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OK, This Didn’t Happen in Orange County

Briefcase sent me this article yesterday.

I have no words so I'm just going to copy it verbatim here for you to read.

It's an article written by Celia Rivenbark who is a columnist in Wilmington, North Carolina.

I hope the type is big enough for you to read ….

If not?

It's worth pulling out a magnifying glass!

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Megan Mariah Barnes is Florida's 1st bikini-shaving-related traffic offender of the year.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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A Horse is a Horse, Of Course ..

I feel like I haven't stopped for a second these last few weeks.

Spring is always a busy time of year at our house because it's baseball season.  My son plays baseball year round, but in the spring the schedule becomes chaotic   insane nonstop.

Anyway ….

Yesterday I had a morning photo shoot with a horse.

Two horses, actually.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned Money Town has its own stables and a lot of equestrian trails?  Along with The Real Housewives, there are horsey people living in Money Town too.

This is Rio:

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Isn't he beautiful?

His mane is naturally wavy … it hasn't been braided to get that fancy hot-guy look.

This is (a very affectionate) Austin with his owner:

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They love each other.

I haven't had time to go through all the photos yet, but these two struck me immediately.  I think I'm going to have a hard time narrowing down the best shots, because at first glance there seem to be quite a few special ones.

Getting good horse photos is more difficult than you would think.  Ideally, you want to get a shot with the horses ears UP, but a lot of time the ears are twitching around – first UP and then DOWN.  

And then?  

One ear goes UP while the other ear goes DOWN ….

Well, you get the idea.

Twitchy ears!

I told Rio and Austin's owner I'd like to pay them a few visits so they get used to both me and my camera.  Mainly, I just want to spend more time with them because I fell in love with both of them.

I brought Rio and Austin carrots and apples so they would like me.  (They did.  At least, they liked me as long as I was feeding them!)  Austin is the more curious of the two, and wanted to slobber on check out my camera up close.

Austin accidentally stepped on me.  I was wearing my Nike Free running shoes which means it was pretty much like being barefoot.

It was my fault; Austin didn't even know anything had happened.  Do you know how much a quarter horse weighs?

A lot!  (I think about a thousand pounds?)

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This is an iPhone photo of what I'm quite sure is my broken big (and getting bigger by the second) toe.  It's much more swollen and colorful now than it was when the photo was taken.

But that's okay …

Because guess what?

After all I've gone through, a broken toe is just not a big deal.

Spending a morning with Rio and Austin was worth it.

© Twenty Four At Heart 

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The Most Obnoxious Woman Ever

Yesterday I saw Dr. Painless for the first time in three months.

Can we all say hallelujah and sing hymns?

In the time since my car accident, I've never gone that long without seeing some sort of specialist for my bionic arm/shoulder/blah blah blah injuries.

Whoopee!

We'll ignore the one or two Dr. Painless phone calls that might have taken place over those three months, because having no (!) doctor visits is cause for celebration.

(We'll also ignore the fact that Dr. Painless has decided he needs to see me more frequently again – and that I left his office with SIX new prescriptions.)

Instead of telling you about THAT, I'm going to bitch about The Most Obnoxious Woman Ever.

She was in Dr. Painless's waiting room (or is it Dr. Painless'??  I feel like a snake with me esssses all confused!  Also, I might be on new drugs!)

In any case, she was there and she was LOUD.  It was not her first visit to see Dr. Painless.  She made it very clear to everyone she had been in to see him several times before.

Dr. Painless has a very big waiting room and we all heard about her "painful menstrual cycles" and her lawsuit against her employer who wanted her to work anyway.  She went on, and on, and ON about the lawsuit.

Seriously?

The Most Obnoxious Woman Ever (better known as, TMOWE) would not stop talking for a second.  No one was safe, because everyone could hear her.

In case you were wondering …

SHE HAS PAINFUL MENSTRUAL CYCLES AND SHE JUST CAN'T DO A THING WHEN SHE'S IN PAIN.  ALL SHE CAN DO IS SIT IN HER CHAIR OR STAY IN BED!  IT WAS REALLY HARD JUST TO COME TO THE DOCTOR TODAY BECAUSE SHE'S ON HER PERIOD.

Don't get me wrong, the pain from my car accident (and subsequent bazillion eight surgeries) has made me very empathetic towards people who live with severe pain.  I want to apologize to every single one of them and say, "Forgive me for not fully understanding before what it's really like."

Because you know what?

No one can understand debilitating pain unless they've gone through something really terrible.

But this woman?

I felt like slapping her in the face.

