Can you really ever plan something?

About two weeks ago I prepared myself to be a long-distance grandma. I began to investigate photo frames to get pictures all the time. It would be some time before David and I could travel to be together. Thoughts went through my mind, and I felt sad but hoped that by moving to another state her family would find peace and happiness.

Packed up and ready for their big adventure!

My daughter and family sold their house and packed up to move to Knoxville, Tennessee. This was a sudden decision pushed forward quickly by the CoVid 19 pandemic. School was starting soon and her thought was attending school was better than distant zoom learning. Well, after driving for 4 days in the van with her family of 4 boys and a small dog they arrived in Tennessee. Driving up a road named 13 curves proved to be Knoxville’s undoing. Got a call, and in less than 2 weeks, the family arrived back in Sacramento on September 8th. Costly lesson learned. Don’t buy a house sight unseen in a place you have never visited. Luckily, her husband was able to resume his job.

Life has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Charlie enjoyed having visits with the boys. Eli is particularly good with him. and his pitching arm has landed a couple of balls in my neighbor’s yard. Lucas, the four-year-old, helped with the training by playing a game called, “Mother May I”. The baby has clean toes compliments of Charlie’s licking them. Wyatt, the two-year-old just thinks Charlie is funny.

So Eli started third grade on Zoom, the family made use of our water (showers and laundry), and my stressed-out daughter took care of reestablishing herself. Moving is always a stressful situation. Looking for a home with a contingency is not much fun. It is a seller’s market. Good for the house she is selling in Tennessee, not so good for finding a home she plans to live in.

All her stuff finally made it to Waldon, Tn. in a Pod. It took almost a week of negotiating a “Gypsy Moth” form to get her possessions to return to California. It was filled and refiled almost a dozen times. The date of arrival is in early October. The question remains, where will this family of 6 live???

Tension abounds here, and everywhere.

The strangest year – 2020 – note the cobwebs!

Inhaling the smoke from the fires that surround the area can be the equivalent of smoking 20 packs of cigarettes according to the governor. Add to this a presidential election year. Sorry no pictures. I only went outside to take Charlie out for many, many days.

This is a very, very, very important presidential race. This county desperately needs some sanity in a leader.

Becoming “Ruth less” with the passing of the Notorious RBG. I think this was designed before her passing, and I hope that next year she will reign supreme!

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Add to this the large response to protest continued police killings of our black citizens and the tension is felt by all. Some of the businesses are boarded up to prevent loss of property. While many peacefully protest there are others who take advantage of the situation and break, trash, and steal.

Boarded up windows provide a place to share words of hope!
I found this painted on a parking lot space

And then there is CoVid 19.

Face Covers Required

As of this writing, more than 200,000 people have died here in the United States. It has been 7 months since the Corona Virus has taken a firm grasp in our state. I heard rumors of a virus in mid-February, but it was March before changes started to happen. Now in downtown Sacramento, there is evidence of this pandemic.

Reminders everywhere. Masks help reduce the spread of CoVid

To mask, or not to mask.

Sorry sight. I’m sure there was a trash can close by.

To go along as if there is nothing to be concerned about, or to ask the question, “Is it worth the risk?” For the most part, my husband and I have chosen to be cautious. David is a diabetic who smokes. I have a post nasal drip that will probably clear out anyplace I venture out to. Most of our shopping has been online. Many of my activities have been delegated to Zoom Meetings. Even Charlie is being trained on Zoom. When I do go out I am masked. Actually, since the arrival of my puppy, there has always been someone here with him. We go to no restaurants, travel no further than a couple of miles, and if I am out it is an outdoor photoshoot with few people around me. So all the family comings and goings started to play on our minds. This did not sit well with all. No one likes this intrusion into our way of life. But I want all to be safe rather than sorry.

This past weekend I ventured downtown to meet up with my CTD friends. Since 2017, Sacramento has invited artists to participate in “Wide Open Walls”. Murals are painted on the walls around the city. The event usually runs about 10 days, but with the smoke, heatwave, and CoVid 19, and political tensions have extended the event. This time I did not capture any artists hard at work.

There is much evidence that this country wants to unite for the good of all its citizens!
Black Lives Matter. We stand with you.

For many years I taught 4th grade with the social studies curriculum being California. This mural reminded me of the first chapter where I taught the four regions – Coast, Desert, Valley and Mountain regions.

California diversity. Four distinct regions of the state.
PEACE – Amazing artwork.
Making the alleys soar!
Painting on such a large canvas. So peaceful looking.

Sometimes parts of murals interest me.

This mural fascinated me the most.

Along with the murals I enjoyed walking the streets of downtown Sacramento. This year I missed the “Chalk It Up” event. To create a safe environment this event was spread out . I came across this one, and wanted to show myself enjoying the artwork. Plenty of electric scooters just left on the sidewalk. Bumper sticker that says it all! Vintage retail sign l liked.

This mural prompted me to look up Betty Inada

Gemini and Personality Two

My astrological sign is Gemini and up till now I didn’t feel like the definition fit. But looking at an Internet definition a Gemini is, “Expressive and quick-witted, Gemini represents two different personalities in one and you will never be sure which one you will face.” Ok, I may be indecisive at times. And the tug of war between going out to be with others, or just staying contently alone at home may fit. Yup, I’m a Gemini when I come to think of it. Probably explains why I’m busy sharing my life in this blog, and why  you just don’t hear from me sometimes. Just saying.

Here are some Sacramento Zoo photographs I captured in twos.

 

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Just helping remove a bit of schmutz.

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Thanks for pointing out my imperfections,

 

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I can spit further than you!

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If I stay very still, they may think that they are seeing double.

 

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I will follow you…

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Hold me, squeeze me, never let me go…

 

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Is the photographer still there? I’ll come out when she is gone.

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We are there for each other.

And today I am in a sharing kind of mood.

People who need people are the luckiest people, or so they say. What do you say?

Until the next time.

 

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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.

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

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Friends Zelda and Diane

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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.

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Rabbi Reuven Taff of Mosaic Law

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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.

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Second Gen member Muriel B.

 

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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.

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Zelda, a Second Generation member.

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I am proud to know Liz with her endless energy,

Group is invited to witness the affixing of the Mezuzah.

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

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

 

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Six Butterflys symbolize the Six Million.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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First mirror we encounter. Time for a group photo!

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Rosie the Riveter

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

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This train had quite a kitchen!

A shout out to my New York roots.

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

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The old contrasting the future

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The small contrasting the large

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

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A face-off

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I see a face smiling at me

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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.

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Lines and triangles reflected

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

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Got caught up with all the possible looks.

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Crazy mirror photo continues

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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.