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Thursday, June 22nd 2017

I’m back from Texas.

Man, oh man, was it HOT in Texas!

I had a great visit with my youngest son while I was there.

I really missed my animal friends though.

Fred’s giant paw rests on my foot.  This is his affectionate way of “paw holding” with me.

My Texas-Schedule was nonstop and I was exhausted (in a good way) by the time I got on the plane to head back to Orange County.

After returning home, I came down with a *cold* courtesy of the man who sneezed and coughed all over me nonstop on my flight.

Why am I always seated by The Sick Guy on flights?

I’ve been getting caught up from my trip via my laundry room, the grocery store, etc.

I also went to my second private yoga lesson.

I’m not really doing yoga the way other people do yoga.

I guess you’d say I’m doing pre-yoga … sort of like pre-kindergarten, but different.

The very simplest of things are terrifically difficult for me.

For instance, imagine being all fours like a baby about to crawl – simple, right?

Well, no … because my arm can’t bear weight for more than a millisecond.

But, I’m delighted to be making attempts.

I’m thrilled with every single tiny micro-improvement.

I appreciate it all in a way a “normal” person probably never could.

After my lessons, I come home and wrap my arm in ice and keep my fingers crossed my arm doesn’t:

  1.  Fall off
  2.  Become inflamed and angry at my efforts.

So far, my arm has only been sort of angry.

I think the positives – eventually (hopefully!!) gaining some strength and function – outweigh the pain factor.

I force myself to stay focused on all the teeny-tiny positive improvements to prevent me from feeling like a failure for *all the things I cannot do.*

My instructor is perfect for me – knowledgeable about making many needed modifications, and very encouraging.

She said she is “honored” to work with me and finds me inspirational.

(!!!!)

I’m SO grateful she’s willing to help me when others were not.

Isn’t it funny how to some people I’m a complication and not worth the trouble –

And to others, I’m an inspiration and they feel rewarded by helping me along this journey?

A person’s outlook and approach is really everything in life, isn’t it?

Lots of other stuff has been going on, too …

Hopefully, I’ll get a couple posts up next week!

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Yay! is for YOGA!

Yay!

I finally found someone willing to give me a private (modified for my arm) yoga lesson.

Yoga!

I really enjoyed it.

Also …?

My arm is really sore, but that’s okay.

My instructor did a lot of pre-work (homework?) before we met.

She had modifications for me  –

And MORE modifications … and then, even MORE modifications.

It made me realize there’s absolutely no way I could have gone directly into a class without getting individual help first.

I’m going to meet with her once a week for a few weeks and then, hopefully, I’ll have my modifications down well enough to move into a regular class.

(Private lessons are wonderful, but way too expensive to continue long term.)

I’m really excited about it.

It’s just a baby step, but it’s a beginning and that makes it a very encouraging new adventure in my life.


In other news,

I’ve put a deposit down on a trip BY MYSELF to Cuba.

It *might* be canceled because rumor has it Trump will be rescinding almost everything Obama did regarding Cuba policy changes very soon – possibly as soon as tomorrow when he’s in Miami.

But, I’m hoping any new changes don’t go into effect until January.

We’ll see.

Cuba has been high on my Shoot List, always.

My Cuba trip is currently planned for the end of October – keep your fingers crossed for me!

I’ll be so disappointed if it’s cancelled as a result of the political turmoil in the US right now.

Aussie readers (and I know there are a LOT of you!), I’m also working on my itinerary for an Australia trip in February.

A friend of my family is a travel agent.

Her initial proposal came in as a four week Australia trip costing tens of thousands of dollars.

I wish I had that much time and money, but I don’t ….

So, I’ll be working on possible alternative itineraries for Australia in coming weeks.

Tomorrow/Friday I’m headed to Texas and I won’t be back until Tuesday.

I’m not sure if I’ll have time to post from Texas, but I’ll try!

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Los Angeles Arts District

Happy Monday!

Whew! My life has been a whirlwind lately.

I don’t think I’m going to get a breather until … mid-July?

My oldest son has been home for the last four weeks.

On Saturday, I helped him move into an apartment in Los Angeles where he’ll be living while completing a summer internship program.

In the fall, he’ll return to the east coast to complete his final year in a master’s program.

We made the most of our day in L.A. – the move in was quick, and our play time was long.

(Proving we have our priorities straight?)

We went out to a brunch/lunch with a group of friends at Redbird in downtown L.A.

Entrance to Redbird restaurant in Los Angeles.

From there, we walked the L.A. Arts District where we spent the majority of our day.

Street Art – L.A. Arts District

Breweries are the rage across the country and we had heard there were some great ones in the Arts District.

I’m not much of a drinker because I get drunk on three sips of alcohol making me the cheapest date EVER.

I, also, am not much of a beer person.

But, I enjoy going to breweries anyway.

Breweries in an art district?

Well, that’s a little slice of heaven.

Arts District Brewing Company

I just LOVE when artsy people move into previously industrial areas of a city and make them magnificient.

I love urban photography – especially:  street art, areas where old meets new, and places where grubby industrial and modern chic collide.

Public Garden in L.A. Arts District

Urban photography feeds my soul even though my professional work is geared towards “pretty” landscape and seascape photography.

For instance, I loved this neon beer sign at one of the breweries:

Neon Beer Sign at Arts District Brewing Company

When I was a kid, my family visited Catalina Island every summer.

While we were there, I would visit the island’s arcade each evening and play skee ball.

I was DELIGHTED to find skee ball at the Arts District Brewing Company!

Skee Ball at Arts District Brewing Company

I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many tokens our group bought …

We played skee ball for AGES.

I had so much fun!

If I ever become an overnight zillionaire, I will definitely have skee ball in my mansion by the sea.

It was really hard to play skee ball because of my bum arm.

I tried rolling the ball with my left arm but I had no control over it because I’m profoundly right handed.

So, then I tried rolling it with my right arm with frequent rests.

It was quite a challenge and certainly not pain free.

I even yelped loudly a few times from pain but I was able to get through all the games.

I only won one game, but I imagine my scores will improve as I regain more function in my arm?

(Paul Newman is helping me with my skee ball soreness as you’re reading this.)

We also played Jenga at Angel City Brewery.

Jenga is much easier on a bum arm than skee ball.

Towards the end of the day, we stopped at Salt & Straw a “famous” ice cream shop (originally from Portland, Oregon) with flavors like “Honey Lavender” which is a light purple, delightfully flavored, ice cream.

Salt & Straw is unique.

There’s always a long line to purchase a scoop of ice cream because their ice cream is just plain yummy.

(I don’t even remember when the last time was I had “real” ice cream prior to this??)

The store has “runners” bring samples of the flavors (as many as you’d like) while you wait in line.

By the time you get to the front of the line, you’re ready to order and you’ve had the opportunity to try several of their very unique flavors.

I only tried one sample, but there were people in my group (ahem!) who tried LOTS.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a June-Gloom day.

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Nashville!

I just got back from several days in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville has been on my “Shoot List” for a couple years.

I had planned to go several months ago, but I was waylaid by arm surgeries.

When I was invited to a wedding taking place in Nashville, I knew it would be a perfect “excuse” to reschedule my trip.

First of all, I had FUN.

Elvis cops a feel?  (iPhone photo taken by my sister)

Nashville is a great city and I jam packed my days there with as much as I could fit in.

In addition, I had a chance to spend some time with both my brother and sister (and other family members!) while attending wedding festivities.

Me – with my older brother and older sister. (My bum arm looks bad, doesn’t it?)

Of course, I visited the Honky Tonks on Lower Broadway like every tourist should.

Honky Tonk Central

The Honky Tonks were crazy busy because the Predators were playing in the Stanley Cup finals while I was there.

(Also, Alan Jackson was performing in a free concert which was also right at Lower Broadway.)

I squeezed in time for tours of the famous Ryman Auditorium and The Grand Ole Opry House also.

The Historic Ryman Auditorium

I also walked the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, visited Centennial Park, had lunch at (famous) Jack’s Bar-B-Que, breakfast (sweet potato pancakes) at the also famous Pancake Pantry, visited The Gulch, Music Row and much more of the city both by golf cart and lots of walking,  took photos of street art, visited/shot an old and very beautiful farm, and visited with my siblings at Tennessee Brew Works while it rained (hot rain – who knew?) outside.

Oh yes, I also attended a wedding and a rehearsal dinner.

I’m sure I’ll share more photos from this trip as I have time to get them uploaded.

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Quick Yoga Update

Yesterday afternoon, I drove 45 minutes for my private, pre-scheduled, yoga lesson.

The point of the lesson was to learn modifications for things I can’t do with my arm.

I arrived to find the studio locked.

I waited for a half hour and the instructor never showed.

I then drove 45 minutes back home.

Two hours of my day … lost.

And, I was very disappointed, of course.

I had been excited for DAYS – looking forward to it.

Sigh.

Late last night I received a message from the instructor.

She apologized for “spacing” on the lesson and said,

“I’m probably not a good fit anyway.”

Apparently, the universe doesn’t want me doing yoga??

I’m busy today packing, and getting organized, for a cross country flight tomorrow.

I’m feeling so discouraged, I’m not sure if I’ll try again on the yoga front.

I guess I’ll have to see how I feel about it when I return next week.

I don’t think (?) I’ll have a chance to write a post again until next week.

I will, however, be posting photos on social media if you’re interested in  stalking me  following along with my trip.

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May 30th 2017

If you’re based in the United States, I hope you had a safe Memorial Day weekend.

I’m exhausted from the weekend even though it doesn’t seem like I did much of anything.

On Saturday, I had guests the first half of the day and then MORE guests in the late afternoon.

I was in L.A. all day on Sunday enjoying a fun “girl’s day” with my daughter.

We spent the day together as a slightly early birthday celebration – her birthday is tomorrow.

I spent another ENTIRE day cleaning out closets, drawers and cupboards.

I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t, I’d soon be a Certified Hoarder.

(Eleven years of one-arm-ness means a lot of “deep cleaning” has been neglected.)

I feel like I’ll never make a dent in everything that needs my attention around the house.

But, I’m determined to keep chipping away at it one drawer/cupboard/closet at a time.

It’s very satisfying to get rid of stuff (either by donation or throwing it away), isn’t it?

I also spent some time working on my calendar for the next twelve months because I have a lot of various trips that needed scheduling.

(Just looking at my calendar might be what exhausted me?)

I’m trying to get to both Cuba and Australia for shooting purposes in the next 9-10 months …

Self portrait (foot portrait?) take in Oregon.

I also have a zillion other “small” trips scheduled.

In fact, I have at least one trip per month already booked every month between now and May 2018.

Today, I have appointments nonstop all day ….

Ending with my very first private yoga lesson.

Yes, I finally found someone willing to work with me on yoga modifications for my arm.

Thanks to many of YOU, I also have a few other names to look into if this instructor doesn’t work out.

I’m hoping today will be the first step on my path to a new version of normal.

(How many times in the last five years has Paul Newman had to listen to me say, “But, I just want to be normal?”)

Truth be told,

I’ve NEVER been “normal.”

And, I think that’s a good thing ….

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Happy Monday – Favorite Things!

Summer has arrived in Orange County, and I love it!

(Remind me I said that next time I complain about the heat.)

It was a beautiful weekend weather-wise.

I enjoyed some pool-time, family-time, beach-time, and a night out with friends.

I’m very, very, sore from increases to my PT activities and also from swimming with a “gentle” breaststroke.

(Soreness is, of course, to be expected!  I told my doc I don’t want to take any type of pain medications. I’ll deal with it.)

I thought I’d share a few more things I like today.

•  Paul Green shoes  –  I recently tried on some Paul Green shoes and loved them.

He makes several I like, but here are photos of two of my favorites.

(Warning – they aren’t cheap – but they’re very COMFORTABLE, stylish, shoes!)

Paul Green Mindy Sandal

Paul Green Lois Sandal

I wore the Mindy Sandals (top photo) with boyfriend jeans and a fancy top (to go out with friends) last Saturday night.

Even though they’re an expensive pair of shoes, they can be worn with everything from dresses to jeans … and they’re COMFORTABLE.

Here in Southern California, I’ll be able to wear them year round so I don’t doubt I’ll get my money’s worth out of them.

The Lois Sandal (second photo) can also be worn with almost anything.

The heel is lower so they’re a nice pick if you’re going to be doing a lot of standing on your feet and/or walking.

(I’ve linked both pairs of sandals in the captions under the photos.)

•  Do you need a dress for a wedding/graduation/event?

Here’s a cute suggestion:

Chelsea Butterfly Sleeve Dress

I don’t wear many dresses, but it seems like every spring/summer I need one or two for some type of event and/or function.

The Chelsea dress is a fresh take and cool enough for warm weather.

•  OPI Nail Polish in Lucky Lucky Lavender

 

OPI Lucky Lucky Lavender

Lucky Lucky Lavender is one of my all-time  favorite colors of nail polish.

It wears like a neutral with a sprinkle of happiness on top.

Need I say more?

•  Alpha Skin Care Renewal Body Lotion With 12% Glycolic AHA

Alpha Renewal Body Lotion

OK, this is a weird one.

It’s a body lotion.  I apply it once, each day, after I shower.

It makes my skin SO SOFT.

It has glycolic acid in it which exfoliates your skin ….

In turn, that helps your skin look better, feel softer, and (supposedly) stay younger.

If you have dry skin (my legs!) it’s a must.

One of my girlfriends puts it on her elbows, knees and ankles regularly.

It’s great for those extra dry/scaly/crepey areas.

Every friend I’ve told about this product has ended up loving it and using it on a regular basis.

You don’t HAVE TO keep your lizard skin …!


I’m sure that’s PLENTY for one day.

I’ll be back again as soon as possible –

I’ve got another house guest arriving this week.

Life is crazy right now!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hello, it’s me – your failed blogging friend.

I’ve been very busy, and also experiencing an emotional roller coaster regarding my arm these last several days.

First of all, I had a very nice Mother’s Day weekend and I hope you did too.

Two of my three kids were at the house visiting.

I enjoyed spending the weekend with them.

We went out to a beautiful brunch.

My oldest son has an internship in Southern California this summer.

He’ll be staying here with me for a couple weeks, and then moving into a temporary residence closer to his employer (but still in SoCal) for the remainder of the summer.

I’m happy that two of my three will be relatively nearby for the summer.

Second, I’ve been doing more shopping than normal because I have several weddings and/or events I’ll be attending relatively soon.

I hate to shop so most of it has been online.

But nonetheless, I’m going to try to get another “favorite things” post up VERY soon.

Third, there has been a lot of “Arm Stuff” going on recently.

I’ve been excited to see my strengthening progress at physical therapy.

I’m up to two and a half pounds!!

I know that probably sounds like nothing to most of you, but it’s cause for celebration to me.

Last Monday, I was at PT in the morning, and up in Los Angeles with my surgeon in the afternoon.

(It was such a LONG day!)

I have a lot of uncertainty and insecurity surrounding my arm.

My medical case … nearly 11 years and 12 surgeries on one arm … is so far from normal, no one knows for certain what the future holds for me/my arm.

At PT, I feel excited and hopeful by being able to use a two and a half pound weight.

But, driving to see my surgeon I was filled with anxiety.

I was certain he’d tell me I’m failing to progress as I should, and give up on me.

(A “normal” person would be able to do much more four and a half months post surgery.  In fact, a “normal” person would probably be done with physical therapy.  I SEE normal people at PT, and I watch them pass me up time and time again.)

If my surgeon stops writing me prescriptions for physical therapy, I’ll no longer receive insurance coverage.

How long will I be able to afford it on my own?

Will I regress the minute I stop?

I got myself all stressed out worrying about it as I fought traffic on my way to L.A.

Can I just say I will be forever grateful to Dr. Itamura for being the ONLY orthopedic surgeon (out of many) to understand the complexities of my damaged arm?

He’s a living hero.

But still, I faced my four month post surgery visit with trepidation.

However ….

Dr. Itamura said I’m doing “excellent!”

EXCELLENT!!

Can you believe it?

He’s not cutting me off from physical therapy, and he fully understands/expects me to progress at a very different rate than a person who had one or two surgeries.

He even hugged me as I was leaving – he’s truly happy for me and for how far I’ve come.

I left his office on Cloud 9!

I had talked to both Paul Newman and Dr. Itamura about beginning some yoga classes.

Both of them feel it’s okay, but they know I would need to adapt certain things for my one-arm-ness.

I had been referred to the owner of a yoga studio who, I was told, had worked with a man with one arm.

Perfect, for me – right?

I was excited because at last I was going to start doing something normal people do … just with a few modifications.

So, imagine how I felt today when the Ms.Yoga contacted me and turned me away.

She, apparently, doesn’t feel like I would be able to do yoga –  and/or that it could be modified for me and/or – maybe she just felt like I’m not worth her time.

(I had offered to pay for private lessons initially so it WOULD be worth her time to help me learn some adaptations/modifications, but she said …. no.)

Maybe the one armed man came to her already knowing how to do yoga one armed?

I wish I knew him/or how to find him so I could ask who taught him.

You would think I could just brush this off, right?

But no, it made me want to cry.

Time and time again I reach out for normality, and time and time again I get thwarted.

I was really excited to start yoga.

Now?

I feel incredibly discouraged.

I keep pushing for a sense of normalcy and I keep running into brick walls.

It will be 11 years since the accident on July 30th.

Eleven years!!

I’m better than I’ve been that entire time …

And yet, I’m still not good enough.

I’m still the person being told, “Sorry, the things you want to do in your life are not going to happen.”

It makes me mad.

It makes me sad.

Momentarily, it makes me want to give up.

But, only momentarily, because if I’ve learned anything about myself these last eleven years,

It’s that I never, ever, give up.

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I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!

Hello, hello!

I’m back in Orange County.

I wanted to put out another quick reminder of the 25% Discount Code (DDSuzanne25) Dean Davidson Jewelry is offering through May 15th.

I need to remind myself, too, because I want to place an order before the code expires.

Here’s a pair of Dean’s earrings I’ve been wearing a lot lately:

Infinite Earrings Gold/White Topaz

They’re so lightweight and pretty – I love them.

In other news, it’s so nice to be back home.

I’ve got a ton of catching up to do, and also ….

My calendar is exploding.

After months of post-surgery boredom, I’m re-entering real life at warp speed.

I’ll have family visiting beginning this weekend, and I have another trip out of town in just a couple weeks.

I also came home to yet ANOTHER hummingbird nest with a mama hummingbird sitting on her eggs.

I think my backyard is Orange County’s hummingbird nursery this year.

I missed Fred and Frank SO MUCH while I was gone.

There’s been a lot of Newfie cuddling going on since I got back.

Fred is, perhaps, the biggest cuddler on earth … all 180 pounds of him!

Frank loves being pet, but he doesn’t (yet?) like full body snuggles like Fred does.

I was in the Pacific Northwest last week.

Part of the time I was there, a heat wave was taking place.

It was fabulous!

When I think of the Pacific Northwest, I think of trees ….

A warm day in the shade of beautiful trees.

I can never get enough of nature when I’m there.

It’s too bad it rains so much of the time.

(Although, I know the rain is what makes the trees and rivers so beautiful.)

I’ll try to be a bit more consistent with the blogging next week.

Although, I’ll have family here visiting so we’ll see how I do.

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Up, Up and Away!

I’m away on a trip today.

I *think* I’ll have time to post a few times while I’m away.

I’ve had the craziest week.

Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the weirdness of life and keep marching along.

Before I hop on my plane, I want to share with you a few photos of my Crown Ring from Dean Davidson.

(Dean Davidson 25% off discount code = DDSuzanne25)

As my daughter says, “It’s a massive statement ring.”

Crown Ring in Gold/Labradorite

I love labradorite.

My mom used to wear the most beautiful labradorite pendant.

I thought it was a magical stone … the way the colors would change and light up depending on how the light struck it.

If you aren’t familiar with labradorite, it can appear almost as a dullish grey/green until the light hits it just right.

I loved my mom’s pendant so much, she bought me a similar one many years later.

When I realized Dean sells all sorts of labradorite jewelry my heart lit up.

In this photo the labradorite is “on fire” from the sunlight hitting it through my car window.  (iPhone)

 A Crown Ring is BIG, and it isn’t something I’ll wear every day.

It is, however, something I’ll get a ton of compliments on when I do wear it.

(Like all of Dean’s jewelry, the Crown Ring is available set in different types of metal and with various choices of stones.)

The Crown Ring is beautiful in Ocean Blue Chalcedony also.

If you do decide to purchase a Crown Ring, I would suggest buying up one size.

I had planned to wear mine on the middle finger of my right hand and ordered my sizing based on that.

But, the ring goes so far up my finger, it was a little too tight near my knuckle.

I ended up having a jeweler friend size it down for my ring finger instead.

I couldn’t resist purchasing the matching Chalice Cuff in labradorite also.

(Maybe someday I’ll purchase labradorite earrings too??)

The Chalice Cuff (bracelet) is both sexy and streamlined.  (labradorite)

I think the hardest thing for me is picking which stones to choose for Dean’s jewelry.

I like to mix metals so I don’t have a problem picking the metals.

But, I can agonize over the stone forever.

The only way NOT to agonize over the stones is to buy one of each??

I mean, pink is so pretty but so is mint green … and then there are the blues … and turquoise!

And black onyx … well, I’ve always wanted a black onyx ring so what am I going to do about THAT?

Also, I would LOVE to have a beautiful rainbow moonstone!

And on and on I go with my agonizing.

I hope, if you make a purchase from Dean, you’ll let me know what you end up choosing.

It’s too bad we don’t all live close to each other so we could swap and share.

(Dean Davidson 25% off discount code = DDSuzanne25)