University. My minors (if Texas A&M recognized minors) would have been civil engineering and organic chemistry.

My intent when I enrolled at Texas A&M was to go into structural engineering, i.e., gaining as much from the forest as we could to build our homes and businesses. Research and development with a forestry company like Weyerhauser, Texas Pacific, Louisiana Pacific, or Georgia Pacific. Even though I have never used my degree, I still have a great appreciation for trees, even dead ones.

Dead trees in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I found that beauty in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge where I have been hanging out on a regular basis.

For more about the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge see these posts:

I’m trading in my beach sandals for hiking boots

A lonely sycamore grove

It’s a staredown

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

If Santa didn’t make it to your place, you might have a non-Santa-Claus-friendly chimney

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Look, folks.

Santa is a pretty amazing individual with all he does each year.

And Rudolph is a pretty amazing pilot since he is still navigating by the light of his red nose instead of a GPS.

However, in case you didn’t realize it, Santa is a pretty big individual.

Chargers helmetWith a little practice he could play on Sundays.

Heck, even without practice he could probably play for the Chargers………..

Santa only has about twelve hours to make it to millions and millions of homes with billions and billions of presents.

If he is going to be successful each year, YOU need to do your part!

And I’m not talking being naughty.

Yeah, sure, that can help Santa summarily dismiss you.

I’m talking about the good folks, though.

If you were good this past year and still didn’t get anything from Santa, maybe you have a non-Santa-Claus-friendly chimney like one of these:

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Non-Santa Claus-friendly chimney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post.

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I’m trading in my beach sandals for hiking boots

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I discovered the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge a few months ago.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

View Larger Map

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s about 9,200 acres in southwest San Diego County and is rapidly becoming my favorite place in all of the County. I’m trading in my beach sandals for hiking boots.

There are dozens of trails throughout the Refuge, and although the trails look well used, the most people I have ever seen was about fifteen on a four-hour hike, and that was on a Saturday, too. During the weekdays, there are hikers, bikers, dog walkers, and horse riders early in the morning and late in the evening. Other than that, I seem to be the only one who can take off during the day to enjoy the Refuge.

I don’t have to fight with billions of people for my own little spot like I would at the beach, and I never come home all salty and sandy. The roar of the ocean is replaced with the call of the wild.

Here is my first blog post about the Refuge.

Following are some pictures in new areas of the Refuge that I have recently explored.

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I found a pile of rocks which attracted my attention because it was about four feet high and wide, obviously taking someone a significant amount of effort to create:

Memorial in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

As you can see, there’s a rectangular piece of wood on the pile, informing us that the pile of rocks is a memorial, but a very odd memorial:

Memorial in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge 2

Memorial in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge 2

I don’t understand the memorial because I saw men, women, children, horses, and dogs enjoying the wonderful nature trek.

Horse rider plaque in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Riding horses in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I couldn’t find anything online about it. The best I can figure is that it was created when the land became part of the National Wildlife Refuge. An alternate possibility is that this specific piece of land is part of the horse ranch located directly above rather than part of the Wildlife Refuge. When the horse ranch bought the land, someone created the memorial, thinking that the land would no longer be available for the public to enjoy.

Birds are plentiful throughout the Refuge:

Western scrub-jay in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Bird in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I don’t know what kind of bird that second one is but it was playing the old broken wing trick, trying to lure me away from whatever it wanted to protect, probably a nest. You can see that it pretty much is giving me a little attitude with that look.

If you let your eyes go a little fuzzy and use your imagination, you can see a ram’s head in the following rock. It looks a little freaky in person because its gaze seems to follow you as you meander along the trails in front of it.

Ramshead rock in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

The Sweetwater River which runs through the refuge:

Sweetwater River in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I know, I know. Many of you are thinking “That’s not a river. That’s a creek.” Out here in dry San Diego, if it flows year-round, it’s a river!

If you enjoy different kinds of plants, there are many to be found, like these lichens growing on this rock:

Lichen-covered rock in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Most of the refuge is open and sunny, but here and there are small groves of oaks, willows, and sycamores under which one can rest:

Trail in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Round and round and round we go

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wreaths are one of my favorite parts of the holiday season.

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreath

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s times like these when I’m happy that I have a 300mm telephoto lens. I sure wouldn’t want to be seen walking around the neighborhood taking pictures of everyone’s homes………lol

Which one is your favorite? And which one do you think hangs on my door?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Merry Christmas

If Santa didn’t bring you what you wanted………………..

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Last night Jim and I drove around ooohing and aaahing at the lights.

The tallest lighted tree was a living one over on Coronado Island. It’s probably about fifty feet tall:

Merry Christmas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Of course, we had to drive by the historic Hotel del Coronado:

Hotel del Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hotel del Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Hotel del Coronado was built in 1887. It is one of the oldest and largest all-wooden buildings in the United States and was the largest hotel in the world when it opened in 1888.

Room 3327 is haunted.

It has been featured on television and in movies — most notably Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe — has hosted every president since its construction, and is the most expensive piece of real estate in the United States, most recently selling for $384 million and currently valued at $590 million. The Freedom Tower in New York City might take the record once it is completed.

It is also on a United States postage stamp issued earlier this year:

Billy Wilder, Marilyn Monroe, and the Hotel del Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I just realized in doing a search of my blog that I have not done a post on the historic Hotel del Coronado. Well! That will have to change with the new year!

The following pictures are of ornaments found on public Christmas trees in the San Diego Area:

Merry Christmas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Merry Christmas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Merry Christmas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And remember, if Santa didn’t bring you what you wanted, perhaps you need to spend a little more time next year being nice. Especially you Republicans!

Merry Christmas to family and friends everywhere!

Merry Christmas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos