Category Archives: My wise old grandmother

Animal rescue and sanctuary support

I livew in my own little world

My wise old grandmother taught me to share.

Second Chance Dog Rescue logoI have decided to share the profits from the sale of my Photographic Art with animal rescue groups and wildlife sanctuaries throughout the United States, as long as they are charitable organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

I will share in your name if you contact me to let me know when and what Photographic Art you purchased. Email me at russelraypc@aol.com.

I also will share with your preferred rescue group or sanctuary; again, just let me know. Otherwise, I will share with my preferred rescue groups and sanctuaries.

the cat house on the kingsMy Photographic Art is available at Fine Art America, a print-on-demand site with a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. So if you don’t like your product for any reason, or no reason at all, simply return it and get your money back. That’s why I located my galleries there.

Lions Tigers & BearsPhotographic Art provides beautiful, unique, long-lasting, personal, and thoughtful gifts that are being used in the real estate industry as close-of-escrow gifts, and as special occasion gifts such as birthdays, marriages, anniversaries, and graduations. Attach a personal note or your business card to the gift and be remembered forever and ever!

Photographic Art has been purchased worldwide (Christchurch, New Zealand, and Paris, France) as well as throughout the United States.

Blind Cat Rescue and SanctuaryThere are many Photographic Art products available at Fine Art America, including prints, throw pillows, greeting cards, and phone cases.

On pillows, greeting cards, and phone cases, I will share 50% of the profits; my profit on your purchase of these items is minimal though.

On prints, regardless of what size or type of print you buy, I will share $40 since my share of your purchase is always $99.

Angels Among Us Pet RescueFine Art America’s money-back guarantee, and the fact that they pay on the 15th of each month, means that I don’t get paid immediately. Thus, there could be a 59-day delay between your purchase and when I get paid, meaning that donations to our animal friends won’t be immediate either. For example, if you buy Photographic Art on August 16, the 30-day money-back guarantee expires on September 16, and I would get paid on October 15.

Each day, over on Facebook, I will feature a rescue group or sanctuary and dedicate any Photographic Art sales that day to that specific organization.

Rescue groups and sanctuaries are invited to send to me a blog post about them for posting here in my blog and to be a featured organization on my Facebook time line.

I also do custom work using YOUR photos. Contact me by email.

Go now to my galleries at Fine Art America.

photograhic art taking pictures making art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Making a difference begins with me

My wise old grandmother

Perhaps the most important aspect of life that I learned from my wise old grandmother was to care—about people, fauna, flora, and the environment.

Whenever I complained about not having new clothes for the start of the new school year, she would say, “There’s always someone worse off than you.”

When the three-legged alley cat made a pass through our back yard, my wise old grandmother was following it with a bowl of water and a bowl of food, trying to get it to stop for a meal, perhaps make our house its home.

She’s the one who taught me that a weed is something that is growing where you don’t want it to grow, so instead of pulling it and throwing it away, transplant it to where you do want it to grow. If wildlife of any kind gets inside, move it back outside. That included spiders, snakes, rodents, birds….

She was conserving before it was fashionable to conserve. She used to follow us around the house turning off the lights that we had left on (“If it’s on, it’s using electricity!”), knocking on the bathroom door to tell us that we were taking too long in the shower and using too much water. She put a gallon jug of water in the toilet tank so that it would use less water.

I learned from her to keep a five-gallon bucket by the bathtub to save the cold water while waiting for the hot water to arrive. That bucket of water would then be used to water flowers, bushes, and trees around the yard.

11141 Valley Lights Drive, Mount Helix, La Mesa CAWhich reminds me of the time when Jim and I were selling our Mount Helix home (picture►) back in 2001. I had buckets in all the bathrooms to save cold water while waiting on the hot water. I then watered two acres of plants and filled all of our fountains and ponds.

When we went to sell, one of the Realtors walked around the house to see what we were asking her to sell. Once she finished her walk-through, she told us that in order to get the most money for the house we should fix all the roof leaks before putting the house on the market. I asked her, “What roof leaks?” She said, “Well, I see all the buckets in the bathrooms which usually mean roof leaks.” I had to explain to her what water conservation was….

