Tag Archives: my wise old grandmother

The food chain in action

My wise old grandmother

I guess as the ground squirrels and rabbits pass on the rumor that I’m a pretty nice guy, more wildlife seems to be visiting me. Yesterday a beautiful California Scrub Jay came to visit and drink.

California Scrub Jay

California Scrub Jay

Today, a Greater Roadrunner came to visit. Sadly, the roadrunner found a large Helix Snail that I had saved earlier in the day because it was trying to cross the asphalt street. I picked it up and brought it over to my side of the street. Just a couple of hours later, I watched the roadrunner find the snail, pick it up in its beak, bring it over to the concrete walkway, and bash that snail until the shell broke open, whence the snail became food for the roadrunner.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Reminds me of my wise old grandmother. When wildlife—spiders, lizards, flies—got into her house, she would catch them in a Mason jar and return them to the outside rather than summarily killing them for invading her house. Her reasoning was that they were a viable part of the food chain.

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Opinion—Religion, the bane of humanity, and women specifically

Opinion

Unknown purple flowers, Ramona GrasslandsBack in 1966 I got into a discussion with my wise old grandmother about why she didn’t work. That was the wrong discussion to have with her. She worked. A lot.

She cleaned the house, including the bathtubs, sinks, and toilets; made the beds; vacuumed the carpets; mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors; dusted and Lemon-Pledge-d the furniture; removed, cleaned, and re-hung the curtains; cleaned the windows, both inside and outside; washed the clothes; hung the clothes out to dry; watered the lawn and the gardens; mowed the lawn; fertilized the lawn and flowers; removed crabgrass and weeds from the lawn and flowerbeds; pruned the trees and bushes; shopped for groceries; took me shopping for clothes and school supplies; replaced burned out light bulbs; washed, dried, and waxed the car; did oil changes for the car; cleaned the garage.

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray PhotosProbably more stuff that I’m forgetting.

Of course, once I arrived on the scene, I got to do a lot of that stuff. There’s a reason why I’m into xeriscape, succulent, and cactus landscaping. I never enjoyed mowing the lawn, pruning the trees, or removing crabgrass and weeds.

I also have discovered that there are people who enjoy doing the stuff that I don’t, so I don’t do oil changes, don’t rotate tires, don’t wash/dry/wax the car. That stuff gets done, just not by me.

Succulent flowersMy discussion with my wise old grandmother that day got me interested in gender-specific roles in our households and how one gender was seen as the breadwinner and the other gender seemed to be taken for granted.

My wise old grandmother never complained. She had only a first-grade education because, when her dad died, she had to drop out of school and help in the fields and around the house. She brought the crop in from the fields; fed the cattle, pigs, and chickens; gathered the eggs; milked the cows. That was the era she lived in, but she realized that what she did around the house had value to the family even if she was not directly paid for her work.

Tiny flowers at San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CaliforniaThings have changed some in the past hundred years, and even though women have joined the work force and can be doctors, managers, politicians, and so much more, there still is a gender pay gap in society. That doesn’t mean that every woman is paid less than every man, but that the average woman is paid less than the average man doing the same job.

I submit that there is an inherent, unrecognized psychological reason for that. Moms’ gender seems to be a subset of the men. To wit:

Man – Woman

Male – Female

Tiny flowers at San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CaliforniaWhen the two genders get married, the man gets to keep his last name while the woman gives up her last name and takes the last name of the man. What’s with that?

I even know two gay couples—one male couple and one female couple—who, when they got married, one gave up the last name and took the last name of the other. Jim & I got married on October 30, 2008. Neither of us considered taking the other’s last name. We were simply two guys who got married. Giving up your last name just because you signed a contract to take care of each other till death do you part makes no sense to me, especially with the prevalence of divorce in today’s world.

Tiny flowers at Ramona Grasslands, Ramona, CaliforniaWhen it comes to the collective, there isn’t any pretense.

Humanity, not huwomanity.

Mankind, not huwomankind.

Son and daughter seems to be the only place where the two genders are recognized as being separate, but if the gender is not known, then it becomes person, not perdaughter.

Tiny flowers at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, CaliforniaI think that the gender pay gap will always exist as long as society sees women as less then men, and society will see that as long as the words we use indicate that women are, indeed, less then men, and as long as religion teaches that women are less then men.

So maybe women as a collective should come up with a new word to describe themselves. Perhaps feperwo? Sounds too weird, too strange, too different, but maybe that’s exactly what’s needed to make a clean break.

Unknown flowerI also anticipate that there will be about half the feperwos who want to be seen as a subset of their man, as a possession of their man, probably due to religion, again, since it teaches that a woman should be submissive to her man, that women should not teach or speak or have authority over men
(1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. Note that both books are in the New Testament which supposedly superseded the Old Testament!), etc., nothing will change.

