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A House Divided

Some families have divided loyalties over colleges and/or college teams.

Some families are divided over their favorite football teams.

Or music choices.

My family?

We are playing The Name Game and it’s being taken seriously.

Everything is progressing with Puppy-To-Be.

(My future service dog, best friend, and photography assistant!)

The puppies turn seven weeks old today.

As most of you know, we previously were promised a puppy from a breeder.

When the puppy turned eight weeks old the breeder told me I could come get him “anytime” and helped me name him … Fred.

A few days later she backed out of our agreement (presumably to sell the dog to a friend) and we were left puppy-less.

Now, we are approximately three weeks away from getting a puppy.

The *new* (to us) breeder has requested and accepted a deposit.

Everything is moving forward.

I’m gun-shy from my Bad Breeder experience.

The *new* breeder is nothing like the previous one.

She’s been very upfront and direct, and has been way more professional.

But still, once you’ve had a bad experience you can’t help but have some concern over the puppy purchasing process.

I tried not to think about puppy names the first several weeks,

But now, the “what to name the puppy” conversation has been popping up more and more frequently.

We are (give or take) three weeks away from acquiring “our” puppy.

I don’t want to use the name Fred … because I still associate it with the puppy I fell in love with and had snatched away.

There are six immediate family members  arguing over  suggesting dog names.

Everyone seems to have strong feelings on the matter.

Sometimes a person has an objection to a name based on an association with that name in their past.

I didn’t expect the naming process to evoke such strong feelings.

Family members are lobbying for their favorite names and attempting to squash down the names “competing” with their favorite.

The only thing that is “definite” so far, is that we DO want an “old man” name.

I’ve been asking everyone what their grandfather’s names were.

Some of the names we’ve had suggested so far are:
























If you want to suggest a name not on the list … maybe your dad/grandfather/uncle’s name –

Please feel free to leave it in the comments section.

If you have a strong liking of one of the above names, feel free to tell me that too.

The only “name requirements” we have right now are:

1)  It needs to be a man’s name – not a name like “Spot” or “Boomer.”

2)  We don’t want a name that is popular with human boys right now.  For example, the names Ryan and Matthew would not be considered.

3)  We don’t want a BEAR name … There are too many Newfies named Yogi, Ted, and Baloo.


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December 17, 2014

We’ve had a couple, very needed, storms pass through recently.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I have to admit, I’ve really enjoyed the rain.

Let’s hope California can pull out of “the worst drought in 1,200 years.”

I’m getting excited about Christmas.

Some of my friends are Jewish and have begun celebrating Hanukkah.

Happy Hanukkah to those of you celebrating!

I mailed gifts off to my North Carolina son yesterday.

He’s going to be all by himself on Christmas which breaks my mom-heart.

I’m planning to “FaceTime” him on my laptop so he can open his gifts with the rest of the family on Christmas morning.


(My Texas son will be arriving home from college later this week.)

Here’s a look at a few other things going on lately:

•  My tree is still naked.  I just can’t bring myself to decorate it alone.  Not because I don’t want to be alone, but because I know it always sets me off into a terrible pain flare-up.  The tree might not get decorated until Christmas Eve when other people are around to help.  I think I’m okay with that this year.  It used to stress me out, but I really, really, don’t want to be in Pain Hell for Christmas again this year.

•  I’ve been extra-musical lately.  I always love music, but I’ve been extra-obsessed with having the right tunes for the right occasion.

•  I ordered a cattle dryer for my dog.  Yes, the breeder recommended I get a cow blow-dryer for my soon to come home puppy.  Cow blow-dryers are not cheap.  Apparently, Newfoundlands need a powerful dryer for all that hair they have?  Newfies have a difficult time air drying because their coats are so thick.  If you leave them damp they can get skin infections … hence, a cow blow dryer.  (Things I never thought  existed  I’d own!)

•  I have a feeling the cow blow dryer is just the beginning of my giant breed education.

•  I’ve done *some* of my gift purchases.  (Mainly online.)  I still have a few miscellaneous things I need to get … plus, stocking stuffers.

•  The rain/cooler weather has put me in a baking mood.  I don’t bake a lot for the holidays anymore (due to my bum arm), but I will bake a few things.  Yes, it’s time to pull out my fattigman cookie recipe again.  Do you have a treat you bake only at holiday time?

