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New York

I hope you had a great Labor Day Weekend.

I’m headed to New York this week for a work-related event.

Canon was kind enough to invite me to their exclusive launch party for the new Canon 5D Mark IV.

I pre-ordered the Mark IV within minutes of the product announcement.

(I had been eagerly waiting for pre-orders to open!)

The Mark IV will be replacing my Mark III and be used in conjunction with my Canon 5DSR.

My Mark III has been my faithful companion for years.

I’ve become emotionally attached to it; it is almost an extension of my own body.

I’m very excited (!!!) about the upgrades Canon has made in the Mark IV – GPS, wi-fi, 30 megapixels, touch screen, improved focusing, etc., etc!!

I shoot with two camera bodies at a time, and I know the Mark IV will be awesome alongside my super-high megapixel 5DSR.

If you’re in the market for a new high end DSLR camera,

I would definitely suggest the Mark IV.

(Unless you have need to print EXTREMELY LARGE prints …. which is what I use my 5DSR for because of my corporate clients.)

I can’t wait to dive into all the details, and capabilities, of the Mark IV while I’m with Canon in New York.

I love (!!) visiting New York City because there’s so much to shoot there.

Unfortunately, due to my schedule this month, this trip is going to be very short.

I can’t even express how frustrating it is to not to have the time I want/need while I’m there.

(Especially since it takes nearly a full day just to travel there!)

But, I’m super excited to be going.

I also know it might be for the best I can’t spend day after day shooting.

My arm is definitely not ready for  any  extensive use.

I’ll just have to make a return trip when I can spend more time … maybe in the spring?

In any case, this will be my only blog post this week due to both Labor Day and my NYC trip.

I’ll be back next week to share photos and stories about my whirlwind trip.

I will be posting as frequently as I have time for on social media this week.

As always, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and SnapChat (SuzanneHaggerty).

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More Fire Photos

Helicopters were flying from “my” lake to the fire again for most of yesterday.

The flames of the fire are no longer visible from my backyard as I sit down to write this post.

The fire is still burning on the opposite side of the mountain … thus, the nonstop flights of the helicopters.

I thought I’d share a few more photos from Wednesday with you today.

This is what the fire looked like from my backyard fairly early Wednesday morning:

Cleveland National Forest fire.

I wasn’t overly concerned at first.

The fire looked relatively small and I know there’s always a quick response to fires here.

But, the fire didn’t take long to grow.

The brush is really dry and goes up in flames quickly.

The smoke and sky looked surreal as the flames crept over the mountain.

By 10:00 a.m. it was clear the fire was growing very rapidly.

I kept a cautious eye on the hillside knowing how quickly wildfires spread here.

All it takes it one ember being blown by a breeze to set off another area a distance away.

I have been near, or somewhat involved with, many California fires over the years.

They don’t faze me the way they would many people.

But I do have the utmost respect for them.

The remarkable thing with this fire is how quickly and forcefully the firefighters responded.

I have NEVER seen as many resources (11 helicopters, 7 air tankers) sent to a fire so quickly.

Fire fighting preparedness has been a big dollar political issue for years.

It was refreshing to see this fire fought aggressively from the very start.

DC-10 air tanker dropping fire retardant on the mountain.

The above plane can drop 11,600 gallons of flame retardant in one load.

That’s pretty amazing!

Bright colored flame retardant is visible on the mountain behind the helicopter.

Obviously, the fire fighter’s aggressive approach to this wildfire has been a success.

I’m sure crews will be in the area working for days to come.

I’m very grateful to them … it has been super hot here and I know conditions are miserable.

** Please have a safe Labor Day Weekend. **

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Fire!

When I woke up yesterday morning there was a smoky haze on the mountains behind my house.

I could tell there was a fire back in the canyon, but it looked small – no big deal.

A few hours later, in spite of the work by fire crews, it was clear the fire was growing.

Fire1 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

The Cleveland National Forest on fire – photo from my backyard.

Eleven (!) fire helicopters began what would become all day flights to the fire.

Whenever there’s a fire in the area, the helicopters use the lake behind my house as a water source.

Fire2 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Orange County Fire helicopter as it descends to refill it’s tank with lake water.

Yesterday, there were times when four helicopters at a time would be at the lake getting water.

Usually they only send one or two helicopters.

I knew the fire must be growing quickly if there were four helicopters filling up water tanks at any given time.

Having grown-up in Southern California, I don’t get overly concerned about fires.

They happen all the time here.

But, when the flames became visible cresting over “my” mountains, I definitely took note.

Fire4 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Flames were visible cresting over the mountain by 10:00 a.m.

I checked the fire department’s website and read that 155 acres were on fire, two hundred firefighters were assigned to the fire, one firefighter was injured, eleven helicopters were dropping water, and seven air tankers were dropping nearly 12,000 gallons of fire retardant per fly-over.

