Category Archives: Out & About

San Diego Historical Landmarks–#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 7

El Prado Area Designation

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Next up on our west to east meandering on El Prado is a guy on a horse. Looks like this:

El Cid

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That, my friends, is El Cid, neé Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (1043-1099), a Castilian nobleman born in Vivar del Cid and military leader in medieval Spain. He was raised in the court of the Spanish Emperor Ferdinand the Great. El Cid became famous for his military prowess and helped enlarge Castilian territory at the expense of the Muslims. El Cid remains an idealized figure in Spain, and has been immortalized in plays, film, folk tales, and songs, most notably “El Cid,” a 1961 film starring Charlton Heston.

So why do we have a larger-than-life statue of El Cid in San Diego’s Balboa Park? El Cid died almost 450 years before San Diego was founded by Juan Cabrillo.

Well, it turns out that there actually are three El Cid Campeador statues like this one, the other two being in San Francisco and Buenos Aires. The first El Cid Campeador statue was a 1927 bronze sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), one of New York City’s most prominent sculptors. In 1932, she became the first woman artist elected to the American Academy of Arts and letters.

That first El Cid Campeador was installed in Seville, Spain, in 1927. The El Cid Campeador statue in Balboa Park was donated by Mrs. Huntington in 1930 through the Hispanic Society of America.

El Cid Campeador

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Hispanic Society of America was founded by Anna’s husband, Archer Huntington, in 1904 in New York City.

Okay, so we know famous people, Archer Huntington and Anna Hyatt Huntington, are connected to the El Cid Campeador statue here, but why?

Believe it or not, I couldn’t find the information on the Internet, so I turned to my library of, gasp, actual books. The book that finally gave me the answer was San Diego Trivia 2 by Evelyn Kooperman (San Dieguito Publishers, San Marcos CA, 1993, p. 534).

The siting of El Cid has him riding towards the San Diego Museum of Art, which will be our next stop on this San Diego Historical Landmarks tour. The San Diego Museum of Art was designed by William Templeton Johnson (1877-1957), a noted San Diego architect who designed many notable places in the San Diego area, including the La Jolla Public Library, La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Trust & Savings Bank, Junipero Serra Museum in Presidio Park, and the Francis Parker School where I occasionally teach chess!

Through the magic of cross-referencing, I discovered that Johnson was friends with Mr. and Mrs. Huntington. When that friendship started, though, is what I want to know. Did it begin in America, or did they meet in Seville in 1929?

Interestingly, El Cid Campeador was not the first statue donated to Balboa Park by Anna Huntington. Diana was donated in 1927 and Youth Taming the Wild in 1935. I do not recall ever seeing those two statues so my mission, and I choose to accept it, is to find them!

Huntington’s 1927 donation leads me to believe that the Huntingtons and Johnson met well before the 1929 Exposition in Spain. Alas, my work here is incomplete and my curiosity is piqued. Perhaps some research in the new San Diego Central Library or with the San Diego Historical Society, located in Balboa Park, will shed some light on this.

Stay tuned!

El Cid Campeador at sunset

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Under Cloudy Skies

Picture of the Moment

We don’t get a lot of beautiful cloud formations here in San Diego. It’s usually either sunny or a dull, gray, overcast nothingness.

When we do get nice cloud formations, the masses take to the outdoors to capture pictures. The masses, yes, includes me.

Here is downtown El Cajon, California, recently, under a late afternoon partly cloudy sky:

Downtown El Cajon, California, Under Cloudy Skies

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture titled “Under Cloudy Skies” is for sale at Fine Art America.

Location of El Cajon, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (4-14-14) – Taking it easy

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since I will be a vendor at the Cat House on the Kings fundraiser the weekend of May 3, I pretty much decided that I won’t be going to Los Angeles for National Train Day (May 10) this year. I’ll miss it because ATSF 3751, a steam engine built in 1927, is always there since it is housed just a mile south of Union Station.

ATSF 3751 at Los Angeles at National Train Day in May 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fortunately, ATSF 3751 always shows up a month earlier at San Bernardino Railroad Days. That’s where I went yesterday, taking the
San Diego Trolley from La Mesa to the historic Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego,
then Amtrak from San Diego to the historic Union Station in Los Angeles,
then Metrolink from Los Angeles to the historic Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino.

Santa Fe Depot, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Union Station in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I left the driving to them, which allowed me to take it easy. Ah that peaceful, easy feeling as the train left here yesterday morning. Sadly, none of the trains went by the Hotel California.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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In the master bedroom?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yahoooooooooooooooooooooo!

More about that in a minute.

