Blog Archives

Portrait of Lema


Lema was an optician for seven years and was working for Helm Vision Group for two years when I met her. Previous to that, she had worked at LensCrafters.

Lema studied at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She liked her job because she got “to help people see better” and that was always her goal in her endeavor to be an optician.

Lema endorsed her place of employment, saying, “Helm Vision Group is the best place to go to to get glasses and the best place to work.”

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

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Portrait of Dena


Dena was originally from Crowley, Louisiana, USA. She moved to the Los Angeles California, USA area because of the weather. At the time of this posting, she lived in Antelope Valley which was much more conducive to her asthma issues than living in
Los Angeles.

In the past, Dena had a disabling fall that required neck surgery. Dena was a retired registered nurse, RN, and at the time of this interview, did social work.  Dena studied general sociology at California State University Northridge and studied social work at University of Southern California (USC) where she received a Masters in Social Work (MSW.)

Dena acquired her female German Shepherd dog, Gracie, from a breeder, which she normally would not do. But Dena believed that since Gracie had a lot of problems, had someone else adopted Gracie, she would have ended up as an owner surrender, most likely in the pound. Dena had patience for Gracie and kept her and loved her. It was when Dena realized just how serious Gracie’s fear problems were, that she started training in agility with Mary, from Palmdale, California, USA.

Mary helped Gracie get over her problems by training her (along with Dena, of course) to participate in agility. When Gracie had it all together, Dena started her male dog, Harlem, a Siberian Husky, in agility training (see below). This was approximately three months prior to my meeting Dena. The fun run, where we met, was just the perfect venue and level for him (see my Portrait of Jean for more info about the fun run.)

Harlem was Dena’s daughter’s seizure dog. Her daughter was having 25 to 30 seizures a day and Harlem saved her life. Due to Harlem’s unique talents, Dena and Harlem were also training to be a therapy dog team with the goal of volunteering with pediatric oncology patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Harlem was very large for a husky and looked like a small Malamute to me. He was adorable and lovable and very friendly. Dena was a great person who I would be honored to have as a friend.

Harlem and Dena. What a team

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Miranda


I met Miranda while she was trying on hats. She was adorable, so I asked if I could make her portrait. She was very gracious and patient as I positioned her under a light, and very perky as I interviewed her.

Miranda was a student at Paraclete High School in Palmdale, California, USA. She was a senior who played defender on her soccer team (non-American  football).

Miranda was the vice president of her school, a student ambassador, and was a member of drama club and Key Club. She belonged to a campus ministry that “put on various religious events.”

Miranda mentioned her work with SADD, Students Against Destructive Decisions, in which participants sponsored “different events that help students be aware of different decisions and just be smart.”

Miranda was born and raised in Lancaster, California, USA, and she hoped to attend a university somewhere in Arizona or either California State University, Northridge or College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, if she stayed in California. She wanted to major in psychology. Based on her activities, Miranda seemed very adept at inter-personal relationships and pursuits, so that was probably an excellent choice.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.