Tag Archives: san diego county fair

SNIPPETS (4-29-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I honestly admit that it has been a long time since I have been as passionate about something—anything!—as I am about my newfound interest in cactus & succulents (C&S), my role as newsletter editor for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society, and my new company, A+R POTTERY.

In order to sell anything at C&S shows throughout Southern California, including my Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY, one has to be a member of that specific C&S society.

Yesterday I visited the Palomar C&S Society in Escondido, 31 miles north of me, which I joined last month. San Diego C&S Society will be my home chapter, and Palomar C&S Society will be my secondary chapter.

Most chapters have what they call a “Brag Table” at their meetings where members can bring in plants and kind of (kind of?) brag about them in front of other similar-minded (i.e., obsessive about cactus & succulents) people.

There usually are three experience levels: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced. One’s rating is determined by how many ribbons one has won at their meetings and shows, not how much one knows about cactus and succulents, or how long one has been growing them.

There are two main categories: Cactus, and Succulents.

Even though I’ve been growing cactus and succulents since 1966, I’m a Novice as to showing them in competitions. I entered five plants in the Palomar C&S Society Brag Table competition yesterday and came away with a 1st place cactus and a clean sweep—1st, 2nd, and 3rd—in succulents.

They announced that it was their largest meeting ever with 92 members in attendance, and I counted 37 entries in the succulent category, so I wasn’t just competing against myself………..lol

All are in Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY (that’s me!), and the 1st place cactus also won 1st place cactus at the San Diego C&S Society Brag Table competition on April 14. Here they are:

1st place cactus Mammilaria plumosa pcss 042818 framed

1st place succulent Aloe castilloniae pcss

2nd place succulent Crassula corymbulosa

3rd place succulent Crassula

And here’s the loser, an Echevieria ‘Dondo’ in a cute glass pot on a framed San Diego tile:

Echeveriera 'Dondo' on a San Diego framed tile

SNIPPET 2

Did I say something about being passionate?

The San Diego County Fair, the nation’s fifth largest by attendance, begins June 1 and ends July 4, making it the Fair’s longest run ever. Each year they have a huge gardening section with bonsai, cactus & succulents, landscaping, and more. That’s the main reason I go to the Fair each year. This year, however, I shall be entering two plants in the “Container” competition. These two:

1st place succulent Aloe castilloniae pcss

Euphorbia ferox

The second picture is a Euphorbia ferox in what I call my “Stephen King” pot since it looks like a devilish creature out of one of his novels. That pot sold (to me!) for $100 at the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society Winter Show, and is the pot that is directly attributable to me founding my A+R POTTERY company.

I might also enter some more plants but the Fair’s criteria for judging actually does include artistic creativeness and originality, so it depends on how original and creative I can get by May 4, which is the deadline for entering Container plants.

SNIPPET 3

I’m thinking that the problem with home schooling is that the children get no interaction with other children who, uh, might not be exactly like them. All they get is what mommy and daddy want them to get, and that includes religious indoctrination and hatred of others who are different. I think education includes—or should include—much more than simply Reading, ‘Riting, & ‘Rithmatic. It needs to include socialization with other people, music appreciation, sports (learning how to lose graciously), history (My wise old grandmother said, “If we don’t study and understand history, we are bound to repeat it.” That could explain why it seems like America is back in the 1850’s instead of 2018.

SNIPPET 4

I spent several hours on Friday looking at the ground planting cacti, succulents, and rocks. It was late evening, so I took a break, looked up, and saw this:

Sunset in El Cajon, California

I didn’t have my DSLR out in the dirt with me so I had to take that with my Samsung Galaxy S8 smarty-pants phone.

SNIPPET 5

Back in 1987 I dated a woman who asked God everything, when to call in sick, when to take vacation, when to do genealogy research, when to call me, when to come visit me.

I had a home-based business and one Saturday night she was in my bedroom studying her Bible lesson for Sunday. I decided to take a break and take the two dogs for a walk. I went into my room and asked her, “Do you want to take the dogs for a walk with me?” She rolled over, looked at me ever so sweetly, and answered, “No. God hasn’t told me to take the dogs for a walk with you.”

I broke up with her two days later.

That was the beginning of the end of any respect I had for religion.

