Category Archives: My wise old grandmother

Five of my favorite quilt pictures

My wise old grandmother

My wise old grandmother adopted me in 1965 when I was an 11-year-old juvenile delinquent. Through her love and discipline, she created a pretty good person, if I do say so myself.

Along with the spankings I got for being bad, I remember three other specific things about her: (1) she loved to cook, (2) she loved to garden, and (3) she loved to quilt.

She made quilts for all of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Sadly, a college roommate stole mine in 1974. I didn’t have the heart to tell my wise old grandmother that I was so careless with my quilt that I let someone steal it, so I don’t have one of her quilts. Everytime I go to a quilt convention, or see quilts in stores and craft shops, I think of my wise old grandmother.

Following are five of my favorite quilts from all of the quilt conventions I’ve been to. I suspect most readers will know exactly why they are favorites.

Wildlife quilt

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wildlife quilt

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Quilt Convention

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Quilt Convention

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Quilt Convention

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Free calendar page—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 have never understood 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 now 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 a 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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SNIPPETS (8-16-14, #2)—WordAds revenue, and more

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

The earnings report from my WordAds came in. I got approved for WordAds on July 15, so the revenue is for 16½ days.

Drum roll please….

$16.62.

Yep. A measly $16.62. Wait! Measly? NOT measly! I did nothing other than allow their ads to show up on my blog. $16.62 is 97.76¢ per day! That $16.62 for 17 days in July equates to about $30 per month. Julian and I think we can get to $50 per month by the end of the year, if not sooner. And ever since I got WordAds approved, I have been endeavoring to do everything possible to increase readership and views to get us there. I have even……….

SNIPPET #2

………..caught up on my backlog of blog visits. Remember when I was using Internet Explorer 9 from January 2 to March 27 and got so far behind in reading, liking, and commenting on blogs because the LIKE buttons and the comment boxes wouldn’t load? I got nine months behind. I pleased to say that as of today, I’m exactly 30 days behind.Goats at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

I find 30 days to be just about right because not everyone publishes a blog post each day like I do (sometimes two, like today!). The one thing that really gets my goat in the blogging world is when I go to visit someone’s blog only to find that they have published absolutely nothing since the last time I visited.

SNIPPET #3

My wise old grandmotherMy wise old grandmother was a master gardener before there was such a thing. Everything I learned about gardening, I learned from her. So my memories of her are strong when I visit gardening sites and blogs.

Recently I visited a blog that was telling the reader to provide nesting materials to get birds to build nests in your yard. Twigs make great nesting materials, and the article said that the twigs and sticks should be under four inches long.

Hmmmm.

Nest-building osprey

SNIPPET #4

Photographic Art of a rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo:

Rhinoceros

Created by Julian. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

SNIPPET #5

Would y’all like a blog post by Julian?

If there is strong enough demand, I’ll force him to comply with that demand as part of his ongoing partnership agreement with Photographic Art, but I won’t put any restrictions on what he can blog about. That might prove interesting……….LOL

Let me him know with a comment.

SNIPPET #6

Suicide is in the mainstream news again due to Robin Williams.

About a year ago, Junior Seau, also known as Mr. San Diego, committed suicide.

For readers who might not know, my dad committed suicide when I was six years old, although I didn’t find out about it until much later. Much, much later.

I also have been depressed and suicidal at times in my life, so I get quite disgusted by people with such a cavalier attitude about suicide and the effect on the people it leaves behind. So disgusted that I unfriend, unfollow, and unlike them.

SNIPPET #7

Tony GwynnWith the recent death of Tony Gwynn (see stamp at right) in June at the age of 54 from cancer, and the fact that the San Diego Padres, for whom he played his entire professional baseball career, won’t be going anywhere in the playoffs, people are reminiscing about the best years of the San Diego Padres. Those years are few and far between, with the Padres playing in, and losing, the World Series in 1984 and 1998. Tony Gwynn was with the team both times.

There have been some highlights beyond the team itself, though, such as when Tony Gwynn got hit #3,000 (see stamp above).

Here are two other players who provided lots of highlights for the Padres:

Steve Garvey
Home Run in the 1984 NLCS,
winning the game and sending the Padres to the World SeriesIMG_6979 steve garvey faa stamp

Trevor Hoffman
Save #500Trevor Hoffman

SNIPPET #8

When Jim and I went to watch the Big Bay Boom! fireworks downtown for the fourth of July, the San Diego Country Administration Building had been made into a Tony Gwynn memorial:

Tony Gwynn memorial on the San Diego County Administration Building

SNIPPET #9

A mural, titled “Escalera After Bechi,” in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego:

Escalera After Bechi

SNIPPET #10

Hope you enjoyed the extra blog post today!