I know, I know … I'm not a very nice person sometimes.

I'm sure she DOES experience pain, and I'm sorry.

But …?

The other people in that waiting room?

Those people have cancer eating them alive, are missing limbs, or have bionic parts.

None of us were feeling love for the woman with cramps.

And please don't write me and tell me how painful your cramps are, because I'm sure they are.

Nonetheless …

I watched the receptionist use every ounce of restraint to deal with The Most Obnoxious Woman Ever.  She nodded noncommittally when TMOWE told her every detail of her lawsuit and even MORE details about her periods.

LOUDLY!

(Have I mentioned The Most Obnoxious Woman Ever was very, very, LOUD?)

Finally, TMOWE was ushered into a room and everyone in the waiting area sighed with relief.

Except?

A few minutes later I was ushered into the treatment room right next to hers.

I would confess to eavesdropping, but I DON'T THINK IT'S CALLED EAVESDROPPING WHEN SOMEONE IS YELLING LOUD ENOUGH FOR THE ENTIRE BUILDING TO HEAR.  (Although, maybe it was eavesdropping when I strained to hear the responses Dr. Painless gave her?)

I might have snickered a little as she went through her entire routine again about her LAWSUIT and her CRAMPS.  

Here's a recap of the rest of their conversation:

TMOWE:  ALSO, MY KNEE HURTS WHEN I HAVE MY MENSTRUAL CYCLE.  

"Your knee?" inquired Dr. Painless.

TMOWE:  YES, MY KNEE – IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I HAVE MY PERIOD.  ALSO, CAN YOU BELIEVE MY LAWYER DIDN'T CONSIDER THIS REAL PAIN??  I'M GOING TO FIRE HIM AND FIND A LAWYER WHO UNDERSTANDS.

"Did you make an appointment with the gynecologist I referred you too?"  Dr. Painless asked.

TMOWE:  I'VE BEEN MEANING TO BUT I'D RATHER COME SEE YOU, DR. PAINLESS.

"You need to call her," Dr. Painless insisted.

And then ….

Dr. Painless told The Most Obnoxious Woman Ever to go for a walk.

I laughed.  (I was in a separate room and I couldn't help myself.)

TMOWE:  I DON'T THINK I CAN WALK.  I CAN'T DO THAT.  I HAVE MENSTRUAL PAIN.

"Do you walk around your house?"  asked Dr. Painless.

TMOWE:  WELL, OF COURSE!  I WALK AROUND MY HOUSE A LOT.

"Did you walk from the parking lot to see me today?" he asked.  

(Aside:  The parking lot isn't right next to the office.)

TMOWE:  YES, BUT MY TOES HURT.

"Your toes?" Dr. Painless asked incredulously.

TMOWE:  MY TOES HURT WHEN I HAVE MY MENSTRUAL CYCLE.

I might have laughed again.

"Your toes probably hurt because you aren't using them.  You need to get some exercise," Dr. Painless answered matter of factly.

TMOWE:  I DON'T LIKE EXERCISE.

"You need to exercise. Try walking around the block when you get home today."

TMOWE:  I DON'T THINK I CAN.

"I think you can."

TMOWE:  … mumble, mumble … TOES!

"Walk past three houses and then come home.  Each day walk a little further. You could benefit with some movement," encouraged Dr. Painless. 

TMOWE:  … silence, mumble, mumble, silence …

The Most Obnoxious Woman Ever had finally been quieted.

Kudos Dr. Painless!

(I didn't even hear her leave.)

 © Twenty Four At Heart 

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Oh Baby Baby Its A Wild World

* Today is a "nature" post.  If you hate the outdoors, come back tomorrow!  (Or go smoke a pack of cigarettes, have a few martinis, and watch a movie – whatever!) *

I was recently talking with a woman in our neighborhood and she commented my backyard is "amazing, it's like a bird sanctuary and wildlife refuge mixed into one."

Indeed it is ….

Our yard backs up to a national forest.  A few large critters are stopped by our fence, but a lot of the others don't really understand where the national forest leaves off and our backyard begins.

Many times I'm too busy running here and there to observe them for long.  Lately, I've been trying to take small breaks to just sit quietly with my camera and watch, shoot (in the photography sense), and enjoy them.

If you've been reading here for long, you already know a lot of hummingbirds hang out in my backyard.  They live here year round, unlike areas with cooler climates.  In fact, we have more hummingbirds than we know what to do with. 

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I love everything about the above photo.  I don't know what it is, exactly, that makes me love it so much – but I do.

Leapin' lizards!

