Shots of the week . . . so far.

My husband asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday, which was Feb.3. Not one to make a fuss over this day, I just wanted to go to another skatepark and take some pics. We arrived about 11:30 and not a soul in sight. We had just decided to leave when one young man, on a break from work, showed up. I think he was just learning and really didn’t give me much of a show. Sun on concrete and he was dark clothing. Most would have said, forget it. Not me. As he was leaving I thanked him for not minding me taking shots, surprised and, he didn’t even know what I was doing. Now, that’s concentration. I mean. we were the only two people there. Hubby had gone to investigate other stuff, he’s not one for skateboarders.

Another day at the lagoon. Sunshine was plentiful after a dose of early morning fog. They are dredging the lagoon to replenish sand the winter tides have swallowed. I spotted the first and only bloom on one of the many cactus plants along the way. There was another older couple, I think the man was taking pics with his cell as he climbed up the hill to find the perfect yellow flower. Maybe to go with his shirt.

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War and back . . .

airsoft videoI was drafted by my grandson to become his war photographer. This was the second time he’s held an Airsoft War at home in Fallbrook, CA. It was out east of here an and I spent most of the time standing in, very tall, very wet grass. I couldn’t risk getting too close for fear of injury by hundreds of pellets. Yet, my grandson was happy with what I gave him and at the end of the day, I only suffered socks soaked enough to ring out.

His mom took pics of the first game and I did manage a short video for Youtube.

Monday Memories . . . not exactly Matt and Kitty

If you’re on Facebook, you’re familiar with . . . Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday. Two days that some of us will post photos that are oldies but goodies of our former selves. Reliving the past can either bring a smile, a chuckle or “I can’t believe I did that” and . . . kept the photograph to prove it.

While looking through some old files I came across a shot that I always loved. We had only been married a few years, back in the 90s and took a road trip to the Calico Ghost Town. That would be the 1990s.

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A little bit about this silver mining town:

Calico Ghost Town
36600 Ghost Town Rd
Yermo, CA 92398

Calico is an old West mining town that has been around since  1881 during the largest silver strike in California.  With its 500 mines, Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore over a 12-year span.  When silver lost its value in the mid-1890’s, Calico lost its population.  The miner’s packed up, loaded their mules and moved away abandoning the town that once gave them a good living.  It became a “ghost town.”  

Walter Knott purchased Calico in the 1950’s architecturally restoring all but the five original buildings to look as they did in the 1880’s.Calico received State Historical Landmark 782 and in 2005 was proclaimed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be California’s Silver Rush Ghost Town.

The day we visited was HOT and something I ate kept reminding me to never do that again. I really wanted to be a good sport and go on this silver mine adventure. There was a short entrance to the mine and a guide doing his best to educate and entertain us. He mentioned that once we entered the mine there was no turning back and you must exit at the other end. calico silverSuddenly the walls began to close in on me, I felt it hard to breathe. I began to perspire. Did I mention I am claustrophobic? Very claustrophobic. I told my husband I was going back, he reminded me of what the guide said. At this point, it was be disobedient or leave my lunch in the tunnel. I turned tail and ran out into the God-given sunlight.

Today I began thinking about giving Monday a special day for Memories. This shot is not exactly Matt and Kitty, but we did our best. For some reason, there were no shoes for the saloon girls in this little studio set-up. Matt &Kitty

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Grant Calico &me color

If you are a fan of Gunsmoke, enjoy a few clips from this famlous couple – Marshal Dillon and Miss Kitty.

The Food Bank delivers . . .

On the first Tuesday of each month the San Diego Food Bank makes a huge delivery of produce to those in need. The drop off is at the Bread of Life Rescue Mission in Oceanside, CA. I grabbed my camera and took a few shots, some didn’t seem to mind, one woman yelled at me, “Please,lady don’t take my picture.” It was already too late, so I honored her request by cropping her out. The video is now on Youtube at:

The director of the mission, Steve Bassett informed the crowd I might be taking pictures for him. I tried not to be obvious as I meandered around the crowd. Bread products come from various stores and bakeries and are also handed out that day.

I need more Pixels . . . Please

Back in the cyberworld of pixels, my daily dose of ‘friends’ pics on Facebook finds me whispering, more pixels, please. Cell phone cameras are handy, however I know how impossible it is to see anything on a cellphone during daylight. Some of the shots are clearly not cell camera created and just wanted to tweak here and there.

Men of the Mission

Last night I had the opportunity to visit Bread of Life Rescue Mission in Oceanside. My husband and I founded this mission a number of years ago. Here are a few of the shots I was able to capture without disturbing anyone. Several of the men had no problem with me capturing their image, some eager to talk and tell me some of their trials.