Hope you enjoyed the extra blog post and SNIPPETS today

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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SNIPPETS (7-10-14)

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

My wise old grandmother subscribed to Saturday Evening Post when I was growing up. I always looked forward to getting it because the front cover often was artwork by Norman Rockwell. I freely admit that Norman Rockwell has an influence on my Photographic Art, and I think this would do Rockwell proud:

Starving artist in San Diego's Balboa Park

I love how the children are being children while the starving artist does his thing.

SNIPPET #2

The water lilies in the Lily Pond in front of the Botanical Building in Balboa Park are recovering from the $100,000 worth of damage wrought by a Facebook-advertised party in late 2012. Unfortunately, the criminals still have not been caught. Here’s what one looked like a couple of days ago:

Water liles in the Lily Pond in San Diego's Balboa Park

SNIPPET #3

The Museum of Natural History in Balboa Park has this piece of art on the exterior of the building:

Artwork at the Museum of Natural History in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

Although the crepe myrtles are taking over the landscapes, there are still a few areas where the jacarandas are hanging on.

Jacaranda

SNIPPET #5

Pelicans are my favorite bird that I’ve actually seen out in their native habitat. This is a pink-backed pelican, but it is a resident of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since this is not their native habitat.

Pink-backed pelican at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

SNIPPET #6

Lantanas are one of the prettiest bushes in the San Diego area. They love it when it’s hot and dry.

Lantana

SNIPPET #7

The following picture is a white-breasted cormorant. It lives with the pink-backed pelican in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I really like this picture because of the gold on the back and wings.

White-breasted cormorant at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

SNIPPET #8

The following is Photographic Art of a wild iris, a common plant here in San Diego that blooms year-round.

Wild iris

SNIPPET #9

I think I like the reflection of this Great Egret better than the Great Egret itself!

Great Egret

SNIPPET #10

I was testing the photographic capabilities of Facebook a couple of days ago to see how it treated huge, monster, gigantic, really really big pictures. Sadly, Facebook downsizes it to a useless low-resolution picture, which is kind of good if you don’t want people stealing your pictures.

Following is the picture that I used for my test. It is a photomerge of 16 pictures encompassing about 270° in the view, so it’s a panorama that cannot be captured with a birdseye or fisheye lens since they only capture about 180°. Click on the picture for a gigantic version with readable text.

270° panorama of San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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SNIPPETS (7-5-14)—Bigger is better

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Home, home on the range….

The range looks different in different states, sometimes even different in different areas of the same state. Here is a range from the central valley in California:

The range

SNIPPET #2

I was exploring a deconstruction site a few weeks ago when I found five windows that were the only windows left intact in the building that was being demolished. Following is what was on those five windows, with the glare removed from the pictures. I’m willing to bet that someone is going to save the windows.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SNIPPET #3

Happy Fourth of July weekend to everyone!

Eagle and United States flag

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

The Magellanic penguins at SeaWorld San Diego are a joy to watch. This one was well camouflaged in the midst of the rocks and was playing peek-a-boo with the crowd:

Magellanic penguin at SeaWorld San Diego

SNIPPET #5

As you exit the Arctic penguin exhibit at SeaWorld, this is what you see:

Penguin flight

SNIPPET #6

It is hard to get good view of the mansions in Rancho Santa Fe because they are walled compounds behind gates. When I go out there on Saturday mornings to teach chess to four children, I always go early with an intent to explore the roads. I found a road leading up up up and got a fairly decent picture of the 11,700-square-foot mansion where I teach chess:

Here I come!

Since that is a fairly decent picture (take my word for it), you now understand the problems inherent in getting really good pictures of these mansions in one of the richest areas of the United States.

SNIPPET #7

Just outside the entrance to the San Diego Zoo is the Balboa Park Railroad. It’s a garden railroad that offers rides, and the area where the railroad goes has garden sculptures of zoo animals:

Garden sculpture at the Balboa Park Railroad

Garden sculpture at the Balboa Park Railroad

The tower you see in the first picture is the California Tower, one of San Diego’s most recognizable buildings. Read more about the California Tower in my blog post here: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3

SNIPPET #8

My wise old grandmother used to sit at the dining room table taking her pictures and cutting out parts she didn’t want, cutting them into interesting shapes, and placing the results very carefully in her photo albums and scrapbooks. She was the one who taught me that “what comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”

The following is Photographic Art of one the San Diego Zoo’s ambassadors, this one a turtle. The turtle was all grungy looking and the picture was all washed out due to where the sun was when I took the picture. Most people would have deleted it. Not me! Thank you oh great and wise old grandmother!

Turtle

SNIPPET #9

Someone more famous than me once said, “Bigger is better.” Obviously this leaf was paying attention:

Big leaf

SNIPPET #10

SNIPPET #9 was taken in the Botanical Building in Balboa Park, the nation’s largest municipal cultural park. I had gone to see the leftover orchids from an orchid show, as had this guy:

Taking a picture

I always feel guilty when I’m taking a picture with my big Canon 550D and someone else is taking a picture with their little smarty pants phone.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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I guess blogging wasn’t fun

My wise old grandmother

One of my favorite sayings from my wise old grandmother is “Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the journey.” That means to have fun!

