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A Camera Day!

This morning I will be retrieving my camera from Canon Professional Services in Orange County.

It was in need of maintenance and a super-extra-thorough cleaning.

To put it mildly, I’m not easy on my gear.

Kudos to all the people who treat their cameras and lenses like they should be treated.

When I’m shooting, I toss cameras and lenses in and out of my bag … along with dust, dirt, sand and pollen.

I definitely USE my gear.

It will be nice to have my camera back with me again.

I know it will need a new (costly) shutter very soon.

And yes, I’ll replace the shutter when the time comes.

Today, however, my beloved camera (a Canon 5D Mark III) will become my back-up camera.

A Canon 5DS R will become my primary camera the minute the UPS man shows up on my doorstep.

My new camera is more of a “need to have” than a “want to have.”

I do want it.

But, if I didn’t NEED it … I’d put off buying it for a year or two.

I won’t bore you with all the work related reasons as to why I needed to purchase a new generation camera.

I don’t get as excited about new lenses and/or cameras anymore.

It isn’t that I don’t appreciate them,

It’s just that they’re tools for work … not toys for fun.

But, I’m going to allow myself a few days just to “play” with the 5DS R before I take it too seriously.

There’s no better way to get to really know a new camera than to experiment with it.

I wonder if Fred will be willing to pose for me?

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Day #2 – Starting Over

I’m on a mission to get my life in order.

Yesterday, I pushed the “reset” button and began the process.

I promise not to write about my Starting Over Project every single day.

But …?

I’m feeling proud!

I knocked eleven things off my “to do” list yesterday!!

It’s amazing how much I can accomplish if I don’t travel and/or have house guests. (Ha!)

I began the day by getting a shot in the a$$ from Dr. Painless.   [Toradol]

Of course, that’s not something to be happy about.

But, it immediately took the edge off my pain level.

Sometimes, I just need a little RELIEF … even if it’s a short-term decrease in pain.

I don’t even realize how bad it’s gotten until it isn’t as bad.

(And then, the whole world looks a little brighter and life is a bit easier to handle.)

Yay for less pain!

Fred and I are both all about healthy eating too.

Drool Bib @ 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

Fred howls in delight – wearing his “drool bib” after grooming, and before volunteering, at Special Olympics.)

Fred doesn’t understand why everyone he meets asks how much he weighs.

Fred’s favorite treat is when I give him a whole, large, carrot straight from the refrigerator.

He thinks it’s the best thing ever!

(He and I are both snacking on veggies for the next two weeks.)

My “to do” list is a mile long, so I’m working on it again today.

My goal is to have it to a manageable level by the one week point.

First on the list for today, is dropping my camera off for servicing with Canon Professional Services.

My camera, just like me, is overdue for some much needed maintenance!

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Day #1 – Starting Over

Sometimes, my life becomes unbalanced.

For me, it seems to happen quite often.

My life doesn’t always fall into an easy routine.

Work projects come and go … sometimes burying me with multiple simultaneous deadlines.

A client calls and the next day I’m hopping on a plane.

My adult kids announce they have a slow work period and they’re coming for a week long visit – with friends.

My original family (parents, sister, brother, etc.) is now spread out across the country which means I’m traveling to see them and/or they’re traveling to see me.

My life is GOOD.

My life is FUN.

But, it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind and find I’m reacting to circumstances more than planning for them.

As of today, I *think* I’ll be in town for a few weeks.

I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine.

Here are a few things I’ll be focusing on:

•  Pain Control  –  My pain level is out of control lately.  I, literally, felt nauseous from pain the entire weekend.  Absolutely nothing comes easily when I’m in a lot of pain.  Today?  I’m seeing Dr. Painless for a long overdue visit.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to reign in my pain level over the next few weeks so I can be more productive.

•  Exercise  –  What gym membership?  No travel and no houseguests – I’m back into a daily exercise routine.

•  Diet  –  A bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine don’t make for the most balanced, healthy, diet.  I’ve decided to write down everything I eat for the next two weeks.  Am I going on a diet?  No.  But, just by writing things down it will make me think about nutrition and eating healthier.  I’m all about green vegetables for the next two weeks!

•  Health  –  I’ve been busy.  But, today?  I’m getting my annual mammogram.  Have you had one in the last 12 months?

•  Training Fred –  Training Fred is a daily occurrence.  I haven’t stopped training him, but I want to devote bigger chunks of each day to it.  I’m realizing how great his potential is.

