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Fabulous Friday!

I’m SO glad it’s Friday.

It has been a chore-filled week and I’m ready to have some fun.

Mocha woke me up to share sunrise with her yesterday.

It was beautiful.

Sunrise With Mocha (From My Bedroom)

I don’t have any huge plans for the weekend.

I have exactly one definite plan for the entire weekend.

I’m having dinner with some friends one night.

I’m also going to attempt to finalize a summer vacation trip for August.

I hope to get a little shooting in, too, if my arm is feeling up to it.

(I’m seeing Paul Newman this morning.  I don’t think I’ve ever “needed” to see him quite so much.)

Depending on weather, I might head up to L.A. to spend some time at The Huntington,

And/or -

Head south to The Flower Fields in Carlsbad.

It’s a very “iffy” type weekend.

I love weekends with flexibility.

Anything is possible!

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Nail Art, Etc.

I thought you might like to see my latest toenail art?

Nail Art Toenails © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

I took the above phone photo yesterday afternoon.

It’s a nice spring-y nail art design.

I like the glittery corners for added bling.

I’ve been very busy this week trying to get caught up with everything – work stuff and personal stuff.

Napa was fun.

Texas was fun.

But … real life has been impatiently waiting for me.

I spent an hour with Baby Face yesterday.

Normally, I do a warm-up by myself, work out with Baby Face for thirty grueling minutes, and then do cardio on my own.

Baby Face “surprised” me yesterday with a full hour with him.

I think it’s his way of punishing me for my travel schedule lately.

My legs!

My ass!

(Remind me why I keep going back to him?)

I also had a visit with Dr. Painless this week.

(No surprise.  After all, I’ve been traveling.  When I travel my pain always flares.)

I love Dr. Painless.

I can’t tell you how much it means to be able to talk to someone who understands Pain (one hundred percent) as the separate, evil, living, entity it is.

He’s also treated me long enough to understand MY pain, my triggers, my flare-ups  ….

Mentally, emotionally, intellectually, it’s so helpful to have that type of understanding in my life.

Every time I’m with him, I feel grateful I have a doctor who totally “gets it.”

No pretenses, no acting like it’s okay when it’s not, just very real acknowledgement I live my life with this Other Entity we must manage and control.

I’ll see Paul Newman (whom I also adore) tomorrow … and then, hopefully, my body will be on its way to recovering from my recent trips.

In the meantime, my arm may hurt but at least I have pretty toes!

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Trip To Texas: Days 3 and 4

Last Saturday was Day #3 of my latest Texas visit.

After a leisurely breakfast with my son, we decided to return to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

The previous day, we’d only had time to visit two of the gardens there.

On this visit, we strolled through the “Texas Garden.”

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

Along the way, I met a garden employee who mentioned to me there was a “butterfly exhibit” going on in the conservatory.

Curious, we eventually made our way to the giant greenhouse.

When we entered, we were immediately transported to another world.

The inside of the greenhouse looked (and felt) like a tropical rain forest.

Along with the beautiful plants, we saw hundreds (thousands?) of butterflies perched on leaves and/or flying about.

The theme of the exhibit was “butterflies of Asia.”

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

I was so delighted with everything about the event.

I’ve never been to a butterfly exhibit before;  I didn’t even know such a thing existed.

The butterflies seemed to like my son.

They kept flying around and/or landing on him.

My favorite were the BIG, BLUE, morpho butterflies.

It felt like I was watching a Disney cartoon when they flew around us.

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

I would squeal with delight every time.

Eventually, we bid the butterflies good-bye.

We were due at an organized frat activity for the afternoon and early evening.

But …?

As we left the greenhouse, the sky opened up and it began to pour.

Our afternoon, pre-planned, activities were scheduled to be outdoors.

We knew we needed to come up with an alternative plan.

Not long after, I found myself watching Captain America in 3D at an IMAX theater.

(Chris Evans is SO attractive as Captain America.  Not that I noticed ….)

It was a fun, entertaining, movie.

When the movie ended, the rain had temporarily stopped.

We decided to take a long walk along the Trinity River pathway.

Our day ended with a Tex-Mex dinner and accompanying margaritas.

Sunday was my fourth, and final, day in Texas.

My son’s fraternity had organized a really, really, nice brunch at a beautiful country club.

It was pouring on Sunday so I didn’t take my camera.

I’d love to return someday and take photos of the country club.

It was so traditional, so Southern, so beautiful and so charming.

My son was such a gentleman, presenting me with a long stemmed red rose.

He had written me a nice note on a card and even insisted on holding the umbrella for me as we came and went from brunch.

Who is this boy who is all of a sudden growing up?

I was very touched.

After bunch, when we had left the country club, it became apparent the remainder of the day would consist of pouring rain.

We had some time to kill prior to my flight.

We hung out at a Starbucks and had a nice long chat about … well, everything.

In time, I took him back to his dorm and began my journey to return my rental car, etc., etc., etc.

It was a great, very special, four days.

It’s hard to believe he’ll be done with his freshman year in less than five weeks.

And yes, he is coming home for the summer.

