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Finally Friday!

I put SO MANY MILES on my car the last several days!

I’m glad the week is coming to a close.

Wednesday’s ultrasound on my elbow was somewhat inconclusive.

Most of my tendon is healing which is good news.

But, the area where the tendon attaches to the bone is not.

The doctor doesn’t know if it ever will heal without further surgical intervention.

He’d like to “watch it” for another few months before deciding on surgery.

That sounds wise, but I’ve had an injured elbow for a year already.

If I wait until January, and he says it still hasn’t healed,

I’ll have to have surgery in February and lose another entire year of my life to the recovery.

I’M TIRED OF BEING PATIENT I JUST WANT MY ARM TO STOP HURTING AND TO GET MY LIFE BACK!

(Stomps foot like an angry three year old!)

He’s going to do another ultrasound in six weeks.

I think, if at that time, it looks exactly like it does now – with NO improvement,

I’ll probably start the pre-surgical process.

If I do have another surgery, the same doctor who did my shoulder will be doing it.

He’s the surgeon who specializes in arm trauma injuries and if “normal” surgery didn’t work, then he’s the miracle worker to get it done.

He’s already told me he could take care of this for me if need be.

(The surgery I already had on my elbow was less invasive than a second surgery would be.  If I need another elbow surgery, it will be an “open” surgery which is a bigger deal.)

UGH!

Anyway, life moves on.

My youngest son is home for a few days due to college “fall break.”

We’ve got some fun things planned for the next few days.

I know he’s looking forward to swimming with the Newfies,

Getting a little beach time,

And visiting with his sister.

I’m looking forward to it, also.

I hope you have a wonderful, safe, weekend!

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October 5, 2016 and Apple Watch 2

Hello, hello!

Whew – my life is crazy-chaotic right now.

I saw my shoulder surgeon on Monday.

He’s very happy (!!!!) with how my shoulder is progressing seven months out.

(I am too – have I mentioned how much less pain I live with now?)

The “full recovery” for the surgery I had is 18-24 months, but I’m doing GREAT.

Unfortunately, he’s also very concerned about my elbow NOT progressing.

He called his colleague, the elbow surgeon, while I was there.

And, today I am BACK in L.A. having an “emergency” ultrasound on my elbow to determine whether or not I’ll need (yet another!) surgery.

I would be freaking out about all of this, but I’m holding tight to the belief I won’t need surgical intervention.

(Is this denial or confidence on my part??)

Anyway, I’ll know more by the time today is over.

In the meantime, I’m making some feeble attempts at getting my house presentable.

My house is a mess due to massive neglect over the last year of surgeries and family crises.

Yesterday, I had all my carpets and floors professionally cleaned.

Fred and Frank visited the groomer while this was taking place.

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Frank The Newf is now seven and a half months old – still a puppy!

I now have clean dogs AND clean floors.

(Both will only last for two minutes, tops.)

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Fred (23 and a half months old) didn’t want to pose for me yesterday.

I have a list of other home chores I’m tackling – window cleaning, astro turf cleaning/refreshing.

It’s like spring cleaning, but in the fall.

Hopefully, my house will be slightly improved for the holidays?

I hope to take on some bigger home improvement projects in 2018 assuming it’s a surgery-free year.

On a lighter note, I just received an Apple Watch, Series 2.

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Apple Watch 2

The watch is actually a birthday present and wasn’t due to arrive until the beginning of November – which is when my birthday is.

But, it arrived two days ago, so I have a new toy a month early.

I had no interest in the first Apple Watch, but now that they have GPS and are waterproof, I think it’s perfect for me.

I can leave my phone at home and keep track of walks/hikes/runs.

I can shoot photos waist deep in the ocean for hours, and receive messages while I’m out there.

Perhaps more importantly, it will help me keep track of ocean tides.

I have a tide app on my phone, and I always check it before shooting.

But, this will keep me aware of changes while I’m shooting – much safer.

(As I’ve been writing this post, my watch buzzed to remind me to stand up.  It isn’t healthy to sit for too long.  I jumped up and walked up and down the stairs at my house twice, and then returned to finish writing this.)

I can even put one of my own photos on the “face” of the phone ….

I haven’t had a chance to do this yet, but I will.

For now, Minnie Mouse taps her foot with each passing second.