Alpha Phi OmegaThroughout my life I have tried to care for others less fortunate than me, to care for unwanted or injured animals, to care for the flora that use carbon dioxide which humans breathe out for photosynthesis, creating oxygen which humans breathe in, to care for the planet. My journey began with my wise old grandmother, continued in high school with Circle K, and then with Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity at Texas A&M University.

Fire on the freewayAfter college, my involvement included organizations that cared for people (soup kitchens, blood drives, Special Olympics, women & children abuse shelters), fauna (animal shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries), flora (botanical and community gardens), and the environment (planting trees and native vegetation after natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires).

My wise old grandmother also taught me that making a difference begins with me. If you would like to do something to make a difference, here is a list of 100 things you can do to make a difference.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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SNIPPETS (7-18-15)—Will we become maze runners?

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Today is Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday, love!

Happy Birthday!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

We have rain, thunder, and lightning here in San Diego for Jim’s birthday.

I reminder readers of the following facts:

It’s July.
Middle of July.
In San Diego.
Southern California.
It rarely rains here, much less in July.
The last time it rained in July was 1992.
Wait.
I was still in College Station, Texas, then.
IT’S NEVER RAINED IN JULY IN SAN DIEGO!
This is completely unacceptable.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

Jim is off work this weekend so we are having a birthday weekend instead of just a birthday.

Yesterday evening we went to the San Diego Night Time Zoo. That’s when the Zoo stays open an extra four hours, until 9:00 p.m. Along with entertainment (music, magic….) throughout the Zoo (wonder how the animals like that….), it’s a great time to see some animals that only come out or become active at dusk. Such as the Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda).

img_3862 fennic fox zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At a maximum weight of 3½ pounds, the Fennec Fox is the smallest canine in the world. It lives in the Sahara Desert of North Africa. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to high-temperature, low-water, desert environments, and its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. It mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds, and is itself eaten by the eagle owl.

Milky Eagle Owl

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

The Serval (Leptailurus serval), a small kitty cat but bigger than domestic kitty cats, also was active last night.

img_3914 serval zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Serval is a slender cat with long legs and a fairly short tail with a maximum weight of 40 lbs. It also is native to Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #5

The Serval at the Zoo is a mommy. Two little ones born earlier this year. They were just as playful as all little kitties are. Jim and I stood there for thirty minutes watching the little ones play with each other and with their toys, although I think their favorite toy was a pine cone that had fallen from the tree.

img_3912 serval kitten zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #6

atlas shruggedThis past week I watched three futuristic movies based on a book that Republicans seem enthralled with: “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. “Atlas Shrugged,” along with her previous book “The Fountainhead,” developed the philosophical system now known as Objectivism.

According to Wikipedia, “Objectivism’s central tenets are that reality exists independently of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is one that displays full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans’ metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.”

Are you as tired from reading that as I am?

My wise old grandmotherOne of the things that my wise old grandmother (picture ►) taught me 40 years ago is that if you want to see how something will work in reality, take it to its extreme. That has always worked for me, and I think it works with Objectivism, Capitalism, and Socialism.

Objectivism seems to be where the Republicans want to take us, privatizing schools, roads, libraries, food (Monsanto comes to mind) and everything else in the world, which pretty much would be total and complete Objectivism with the rich controlling anything and everything.

Unbridled Capitalism comes very close to Objectivism, in my opinion, but I don’t know of any country anywhere, past or present, that subscribes to unbridled Capitalism. Rather, in capitalist economies, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which they exchange assets, products, and services. Note the word “typically” there. Governments often get involved in capitalism to prevent things like gouging during natural disasters whereby prices for food and water are not allowed to increase exorbitantly due to demand caused by the situation.

Lack of any government at all would, I think, result in Anarchism, no better than Objectivism or Capitalism.

atlas shrugged filmYes, life is not fair, but do we really have to capitalize (pun intended) on that unfairness? Surely intelligent humans can find a happy middle ground that would allow the rich to stay rich, the middle class to have the opportunity to become rich, and government to be able to provide for all of its citizens in terms of transportation and education but also including the unemployed, the sick, the homeless, and the hungry.