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This lizard jumped the distance down from our fairly high patio step.  I love how his shadow, as he flies through the air, is visible on the patio below him.  Briefcase wants a copy of the Leapin' Lizard photo for his office.  

Why?  

I guess it's a guy thing …??

I think this is a Chipping Sparrow.

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I might be wrong – and if I am, you're welcome to tell me what type of bird it is in my comments section.  Whatever it is, we have a lot of them.  In fact, we have so many birds of varying species in our yard this year, it's sort of ridiculous.  I won't bore you with all of them, but I'm going to keep trying to get decent photos of the hawks and owls.

Remember Phoebe?  She's (surprise!) a Black Phoebe and has a nest with four eggs in our pool grotto.  The eggs still haven't hatched.  (I check every day when I swim.)  I took this photo of her early one morning with my iPhone.  

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Phoebe is almost a member of the family at this point.  One of my readers suggested I get a Phoebe-cam so you could watch her eggs hatch.  If anyone wants to donate one, let me know!

And last, for today anyway, is the wildest animal of all.

Are you ready?

Brace yourself ….

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(Taken with my Canon S95)

Yes, dogs DO smile.

I have a companion with me every single time I'm in the pool.  

I don't think he could be any happier.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Snips and Snails and …? Bits and Pieces

It seems like so much has been going on these last few weeks.

My list of topics to blog about is long.

In an effort to get partially caught up, I'm going to share random snippets today.

I'm always a little random anyway, aren't I?

•  A couple weeks ago, I attended a bridal shower for a woman who used to be the primary babysitter for my kids.  When did she become a woman and not a teen babysitter?  The shower was held in a beautiful home on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.  Here's the view from one of the balconies:

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The shower was an all day affair, and beautifully done.  I dreaded getting dressed up and having to act like a girl girly, but it ended up being a very nice day.  My only regret was not having any time to stroll the island.  I'll have to make another trip to visit sometime soon – it's very close to me.

•  I bought this cookbook for my daughter.  Before mailing it to her, I looked through it and decided I wanted a copy too.  So yes, I did go back and buy a second one for myself.

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The key words on the cover being "easy" and "fast."

•  Remember Problem Kid … the mentally ill college student who was threatening my son before being institutionalized?  And then he was released, but threatening my son from New York?  We've been informed his family has taken him to Peru for treatment.  (Which is odd because didn't his family live in Brazil?  On the other hand ….)

It's a bit of a relief to have him out of the country.  I do hope he gets the treatment he needs.

•  I opened a fortune cookie a couple weeks ago and this is what the fortune said:

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I feel like I should do something with my life now, but I'm not sure what ….

•  I bought a couple flowers to plant for the first time since the car accident.  (So yes, that means in nearly five years!)

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And no, I don't have enough function in my arm to plant them.  They've been sitting around for days now.  I keep batting my eyelashes at Briefcase, but he hates gardening so he ignores me.  I'll let you know if they every get planted.  Sigh!  (Blogging about it today might help …. it's called husband-guilt via the wife's blog.  Not that I would ever resort to tactics like that ….)

•  Mocha enjoys holidays because she gets a few extra table scraps.  Can you tell she's interested?

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And lastly, I have a new avatar for Twitter and Facebook.  I took a quick snapshot in the car Friday night and then edited it with the ColorSplash app.  (Don't worry, Briefcase was doing the driving.)  Telling you about our night out deserves an entire post of its own because celebrities (!) and OC madness might have been involved.

In the meantime, if you're on Twitter or Facebook you'll find me looking like this:

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(The red scarf was my effort to show team support for the Angels baseball team.)

I know, I know … Mocha is much cuter.

© Twenty Four At Heart 

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Waxing Salon Easter Sign

I stopped in at my waxing salon last week.

The sign they had up in the waiting area made me laugh.

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Several people asked me on Twitter …

So for those of you who don't already know –

A Brazilian Bikini Wax is when you are waxed front to back bald ….

A Playboy Bikini Wax is when a small "landing strip" of hair is left in front.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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A (Sort-of) Photography Friday: Photo Walk

Lately, more and more people have been asking me for photography lessons.

Knowing how to do something, and teaching it are two completely different things.

I think I'm becoming a better teacher though.

(Although, with photography there's always a lot more to learn no matter what level you're at.  Trust me, I realize I still have a lifetime of learning ahead of me.)

In any case, I thought you might like to see a few of the photos I took recently while on a combined photo walk/lesson.  In small print under each photo, I've added what aspect of photography I was trying to demonstrate at the time.  (For you non-photographers, just ignore the small print and enjoy the photos.)  