Succulent orange flowerIn doing research for this blog post, I found a very disturbing site online titled “10 Bible reasons why a wife must submit to her husband regardless of culture.” An introduction to the list states, “Culture has never been a factor as to whether a woman must submit to her husband in the Bible. Modern times of woman’s liberation are irrelevant. God gives us His reasons why women must submit to her husband.”

  1. Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray PhotosCreation order: Man was created first, woman second. “For it was Adam who was first created and then Eve.”
    1 Timothy 2:13
  2. Creation origin: Man and all creation was created by God directly out of dust, whereas woman was created through the man’s rib. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
    “Woman is the only creature not made from dust. Woman derives her origin from Man.”The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:22
    “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man.”
    1 Corinthians 11:8
  3. Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray PhotosCreation purpose: Woman created for man: “For indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” 1 Corinthians 11:9
  4. Man named woman: Adam named the animals and was to rule over them. “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” Genesis 2:19
    Rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Genesis 1:28
    When Eve was brought to Adam, he named her, showing he was to rule over woman as well. “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ ” Genesis 2:23
  5. sunflower faa stampDelegation principle: God commanded directly to Adam alone. The prohibition to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, was made directly by God to Adam. Adam, in turn relayed what God said to Eve. Eve had not yet been created when God told Adam about the forbidden tree. Eve never actually heard God say this direct, but had to trust Adam’s word on the matter. “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:16-18
  6. Unknown flowerWoman sinned first: The devil tempted Eve and she, not the man, was first deceived. Because of this, man put Eve under the headship of Adam. “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:14
    “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [not only does the serpent talk, but it is personified with the pronoun “he”] said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?’ ” Genesis 3:1
  7. AloeGod rebuked Adam first after they ate the forbidden fruit: Although Eve was the logical person for God to rebuke first, God went to Adam, showing that God considered Adam the “head of the family” for both. “Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9
  8. Man is the glory of God, woman is the glory of man: “For a man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” 1 Corinthians 11:7
  9. Paul pointed Christians to the Mosaic Law that was 1500 [years] earlier and a different culture: 1 Corinthians 14:34
  10. Peter pointed Christians to Sarah, 2000 years earlier and a very different culture: 1 Peter 3:5-6.

Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray PhotosI grew up Catholic and Mormon, but I have no religion in my life now. I have found that religion is not necessary for me to be a productive member of society; a kind and generous individual; a caring individual; a reasonable, logical, and thinking individual.

I don’t know what #9 and #10 mean, and I’m not willing to find out. I have had enough religion in this one post to last me for the rest of my life because I find it silly to worship an imaginary being in the sky who causes or doesn’t stop hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, cancer…… on and on. If there is a God, s/he is going to have to beg me for forgiveness, or I’ll be happy to go straight to hell.

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From my wise old grandmother: “Practice makes perfect!”

My wise old grandmother

Many decades ago when I was still a teenager and wondering what my place was in the world, Philippe Petit (b. 1949) was walking a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City….. 1,350 feet above the ground…. August 7, 1974. He did it 8 times in 45 minutes.

I thought to myself, “How do you practice for that?”

Well, yesterday, I found the new generation of high wire artists practicing their craft:

Mission Bay, San Diego CA

Mission Bay, San Diego CA So.

There ya go.

You can practice, which is good, because as my wise old grandmother always told me when I was practicing the violin:

“Practice makes perfect!”

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Do not throw things away! There is no away!

My wise old grandmother

My wise old grandmother was the champion of re-purposing. She regularly tell us not to throw something away before she had a chance to examine it. Her motto: “Do not throw things away! There is no away!”

Tin cans became holders for pins, needles, bobby pins, paper clips, buttons, spools of thread. Glass jars, too.

Anything that needed refrigeration came in Mason jars. Once those jars were empty, granddad would drill two holes in the lid, attach it to the underside of a shelf in the garage using two screws, and then screw the jar onto the lid. His jars contained nails, screws of every shape and size, washers and nuts to fit all those screws, bolts, wire….

Re-purposing didn’t end with the small stuff. One weekend granddad replaced the bathroom toilet and bathtub with modern ones. Both the toilet and the old claw-foot bathtub got re-purposed as outdoor container gardens.

Recently I was walking around an older San Diego neighborhood when I came across a re-purposed claw-foot bathtub, just like my wise old grandmother would have done it:

Re-purposed claw-foot bathtub

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When pen pals come to visit

I live in my own little world

When my wise old grandmother (MWOG) adopted me in December 1965, I had four main interests that I had developed in my 10 years and 9 months of life: Mother & Father Nature (flora & fauna), music, and philately.

MWOG didn’t know what philately was, until I told her it was stamp collecting. For Christmas she bought me a subscription to Linn’s Weekly Stamp News. Best. Grandmother. Ever.

Linn's Weekly Stamp News

In the advertisements in the last pages was a section titled “Pen Pals.” These weren’t just ordinary pen pals, though. They were philatelist (stamp collector) pen pals. Write a letter, put stamps on the envelope, and your pen pal may or may not read whatever was in the envelope being just so happy to get free postage stamps from another country.