SeaWorld San DiegoI don’t have many problems having fun because I like so many things–real estate, music, photography, gardening, chess, travel, reading, history, people….

….and blogging!

Blogging allows me to enjoy real estate, music, photography, gardening, chess, travel, reading, history, people….

SeaWorld San DiegoEver since my WordPress problems got resolved towards the end of March, I have been going on blog camping trips each day. My Excel spreadsheet tells me that I have been camping in 36 to 180 blogs each day, averaging 85 each day.

Unfortunately, my Excel spreadsheet also tells me that of the 1,198 blogs I have visited in 14 days, a whopping 216 of them are inactive. I define “inactive” as publishing fewer than one blog per month. Some people haven’t published anything since September 2013, and in other cases, the blogs have been completely deleted. I guess blogging wasn’t fun for them.

Sea turtle at SeaWorld San DiegoGoing through the blogs of these people who have not visited my blog since last September and October allows me to cull my list, which is a good thing because it takes a lot of time and effort to visit people. It’s something I love to do, but I dislike very much waiting for a blog to load only to have Google tell me that the blog has been deleted, or to find that the blogger isn’t even blogging anymore. Blog camping is very difficult if bloggers don’t blog or blog only once every three months! On the other hand, a shorter list will mean that the time between camping trips to YOUR blog will be shorter!

Pictures taken at SeaWorld San Diego.

Note to the WordPress folks: With your recent upgrade you took away our ability to easily put borders around our pictures. Why?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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My new (and temporary, hopefully) blog camping protocol

I livew in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now that I have solved my WordPress problems, I can go blog camping again, a bog visiting tactic that I thoroughly enjoy and which, I do believe, I invented way back in 2008 on another blogging platform.

FireMy theory behind blog camping was that I wanted to visit lots of blogs, but I also wanted to get to know the person whose blog I was visiting, and I wanted that person to get to know me. I didn’t think that reading just one post in any blog would allow me to get to know the other blogger, and I didn’t think that leaving just one LIKE or one comment would let the other blogger get to know me.

Additionally, I knew from decades of experience that the 80/20 rule that my wise old grandmother taught me probably worked in the blogging world. It does. In a nutshell, if you do unto others what you would like others to do unto you, 80% of them will do unto you that which you did unto them. The other 20% won’t.

In blogging from July 2008 to January 2012, I proved that. If I left a LIKE, the other blogger would be by soon to leave a LIKE on my blog. If I left 10 LIKEs, I’d get 10 LIKEs in return. If I commented four times, I would get four comments in return. If I followed, I was followed. I quickly realized that one way to get a huge number of followers was to follow, LIKE, and comment on blogs. When I did that, 80% of those bloggers would follow, LIKE, and comment on my blog.

I have proved it again here on my WordPress blog, which I started on January 7, 2012. Before my WordPress problems began on January 2, 2014, I was visiting hundreds of blogs a day. My world record was on September 10, 2012, when I visited 401 blogs, leaving a total of 2,388 LIKEs along with 1,433 comments.

Yes, I really do keep track.

Here’s the portion of my Excel spreadsheet showing that world-record day:

Likes and comments

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Evelyn Woods Speed Reading course, which I took in 1973, helps, as does Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I have been using since 2001.

Notice that those statistics are in columns I through M. Column H is blank. Wonder what’s in columns A through G? Those columns contain the links to the blogs I follow, the date the other blogger first visited my blog and last visited my blog, when I last visited that blogger’s blog, and how many comments and LIKEs I left on that blogger’s blog the last time I visited it.

Fire danger in East San Diego CountyThe only problem with blog camping is that each time I leave a LIKE or comment, YOU! get an email notification. My world record for the number of LIKEs and comments left in any one blog at any one time is 66 LIKEs and 24 comments. I did have one person ask that I never visit his blog again, but if I did, not to leave LIKEs and comments because he hated getting all of those email notifications at one time. Request granted. I don’t visit his blog anymore.

My problem today is that after not being able to go blog camping for the past three months, I’m now way behind. I kind of follow the tit for tat protocol, so if someone came by my blog and left two comments and four LIKEs, when I visit that blogger, I am going to leave at least two comments and four LIKEs.

Fire Mitigation TeamSince I am so far behind, I am going to change my protocol for at least the foreseeable future to try to get to as many people as possible of those who have been by to see me these past three months. When I come by to visit these next few months, I am going to leave only a total of three, i.e., three LIKEs, or three comments, or two LIKEs and one comment, or one LIKE and two comments.

I know everyone will understand, and as soon as I go through my list of people whom I follow at least one time, I’m pretty sure I will revert to my old way since I really, really enjoyed that.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray