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Grumble, Grumble, Attitude Adjustment

Yesterday, Paul Newman squeezed me in for a “bonus” appointment.

My shoulder has been popping on and off (in and out?) for about a week now.

It’s very painful when it gets like this which means I’ve been taking pain meds off and on for several days also.

(Boo Hiss!  The dreaded pain meds!)

I’m sure Paul Newman could sense my frustration yesterday, because he felt the need to have a “talk” with me.

And, to be honest, I needed it.

He’s so calm and logical and matter-of-fact about my arm.

I can always use a dose of Paul Newman CALM when I’m in a lot of pain and teetering on the edge of a meltdown.

I tell everyone how much better my arm is.

And …?

He told me it really isn’t.

In some ways it is.

If I don’t attempt to use it, I’m in less pain than I used to be when not using it.

In other words, doing absolutely nothing hurts a lot less than it used to.

Plus, there’s all the stuff inside of my arm that has been repaired over the years.

(Pretty much everything!)

Also, Paul Newman can move my arm much more than he was able to move it when he first adopted me.

He’s broken down scar tissue and loosened up muscles that were locked down tight.

I, however, still can’t move my arm myself.

Well, not in a normal way.  I can move it some by using my neck muscles, etc.

Paul Newman tells me I’ve built my life into “a little box” I live inside.

As long as I stay within that box, adapting and modifying my limited movements,

I can function in a convincing, but totally faking-it way.

If I attempt to do anything outside of my little box, like *actually* attempting to use my bum arm,

It “bites” me.  (His words.)

In other words, I go into a pain flare-up.

Pain flare-ups can last for days or weeks, depending on what I’ve done and how badly I’ve done it.

As most of you know, I was a total mess post car accident.

Nine surgeries (and nearly eight years) later, I *am* way better than I was.

And …?

There’s a surgery which could possibly hold my bicep in place so my arm would not pop out of the shoulder joint so often.

(I think the surgery is called bicep tenodesis.)

But, nine surgeries later I don’t think I want to go through more surgeries.

Also, if the surgery fails, I could find myself with pretty much no use of my arm.

I don’t think I can take that chance when I have so little use of it already.

(It isn’t a simple surgery – some orthopods won’t even do it.)

I get frustrated at the things I can’t do.

I can’t, for instance, do upper body exercises.

I can’t work (shoot) more than a few hours at a time.

I can’t lift or carry anything.

I’m very dependent on my Paul Newman visits to keep the movement I do have.

(He also helps keep my pain levels in check.)

I asked him yesterday if any of his other patients need him as much as I do?

Since “normal” patients get better and stop visiting him, I don’t think they do.

Being in pain puts a damper on my spirits.

Facing the reality of a lifetime of physical limitations is also frustrating.

I’ve known for a long time I’ll always have limitations but it’s so much more REAL when Paul Newman and I talk about it.

I’m trying to focus on how far I’ve come.

Yes, I may be living in a little box with very limited use of my arm,

But a few years ago I didn’t even have that little box.

I may not be able to shoot more than a few hours here and there,

But I couldn’t shoot at all for several years.

I’m trying to embrace the positives.

I have come a long way.

Sometimes I need to focus on just that.

I’m mentally going through a list of all the arm related improvements I’m grateful for.

(I’m most grateful of all for Paul Newman!)

And really, there have been a lot of improvements.

It’s just been a tough week.

Multiple shoulder subluxations don’t make for a happy dance.

On the positive side, I’m getting photo editing done while I wait for my arm to calm down.

I know this flare up will pass given time.

It’s just a bump in the road.

Bumps in the road are a frequent occurrence in life.

And I am on quite a journey.

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What’s Up Lately?

•  My bum arm has been (extra!!) bad.  Last night when I was cooking it “popped” loudly.  I guess it had fallen off again and popped back on.

•  I’m spending the morning with Paul Newman.  I know he’ll be especially happy to see me?

•  What will I do if my arm pops off while he’s away on vacation?

•  As I approach the eight year anniversary of my car accident, I find I’m very tired of my arm randomly popping on and off of my body.

•  I’ve cooked (a lot) over the last two days.

•  Now I’d like someone to cook for me?

