Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

Days of Atonement, clarity, introspection, meditation, taking in the moment are ways I see the High Holidays. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serves as a time to take stock of the past year, and think about the future.

Usually I start with creating the ritual meal. Shopping items include chicken, matza meal, noodles, apples, gefilte fish, Manischwitz Concord Grape Wine, and a round challah (getting harder, and harder to find).  The meal takes a lot of preparation and while I chop and peel I remember the past year. The lose of my parents is with me daily. I do take some comfort in knowing they are together. But this time the holiday felt different.

In the process of moving I get to look at a lot of accumulated stuff. 47 years of marriage, 31years in the same house, and only in the past month have we become “empty nesters”.  I inherited much from my parents. I found some home movies from early 1960s that I transferred onto a DVD. Technology has come a long way from a Super 8mm film camera. Back to the time of silent movies with exaggerated movements.

October begins a new chapter for the Frankel’s with the move to Fair Oaks (6 miles away).  Not so much distance, but a reset nevertheless. Still don’t know exactly how we plan to arrange our “stuff”. Luckily we have a 3 car garage, and that is where our boxes will go. Then we have another chance to decide about stuff before it finds a place in our new home. I feel excited, and I hope that enthusiasm continues.

Selling a house is not fun.  My house has never been so clean. My Libby is into the routine, and as long as I have her food ready, she jumps into the car in a moments notice.  Trying not to take feedback personally. I just hope that process does not drag on. Listed for not quite a month, and it is starting to feel old. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t go overboard and pick up every little thing.  Thinking maybe that a watched pot does not boil, a spotless house does not sell? My mother would say, “You just need one buyer, and for every house there is one buyer.” Patience. My friend Anne came over and blessed my house to release any negative spirits that may be preventing its sale.  An open house is scheduled for Sunday.  We are doing all we can!

In the coming year I plan to research my family roots. I started my family genealogy while studying for my Libraian credential in 1983. That was before Internet, computer software, and the end of the Cold War. Now there are so many ways wto proceed. New documents are coming on line all the time. I joined the Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento and participated in 2 classes. I am not sure where this will lead. Perhaps a book documenting my family history. Maybe just continued research into the Shoah and its  meaning in my life. Maybe a way to establish connections with other researchers and librarians. I hesitate to involve myself in another group, but maybe I do this for just that reason – to overcome.

I’m not usually comfortable joining a group, but being part of my 2nd Gen group encourages me to try and feel a part of something bigger than myself. I learn, find support and appreciate my CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network) 2nd Gen friends. After so many years, I finally have people I can count on. Photography helped to crack through my isolation. Despite the difficulties I encountered I could use my camera to refocus my thoughts. Getting out with friends, doing something, and creating is the key. I hope I don’t let my friends down. I plan to be mindful and appreciate my friends.

Thinking back over the past year I tried, but may not have succeeded in taking a step back around my family. The role of care taker may have placed me a position of power, and I may have sent the message that I know what is best. There is a delicate balance between taking care, and allowing space. I plan to be more mindful of this. The balance between decision making, and indecision. Some decisions I made were hard, yet I made up my mind for what I hope will be best for my family.

As is said at this time, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”

Copps Quarry

1611_01_coppsquarry_5115Getting out with fellow photographers helps me get a different outlook on life. It is time for me to relax. It is time to look outward. Stop worrying about family who seem to think I can wave a wand, and abracadabra all their wants will be delivered. All mysteries of the universe revealed by me. I am so powerful. Not!

Since my Dad passed away in September much time is spent with my Mom. Luckily my dog, Libby joins me most days. On Fridays I watch grandkids, and my one year old entertains residents at the assisted living facility with my Mom. So to get out of this routine I set aside at least one day a week to photography.

This time we explored a new place for me. Copp’s Quarry provided granite to San Francisco and Stockton for buildings. Closed in 1915 I explored narrow walking paths dotted with granite partially cut, a meandering creek, and Indian grinding rocks.


Where will this path lead?


