Monday, September 30, 2013

Of all the seasons, autumn offers the most to man and requires the least of him.

~ Hal Borland

It's official.  Fall is here!  I am looking forward to the moment the state of California will finally catch up with the fact and start changing the foliage of its trees in the most photogenic ways.  I am also awaiting the amazing photo opportunities that are Halloween and Thanksgiving, and meanwhile I plan on getting my groove on by visiting this year's Silicon Valley Code Camp.  I am not a software developer, but I am married to one, and I am sure that so many smart people in one space would make a great photo-journalistic material.

In this post, however, I would like to thank two people - the lovely miss Emma Lam (pictured below with her furry pals puppy Gus and kitteh Tofu), a great friend, and Lyubomir Lyubenov, probably the best wedding photographer in Bulgaria - for their generous donations to the cause of saving stray dogs in Bulgaria!  You guys are awesome, and then some.

I just can't wait for what October would bring!  

September Fragments

As another month rolls off the calendar and a new season is upon us, I compiled a few images that I took in passing with my iphone, which reflect the mood of the departing Summer, just random little snippets of my everyday life I want to share with you.

Enjoy, and stay tuned for a massive makeover of the site!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Furry Thursday - It's Time for REWARDS!!!

Hi guys!

My Furry Wednesdays experienced a bit of a hiccup this week because I made some major changes to my routine but I have great news - to compensate for posting late, I'm going to introduce a new REWARD program to inspire you further for helping Bulgarian stray dogs.

The thing is, I got off Facebook.  I had two reasons for doing so: firstly, since I am in writing mode I don't have time for social networking, and secondly, and most importantly, despite all the sharing activity and my Facebook propaganda to save puppies among all of my American and international friends and contacts, the results were disastrous.  There wasn't even a single donation made, image print purchased, or photo shoot booked!!!  It is apparent that I am in a need of both more sympathetic and generous friends, and in a more effective way of popularizing the cause.  Both new friends and new ideas and suggestions are welcome!

I need your help - please share this link onto your web-spaces, and tell your friends about it.  We can do great things together, and even if you can't contribute financially, you can participate by giving a voice to the issue.

Today I will not post info about a specific animal in need.  If this week's project is successful and I do get a response, I will do a specific research and I will announce the donation recipients afterwards.  

And to motivate you, I am giving away FOUR SIMULATED SKYDIVING CERTIFICATES!!!   I am aware that only people living in the San Francisco Bay Area could benefit from this experience as the iFly facility is located in Union City, yet I have faith in you and I know that you will not regret your decision :)  I did fly last weekend and it was fantastic!  

So, here we are.  We can have fun AND save animals.  Please also consider other ways of helping - make a donation, buy a photo print, book a mini-shoot with me.  I will donate all proceedings to my Bulgarian volunteer friends to help them take care of hungry, injured, and abused cats and dogs, ultimately making them adoptable.

If you are interested in getting involved in helping animals, wild or domestic, this might be interesting for you to see.  It's a series of short films by the Weather Channel dedicated to spreading awareness about animal welfare issues.

And an update: Unfortunately, the Romanian Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the bill drawn earlier this month allowing to "euthanize" (read: murder in the most sadistic way) ALL ROMANIAN STRAY DOGS (they are hundreds of thousands).  I want to once more to urge you to sign a petition against the cull, this time by the Humane Society.

P.S. The dog in the photo above is not Bulgarian, nor a stray.  She is called Sadie, and she is one of my Father-in-law's dogs.  She is a crazy, goofy, odd, and a very, very happy dog.  She is also a rescue, saved from the gas chamber in the last minute.  A friendly reminder - adopt, don't buy pets!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Free Fall

Today we went skydiving. No, not the real thing, which is quite pricey and risky (both the most legitimate reasons against I could come up with as a parent), but the indoor simulation version. 