P.S.  If any of you have a summer job opening for a 19 year old, please let me know!

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My Trip To Texas: Days 1 and 2

I had so much fun spending four days in Texas.

Thursday was a travel day and I was pretty tired by the time I arrived in Dallas.

It was super hot and humid when I stepped off the plane.

I felt my energy level instantly zapped.

Once I picked up a rental car and got settled in my hotel,

My son and I hung out for awhile in the hip, trendy, 7th Street area of Fort Worth.

Around 7th St Fort Worth © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Around 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas.

We had a nice mediterranean dinner at the end of the day and then I begged off to get some sleep.

I still can’t get over all the lightning and thunder that night!

Gigantic thunder cloud:

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

WOW!

Friday, I was fully recovered from traveling and FULL of energy.

The weather was beautiful – a perfect 72F.

After a nice breakfast, my son and I spent a few hours at the Fort Worth Zoo.

We had so much fun.

The zoo is particularly proud of their two baby elephants.

(Excuse the photo quality on the zoo shots – harsh sun conditions!)

Baby Elephant © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

I adored the babies, but I also loved watching the gorillas at feeding time.

Did you know gorillas love peanut butter?

Gorilla © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

The zoo keepers put peanut butter into the “holes” on a feeding/puzzle board.

The gorillas have to work the peanut butter out with their fingers.

Yum, yum??

The flamingoes, with all their beautiful oddities, provoked a philosophical, “But why??” conversation.

Flamingo © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Who knew it could be so fun to go to the zoo with a 19 year old?

We really had a great time.

After the zoo, we drove a few blocks and entered the stunning Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

People have been recommending the garden to me as a “must see” for over a year now.

My expectations, however, were low.

I’ve spent a lot of time at Descanso Gardens and The Huntington - surely Fort Worth could not compare?

However, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

I particularly liked the rose garden and the Japanese garden.

An even bigger surprise?

I thought my son would be bored to death, but he absolutely loved the gardens.

(I think he might have been scoping them out as a future-date location.)

I’ll do a separate post soon with photos and more information about the garden/s.

It was a full day with lots of walking.

But, even after the zoo and the botanic gardens – we weren’t done yet.

We took a short break to get cleaned up and then drove to downtown Fort Worth.

We walked several blocks checking out the city scene.

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

Fort Worth is a nice mix of old and new architecture.

I like how they’ve made downtown user-friendly, particularly in the Sundance Square area.

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

(Fort Worth was hopping with activity due to Fab Four basketball events.)

For dinner, we connected with about 150 other college mom/sons at Ruth’s Chris.

What a yummy  martini  dinner we had!

But wait, we still weren’t done ….

The last stop for the night was for a round of miniature golf.

My son, Mr. Amazing Athlete, signed us up for the most difficult of three courses.

He promptly hit a hole in one at the very first hole.

Sigh …

I was afraid I wouldn’t even be able to hit the ball because of my bum arm.

But, I did okay once I figured out how to make a few adjustments.

I even got a hole in one (eventually) on one of the more difficult holes.

!!!

It was really exciting!

And okay, it didn’t put my score even close to my son’s but I was still very happy about it.

It was a nice way to end a very busy day.

Tomorrow, I’ll share a little about the other half of my trip.

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Home Again

Sorry I didn’t post much while in Texas the last several days.

I was in an asbestos filled hotel room, with no wifi, no Internet connection, and no safe to store any of my photo gear (which means I had to carry it everywhere with me).

It kind of felt like I went back in time by a few decades or so.

I had a very busy (but very fun!) schedule while I was in Texas.

The best part, of course, was being able to spend some time with my son.

It’s so great when your kids grow-up and you really LIKE the person they’ve become.

I got home on the late side last night.

I’ll have more details about my trip for you tomorrow.

First things first …

I need to unpack.

(A little sleep would be awesome too!)

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Thunder and Lightning and Rain!

Traveling is always an adventure.

I was up at six a.m. yesterday – early for me.

On my flight to Dallas, two kids seated near me vomited.

The short, two hour, flight suddenly seemed incredibly long.

There was also an “incident” with an

elderly man.

In other words, it was the longest two hour flight ever.

I arrived to 90 degree, very humid, weather.

I was, however, delighted when the heat turned into an amazing lightning show in the evening.

I gasped out loud at every clap of thunder … I’m not used to it.

My son laughed at me -

He’s already become accustomed to Texas weather.

I didn’t bring my computer with me so I’m going to keep this brief.

Typing on an iPad is slow for me.

I just wanted to check in while I had the chance.

I hope you have a nice weekend.

If I can, I’ll put a photo up sometime this weekend.

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Time For Texas

I’m on my way to Texas.

Or, possibly, I’m already IN Texas – depending on what time you’re reading this.

(It really isn’t a very long flight.)

Almost every minute of the next four days is booked with mother/son activities.

The activities have all been planned in honor of “Mom’s Weekend” at my son’s college.

I wish I had been able to add a few extra days to this trip so I could explore with my camera, but I just wasn’t able to do it this time.

(I don’t dare complain about being busy with photography clients, but ….)

From what I’ve heard so far, I’ll be dining in a nice restaurant at one point this weekend, along with partying with frat boys at other times.

It should be fun.

I can’t wait to spend some time with my son.

I haven’t seen him since the beginning of January.

I think I’ll have some time to update the blog each morning.

(College boys tend to sleep in until noon.)

But, if you don’t see posts and/or photos here, you’ll know it’s just because I’m busy doing Texas things.

You can also always track me down via Facebook, G+, Twitter or Instagram.

I usually manage to “appear” somewhere on social media, regardless.

And now …?

It’s time for Texas …..!

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Things I’ve Learned Lately

Things I’ve learned lately:

•  I hate the Internet on April Fool’s Day.  Seriously, folks ….

•  If my arm feels exceptionally good one day, I shouldn’t try a lot of new things “just to see what happens.”  One new thing?  Maybe.  Arm twirls to see if my arm will fall off/pop out?  Not such a good idea.

•  Really Suzanne, you should know better by now. 

•  Sigh!  Paul Newman, why do I get these great ideas on weeks when I’m not going to see you?

•  Getting a text from my son saying he’s “so excited” for me to come visit melted my cold heart into a puddle of warm mom-mush.

•  Packing for trips is something I hate.  Why is packing so horrible?

•  Texas weather confuses me.  What do you mean between 89F and 69F with fog/thunder/rain/clear skies?

•  I got curious and watched a tummy tuck surgery on YouTube.  I was alternately horrified/mesmerized/flabbergasted/horrified/amazed.  Wow!  I wanted to stop watching it, but I just couldn’t.  Kudos to doctors everywhere.  I am absolutely not cut out to work in the medical field in any capacity whatsoever.

•  The Jawbone Up24 doesn’t work for me.  I’ve heard it’s great for some people.  I’m assuming it’s because of my bum arm/not normal arm motions … but for whatever reason, it isn’t recording for me.

•  It did tell me I’m not getting enough sleep.  (Of course, I already knew that.)

•  I will forever miss being able to garden in the spring. ( I’m just not coordinated enough to do it with my left arm/hand.)

•  It really bothers me that no one knows where Malaysia Flight 370 is.  (Or if they do, they’re not making it public.)  Are we supposed to just forget about it?  I feel so sorry for the families involved.  Sad!

•  We’re having mountain lion problems here lately.  The problem is, people have invaded the territory of mountain lions.  Sadly, it’s the mountain lions who are getting punished/killed as a result.

•  It’s baseball season!

•  I love puppies.

•  I got really excited yesterday when I found the perfect travel-sized hair product.  It’s the little things in life ….

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April Means Spring

We never had winter in Southern California this year.

Still, it’s been nice to see evidence of spring on my travels these last few weeks.

California is famous for its gold hills.

They’re covered with wild mustard blooming in spring.

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

I took the above photo as I was driving through the Napa Valley.

I love the look of wild mustard.

It’s everywhere I go this time of year.

It definitely contributes to spring allergies for a lot of us, though.

Things are blooming at my house too:

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

Everything looks so pretty when flowers are blooming.

I took Mocha for a long walk yesterday.

She’s such a funny dog … she loves to bury her nose in flowers and sniff them.

As an aside, while out walking, I noticed my new Jawbone Up24 doesn’t seem to track my “steps” as well as Fitbits have in the past.

I think it uses different technology than a Fitbit.

It must rely more on the swinging of a person’s arm as they walk?

I don’t swing my arms in the same way a person with two healthy arms does.

I’m guessing that’s why the Jawbone seems to under-record my activity.

??

I’m going to give it a few more days and keep an eye on it.

I may end up passing it on to my oldest son who is a runner.

I think he’d probably get much more accurate results than I’ve seen so far.

If any of you have used a Fitbit and/or Jawbone and/or other fitness tracking device, I’d be interested in hearing about your experience.

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A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

There was an earthquake in North Orange County on Friday evening.

Did you feel it?

(Actually, Orange County had *several* earthquakes Friday evening. And more on Saturday.  And more on  ….)

How an earthquake feels depends on how close you are to the epicenter.

At my house, I definitely felt a good, strong, unmistakable, shake.

Nothing in my house was damaged.

In earthquake terms, a 5 pointer isn’t that big of a deal.

(But?  It definitely got my attention.)

In other, unrelated, news:

•  My new Jawbone Up24 was very happy with how much I walked while I was at the beach on Saturday.

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

•  Sunday, however, was a relatively lazy day.  I rearranged furniture in my family room and did chores.  Isn’t that exciting?  My Jawbone was unimpressed with my activities.

•  I’m getting really excited to see my son next weekend.  There’s a mother/son event at his college.  I’m looking forward to a Texas visit, even though it will be a quick trip.

•  I’ve already suggested to my son he and I “road trip” to Texas next fall prior to his sophomore year.  I’m always up for an adventure.

•  I’m officially OLD.  I bought a recliner!  Do you have a recliner?  I didn’t know I could get so excited about a chair.  I’m so happy about my new chair.

•  Today I’m baking cookies to send to my dad for his upcoming birthday.  He loves getting home baked cookies!