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Beach Warning Sign

It was a busy day at the beach yesterday.

The tourists have arrived for the summer.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Last Night

Last night was Girl's Night Out with a few friends.


I've been forbidden from showing you most of the photos.

I've been forbidden from showing you the ridiculous text messages and videos that were recorded.

Did you know, the more tequila you drink ….

The cuter your waiter becomes?

Not that I thought so,

But maybe some of my friends got out of hand?

I always behave like an angel.

It should be my new blog name:  Twenty Four Is An Angel.

When we go out in the evenings here, we're often outdoors sitting on patios, etc.

When the evening gets cool, the restaurants start up their outdoor heaters.

It makes for a perfect evening.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Edging Back to Life

I can finally say I'm improving and coming out of this latest pain flare-up.

I apologize for being so out of it lately.

Two flare-ups in one month – it has sucked.

(It's like being vaporized and then trying to put your own molecules back together again.)

Since readership is always lighter on Fridays, I'm going to keep today's post light too.  

•  A few of you requested I put yesterday's sunflower photo up for sale.  It's now in the "2011" album on my photo site.  Sorry I didn't think to upload it sooner.  (Remember, photos are also available as standouts or on canvas – please contact me via email if that is your preference.)

•  RC, my college-aged son, is home for the summer.  He loves to cook and he's an excellent cook.  It drives me a little crazy though because he's always grabbing the steak knives to use as paring knives.  I decided to fix the problem:

So far, my little sticky-note has worked like magic!

•  Yesterday afternoon I grabbed an iced coffee at Starbucks.  While I was there my favorite barista told me about a "known" child molester (three time offender with girls under the age of 13) who has been coming in every morning.  Due to Megan's Law, apparently everyone in his neighborhood is aware of who he is.  I'm over the age of 13, my daughter is over the age of 13, and I'm completely creeped out.  Why do repeat offenders get out of prison?

•  I took my iced coffee and sat on a bench by the lake.  It was such a nice day I thought I'd read email, etc., out in the sunshine.  

Not a bad location for a Starbucks!

•  While I was there, this young lady came by to say hi to me:

•  She was followed by this guy:


•  I'm spending this morning working with a lawyer on matters regarding Twenty Four At Heart.  Just writing those words kind of blows me away.  I never could have imagined when I began this little blog it would evolve to the point of needing its legal interests tended to.

•  Now that I'm coming off my most recent pain flare-up, I find myself really looking forward to the weekend.  I've been out of the pool, and away from my camera, for a week.  (Thank goodness for my phone camera – it's prevented total photography withdrawals.)  I can't wait to get back to the things which bring me joy in life.  I will probably start off swimming using my legs only, and shooting photos with my lightest lens.

But still …

I can't wait.

Life is not worth living if you take away all the things that bring you joy.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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I'm going with scattered thoughts today.  (Scattered because my brain is making adjustments to new pain meds and I feel very scatter-brained.)

•  I'm almost halfway through my Invisalign treatment.  At this point, I'm very happy with both the process and the results.

I warned you.  I'm on drugs!


•  I sent a package to Boston (for my daughter's birthday) via UPS "two-day-air."  It was sent over a week ago and it still hasn't arrived.  UPS has the package, but can't seem to get it delivered.  I've never had bad UPS service before.  I'm beyond frustrated at this point.  I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall every time I try to get the damn package delivered.  

•  I ran into a woman I know at the mall a few days ago.  I didn't recognize her.  She had a facelift, but her face FELL.  I've never seen such a strange look.  I can't figure out HOW it happened.  I still can't get her face out of my head either.  


It's haunting me.  

She used to be so pretty.  Wrinkles would look better on her than the FaceFALL she got.  If she hadn't come up to me and started talking, I wouldn't have even realized it was her.

•  When/If you're having a bad day, get on the Damn You Auto Correct! website.  Click on the "Best of DYAC" tab.  You will find it impossible not to laugh.

•  Here's a recent photo I took in a public bathroom.

Why did I take that photo?

I don't even know ….

It gives you a good look at how I take photos with my bum arm though.  Left arm/hand holds the camera/phone up.  Right/damaged arm has a permanent slope down to it.  It works okay from my hand to my elbow so without any movement to the top part of my arm, I manage to click the shutter/press the button.


•  Here's another.  This one I took so I could show you maternity clothes are back in style for non-pregnant women:

Please excuse PR's unmade bed, laundry basket, and general mess behind me.  (He's a teen – need I say more?) 

