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Magical Monday: Sunflowers!

I’m up in L.A. most of today, meeting with Dr. Itamura, my shoulder surgeon.

He’s the doctor credited with removing the vast majority of my pain.

It’s possible I’ve actually proposed to Dr. Itamura at past visits.

(I’m just so incredibly grateful to him.  He figured out my arm when so many other doctors failed to do so.)

In any case,

Today,I thought I’d share a few of my sunflower photos from last week’s shoot at Muller Ranch in Yolo County.

I apologize to those of you who have already seen a few of these shots, on one form or another, of social media.

I spent a chunk of time printing several sunflower photos this weekend.

I plan to add them into my altered book art project …. painting faces on the flower heads, etc.

Sunflowers are just perfect for turning into people/creatures.

For example, I intentionally took this photo of some older flowers.

I can hardly wait to draw faces on them reflecting their individual “personalities.”

SunflowerField2 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Don’t these sunflowers look like they need faces?

Most of the fields I spent time in looked more like this:

SunflowerField1 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Sunflower Field

There’s something intoxicating about seeing acres and acres of sunflowers.

It’s impossible not to smile.

All that bright, cheery, yellow is an automatic mood lifter.

Me And My Shadow – Fisheye Self Portrait at the Sunflower Fields

In the above, fisheye, photo I see something very, very, remarkable.

My right arm is lifted above my head.

Most people wouldn’t think anything of that … but hello, it’s been ten years since I could do that!

(There’s no weight being held by my right arm in the above photo – my left arm is doing all the work, but STILL!!)

This fisheye photo might be my favorite sunflower shot?

If you ever decide to take photos of sunflower fields, be prepared for thousands upon thousands of bees.

And, a lot of pollen!

I have allergies to begin with, and my sinuses went crazy!

Sunflowers make me happy!

Sunflowers are my daughter’s favorite flower.

I’ve already told her she gets to pick out one of my photos for a print.

I’m not sure yet if she’ll want one for her apartment or her office.

Macro photo of a bee on a sunflower.

And, of course, I couldn’t shoot sunflowers without bringing my macro lens for close-ups.

I still have a lot of photos to go through of both the flowers and the ranch.

It was a privilege to work with Muller Ranch.

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Sunshine and Sunflowers

I’ve had a busy several days.

I was in Woodland, California (Yolo County – north of Sacramento) shooting at/for/with Muller Ranch.

Muller Ranch is HUGE and they grow lots of different things like cucumbers, peppers, olives, nuts …

And sunflowers.

Colin Muller and I had been working on my visit for awhile.

Everything was dependent on the crops … which are, of course, dependent on the weather and other variables.

When he contacted me and said, “Now!” I knew I only had a short window to work with.

So, last Sunday, I drove seven and a half hours up the Central Valley (the most boring drive on earth!) and arrived in the late afternoon.

After checking into my hotel, I decided I’d venture to the town of Dixon because I heard they also had sunflowers blooming.

Dixon was about a twenty minute drive from my hotel.

(I wasn’t scheduled to be at Muller Ranch until the following morning, Monday.)

I had visions of sunsets over sunflower fields, but the reality on Sunday evening was much different.

I found Dixon easily enough, but I got lost in an orchard in search of the sunflowers.

(Getting lost is my specialty.  I have no sense of direction and GPS does not understand when you search for “sunflowers.”)

Eventually, I found some sunflower fields and they were beautiful.

Each individual flower seemed almost human-like with its own, very distinct, personality.

Sunflower in Dixon, CA

Once I was in the presence of sunflowers, I remembered something I learned as a child.

Sunflowers always turn their heads towards the sun.

That means, without a lot of photoshopping, it isn’t generally possible to catch the sun setting BEHIND their “faces.”

I mean, I did see some flowers that were a little slower to turn than others, but you aren’t going to see an entire field ignoring the sun.

Before I got many photos in Dixon, I had a mishap of epic proportions.

With my camera in hand, I walked toward the fields.

And, quite suddenly, I SANK waist deep into quicksand.

The speed, and the strength of the suction … it was scary.

I wasn’t sure I could get out and what if I sank forever?

Oh, and by the way, it turned out to be MANURE not quicksand.

My new (pretty expensive!) running shoes actually got sucked right off my feet – never to be seen again.

One sock went with them … the other, clung stubbornly to my left foot.

I had to fight my way out of the muddy, manure-filled, trench – and it was not easy!

I finally got to dry ground, my feet now filled with sharp stickers and painful burrs, and my body covered in filth.

(Yes, even my arm brace and my camera had manure on them … although, of course, I held the camera up high so it was never fully submerged.)

Right then an old red pickup truck stopped by with an old-man farmer in it.

He had a long white beard and he peered at The Spectacle I Had Become from his truck.

(It wasn’t his sunflower field; he was just passing by.)

He asked if I was okay.

He informed me “You should stay away from the trenches.  They look dry on top, but as you found out they’re not.  They’re very dangerous.”

I nodded, as I stood barefoot in a field of sharp stickers, while dripping mud and manure everywhere.

(If I had known it was a TRENCH, I wouldn’t have stood on it!)

Eventually, after staring at my Manure Self for awhile longer, he drove away.

Fortunately, I had a roll of paper towels in my car.

I scraped off as much filth from my body as I could.

Then I climbed in my car, drove 20 minutes back to my hotel, and humiliated myself walking through the lobby and back to my room.

Filth © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

This was as cleaned up as I could get with just paper towels and a bottle of water.  Taken just before I hopped in the shower.

After my shower, and a change of clothes, I needed to buy shoes.

I had only brought one pair because I was only scheduled to shoot one day at the ranch.

I was in a bit of a panic about meeting Colin Muller in person for the first time the next day … with no shoes!!

I ended up driving to WalMart, and shopping for five dollar sneakers while barefoot.

(No one in WalMart even noticed I had no shoes on!!)

Things went much smoother for my scheduled shoot on Monday.

Thank goodness!

I’ll share some of those photos with you tomorrow, or on Monday at the latest.

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Road Trip

I’m going to be on a whirlwind, out of town, shoot at the beginning of next week.

I’m not sure if I’ll have time to blog, but I’ll be documenting my trip with lots of photos and written notes.

If I have time, and Internet access, I’ll post here.

If not, I’ll fill you in on all the details upon my return.

It’s going to be a quick, but intense, trip.

I can’t say where I’ll be quite yet, but it will be public information once I arrive.

You can follow my travel and adventures on SnapChat (suzannehaggerty), Instagram, and/or Facebook.

My most frequent, and most casual, updates are on SnapChat.

I rarely post more than one photo per day on Instagram and Facebook.

I’ve got lots of gear to clean before I depart ….

And a bridal shower to attend.

Wish me luck!

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Busy Doing Nothing

I seem to have no free time lately, and I’m not sure why.

I’m doing absolutely nothing.

Sunset with lots of lovely lens flare.  Newport Beach, CA

Maybe I’m just adjusting to the increase in PT days?

That’s probably it, because I’m definitely living at PT a lot these days.

The positive part of is, I’ve begun doing new and different PT things I couldn’t even imagine doing a year ago.

So yay (!!) for progress … even when it takes ten years to show up!

I’ve begun making plans for a weekend away with my daughter also.

There are no words to convey how badly I need to have a change in scenery.

It will just be a two night trip, and it’s still a couple weeks away.

But, I’ve already purchased two books to take with me on my mini-getaway.

Maybe some of you have read them?

I’ll be taking A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

Knowing me, I’ll probably toss a few art books and/or photography books into my bag also.

It’s possible I’m being overly optimistic to think I can read two books during a three day trip, but I’m a super fast reader.

I’ll probably either not read at all because I’m busy doing THINGS,

Or, I’ll do absolutely nothing but relax and read.

(I’m an all or nothing type girl?)

In other news, I caught a Pokemon while getting my hair cut this week.

(I also caught one at PT, but shhhhh! don’t tell Paul Newman!)

Are you playing Pokemon Go?

It seems like everyone is.

On another unrelated note, I’ll be attending a bridal shower next weekend.

I suppose this means I have to dress and act like a lady?

I’m pretty sure I don’t own any shoes except flip flops and sneakers.

I might have to go shopping – and I really hate shopping.

I don’t know which is worse?

Shopping for girly things?

Or having to wear them and act proper?

If you have any wardrobe suggestions –

Or bridal gift ideas,

Please let me know.

I need all the help I can get!

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Monday, July 11, 2016

My hands are covered with ink and glue.

I’ve tried washing it off, but I keep finding remnants anyway.

I can’t go back to work full time yet.

I’m, therefore, trying to watch pennies.

As a result, I spend a fair amount of time playing with art.

I enjoy it.

I have most of what I need already so I don’t have to buy much.

(That might be an understatement?  I could probably open my own art supply store!)

I had hoped for some swim time this weekend also, but my pool is now in the prepping phase so I couldn’t.

It’s going to be drained and re-plastered any day now.

I did manage to get a little camera time, though.

No Trespassing Sign – California Coastal Bluff Protection Zone

I did better this time out.

I shot about the same number of photos as last time I went, but it was easier.

I can tell my arm has improved.

(Yes, I was very careful.  I wore my brace, I primarily used my left/good hand, etc.)

I’m very sore, but that’s to be expected.

Hopefully, Paul Newman will be able to help me through some of that today.

Have I mentioned my PT days have been increased?

Yep, so I’ve decided to just bring a toothbrush and move into Paul Newman’s office permanently.

Why bother to drive home just to shower and return?

(Poor Paul Newman – how can he take more ME?!)

Stairway down to one of the beaches in Newport Beach, CA

I didn’t climb any mountains, but I did almost slip on some wet ocean rocks.

That would have really sucked because I’m absolutely not healed enough to sustain a fall right now.

For the record, I didn’t intentionally walk on wet, slippery, ocean rocks.

I was able to regain my balance and I know now to be more diligent next time I go shoot.

It was great for my emotional and mental health to get some beach/sunset/camera time.

The sunset decided to cooperate and be beautiful for me!  

My big excitement for today?

My new printer arrives.

I know, what a boring thing to be excited about, right?

But, my old printer hated me and I had come to hate it too.

Life will be so much easier with a piece of technology that actually does what it’s supposed to do!

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Friday Already?

Hello, hello.

I meant to have a post up on Thursday, but it’s been an emotional roller coaster type of week.

That’s what happens when you’ve had two surgeries in a relatively short time, you’re trying to to rehabilitate two body parts via life-consuming PT, your husband has lost his job, and a family member has brain cancer.

Emotional Roller Coaster has, perhaps, become “normal” for my life ….

At least, for now.

There are days when I just can’t force enough cheerfulness to write a post,

And, certainly, no one enjoys reading downer posts.

So – if I go missing from time to time, I hope you’ll understand why.

This weekend I plan to spend a lot of time outdoors.

Few things restore me as much as being outside … preferably with a camera in my hands.

Hiking, walks at the beach (with my camera – of course!), swimming, and whatever else I can think up are on the agenda.

I also hope to finalize details for a few upcoming mini-trips.

I need a change of scenery SO badly right now.

I think a few road trips might be in order just to help me keep my sanity.

I hope I can handle a little swimming if I do it one-armed and/or am extremely careful with my recovering arm.

I’ve always loved to swim, but it was too painful to do this last year or two.

It will be so fun to see that part of my life gradually return more and more.

Puppy Frank is 60 pounds at 20 weeks of age.

He’s fluffy and cute and VERY mischievous.

Fred has been having some neck/back problems again.

