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I had plans for a creative give-away today.

I want to thank all of you for hanging in there with me during my fifteen days without a computer.  (But who's counting, right?)

I'm still doing a give-away, but the creativity part of the deal has been put on hold.


•  I didn't anticipate having to go up to L.A. for a very lengthy day yesterday.  (They really need to develop a high speed train from The OC . . . because SHEESH the traffic!)

•  I didn't anticipate having to take Briefcase to the hospital for some testing before dawn this morning.  (He's fine – his doc just had an early morning opening for some routine testing.)

•  I didn't anticipate having my bionic arm re-programmed incorrectly by Romeo's replacement this week.  (Romeo has left me … how could he?  Even funnier, Dr. Painless asked me if I felt like a jilted lover. Ha!)

Incorrect re-programming means my bionic arm isn't working – so ouch!!  Also, I suddenly have to re-arrange my week for a second trip for reprogramming.  Currently I get an error message informing me I've been corrupted … which would be hilariously funny if I wasn't in pain.  

Also?  It's much more fun having Romeo stimulate me vs. his female replacement.

•  I didn't anticipate heading into a pain flare-up midday yesterday.  Such perfect timing since my electrodes are down and can't offset the pain.

Can YOU be creative while on Percocet?  Because I just see blurrrrrrrr…!

I will be doing some posts on potential gift ideas as the holidays approach.  If possible, I'll tie in a few more give-aways in the process.

For today,

I'm going to keep it simple but useful.

I'm offering up TWO $50 Amazon gift cards.

You can order almost anything from Amazon … books, music, food, home furnishings, cameras, photography equipment, etc.!!  You can also re-gift them for the holidays if you'd like.

I don't do "complicated" give-aways so here are my very simple rules:

  •  Every comment you leave counts as an entry.

  •  You may enter as many times as you'd like.

  •  You're only eligible to win ONE of the two gift cards.

  •  I'll pick the winners using Random Integer software.

  •  Entries will be closed at 8 pm Pacific time today, Thursday.

  •  Winners will be announced on Friday.

(Spam comments will be deleted and disqualified.)

Any comment will do, but if you're having trouble coming up with ideas –

I'd love to hear what's on your wish list for the holidays this year.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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It’s a Beachin’ Life

* I'll be doing a give-away tomorrow!  Be sure to check back. *

We had rain here last Sunday.  It was kind of nice.  Briefcase lit a fire in our fireplace and I spent the day getting caught up on a lot of "inside" things while he worked.

We have our first (supposedly) big storm arriving on Friday.

For many of you, this would be no big deal.  A big storm for us is probably small by the rest of the world's standards.  But, we don't get that many storms so …..


I've been planning accordingly.  I've been ignoring most of my responsibilities and getting as much photography time as I can while the weather is nice.

And yes, that has caused a bit of a pain flare-up. 

And yes, I did see Dr. Painless yesterday.  I'll tell you more about that in a different post. 

For now,

Here are a few of the shots I've taken in preparation for rain ….

(Because when it rains, Orange County-ites tend to hibernate and avoid the outdoors at all costs.)

Beach cave at Treasure Island

I love the above cave.  Why are we drawn to holes in rocks??  Is it something left over from caveman days?

There are still plenty of flowers blooming here …

Yellow flowers

Aren't the flowers pretty?  I'm not sure what kind of flower they are, but I saw them right near the sand.  They're so bright and cheery.

The birds of paradise are also blooming like crazy right now.  There's orange and purple everywhere in Orange County, or so it seems.  I have better photos, but this one is right in front of me so I'll share it:

Bird of Paradise

We've had some unbelievably beautiful evenings too.  Many times the sunsets are so intense, so vivid, I feel like everyone will think I've completely saturated the color on the photos I take of them.

"This looks fake even though it's real," I mutter to myself.

Do you mutter to yourself?

I seem to mutter a lot, especially as I edit photos.

And, although I do love spectacular sunsets …

I love "dusk" at the beach just as much.

Dusk at an Orange County beach

Make sure to visit tomorrow so you have a chance to win my give-away!!

© Twenty Four At Heart 

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Treasure Island

I don't want anyone to know about Treasure Island.