* Both of these photos were taken with a mirror.  One person commented it LOOKS like I'm holding the camera with my right hand, but everything is reversed.  It is truly my left hand holding the phone.  (Note the thicker ring on that hand?  That's my wedding ring – left hand!)

•  Did you read the recent Time magazine article?

I think Arnold was the pig-of-the-week when it published.

•  Several of you asked if the bike/flip flop photo is for sale.  It's on my website (Beach 2011) both in color and in black and white.

•  Speaking of photos, I've been using the PhotoCard app to send my daughter occasional (snail mail) postcards.  It's fun because the postcard arrives with one of my photos on it making it more meaningful to both of us.  So far, I've just sent her sunflower shots because they're her favorite flower.  She loves getting "real" mail and is planning to frame a few of the sunflower postcards together.   (They're big.  Around 8.5" x 5.5" I think.)

It's a fun, cheap, way to make someone's day.

OK, was that scattered enough for one day?

I think it was ….

© Twenty Four At Heart

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My Best Is Not Good Enough

Yesterday, on my way home from seeing Dr. Painless I snapped this photo with my phone:

It's such a pretty drive to, and from, his office.

I really should have stopped at the beach for a few minutes, but I had too many things to do.

I'm starting some new pain medications (Lyrica and Dilaudid) as soon as I hit "publish" on this post.  I was afraid to take them and then try to write, because I don't know how they'll affect me.

I might fall asleep.

I might start giggling.

I might not make any sense.

In any case, I didn't want to experiment on you.

I have a confession to make.

I started crying when I went to see Dr. Painless.

It's not like me at all.

I've never cried in front of a doctor before.

I did cry on The Torturer, but he was inflicting inhumane amounts of pain on me, so it was different.  (Also, he was my physical therapist – not my doctor.)

I was just talking to Dr. Painless and I started crying and couldn't stop.  I'm just so tired of living in pain.  I'm so tired of the ups and downs and nonstop roller coaster ride which make up a life of chronic pain.  I've had two bad flare ups in the last month …

And yesterday, when I was with Dr. Painless, I just fell apart.

I felt so bad.



Sorry to put him through my falling-apart-episode.

I wasn't going to write about it, but two things struck me.

The first thing was, I know a lot of my readers suffer with chronic pain too.  It helps me to write about the things I go through, but I've also learned it helps other people too.  It's nice sometimes to know you aren't the only person in the world who feels this way.  I'm probably not the only person ever to fall apart in front of their doctor.

(Somebody?  Anybody?)

The second thing that struck me was a comment I got yesterday.  One of YOU mentioned the fact I have to think about my "every move" and how it will impact me/my pain level.  

Yes, I do.  

That is exactly what my life is like.  I have to think about every single thing I do with my arm/upper right quadrant of my body and decide whether or not I think I have the strength, the capability, the function to do something.  

Sometimes I'm wrong.  Sometimes I drop things when I try to carry them because my arm simply gives out – even with the lightest of items in my hands.  One second I'm holding something (a letter?  an empty glass?), and the next it's suddenly on the floor.

It never seems to happen at a convenient time either.

Go figure.

I also have to think about whether each minor movement will be "the thing" to set off my damaged nerves and send me into a flare up.  Of course, there's usually no way to predict that.  I might do something one day and be okay.  Doing the exact same thing on a different day might send me into a five day flare-up.

You know what doesn't help?

It doesn't help when people get angry at me for dropping things.

And people do.

It doesn't help when people blame me for not doing better or being stronger.

And yes, people blame me with both their attitude and their words.

It doesn't help to have people impatient with me, or getting upset with me, when I have to ask for help.

Both of these things happen a lot.

I hate having to ask for help.

Hate it.

(Maybe because I'm made to feel really terrible about asking.)

I also sometimes wonder why it never occurs to those same people to offer help with tasks involving my arm without waiting to be asked.

I mean, the people who know me best know I'm living with a disability.

They know, if I'm using my arm – it hurts.

They know, the more I have to use my arm – the more pain I will be in.

They know this, and yet ….

Are they in denial?

Are they resentful of the inconvenience my injuries have caused them?

Are they self absorbed?

Are they thoughtless?

Are they just waiting around to see how much I can endure?

Maybe they are.

All I know is, I'm doing the best I can.

Every day with pain is a challenge.  

Every day with pain is a struggle.

Every day I make an effort to do as much as I can, the best I can.

I need support emotionally and physically.

Too often, for one reason or another, support is not there.

The pain and the disability are bad enough.

I shouldn't have to also deal with people making me feel like crap for a situation I never chose and have no control over.

No one should have to live their life this way.

But I do ….

© Twenty Four At Heart

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I Lied

I know I told you I'd have a "real" post for you today, but …

Pain flare-up.

I'm sorry; I'm really hurting and pain (along with the accompanying pain medication) sucks all my thoughts right out of my head.

Dr. Painless has been on a safari in South Africa for a few weeks.  (You might recall I couldn't reach him last time I went through this.)  He's back now and I'm going to see him today.  I guess the pain business is very good.  I wish I could go on an African safari … camera in hand.  In fact, before he left, I hinted he might want to take me along as his personal photographer.  Instead, he asked me for a few tips on a new camera he bought.


The plan today is to change the pain meds I use for these awful flare ups.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?  I hope it helps.  I mainly hope he gives me something I can function on.  I hate drugs that make me feel like a slow-motion-snail.

My arm has been acting up for unknown reasons the last few days.  I honestly can't think of a thing I did to provoke it.  But then, I did do some cooking yesterday … chopping, etc. for a picnic salad and I just can't do that.  It sent me to my room in tears over the edge.

My inability to do simple tasks is something I've never accepted.  It just pisses me off to no end.  I think to myself, "This would be no big deal to anyone else."  Then I attempt things which are simple for everyone else.  And then I curl up in a ball in pain and sob whimper.

Anyway …

The moral of the story is to avoid cars which barrel through stop signs and/or red lights and fuck up your life.

On a happier note,

Look what I saw:

Watching dolphins frolic is something I've never gotten "used to." 

It's always amusing, always a delight … always a reminder of the joy in life.

These are the types of things I try to keep focused on.

I'm surrounded by beauty,

I never take it for granted.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Lost in Laziness

I'll be back tomorrow with a "real" post.

So far, my holiday weekend has consisted of a combination of family time and pure laziness.  It has been WONDERFUL.

Beach, pool, beach ….

Isn't the water so pretty in the above photo?

I'm so lucky to live here.

I went to see Hangover II yesterday.

I did a little summer clothes shopping for my two boys too.  They'd outgrown everything in their closets.

(Did you know shorts for guys have gone shorter and tighter?  Welcome back to the eighties!)

I've been reading, and enjoying, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  It's very appropriate subject matter for Memorial Day when so many of us are remembering, and feeling thankful for, those who have served our country.

I watched Gran Torino via Netflix one night.

Sometimes, it's so nice to turn off the real world and all the responsibilities that go with it.

I hope you're enjoying some down time too!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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So What Are YOU Doing This Weekend?

It's a holiday, three-day, weekend here in the United States.

Four out of my five family members are home.

There is NO high school baseball scheduled.

I'm so thrilled to have three days free for pool and beach time.


What are you doing this weekend?

© Twenty Four At Heart

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I have so many photo apps on my iPhone, it's ridiculous.

And yet …

It's so fun to play with them.

I love this shot of a pelican.

It's certainly not "perfect," but not bad considering it was taken with a fraction of a second to compose it.

He was sure a big bird.  

It was also very kind of him to oblige me by flying so close overhead.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Wanting Opinions (Please!)

I took a photo a couple weeks ago.

You're shocked, aren't you?

I love it for assorted reasons and I'm considering having it framed.

(I, honestly, don't have photos plastered everywhere in my house – I swear.)

I processed the photo first with a faded, vintage, feel to it.


The nice thing about the photo, in color, is you can clearly see the water behind the bike.  You know the photo was shot by the ocean.

Even though I took this photo in Orange County, it reminds me (very much) of my college days in Santa Barbara when a bike was my main mode of transportation.

(By the way, I had a man approach me as I was taking the above photo wanting to know WHY I was taking it.  He asked ask me a zillion questions.  I don't think he could wrap his brain around the fact I was interested in something like empty flip flops sitting by an old bike.)

Next, I processed the photo again.  This time I used black and white, but added a vintage tint.


Overall, I think I like the black and white photo more.

But …

Can you tell the black and white is at the beach?

Should I go with color?

Which do you like better?


I need help!


Thank you, in advance!

P.S.  For the wall I'm considering hanging it on, it doesn't make any difference if I go with color or not.

© Twenty Four At Heart