Next time I will bring my new variable neutral density filter to improve the rushing water in this image.                         

Lots of fungus among us.

A close-up look at nature reveals faces to me.


Black eyed


Look at my perfect profile


The Lone Ranger look

Splashes of color grab my attention.

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Lizard sunning

What does this mean?


And now I have come to the end of this set of images.


Thank you for joining me on my recounted afternoon photo journey. Any words from you are always welcomed.





Sacramento dedicates first Holocaust Library

On October 23, 2016 CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educator’s Network)Library and Resource Center opened its doors. This is Liz Igra’s dream to provide a single place for Holocaust education.

I attended as a Second Generation member, a retired librarian, and the photographer for the event. I wanted to capture the day’s story as it unfolded. When I know that I am going to photograph an event I usually check for lighting and backgrounds. I can then decide what camera set up I need. This time my family needed me, and I didn’t have the time. I looked at some past events, and made my decision. I ended up using my Nikon dslr with a 18-200mm lens with a flash. This would allow for flexible composition.


This event brought out many from throughout the Sacramento valley. The guest book is signed, and programs distributed.


Friends Zelda and Diane


In the last minute I decided to bring my Olympus OMD-5 mirrorless camera. I brought all my lenses, and ended up using my 75mm 1.8 lens. Great gear for use during the keynote speech. I had a seat up close, and I didn’t need a flash.


Rabbi Reuven Taff of Mosaic Law


Liz Igra, president of CVHEN

Keynote speaker Rabbi Michael Berenbaum spoke to the continuous need for educating everyone about the Holocaust and its implications for today.



Second Gen member Muriel B.



Liz Igra displays her warmth and charm with Rabbi Reuven Taff of Mosaic Law

With each photograph I tried to see a story. I rarely asked for someone to pose. This resulted in more than a few blurry pictures. Overall, I think I captured the participant’s emotion.

Such a spread for all the share. Plenty of food. Delicious kugel, bagels, and all kosher too.



Zelda, a Second Generation member.


I am proud to know Liz with her endless energy,

Group is invited to witness the affixing of the Mezuzah.


Rabbi Taff provides explanation about the placement of the Mezuzah. For additonal information I have provided a link here.


People who helped make this library possible is asked to step forward and help place the Mezuzah on the door post.



Six Butterflys symbolize the Six Million.


Susan S. and Tammy T. witness and celebrate

One thing that I need to think about when photographing an event is to carry a pad. I know that this is a group of people important for the CVHEN Library and Resource Center, but I don’t have this information.




Henry Gorden provides an inservice on how to use the Library resources.


This powerpoint provides a bit of humor to the task of moving 1,700 books from Liz’s personal library found in her home. It was a huge task for a part-time volunteer.

This brought me back to my days as the Rio Americano High School Librarian. I started working there in 1985. I remember typing and filing catalog cards. Keeping them up to date, changing the keywords to reflect changing social norms, teaching students how to make the most from the information. Then came computers. First to keep up with circulation records. Later to bring the collection into the digital age.


This powerpoint shows a library card catalog moving to a computerized system.

The CVHEN Library catalog can be accessed by computer. CVHEN Library. It is user friendly, and the resources are extensive. Most books are available since circulation hasn’t been established yet.  If I am interested in obtaining the books for check-out, I can go to Sacramento Public Library right from my computer.  Having worked at the Sac Public Library I know that if the book is not in the collection it may be obtained through LINK services, or possibly as a digital e-version.


Tammy T.another Second Gen learns how the collection is organized.

An English teacher at El Camino Fundamental High School teaches her students about the Holocaust. She explains how the resources in this library helps support this education.



Someone in the audience asked, “Can I go back to high school?”

Six weeks ago my father Arthur (Anschel) Rubinstein died. At almost 98 years old he leaves this world with one less witness to the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust. Living in Krakow he shared experiences with Liz Igra’s uncle, a classmate in high school. Small world. Later he was interned in Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp, worked for Oskar Schindler and deported to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. There my Dad was liberated by American troops.