•  Yesterday I spilled two cups of homemade hummingbird food on my kitchen floor.  Hummingbird food is one hundred percent sugar water.

•  I have a “used” brick floor … meaning there are lots of cracks and crevices in it.  Can I tell you how fun it was to clean sugar water off of it?

•  I “worked-out” on an elliptical for a whopping 15 minutes yesterday.  I am easing, very gently, back into post-surgery exercise.  Baby steps.

•  I’ve ordered underwater housing for my Canon 5D Mark III.  It won’t arrive for a few weeks, but it will make me feel much more at ease about the ocean shots I take.  All my gear is insured, but I don’t want to be in a position where I need to replace it.  I’ve done some crazy  acrobatics  things to protect my gear in the past.  I recommend those of you with cameras don’t do what I’ve done.

•  There are rumors swirling Canon will be announcing a 5D Mark IV and EOS 1DX Mark II in coming months.  This is an exciting rumor (if true?) for photography nerds.  Technology is changing at a rapid pace.

•  I’ve been editing fitness photos for WrightWay Fitness.  I’m very happy with the (so far) results.

•  I’m craving a puppy.  (But, I’m not getting one.)

•  I’m also craving a road trip.  (I’m working on freeing myself from my calendar so I can make it happen.)

•  Do you have any fun summer vacation plans?

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When Photography And Music Mix

As many of you already know, my son is home from college for the summer.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned he’s musically inclined?

I wish I could say he got his musical talent from me, but I have …

Absolutely NO musical talent.

None, zero, zip.

(I do sing  poorly  loudly while driving though!)

While other high schoolers were rocking out to the latest and greatest tunes,

My son thrived on writing songs.

And, not the type of songs you’d expect from someone his age.

His dream is to someday compose movie soundtracks.

In fact, his idol is Hans Zimmer.

Hans isn’t a bad person to look up to, is he?

Yesterday afternoon when I returned home,

My son surprised me with a short one minute video he had made.

He said he felt inspired to compose music after thumbing through some of my sunset shots.

My mom-heart was incredibly touched.

If you can spare one minute of your day,

I hope you’ll take the time to watch/listen to what he put together.

If you’re too busy to do so now,

Come back and listen at a time when you can sit, relax, and enjoy.

One minute is such a short period of time,

But his video packs a whole lot of relaxation into every second.

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Monday, Monday

I hope you had a nice summer solstice weekend.

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

I made a concerted effort *not* to pick up my camera (much) last weekend.

(My bum arm has been in a very angry state of mind.  In fact, I think it might have popped off of my body again.)

Instead, I got a lot of one-armed chores and errands done.

I went out to dinner with some long-time, treasured, friends.

We followed-up dinner with an Angels baseball game … the Angels won.

The game was followed by a fireworks show.

The Angels put on a firework show after the game every Saturday night.

Because I’m old (???), I was tired by the time I got home at 11:15 Saturday night.

I’ve also been busy planning a return trip to Napa for October.

I thought I was planning way in advance.

But, it turns out Napa Valley is already almost completely booked for the months of September and October.

I really had to work in order to find a hotel room and get some dinner restaurant reservations.

(And sadly, I couldn’t even get into a few places I really wanted to.)

I guess I’ll know for the future -

Book Napa harvest season a year ahead?!

I’m super excited to have also booked a sunrise hot air balloon trip for my Napa trip.

I know it’s still months away, but I’m really excited about it anyway.

Isn’t it funny how planning a mini-vacation can lighten up your entire outlook?

It’s something to look forward to -

And who doesn’t need that?

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True Stories

•  I know summer “officially” begins this weekend, but I’m pretty sure (here in Orange County) it’s been summer for the last twelve months.

•  I’ve met the nicest people while photographing WrightWay Fitness this week.  Nice “normal” people instead of the usual OC gym barbies.  Very refreshing!

•  Yesterday, Paul Newman popped my arm back on my body.  (It pops off from time to time.)  It really hurts a lot when it isn’t attached to my body like it’s supposed to be.  While he was reattaching my arm, my orthopedic surgeon surprised  me  us  by stopping into  physical therapy to  spy on me   watch/visit/chat.  It was a medical menage a trois?