My student was a just-beginning photographer. 

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(Go high or go low vs. taking all your photos at eye level.)

I intentionally let there be a little lens flare in the above photo.  I'm weird like that.

I love the sun-weathered sign.

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(Difficult lighting – what do you do when metering isn't clear-cut?)

Morning light shining under the pier.  No, I didn't alter the colors in this photo … the ocean really did look golden-ish with the morning sun on it.

The exact same photo in black and white …

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(How you post-process a photo can make a huge difference in the emotions a photo evokes.)

Do you, personally, prefer the above photo in color or black and white?

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(Leading lines!)

Railroad tracks on the ocean's edge.

And what good are railroad tracks …

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(Object in motion, approaching you.)

Without a train?

© Twenty Four At Heart

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An Open Letter to an Old Friend

Hello Old Friend.

You'd probably be surprised to hear I think of you quite a lot.

I've been assuming you've moved on with your life and never think of me at all.

But I guess you do remember me, and our friendship, occasionally.

Once in awhile, you check in on me by visiting here at Twenty Four At Heart.

You probably think you're anonymous, reading what I write without me knowing you've stopped by.  After all, I don't know who the majority of people are who stop by to visit. 

My blog stats only show me a few things.  I see the number of people who read Twenty Four At Heart, and I see the cities and countries they visit from, but I don't see names or identifying details.

And all the people who read me on their iPhones, and Blackberries, or other smartphones?

Well, all I really see then is that someone logged on from a phone.

But sometimes …

Sometimes, I see you there, very VISIBLY, on my stat page.

And every single time …

It makes my heart hurt.

I miss you.

Losing you was one of the most painful aspects of the car accident aftermath.

You know …

The aftermath that just keeps on coming, and coming, and never seems to stop.

What do you feel when you visit here?

Are you stopping by because you're curious about my life?

Are you bitter and angry?

Indifferent?

Do you have regrets?

I wonder if, as you read my words, you ever miss me?

There is so much more to me, so much more to my life, than what I write about here.

The biggest pieces of my life are, in fact, the things I can't write about in a public forum.

Those are all the things I used to talk to you about.

But now, instead, once in awhile you read the words I've written.

You look at the photos I've posted.

How much simpler would it be to just pick up the phone and call?

You could hear my voice and ask me, yourself, how I am.

I know for you it would be a very difficult thing to do.

And so, the phone remains quiet …

Always so quiet.

Maybe you're not that surprised I think of you a lot.

Sometimes you still visit Twenty Four At Heart.

Every single time it makes my heart hurt.

I miss you.

© Twenty Four At Heart 

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Phoebe

I changed course on today's post because so many people (here on 24, on Instagram, and on Twitter) are now interested in the babies I'm expecting.

Well, really I'm not (exactly) the one expecting.

I took this photo of Phoebe yesterday so you could meet her:

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(All of today's photos of Phoebe were taken with a Canon 100-400 lens.)

I've named her Phoebe because she's a Black Phoebe and I'm real original like that. (!!)

For those of you who are nature lovers, this is what I know about Black Phoebes.

Black Phoebes live near water.  They eat insects and sometimes small fish.  They build their nests out of mud on the exterior, and dry plant fibers on the interior.  They like to build their nests under things (like cliffs or our pool grotto) so the nest stays hidden from predators.

Here's the current nest for those of you who missed yesterday's post:

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Here's another photo of Phoebe taken yesterday:

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She thinks the noise of my camera shutter is very interesting.  She cocks her head from side to side when the camera clicks.

Why does Phoebe return every year to make a nest in our pool grotto?

Well, our house is near water.  We have a lake right behind our house.  Also, our pool is a "natural" rock pool and animals frequently think it IS natural.  (The pool is actually a salt water pool, unlike the fresh water lake behind our house.)

Also?

I'm really nice to Phoebe.

I try to keep the waterfall off until she's done nesting and the babies have learned to fly.  It makes it easier for her to fly in and out of the grotto if the waterfall isn't running.  Phoebe does not like the waterfall on.  Phoebe is used to me swimming every day, and she's even used to me checking on the progress of her babies.  

(I peek, but I never touch the nest, the eggs, or the babies once they hatch.)

I keep the dogs away from Phoebe, although Mocha did bark at her once yesterday when Phoebe was being a bit of a dog-pest.

Phoebe in flight after being barked at:

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Predators are looming around Phoebe's nest.

Yesterday we had a red shouldered hawk in one of our trees near the pool.

As I do every year, I find myself hoping Phoebe and her hatchlings survive.

© Twenty Four At Heart