I could sum up the experience as following: You go to this place in Union City, you watch a 3 minute safety and instructions video, you put on a suit, goggles, a helmet and earplugs, and you enter a wind tunnel where the air spins and blows at over 120 miles per hour (which is the beginners speed, the pros fly much faster) and you defy your fear of dying by trusting yourself to the instructor and to your own physical coordination. The only difference between this simulation and a real skydive is the name, and the fact that a plane isn't involved. It's not a ride, it's an actual human flight. And it's AMAZING!!!

We did two 2-minute flights and one extra 1-minute flight at the end, because once we tried it, we were hooked. It's addictive; I was never a big fan of extreme sports, but this was different, somehow good and right. I felt freedom and lack of fear I've never suspected I was capable of. And aside of doing a crazy ass impromptu flip when my legs got under me by mistake once, I did pretty damn good overall. 

At some point they speed up the wind, the instructor grabs you, and you both start spinning all the way up the tunnel, like rockets. I'm telling you guys, the exhilaration and triumph I felt then were unmatched. I'm so doing it again!

Here are some snapshots from the experience. They are taken with my phone, and some are the proofs we got from iFly, hence the watermark and the poor quality. Video coming soon!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Snapshots From the Bay

Blogging from my phone ;)

Just wanted to drop a few iPhone images I took last weekend during our catamaran cruise. 

Oh, and I'm closing my Facebook account! Please refer to the contact page to find out other ways to connect to me. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Furry Wednesday on Tuesday

Guys, I couldn't wait till tomorrow to post my usual plea, because I don't think the puppies can wait much longer, either.  I really want to pick up some speed and get you all on board - I know that you have the good will, and I am sure that you can afford the small contribution.  So let's get going and SAVE SOME PUPPIES!

Today we will try to raise money for a very important cause - over 50 dogs are in urgent need of help in the village of Galabovtsi, near the town of Slivnitsa.  They have been rescued and fostered by a couple of local people, but the makeshift shelter (located in their yard) isn't sufficient for the needs of such a high number of dogs, and the couple is struggling with the dog food expenses.  The dogs are loved and cared for, yet they are very weak and thin.  The couple lives in striking poverty and relies heavily on donations and the kindness of strangers.  


1. You can visit the hyperlink above and donate directly (you need to sign in your Facebook account in order to see the gallery and info).

2. You can order a print of any of my images, book a photo session, or donate on my blog, 100% of the proceedings of which will go toward the cause!  More info HERE.

I just posted a collection of images from our SF catamaran cruise, with many wonderful sunset photos that would make a great print for your wall!  Please feel free to take a look.


Please, don't forget to also sign the petitions in support of the ROMANIAN STRAY DOGS, which are threatened by extermination!!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


John took me to a very romantic place this past weekend - the San Francisco Bay - where we got on a catamaran and sailed over to the sunset.  Literally!  It was a tremendous experience, seeing how the color of the water changed with the fading light, feeling the strong gusts of fresh wind, tasting the salt on our lips, being blinded by the big orange ball of gold as we neared the Golden Gate bridge.  

The highlights, in no particular order:

- The seaman who had worked in a factory before, where a machine "bit" him and mangled his left hand so badly that the doctors had to cut off his big toe and saw it onto his hand to save it.  He was a wonderful sailor.

- The Captain of the Adventure Cat catamaran, who put us at ease before the trip by saying that he's done this "once or twice".

- The sea lion pile at Pier 39.  Gorgeous, gorgeous fat fluffy creatures!

- The buffet at the boat - brie and grapes and artichoke salad, yum!

- The view of the city from the water.  It looked so small, so insignificant from over there...

- Alcatraz.  Creepy!

- The moment when we passed under the Golden Gate. Wowzers!

- Windsurfers practically flying left and right past our boat.  Crazy people!

- Pelicans flying low over the waves in a single line, and high up towards the land in large, symmetric flocks.

- The Chinese container ships, bringing the last batch of goods from East.  Big, giant, scary ships.

- The feeling when I stood on the mesh covering the space between the hulls.  Adrenaline overload!

- Being splashed with cold ocean water head to toe.  Awesome.

Here are the photos.  Enjoy!

P.S. Blogger once again butchers the quality of the images, and the collage making software crops them differently than the originals...but you get the picture :)