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Tis The Season

I know I’m going to flip out with holiday stress any minute now …

But, I’ve been too busy with non-holiday stuff to stress out about the fact I’ve done nothing (Christmas-related) yet.

Today I’m visiting a close family friend who recently had an adorable baby boy.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a baby in my life.

I’m looking forward to meeting him.

I had so much fun buying gifts for him ….

It made me want a baby of my very own.

(And no, I’m absolutely not planning to do anything about those maternal urges.)

Tomorrow I will (finally!!) see Paul Newman.

It has only been two weeks since my last visit, but Thanksgiving is always particularly brutal on my arm.

(I’m pretty sure the rain is not helping either … did you know changes in barometric pressure really DO affect joint injuries?)

I had an appointment yesterday with my orthopedic surgeon and I begged him not to touch me.

I am *that* inflamed right now.

Of course, in my doc’s eyes it’s all the more reason I need to have Surgery #10.

And …?

I just can’t bring myself to do it.

I just want Paul Newman to keep taking care of me so I can manage my life as best as I can.

(Confession:  Paul Newman wants me to have Surgery #10 also.)

Purchasing a new computer a day or two before Thanksgiving was not my smartest move.

I’ve been trying to get work done half on one computer, half on another, and partially on an iPad.

I haven’t had the time to consolidate everything to one place.

(Lesson learned!)

Also, newborn babies, and fluffy puppies, have to take priority over decorating my house and/or gift shopping.

Everything that needs to get done will get done, eventually.

I’m just not sure WHEN.



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December 3, 2014

We got a lot of rain yesterday.

Woo hoo!

Maybe Calfornia will pull out of our horrible drought this year.

I got a call from Blue Shield yesterday morning.

They have lifted the restrictions they had on my physical therapy visits.

I could go to PT every single day if I needed it now.

(Not that I WANT to do that, but it’s nice to know I can get care when I need it.)

I can’t tell you what a RELIEF it is to have that matter settled.

Medical insurance is such a stress for those of us with permanent disabilities.

On the puppy front,

I visited a litter of Newfoundlands yesterday.

The puppies are very young still … only four weeks old.

CeCe Pup BW © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

iPhone photo of Newfoundland puppy

They were adorable.

I loved the mom dog too.

I hope they continue to grow and be healthy.

It was so fun to sit on the ground and have puppies crawling on me.

Puppy breath is just yummy, and puppy kisses are the best.

The world would be a better place if we all got frequent doses of puppy love.

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Miscellaneous Stuff

I’m out of town today.

I’m meeting a woman about a puppy.

I will give you an update tomorrow and let you know if meeting her turns into a future service dog opportunity.

It would be great if it worked out, but after my really horrible previous experience, I’ve taken a very cautious “wait and see” approach.

I don’t have a computer for a couple days so I’m trying to update from an iPad.

I purchased a new work computer.  Right now Apple has both my old computer and the new one. They’re migrating all my data to the new one.  I tried to do it myself over the holiday weekend but I had a few error messages pop up. It’s so much easier and faster to have them do it.

Once I get my computer back, I will be setting it up with a 27″ thunderbolt monitor I also purchased.  The larger monitor will be a big help for photo editing.  Both purchases were made in time to be write offs for the 2014 tax year.  Both purchases were very needed also.

I’m still dealing with the nightmare called Blue Shield of California.

As I wait for them to call my doc (will they EVER call?), I’m left with an excruciating shoulder subluxation.

Yes, my shoulder is hanging partially dislocated from my arm.

There are no words to describe how much it hurts.

Things sure would get handled faster if it was the Blue Shield of CA CEO who had a shoulder subluxation.

I bet there would be no wait at all.

Did you go shopping on Black Friday?

Or arm-chair shopping on Cyber Monday?

I didn’t do any shopping on Friday.

I did buy two things online yesterday, but only one was a gift.

My goal is to start thinking about Christmas by this Thursday.

I’m juggling a lot of other stuff in the days prior.

I’ll try to update via iPad again tomorrow.

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A Little Bit of Winter?

We (finally!) have cooler weather.

We even got a couple showers yesterday.

It’s supposed to be 71F/21.6C today, and possibly rain (!!) tomorrow.

Woo hoo!

We need rain BADLY.

Everyone I know is sick of hot weather.

It also makes everything seem so much more “holiday-ish” if/when we have cool weather.

I did some hiking over the weekend.

On Saturday night, the storm clouds began rolling in right around sunset.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

It made for an interesting light show.

I might have been accompanied by friends and a bottle of wine as I took these photos.

The horizon line turned a deep, vibrant, orange.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

After the sun had set, I decided to go a little further.

