SNIPPETS (10-21-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

It’s political season. I’m a permanent California mail voter. I voted yesterday. All done.

2018 Winter Gardens ballot

For the first time in my life, I voted a straight Democratic ticket, including the Democrat recommendations for propositions, utility districts, judicial courts, etc. 100% no-questions-asked Blue ballot, albeit we don’t get to vote on a lot of stuff out here in the East San Diego County Boondocks. I did get to vote FOR Ammar Campa-Najjar, so that was exciting. I don’t expect him to win simply because of the territory (I live in a very red area in this very blue state), his name, and his opponent’s advertising attacking his name.

Sadly, the Democrats did not make a recommendation or endorsement on everything on the ballot. When that happened, I checked the Republican recommendations and endorsements because they do seem to have an opinion about everything; then I voted the opposite

Delivery to the Registrar’s office will occur on 10/22.

SNIPPET 2

Men have been effin up the nations and world for thousands of years. I’m wanting to see a complete takeover by women. They can’t possibly do worse.

SNIPPET 3

Sad and depressed, I am. I no longer living in the Earthquake State….

Oklahoma is the new earthquake state

SNIPPET 4

I have always been a sucker for injured plants (and animals), so I bought this last-one-on-the-table injured golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii). Notice what’s happening all around the injury, though. Lots of little pups! I will enjoy watching this one grow.

Echinocactus grusonii (golden barrel cactus)

SNIPPET 5

I love PB&J sandwiches. I love bacon. On these four items, though, I’m thinking No, No, No & No. Seen at BevMo.

Drinks

SNIPPET 6

Zoey the Cool Cat has comfy beds to sleep on, nice carpeted floors with sun spots, chairs, a love seat…………. and yet this is her choice.

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 7

They don’t look happy to see me. Maybe it’s my red car. Dash cam video.

Border Patrol

SNIPPET 8

Finally found that fish out of water.

Fish out of water

SNIPPET 9

Poor bird. Lost on a desert island with no music to listen to.

Bird on a desert island

SNIPPET 10

A couple of weeks ago I stopped by Green Thumb Nursery Super Garden Center in San Marcos CA. I had never been there. Doesn’t look big from the street, but it is huge.

As far as a complete nursery, it tops the list. You name it, they have it. Lots of plants, lots of pots, tools, soil, fertilizer. Lots of interesting garden sculptures that I had never seen at a nursery before.

Garden sculptures

Garden sculptures

Garden sculptures

Garden sculptures

Garden sculptures

Garden sculptures

Garden sculptures

SNIPPET 11

Zoey the Cool Cat, what do you think of President Pinocchio?

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 12

If this is the type of car that student drivers get to learn in, I’m thinking about becoming a student driver again. I bet I could pass parallel parking this time!

Student driver Mustang

SNIPPET 13

My best sunrise/sunset picture from the past week. East San Diego County Boondocks. October 16, 2018 sunrise.

Sunrise in the East San Diego County boondocks

SNIPPET 14

I saw two new (to me) cactus species last week! So excited.

Cactus camera equipment

SNIPPET 15

When I was in Fresno back in July, I saw a wild Fresno State Bulldog on the street. I kind of feel sorry for any little child walking past this thing.

Fresno State Bulldog

SNIPPET 16

“Look! Over there! It’s the sun!”

There's the sun!

SNIPPET 17

One of my favorite plants is Stapelia gigantea. It has huge, star-shaped, hairy flowers that can get up to 14 inches in diameter. They also are smelly flowers, smelling somewhat like rotting flesh. Hence their common name: Carrion plant. Their smell draws billions of flies, which then pollinate the flower. Nature is wonderful….

I have learned the signs of when they are going to pop open, so when my largest plant had 21 buds on it, I decided to practice time lapse photography. Following is my best time lapse video of one of these flowers popping open, created with 1,471 pictures taken every 5 seconds over the course of 4 hours and 11 minutes.