If God was talking in such detail with that one woman, I thought s/he was neglecting a few billion other people, like children dying of cancer or other such diseases (leprosy, smallpox, etc., in the days of yore), family and friends of children dying of cancer. Then, just for fun, add in deaths and injuries from tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, blizzards, floods.

Death and destruction everywhere. If that’s God, I don’t want anything to do with it.

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

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I could not rescue all of them

Out & About

Today is the last day for the 30-day run of the San Diego County Fair, the nation’s sixth-largest fair.

I was afraid that I was going to miss it this year but at the last minute I scored a free vendor/exhibitor ticket courtesy of the Pacific Photographic Society. It’s not that tickets are expensive but it’s always inconvenient to try to find a place selling tickets or to stand in the ticket line at the Fair to buy a ticket. Since my time is a little more valuable right now because of the Big Move, I figured I would just skip it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to.

The garden displays and the flower shows always are my favorite, specifically the bonsai and the dahlias. Here is one of each:

img_3201 bonsai stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_3215 dahlia stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friends know that two of my favorite food items are bacon and jalapeños, so imagine my sheer joy when I came up bacon-wrapped jalapeños:

img_3196 bacon wrapped jalapenos stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although I didn’t see any with my name on them, I’m pretty sure I heard all of them screaming, “Take me! Take me!”

Sadly, I could not rescue all of them….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego County Fair

Picture of the Moment

I left at 5:00 this morning to go up north (defined as anything north of Interstate 8) and meet with the Pacific Photographic Society to take a 2-hour tour of the Encina Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Wow!

The art of treating poop has certainly come a long way since I first toured such a facility in Kingsville, Texas, in 1967 when I was 12 years old.

Whenever I have to go north, I try to make good use of my time and the car (i.e., gasoline!) and visit other things on the way to and from.

And that I did!

It was a cloudy, gray, overcast morning, but that didn’t prevent me from train watching. San Diego County is one of the best places in the world to watch trains because we have a great selection of commuter trains: San Diego Trolley, Amtrak, Coaster, Sprinter, and Metrolink.

I stopped at the tracks going over the San Dieguito River and past the Del Mar Thoroughbred Racetrack where the San Diego County Fair currently is in full swing. Ranked by attendance, the San Diego County Fair is the sixth largest in the United States, and I have been to four of the top six.

Following is a panorama of the San Diego County Fair created from sixteen individual pictures. Click on the picture for a bigger version.

San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, California, June 24, 2015

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos


The Fair ends on Sunday, July 5, so there’s plenty of time to get out there, spend the day, and have some fun.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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SNIPPETS (8-14-14)—It’s so confusing

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Julian convinced me NOT to publish two posts a day here at my Southern California blog. Instead, daily specials on Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America will be announced, more appropriately, at RusselRayPhotos.com. I know, it can get confusing, having a Russel Ray Photos blog at RusselRayPhotos2.com and a separate RusselRayPhotos.com web site. Notwithstanding the web site names, look at the title of the web sites and you’ll see

Russel Ray Photos (here)
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos (there)

For the best access to Daily Specials, though, follow us over at Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos, too.

SNIPPET #2

When I went to the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden a year ago, I got so many pictures that it’s taken Julian and me this long to catalog everything. There is an outdoor dining area called Peacock Plaza. No one was dining there but I did get a (poor) picture of a peacock at Peacock Plaza.

Peacock Plaza

There is so much wrong with that picture. You know me, though. I never throw anything away. Comes from my wise old grandmother constantly saying, “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”

Note that the tile mosaic above the peacock has two peacocks in it. That mosaic is what I really wanted a picture of. I had another picture of the mosaic, and I tasked Julian with taking the two pictures and making a great piece of Photographic Art out of them. Here’s what he came up with:

Twin Peacocks

Julian keeps doing things that encourage me to keep him around….

SNIPPET #3

During the winter it will actually snow in the mountains of East San Diego County. Sadly, it only snowed there once this past winter. Global warming or something like that….

Here is another Photographic Art created by Julian of Lake Cuyamaca in the mountains covered with ice and snow:

Lake Cuyamaca

If you come to San Diego, try to make time in your schedule to go to the mountain community of Julian via Interstate 8 and State Highway 79. You will go right by Lake Cuyamaca, and it’s a great stopping point to relax and watch the wildlife—raptors, mountain lions, deer….