I can highly recommend the three movies, “Atlas Shrugged,” “Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike,” and “Atlas Shrugged III: Who Is John Galt?”.

SNIPPET #7

maze runnerOnce you finish those three moves, go a little further to the extreme and watch “The Maze Runner.” All four movies also provide a view into society and what the future might hold as the climate changes, manmade or not.

However, if you’re still confused about the role of mankind in climate change, think about this:

The Holocene interglacial period, which is what we are in now, began about 11,000 years ago. The population of Earth at that time was about a million people. Now fast forward to July 18, 2015, where the population is 7½ billion people. Climate change happens. We know that. With all we are doing in terms of manufacturing and such, and the results of 7½ billion people using the products of that manufacturing, can we really say that we are not having some effect on the climate of the Earth, perhaps causing climate change to get here sooner rather than later? Can we do something, or will be become maze runners?

SNIPPET #8

San Diego gay pride paradeThis is Gay Pride weekend here in San Diego. Started with the Stonewall Rally yesterday evening, continues with a huge 3-hour long parade today followed by a Festival, and continuing with the Festival tomorrow. Parties are everywhere, including Gay Pride parties at the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

Jim and I are going to the San Diego Botanic Garden today and to the Gay Pride Festival tomorrow.

Rainbow balloons at San Diego Gay Pride

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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For wise old grandmothers everywhere

My wise old grandmother

My wise old grandmother had the most beautiful yard and gardens, although I have to give myself a little credit because I’m the one who mowed the yard and trimmed the trees and bushes. THAT is why I have never had a grass yard that needed mowing and never had trees and bushes that needed trimming. Whatever is in my yard and gardens gets to grow until it can grow no more.

One of my wise old grandmother’s hanging baskets had a plant in it that I really didn’t like. The plant had no leaves, and its stems and branches were flat. It just looked weird to this 12-year-old, one who was not weird himself, yet.

However, it didn’t need water, fertilizer, or pruning. It simply existed in its hanging basket. So THAT was a plus.

Then one day it bloomed.

I was a fan forever.

The plant is more on the expensive side, so I have never had one. However, when my employee, Julian, and his mom moved last summer, his mom asked me if I wanted any of the plants. ANY? Does ALL count as ANY?

Two of the plants she had were the odd-looking plant that my wise old grandmother had. Yesterday, one of them bloomed. Looks like this:

img_2015 epiphyllum stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is the flower of an epiphyllum, common name orchid cactus. The flower is about nine inches in diameter. It’s huge! And it’s purple, which was my wise old grandmother’s favorite color.

My wise old grandmother died in June 2003, but I do believe she has come to visit me in my garden. I shall name my epiphyllum Mary since that was my wise old grandmother’s name. You thought her name was “my wise old grandmother,” didn’t you? Nope.

Mary Agnes Hartmann Kirk, this epiphyllum is for you, and for wise old grandmothers everywhere!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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That much I could have guessed

My wise old grandmother

My wise old grandmother was a Master Gardener before there was such a thing. She is the one who developed my love of gardening, To be fair, though, she also is the reason why I have never had a grass lawn, have a great dislike for oleanders and roses unless they are on someone else’s property, and love cactus and succulents, especially if they are on my property.

She used to fertilize her grass like there was no tomorrow. Who am I lying to? No she didn’t. I—me! the one and only!—used to fertilize her grass like there was no tomorrow…. under her direction, of course. I was the one who had the privilege of mowing the lawn twice a week, pruning the oleanders after a norther came through and froze them, pruning the roses so they would bloom more (and have more thorns!).

Air conditioning compressorOne day I asked her if I could have a garden. She said yes and took me to the worst part of the property, where the heated wind from the air conditioning compressor (picture ►) killed everything during the summer months, and told me to make something out of it. I was so depressed. Instead of getting a beautiful garden to call my own, I had a patch of hard, dry, brown soil kept that way by a huge, ugly compressor.

I was able to block the compressor, and it’s heated windstorm, by building a rock wall around it. Then I planted cactus and succulents amongst the rocks, creating a rock garden.