•  House Projects  –  My house is in need of a lot of minor repairs and projects.  I’ve been putting them off, but it’s time to dive in and get things back on track.

•  Photography  –  It may sound odd, but I’ve been so busy running my photography business, I haven’t had as much time to shoot as I’d like.  My new camera, a Canon EOS 5DS R, will be arriving in a couple days.  I plan on putting it through its paces from the day it arrives.  Let’s just hope my bum arm cooperates!

•  Entertainment  –  I’ve been so busy, I’m behind on all forms of entertainment.  There are movies to see, TV shows to catch up on, books to read, and yes – I’d even like to find some time for my coloring book!  (By the way, I’ve heard “my” coloring book is back in stock on Amazon!)

Maybe I’m the only person who needs to press the “reset” button on life periodically?

Or maybe you’ve had to do the same thing?

I’m looking forward to starting fresh.

It’s invigorating.

It’s like New Year’s Eve … but in mid-June!

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Back To Reality?

My guests left around noon yesterday.

Having lots of people as house guests is both a delight and exhausting.

Fred and I spent yesterday afternoon at Special Olympics.

The summer games were held at Cal State Long Beach this year.

Fred enjoyed meeting lots of new people.

Special Olympics @ 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

Fred interrupts a photo opportunity with a slobbery kiss.

It was wonderful to see him make so many people smile.

There was a “photo booth” set up where people could have their photos taken with the Newfs.

Fred didn’t love the photo booth.

I think it was hot for him because the side of the booth blocked the breeze.

(Also, I think Fred and I were both exhausted before we even arrived.)

Fred was happiest being outside of the booth, in the shade, meeting and greeting folks.

Lots of people took photos with him outside of the booth.

They pet him, hugged him, and asked me questions about both Fred and the Newfoundland breed.

Everyone was shocked at Fred’s giant-ness at only seven months.

There was a six month old Newfie there and she was about one fourth of Fred’s size.

He’s going to be a big boy.

I was very proud of Fred.

His behavior was great – especially considering his age.

All the hard work of training seems to be paying off.

He’s not perfect all the time, but he’s come a long way.

He seemed to really adjust well whether he was being pet by an elderly woman in a wheelchair,

Or crawled on by a one year old child.

I hope we have the opportunity to work with Special Olympics again sometime in the future.





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Special Olympics Weekend

I’m tired.

SO tired!

But, I can rest NEXT week (maybe)!

I’ve got a very busy weekend planned.

I have a house overflowing with people and I’m thrilled they’re all here.

We’ve got places to go, things to do, and a lot of laughter in the making.

I wanted to let those of you who live in Southern California know I’ll be at Special Olympics with Fred on Sunday afternoon.

If you happen to be at the event, please come say hello.

I don’t think we’ll be hard to find.

I’ll be The Blonde Woman with the giant black dog.

Fred will be The Giant Black Dog with the blonde woman.

This will be the first event Fred has worked.

And to be honest, Fred was invited to be a part of it – not me.

I’m participating as Fred’s helper.

I’ve long admired Special Olympics, and I’m honored to be a teeny, tiny, small part of it this year.

Fred The Newf is very excited to meet athletes and their families!

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Small Doses of Chaos

I’m having a nice week with family, but blog time has been a little more difficult to come by than I expected.

Fred is, of course, loving all the extra attention from visitors.

We’re completely out of our normal dog training routines though.

(But, a slightly chaotic week now and then is fine!)

There’s a hurricane off the coast of Mexico and it’s caused unusual weather for us here.

It’s both hot and cloudy …

Weather like this might be normal in other places,

But, it’s very unusual for us.

I took everybody to cool off in San Clemente on Tuesday.

View from San Clemente Pier

The sky was very strange.

I’m hoping the unusual weather will lead to some great sunsets later this week?

In the meantime, I’m busy doing all those things you do when people come to stay at your house.

I’m cooking and cleaning, and entertaining …

We’re hanging out by the pool, visiting the beach, and chatting late into the night.

I feel grateful for the people I love and the fact I’m able to spend time with them.

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Size Perspective – Fred!

My oldest son and his girlfriend arrived yesterday.

They haven’t seen Fred since he was about 12 weeks old.

They could NOT get over his size.

They took this iPhone photo of Fred and I.

Fred Suzanne @ 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

Fred The Newf – Seven Months Old

The photo isn’t the clearest.

It was dark and it’s a little blurry.

But …?

It does give you a size perspective on my seven month old baby.

I was seated on my fireplace mantle which is about six inches off the ground.

Fred would look even bigger if I was seated on the ground next to him.

Fred might be setting Newfie “BIG” records?

I imagine his growing will slow down any minute now.

He has a very calm, sweet, and extremely gentle, temperament.

Yesterday, Fred met a Spanish Mastiff named Boris.

Boris weighs 220 pounds.

Boris made Fred look like a small dog.


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While You Were Having Fun …?

I hope you had a nice weekend.

I had a productive, but not very fun, weekend.

On Saturday I took Fred to, and from, the vet for his baby tooth extraction.

Fred’s vet isn’t nearby so it took a huge chunk of my day.

And, poor Fred, he wasn’t feeling very happy when he came home.

I did my best to take good care of him.

The root on the extracted baby tooth was insanely long – that tooth was never coming out on its own.

(Yes, the vet was amazed enough to save it and show me!)

I made sure Fred had lots of cold water and soft food (and a cool place to rest) while he recovered.

By Sunday, Fred had returned to his happy self.

[The challenge on Sunday was to keep him from playing tug-of-war (his favorite game), and/or doing anything else he can’t do for a few days.]

I know some of you are interested in how big Fred has gotten.

I weighed him on Saturday and he weighed 110 pounds … at seven months old!

On a separate topic …

Have you ever been in an IKEA store?

I realize they don’t have them everywhere.

And, to be honest, I usually try NOT to go to one – the stores are just too much (of everything) for me.

But, on Sunday, I made a trip to IKEA so I could get a Raskog Cart to store some of my craft supplies.


I don’t have a very big house and my house is (very) lacking in storage space.

The clutter of small-sized craft related items has been driving me crazy.

I feel so much better being able to put all the crafty stuff, neatly, in one spot.

(And, when I’m not using it, I can roll the cart into a closet where it’s not visible.)


My oldest son and his long-time girlfriend arrive midday today.

Other family members will be arriving throughout the week.

(And, by the end of the week, I’ll have all three of my kids here in ONE SPOT at THE SAME TIME!)

I expect to be able to post each day this week, but if I miss a day you’ll know why.

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Fabulous Friday!

The last few weeks have flown by.

Travel and holidays and, and, and!

Yesterday, Fred and I went down to shoot in Laguna.

We got stopped, constantly, by people curious about Fred.

“Is he a mastiff?”

“Is he a black St. Bernard?”

“How big will he get?

“Does he like people?”

“Is he part bear?”

“Can I pet your dog?”

“Can I take a photo with your dog?”

And on and on it went!

I understand many people in Southern California aren’t familiar with Newfoundlands.

I knew when I got Fred, we’d get some questions.

I just didn’t realize Fred would be SUCH a people magnet.

Fred, of course, loves all the attention.

The more people who pet him, talk to him, and LOVE him the better.

(I’ll have to go to more remote places when I need to be productive with my shooting time?)

This weekend I’ll be catching up on lots of “stuff.”

I’ll also be prepping my house for loads of family members who will be arriving beginning on Monday.

I’m a little worried about Fred, too.

Fred has to have a baby tooth removed on Saturday.

His tooth should have fallen out two months ago when all his other baby teeth fell out.

But, it didn’t.

Instead, it’s near the adult tooth that came in.

It’s not loose … and, it’s not planning on going anywhere.

Leftover baby teeth can cause problems so Fred has to have it removed this weekend.

Poor puppy!

Fred is not excited about going to the dentist!

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Paso Robles – Wine

Paso Robles has over three hundred wineries.

Napa used to be the only ‘known’ place in California for wine tasting, but Paso Robles is intent on catching up.

Although, I was in Paso Robles to photograph the beer festival,

It was impossible not to notice I was in wine country.

Driving into town, I saw hills covered with grapevines.

I love vineyards.

There’s something very magical about them.

I think, because I’m a visual person, it’s all those LINES!

The vineyards looked beautiful surrounded by lavender.

Paso Robles is never as green as Napa.

Adding to that, California’s “extreme” drought has hit the Central Coast hard.

Golden hills are a trademark of the Paso Robles area.

Now, “golden” looks a lot more like brown.

It’s still beautiful, at least to me.

A valley of vineyards.

I couldn’t keep my lens away from the magic of the hills, valleys, and grapevines.

Well, except for a brief time on Sunday when I stopped for wine tasting at two Paso Robles wineries.

Wine tasting at Law Estates winery.

I couldn’t visit Paso Robles and NOT stop by a winery or two.

Wine barrels.

There’s something very visually appealing about wine barrels too.

Maybe it’s because they’re filled with wine?