Fire5 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

An air tanker dropping more fire retardant.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Most likely someone tossed a cigarette out a car window and/or thought it would be a good idea to light a campfire back in the canyon.

Hopefully it wasn’t caused by an arsonist.

The brush on the hills is incredibly dry right now.

It burned quickly and it burned big.

Fire6 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

At times the fire scene looked eerie and surreal.

In the afternoon, I walked behind my backyard fence to get a couple close-up helicopter photos for you.

It’s kind of amazing to watch the efficiency of the helicopters.

FireB © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Some of the fire helicopters have hoses that suck the lake water into large water tanks on board.

The helicopter pilots are so skilled.

They manipulate their way through smoke and ash.

They hover a few feet above the lake until their water tanks are full.

Some of them dip enormous baskets into the lake and then continue on their way.

FireC © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Helicopters with dumping baskets are still used to fight wildfires.

By nightfall, there were no visible flames to be seen from my backyard.

I’m not sure if the fire is completely out, but the worst is definitely over.

I’m so glad there weren’t any big winds to make things more dangerous.

And, as always, I’m very grateful to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us.

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Sexual Watermelons??

Yesterday, I attempted to lift a watermelon with one arm while shopping at Costco.

It didn’t happen, and I admit to spending way too much time fondling the watermelons trying to accomplish this task.

(Eventually I used TWO arms … which I’m regretting still because – ouch!)

I was buying watermelon for Fred and Frank … both of my Newfies LOVE watermelon!

While I was hovering around the fruit department, I overheard a Costco employee discussing how to pick out the best watermelon to another shopper.

I tried to eavesdrop for a minute just in case there was a Secret Watermelon Picking Tip I didn’t already know.

(In hindsight, why did I do this?  I already know how to pick a good watermelon!)

The other shopper walked away and the Costco employee began chatting with me.

“Did I hear you say there are male and female watermelons?” I asked him.

“Yes!” he replied, smiling.

He then proceeded to explain to me “female” watermelons are much tastier than male watermelons.

He told me a female watermelon “has rounder curves, almost like a circle vs. the longer shape of male watermelons.”

Next, he described to me all the details of a female watermelon.

His description?

Well, it would have made a sailor blush.

Inside my head, I told myself, “He’s just describing a watermelon Suzanne.  Stop sexualizing his description!”

But, his description was very … sexual.

An hour later I was at home googling “female” and “male” watermelons.

Guess what?

There is no such thing.

I bet I made his day.  (!!)

By the way, I still blush when I think about some of the things he said …

And I just stood there nodding the entire time.

Only me??

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Art Journal

I didn’t have time to write a post for today, so I thought I’d share a page from my “art journal” instead.

I don’t really think of it as an art journal …

I just call it my Sewing Book.

It’s an old sewing book from the 1960’s and I’m altering it with my art play, my photography, collage, etc.

It’s an enormous project and I think it will take one to two years to complete.

(Partially because I don’t work on it that often, and also because the book is huge.  Each page also gets layers and layers of work done to it.)

Some pages are more photography, or more art, or more collage and many pages have all of those elements.

Anyway, I never feel very comfortable sharing my art stuff because I just PLAY with art.

I’m not an artist in the sense of being able to do any of the traditional art things WELL.

But, yesterday, with the encouragement of a friend, I shared one of my sewing book pages in a popular art forum and …

Oh my!!

It got a really great response and the response was genuine (!) and I was so SHOCKED.

So, don’t laugh at me for sharing here, okay?

This particular page doesn’t have any photography.

And, like most of the pages in this project –

The goal is to be messy and quirky not pretty.

I don’t do pretty art – I wouldn’t even begin to know how!

OK ….

Deep breath …..

SB-1 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Page from my altered art journal aka My Sewing Book.

As you can see, this was done directly on to one of the pages in the sewing book.

I like how bits of text from the original book shows through.

I’d like to get a few more pages done, but it very well could be a month before I have a chance to work on it again.

Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun to make this page.

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Popcorn In My Cleavage

I have a confession to make.

It isn’t unusual for me to have popcorn in my cleavage.

I usually don’t discover it until I get undressed to go to bed at night.

I take my shirt and bra off and it begins raining popcorn confetti.

I like popcorn.

On a separate topic,

I want to gag when I feed Fred and Frank.

People assume giant dogs eat a lot, but both of my Newfies are very picky (and light) eaters.

To encourage them to eat (Fred will turn his nose up at food for DAYS), I mix fish into their food.

The type of fish varies (salmon, sardines, mackerel), but all of the fish smell like … fish!

Trust me, at 5:00 a.m., I don’t enjoy seeing (or smelling) huge chunks of mackerel.

