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Popcorn In My Cleavage

I have a confession to make.

It isn’t unusual for me to have popcorn in my cleavage.

I usually don’t discover it until I get undressed to go to bed at night.

I take my shirt and bra off and it begins raining popcorn confetti.

I like popcorn.

On a separate topic,

I want to gag when I feed Fred and Frank.

People assume giant dogs eat a lot, but both of my Newfies are very picky (and light) eaters.

To encourage them to eat (Fred will turn his nose up at food for DAYS), I mix fish into their food.

The type of fish varies (salmon, sardines, mackerel), but all of the fish smell like … fish!

Trust me, at 5:00 a.m., I don’t enjoy seeing (or smelling) huge chunks of mackerel.

I remember when my house smelled only of coffee at 5:00 a.m?

In other news, over the past few days:

•  I went to a friend’s grown-up party.  Remember those?

•  I spent a couple days with my daughter.

•  I watched all of season one of Stranger Things and it freaked me out.

•  I had a nice dinner out to celebrate my husband’s birthday.

•  I had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in four months.  When I tried to get her caught up on the last several months, I realized how depressing my life is right now.  Hopefully, that won’t be the case much longer.

•  I fell off the healthy-food-bandwagon long enough to share a piece of birthday cake (carrot cake) with Fred.

Fred The Newf discovered he LOVES birthday cake!

There’s really nothing quite like a giant Newfie with a mixture of frosting and drool all over his face.

It makes me laugh just to think of it.

(And yes, I did clean his face for him quite promptly!)

Today, I return to physical therapy.

My arm is still swollen and sore from PRP, but less so.

Fun times ahead!?

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PRP Injection Update

My PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection went as planned last Thursday.

I woke up at 4 a.m. and left for L.A. at 5:00 a.m.

A Kerlan Jobe nurse took blood from me.

Then I waited for about a half hour for the “spinning machine” to do its thing and pull out my platelets.

I was put in a procedure room, hooked up to an ultrasound machine, and the doc began injecting the actual elbow tendon itself with the PRP magical mixture.

(Some doctors inject the injured joint vs the specific tendon. It’s less painful to do so, but it isn’t nearly as effective.)

I expected lots of numbing medication – thinking the pain I’d been warned of would come AFTER I was done.

Well, it turns out the numbing medication kills the cells they want alive so …!

I won’t lie, the injection did hurt.

(My elbow hurt much more over the course of the next 24-48 hours.)

The doctor had told me it’s normal to be quite sore for a couple weeks.

I drove home.

I was surprised my body seemed to kind of shut down a couple hours later.

I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

I’m not a nap person.

I cannot ever fall asleep during the day.

But, I fell asleep for most of the next 24 hours.

I thought it was very strange to sleep so much, but my body clearly needed to rest.

I took the pain medication my doctor prescribed during the first 24 hours.

On Day #2 I only took one pain pill.

I “could have” taken more based on the pain I felt, but I hate taking pain meds and I felt I could handle it without drugs.

(Probably most people would choose pain meds for the first week – I’m used to pain so I didn’t feel I needed it.)

I’ve been instructed to take a week off of physical therapy – I go back this Wednesday.

The doctor told me to treat my elbow as if it just had surgery – no activity, baby it, ice, etc.

He will do an ultrasound to look at the tendon at the four week point.

He’ll be able to determine then if the PRP has accomplished what he hoped for.

If it has, I’ll get to begin a gradual progression of arm-related activities.

My doctor felt very optimistic during, and after, the procedure.

I’m choosing to adopt his optimism as I go through this four week waiting period.

After all, if some of the biggest stars in the sports world are having success with PRP, why shouldn’t I?

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PRP – Because Nothing Is Easy?

My elbow appointment didn’t go as I’d hoped yesterday.

I drove for over two hours to get there … which is pretty standard for L.A.

(If there was no traffic, it would take an hour.  There is always traffic.)

Things started off pretty well.

I was given a new arm brace.

My old brace has been on my arm for three months.

I remove it and wash it, but it’s become pretty pathetic.

