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Confessions of a Horrible Blogger

Hello Internet …!

I've been posting daily, but I haven't been a very attentive blogger.

My daughter is visiting from Boston right now and I've found myself doing the bare minimum to get by in the wild-world-of-the-web.  She's only here for a few more days, and then I'll resume a more normal routine.

Several of you have asked to buy photos I haven't yet posted to my photo site.  I apologize for the delay, and promise to get my more recent photos uploaded in just a few days.  I wanted to let you know she's visiting and that's why I've fallen so behind.

She and I have been busy doing girl things.

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Monochrome photo of my daughter looking out at the (Pacific) ocean.

We've been shopping, and visiting, and walking along the beach(es).  She's been very homesick for our beaches.  

Oh, and "good Mexican food" also ….

(burp!)

In a few weeks I'll be making a trip to Boston to visit her.  It's a trip I planned nearly a year ago, long before she scheduled this trip to California.  I'm hoping to see some fall leaves when I go.  We don't get much in the way of fall leaves here.

My big concern is the fact I don't own a coat, and don't want to buy one for such a short visit to the east coast.  Will I freeze my ass off?  Probably.

I just bought some non-sandals in preparation for going east.  She tells me I'd "freeze" if I wore flip flops in Boston at the end of October.

Pffffft ….!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Birds of Prey

Last week, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take the "portrait" of a very special someone.

Owl-1
Owl portrait

The above owl, is one of several birds of prey working at the Montage resort in Laguna Beach.  The Montage is a very fancy, super exclusive, outrageously expensive, drop-dead gorgeous resort here in South Orange County.

The resort spends (supposedly?) around $1,000 per day for a falconer to bring his birds to hang-out (work?) several days each week.

Falcon-1
Falcon

Why?

Having the raptors visibly present at the resort, scares seagulls away.  It's considered a humane way to rid the grounds of the general peskiness, and messiness, of seagulls.

(For those of you who have never spent time by the ocean, seagulls will "steal" food right off your plate, are very messy, and a general nuisance for beach-goers.)

The various birds of prey do get to fly, they aren't always tied to their perches as they are in my photos.  They have constant access to water and are treated well, as they should be.

Guests love to see the birds up close.  They ask the falconer questions about his raptors continuously.  The falconer, and his birds, are a huge point of interest for tourists.  (They've even appeared in newspapers and on TV.)

I loved having the opportunity to photograph these beautiful birds.

Also?

If I was a seagull, I wouldn't want to mess with them either.

Bird_of_Prey-1
Bird of prey

These birds give a whole new meaning to "hotel security."

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Funny Things Happen In My Life

I have the strangest things happen to me.

Last weekend my mom commented her life has been "so calm and normal" compared to mine.  She made the statement as if she were questioning whether or not I'm really her daughter.  I look a lot like her, so I think I am.

My mom shakes her head a lot at me.  How is it possible she has a daughter who swears and acknowledges she's had sex before?  She taught me to be a lady.  Never mind, I've had three kids – I'm supposed to still be a virgin.

My mom's list goes on and on – bemusement and befuddlement.

Speaking of being a lady:

•  Apparently, yesterday a porn site linked to a humor post I wrote (quite awhile ago) about drawing a face on my nipple.  What that post has to do with porn, is beyond me – but hello thousands upon thousands of very disappointed porn readers.  

* Waving to disappointed porn readers worldwide! *

I had no idea so many of you existed ….

Porn readers, that is.

I'm apparently very naive regarding the world's porn habits.

Also?

Hi mom!

•  Yesterday, I also received a tweet from someone I had referred (as a patient) to Dr. Painless:

Hey @twentyfour I could call him Dr. Patience, but I'd rather call him Dr. Hotness! Whoa!!!

Apparently, she finally made it in to see him?

Several more "he's so hot" tweets followed.

Dr. Painless is hot?

Have I been in too much pain to notice?

Possibly I lost my vagina in the car accident along with my arm?

I'll have to check him out next week when I see him.