I knew if I rounded a bend and climbed a bluff I’d see a nice view of night lights by the ocean.

I didn’t have my tripod with me so I found a big boulder and used it as my pretend tripod.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

It was a beautiful evening.

And now, if we’re lucky, we might get a little WINTER this week.

P.S.  My arm is technically still attached to my body, but it is not ACTUALLY connected.  (The medical term for my current predicament is “shoulder subluxation.”)

P.P.S.  It really hurts a LOT.

P.P.P.S.  I don’t know when I’m going to be able to see Paul Newman this week, (I’m out of town tomorrow), but I really, really, need him.

P.P.P.P.S.  It’s possible my shoulder will pop back onto my body on its own.  Let’s hope!

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Thanksgiving Recap

I had a nice Thanksgiving.

I hope you did too – if you celebrated.

This year was a very casual Thanksgiving for my family.

My daughter and her boyfriend arrived very late the night prior.

My youngest son is in town from college.

There were only five us … so, the smallest group we’ve ever had.

The weather was hot … around 90F at my house so the air conditioning was running all day.

Because it was so hot, we didn’t get dressed up for dinner.

We were in shorts and tee shirts/tank tops and flip flops.

I did all the cooking myself.

(Turkey, gravy, fresh cranberry relish, oyster/clam stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green beans amandine, mashed potatoes, sweet and sour red cabbage, cornbread, three types of pie, etc., etc.)

My daughter usually helps, but she was really sick this year.

I didn’t want her in the kitchen and she wasn’t feeling up to it anyway.

I began cooking on Sunday – I was cooking for five days total.

(My arm feels like it has been ripped off my body … the pain is breathtakingly bad.)

On Thanksgiving day itself, everyone (except me) sat around watching football and drinking beer.

I cooked all day.

Then we had a giant feast, followed by a serious case of food coma.

We took some time to relax.

The three males in the house did all the dishes.

We watched a Netflix movie in the late evening and had dessert (pie) and coffee while we did so.

I can’t say it was the “best ever” Thanksgiving.

The food came out perfectly.

But, it’s the first year I didn’t have all my kids together and it just didn’t feel “right.”

Also, I’ve been fighting a cough/respiratory bug for over a month and I think all the work involved was a little more overwhelming since I wasn’t feeling 100%.

(My daughter is usually a big help, too, and I definitely noticed the increase in my workload with her being sick.)

Plus, my arm (pain level) is off the charts from all the cooking.


But, it wasn’t a total downer either.

It was a nice day.

I was really glad my daughter, her boyfriend, and my youngest son were home.

Everyone gets along so we don’t have any of the awkward relative situations some families have to deal with.

I don’t participate in Black Friday shopping.

(I hate shopping to begin with, and shopping with crowds is even worse!)

Friday was a relaxing day.

There were plenty of leftovers so I didn’t need to cook.

The weather was summer-ish so we went for a long (long, long!!) family walk on the beach.

I know I need to get motivated for Christmas chores now, but I’m not quite ready yet.

I don’t know what I’m getting anyone for gifts this year.

I’m giving myself a few days to recuperate from Thanksgiving before I power ahead with Christmas preparations.

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Pre-Thanksgiving and Insurance Woes

I’m in Thanksgiving mode.

Yesterday, I was “stuck” at home waiting on a delivery.

While I was home I made my “best in the world” cranberry dish.

I also baked pumpkin bread.

I also worked on a potato casserole.

Last night my youngest son arrived home from college for the holiday weekend.

My daughter (and friends) will arrive today.

[My oldest son, sadly, will not be able to visit until January.]

As I was baking yesterday, I had the air conditioning running because of the heat.

This is what Thanksgiving is like in Southern California – air conditioning!

At the same time I’m busy with family/holiday activities,

I’m also trying to work with my medical insurer Blue Shield of California.

Insurance companies don’t like to pay for physical therapy.

And, to be honest, most people don’t need ONGOING physical therapy.

If you’re injured/have surgery, a physical therapist helps you get well again.

Physical therapy is a temporary thing.

For those of us with permanent disabilities, however, it is a very different situation.

I will never have much use of my arm.

I will always need someone to move it for me since I can’t move it on my own.

Having a PT do this, keeps me from losing the limited mobility I do have.

It also prevents the muscles attached to my arm and shoulder from atrophying and creating worse problems.

When I don’t have regular PT visits, I regress rapidly.

My pain increases tremendously due to severe muscle spasms.

It’s a downward spiral.

You would think insurance companies would see the benefits of ongoing care for permanently disabled people.

But, medical insurance is never easy in 2014, is it?

My doctor’s letter proving “medical necessity” apparently wasn’t quite enough to satisfy the insurance company.

(Yes, even though they do know about my nine surgeries.)

Instead of asking my doctor for more information, Blue Shield of CA simply stopped paying my PT bills.

Now, I’m in the middle of a mess … PT bills, medical insurance “committees” who don’t know me, but are determining whether or not I’m really disabled, my doctor, and my physical therapist.

My doctor is re-communicating with Blue Shield of CA.

Will good and right prevail?

I wish I could say it will, but I have no idea.

There needs to be a better system.

Why should I have to “prove” my disability over and over again?

I’m not going to grow a new, working, arm.

It’s frustrating.

But, I’m trying to be patient as “the system” works through my case once again.

Hopefully, I’ll know more within a week.

At the same time, I’m mindful to be grateful.

It is time for Thanksgiving.

My kids are healthy.

We don’t have a perfect life, but we have a good life.

And yes, I am grateful.

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Marfa, Texas

Are you tired of hearing about my Texas trip?

I promise to move on to something new tomorrow.

(Although, I might come back with more Texas stories in the future.)

Marfa, Texas, is one of the most unusual places I’ve ever been to.

At one time, Marfa was a dying town.

Now it has become a tourist destination due to an eclectic collection of minimalist art.

Marfa is also famous for mysterious lights which sometimes appear on the horizon at night.

(The Marfa lights were featured on the TV show Unsolved Mysteries.)

I didn’t have the opportunity to spend a night looking for mystery lights, but there’s no doubt a lot of people come to Marfa just to see them.

I took the above photo one morning in Marfa.

The man pictured is named Mark.

I had met him the night before, and then ran across him the following morning.

Marfa is a very small town.

We kept running into the same people over and over again.

Many of them, we met the first night when we stopped into The Museum of Electronic Wonders & Late Night Grilled Cheese Parlour.

The Museum opens at 9:30 p.m.

If you’d like a drink, you need to bring your own alcohol.

When you walk inside, you find a small room with several old TVs, radios, and various old electronics.

You can order a grilled cheese sandwich to get rid of your late night munchies.

And, drink the beer you bought somewhere else and brought in.

And, talk to other people who happen to wander in for a late night grilled cheese sandwich.

It’s all very odd, but in a fun way.

There’s a lot of “odd” and “unusual” in Marfa … it’s a very funky place.

I like funky.

I could have found things to photograph in Marfa for days and days.

But, alas ….

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

It was soon time to hit the road again.

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More Texas Photos

There were so many great photo opportunities as I traveled through west Texas last week.

I enjoyed it because everything was so vastly different than it is in Orange County.

I got to photograph cowboys, truckers, lots of old cars, and desert landscapes.

It’s fun to get a change of pace.

I took a lot of photos from the car too.

(No, I wasn’t driving!)

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I was really excited when we came upon some cotton fields.

“Pull over!  Pull over!” I pleaded.

“The boys” (as I called them) were nice enough to comply.

I hopped out to take some photos of cotton fields, and close-ups of cotton balls.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I brought a cotton ball back to the car as a gift for Thomas and Daniel.

They didn’t seem nearly as excited about cotton as I was.

I’m not much of a morning person.

All photographers know, however, the best light for photos is at sunrise and sundown.

I’ve always been glad I live in California where sunsets are the big event and sunrises are not.

In Texas,

Bleary-eyed (and with no coffee!!),

I managed to get some beautiful sunrise photos.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

The “line” you see in the above photo (by the foot of the tree) is the railroad track reflecting the morning light.

It’s so terrible to wake up when it’s still dark.

We had a long drive to go trekking out in the middle of nowhere.

But …?

Once you’re awake and there, you’re really glad you did it.

We got some rain on my last day in Texas.

Are there any other states with big, huge, skies like Texas?

The clouds were ominous and SO dark just prior to the rain.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

The wind whipped up the desert dust, and the temperature dropped.

We were actually parked alongside the Rio Grande when the rain began.

Then, the rain stopped and the sun began to come out again.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

After a few river shots, we were back on the road.

Daniel spotted the double rainbow first.

This time it was him who said, “Pull over!  Pull over!”

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I think I was halfway out of the car before it had even stopped.

So many adventures packed into such a short period of time!

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West Texas

There was a moment while I was in west Texas …

A moment when I realized cowboys still work ranches, saloons continue to exist,

And, clearly, I was no longer in California.

The man on the left is named Bailey.

My friend, Thomas (on the right,) had just bought Bailey a beer.


Well, I saw a perfect photo opportunity.