Zoey the Cool Cat is a very sociable cat. She likes to be where Jim and I are, so if we’re in the office, she’s probably lounging on the printer between our two desks:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sometimes, though, she disappears, and when I take a break (10-minute break every hour), if she’s not close by, I’ll go look for her.

Around 3:00 this afternoon, she was not close by, and I didn’t find her in her usual places in the garage or living room.

I went into the master bedroom and saw this:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Three o’clock is about the time that the sunshine is fading from the master bedroom—you can see some sun on the floor at the right—so I have no doubt that she was lounging in the sunshine on the bed, and when the sun moved, she did, too, eventually winding up in that position.

Since I often carry my camera from room to room with me, just for times like this, I took a couple of pictures while I was laughing at her.

If she heard me laughing, I’m probably due for a rude awakening around 3:00 tomorrow morning………….. :)

Now back to Yahooooooooooooooooo!

I got official word today that I get to be a vendor for the Cat House on the Kings fundraiser on May 3 in Fresno. This will be for my Photographic Art enterprise. I’m excited, especially since I’m going to drive, which means I’ll be able to stop here and there and take road-trip pictures as well as spending Saturday with a few billion cats!

Yahoooooooooooooooo!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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What is sportsmanship?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2014 National High School Chess Championship in San Diego, CaliforniaLast weekend the 2014 National High School Chess Championships were held right here in San Diego. High school is a misnomer because this included anyone in grades kindergarten to twelfth grade. And I saw a couple of pretty good kindergarteners!

What is sportsmanship?

I went on Sunday to see Round 7, the final round, figuring that in Round 7 I’d be able to watch several of the top players go at each other.

Indeed, the pairings for the final round had #1 Seed, Darwin Yang, playing Cameron Wheeler. Darwin had six wins in six games. Cameron had five wins in six games.

Darwin is a Grandmaster-elect. That means he’s really, really good because Grandmaster is the highest international rating, and Darwin’s only in the eleventh grade.

Is sportsmanship letting the other person win?

2014 National High School Chess Championship in San Diego, CaliforniaIn chess, a win is worth one point, a loss doesn’t earn a point, and a draw (a tie) earns each player half a point.

I don’t know what Cameron was seeded, but at the beginning of the final round, Cameron was tied with eight other players for second place, behind Darwin, lonely in first.

I took position by Board 1 to watch the game. Total disappointment. After three moves each, Darwin and Cameron agreed to a draw! Huh? Really?

Is sportsmanship not playing if you’re already assured of winning the whole enchilada?

They both got half a point, so the final standings show Darwin in first place with 6½ points out of a possible 7 points. Four players tied for second place, all four with wins in the final round. So if Darwin had lost to Cameron, there could have been a five-way tie for first place.

2014 National High School Chess Championship in San Diego, CaliforniaThat makes one wonder, Who offered the draw after only three moves? And why would the other player accept it.

If Cameron offered the draw, he was assured of being the only player to put a dent in Darwin’s otherwise-perfect record. Why would Darwin accept the offer of a draw? It would assure him of being in first place all by himself…. but

Is that sportsmanship?

2014 National High School Chess Championship in San Diego, CaliforniaWith the draw, Cameron wound up in a 15-way tie for third place. If he had lost to Darwin, he would have been in a 28-way tie for fourth place.

By my analysis, it looks like both players benefitted. So by agreeing to a draw after only three moves, both players apparently got to take a rest. I doubt they would have left early to go back home because the awards ceremony was at 7:00 p.m. I think I also saw Cameron doing a little shopping at Fashion Valley Mall, which was just feet away across the parking lot.

If sportsmanship is letting the other person (or team) win simply because you have already won the whole enchilada (or made the playoffs), imagine what would happen during the last half of the football, baseball, or basketball seasons when those teams already out of contention, or those so far ahead that a loss wouldn’t matter, decided not to give it their all. Hmmmmm. I’m not liking this kind of sportsmanship.

Here is my picture of Darwin (left) and Cameron at Board 1 just minutes before the final round started:

Darwin Yang and Cameron Wheeler

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (4-7-14)–Catch ‘em surfin’ at Del Mar

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I left College Station, Texas, on April 15, 1993, my intent was to go to Canada to kill myself. Really. Interestingly, I took $5,000 with me and a car full of CDs, about 500 of them. I guess you already know that I didn’t kill myself, winding up in San Diego and never going back to Texas. Mid-life crisis?

The CD collection which I took with me included a complete collection of music by The Beatles (including all of their individual solo music), The Who, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Several months later I was listening to The Best of Beach Boys, Vols. 1, 2, and 3. The Beach Boys were from Hawthorne, California, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles. Their songs expressed the ’50s and ’60s Southern California lifestyle of wine, women, and song.