(And no, I will never be able to look at him the same way again ….)

•  Next, I opened the mail only to find one of my readers had sent me a Magic Magnetic Sex-Button.

No, I don't play with it – I'm supposed to wear it.

(Hello again mom!  It isn't my fault someone sent me a sex button!)  

Hmmmm – maybe I didn't describe it correctly.

I don't wear it there

It's a "magnetic button" I'm supposed to attach to my clothes.

Oh wait …

That still doesn't sound right, does it?

Think:  campaign button, only different.

It's a "joke" button and the reader who bought it instantly thought of me when she came across it.

Ahem …?

(OK, I admit it made me laugh!)

I'm really, really excited by the audience my photos are getting on G+, but along with that comes some very interesting emails and comments.

Like …

* Being told I'm purtee and sexxxxi.

* A man in a middle eastern country told me I had photoshopped lights and reflections into a night photo I took last weekend.  I explained to him, I wouldn't know how to photoshop something like that – the photo is indeed "real."

I'm pretty sure he didn't believe me because then he started leaving me long, deep, meaningful, quotes about life.  (Which I didn't understand, because apparently I'm not quite deep enough.)

Also?

•  People are speaking Bulgarian and other languages to me on G+.  I have to use Google Translate to know whether they're complimenting my photos, criticizing them, or telling me I'm purtee and/or sexxxxi.  

I think it's pretty cool people all over the world are connecting.

But still,

Sometimes I wonder –

As I wave to disappointed porn readers, set the Magnetic Sex-Related Button aside, and pull up a web- based Bulgarian translator …

Is everyone's life like this??

© Twenty Four At Heart

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You Know You’ve Got PMS When …

You know you've got PMS when ….

•  Your "baby bulge" looks enormous, but you haven't given birth in 16 years.

•  You want to argue with an anonymous commenter.

•  You say "ouch" when putting on your own bra.

•  You sigh a lot, because c'mon people get your shit together.

•  Your husband becomes the most annoying human being on earth overnight.

•  You announce, "I'm stressed out," to a total stranger when she walks by.

•  You wake up with a huge zit on the tip of your nose, and another one on your ass.

•  You raid the pantry looking for chocolate at 9 pm.  

•  And 10 pm.  

•  And midnight.

•  Your Golden Retriever looks at you with sad eyes, and sighs, before leaving the room.

•  You tell your teenage son, "It's a good thing I was a teenager once too," in a scoldy voice.

•  You cry when you hear children singing a happy song.

•  You look in the mirror and are convinced you grew five chins since yesterday.

•  You realize forgetting to move one load of laundry into the dryer is a DISASTER.

•  You think about snapping the head off people who give you unsolicited advice.

•  You have a headache, and you know nothing will cure it but chocolate.

•  You decide a total remodel is the only reasonable course of action because your house is suddenly just hopeless.

•  You make a quick grocery store run because you HAVE to have chocolate.

•  You sing sappy sad songs on your iPod while driving, brushing the tears from your eyes.

•  You decide it might be in everybody's best interest if you take some alone time at the beach with your camera ….

Do you have anything to add to my list?

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Orange County, California – Love!

It was hot, but beautiful (!!) here over the weekend. 

I love the month of October in Orange County.

My weekend actually began on Friday afternoon when I had a photography project or two to take care of.  

Orange County was in all her glory for me ….

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Stairway to an Orange County beach.

(I'll tell you a little bit more about my Friday projects in a future post.)

My weekend was marred by only two things:

  1)  My neighbor was doing LOUD construction work at 7:00 a.m. both weekend mornings.  (Really dude?  Also … yawn!)

  2)  I went into a bad pain flare up on Friday.  I didn't let it stop me, but it definitely slowed me down.  I walked around with clenched teeth for a good part of the weekend.  Can you say thank.you.pharmacist for Percocet??  

Saturday morning couldn't have been more beautiful.  I drank coffee out on my patio in the sunshine while being entertained by hummingbirds.  We always (year round) have several hummingbirds living in our yard.  

Saturday was different though.  

Dozens, upon dozens, of hummingbirds (migrating from the Pacific Northwest) had stopped in for some food.  I have three feeders in my yard, and I had to refill all three of them by mid-morning.

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Hummingbirds feeding.

I've spent my whole life around hummingbirds and I've never seen so many in one place, at one time.  Hummingbirds are highly entertaining birds to watch.  They dart, they dodge, they chase each other … they're a blur of constant motion.  It was amazing to see so many together at once.  (The non-local hummingbirds have now continued on their journey to Mexico for the winter.)

The second highlight of my weekend was doing a "night shoot" on the beach.

It was such a beautiful evening.

It was magical …

Really, there are no words for the beauty I'm surrounded by.

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Sun setting at the beach, silhouetting palm trees.  Orange County, CA

Being out with my camera on such a breathtaking evening (and night) was so good for my soul.  It lifted me up when the physical pain I was in would otherwise have been overwhelming.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Happy To See Me

Happy

I posted this photo of about-to-bloom cactus on G+ awhile back.  I snorted out loud when someone left a comment warning me to "be careful of the second one."

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Beautiful Sunset

Sunset-1
I took this sunset photo in Laguna Beach a few weeks ago.

Yes, it's real – the sun was the "biggest" I've ever seen due to the light mist in the air.

Really cool, don't ya think?

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Fearless Friday

I think I'm going to start writing Fearless Friday's along with Photography Friday's.  (You know, just on the Friday's when I feel like it ….)

I've been getting a lot of questions from readers lately.  Usually if one person has a question, other people are wondering the same thing.

So …

Keep sending in questions if you have them and I'll do my best to answer as many of them as fearlessly as I can.

Here goes:

•  I circled you on G+, but how do I let you know without sounding like a stalker?  First of all, I love me a good stalker.  Second, all you need to do is leave a comment on one of my G+ photo posts, or send me a private message if you'd prefer, and tell me you're one of my blog readers.  (Hi, I read 24. Or: Hi, I'm one of your readers.)  If you want, you can just follow me/my photography all quiet and secret-ish.  I get a notice when people follow me, but to be honest I rarely have time to look at the notifications.  I assume my friends/readers/people I know will "talk" to me and then I'll circle them.

Warning:  I don't write on G+ very often … right now it's primarily my photography place.  Some of my photos will show up there and here – some will only be on G+.

 What do you think of medicinal marijuana?  Do you smoke it?  Is it helping?  No, I don't smoke it.  Smoking anything is bad for your lungs.  The Weed Doc (who is actually a real-live anesthesiologist), told me to use a vaporizer and so I do.  A vaporizer is a new-ish invention and it gives you the pain-reducing effects without smoking.  I haven't tried eating pot brownies/cookies/etc. because digesting it affects your body a little differently and takes longer to work.  I don't use weed often for the same reason I try to avoid most pain killers.  I like to be alert, and mentally present, in my life.  I use it when I need it, and yes – so far it seems to help (but not eliminate) pain.

•  There's a marijuana clinic in Money Town?  There was.  It got shut down yesterday.  I'll have to drive a little farther next time.

•  Did using marijuana make you paranoid?  Believe it or not, pot is a lot different than it was years back when the dinosaurs roamed.  For one, it's a lot stronger – they grow all sorts of "hybrids" now.  Also, there are a lot of different types.  Some types are more likely to cause a paranoid side effect than others.  I'm not using those types, so I've been fine.  

•  Can I put you in my Friends circle on G+ even though we've never met?  Yes, you can.  I would be honored.  You can, in fact, put me in any circle you want.  I don't see what circle I'm put in, only you do.

•  Why would you lay down in the middle of a road to take a photo?  Well, let me show you where the road was:

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My canyon – Orange County, CA.

There is nothing there.  Nothing! 

Ever.  

(Except …?  For this one time, apparently!)