I'm going to tell YOU about it, but let's keep it our little secret.

When I need alone time, when I want a romantic walk with Briefcase, when I have friends in town visiting …

Basically, anytime

Treasure Island is where I hang out a good deal of the time.

Laguna Beach

Treasure Island is in Laguna Beach, but a lot of people who visit Laguna never discover it.

(And that's perfectly fine with me.  Please note the empty beach in the above photo.)

The beach is pristine; the water is clear.  It's so much prettier than most Southern California beaches.

Tidepool Educator

There are hot men who work at Treasure Island also.

Having grown up on Southern California beaches, I laughed out loud when I first saw a Tidepool Educator.

For someone who has lived on the beach for years, the concept is funny.


A lot of people who visit here know little or nothing about our beaches – especially about preserving them.  Visitors think it won't hurt to tromp all over the tidepools and/or to take home a "souvenier" from them.

Wrong people!

If everyone takes home one or two beautiful shells and a couple hermit crabs as pets – soon there are none left.

So …

The Montage Resort is providing funding for the Laguna Ocean Foundation to monitor the nearby tidepools.  A Tidepool Educator answers questions, provides information about the plants and critters living there, and keeps people from doing anything to destroy the marine habitat.

Have I mentioned the Montage Resort really wants to invite me as a guest so I can tell you about their beautiful resort?  No?

Well, I'll work on that ….

Treasure Island, Laguna Beach

In the meantime, 

If you're trying to track me down –

There's probably a very good chance you'll find me (and my camera) at Treasure Island.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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I’m as Normal as I’m Going to Get

I spent a good chunk of my weekend getting my computer set up the way I want.  It might not be 100% there yet, but I'm getting close.

I even managed to carve out some photography time this weekend.

I'm so happy to be getting my "life" back to normal now.  I'm sure a lot more efficient when I have a laptop – especially a speedy one.  (Any computer is speedy compared to the one I was working on these last few weeks!)

Unrelated aside: I've had several requests from people wishing to purchase photos.  I haven't uploaded any for awhile.


I'm in the process of working on a re-design for Twenty Four At Heart.  (Actually, I'm working with a web designer – she's doing the hard part!)  Part of the re-design involves streamlining the photo purchasing piece of this puzzle.  I'm making some big improvements.  I want things to be easier for you, and hopefully simpler for me.  

If you feel like you absolutely "must" have a particular photo right now, let me know and I'll make arrangements for you.  Otherwise, I'm holding off on uploads until the re-design is complete.  (Having no computer for a couple weeks slowed down everything.)

My son went to his high school homecoming dance over the weekend.  I was asked by a few of the kids to be "their" photographer.  I almost strangled an obnoxious OC mom in the process, but I used amazing restraint and didn't.  

Homecoming photo.

Pretty shoes.

The above photo is my son's date.  All the girls had really high heels on.  Ouch?!

As soon as I was done with homecoming photos, I drove straight to the beach.  I arrived with just moments to spare.

Tripod set up on the beach for sunset.

Two women approached me as I was taking photos of the sunset.

"Are you going to take a photo of the sunset?" one of them asked.


"Do you think I should?" asked my Smart-Ass Self.

"It's very beautiful tonight," nodded one of the women as she eyed my camera mounted on a tripod staring straight at the sunset.

I nodded back at her.

"Sounds like a good idea," I responded.  I continued clicking away then, ignoring her.  She hovered at my side for quite awhile.  Eventually, the two women wandered a few feet away, sat on some rocks, and watched me take photos until the sun set.  Once in awhile, they'd give me helpful tips like, "Did you get THAT?!"

Sunset at the beach on Saturday evening.  (Photo titled:  You reach for me; I melt into you.)

"Yes," I'd answer.

Yes, I did ….

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Sometimes, the simple things are what we treasure most.

I found some cute little "olive oil" jars while in Boston.

They make ideal vases for single stem flowers.

White flower in vase

It's amazing how something so simple can be so beautiful.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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The Charles

I thought you might enjoy a few more shots from my trip to Boston.

On my last day visiting, I went for a long walk along the Charles River. 