Remember to have an apple pie by the Julian Pie Company while you’re there. Best apple pie I have ever had. My favorite—ah who am I kidding? I like them all, but I do like the apple/peach crumb, apple/strawberry crumb, apple/raspberry crumb the best. That reminds me that I was going to make some peach cobbler last weekend…. Task for later today.

Google maps says Julian is about 71 miles from downtown San Diego, but the winding roads mean it will take you two hours to get there.

SNIPPET #4

I always feel so sad when I see fish out of water.

Fish Out Of Water

SNIPPET #5

My favorite tree in the world (not that I’ve seen every tree in the world, or even seen the world!) is the Century Oak at Texas A&M University. It’s now about 130 years old. I lost all of my pictures in the Great Hard Drive Crash of August 2005, but this tree at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park reminds me very much of it:

Beneath The Tree

SNIPPET #6

When you to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, take lots of money with you. They have some really interesting rides but they are expensive. They are worth it, but expensive nonetheless, such as the Balloon Ride:

San Diego zoo Safari Park Balloon Ride

The Balloon Ride takes you up about 400 feet into the wild blue yonder, and from there you can see everything for miles around. The best view, though, is directly below you where you can see lions, tigers, elephants, and giraffes, all looking like little ants from 400 feet up.

SNIPPET #7

Speaking of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the new Tiger Trail exhibit opened recently. Financed mostly by Conrad Prebys, one of two of San Diego County’s most generous benefactors (Irwin Jacobs is the other). Tiger Trail is fine, fine, fine, allowing you to get within inches of Malayan Tigers, only a big glass window separating you from them.

Malayan Tiger at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

If you come to San Diego, be sure to contact me. I often have free or discounted tickets to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld, and with enough notice, I can usually play docent for a day.

SNIPPET #8

A couple of different pictures from the Tiger Trail exhibit:

The Way Down Blooming Palm

Remember that the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park both are acclaimed botanical gardens, too, so stop to admire the vegetation while walking from exhibit to exhibit.

SNIPPET #9

This is the San Diego County Administration Center:

San Diego County Administration Center

It has the best view of the waterfront. It’s also where Jim and I got married on October 30, 2008.

SNIPPET #10

My wise old grandmother was a master at re-purposing things, although some of her re-purposing, such as her toilet and bathtub planters, never really appealed to my tastes……..LOL

At the San Diego County Fair back in June, I was pretty sure that my wise old grandmother had come back to life and was happily re-purposing tires for the garden exhibits:

Repurposed

As my wise old grandmother often said: “Don’t throw anything away! There is no away!”

SNIPPET #11

Remember to follow us at Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos for daily specials on our work at Fine Art America.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I cannot be trusted

How I Did It

I first started taking pictures in sixth grade when the principal, Miss Gustafson, asked for a volunteer photographer. She explained that the volunteer photographer would get in free to all sporting events, and the rest is history.

Even though I was using a Canon SLR in sixth grade, my first pictures really were just snapshots of the sports team and crowds.

In high school and college, my photography became more serious. I endeavored to understand the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Then throw in there film speed, film type, lenses, filters, and even film processing methods.

After college, I tried to develop a photographer’s eye for composition. Sometimes that meant sitting in the same spot for several hours waiting for just the right combination of things—light, weather, people (or lack thereof), etc. Sometimes I would take a picture and then go back several times over the next weeks and months, hoping to get a better picture.

Them days are gone………………………..

In today’s world of Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom, Corel Paintshop Pro, and many other digital photo software editing programs, I think I have come full circle, back to taking snapshots with my Canon 550D. I’m more interested in getting the picture and then making something out of it when I get back home. I think someone calls it “Photographic Art.”

For example, here’s a picture of two pigs sleeping at the San Diego County Fair:

Two pigs sleeping

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s a cute picture, but I thought it could be better if I removed the bars from their pen, not to mention the food dish and the butt of the black pig in the other pen. I even thought about that while at the Fair because I took a picture of sawdust which I thought would be good to replace the bars with:

Sawdust

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

First I removed some sawdust from the pigs, as well as a few pigskin imperfections, by simple cloning, which Photoshop makes real easy. I cloned out some feathers from on top of the sawdust as well.

Then I masked the bars and deleted them. That left me with a huge blank space behind the pigs’ heads, but Photoshop also makes it pretty easy to insert just about anything into a picture.