You can’t imagine my delight when I realized I can change the color of Minnie’s clothes to match whichever watch band I have on and/or what I’m wearing.

Such a fun toy for adults!

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October 3, 2016

October is my favorite month.

This year, my October is also crazy, overbooked, and (hopefully) full of adventures.

We’ll see how I do on the blogging front ….

Today, I’ll be in L.A. with my shoulder surgeon most of the day … and, as always, Paul Newman too.

I wish I could see the elbow surgeon and the shoulder surgeon on the same day, but (even though they work for the same company) they’re in completely different Los Angeles locations.

It’s such a pain, but they’re great doctors and worth the drive days.

I had a nice weekend and I hope you did too.

I’ve been using my new Canon 5D Mark IV since I first received it, but prior to the weekend I hadn’t had time to dig deep into some of the new settings/features.

I finally have everything set up how I want.

Saturday evening I took it to the beach for the first time.

(My cameras are never the same once they’ve made a beach trip with me!)

The surf was pounding which is always FUN!!

I was super happy with the results I got.

You’re A Little Dangerous – Sunset photo Laguna Beach, Canon 5D Mark IV

There’s something so refreshing about sea air, the sound of crashing waves, and the beauty of the ocean.

I also spent a few hours on some art-play and LOTS of time snuggling Fred and Frank.

I might have the two dirtiest dogs in the world right now?

They’re getting groomed tomorrow – thank goodness!

(I’ll take some photos of them for you once they’re all cleaned up!)

My youngest son will be home from college for a few days later this week.

There will be two very happy Newfies when he arrives.

(Lots of slobbery kisses!)

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September 29, 2016

I don’t know where this year has gone, but I’ll be SO glad to see it go.

Ha!

•  On a positive note, my husband has signed a contract to begin working full time again.

(Hallelujah!!!!)

He’s been doing part-time consulting since last February.

His new job will begin towards the end of October.

In the meantime, he has consulting gigs for a few different companies.

I’m planning to join him for one or two of his consulting trips because of the locations he’ll be in.

(I want to shoot while he works.)

I love to go places, so I’m happy about the opportunity to tag along.

•  In other news, my arm had a sudden setback this week.

I’m hoping that’s all it is … a setback.

I’m not very happy about it, and neither is Paul Newman.

I tell myself setbacks are a normal part of the recovery process, right?

•  I decided to be brave and weigh myself, yesterday, after my first full week of my Non-Diet Diet.

I lost five pounds.

I was pretty happy about that considering I was out of town “playing” last weekend.

And, I attended a celebratory dinner at Mastro’s Ocean Club (so yummy!) this week also.

However, if you’ve ever gone on a diet you know the first week is “water weight” and doesn’t really count.

In my case, it was four pounds of water weight and one pound of popcorn kernels that are no longer in my cleavage and/or bra.

Regardless, I’ll take it.

My goal is to lose ten pounds by Christmas.

It seems very achievable since I now only have five more pounds to reach it.

I might need to make a more difficult goal … 15 pounds by Christmas?

•  It’s been scorching hot here lately.

Taken in my backyard yesterday – Monsoon clouds over the mountains.

We don’t get clouds very often in Orange County.

I get so excited when we do have them …

Especially the monsoon clouds like the ones in the above photo.

This is what it looked like at the beach (Newport Beach)  the evening prior:

Monsoon clouds make for awesome beach sunsets!

The road you see in the above photo is PCH (the famous Pacific Coast Highway).

You can also see Catalina Island out on the horizon.

Hopefully, next week will be a little cooler/comfortable.

I sure hope so!

(I know Fred and Frank are hoping so, too.  They hate heatwaves even more than I do!)

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Bits and Pieces

I went out of town for a wedding last weekend.

It was a really beautiful wedding and I had a fun time seeing old friends.

It was really nice to have a weekend away.

(And yes, I did cry.  I cry at weddings when either the bride or groom is close to me.  This is a really weird thing to do??)

Sunday, on the drive home, I stopped in the city of Westminster to visit Art Supply Warehouse.

I only learned of this store recently.

It’s like a Costco/warehouse store full of art supplies.

They carry everything imaginable, and then some.

In addition to an amazing inventory, the prices are WAY less than anywhere else I’ve encountered.