In his passing, I asked that donations be made in his name to the CVHEN Library Resource Center. I want to thank those who honored my request. I am touched.

Now I can go and learn more about my parent’s story. My Second Generation group plans our next meeting at the library.

Photography and the Frame of Mind

Another example of how photography reflects my state of mind. A couple of weeks ago  I had a lot going on, and I set time aside to get out and shoot.  This is a good thing. The problem arose when I returned home and reviewed my images.

My Camera Totin’ Tuesday group planned an indoor shoot because the temperature was rising. So off to the California  State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento we headed.


First mirror we encounter. Time for a group photo!

Cool in more ways than one, but challenging for photography. The scene is dark.


Many RR enthusiasts volunteer at the museum

The locamotives are black, and the lighting is diverse. Some areas have fluorescent light, some areas tungsten. There are cool use of mirrors throughout the museum.


Elegantly appointed interior, for some.

When I got home and reviewed the images, I was disappointed in my work. So I  set it aside. Well I may have pouted also. Remember, I said that much has been on my mind lately.

My grandson lives with us since he was 17. When he moved out of his mother’s house I made sure that he would graduate, and with this sense of accomplishment I hoped he would pick up some habits to help transition into the adult world. He did graduate so we succeeded in the first part. He succeeded in getting a job as a courtesy clerk at a supermarket. No problems there. This is part-time, and we  provide transportation and his on-time performance has our help. At this time I feel like our safety net is not helping this transition. There doesn’t seem to be an end game in place.

When he is home I hardly know that he is here. He basically lives in his room, and only comes out the grab something to eat. He is addicted to online gaming, and media. Luckily, I don’t share his bathroom, but my cats do. I don’t venture into his room unless I want to retrieve some camera equipment. The site is not pretty. I read in the Sacramento Bee that kids are remaining in their parent’s home for longer period so I know that I am not alone with this troubling issue.

Ok, he is a boy, he is 19 and our values differ. But, and this a big but, the level of cooperation is zero. Attitude could not be more disrespectful, especially to his grandfather. And that is what needs to change. Talking hasn’t worked. I am almost convinced that by living here he will not grow up. This weighs heavy on both myself and my husband. There is a lot of stress in the house. I would like a bit of freedom to plan out-of-town adventures with my husband. Luckily, I get out to capture images with my friends.

Back to the Railroad Museum. Last night I looked at my files, key worded in Lightroom, and made some adjustments. Usually, I find that if I am happy with a couple of shots then I call the shoot a success.  Found myself selecting many photos as favorites for my collection set! Yes. Here are some results from my Sacramento Railroad Museum challenge. Up the ISO and take care of noise in Lightroom.  WB is adjusted in Lightroom.  Use of Flash is sometimes difficult due to size of subject, and color of subject. So sometimes I focused on smaller subject and details.


I like the way the pattern seems to continue on and on.


I managed to take this one without a Flash.

For the next photo, I used a flash and focused on the eyes. For more information about Rosie the Riveter, click on the link beneath the photo.

This image was shot without a flash since it was too far for flash to make a difference.


Rosie the Riveter


You can feel the motion of the train in some of the cars.


This train had quite a kitchen!

A shout out to my New York roots.


Quite the dining car! No paper plates and plastic sporks here.


The old contrasting the future


The small contrasting the large


Will this be the look of the future? Not very elegant, in my opinion.


A face-off


I see a face smiling at me


I always look for textures for future photo edits using my new Topaz Texture Effects plug-in

Mirrors and more mirrors lead to the next few images. No flash here.


Lines and triangles reflected

Changing ISO creates another capture. Used Lightroom for noise suppression in photo.


Got caught up with all the possible looks.


Crazy mirror photo continues


Final mirror image at the Railroad Museum

All photography done without benefit of a tripod. Talking to a docent I found out that there is an event set up just for photography called, “Trains and Tripods”. I will be on the lookout for this event when it comes around again.

Note to self. Review photos again after some time has past. And not after a go round with a family member.