She Works Hard for the Money . . .

mani/pediMani/Pedi, most women know these words. And, no doubt a few men. It’s not often that I indulge myself, making a visit to a nail salon for that little luxury. However , when toes are peeking out of sandals, it’s time. There are many jokes about the women who ply their trade in these salons, which seem to be predominantly family run operations.

The tiny women who speak little or no English, constantly trying to up-sell their client on more services. The chatter in Vietnamese between operators, which may or may not be about the person they are servicing. And the smiling and nodding as if they understand what you are saying. It can be a daunting task to communicate with them. They work cheap, putting in long hours of what  must be hard on their backs and hands.

Off I went to a franchise – there must be one on every corner, or so it seems.The price is right and I had a coupon for this happy place. The last time I was there, a little over a month ago, a young woman who called herself,  Annie came to perform the mani/pedi ritual.On every corner

There was something about her, something quiet and almost sad. I took my time thinking about how to approach her, not knowing then how much English she spoke. It didn’t take long for me to learn that she was a single mother with two young children, that she had come to America eighteen years ago from Vietnam. That she and the children were leaving in a week to visit her parents for a month. Not a trip she could take very often. Her voice was soft, and she didn’t give me the hard sell for more services. Which I appreciated, less service, bigger tip. She gave me her card, I said I would look for her when she came back.

So, there I was again with Annie, my toes deep in the blue-tinted water.  A very sleepy, Annie. She had only been back in the states a week, took two days off and was still trying to adjust to the fourteen hour time difference. “No work, no money,” she said as she scrubbed, rubbed and trimmed. She had appointments books and didn’t want to disappoint her clients.

Frankly, I was quite surprised that she remembered me, she must do hundreds of people a month. People around me came and went, lots of prattle from both clients and operators. Yet, I felt like we were in some type of bubble of calm that little could slip through. Odd.

GALAXY_S_II_Plus_Product_Image_(1)_270x405I had my Galaxy and wondered if I could capture Annie with my camera, would she even notice? Would she care, would she hear the click of the shutter?  I am sure she thought I was doing what about every other woman in the salon was doing, texting, reading email, etc. She never seemed to think otherwise. The results are not perfect, and I am sure that “Annie” is not her real name. Perhaps I’ll ask her next time.

Annie-looking-down

Annie-side-view Annie-massaging-
Halong Bay with Annie_pe

A little history –
After a score of Vietnamese refugees arrived in Sacramento in 1975, an American actress named Tippi Hedren visited these refugees and decided to help train them as manicurists. Within a few years, several other Vietnamese refugees ended up gaining successful employment in the nail industry and in 1987, the Vietnamese community had its own beauty college with training in their native language.

In the state of California, Vietnamese-Americans make up more than 80% of nail technicians, and they hold 43% of all such licenses nationally.

it’s long hours, low hourly pay, fierce competition from literally every corner of the block, and health problems from inhaling toxic chemicals such as acetone and acrylic on a daily basis.
In America, it is not a shame for Vietnamese to do nails.  But in Vietnam, only the lower group on the ladder would go into any profession that involves touching other people’s hands and feet.

Ain’t it the truth?

Where the Buffalo roam …

My niece was visiting Long Elk Park, a great  place to see those shaggy beasts known as bison, but more often called buffalo. You can check out the park at: http://www.stlouisco.com/ParksandRecreation/ParkPages/LoneElk

She sent me a shot and I had to let the buffalo roam through Photoshop Elements. They didn’t seem to mind a bit.

Original shot

Original shot


Into the Woods . . .

Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. However, that’s not my version of Into the Woods.images

A few months ago I took some shots at our local art gallery, several interesting faces carved out of wood caught my attention. Yesterday, I was inspired, actually a little bored would be more like it. I had a brilliant idea, or so it seemed at the time. Perhaps my Photoshop skills could turn these inanimate objects into flesh and blood. Bring them to life, introduce them and perhaps, just perhaps they might like each, get along well enough to . . . you get the point. At least they could shed their splinters and enjoy a walk-a-bout.

Alas, my eyes grew dim and my matchmaking skills faded as I realized that no amount of manipulation, at least on my part, would ever bring them together. Another day, another adventure as I skip into the woods, alone.

Fuschia Fantasy – a Friday Drabble

Once I dreamt of pink satin slippers and a shimmering tutu. I imagined standing on points and hearing the thunderous applause as a handsome prince knelt before me with a single rose.

Someday I would join the Ballets de Monte Carlo and tour the world, or so I dreamed.
But alas, this chubby youngster was none too graceful, could barely remember a Tour jeté or Arabesque. It was hopeless, I might as well bronze my slippers.

Eventually a typewriter, sometimes a microphone. Now a computer and Photoshop
bring back those childhood dreams.
Side-by-side-dancer-