SNIPPET 18

I was an abused child after my father committed suicide. My mom remarried, and she and my stepfather, both alcoholics and drunk every day, regularly hit my oldest stepsister and me. My mom even picked me up one time and threw me threw the sliding glass door. Still have the scars on my legs from that one.

I found the following poem on Facebook. Author unknown.

MONSTERS ARE REAL

On Monday, Billy didn’t have his homework
And when the teacher asked him why
He said, “Because a monster ripped it up,
After I told him a lie.”

“You know monsters don’t exist,
And if you don’t turn in your homework
No recess you will get.”

On Tuesday, Billy had a stomachache
And when the teacher asked him why
He said, “A monster took away my dinner,
even my cherry pie.”

“Billy, I’ve told you once before,
Monsters are not real.
You’ll have to wait till lunchtime
Before you get a meal.”

On Wednesday, Billy had a bandage,
Which covered his right eye.
When the teacher asked him how it happened,
This was his reply:

“A monster was running after me
When I ran into the door.”
“Billy please,” the teacher said,
“I don’t want to hear any more.”

On Thursday, Billy refused to sit down,
And when the teacher asked him why,
Billy said, “A monster whipped my bottom,
Because I started to cry.”

“Billy,” said the teacher,
“this is getting out of hand,
And if you continue with these stories,
In the corner you will stand.”

On Friday, Billy didn’t come to school,
And when the teacher found out why,
She said a little prayer to God
In hopes Billy would survive.

For a monster had beaten Billy
and threatened him with a knife.
Now Billy lay in a hospital bed,
Fighting for his life.

So teachers please remember,
That monsters are for real.
Listen closely to kids’ stories,
A wounded heart, you may heal.

SNIPPET 19

It’s a good thing I had lots of practice in my youth in coloring, drawing pictures, and building things because I sure as eff don’t know Chinese.

Instructions in Chinese

SNIPPET 20

They say it’s expensive to live in San Diego. Some apparently call it the “San Diego Package”………

San Diego Package

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

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Super volunteer is sad & depressed

I live in my own little world

Sad & depressed I am.

Super volunteer Russel Ray just isn’t wanted anywhere. Seems I give a good name to bad volunteers, so I’m not wanted.

Apparently when I started volunteering at Friends of Cats, they thought, “Yeah, another volunteer. Whatever.” Then they discovered that I’m not like other volunteers. I actually like to do things, especially if no one else likes to do them.

Unfortunately, non-profits have paid staff, people who are paid to do things, so when a super volunteer comes along, paid staff get anxious about, perhaps, losing their jobs.

I’ve done the city animal shelter, Second Chance Dog Rescue, San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society, and now Friends of Cats. If they have paid staff, they just don’t want regular, consistent, good volunteers.

I was doing whatever the various staff asked me to do. First and foremost was laundry, which I kind of enjoyed doing. While washers and dryers were running, I would socialize with the cats. Sometimes I would get asked to help feed, empty trash, pick up and clean empty food dishes, scoop poop, whatever. Always willing to help wherever I could. Someone apparently took issue with my help. I think it’s the only three people who had never asked me to help them with something.

So…. On to my next volunteer adventure.

I have been accepted at San Diego Oasis. I will be helping K-6 students who have been identified as lagging behind their peers in reading. Reading Tutor training is October 16 & 17, and I think actually tutoring the students begins in late October or early November.

I also will be implementing a chess club at one of the Oasis locations, possibly both of them. And I have been approved for teaching a class on “Taking & Making Great Pictures.” Chess and photography won’t start until February 2019, though.

Meanwhile, here’s my last two picture from Friends of Cats:

Black cats

Black cats

Remember that if you have a black cat that spends time outdoors, bring the little one in for Halloween night and the several nights leading up to Halloween. There are cruel, mean, nasty people in the world who like to abuse black cats at this time of year.