I’ve got him on forced rest for a few days.

I’ll try to get some photos of both of them this weekend.

Fred was just groomed last week and he’s already getting dirty again from his outdoor play and messy watermelon eating.

I’ll attempt to get some photos before his coat is filthy again!

Thanks for your patience with me as I navigate my way through all the craziness going on in my life right now.

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July 5, 2016

I hope all my American readers had a fabulous 4th of July.

Few things are as beautiful as “the golden hour” on a California beach.

I really enjoyed my three day weekend even though I didn’t do anything super exciting.

•  I got caught up on a ton of errands and chores.

•  I had a nice night out on Sunday.

•  I hung out by my pool with Fred and Frank.

•  I did a little art work.

•  I planned some upcoming mini-trips and photography projects.

•  I binge-watched The Americans on several evenings.

•  For the fourth, I cooked one-handed, and I celebrated with some forever-friends and fireworks.

It was very low-key, but nice.

If you follow me on SnapChat (suzannehaggerty), you might have already seen a few of the photos I’m going to share today.

IMG_6291

Puppy Frank looks like he’s smoking a stogie as he eats a carrot.  He’s a very funny puppy!

Sometimes, a girl just wants to have fun – right?

I was in a party mood for my night out last weekend and my necklace reflected my mood.

SnapChat photo:

ElvaFields Necklace © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

I’m wearing an Elva Fields necklace made of chalcedony ( similar to quartz).  

I believe the necklace is currently sold out.

I like Elva Fields necklaces because they’re unusual and funky – just like me.

I posted a photo to Facebook of Fred enjoying some watermelon.

Both of my Newfies LOVE watermelon.

If you missed it you can find my Facebook wall here.

This last photo is an artsy photo my friend, Thomas Hawk, took of me when we were on a west Texas road trip.

I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing it with you.

I never tire of his photography, or his journey to photograph America.

MEHawkMarfa2 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016

Suzanne Haggerty, Marfa, Texas.  Photo by Thomas Hawk.

I believe this photo was taken around 4 a.m. when we were prepping for a sunrise shoot …

So, please, don’t hold my appearance against me.

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Fabulous Friday!

I didn’t think I’d have time to get a post in before the 4th, but here I am!

It’s been a crazy week – I’ve driven a LOT of miles this week!

I’m feeling super motivated regarding my Get My Shit Together Campaign.

I’ll fill you in on details as I progress.

However, as you know, I’m pressing the reset button on every aspect of my life.

Understandably, I’ve lost my way quite a bit due to the surgeries, recoveries, etc.

Now it’s time to get back on track.

I had my 8 week post-elbow-surgery check-up this week.

The doctor did an ultrasound so he could get a good look at the tendon and repair.

The good news is my arm is healing and making progress.

The bad news is tendons get very little blood flow and take FOREVER to heal.

My doc has told me I have to continue wearing my brace for at least two more months.

(Boo!  Hiss!!)

However, he’s now okay with “light shooting” as long as I’m careful, take days off between shoots, and promise not to overdo it.

I already have an exciting, tentatively scheduled, shoot on my calendar for mid-July.

It’s something I’m super excited about, but I can’t share the details until it’s finalized.

I’m so happy to have a photography project I’m excited about to look forward to.

It’s been hard to sit on the sidelines for such a long time and I’m eager to get busy with work again.

On the personal front, I’ve gotten fat, out-of-shape, and very squishy having been incapacitated for such a long time.

I was doing a great job staying healthy prior to the surgeries, but my life’s been a mess ever since.

So … I’m back to making my green smoothies.

I feel so much better when I’m getting more GREEN in my diet.

It really does give me more energy, make me feel more alert, have fewer cravings for all the unhealthy stuff, etc., etc.

Several people have hyped Organifi Green Juice Supplement to me so I’ve decided to give it a try.

Organifi

Organifi Green Juice Supplement

It’s an organic green powder supplement.

I’ll be adding a scoop to my usual smoothie recipe.