 I'm on G+, now what do I do?  Well, G+ is not Facebook so I suggest you think of it differently from the very beginning.  You can make it what you want.  But ….

I really suggest you follow strangers.  Yes, strangers.  You can make a circle for each of your interests and put total strangers in it.  Find the "experts" in whatever it is you like and see what people "in the know" are saying.  You don't have to share a thing about yourself with them.  Look at it as a learning experience.

(You can also have a circle for friends, for family, etc.  Each circle only sees what you want them to see.  You probably don't want to bore all your circles/interests with news about running out of coffee filters or your home life.)

For me, I followed a lot of the top photographers in the world.  I learn by looking at their photos.  Sometimes they publish interesting posts related to photography, but I learn a lot just by looking at what/how they're shooting too.  I'm nosy – it's fun.  Surprisingly, some of those "strangers" are now becoming friends.

You can also have a "hangout" and talk/videochat with people of similar interests.  You don't even have to tell them where you live – in case they're secretly an ax murderer.

If you're looking for fantastic photographers, I'd be more than happy to share a few of my favorites with my readers.  Just let me know ….

 Last, I've received several photography-related questions.  I'll try to put the questions and answers together and write a "Photography Friday" post soon.

Thank you all for being so great and so supportive!

(Once again, you can find me on G+ by clicking here.)

xo

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Apparently I’m Dead in the Road

I never seem to stop having unusual experiences.

I attract perverts and strange encounters like a moth to a flame.

I've been trying to post at least three photos per day on G+ (morning/afternoon/evening).  Some days it doesn't happen, but it's my current goal since I have a chunk of new photography-enthused followers.

(Unrelated aside:  If you follow me on G+ please let me know you're there so I can follow you back.  I often miss people in my notifications, but if you let me know you're there I'll make sure to follow you back!)

I've recently had a lot of technical problems and sometimes, if I'm rushing, I don't have a lot of time to pull out my external hard drives and find the photo I want.

So – I've been taking a lot of new shots.  (That's my excuse anyway!)

The other day I decided to take a walk with my camera in my neighborhood.  

Remember, I live in a canyon – lots of unexpected critters to come across, etc. 

Prickly_Pear-1
Prickly pear cacti

I noticed the cacti were bearing fruit.  They looked so pretty in a cactus sorta way.  I was on a little back road in the canyon and it was eerily silent.

Kind of creepy really.

I expected a mountain lion to suddenly appear and eat me.  (It has happened before here – not that far from my house.)  

I was having a silent tug-of-war in my mind:

Internal Voice #1:  Take your time, take lots of photos.

Internal Voice #2:  OMG – get out of here fast! THERE'S NO ONE AROUND.  You will get eaten by a mountain lion and no one will ever know where you went or what happened to you.  

Do you ever have conversations about mountain lions eating you inside your head?

No?

Anyway, it was right about then I noticed some pretty yellow flowers along the road.

I had a wide angle lens on my camera and I just couldn't get a good shot of them –

So I layed down in the middle of the eerily quiet, totally deserted, road.

I was there for awhile.  

I was concentrating very hard, because I was having a difficult time getting the angle I wanted.

And then,

Out of nowhere,

There was a truck behind me and a group of Hispanic men talking frantically and the word "muerto" (or something like that) kept being said.

My immediate thought was, "I'm about to be run over by a truck."

I scrambled to get up, and out of the way, as fast as possible.

As I was doing so, I realized the truck had actually just stopped a few feet behind me.

When I jumped up, the men inside it looked startled and frightened.

That's when the word "muerto" sunk the rest of the way into my brain.

In Spanish, muerto means dead.

Apparently the men inside the truck thought they had come across a dead woman in the middle of the street.

A dead woman, in the middle of a deserted street, clutching a camera in her dead hands.

After their initial shock, the men seemed relieved they didn't have to deal with a dead body.

I was a little flustered by the encounter myself …

First, thinking I was about to be run over by a truck –

And then hearing I was actually dead in the middle of the street.

© Twenty Four At Heart