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

Old Barstow train station

Re-purposing historic buildings: Barstow, California

Halls of History

I have been a history buff since the Cub Scouts introduced me to philately, which they called “stamp collecting.” That was in 1963. I used to research the subjects of postage stamps, finding them quite interesting.

I always like it when cities save their historic buildings, even if it means re-purposing them, which it often does.

The original train station in Barstow CA has been re-purposed into the bus station with a few billion stores and restaurants being located in historic rail cars that also have been saved and re-purposed.

The rail cars in the second picture are painted a specific color, including that unique golden arch, which should tell you that they are being used as McDonald’s seating areas; the order/pick up area is at the left, just out of the picture. Pretty cool.

Old Barstow train station

Old Barstow train station

Old Barstow train station

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

Friends of Cats

“The Hunger Games” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” come to life

Cats

On August 9, 1974, when Nixon resigned the presidency of the United States, I watched the peaceful transition of power from Nixon to Ford. Of course, they were of the same political parties, so peaceful was expected, notwithstanding the Watergate mess and Ford’s pardon of Nixon.

After each presidential election where the new president was of a different political party than the preceding president, I watched a peaceful transition of power, even when it was pretty obvious that the two people pretty much disliked each other. Something about the rule of law….

Whenever a presidential administration moves to far in either direction, left or right, the midterm election usually offers a correction – Clinton in 1994 with gays in the military, Bush in 2002 with weapons of mass destruction, and Obama in 2010 with health insurance.

I’m predicting an explosive correction on November 6, 2018, led by

  • women watching the Kavanaugh confirmation;
  • the young who have experienced mass death and destruction at their schools, movie theaters, and concerts;
  • minorities of all types, including LGBTQ like me;
  • and middle class (is there still a middle class?) people who have lost their health insurance due to actions of the current president (I call him Twitler because, to me, he is an incarnation of Hitler using Twitter as his main means of dividing the populace), lost their livelihood or a significant portion of it due to Twitler’s trade wars.
  • Sure, there will be Republicans (hereafter, “Regressives”) who win, but they will be in areas that have a supermajority of Regressive supporters. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that even in those areas, the spread will be much lower than usual, and you might even see some moderate Democrats or Independents elected in those areas where the lack of health insurance and income has hit particularly hard.

In today’s world, watching Twitler and his core supporters leads me to believe that there will be no peaceful transition of power this time. They don’t seem to care about anything Twitler does, as long as the blame is placed squarely on Democrats, women, non-Christians, immigrants, blacks, gays, and anyone else who is not straight, white, and Christian. They are violent, as seen in Charlottesville a year ago. They are violent as seen in mass shootings where the shooter always seems to be a “church-going Christian.”

The period between 2018 and 2020 will decide on whether or not there is a peaceful transition of power when Twitler is removed from office in 2020, possibly earlier through impeachment. I really think that Twitler and his ilk will not give up power through peaceful election results. I think there is going to be a Civil War, or at least a very bloody period to rival any war in our past history.

With the Twitler wannabe in Ontario, Canada; Putin and his social media army; and ultra right-wing regressives throughout the world finding a core group of people who hate everyone else, I think we are seeing “The Hunger Games” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” come to life.

With that depressing dissertation, I leave you with cats to help with the depression that I have caused. Starting and ending with, of course, Zoey the Cool Cat; all the other pictures are of cats at Friends of Cats where I volunteer for 1½ hours each day, Sunday through Thursday.