•  I recently became obsessed with the BBC series Luther.  I watched the entire series (via Netflix) in one week’s time … while editing photos at night.  I might have screamed at one point.  (Very scary bad guys!)

•  I was in the L.A. area on Wednesday afternoon.  A corporation hired me to “do” the walls of their new office building.  Wednesday’s visit was a pleasure.  The office manager had requested I sign all of the prints they purchased.  I hadn’t seen the (very large) prints since they were hung.  It was very rewarding to walk into an office building and see my art decorating each and every wall.  It isn’t the first “complete” office I’ve done, but I felt just as honored as if it was.

•  It’s been a super busy week.  I’m really looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

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How Long Should You Wait At A Doctor’s Office?

Yesterday, I had a 10:30 a.m. appointment with my doc for my two month, post-surgery, check-up.

I drove forty five minutes to the appointment.

When I arrived, there was not a vacant seat in the doctor’s waiting room.

“We’re running a little behind,” said the receptionist.


It happens.

I knew my appointment itself would only take five minutes tops.

(The doc would look at my incision and tell me what I’m now allowed to do and/or should still avoid doing.)

I had allotted an hour and a half for a five minute appointment …

I’ve come to expect waiting at doctor’s offices.

In fact, I had taken the morning off work (no work = no pay) just for this appointment.

Over the course of the next hour, a few people tired of waiting and asked to reschedule their appointments.

One woman came in, pitched a fit when she heard she would have a thirty minute wait,


Yes, she behaved badly and it paid off … for her.

For those of us who had appointments prior to hers,

And also witnessed her poor behavior and the resulting outcome -

Frustration grew.

At 11:50 … one hour and twenty minutes after my scheduled appointment,

I was still seated in the waiting room.

There was no indication I would be called back soon.

In fact, there had been no communication from the staff since I first entered the office an hour and twenty minutes prior.

I knew, from past experience, once I got ushered to an actual exam room,

I would most likely have to wait another twenty minutes prior to seeing the doctor.

That would bring my total wait close to the two hour point.

Why make an appointment at a specific time if you can’t see the patient until two hours later?

And if the daily schedule has gotten *that* screwed up,

Why isn’t the receptionist calling patients to re-schedule instead of having them wait two hours (or longer) after arriving?

Although I had taken the morning off work, I hadn’t taken the afternoon off.

I (nicely) informed the receptionist I had been waiting an hour and twenty minutes,

And that I could not wait any longer.

“When can we reschedule you?” she asked.

“I don’t know that I will be rescheduling,” I answered.

Do I want to waste another few hours of my life for a doctor to “look” at my incision?

Yes, it would be nice to know exactly when I can return to my pre-surgical workout routine,

But not getting that information was really the only thing I missed out on.

And now is when I tell you I think Dr. Sanjay Grover is an excellent surgeon.

I do.

I have no regrets about using him,

And I would use him again.

But …?

If you’re going to pay extra to go to the “best” surgeon in an area, you expect his/her office to run relatively smoothly.

In this case, it’s definitely an area for improvement.

I lost a morning of pay,

A morning of my life, for that matter.

And I never did see the doctor.

I wish I could say my experience was an isolated incident …

The type of thing that could happen, once in a great while, at any doctor’s office.

But …?

I don’t think it was an isolated incident.

(I write this based on other waits I’ve experienced at Dr. Grover’s office and after reading online complaints about wait times at his office.)

Dr. Grover did call me later.

I was driving so the call went to voicemail.

His message apologized for the wait and suggested I reschedule at a time that worked better for my schedule.


I had actually scheduled THIS appointment at a time that worked best for my schedule.

Allowing an hour and a half for a 5 minute appointment seems like very generous time planning on my part.

I also got two (??) voicemail messages from his office manager.

Both messages from the office manager apologized for the wait.

I think, perhaps, she didn’t realize she’d already left one message and called back to leave another?

Bottom line -

I like Dr. Grover a lot personally.

I think he’s a very excellent surgeon.

I think his office itself, the way it is run, is doing damage to his otherwise stellar reputation.

I’ve raved about him here on 24 before.

I know people often “listen” to my recommendations.