Here is the result:

Two pigs sleeping

Isn’t it a lot better picture without the bars in there?

Lets you focus on the two pigs, especially the smiling pig, obviously in the midst of sweet dreams.

What you see at Russel Ray Photos might not be what you get. I just can’t be trusted.

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San Diego County Fair or bust!

Out & About

It’s San Diego County Fair or bust!

Since the last day is Sunday, July 6, today is my last opportunity to make it to the San Diego County Fair.

This year’s fair is celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to America in 1964 with its theme “The Fab Fair,” so it’s definitely a year that I didn’t want to inadvertently miss.

If they are playing Beatles music throughout the Fair, I might break out in song & dance!

The San Diego County Fair is North America’s seventh largest fair based on 2013 attendance:

  1. Texas State Fair, Dallas—2,598,215
  2. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo—2,506,238
  3. Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul—1,731,162
  4. San Antonio Livestock Show & Exhibition—1,665,747
  5. Eastern States Exhibition, Springfield, Massachusetts—1,481,917
  6. Los Angeles County Fair, Pomona—1,438,514
  7. San Diego County Fair—1,425,200
  8. Orange County Fair, Costa Mesa, California—1,374,579
  9. Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto—1,360,000
  10. Arizona State Fair, Phoenix—1,178,515

I have been to #1 four times, #2 nineteen times, #4 six times, and #7 seven times. Sad that in 21 years in San Diego, I’ve only been 7 times. It’s not like it’s expensive ($14 for adults), but ever since Amtrak and the Coaster did away with their Fair stop, I haven’t been going. Driving is a hassle and parking, well, after trying to park and then trying to leave at the end of the day….

Polly wants a margarita

My favorite part of the Fair are the flower and gardening shows, and, of course, being a native Texan, the livestock shows.

Here are some pictures from past Fairs:

Dahlia at the 2012 San Diego County Fair

Piglets at the San Diego County Fair

Aliens at the San Diego County Fair

Aliens at the San Diego County Fair

Aliens at the San Diego County Fair

Aliens at the San Diego County Fair

Pigs at the San Diego County Fair

Mountain Lake Chess Club at the San Diego County Fair

Little did I know that after seeing the Mountain Lake Chess Camp at the Fair last year, I would be teaching chess for them just a couple of months later at after-school enrichment programs for K-6 schools.

Here’s my BFF chess set:

Succulent chess set at the San Diego County Fair

Julian, if you see my BFF chess set, leave a comment. There might be a monetary bonus in it for you!

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Turkey at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Floral arrangement at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Rose show at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Rose show at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

2013 San Diego County Fair

Amtrak at the San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

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I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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SNIPPETS (6-18-14)

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

My friends who have known me throughout my business career sometimes call me the “Five-Year Man” because it’s rare for me to do anything for more than five years even though the five-year spans sometimes overlap.

13 reasons why you're not successfulOne of the business careers that I had for five years was as a marketing consultant, and I still really like marketing, helping people and companies find an audience for their products and services.

A few days ago I found a cool graphic that very directly explains why people are not as successful as they could be. The graphic had been around the world before I found it, but I tracked it down to Jim Kukral, a marketing expert whom I really identify with. Check him out at JimKukral.com, and see his graphic, “13 Reasons You’re Not As Successful As You Should Be.” I used a mini version of his graphic for beautification purposes here. It’s unreadable, so see the graphic at his web site which can be enlarged to be very readable.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

Jim and I got married on October 30, 2008.

A few days later, 7,001,084 voters (52.24%) of 13,402,566 valid votes cast, representing 35,000,000 Californians, decided via Proposition 8 that gay people should not be able to get married in California.

In May 2009, the California Supreme Court ruled that gay marriages which had occurred legally (such as mine!) would remain legal. In June 2013, the United States Supreme Court basically ruled (in a legal way) that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, and gay marriages resumed.

It’s only a matter of time before gay people throughout the United States will be able to marry the person they love, as indicated by this MSNBC graphic from a few days ago:

Gay marriage is coming!

I find it interesting (NOT!) that the sky has not fallen, the ground has not opened up and swallowed mankind, and the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west.

Sunrise on Mt. Helix in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

A few days ago, when I went to the Bird Song gardens (Leave room in your garden for the fairies to dance), I had to pass through the area burned a month ago in what is called the Cocos Fire.