Zoey the Cool Cat welcoming me home
after I had been gone for three hours.
“Welcome home! Now rub my tummy!”
Zoey the Cool Cat

This little one crawled up on my lap, put his head on my chest,
rested his paws on my chest, and stayed that way for 20 minutes.
Friends of Cats

I love pictures of animals with their mouths wide open
because then I can anthropomorphize them.
Friends of Cats

What can be better than being welcomed by a black cat on a white pedestal?
Friends of Cats

One of the office cats, this one ready to answer the phone.
Friends of Cats

Cat yoga.
Friends of Cats

This little one is blind, yet still finds a box.
Friends of Cats

This little gal is in hospice care. She has scratched her neck so badly
that it is raw and bloody. She loves to be petted but it’s difficult to do
because of her condition. Poor little girl.
Friends of Cats

More cat yoga.
When you’re good enough, you can reach out and touch,
uh, Russel’s shoe!
Friends of Cats

Coco welcomes me to her house each day.
Friends of Cats

Anyone know what breed this cat is?
Friends of Cats

I often get up with sunrise intent on going outside and work in my gardens.
Sometimes, Zoey the Cool Cat has blocked my exit, forcing me to call
emergency personnel to rescue me. The only good thing is that I get to
go back to bed while waiting on first responders to arrive. And don’t tell me that I can get out through the windows. They are locked!
Zoey the Cool Cat

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

 

Sending thoughts and prayers….

I live in my own little world

I almost feel bad today.

I went to Walmart at 6:00 this morning to get some cat litter for Zoey the Cool Cat. When I checked out, the machine asked me if I wanted to donate to disaster relief. For the first time in my life, I said no.

The only disaster that everyone is collecting for is Hurricane Florence and the floods.

Well, Twitler has shown me that I need to look out for myself because he’s trying to destroy people like me, as well as other people typically called “minorities, people of color, women, etc.”

Since red states like North Carolina already get way more money from the government than they contribute, money which comes from blue states like California, where I live, I just decided to keep my money, especially since my tax burden under the Twitler tax giveaway to the rich is going to increase significantly for 2018.

Good luck over there on the East Coast. Sending thoughts and prayers…..

(Yeah, I’m cynical under Dictator Twitler and his regime.)

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

 

SNIPPETS (9-16-2018)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

Oh, dear.

I never switched to the “easier way to create posts on WordPress.com” because I didn’t find the new editor easier.

I just logged in to my blog and find that WordPress.com now is developing their “Gutenberg” editor. I was offered the choice to try it out while it’s still in development, so I did. One look at it, and I deactivated it.

Gutenberg is a “block editor,” which means you edit things in blocks. I have vast experience with block editors since most of the email programs use block editors (I have been using Mailchimp for six years); I absolutely despise them. They are the most difficult things in the world to use. Just give me a good HTML editor and I’m happy.

If WordPress.com forces us to use Gutenberg once it’s fully developed, my blogging days at WordPress.com here at Russel Ray Photos shall come to an end. Since I have an upgraded blog that costs $99 a year, if I quit paying that $99, everything I have written over the past six years will disappear into thin air.

Oh, well.

That just means I can start over again on a different blogging platform, and everything old shall be new again!

SNIPPET 2

I have been looking for nice, durable, strong, good-looking outdoor furniture that I can display some of my larger plants on. Finally, at Wayfair.com, I found a lot, and I ordered a lot. My first order arrived this past week. Here it is, a two-shelf wood/metal table with my huge Mammillaria displayed nicely on it.

Outdoor table from Wayfair

The wood is solid Paulownia, lightest-to-strongest-ratio wood species in the world, and the metal is recycled aircraft-grade aluminum pipes. Extremely easy to assemble (i.e., NOT IKEA!). I like it so much that I ordered two more.

SNIPPET 3

My first experience with Wayfair.com was several months ago when I ordered a “mushroom stool” to use as a side table outside on my patio. It is exposed to the elements, which here in San Diego means mostly sun, and still looks as new as the day it arrived. Recently I ordered three more and moved the first one to the other side of the house where I display an expensive Aloe in a custom display that I made specifically for it:

Mushroom stool from Wayfair

The rocks are real rocks from out here in the East San Diego County boondocks. They are glued together with GE 100% silicone with a hole in the middle filled with cactus soil. The pot and rocks (and plant!) weigh 53 pounds, so it really did need something strong to sit on besides the ground. When the other mushroom stools arrive, that pot sitting on the ground to the right also will be placed on one but about twenty feet down the deck.

SNIPPET 4

When I win the lottery

(which will be never because, uh, I would have to play the lottery, and I don’t),

I want to buy about 5,000 acres and create a dog sanctuary with 2,000 acres, a cat sanctuary with 2,000 acres, and an “Other pets” sanctuary with 1,000 acres, and have enough money left over to hire people to manage the place so that all I have to do is walk around and give lots of love to lots of pets.

Texas A&M UniversityOf course, I’ll have 5,000 acres of gardens, too, so the cats can climb in trees, the dogs can, uh, raise their legs on trees, and I can finally use my forestry degree from Texas A&M University (Class of ’77).

SNIPPET 5

Update on Zoey the Cool Cat’s diabetic diet.

End of week four.

After becoming a floor cat and refusing to jump up on anything for four months, she now has jumped up on the bed four consecutive nights and made herself at home, usually between my legs. She’s losing weight; moving about the house to find all the sunny spots during the day; jumping up on shelves, chairs, and beds; and returning to her old feisty, playful self.

Thank you Hill’s W/D prescription diet!

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 6

I guess margarita didn’t fit.

Bureeto car

SNIPPET 7

Found deep in in the East San Diego County boondocks, but what is it?

What is it?

SNIPPET 8

Uh-oh. The chicken is heading towards the road. You know what that means but we still don’t know why.

Chicken heading for the road

SNIPPET 9

I was in the El Cajon Home Depot a few days ago at 6:00 a.m. Dad and his 6-year-old son were there. Son was standing in front of the skeleton canines pointing and crying. He was frightened.

Halloween at Home Depot two months early

Dad was over at the battery rack ignoring his son. I felt so sorry for the little kid. My first question, though, was “What dad takes his 6-year-old son to Home Depot at six in the morning?” Kids should be in bed at that time of day!

SNIPPET 10

Killers of the Flower MoonI have always enjoyed history, which includes etymology. I just started reading “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Gramm.

On page 11 is the etymology of Whizbang, Oklahoma (no longer a town, just a road – Whizbang Road – on the Osage Reservation):

“….the reservation’s tumultuous boomtowns, which had sprung up to house and entertain oil workers—towns like Whizbang, where, it was said, people whizzed all day and banged all night.”

Stunning visual, but I could not find a video on YouTube…..

SNIPPET 11

We get lots of beautiful sunsets in the east here in San Diego, but only after the sun goes down in the west. Something to do with the curvature of the Earth, reflections, etc. Here’s a sunset in the east taken by the dash cam in my car on September 14, 2018:

Sunset in the east in San Diego, California

SNIPPET 12

Zoey the Cool Cat has something to say about the current election season:

Elect functioning adults in November 2018

SNIPPET 13

“I give the fight up: let there be an end, a privacy, an obscure nook for me. I want to be forgotten even by God.”

—Robert Browning, “Paracelsus,” 1835

SNIPPET 14

From a news story:

“Families help shape you as an individual, and they’re always there for you, no matter what.”

Well, if the family happens to be Mormons and Catholics, and you happen to be gay, no, they are not “always there for you, no matter what.”

SNIPPET 15

From a news story:

“….[M]any corporations donate to both political parties. You never know which way the winds will turn, so you might as well have a bribe in both camps.”

Fight organized crime

SNIPPET 16

This little cat often welcomes me at the back door when I arrive at Friends of Cats. It’s a Turkish Van, a breed that I had never heard of. Very beautiful!

Turkish Van cat at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California

Turkish Van cat at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California

SNIPPET 17

Slowly but surely I’m working my way out of this severe depression caused by retirement, i.e., not having anything to do.

My mother-in-law’s boyfriend told me about San Diego Oasis, providing programs for the elderly. I checked them out and immediately volunteered to help K-6 children who have been identified as lagging behind their classmates in their reading skills.

I also proposed a new program for them, a chess club. In my proposal I mentioned my playing experience, my teaching experience, and my chess club experience. I also told them that I was a firm believer in keeping the mind active and that an active mind can prevent the onslaught of dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, etc. The San Diego Oasis Program Council liked my idea for creating a chess club, called me for further details, and has approved me starting a chess club with the Spring 2019 curriculum. I’m so happy!

Here is a picture of some of the members of the La Mesa Outdoor Chess Club that I helped start in August 2013:

La Mesa chess club

SNIPPET 18

Every bookshelf needs a great adornment.

Zoey the Cool Cat on the bookshelf

SNIPPET 19

This little one is Max. He is one of my favorite cats in Cozy Cottage at Friends of Cats.

Max at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California

I love his long ear hairs. Max is in Lifetime Care and is not adoptable. Usually Lifetime Care means that the owner died or otherwise had to give up the cat, possibly going to assisted living himself. Friends of Cats will take cats into Lifetime Care with just a $5,000 contribution. Doesn’t matter how old the cat is.

Max is described as a “long-hair brown tabby with white.” Since tabby is a coloring and not a breed, that probably means that Max is a Domestic Long-haired cat, or as we knew them back in my youth in Kingsville, Texas, an “alley cat.”

He’s such a sweetie.

SNIPPET 20

My wise old grandmotherMy wise old grandmother was a conservationist before it was fashionable. She constantly told me,

“Do not throw things away! There is no away!”

To this day, I recycle whatever I can because I firmly believe something else that she told me:

“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

In today’s world with eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and all these groups on Facebook where one can buy or sell things, it’s amazing what people are willing to buy and how much they are willing to pay. I speak from experience, both as a seller and as a buyer.

One can even buy and sell plants online, and in plant auctions. Here’s the first plant that I bought in an online plant auction, an Operculicarya pachypus:

Operculicarya pachypus

I’m not telling you how much I paid…………..

The seller was located in West Hollywood (suburb of Los Angeles), and I guessed who it was based on his email address at eBay. Since I knew him, and had his phone number, and wanted this plant badly, I called him and asked if I could drive to his place and pick it up instead of having him ship it to me.

The problem with shipping plants is that sellers almost always ship plants “bare root,” which means they take them out of the containers, shake off all the soil from the roots, wrap the roots in moist napkins and such, and ship the plants. Shipping expenses are less.

Some plants can take that, some can’t.

Because of what I paid for this beautiful little tree, I didn’t want to take the chance, especially since I was unfamiliar with its growing requirements, so I drove to Los Angeles to pick it up.

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

 

Maybe some day mine will be B&B

Gardening logo

When I left College Station TX on April 15, 1993, intent on never returning to Texas, I left behind my three prized plants: a Norfolk Island Pine, a Schefflera, and a Pony Tail Palm.

All three had been with me since 1966, and all three were about 3 feet tall. I was so proud of them.

When I settled in San Diego on April 27, I noticed that Norfolk Island Pines (called Star Pines here) grew to 30 or 40 feet; Scheffleras grew to 20 or 25 feet, and bloomed!—and Pony Tail Palms grew to 15 to 20 feet, and also bloomed!

Pony Tail Palm

Zoey the Cool Cat enjoying her catioAt our new home in the East San Diego County boondocks, I have a Schefflera, but it froze when we had two consecutive days of 28°F in February. It recovered, but then it almost died of heat stroke when we had a couple of weeks of 100°F daily temperatures, including 118°F on Zoey the Cool Cat’s shaded catio.

Today I planted in the ground a Pony Tail Palm which is 3 feet tall. This one has multiple branches on it, which I really like. I have never had one with multiple branches before because they are much more expensive the bigger they get and the more branches they have.

Pony Tail Palm

Maybe some day mine will be B&B (big and blooming).

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