That’s why I feel obligated to share the negative as well as the positive.

And, that brings me to ask ….

Have you ever experienced a situation at an appointment like I did yesterday?

How long, in your opinion, is an acceptable wait at a doctor’s office?

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Recent Photos

I thought I’d share a few recent photos today.

As you know, I’m doing some photo work for WrightWay Fitness this week.

This is Adam Wright, the owner of WrightWay Fitness:

Adam Wright

Adam is genuinely a very nice guy.

I feel very fortunate to have such great clients.

I’m spending a lot of time snapping fitness photos this week.

On the home front, my backyard wildlife sanctuary continues to expand.

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

Every time I look outside there’s some type of new critter in my backyard.

(And yes, my camera is always within arm’s reach.)

Last weekend I took this photo in Manhattan Beach:

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

It was such a beautiful day.

I’ve taken a lot of photos of the Manhattan Pier on previous visits.

I’ve also seen many, many, photos of the pier.

For some reason, the above photo resonates with me more than most.

Perhaps it was the light last Sunday.

Closer to home, I snapped this sunset shot of the Surfliner train making a stop in south San Clemente.

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

I never tire of seeing the trains along the coastline.

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The Early Bird ..?

I’m not a morning person.

If I had no responsibilities in life I’d indulge my Night Owl tendencies even more than I do.

That being said, for many, many, years I woke up at 5:30 a.m. with my kids.

I didn’t love mornings, but it was necessary.

Yesterday, I woke up at 4 a.m.

I had things I needed to do prior to photographing a 5:30 a.m. Circuit Training Boot Camp at WrightWay Fitness.

When my alarm went off, I stumbled to the Keurig for a cup of coffee …

Which I took right to the shower with me.

(No, I didn’t take the coffee INTO the shower.  Although, I did consider it.)

By the time 5:00 a.m. rolled around I was wide awake and eager to begin shooting.

Wrightway Fitness 061614-1 2014 W-1

WrightWay Fitness Boot Camp

I’ll be photographing a lot of the exercise classes and fitness boot camps held by WrightWay Fitness in upcoming days.

I have to admit, it’s a fun project.

There are people of all different fitness levels doing all sorts of different activities.

The variety makes it fun to photograph.

(Don’t tell anyone, but I surprised myself by actually enjoying being up so early!)

Watching the boot camp participants made me wish (once again) I had two functioning arms.

Wrightway Fitness 061614-2 2014 W-1

I’d fall on my face if I tried doing the “roll out” shown in the above photo.

I’d have to do it one-armed which makes falling on my face a certainty.

But, let’s be honest -

I’d probably fall on my face doing a roll out even if I had two functioning arms.

It was nice to see such a friendly atmosphere at WrightWay yesterday.

Nobody was poking fun of the newbies and everyone seemed very supportive of one another.

I already knew I like and respect Adam, the owner.

It was nice to see his classes and camps reflect his integrity.

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Father’s Day Weekend

I hope you had a nice Father’s Day weekend if you were celebrating it.

(Or, even if you weren’t.)

I wasn’t able to be with my dad over the weekend, but I’m hoping to see him very soon.

(Upcoming road trip to Oregon!)

It was a beautiful weekend here in Southern California.

I was in Orange County on Saturday and in Los Angeles County on Sunday.

I’m still working on my Gardening Supervisor role.

I buy plants, bring them home, place them where they should be planted and then try to coerce my son to plant them.

It’s working fairly well so far.

On Sunday, I met some friends for lunch at Simmzy’s in Manhattan Beach.

It was great – beautiful weather on the restaurant patio, fantastic food, and good company.

After lunch we went for a long (long, long) walk along the strand.

(For you non-Southern Californians … The Strand is a boardwalk along the beach where you can ogle  beautiful people  multi-million dollar homes as you walk/bike.)

There’s always great people watching in Manhattan Beach.

Great people watching means lots of fun playing with my camera ….

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

I took an assortment of photos as I walked up and down The Strand.

I think my favorite is the double exposure shown above.

It’s funky ….

And I always love funky.

I usually have to be very precise when I’m on assignments.

It’s fun to be a little more artsy with my camera when I’m on my own time.