They also fit me for an “under sleeve” which goes under the brace and makes it much more comfortable.

But, then the doc performed an ultrasound to look at the tendon repair.

And …?

It isn’t healing.

It healed some, initially.

But now it’s just sitting there NOT healing.

I was given a choice …

I can have an open elbow surgery with a very long recovery – possibly 18 months.

Or, try a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection and see if it will “jump-start” my body’s healing.

Tendons take a very long time to heal because they have such low blood flow.

Mine is behind schedule even by slow-healing-tendons-standards.

A PRP injection, in theory, helps with that.

I opted for the injection which I’ll be having from 7 – 9 a.m. this morning.

It’s not a fast procedure … you can watch one on YouTube if you want details.

(You’re most likely reading this post after 9 a.m., so hopefully I’m done by now.)

There are some negatives with PRP injections.

First, even though they’ve been proven to be effective, insurance will not pay for PRP injections.

(Mine will cost $1,000 and must be paid in full at 6:45 this morning!)

Did I mention I had $2,000 of unexpected car repair expenses about a week ago?

  •  Or that my husband’s car had $3,000 of unexpected car repairs at the same time?
  •  Or that I can’t work until I’m healed?
  •  Or that my husband has been unemployed for six months?

Second, PRP injections to the elbow are extremely painful for a couple weeks after they’re done.

(For some reason, doing PRP in the elbow is supposed to be much more painful than doing it to other body parts?)

I’m DREADING it!

IT’S NOT FAIR, IT’S NOT FAIR, IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!!

I expect to be resting with ice packs on my arm for the remainder of the week.

I’ll give you an update when I’m able to.

And yes, I’m very frustrated, very sad, and also scared.

PLEASE let the PRP injection work!!

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A Medically Induced Week

I’ve got a super exciting (???) week to attend to.

Monday:  PT

Tuesday: Three-plus hours of allergy testing – because I’ve been getting sinuses headaches/infections for two years straight and my doctor INSISTED I go.

Guess what?

I’m allergic to RATS.

That’s right!  No pet rats for me!

I am NOT allergic to dogs.

(I wouldn’t give up my dogs even if I was!)

I do have some miscellaneous other allergies (to every pollen in the world), but doesn’t everyone?

Wednesday:  No PT today because I have a follow-up visit in Los Angeles with my elbow surgeon.  He’ll use an ultrasound to see inside my elbow and look at my tendon repair.  I hope he says the tendon is past the 50% point of healing because when it is, I get to begin doing more with my arm/hand/shoulder.

Thursday:  Consultation with an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist – because the allergist guy insisted they make sure there’s nothing structurally wrong with my sinuses.

(Ummm?  I’m absolutely sure there’s not, but I agreed to go under duress.)

Friday:  Physical Therapy

In my spare time this week, I’ll also be doing some exciting things like purchasing a new mattress.

(!!!!)

LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN THIS FUN!!

On the home front, my pool contractor is showing up occasionally to work on rebuilding/resurfacing the pool.

I’m pretty sure, at this rate, it will take months to complete.

To put it in perspective, if the workers showed up every day and worked all day, the job could easily be completed in two weeks or less.

But, it has already been over two weeks, so ….. months!

I’m very happy because Labor Day is approaching.

After Labor Day the majority of tourists leave Orange County.

I’ll get “my” beaches back.  (I hate to visit the beaches in the summer when it’s crowded.)

If my doc clears me for some shooting, the timing could be just about perfect.

Fall is my favorite season!

P.S.  Please don’t send me any pet rats.  I’m highly allergic!

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Frank The Newf – 6 Months Old

Frank is a six month old Newfoundland puppy now.

I took my camera to his puppy class recently.

I thought you might enjoy seeing a few photos of puppy Frank.

Frank 6mo Sitting © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Frank is always happy!!

I enjoyed taking a few photos during his class.

I think I’ll bring my camera more often – arm permitting.

Frank’s tongue is huge and I frequently laugh just from looking at it/him.

Frank doesn’t drool yet.

Fred began drooling when he was around 9-10 months old.

I’m expecting Frank will probably begin drooling once he’s that age also.

Frank is, of course, the largest puppy in his puppy class.

I think of Frank as small because he’s so much smaller than Fred was at the same age.

But, seeing Frank with large breed puppies puts his size in perspective.

A Chesapeake Retriever and Labrador Retriever provide perspective on Frank’s size.

I know Fred wouldn’t want to be forgotten so here’s a recent Fred photo:

Fred examines an olive for an extraordinary amount of time.

Fred couldn’t decide what to think about the olive.

Was it food?

A bug?

After awhile, I checked back on Fred and The Olive.

The olive had gone missing.

I’m not sure if Fred ate it,

Or, if Fred buried it in the backyard.

Fred loves to bury treasures in the backyard.

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The Latest and Greatest …

I’m spending three days each week at physical therapy with Paul Newman.

Physical therapy has become my “job” for the time being.

My arm is doing great, but there was a lot wrong with it prior to Surgeries #10 and #11.

The recovery is going to be a very long process.

I knew that would be the case going into the surgeries, but the reality is sometimes hard to take.

I definitely get frustrated because I want my life back.

But, I’m a zillion times better than I’ve been (!!) in the last ten years.

Patience with the process is probably the most difficult piece for me right now.

Thank goodness, Paul Newman understands all of this (and ME) and somehow manages to motivate me into not giving up.

Lately, we’ve been working on changing my shooting style so I can, hopefully, shoot more as I continue to rehabilitate my arm.

Being at PT more frequently means I have less time for everything else in my life.

I still spend lots of time with Fred and Frank.

Fred is a total mama’s boy and SO GOOD!

Frank is still a naughty puppy … but, he’s definitely learning and improving.

I love that he’s wanting to snuggle with me more and more lately.

They’re both healthy and happy, and make me smile several times each day.

I spent an afternoon last weekend painting … and ended up covered with paint splatter.

I’ve been taking an online art class for several weeks.

Sometimes I fall behind, but that’s okay.

It’s fun.

It’s also a nice distraction until I can shoot full time again.

Today, there’s a crew of men jack-hammering my pool.

IT WILL BE A VERY LOUD DAY!!!

The pool will be re-surfaced this week with new pebble tec.

In the evenings, I’ve been obsessing over the Olympics.

I love the Olympics; I always have.

Are you watching the games?

I have to force myself to turn off the TV at night so I can get enough sleep.

Why does NBC show the games until after midnight?

And why do their announcers keeping making really sexist comments?

I think, perhaps, they should just show the games announcer-free.

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Best Cappuccino EVER??

When I was in Santa Barbara, I was served a “Havana Cappuccino” at Jeannine’s restaurant.

I generally drink “normal” coffee and I never sweeten my coffee and/or coffee drinks.

However, my “Havana Cappuccino” was so (!!!) delicious.

It was almost like having dessert for breakfast.

I thought I’d try to replicate it at home so I can serve it when I have house guests and/or for special occasions.

This might not be the exact recipe from Jeannine’s, but it’s close enough.

Also?

It couldn’t be easier.

I suggest you try this out for yourself first, and then add it to your special occasion recipes.

(Or?  Go ahead and treat yourself every day!)

HAVANA CAPPUCCINO

Ingredients:

•  Espresso

•  Condensed Sweetened Milk

•  Milk and/or Cream (I’m pretty sure Jeannine’s used cream.)

•  Cinnamon

If you have a coffee machine that makes cappuccinos, all you need to do is blend 1-2 Tablespoons of the condensed milk (per cup of coffee) into the milk/cream you normally use.  Make sure it’s blended well so the thick condensed milk doesn’t clog your coffee machine.

Top the cappuccino with cinnamon and you’re ready to go.

If you don’t have a coffee maker that makes cappuccinos, you can follow this easy/shortcut method after making your espresso:

  1.  Place condensed milk and milk/cream mixture in a one cup microwave safe measuring cup. Microwave, uncovered, on high for one minute or until the milk is hot enough to form small bubbles around the edge of the cup.
  2. Place a metal whisk in the cup and whisk vigorously by holding whisk handle loosely between palms and quickly rubbing hands back and forth.  Remove the foam to a small measuring cup as it forms.  Continue whisking until foam measures one third cup.  Set aside.
  3. Pour espresso into a mug and then add in the remaining hot milk.  Spoon the reserved foam over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve.

Again, this is a great way to make a routine morning special.

It’s also a perfect way to “wow” house guests with very little effort.

You’ll probably end up with some extra of the condensed milk.

If so, you can easily make:

VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE

  • Brew coffee
  • Spoon two Tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk into each glass.  (Two Tablespoons for each one cup of coffee you’ll be adding so if it’s a huge 32 once tumbler, add more as needed.)
  • Pour one cup of hot coffee into the cup and stir to dissolve the condensed milk.
  • Pour the hot coffee over 4-6 ice cubes and serve with a long handled spoon.

Delicious for a hot day!

Enjoy!

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My Happy Place

I’ve returned from a couple days in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara is truly my happy place and it has been for most of my life.

My visit was short, but I really needed the change of scenery.

It can give me such a great boost just to go away for a couple days.

Unfortunately, I encountered extremely bad traffic while driving both to and from Santa Barbara.

It reminded me of why I usually avoid beach towns in the summer.

(I prefer the fall for California beaches!)

I stayed at The Canary Hotel this time.

Sunset from the rooftop deck of The Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara.

The hotel is very nice, and best of all, it’s in a location that allowed me to walk almost everywhere.

Santa Barbara has a lot of one way streets and parking issues.

I really LOVE when I can get around town without a car.

I had the opportunity to enjoy breakfast at my favorite Santa Barbara breakfast spot, Jeannine’s.

I did a little shopping in the State Street stores and boutiques.

One afternoon, I drove to El Capitan State Beach.

I feel nothing but happiness whenever I visit El Capitan State Beach.

El Capitan is one of my favorite places on the planet.

It was crowded with campers and day visitors.

I used my annual California State Park Pass to get in without charge.

Then, based on years of visits, I headed to some areas of the park few people even know exist.

Feeling like the only person on earth!  El Capitan State Beach, Santa Barbara, CA

I also had the opportunity to visit a new-ish area of Santa Barbara, The Funk Zone.

The area used to be primarily warehouses.

Gradually, more and more contemporary businesses have moved in.

Art galleries, boutiques, breweries, wine tasting, restaurants – the area is definitely worth exploring.

Taken on State Street, Santa Barbara, as I walked back from The Funk Zone one evening.

I wish I could have spent more time both in Santa Barbara and El Capitan.

But, I’m really just so glad I was able to visit at all.

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Let Me Tell You About …

I got a great report from my surgeon on Monday.

He’s THRILLED with the progress my arm is making.

It made me so happy!

I gave him a HUGE hug.

I can tell he’s so proud of his work, very happy for me, thrilled with the work Paul Newman is doing on my arm, and very hopeful for my future.

Have I mentioned how hard it is to be patient with what will be a very long recovery?

I just want to GO and DO, but … I have to force patience for so, so, long!!

On Tuesday, a family member underwent his second brain surgery in the last six weeks.

I just couldn’t bring myself to blog that day … I wasn’t feeling the cheerfulness and I’m sure you understand.

Yesterday, I was back spending time with Paul Newman.

It was a beautiful day in Newport Beach.

(Maybe I can talk Paul Newman into doing PT on the beach sometime instead of in his office?)

On Friday, my daughter and I are taking off for the weekend.

I need a change of scenery and a mental health break from life.

I’m sure I’ll be “snap chatting” every day, as usual, while I’m gone.

I’ll also be using my “real” camera!  Yay!!

My car has been in the shop for a few days and I’m hoping SO MUCH that it’s returned to me before I leave.

(I’m never as comfortable driving loaner cars.)

I’ve got a lot of stuff to get done before I leave, so I don’t expect to have another post up until the beginning of next week.

As always, I will be posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (a little bit?) and SnapChat (suzannehaggerty), between now and then.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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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.