Wait! What? Wine, women, and song? That was Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby!

The Beach Boys were the Southern California youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance. One song in particular, “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” piqued my interest since I now lived in Southern California.

Here is the song and the lyrics:

If everybody had an ocean
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like californ-I-A
You’d see ‘em wearin’ their baggies
Huarachi sandals, too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin’ U.S.A.

You’d catch ‘em surfin at Del Mar (Inside, outside, U.S.A.)
Ventura County line
Santa Cruz and Tressels,
Australia’s Narabine,
All over Manhattan,
And down Doheny Way
Everybody’s gone surfin’
Surfin U.S.A.

We’ll all be plannin’ out a route
We’re gonna take real soon
We’re waxin’ down our surfboards
We can’t wait for June
We’ll all be gone for the summer
Were on safari to stay
Tell the teacher we’re surfin’
Surfin’ U.S.A.

At Haggerty’s and Swami’s
Pacific Palisades
San Onofre and Sunset
Redondo Beach, L.A.
All over La Jolla
At Waiamea Bay
Everybody’s gone surfin’
Surfin’ U.S.A.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I decided I would try to visit all of the places mentioned in the song. I have made it to all of the Southern California places, but Australia’s Narabine (correctly spelled Narrabeen, but the Aboriginal word is Narrabine, still not spelled like the lyrics have it spelled. Tressels also is misspelled; it should be Trestles). I also have not made it to Waiamea Bay…. some day.

Now all I have to do is go back to all those places and take pictures. Here are a few pictures of the places I have visited:

Del MarDog Beach, Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Swami’s at sunsetSwami's at sunset

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Onofre
(The state beach is to the left of the nuclear
power plant,  which was not there in 1963.
Construction on it began in August 1964.)San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

L.A.
(specifically Santa Monica, one of the best surfing spots)Santa Monica, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La JollaSunset at La Jolla Cove, 10-17-12, La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks: #1–El Prado Area Designation, part 7

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6

El Prado Area Designation

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Continuing from west to east on El Prado, we’re about halfway finished with our El Prado Area Designation tour. Next up is the Mingei International Museum.

Mingei International Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mingei International Museum in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mingei International Museum was founded in 1978 by Martha Longenecker, a professor of art at San Diego State University. She had studied pottery-making in Japan and became acquainted with the founders and leaders of the Mingei Association of Japan, inspiring her to carry the vision of mingei to the America. According to Wikipedia, “The philosophical pillar of mingei is ‘hand-crafted art of ordinary people.’” Therein lies the goal of the Mingei International Museum, to collect, conserve, and exhibit arts of daily use, from unknown craftsmen of ancient times to present-day craftsmen.

Before you ever walk through the doors of the museum, the children want to stop and play on this:

Mingei International Museum in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is a big alligator. It belongs to the Museum, and the Museum’s web site tells you not to leave Balboa Park “until you’ve climbed it, touched it, walked under it, and posed for a photo.”

The inaugural exhibition of Mingei International Museum was Dolls and Folk Toys of the World. Throughout the ensuring years, Mingei has shared hundreds of exhibitions featuring a wide range of cultures, themes, and media.

Two of my favorite exhibitions were the Bold Expressions exhibit in 2011, and the Maneki Neko exhibit in 2011-2012.

Bold Expressions was an exhibit of African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Riley, showcasing quilts from the American South made between 1910 and the 1970s:

Quilt from the American South

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Maneki Neko exhibit didn’t appeal to me initially when I saw it on the 2010 list of upcoming exhibitions. However, after I read about maneki neko, I realized that I had one! Yes! Maneki neko means “beckoning cat,” but I always thought they were waving cats.

Beckoning cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beckoning cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Read more about maneki neko at Wikipedia.

Zoey the Cool Cat encouraged me to go see her Japanese cousins, so I did, of course.

The other cool thing about the Museum’s exhibit of maneki neko is that the collection was donated to the Museum by Billie Moffitt of Long Beach, California. True tennis fans recognize the name as none other than the great and incomparable Billie Jean King, winner of 39 Grand Slam tennis titles. Moffitt was her maiden name.

Current exhibitions:

  • Function and Fantasy (through May 26, 2014)—Steven and William Ladd are brothers working with beads, fabric, and boxes to express their shared memories of family life in Missouri.
  • Log Cabin Quilts (through July 3, 2014)—Features Log Cabin quilts from a collection of 350 quilts given to the Museum in 2012 by local collectors Pat and Tom Nickols. A Log Cabin quilt is formed in squares known as blocks, each with a central small square surrounded by bars or logs.
  • Huyler’s Pure Delicious Chocolate, 1874-1925 (through August 17, 2014)—Explores the 50-year advertising and marketing history of one of the nation’s earliest, largest, and most prominent chocolate manufacturers.