Back in those days I had many, many pen pals, and I had my little journal that helped me keep track of who I wrote to, and when, and when I got a response from them. My longest pen pal relationship lasted from 1966 to 1973. Sadly, I have forgotten his name and what country he was from, and my little journal was absconded by MWOG when I went off to college. She was terribly upset at me for going off to college 270 miles away, so everything that I couldn’t take with me when I left was not there when I came home for the weekend a month later. She had gathered up all the stuff that I had left, figuring I didn’t want it and that she would never see me again, and sold it at one of her city-famous garage sales.

Here is is 51 years later and I still have pen pals. My little journal is now an Excel spreadsheet. There are no stamps involved. It’s much easier to write a “letter.” It’s called blogging.

Occasionally a blogging pen pal arrives in San Diego, and when that happens, often I get notification. Yesterday, I had the pleasure to go out with Liz Flint and Bryan Flint. I met Liz when we both were blogging on a real estate blog site a decade ago; I was there from 2007 to 2011 before I set out on my own here at WordPress. Liz and Bryan are from Tomball, Texas, a northwestern suburb of Houston. Tomball happens to be where my favorite aunt and uncle lived for several decades, so I was intimately familiar with the area.

Liz and Bryan made it to San Diego back in May 2013. I had the pleasure of taking them to the San Diego Zoo, the cactus garden at Balboa Park, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (also in Balboa Park), and train spotting. All three of us are railroad fans and photographers.

Yesterday they were in San Diego again. I had the pleasure of going with them to the Carlsbad Flower Fields and then out to eat and a place right by some very active railroad tracks where we could watch Coaster and Amtrak trains go by. They had taken Amtrak from Houston to Los Angeles, driven down to San Diego to go to the Flower Fields, and then drove back to Los Angeles. They will be taking Amtrak to San Diego on April 6 to catch a cruise ship that will take them through the Panama Canal and to Florida. I’ll be out there on April 6 taking a video of their Amtrak train. Meanwhile……..

Some pictures from the Carlsbad Flower Fields yesterday featuring Liz & Bryan:

Liz Flint at the Carlsbad Flower Fields

Bryan & Liz Flint at the Carlsbad Flower Fields

Bryan Flint at the Carlsbad Flower Fields

And, of course, the requisite picture of Bryan taking a picture of an Amtrak train:
Bryan Flint taking a picture of an Amtrak train in Carlsbad CA

If you make it to San Diego or anywhere close by, let me know. You might get free tickets to something (usually the Zoo or Safari Park), discounted tickets, and, perhaps, your own personal docent.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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Be a unique star

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmother always said, “If you don’t get up early, you won’t see the sun rise.” She was always up before sunrise. I wasn’t far behind her. Here is this morning’s sunrise through the dirty window of my home office in La Mesa CA:

Sunrise in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

With that out of the way….

A few more quips from my wise old grandmother:

“If you’re not sleeping with someone, you don’t know what they are thinking.”

“Ten percent of the people will love you because that’s the kind of people they are. Ten percent of the people will hate you because that’s the kind of people they are. Eighty percent of the people will love you or hate you based on your actions and words. So be nice.”

“Children aren’t born with hatred in their hearts. Mom and dad teach them that, usually through religion.”

I believe she was right on all counts.

I have been a member of a home inspector trade association for 13 years. There are about 10,000 members. I led a marketing seminar at its national convention in 2007, which is when a very significant member of the association found out I was gay. He wasn’t happy, telling me that he always thought gays should be killed. I brushed it off , thinking that if he got to know a gay person, he would change his mind. Apparently that has not worked.

I have had significant interaction with that person over the past nine years. A couple of days ago I was on the association’s message board and all sorts of Trump-approved hate was spewing. It’s allowed on the message board under the guise of free speech. He was participating and left a comment stating that maybe now that Trump was president, gays, illegal immigrants, and blacks would be killed. “Can’t go wrong with that.”

That definitely caused me to rethink my association, and I have decided to move on. However, that also means that my latest venture, House Key News, is being put on the back burner because I believe my main target audience all are Trump supporters. I’m not going to intentionally associate with those kind of people, especially now that they apparently have approve to spew their hatred in public.

My fallback is Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos. I have let it slip over the past year, but a recent sale a few days ago has encouraged me to make it numero uno.

House Key News had a main target audience of about 20,000 people—home inspectors. Photographic Art has a main target audience of about 3,000,000 people—Realtors, loan agents, title agents, and escrow agents. They can use Photographic Art as unique close-of-escrow gifts instead of the standard $50 gas or restaurant card, a plant, a bottle of wine or champagne, etc.

Photographic Art also can be used for birth gifts, birthday gifts, graduation gifts, marriage gifts, divorce gifts, new business gifts, anniversary gifts, just because gifts, etc. The possibilities are endless.
Be a unique star

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift for a special occasion?

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Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America

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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

Need a unique gift?
Anniversary? Birthday? Graduation? Marriage?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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