The Charles River

It was so beautiful!

I loved seeing the buildings reflected in the river.

(Sheesh, it's so nice to be able to share photos again ….)

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Light at the end of the Tunnel

I (dare I say it??) have a working computer again!!


Laguna Beach sunset.

I got it back from Apple last night.

They, successfully, transferred my contacts, email accounts, and music from my old laptop.


I still have to transfer Lightroom and Photoshop over before I have access to my photos.  I can now check email, hop on Twitter and write …

But I still can't edit photos.

(The sunset photo you see above is one I had saved in iPhoto for some strange reason.  (I don't usually use iPhoto.)

Anyway ….

I hope to be somewhat "back together" by Monday.

Thank you for hanging in there with me.

I hope you have a great weekend!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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And Then I Won an Award …

I've awarded myself the First-Ever-Award-For-Being-A-Blogger-Without-A-Computer.

I'm on Day #15 of blogging without a computer.

I do deserve an award for that, don't I?

I have so much to get you caught up on if Apple ever returns my laptop to me.

(Assuming, of course, it actually works once I get it!)

The most frustrating part of this entire ordeal is the fact I can't upload photos.

I feel so out of touch with all of you.

Are things going well in your life?

Are you having a good week?

I've decided I'll do some sort of giveaway next week, assuming I have a working computer by then.

It will be my thank you for your patience.

You've been SO much more patient than I've been.

I've turned into a three year old again, ranting and stomping my feet in frustration.

I think I'll put myself into self-imposed exile until I can act more mature.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Steve Jobs Dies and Apple Goes to Hell??

I want to preface today's post by saying I have been, for quite some time, one of the biggest Apple fans on earth.  In addition, although I never met Steve Jobs the man; I was a huge fan of Steve Jobs the genius.

That being said …

My MacBook died on my first day in Boston, two weeks ago.

I work on the Internet – I need a computer.

By laptop standards, I know my MacBook (at three years of age) was old.

(As an aside:  Yes, my laptop was backed up.  I backup my computer consistently.  I also store all my photos on an external hard drive.)

I waited six days to see an Apple Genius because my trip back east didn't allow for me to do so earlier.

For six days my frustration grew.

I'm a writer who couldn't write.

I'm a photographer who couldn't upload and/or edit photos.

I'm in the middle of a site re-design, and I'm unable to communicate with my web designer.

I have companies negotiating advertising space with me, and I can't respond to them.

My hands have been tied behind my back.

I don't blame Apple for any of the above.

But …

When I finally did meet with an Apple Genius, six days into utter frustration, I was given incorrect information.  He told me I could upgrade the RAM on my laptop and solve a lot of my problems.  He was wrong.  My MacBook, it turns out, was too old to be upgraded.

He should have known better.  After all, he had my computer right in front of him and was "examining" it.  You don't expect a "Genius" to give out incorrect information.

Another computer-less day went by until I learned I was given incorrect information.  (The Genius had referred me to a separate company for RAM upgrading.  They were the ones to inform me my laptop was not able to be upgraded.) 

I then made a second appointment with Apple, during which my first "Genius's" information was corrected and I was informed I was stuck in computer-less hell.

A few hours later, I ordered a new MacBook Pro from Apple.  I was told I needed to place the order online because the stores don't carry MacBook Pros with upgraded RAM.  

Ok then.  

I had to borrow a laptop to place my order.


When the order was finally placed, I was told the computer would ship from China and take about a week to arrive.

Days went by –

Days I could not work, could not write, could not edit or upload photos.

The laptop arrived a couple days early.  


I was ecstatic.  At this point, I had been without a computer for TWELVE DAYS.

I opened the shiny new MacBook Pro.  I couldn't WAIT to have a working laptop again.  I had so much work to get caught up on!  It asked me if I would like to transfer the info from my old computer to my new one via "Migration Assistant."

I pressed "yes."

Both laptops immediately became inoperable as Migration Assistant said it was "transferring information." 

Information migrated/transferred all day on Day#12 and Day #13.  

Soon I was back in the Apple store.

"Is it normal for Migration Assistant to take two full days?" I asked the Apple employee.

