Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Photographer career began in sixth grade in 1966.

Cats—On a pedastal

Cats

I would never put Zoey the Cool Cat up on a pedastal.

I mean, she’s a cat.

Besides, she’s perfectly capable of doing that herself.

Zoey the Cool Cat on a pedastal

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

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Opinion—Cast iron cooking

Opinion

When I was living with my wise old grandmother in Kingsville TX from December 1965 to May 1973, she forced me to do child labor, things like hanging the laundry outside, bringing the laundry in, clearing the table, cleaning the sinks and bathtubs, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning the windows…….. oh, the list goes on……… that dastardly woman!

The one thing I hated the most, though, was washing and drying the dishes, especially her huge monster gigantic really really big and heavy cast iron frying pan. I promised myself that I would never have a frying pan like that.

Fortunately, Teflon came along about the same time, and I have been a Teflon fan all my life…. until last month when I bought a huge monster gigantic really really big and heavy cast iron frying pan.

I bought it because our new Samsung range that we bought in July 2017 came with a cast iron griddle. Finest thing ever for cooking pancakes and bacon. That encouraged me to think about a cast iron frying pan. They are expensive, more expensive than Zoey the Cool Cat’s prescription food.

However, while I was at my favorite outlet mall, Viejas Outlets, I went into Kitchen Collection and found a huge monster gigantic really really big and heavy cast iron frying pan for just $38. It came home with me.

Best. frying pan. ever.

Cast iron frying pan

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

Mushroom House in La Jolla CA

Out & About—The Mushroom House

Out & About San Diego

I went on a 4½ mile hike in La Jolla yesterday, of which 4 miles was on wet sand. O.M.effin.G. I feel like I walked 40 miles.

4.5-mile La Jolla hike

I walked bottom left to upper right. My goal was to get to the Mushroom House—more properly called The Pavilion—a place I have been wanting to get to for 25 years. There are only a four ways to get there: boat, airplane, knowing the owner and being invited, and walking a couple of miles on wet sand and slippery rocks.

Mushroom House in La Jolla CA

Slippery rock beach north of La Jolla CA

Mushroom House in La Jolla CA

Mushroom House in La Jolla CA

In 1960, Sam Bell, heir to General Mills (Bell Potato Chips), purchased a summer home in La Jolla. His property extended down a 300 foot cliff to the mean high tide line of the surf below. His beach is isolated 4 miles from public access to the North, and is accessible only at low tide through rugged, slippery rocks from the south, and remains unused and out of sight.

The Pavilion was designed by Dale Naegle. Elevator Electric Co., designer and builder of the first glass elevator in San Diego, designed and built the 300-foot tram to the bottom.

Mushroom House in La Jolla CA

The design had to honor nature’s mightiest destructive forces, resisting tidal waves, rock slides, earthquakes, fire, wind, storms, and surfers.

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

150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad coming up in May

Railroads & Trains logo

Trains always have fascinated me since my dad and granddad worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad in Texas.

My favorite railroad flag is the Union Pacific, the nation’s largest railroad in terms of traffic, revenue, and track miles.

Union Pacific also has the nation’s largest roster of operating steam locomotives, led by Big Boy #4014 (due back on the rails in just a couple of months after sitting for 52 years at the RailGiants Museum in Los Angeles and the last 6 years undergoing restoration in Wyoming), Challenger #3985, and Northern #844. Once Big Boy is back on the tracks, it will become the world largest operating steam locomotive, taking that title away from Challenger #3985.

In four months, on May 10, I expect to see all three of these beauties in one location, at Promontory Point, Utah. That’s the date of the the 150th anniversary celebration of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

Here are some Photographic Art creations of the three locomotives for my new Double R Creations enterprise.

Union Pacific Big Boy #4014
132 feet long

Union Pacific Challenger #3985
122 feet long
Union Pacific Challenger 3985

Union Pacific Northern #844
114 feet long
Union Pacific Northern 844

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

Opinion—See & hear & do it now

Opinion

Double R CreationsWith the start of my new business, Double R Creations, I’m in the process of combining all of my billions and billions and billions of pictures onto one huge 8TB SSD and then finally deleting the pictures that I won’t use—pictures that are too small, grainy pictures from decades ago, home inspection pictures, and stuff that I have saved for whatever reason. As my wise old grandmother told me in 1966, “If you haven’t used it in the past six months, get rid of it.” Her version of get rid of it was to have one of her famous semi-annual garage sales.

Here is something that I saved on August 26, 2003, and just re-discovered. I really like it.

Live It Up, by Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special. I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends, and less time in committee meetings.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event—such as losing a pound, getting the sink Cameliaunstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I’m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing—I’ll never know. It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with—someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write—one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is special.

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