It will also be convenient for those days when I’m behind on my grocery shopping and/or I open the fridge and discover all my veggies have wilted.

In addition, I’m getting back into a regular exercise routine.

I can’t do everything I want yet, but … baby steps!

The tear to my elbow tendon happened last November.

My hope is that by THIS November, I’ll have put the biggest pieces of my life back together again.

I’m a work in progress!

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In The Summertime!

Whew!

It’s hot here.

I spent an evening with friends who live in San Clemente last weekend.

It made me want to move to the beach.

Of course, I always want to move to the beach ….

IT’S SO MUCH COOLER THERE!

My first choice would be Santa Barbara, but (being realistic) I doubt if I can afford to go anywhere – especially there.

Oh well, I’ll just blast the a/c all summer like everyone else.

(Although, I did go look at some beautiful model homes with ocean views on Sunday, because why not just LOOK?)

Anyway, I’m probably going to be a little scarce with blogging until sometime after the 4th of July.

I’ve got forty bazillion appointments all over Southern California this week.

Tomorrow marks eight weeks since my elbow surgery which means I need to go visit the surgeon up in L.A. this week, also.

I’m hoping I get my brace off … or, more likely, get to take it off at least SOME of the time.

Paul Newman played with my arm (minus my brace!) yesterday.

I was super scared because I have “Eleven Surgery Stress Disorder,” but my arm is definitely doing much better.

Yay!!

Also, I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous for “normal” people, but I’m now doing arm exercises with a one pound weight.

Don’t laugh … this is groundbreaking for me!

(OK, you can laugh!)

It’s the first time in ten years I’ve been able to move my arm in certain ways – let alone with any additional weight.

I’m super excited about it, and know I’ll be able to do more soon.

If I don’t get a chance to post again before the 4th of July, and I may not,

I hope my American readers have a very happy, safe, holiday!

P.S.  Frank has lost TWO of his baby teeth!  He’ll be 20 weeks old this Friday!

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My Messy Life

Yesterday, I took some time to reflect on the state of my life.

I decided I need a fresh start in just about every area of life.

The last ten months have been extremely difficult, and disaster-ridden, for me and/or my family.

I’ve been hanging on, day to day, by a mere thread.

Everything that hasn’t been absolutely necessary or urgent has been ignored and neglected.

Oh sure, I always have the best of intentions –

Don’t we all?

But life has knocked me on my ass BADLY this last year.

It’s definitely time to reevaluate, take stock, and get my shit together.

It will not be fast and it will not be easy because my life is a hot mess right now.

But, I’m all about making improvements – no matter how long it takes.

I began, yesterday, by making lists, and lists, and MORE LISTS.

I don’t think I’m done making lists yet?

(Have I ever mentioned I really LIKE making lists?)

I realize a lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions.

I, generally, don’t.

But, now I’m about to begin a Get My Shit Together Campaign like no other.

Yes, there are several personal improvements I want to make.

I also need to tackle many home maintenance and/or improvement projects.

Cleaning, organizing, purging unnecessary clutter – there’s so much to do!

In addition, I need to develop a realistic plan, with realistic goals, for my business as I see gains in my arm.

I also have to set training goals with the pups – particularly naughty Frank.

In fact, there is almost no area of my life that hasn’t suffered from severe neglect in the last ten months.

I realize I can’t put my entire life back together in a week.

It will take time.

There will be setbacks because life is a series of constant setbacks.

But, you get nowhere if you never even take a first step.

Making lists of all the things I need to/want to address was my first step.

Do any of you need a mid-year reset also?

If so, feel free to join me in my Get My Shit Together Campaign.

Think about the stuff you’re behind on.

The goals you’ve let slip.

The projects you’ve ignored.

And, if you want to join me in this,

I suggest you start by making lists of every little thing you need/want to do so you can refer back to them.

Think how great it will feel to cross things off those lists!

Happy Friday everybody!