(I had been researching online and the "worst" case of Migration Assistant I had heard of had only taken one and a half days.)

"Yes," smiled the Apple employee.

Then he added, "It should be done running in the next two to three hours."  He also informed me it would have gone faster if I had bought a "firewire," but at this point it would be done shortly.

Twenty four hours later, (Day #14 without a computer), I was back in the Apple store, again requesting help.

"Migration Assistant is still running," I informed the Apple employee.  "It's been three full days – I need a working computer.  What do I do?  Should I buy a firewire?"

"A firewire will do you no good," Apple employee #Infinity told me.  "Your old computer won't work with a firewire."

::  Frustration  ::

Incorrect "Genius" information again?

Honestly, I've never been told the wrong thing by an Apple Genius prior to the last two weeks.  Now?  Every Apple employee/Genius has a different story, a different (incorrect) solution to my computer woes.

 On Wednesday morning I was back at Apple, yet again.  Two different Apple employees (one was a "Genius") got involved discussing "my" situation.   After a lengthy discussion, I was given instructions to buy an ethernet cable and told what to do.  (Apple doesn't carry ethernet wires, in case you're wondering.  Buying an ethernet cable involved going to a separate store.)

The Apple employees assured me my data would be migrated to the new computer "in no time" once I connected an ethernet cable.  

By noon I was back AGAIN (my third visit in 24 hours) to report the migration via ethernet cable had NOT worked either.  I was passed to three different employees.

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit it, by the time I was re-explaining "my" situation to the third Apple employee of that visit (the sixth of the day), I started crying right in the store.  My tears were tears of pure, unbridled, frustration.


This is how I spent my birthday – in Apple HELL.

"It's okay," the employee told me.  "I've cried in an Apple store before too – computer problems are so frustrating."

(By the way, my closest Apple store is a half hour drive away … I drove there and back twice on my birthday and countless times in the last week.  Apple – you owe me hours of my life back.)

The final solution?

In complete frustration, I told Apple Employee #Infinity I don't want to see either laptop again until the migration of data has been completed.  I left both computers with Apple.  They tell me I'll have both computers back (with the data migrated) by close of business on the evening of DAY #FIFTEEN.

And oh yes, they're charging me $99 to do the migration, but at this point I don't even care.  I've never been so computer-frustrated in my life.

Happy Birthday to me.

P.S.  This post was brought to you by a laptop I borrowed for one hour.

P.P.S.  I'm sorry Steve.  I hope this post didn't make you roll over in your grave – or rise from the dead to yell at incompetent Apple employees.  (Which I TOTALLY think you should do!!)

© Twenty Four At Heart 

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Alive and Frustrated

I'm just checking in to let you know I didn't die (yet).

My new laptop arrived early on Monday.  (I was not expecting it to arrive until the end of the day on Thursday.)


What great customer service!

I turned it on and it asked if I wanted "Migration Assistant" to move everything from my old computer to the new one.

"Apple is SO fantastic!" I thought as I told my new laptop YES.

Those Apple people are damn clever!

Press ONE button and everything from the old computer goes to the new computer.



But, they should have warned me Migration Assistant would run for DAYS making both my new, and OLD, computer inoperable until it's done.  (I'm on Day #2 right now … how many days will it take??)

And yes, there is a better way.

If I had known what a huge PROCESS this whole migration was, I would have bought a firewire and I could have done it in a fraction of the time.  Instead, Migration Assistant is working wirelessly on my crappy home Internet system and it could not be any slooooooower.

I stopped into the Apple store and asked them if it's normal for it to take so long.  The answer? 

Well, yes, if you're stupid enough to attempt it wirelessly.

Ahem … said The Blonde Woman.

(Ok, ok, they might not have said stupid – but!)

In any case, I borrowed a computer just so I could let you know what's going on and why I've been unusually quiet.

Tomorrow, WEDNESDAY, is my birthday!

I'm turning Twenty Four (at Heart) – again!!

All I want for my birthday is Migration Assistant to finish (successfully) and allow me to use my new laptop.

I'll be back as soon as I have a working computer – !!

© Twenty Four At Heart