Mingei International Museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and “most national holidays,” which, I guess, means to check their web site for closings.

Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors age 62 and over, $5 for youth age 6-17, $5 for students with ID and military with ID. Members and children under age 6 get in free!

Also, on the third Tuesday of each month, free admission is given to all San Diego County residents, students at local colleges and universities (ID required), active duty military with ID, and, quoting from the web site, “part-time residents/vacation home owners (except time share owners).” Now how in the world do they determine that you’re a time share owner?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, April 5-27

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

They’re back!

The butterflies, that is.

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park opens in just two days! Running from Friday, April 5, through Sunday, April 27, Butterfly Jungle is one of the most popular events at the Safari Park, so popular that a couple of years ago they started requiring you to check in first and get an entrance number and time.

Rumor has it that too many butterflies were getting killed by the masses during the first week, thereby leaving few butterflies for the masses during the final week. And, of course, photographers like me were hanging around all day! Now you check in, pick up a ticket with your entrance time on it, and you get to spend a whopping 15 minutes in Butterfly Jungle.

You’ll find that if you try to go through a second time on the same day, the entrance times can be four or five hours away. If so, you can always explore the other fauna and flora during those hours. Just make sure you’re back at Butterfly Jungle for your entrance time because if you’re not there, they’ll let someone else in and you’ll be outta luck.

Following are some of my favorite butterfly pictures from Butterfly Jungles past.

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly at Buttefly Junle, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly on a lavender flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly at Buttefly Junle, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterflies at Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park in April 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly at Buttefly Junle, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly at Buttefly Junle, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you’re coming to San Diego, give me a call! I often can play docent for a day—Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, Scenic 59-mile Drive, etc. And if you fly into San Diego, sit on the left side of the plane; the view of downtown San Diego as you’re landing is awesome!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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A lesson in customer service

SeaWorld

Back at the beginning of March, SeaWorld sent me a gift, which was a free $39 Dine With Shamu meal. It could be redeemed only online. Unfortunately, online redemption has been giving me an error for the past two weeks when I have tried to redeem my gift.

Since the gift expires at the end of my birthday month, which is in just a few days, I printed out the error message and my birthday gift email and went to Guest Relations at SeaWorld.

First person couldn’t resolve the issue and called his supervisor over.

Supervisor couldn’t resolve the issue and called his supervisor over.

Supervisor II couldn’t resolve the issue but commented, “I think I now know why Dine With Shamu hasn’t been selling out.”

Supervisor II didn’t resolve the issue while I was there, but what he did do was practice customer service of the highest order. He simply made reservations for Saturday (that’s today!) at 6:00 p.m. for Jim and me, and then comped both tickets! So Jim and I are Dining With Shamu. Free! An $78 value!

Jim and I dined with Shamu two years ago, and it was awesome, not to mention that the food was far superior to what I was expecting for a theme park event. Following is a picture of Shamu from when we dined with him in May 2012, up close and personal:

Dining with Shamu at SeaWorld

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

P.S. I’m not impressed with the new picture editing functions that WordPress instituted a couple of days ago, and I’m still having problems when I visit the blogs of other people, those problems being most noticeable when I try to comment or LIKE blogs whose URL ends with wordpress.com. About half the time I cannot comment, and LIKE buttons never load, so I can never LIKE!

The WordPress crowd in their Forums ignore me. Thus, I’m pretty sure that when my WordPress.com upgrade expires, I won’t be renewing. I’ll be taking my money to my own server.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

Visit Russel Ray Photos.

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Pictures of the rare Pinus verizonii tree

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My home inspection yesterday was in a condominium complex of duplexes. I got there early and was wandering around looking at the property when I found a rather tall tree. I climbed up the hill to get a better look at it and found that it was the extremely rare Pinus verizonii. In the first picture below, it’s the tree in the middle.

Pinus verizonii

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pinus verizonii

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pinus verizonii

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Verizon Wireless

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

After I came to San Diego in April 1993, I sat out of the work force for 11 months and simply enjoyed the beaches. When I went back to work in March 1994, my intent was to work as a temporary on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, leaving me with a four-day weekend. Alas, plans went awry somewhere, and I wound up working as a consultant to Nextel Communications in Detroit. In late 1994, we installed the very first pine tree cell tower in the United States right there in the Detroit area, so you can blame all of these fake trees on moi!

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Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

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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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I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray