Learn a Little, Sell a Little, and a Little Family

Written January 20, 2019

Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,

Our week included a little learning, a little selling, and lots of fun with a little family.

CanonOn Tuesday, I went to an "intermediate" three-hour class at Horn Photo from Dr. Lee, a Canon lecturer. He covered material I did know and enough I didn't to make it worthwhile. I particularly appreciated his emphasis on creative use of wide-angle lenses, something I can practice with both my Canon and Leica cameras. The engineer in me appreciated his precision in choosing how he described some fairly technical photography details. This made his whole presentation more credible.

BuettnerOn Wednesday, Marianne and I went to the first "Town Hall" of the season. Town Halls are expert lectures and, judging by the audience in the 2,251-seat Saroyan Theatre, directed at the retired community. (Who else can take a couple hours off in the middle of the day?) This lecture was directed at "longer and better living", real gray-hair-audience stuff. Unfortunately, the sound system was so bad that few of us caught more that 15% of what was said. And, what I did catch, was completely mundane. (Eat less, exercise more, be happy, etc.) Hopefully, next month's lecture will be better.

library signset upOn Thursday, we drove over to Los Banos for the annual Friends of the Library art benefit. This is the third or fourth time Marianne has shown her work in the show and she has generally had good commercial results. This year's arrangements seemed a bit more "ad hoc", but we hoped for positive results.

A half-dozen or so artists and a few crafts-people also showed. Everyone hoped for sales, but at least there was food and drink in case sponsors were not buying this year. Marianne's neighbor Kirk was a repeat artist, with improved presentation of his Sharpie-marker paintings. His technique is actually pretty interesting and the work he now covers with resin presents well. Pencil-drawings from "Mike", a retired farmer, was back too. Last year we bought grandson Sam's Christmas present from Mike. New this year, Marianne was interested in some icons by Julia Mevi. Soft strumming sounds accompanied everything.

Kirk Mike's icons music

Bob"Bob" and his wife organized the cash resister again this year. This is a surprisingly complex job, since a dozen contributors have to be coordinated and organized. Not easy in the art community, I suspect.raffle

The other main funding event was a raffle. We always buy lots of tickets, but this year we were not lucky. Another investment gone bad.

As for Marianne's own sales, I think she had two or three serious "lookers", but only one sale. This buyer is officially now an art patron, because she has bought three or four of Marianne's pieces over the years. Thanks!


clean patiorosesSomewhere on Thursday or Friday, I managed to clean the back patio. This deserved a picture because it stayed clean for less than a minute or two as, even in California, Fall is starting to strip the trees of leaves and this is where that summer canopy ends up.

And the last of the yellow roses also deserved mention. We seem to get two seasons: before summer heat and a lesser bloom after the 100F days. Taking flower pictures remains a therapy for me, I think.

Friday afternoon we started that other therapy: family visitors. Gabby and the kids left the Bay Area at about 1:00 and arrived four-and-a-half hours later. Ouch! The nominal drive time is under three hours, but Friday afternoon traffic was particularly bad. I hope this doesn't discourage future visits.

gazebotableFor dinner, we headed over to the Gazebo Gardens beer garden. This neighborhood attraction has gradually grown more and more popular in the five years we have been going. It used to be summer-only but now it is year-around, something that is possible here in Fresno.

After we settled down, a little fellow came up to the table, asking about my camera (I think). I taught him how to push the shutter button and he was delighted with "his" pictures of his mom and of Ava. It's a good neighborhood at Gazebo.

friend's mom Ava photographer and mom

Our own kids enjoyed their pizza and chocolate cream pies. Adults just enjoyed a beer and the chance to relax.

Sam kids with pies

MamoherringSaturday was our day with Mamo. It is getting harder for her to come over to our house, so we had run of her house all day. Gabby started our stay by sharing a pickled herring snack with her grandmother -- I gave up my share so they could have extra. (Despite my Norwegian upbringing, I've never been a fan of the stuff.)

The rest of the day was spent just hanging out. The kids played games and colored pictures. Mamo told her stories. We listened. Gabby and her mom talked about "things", a more complex conversation nowadays. I took pictures. Ava did her version of a fashion pose for us and Sam is cute enough, just looking at the camera.


Marianne and Gabrielle took off early to attend "Toast of the Arts" at Fresno City College. Marianne and I usually attend this annual event with our neighbors, but this time it made sense for the girls to go while I had babysitting duty. I also "made" dinner with a to-go trip to Mountain Mike's pizza.

kids and mamoWhile I was out, the kids gramma-sat Mamo, or she baby-sat them. Reportedly, she occupied them with stories of Gabby and Marianne at their own ages. They like to hear such stories, even if they are repeats. We all try to be interested in the storiesi, but Sam specifically said he enjoyed the time. Nice.

Once Babi and Ruben came back to take over the Mamo duties, Ava, Sam, and I headed home. Gabby and Marianne returned shortly after we arrived and there was a little family birthday party for Marianne. (real birthday next week). Goofy people. But fun.

Gabby Gigicrew

AvaIn this visit, I was struck at how old Ava is getting, sort of. Sometimes she definitely looks like a pretty pre-teen. Ava game face

Illuminated by an iPhone game screen, more like a regular kid.

Sunday morning, we all stopped by Starbucks and then sent the family on their way. The visit was shortened by Ava's mid-day tennis tournament (she won both games), and the visit seemed all too short.

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Next weekend we have a couple days in Yosemite. Stay tuned.

John and Marianne