I was reminded of my little cactus and succulent rock garden recently when I was traipsing around La Jolla, a San Diego enclave of the rich and famous. I came across this:

Succulent wall panorama la jolla

(click on image for a larger, more detailed view)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That, of course, is much more elaborate than the little rock wall I built, and theirs is designed to hide the ugly stairs leading from the street up to the house. The landscapers were still building it, and I jokingly commented, “Wow! Nice! I wonder how much that cost.” To which the landscaper replied, “It’s expensive.” That much I could have guessed….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Where can I get some footprints like this?

Out & About

Yesterday I visited the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. I had known about it for a couple of decades but had never been there because it is massive, and not exactly close to where I live.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

However, I teach chess at several elementary schools in North County, so yesterday, instead of fighting rush hour traffic to come home, I decided to take a hike, literally.

After parking, I studied the map and saw that there was a waterfall. Off I went. Three miles out and three miles back. I am sore, sore, sore.

I’ll have more about Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in a future post. Today I wanted to share just three pictures.

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmotherWhen I was young and living with my wise old grandmother (picture ►), she would take me to Padre Island National Seashore. Before she let me out to run around on the beach and in the dunes, she would tell me, “Don’t pick any flowers. Don’t take anything. Leave only footprints.” I thought of her yesterday when I came upon a set of footprints that had me smiling. Looked like this:

Leave only footprints

After finding those footprints, I looked at my own. I was embarrassed. I need some new shoes with a cool footprint!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Then there was this bird, either a crow or raven:

img_1570 crow stamp

I took that picture just a couple of hundred feet after setting off on the main trail. I know crows and ravens are very smart birds, and this one followed me three miles in and three miles back, flying from dead tree to dead tree, squawking at me to let me know that it was still with me but in a different tree. It stayed with me during my four-hour hike through the Preserve. Maybe it knew I was a newbie and wanted to make sure that I didn’t get lost. Since I got back to my car well after sunset, I was thankful that I had a little one looking after me.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Ismael “Sonny” Nevarez, a Realtor in Highland, California, owns a condominium at La Mesa Racquet & Swim Club in La Mesa, California. He is a Slum Lord in every sense of the phrase. Contact me if you’d like further information.

“The Cemetery” at Mission San Antonio de Pala

Out & About

Cemeteries have always fascinated me. Nonetheless, I have only been to two funerals in my life, that of my granddad who died in 1978 when I was 23, and that of my best friend who died in 1989. I didn’t even get to go to my wise old grandmother’s funeral in 2003 because my three uncles threatened me with violence, one stating that he “didn’t know what might happen” if I went. Since he had more weapons than the United States Army, I decided to stay away.

San Diego is the only place that has two national cemeteries—Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (picture ▼) and Miramar National Cemetery—and Southern California is the only region that has three of them, with Riverside National Cemetery about 60 miles from me. My husband’s dad is interred at Riverside National Cemetery.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I find national cemeteries to be kind of dull, boring, and uninteresting due to their monotonous conformity.

However, they always seem to be located in beautiful places.

I think the most interesting cemeteries I ever visited were in New Orleans; those are what I call cemeteries.

We don’t seem to have a lot of cemeteries here in San Diego, but while out and about a couple of weeks ago I discovered “The Cemetery”:

The Cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala, Pala California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Located at the Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California, founded in 1816 to convert the native Indians to Catholicism, The Cemetery is the original Mission cemetery and claims to hold the remains of hundreds of Native American converts to Catholicism, as well as other early California pioneers.

If The Cemetery holds hundreds of remains, they are not well marked after all these years, or they were buried in a mass grave.

Actually, while researching this post, I discovered that the cemetery is also known as the “Old Luiseño Cemetery,” named after the tribe of Indians the Mission had served. Graves typically were marked by wooden crosses, a great supermajority of which have fallen, deteriorated, or been misplaced.

Over at Interment.net, I found a partial list of those interred in the cemetery.

There might have been about twenty grave markers in The Cemetery. Here are some that I found interesting:

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t think this last one is a grave marker unless it’s a place holder for all those grave markers that aren’t there anymore.

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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