•  The Voice is over which means I, sadly, will be seeing much less of Adam Levine.  (Talk about treats …??)

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Pictures From Santa Monica

I haven’t gone through most of my recent photos yet.

But, here are a few from last weekend in Santa Monica.

First, an obligatory self portrait from when I first arrived at my hotel:

Me © Suzanne Haggerty 2014 W

I had driven through lots of rain to get where I needed to go.

I was thrilled to see the weather was wonderful upon my arrival …

As seen in this photo taken through my hotel window:

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I knew I would be pretty busy for the next few days so I decided to go for a sunset walk before it got dark.

I noticed it was already getting a little darker when I arrived at the path I would be walking.

I hate the short days this time of year!

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

But, alas, it was also getting dark because clouds had appeared and were approaching very quickly.

Most of the time clouds are great for sunset photos.

However, in a matter of just a few minutes, a big black cloud began darkening the sky.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I took the above sunset photo just prior to the sky opening up and a downpour beginning.


How drenched was I?

By the time I got to a sheltered area, it looked like I had taken a shower with my clothes on.

I was soaked through and through!

(Thankfully, I was able to keep my camera protected in the bag I brought with me.)

After buckets of rain fell from the sky that one-and-only time,

I enjoyed perfect weather for the remaining three days.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I love birds of paradise.

It was great to see them blooming everywhere I went.

It was absolutely beautiful.

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December 15, 2014

I’m still in L.A., but I’ll be returning home by evening.

It’s been a busy few days.

I made it up to L.A. through a torrential downpour.

It’s been beautiful since I arrived.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I did a (very) little bit of Christmas shopping on this trip.

I’ve been seeing friends, and family, and Christmas-Partied a bit too much.

I’ve been wearing “real” clothes with sweaters, and scarves, and boots.

(Such a change of pace from my usual yoga pants/jeans and flip flops!)

I do have a little bit of good news to share.

I have “officially” put a deposit down on a Newfoundland, male, puppy.

Because Newfoundlands are prone to heart problems, nothing is 100% definite on the puppy front until a cardiologist checks his heart when he is between nine and ten weeks old.

As a result, I’m trying not to think about this puppy as “mine” yet.

Boy Puppy will be ten weeks old on January 8th.

If his check-up goes well, I expect he’ll come home with me sometime around then.

I think it’s a good thing this is such a busy time of year.

I won’t have time to do much puppy-prep until after Christmas.

I have to stay focused on non-puppy things right now …

Which, is probably for the best – in case everything falls apart like it did last time.

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The Big Storm

Today is the big storm we’ve been hearing about all week.

Of course, this morning I’ll be running all over the place (in the pouring rain) with some scheduled appointments and errands.

This afternoon, after Paul Newman has had enough of playing Gumby with me, I will be leaving for a few days.

I will try to post a little bit between now and my return on Tuesday.

Remember, if you don’t see a post here you can also find me on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.

I’m not looking forward to driving in what is predicted to be the worst storm in years, but hopefully the trip will go smoothly.

I’m going to be super busy the next few days, but at the same time I know it will be nice to have a change in scenery for a few days.

Updates to come …!





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Busy, Busy, Busy!

I’ve been running around Orange County like a mad woman.

Most of what I’ve been doing has not been gift-shopping related.

Most of it has been an attempt to get myself together enough to go to parties this weekend.

Am I the only woman who feels like I need to get my act together before I go out in public?

Are most women already “together” all the time?

Am I the only one who is a Slob-In-Motion until I know I’m going to be “seen?”

I’m getting my haircut today.

Yesterday, I got a pedicure.

In hindsight, I don’t know why I spent time on a pedicure.  I don’t think anyone is going to see my toes since I’ll be wearing boots.

I also dropped my camera off at the brand new Canon Center in Costa Mesa.

(It’s further away from me than the old center was, but it’s a lot snazzier.  I have to drive all the way back there today to pick UP my camera – I didn’t want to deal with shipping even though it’s free for me.)

My camera was still filthy from my last trip … there was a lot of dust contaminating my camera sensor in the Texas desert.

I can’t go into the weekend without my camera being in tip top condition.

I also stopped into Stuart Moore at Fashion Island.

My wedding ring was made by Stuart Moore.  It was in bad need of cleaning and polishing.

They’re always great about making it look brand new.

It’s magical how they do that – and they’re such nice people too.