After 21 years in San Diego, I still find it odd that we name fires, but I grew up in Texas where named hurricanes often visited us. But why no named blizzards, floods, or tornadoes?

Here is a picture showing how close the fire came:

Close Call

Throughout the area, you can see scorched earth with untouched homes sitting in its midst. In the October 2003 fires, these homes probably would have burned. But after both the October 2003 and October 2007 fires, San Diego County has a rural defense law that requires defensible space around rural homes. That defensible space has been credited with saving many homes in the May 2014 fires. Of course, our firefighters get some credit, too.

Thank you EFF fire fighters

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

When I arrived in San Diego in April 1993, the local paper announced that there was not a single natural river remaining in the Los Angeles County north of us. All of them had been converted into concrete channels, similar to this one:

Southern California river

We now know that, during what little rainfall we get here, concrete channels exacerbate the flooding by allowing rainwater to move at a much faster rate, so when it does overflow those channels, it does a lot of damage.

San Diego was in the process of converting all of its rivers to concrete channels when peer-reviewed research reached the public confirming what many of us already knew. San Diego quit converting its rivers to concrete channels, and many of those throughout Southern California now look like that in the picture above, being allowed to revert to their natural form.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #5

While I was taking pictures of the concrete river, I saw two mallard ducks enjoying the stagnant water, which seems to indicate that stagnant water isn’t all that bad. Bottoms up!

Bottoms up

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #6

The San Diego County fair, purported to be the fifth largest in North America, is well under way, opening on Saturday, June 7. Last day is Sunday, July 5. Trust me. Go now. Don’t wait until the last weekend.

The Fair is closed on Mondays, as well as the first two Tuesdays of its run. Doesn’t make sense to me, which I guess is why I don’t run the Fair.

A couple of days ago, knowing that the Fair was closed, I went to get some pictures, also knowing that there would be parking places and that I wouldn’t get run over by traffic. Following are my two favorite pictures. Those who know me will not be surprised that there are trains in both of them.

Amtrak at the San Diego County Fair

Coaster at the San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #7

I’m proud to say that Jim Frimmer, Janelle DeStefano, and Joanne Regenhardt got a standing ovation from the 82 attendees at their performance this past Sunday at the new Central Library in downtown San Diego. I’m the official page turner………perhaps they were standing for me?

Jim Frimmer, Janelle DeStefano, and Joanne Regenhardt

Next performance at the Central Library is Sunday, June 29, followed by a final performance on Sunday, July 13. Both performances begin at 2:30 p.m. and are free!

New San Diego Central Library on March 23, 2013

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #8

Time magazine’s issue of June 18, 1956, reported on three cities which had banned “rock-and-roll and other forms of frenzied music.” Those three cities were Santa Cruz, California; Asbury Park, New Jersey; and San Antonio, Texas. Santa Cruz and Asbury Park are now rock and roll havens. Such auspicious beginnings.

A few rock and roll music personalities who lived in Santa Cruz:

Cornelius Bumpus—saxophonist for the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan

Derek Sherinian—keyboardist for Alice Cooper, KISS, and Dream Theater

Scott Weiland—vocalist for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver

Here is “Thank You Love” from The Doobie Brothers’ “One Step Closer” album issued in 1980. Cornelius Bumpus is the composer.

The University of California at Santa Cruz has a lot of rock and roll musicians as alumni, and the City of Santa Cruz itself now is a center of rock and roll bands calling California home, most of them in the genres of death metal, deathcore, and punk.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #9

My wise old grandmother taught me to add laughter to each day. Courtesy of our fine, furry, four-legged friends (cats), here’s enough laughter to last today, tomorrow, and perhaps the rest of the month:

Laughter for today

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #10

One of the great things about aquariums and zoos is that you get to see wildlife that you would never see in the wild. Here is a picture of a northern white rhinoceros living at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park:

Northern white rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Not only will you not see the northern white rhinoceros in the wild, but it’s highly unlikely that you will see it at a zoo, either. According to the San Diego Zoo, the northern white rhinoceros is “functionally extinct,” meaning that it is extinct in the wild and no breeding populations exist anywhere else.

In fact, there are only seven of these magnificent creatures left in the world, two here at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, and five at other zoos. When these seven individuals die, there will be no more. Probably in YOUR lifetime! Poaching and habitat destruction. How sad. 😦

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

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray