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Happy Halloween!

We had a beautiful weekend here.  It hit 90F/32.2C at my house yesterday.

Laguna Beach.

I tried to take a scary self-portrait and this is what I came up with:


By the way, do any of you know how to permanently (non-surgically) get rid of laugh lines?

Or, as they're better known, big giant CREVICES in your face?



Aging is such a bitch!

We've had some Big Stuff going on in our lives over here at the Twenty Four household, but I can't blog about any of it yet.  It's giving me writer's block.  There are so many things I CAN blog about, but instead I stare at my computer screen and think … but I can't write about that.

And then, I stare at the screen some more.

I made goulash for dinner last night.

I have no idea why I just told you that, but I'm curious if any of you have ever made goulash?  It's fun just to say the word over and over …  goooo – losh!

I'm off my temporary, emergency, steroids.


(Except … hello Return Of Pain.)

Some of you wrote and asked me about the Fentanyl Patches I was prescribed.  Long story short, I'm not using them right now.  They made me itch like crazy and also want to barf.  I've tried them three times now and I think I'm going to pass.  I see Dr. Painless next week, and I imagine he'll be unhappy about this news.

(Um, he may read about it here before I tell him – !)

Even more of you asked if I'm using medicinal marijuana ….

I do use it sometimes.  And yes, it helps but it isn't a cure-all either.  I also don't feel like I can get high and go out running errands, driving all over Orange County.  When I do use it, it's generally at night when I know I can just hangout for the evening.  (It doesn't happen very often because my life is hectic.)

My new laptop is scheduled to be delivered from China sometime on Thursday.  It's an Apple … a MacBook Pro to be exact.  I wanted it with extra RAM right from the get-go (for all my gigantic RAW photo files) so I had to order it online instead of buying one in the store.  Apparently, when you order a "custom" laptop it gets shipped from China.

I'm not at all excited about getting a new computer.  I suppose I should be, but I'm not.  I'm too frustrated with my current one.  I'm sure I'll be thrilled when it arrives though, because then I can stop threatening to throw my old one against a wall.  (I also want to stomp on it repeatedly, but so far I've displayed excellent self control.)

Did you know I have trouble thinking without a laptop?

Some people can't think without a pen in their hand …

I can't think without a functioning laptop.


I'm trying though – !!

Three more days until I'll be able to think again ….

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Happy (Early) Halloween!

Spooky, scary – !!

This is a REAL haunted house next to a REAL graveyard in Salem, MA.

Salem, MA graveyard and haunted house.

In real life, it's even creepier than it looks in the above photo!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Spooky Spider

In honor of Halloween, I'll be posting "spooky" photos both days this weekend.

Have I ever mentioned one of my biggest fears is SPIDERS?


Spider in its web.

Spiders have way too many legs …!!


© Twenty Four At Heart

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Snippets from Salem, MA

It's taking me about an hour to edit ONE photo with my current, broken, laptop.

I push a button on my laptop and then read several pages of A Clash of Kings while I wait for the damn computer to sputter its way through something that should take a milli-second.

I'm sorry if my posts seem half-ass as I'm waiting for my new computer to arrive …

I'm doing the best I can with very little to work with.

I feel like I'm rubbing two sticks together trying to create a little warmth.

Yes, it really is THAT bad.

(And even more frustrating!)

Here are a few shots from my recent visit to Salem, Massachusetts.

From the moment I arrived in the parking lot, I was blown away by the COLORS!

Fall colors, Salem, MA.

I don't know if I've ever seen such a beautiful parking lot?

Vivid, vivid, colors!!

It didn't even seem "real" to me.  I mean, I expected fall colors but the trees were just breathtaking.

The town itself looked almost exactly as I had imagined it.

The Town Hall, built back in 1816, still stands.

Town Hall in Salem, MA.

There are a lot of tourists, and tourists shops, in Salem now.  I was more interested in the old stuff, vs. the shops.

For instance, no trip to Salem would be complete without a visit to the graveyard.

Graveyard in Salem, MA.

The graveyard trees even look haunted.  The grave stones are uneven, and in some cases – crumbling.  I could have roamed around the graveyard for hours reading the inscriptions from days long ago.  (I even read the inscription on a stone for a man who had come to America on the Mayflower.)

A lot of people do, truly, believe the graveyard is haunted ….

As "fun" as it was to ooh and aah at the thoughts of ghosts and haunted trees …

There was no escaping the reality of what happened in Salem years ago.

Halloween might be full of pretend ghouls,

But the people who died in Salem years ago were not pretend.

Sarah Good marker, Salem graveyard, MA.

It's almost impossible to fathom the reality of the Salem witch trials.

© Twenty Four At Heart 

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New England

I've been back in California for one full day now.

So far, since I returned, I've done the following:

  •  Tried to sleep, and failed miserably, thank you mega-steroids.

  •  Fought with my dying/dead/failed laptop for hours – upon hours, upon hours, in an effort to get a minimal amount of work done.

  •  Ordered a NEW laptop which should arrive sometime next week.  (Happy early birthday to me?)

  •  Fainted a few times at the cost of laptops.

  •  Thanked the Pain Management Gods for emergency doses of steroids and the desperately needed pain relief they're temporarily providing.  (Thank you also to Dr. Painless for encouraging me to do what I love and finding ways to help me do just that.)

  •  Reviewed some exciting plans for Twenty Four At Heart's upcoming update/redesign.  (Hopefully, coming soon to a blog near you – !)

  •  Been overwhelmed with gratitude and amazement upon discovering over 11,000 of you are now following my photography on Google Plus.  (Thank you – so much!!)  

**  Thank you also to famed photographer Thomas Hawk who published my name again this week on his coveted list of Kick Ass Photographers.  He's an AWESOME, supportive, mentor to so many photographers.  **


Okay then ….

My daughter called to tell me I "got out of Boston just in time" because they're expecting snow during the next 24 hours.

(She's not very happy about the idea of snow in October.  Or, to be honest, snow in general.  Have I mentioned she'll be moving back to California by the first of the year?)

I honestly don't know what I would have done if it had snowed while I was there.  

I'm not snow-savvy, to put it mildly.

The weather was a little brisk, but so beautiful for my visit.

Boston sunset.

And yes, I did come home with one thousand new photos.

Why do you ask?

(Pain management?  Say what ….?)

I promise I won't make you look at all of my New England photos.

This one's a favorite though:

Boston in the fall.

Fall has always been my favorite season, even though colors don't change here in Orange County.  Being in New England for five days, in October, was such a treat.

Pumpkins on the steps of a Boston brownstone.

I must have squealed with delight a million times as I submerged myself in New England charm.

I was especially excited my daughter took me to visit the town of Salem.

Salem … as in witches (!!), churches, graveyards, etc.


I'll have more about Salem in upcoming posts, but I wanted to leave you with this photo of the church in Salem.  (Make sure to notice the "witch" in the photo – she's walking down the street toward the church.)

Salem, MA

What could be more fun for a California girl than visiting Salem just prior to Halloween?

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Massachusetts is Hard to Spell ( … And Other Dilemmas!)

My trip home to California from Boston, did not go well.

My "nonstop" flight ran into a problem and I somehow ended up in Nevada.

Oh yes, I eventually made my way home yesterday but without a minute's worth of sleep in over a 24 hour period.  (Thank you to whoever suggested I take A Game of Thrones with me on this trip.)


Massive quantities of steroids for pain will WIRE you.

And make you JUMP-JUMP-JUMPY!

(But they do help a lot with my pain level, so … fair enough.  Life is one big trade-off, right?)

Am I rambling?

Did I mention no sleep?

I'm back in Orange County.

I haven't slept in two days, I think.  

Maybe three?

I can't sleep either – thank you mega-steroids.

And yes, I am exhausted.

My laptop apparently does not have enough RAM (kind of like short-term memory for those of you non-computer-savvy folks) to run Lightroom and/or Photoshop, let alone both of them at the same time.  I've already upgraded the RAM as much as it can be upgraded since it's an ancient (three year old) laptop.  Current laptops apparently come with twice the RAM I now have.

Why did they name it RAM?

Don't tell me – I don't really want to know, and I don't actually care.


Something else is wrong with it also.  (It doesn't work – har dee har har!!)

Today I'm going to go price laptops.

I hope you'll bare with me as I try to get my online life back in order. 

(BTW, I can't type on a desktop due to my arm – I have to have a laptop on my lap in order to type.  Seeing as I've moved into full time photographer-mode, it would be so much easier and better if I could work on a full size, super smart, desktop computer, but sadly that's not an option.)

Getting a new laptop computer may sound exciting, but unexpected expenses are not exciting at all when you have two kids in college at the same time.

Just sayin' ….

The Charles River, Boston, MA  Fall 2011

I did manage to upload the photos from my trip, but it took over three hours with my sort-of-bandaged computer.  I also had to juggle while standing on one foot, balancing in mid-air, all at the same time in order to make the upload work.

Breakfast at a neighborhood bakery, Boston, MA.

Despite the lack of sleep, the steroid-induced jumpiness, the broken computer …

I'm still on a bit of a Boston high.

It was so beautiful, and I crammed activities into every waking moment while I was there.  

Girls just want to have fun, right?

Fall colors, Boston, MA.

I couldn't get enough of the pretty New England leaves!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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In Transit

I'm on my way back home ….

Here's a look at my "last meal" in Boston. 

Sorry it's so dark – it's an unedited iPhone photo, taken inside a dark restaurant.

It was a "Lobster Seafood Fest for Two," but it could have fed at least five.  It included lobster, clams, mussels, corn on the cob, potatoes … and probably other things I'm too tired to remember.

My daughter has abundant leftovers in her fridge for dinner tonight.

It seems like I ate my way through Boston.

Oh wait, I think I did ….

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Still in Boston, Still Have Effed Up Computer

My computer is still jacked up, and apparently will be at least until Tuesday afternoon.  (Assuming the nice Apple folks are able to fix it …!)

It did let me upload a few iPhone photos, but none from my "real" camera.

Yesterday morning I had coffee and a brioche in a quaint little neighborhood bakery with my daughter.  After some decadent yumminess, we walked through Beacon Hill because it's the pure definition of CHARMING, and I can't get enough of the OLD and the CUTE.

(I'll have photos for you if I ever, ever, am able to upload photos again!)

Have I mentioned I've been walking 400 bazillion miles per day?  

(And blisters on top of blisters – have I mentioned that??)

From Beacon Hill, we took the T (subway) to MIT.  (Yes, I do have a Charlie card for the week – thank you very much Bostonians!)

I don't know WHY I asked to see MIT, but I'm so glad I did.

Self portrait.

The above is an uncropped, unedited, self portrait I took in the reflection of a really funky metal building at MIT yesterday.

I took a lot of photos at MIT.  The engineers there apparently pride themselves on designing funky architecture – a photographer's delight!

After MIT, I went on to Harvard Square for the primary purpose of visiting L.A. Burdick Chocolate.  It's my daughter's favorite chocolate shop and she was quite insistent I visit.


Everything is cute here – bakeries, chocolate shops, florists, restaurants.  Boston exudes charm.

And coldness.

Brrr …!

I caved in and bought a jacket yesterday after I returned downtown.

Oh, yes I did.

It isn't really a "coat."

It's a casual, short, black, sort of fleece (?) jacket – and it's warm, but not bulky.  It wouldn't be nearly warm enough for a Boston winter, but it will see me through the rest of my visit.  It wasn't expensive by coat/jacket standards.  I'll be able to use it in the evenings at home, and it's casual enough for cool weather high school baseball games too.

Jackets don't help the problem of a cold nose though.  I know it isn't that cold yet by east coast standards, but seriously people – don't your noses fall off?

Can I just add –

I've never seen so many jackets/coats in my entire life as I've seen during my first four days in Boston?  And boots!  Who knew there were so many kinds of boots?  There are thousands of different kinds of boots!  I'm just amazed by it.  I keep pointing jackets/coats and boots out to my daughter.  She nods patiently and says I know Mom.


I have so much more to tell you, but I'm going to attempt to publish this now.  

Have I mentioned I hate computer problems?

P.S.  My arm hurts like hell.  Teeth clenching *&%#$-ing pain.  I began my "emergency" course of steroids today.  I'd like to whine more about the intensity of my pain, but I'll spare you instead I'll pop another pain pill.

P.P.S.  I have one more full day here.  And then a red-eye flight.  Whose idea was the red-eye flight?  It's going to suck. 

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Feeling Fallish!

Boston has been spectacular so far!

My laptop, however, is not well … at all.

I have an Apple Genius appointment made for next Tuesday when I return.  In the meantime, I've been unable to upload and/or access most of my photos.  Sometimes I can get into certain programs (like the one I use to write to you), and sometimes I can't.  

It's extremely frustrating – especially since I'm not at home and don't have time to deal with it while I'm here. 

I'll try to get posts up whenever I can, but if I'm absent you'll know it's due to *&$% technical difficulties.

So …

I haven't stopped for more than a minute since I've been here.  I have so much to tell you about – beautiful trees, crisp fall weather, witches and graveyards in the town of Salem, amazing food, amazing blisters (!!) from walking miles upon miles upon miles.

My arm is (of course) in a pain flare-up, as it always is when I travel.

It's pretty bad.

The good news is – I've had worse flare-ups and I'm doing my best to keep this one from sending me completely over the edge.  (If it's worse today, I'll begin the "emergency" steroids I have with me.)

Weather-wise …

I'm not freezing – but it does get pretty damn cold when the wind whips up.

And at night.

And in the morning.

It's fun though.

Boston has so much charm.

The trees are beautiful!

(Boston itself is still green, but the trees outside of the city are GORGEOUS.)

The city, at night, takes my breath away.

I'm taking a lot of photos, even though I can't upload them yet due to my computer technical difficulties.

I feel so fallish because it's SO fallish here.

Fall in a basket.

I can't wait to tell you more about this trip,

And share photos too!

Hang in there with me –

In a few days my laptop will be fixed or I'll be forced to get a new one!

(May the Computer Gods have mercy!)

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Boston Arrival

Sheesh, it's a long trip from Orange County, to LAX airport, to Boston's Logan International airport, to my daughter's place!

Especially, by the way, when you have an insane taxi driver who can't speak, communicates in evil grunts, and drives his cab with all the windows down (brrrr!!) at night – hoping you don't notice the overpowering smell of URINE in his cab.


I just got here, so here's a photo from last time I visited Boston:

Beacon Street, Boston, MA

I'll have more for you soon!

© Twenty Four At Heart