Now, my ring is nice and sparkly for the holidays.

Two days ago, I got my nails done.  (And no, I don’t go to the same place for nails and toes.  Long story!)

That same day I also got waxed … just in case I get drunk at a party and start undressing???

Why do I feel like I need to do all this stuff when there are, clearly, not enough hours in the day this time of year?

It’s probably the only time ever when my nails/toes/hair/etc. are all done at the same time vs. at random intervals.

I will be well groomed for parties this weekend?

And yes, my tree (ahem … Christmas tree) is still naked.

The tree is going to have to wait until sometime next week.

Poor tree.

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December 10, 2014

•  Yesterday was my parent’s anniversary.

They’ve been married SIXTY TWO YEARS.

How is that possible?

I can’t even imagine SIXTY TWO YEARS.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

•  Did you watch the Victoria Secret Fashion Show last night?  Those girls are beautiful … and so TALL!  Wow!

•  Do men really want women wearing wings?  I kind of want to see a man parading up and down a runway now in tight underwear while wearing wings.

•  My stress level has dropped significantly since I’m able to work again (courtesy of my fourth trip to the Apple Store).  I’m realizing I could pull off Christmas if only I wasn’t going to be gone for four days between now and then.  Oh, well!

•  One of my readers asked me what “my type” of preferred Man-Look is after my post last week.  I can answer that question pretty easily:  Adam Levine.

•  Have you noticed all things retro are “in” right now?  I love it.  Once the holiday rush is over, I’m going to pull out my film cameras and play with them a little.

•  I was running around in summer clothes yesterday (looking absolutely nothing like a Victoria Angel).  The sunshine isn’t going to last.  I hear a HUGE storm is arriving on Friday.  Northern Cal is going to be getting a lot more of the stormy weather than we will.  Still, I’m so excited for a storm.  I have a fully booked day on Friday which is too bad.  I’d love to be hunkered down by the ocean taking photos in the storm.

•  My Christmas tree might not be decorated, but I have red sparkly nail polish on in anticipation of my upcoming party weekend.  (Priorities?)

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This and That

Good news!

•  Apple was able to fix everything I needed them to fix yesterday.

Bad news?

It took up a big chunk of my day since I wasn’t allowed to leave my computer and I had to stay in the store while they fixed it.

(But, it’s a much better scenario than leaving me computer-less for a few days which is what I expected to happen.)

I still have a few Adobe issues I need to tackle, but they can (hopefully) wait until I get through the Christmas rush.

Here’s a tip for those of you who own Apple products:  They’ve changed things and made it near impossible to go online and book a Genius appointment.  But, if you download the (free) Apple Store app you can make a Genius appointment directly from the app.

•  I’m so hopelessly behind on my own holiday stuff it’s ridiculous.

I’m trying to figure out what to wear to a Christmas party next weekend.

I’m so bad at being girly.

It’s one of those parties that’s casual dressy.

I’m thinking maybe black legging jeans, black boots, a white hole-y sweater with a white camisole/bandeau underneath, a red and white, striped, silk/cashmere scarf to add some holiday color … and some glittery costume jewelry.



I really don’t  own any  wear dresses, although I do think they look great on other people … particularly with tights and boots.

If you have any outfit suggestions, I’d love to hear them because I’m fashion-clueless.

(I’m curvy so all the cute braless stuff and boy-tailored things don’t work on me.)

•  I’m excited about some of my ideas for giving this holiday season, but I can’t write about them because it’s a secret.  Shhhh!

•  What I want for Christmas is a Newfie.  But, a dog is not going to happen until (hopefully) sometime AFTER the holidays.  Instead, I’ve been dropping hints about bluetooth speakers.  I love to listen to music while I edit photos.  It would be nice to control the music right from my computer without the “tinny” sound of computer speakers.  Do you have any bluetooth speakers you’d recommend?

•  When do you think I need to mail gifts to the east coast?  Yesterday?

•  I have a naked tree in my living room.  It’s going to have to stay naked indefinitely.

•  I apologize to everyone, in advance, for failing Christmas this year.

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I’m Thinking of You, Technically

I’m not sure how much I’ll be “here” this week.

I purchased a new computer a day or two prior to Thanksgiving.

My attempt at migrating data was partially successful.

The part that wasn’t successful was met with error messages.

Next, I had Apple complete the migration.

That didn’t work either.

In fact, they “accidentally” gave me back my computer the exact same way I had left it with them.

I’ve got an appointment to see them again today so they can try again.

Next, Adobe’s “Creative Cloud” stopped working.

I spent about two days corresponding with Adobe help people before it was fixed.

But … it was fixed.

Next, my entire Adobe Lightroom Catalog (around 100,000 photos) crashed.

I’ve never had that happen before, and I probably said a lot of expletives very loudly.


I’ve had a frustrating week or two.

It’s  very difficult  impossible to work without a computer, and it’s a very busy time of year.

I’m going to meet with a “genius” again today.

I’m pretty sure he/she will be keeping both of my computers for a day or two … or three.

In the meantime, while I’ve been wrestling with technology …

Somehow, it became December 8th!

I will be out of town for four days between now and Christmas.

(Because I thought it would be a good idea to cut down on the days I can get stuff done between Thanksgiving and Christmas?)

I’ve been so busy fighting with technology, I haven’t been working on any of my (many!) Christmas to-dos.

I’ve pretty much resigned myself to Not-Even-Close-To-A-Rockwell-Christmas this year.

I might need wine.

Or a massage.

Or both?

But, truly, I don’t have time for either.

I will be back with my next blog post as soon as I have a computer again.

If I can, I will try to do mini-updates in the meantime …

But, at this point, I don’t dare promise anything.

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Trolls and Assumptions

Yesterday’s post received a “negative” comment.

In Internet language we call it a comment from a “troll.”

A troll is someone who hides behind anonymity to make nasty comments.

I don’t get a lot of troll comments, but I get them occasionally.

Hey, I realize if I put even a small fraction of my life out into the public domain some people are going to have an overwhelming urge to throw rocks at me.

I can’t say I understand it, but I know it’s a fact.

(By the way, what I write about publicly is only a very teeny, tiny, sliver of my life.  To make giant assumptions about me based on very little information is really foolish.)

Usually, I delete hateful comments with very little thought.

But, yesterday’s comment made me laugh.

I thought I’d share it today, along with my own commentary.

A nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota wrote the comment.  I’ve included my responses in bold next to her comments in blue.

Same content day after day, year after year.   No, actually it is not.  Last week I wrote about my trip to shoot Texas.  A month or two ago I was writing from Vancouver Island in Canada.  Sometimes it’s about people, or pictures, or puppies, or current news events.

The sexiest and BEST therapist and pain doctors, surgeons, the OC has to offer; nary a word about the RNs who most likely see you too.  OK, so you’re a nurse and you don’t feel appreciated.  That much is very clear.  I’m sorry people don’t tell you they appreciate you more often.  

Second, I don’t consider any of my therapists or doctors “sexy” let alone “the sexiest.”  

Paul Newman is attractive, I suppose.  I know this, because I see the way women act around him.  I, personally, don’t think of him as “sexy.”  He really isn’t “my” type, but I can see why some women are attracted to him.  I absolutely will ask him to do a little hip swishing (swaggering?) for me when I see him today.  Maybe that will cause me to think of him as “the sexiest”???  That is, if I can stop laughing.

My doctors?  Well, I’m pretty sure they aren’t sexual people.  At least, I’ve never thought of them that way … and I’d prefer not to.

As for “the best” medical people?  Well, I do feel I have the best in Orange County.  And yes, it’s a subjective thing, isn’t it?  But, my orthopedic surgeon takes care of Olympians and my pain management doctor has been written up in journals all over the country as being “the best” at what he does.  I feel very fortunate to have them caring for me.  Are there other doctors just as good as they are?  I sure hope so.  I hope a LOT of people are fortunate enough to have the great medical care every single person deserves.

As for the nurses …

Well, this is clearly a hot button for you, isn’t it?  (By the way, I want to take a moment and say hello to Joanne one of my oldest, and best, friends who is a nurse.  Hi Joanne!  I love you and appreciate you even though you have never been *my* nurse.)

There are no nurses at physical therapy which is where I spend the vast majority of my medical time.

My orthopedic surgeon and my pain management doctors are not only my doctors, but they also became my friends years ago.  They don’t send a nurse to see me before they see me.  I’m sorry if that’s disappointing.  They just come right into the room to chat.  And, will it shatter your world if I tell you it isn’t unusual for them to text me or for me to text them, just randomly from time to time?  Sometimes we text about my arm, but it could also be about a photo, or travel, or … something entirely different.  (I think my last text with Dr. Painless was about his wine collection.)  

Of course, there were nurses in the operating rooms during all nine of my surgeries.  I was under the influence of anesthesia in all those instances so I can’t remember them.  I’m sure they were wonderful human beings.  I’m also pretty sure they understand I was unconscious and couldn’t voice my appreciation.

Chronic pain, pain meds, yet somehow you’re able to start a company and haul heavy equipment around, not only haul the equipment around but then set it up, get into all sorts of weird positions in order to get that perfect picture.  And your point is …??  Would it be better if I sat on the couch all day and watched soap operas?  I could weep about the pain I live with during the commercials?  Are you trying to tell me I’ve done the wrong thing by trying to carry on with my life, and make myself productive, after the accident?  Would it be better if I just “gave up?”  I have learned to do a LOT with just my left arm.  I’m very proud of all I’ve learned to do.  I also get a lot of help from people who carry my equipment, rolling cases, and other means.  And guess what?  You can’t make me feel bad about how much I’ve accomplished.  It sure hasn’t been easy … in fact, it has been damn hard.  I’m proud of every single accomplishment.

And you do all of that on strong strong narcotics that you are “not addicted to”.  Well, here you go making HUGE assumptions about me and my life.  Are you my doctor?  Do you know what drugs I take?  Or when?  Or how often?  Well, the answer to those questions are no, no, no, and no.  You know nothing – absolutely nothing about this topic.  (For that matter, you know next to nothing about me.)  I actually DON’T do all that while on strong narcotics.  I certainly don’t have to tell anyone what medications I take.  But, I will just for shit’s sake, okay?  
I mainly take a hell of a lot of Advil.  It’s very bad for me, according to my doctor.  He wishes I would take narcotic medications more often because he feels they’re safer.  But?  I don’t like feeling foggy-headed so I mainly take Advil.  (Three at a time since you seem so interested in my personal life.)  Sometimes I get injections of Toradol  (It’s a non-narcotic pain reliever … like a stronger Advil.)  I also have Toradol (non-narcotic) pills I take as needed.  
Now, it is true, I did take narcotic medications right after every single surgery.  And, from time to time, I still take narcotic pain medications … but only on the very rare occasion.  For instance, I took narcotic medications with me when I went on my five day shoot a week or two ago.  I didn’t take any of them though.  I probably should have.  I was really in severe pain.  But, I needed a clear head to work so I didn’t.  When I got home, I did take one after my first PT session.  I was in a lot of pain.  But really?  Is that any of your business?
Also, I’d like to make a point here.  Why do people always assume if you have chronic pain you’re an addict?  Or, if you see a pain management specialist, you must be an addict?  What an ignorant assumption.  Did you know the vast majority of people who are addicted to narcotic pain meds are NOT pain patients?  It’s true.  The vast majority of pain med addicts are people who started taking pills for recreational purposes (often mixing them with alcohol) and became addicted.  Do some pain patients become addicted to pain meds?  Yes, a small percentage do.  Most, however, don’t.  Check your ignorant stereotypes at the door, please.
Let’s not forget how you arrive at destinations to take those pictures: you get behind the wheel of a car while on narcotics.  Well, there you go making ignorant, and completely inaccurate, assumptions about my life again.  Really, this statement is laughable.  Do you think I would risk hurting someone with a car in the same manner I was disabled?  Think before you speak.  Or write.
Hmmmm. I read your blog maybe once a year, the content rarely changes. Neither do the pictures.  Well, isn’t that funny?  Because my blog has a statistics program and I can clearly see you’ve visited many more times than once in the last year.  And, guess what?  I’ve never posted the same content twice with the exception of my pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe.  (It was very requested so I re-posted it a year or two later.)  I also don’t repeat photos ….  So, again, you are saying ignorant and inaccurate things.
So that’s it folks.
I did get another message from Mayo Nurse, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. (I spent a lot of yesterday hugging a beautiful newborn boy!)I’m sure message number two from Mayo Nurse is just as friendly as her first message.I don’t know about YOU, but I’m sure glad this particular person has never been MY nurse.

The lack of compassion, the ignorance, the resentment and anger, the willingness to spew hateful untruths under the cloak of anonymity …?

I really do feel sorry for people who depend on her for care.

I do hope all the rest of you, however, have a wonderful weekend!