I was super excited to discover Daniel Smith watercolors on a half price sale.

I LOVE art stores!

(And bookstores too!)

Last night, I went out to a very nice restaurant for a mini-celebration.

It was great to have something positive happening … worth celebrating.

Wedding = happy occasion.

Celebration dinner = happy occasion.

Can I just say ….

It’s about time for ALL THE HAPPY THINGS!

In other news, today is my sixth day of dieting.

(But, who’s counting – right??)

OK, so I’m actually not “on” a diet but I’m being very strict with myself about what I eat.

(Also?  Mini-portions!)

It isn’t an organized diet with lists, or counting, or anything like that.

But, I need to lose the weight I gained through the last 12 months of surgeries, and calamities, and disasters, etc.

I’m not expecting overnight miracles, but I plan to just trudge along … and hopefully, eventually, feel more like myself again.

I’m only going to weigh myself once a week also, so I have no idea if my first few days have done any good.

But, I’ve at least started.

The swimming pool is done which is ALSO good news!

I’ve only taken phone photos so far, but I’ll try to post a “good” photo soon.

During the first week the pool water has to be “conditioned” daily, and then the pool has to run as a chlorine pool for one month, and THEN we can convert it to being a salt water pool like it was before.

Paul Newman has returned from vacation and is back to cranking on my arm.

(My arm needed him, so it’s a good thing!)

I hope I get to decrease my PT time a little in November – fingers crossed!

It’s really hard to have much of a life outside of PT right now.

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Starting Over

I feel like it’s time to start over in just about every aspect of my life.

We all have to re-balance our lives now and again, but my entire life needs a reset.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I’m now looking towards October 31st with stars in my eyes.

(That’s the day I get my next ultrasound on my arm and, hopefully, a green light to begin doing MORE.)

I’m trying to be realistic, but I feel like I’ve begun making new year resolutions in mid-September.

My life always gets super busy during the last few months of the year.

I’m trying to be realistic about THAT too.

But, still ….

I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a war zone trying to decide what piece of demolished ruins to pick up off the ground first.

When every single area of your life needs fixing – where to start first?

It’s overwhelming.

There are many things in ruins I have no control of.

I can’t go back to working full time for awhile still.  (I have to wait for more healing to take place.)

I can’t find my husband a job ….

Hopefully, something will happen for him sooner vs. later –

He’s close to having something, I think.

I can’t make cancer go away and leave our family alone forever.

But, I’ve decided to begin trying for one positive step forward per day.

It might be a teeny, tiny, baby step –

Or, on some days (if I’m lucky?)  it might be a gigantic step.

Each day, I’m going to try to move some aspect of my life towards where it should be,

Instead of where it has been these last twelve months or so.

I’m going to make a note every single day of at least one thing that improved and/or moved closer to normalcy.

When lots of major life things go wrong all at the same time,

It can be hard to see the small improvements as they begin to come.

I’m going to focus really hard on seeing, and embracing, them.

I’m also going to begin forcing time to take better care of myself.

The last twelve months have completely kicked my ass.

I need to make time to take care of myself instead of neglecting my own health and happiness.

It’s easier to say all of this, of course, than to do it.

But, one small step each day  is what I’ll be focused on for the remainder of 2016.

If you feel like your life needs a reset, feel free to join me.

One small step forward each day.

If I can do it, you can do it???

Why wait?

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Mid-Week Update

Hello, hello!!

I’ve been a little scarce due to general chaos at my house.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m in the process of having my backyard swimming pool rebuilt.

It began as a project to re-plaster (Pebble Tec) the cracked plaster in the pool, but it turned into much more.

Basically, the entire pool was re-done except this time they didn’t have to dig the hole, and/or build the foundation of the waterfall structure.

It has involved months and months of workers in my backyard … which has meant constantly “managing” my two giant dogs who haven’t been able to play where they’re used to playing.

Anyway, yesterday the Pebble Tec (a type of plaster) was poured.

It is a HUGE production when that happens.

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Today, the workers will return to do an acid wash on the new Pebble Tec and then the pool will (finally) be ready to be filled.

Frank will be so excited to be able to swim again!  (Me too!)

I have to say the workers have done an excellent job even if it did take months longer than initially expected.

The pool looks much better than it did when it was first built 18 years ago.

I’ll share a completed photo once the pool has been refilled.

In other news, Paul Newman is out of town this week so I have an entire week free.

My arm doesn’t love his absence, but it is giving me an opportunity to get caught up on all sorts of things.

(Living at PT three days each week, combined with all the surgery follow-up medical appointments, leaves very little time for the rest of my life!)

It has made me realize what a disarray my life has fallen into since my elbow tendon tore last November.

I’ve pretty much been able to do nothing … my house is beginning to look like it could be featured on The Hoarders.

But, my elbow surgeon recently told me (after looking inside my elbow via ultrasound) that the PRP injection I had appears to have helped.

It “broke” the healing plateau my body was in.

If things progress as hoped, I will hopefully be cleared on October 31st to begin using my arm.

(The tendon has to be 40-50% healed for me to get the go ahead!)

It won’t mean I can do EVERYTHING, but it means I’ll be able to begin the process of moving forward.

I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW HAPPY THIS WILL MAKE ME!!

It has been a really terrible 12 months in so many ways, and (hopefully) October 31st will be the beginning of much better things in the future.

I know progress will be slow and gradual, but I can’t help but think ahead to all the areas of my life I’ve had to put on hold.

Simple things like cleaning out a closet and/or cooking regularly.

More involved things like shooting regularly and building my business back up.

I’ve gained weight and gotten really out of shape due to being so sedentary post-surgeries and/or not being able to prepare and cook healthy meals.

Who would ever think I’d get excited over the prospect of being able to chop vegetables again?

It may take a year to recover from the last twelve months, but I’m SO excited to begin.

Keep your fingers crossed things keep progressing and I get a good ultrasound report on October 31st!

I feel like I’ve just begun to see the slightest glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Adventures In New York, Part III

If you missed the beginning of my recent New York Adventures, you can get caught up by reading Part I and Part II.

When we left off, I was preparing to go to the Canon launch party for the new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera.

The party was held at The Whitney Museum which was one block from my hotel.

The Whitney

Canon did a great job of welcoming guests with “Canon VIP” signs and (literally) rolling out the red carpet for us.

I enjoyed playing with light and effects at the red carpet entry.

The party itself was great, but I won’t bore you with the details.

Unless you’re a photographer, it wouldn’t mean much to you.

(But, I will say we were wowed by what we saw and learned about the new Mark IV camera!)

I returned to my hotel late that evening.

I left the party itching to shoot my new camera which I knew had arrived at my house back in Orange County.

I was quite confident my new camera was eager for me to get home to unbox it.

(By the way, I purchased my camera it was not gifted and/or discounted by Canon.)

On Friday, I spent my remaining hours in NYC back at The Whitney Museum.

Although I’d been at the museum the night prior, I hadn’t had an opportunity to explore the exhibits.

People RAVE about The Whitney and I wanted a chance to explore.

(It was in the 90’s that day with rain predicted … a perfect day to be in a museum vs. outdoors!)

My favorite exhibit was “Standing Julian” a massive wax sculpture by Urs Fischer.

Standing Julian by Urs Fischer

Julian is probably 10-12 feet (?) tall and weighs around 1,000 pounds.

He’s made in the likeness of one of the artist’s friends.

He has wicks in a couple places (head, shoulder) and they’re lit each morning/extinguished each night.

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The back of Standing Julian.

Gradually Julian will melt – representing the transience of life.

Seeing this massive sculpture in person was AMAZING.

If you ever get an opportunity to see Standing Julian, I highly recommend it.

The sculpture can be recast, so it may be lit anew at some point in the future.

I was able to spend most of the day perusing exhibits at the museum, and then it was time to catch a cab and head to the airport.

I had an evening flight back to California.

My visit was way too short, but I was also eager to get my hands on my new camera back at home.

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Adventures in New York, Part II

In my last post, I was sharing my trip to New York.

When we left, I was out shooting the city with my friend, Neil.

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Neil – New York CIty

Neil and I visited the 9/11 Memorial and The National September 11 Memorial Museum.

I’m absolutely glad we went, but it was a very sobering few hours.

Afterward, Neil decided we should grab a ferry to Jersey City.

We rode for about ten minutes across to Jersey City.

We stayed on the ferry and rode right back.

Most of the time we were just having fun, being silly, and taking photos of each other.

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Me – by Neil Kramer

But, it also gave me the opportunity to take photos of the city from the water.

One World Trade Center and the surrounding area.

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Me shooting – photo by Neil Kramer

After returning from the ferry ride, we walked several miles in the scorching (oh, so humid!!) heat.

New York City looks nothing like Orange County – which makes street photography a lot of fun.

The Streets of New York City

Life never slows down in the city.

At some point, Neil looked at his wilting California sidekick (me!) and decided it was time to hop back on the subway.

I took this as an opportunity to play with my shutter speed and have some fun ….

Construction workers in the subway station.

Neil told me when to hop off the subway.

(I have a terrible fear of getting lost on the subway and ending up in another faraway country with no way home!)

We parted ways shortly.

Neil continued on with his evening, and I headed back to The Standard to get ready for Canon’s 5d Mark IV launch party.

I’ll be back with more of my NYC adventures in my next post!

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Adventures in New York, Part I

I had a great, very busy, very QUICK, trip to New York City.

I love New York City because there’s so much to shoot there.

(No, I wouldn’t want to live there permanently, but I wouldn’t mind a few months in NYC packed with nonstop shooting.)

I was invited to New York by Canon for the “launch party” of the new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

(Thank you Canon!!)

The party was being held, after hours, at The Whitney Museum in The High Line area.

Thus, I found myself staying at The Standard High Line only one block away.

Room 1521, The Standard High Line

On Wednesday, I woke up well before dawn to drive up to LAX and fly to Newark, NJ.

Travel was an all day (very long!) process.

The sun was setting by the time I arrived in my room on the 15th floor of The Standard in New York.

Taken through my hotel window – Sunset Over the Hudson

I never think of New York as a sunset city, but it was gorgeous!

I began shooting, through the glass, and didn’t stop until well after dark.

I had a quick dinner only to discover it was now fairly late.

I was exhausted.

I opted to get some sleep so I could wake up, early and refreshed, on east coast time the next morning.

I met my friend, Neil, first thing Thursday morning.

We walked to Chelsea Market for breakfast and then began walking and shooting, and walking, and shooting more.

(Um, there was quite a heat wave while I was in New York so it was very, very … hot!)

Eventually Neil took me (via subway) to Ground Zero.

I had been before, but when I was last there the 9/11 Memorial was not yet built.

9/11 Memorial, Ground Zero, New York City

I’ve seen countless photos of the 9/11 Memorial, but standing there – looking down into those enormous fountains is really something.

Neil and I were visiting just three days prior to the fifteen year anniversary of 9/11 ….

Somehow, that seemed to make the visit even more emotional than it would have been otherwise.

From the fountains, I was immediately drawn to Calatrava’s Transit Hub … which looks like a bird in flight.

(You can see the exterior on the right side of the above photo.)

The structure is a photographer’s dream … so many angles and lines, and spaces.

I could have spent hours there.

Exterior photo of the Transit Hub designed by Santiago Calatrava.

I was struck by the enormity of the hub once I went inside.

It’s a  staggering 800,000 square feet in size.

It was just opened last March, after twelve years of plannning, design, and construction.

The Interior of Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Center

I haven’t had time to go through all of the photos I took there yet, but I already know some of them will become my all time favorites.

At one point, I layed down on the floor and took a photo of the ceiling.

If you look closely, you can see window washers way up top, cleaning the glass of the ceiling.

Looking up from the floor to the ceiling.  Calatrava Transportation Center

By the way, a security guard was on his way to tell me I couldn’t lay down on the floor right when I popped back up.

I gave him a big smile.

I seem to get myself in trouble wherever I go.

(Later that evening, a bouncer bounced me from the rooftop bar at The Standard because I had a “professional” camera with me.  I hadn’t even taken a photo – yet!)

Security was exceptionally tight everywhere I went.

NYPD Counter Terrorism officer

In part, that is just the way New York is now.

But, in addition, with the anniversary of 9/11 everyone was on high alert.

Over the course of my visit, I chatted with some very nice NYC police officers.

Several of them even insisted I have my photo taken WITH them once we’d been chatting for awhile.

They can look intimidating to the casual passerby, but the officers I talked to were all exceptionally kind.

NYC Police Officers

I’ll be back with more of my NYC adventures in my next post!