I remember when my house smelled only of coffee at 5:00 a.m?

In other news, over the past few days:

•  I went to a friend’s grown-up party.  Remember those?

•  I spent a couple days with my daughter.

•  I watched all of season one of Stranger Things and it freaked me out.

•  I had a nice dinner out to celebrate my husband’s birthday.

•  I had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in four months.  When I tried to get her caught up on the last several months, I realized how depressing my life is right now.  Hopefully, that won’t be the case much longer.

•  I fell off the healthy-food-bandwagon long enough to share a piece of birthday cake (carrot cake) with Fred.

Fred The Newf discovered he LOVES birthday cake!

There’s really nothing quite like a giant Newfie with a mixture of frosting and drool all over his face.

It makes me laugh just to think of it.

(And yes, I did clean his face for him quite promptly!)

Today, I return to physical therapy.

My arm is still swollen and sore from PRP, but less so.

Fun times ahead!?

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PRP Injection Update

My PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection went as planned last Thursday.

I woke up at 4 a.m. and left for L.A. at 5:00 a.m.

A Kerlan Jobe nurse took blood from me.

Then I waited for about a half hour for the “spinning machine” to do its thing and pull out my platelets.

I was put in a procedure room, hooked up to an ultrasound machine, and the doc began injecting the actual elbow tendon itself with the PRP magical mixture.

(Some doctors inject the injured joint vs the specific tendon. It’s less painful to do so, but it isn’t nearly as effective.)

I expected lots of numbing medication – thinking the pain I’d been warned of would come AFTER I was done.

Well, it turns out the numbing medication kills the cells they want alive so …!

I won’t lie, the injection did hurt.

(My elbow hurt much more over the course of the next 24-48 hours.)

The doctor had told me it’s normal to be quite sore for a couple weeks.

I drove home.

I was surprised my body seemed to kind of shut down a couple hours later.

I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

I’m not a nap person.

I cannot ever fall asleep during the day.

But, I fell asleep for most of the next 24 hours.

I thought it was very strange to sleep so much, but my body clearly needed to rest.

I took the pain medication my doctor prescribed during the first 24 hours.

On Day #2 I only took one pain pill.

I “could have” taken more based on the pain I felt, but I hate taking pain meds and I felt I could handle it without drugs.

(Probably most people would choose pain meds for the first week – I’m used to pain so I didn’t feel I needed it.)

I’ve been instructed to take a week off of physical therapy – I go back this Wednesday.

The doctor told me to treat my elbow as if it just had surgery – no activity, baby it, ice, etc.

He will do an ultrasound to look at the tendon at the four week point.

He’ll be able to determine then if the PRP has accomplished what he hoped for.

If it has, I’ll get to begin a gradual progression of arm-related activities.

My doctor felt very optimistic during, and after, the procedure.

I’m choosing to adopt his optimism as I go through this four week waiting period.

After all, if some of the biggest stars in the sports world are having success with PRP, why shouldn’t I?

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PRP – Because Nothing Is Easy?

My elbow appointment didn’t go as I’d hoped yesterday.

I drove for over two hours to get there … which is pretty standard for L.A.

(If there was no traffic, it would take an hour.  There is always traffic.)

Things started off pretty well.

I was given a new arm brace.

My old brace has been on my arm for three months.

I remove it and wash it, but it’s become pretty pathetic.

They also fit me for an “under sleeve” which goes under the brace and makes it much more comfortable.

But, then the doc performed an ultrasound to look at the tendon repair.

And …?

It isn’t healing.

It healed some, initially.

But now it’s just sitting there NOT healing.

I was given a choice …

I can have an open elbow surgery with a very long recovery – possibly 18 months.

Or, try a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection and see if it will “jump-start” my body’s healing.

Tendons take a very long time to heal because they have such low blood flow.

Mine is behind schedule even by slow-healing-tendons-standards.

A PRP injection, in theory, helps with that.

I opted for the injection which I’ll be having from 7 – 9 a.m. this morning.

It’s not a fast procedure … you can watch one on YouTube if you want details.

(You’re most likely reading this post after 9 a.m., so hopefully I’m done by now.)

There are some negatives with PRP injections.

First, even though they’ve been proven to be effective, insurance will not pay for PRP injections.

(Mine will cost $1,000 and must be paid in full at 6:45 this morning!)

Did I mention I had $2,000 of unexpected car repair expenses about a week ago?

  •  Or that my husband’s car had $3,000 of unexpected car repairs at the same time?
  •  Or that I can’t work until I’m healed?
  •  Or that my husband has been unemployed for six months?

Second, PRP injections to the elbow are extremely painful for a couple weeks after they’re done.

(For some reason, doing PRP in the elbow is supposed to be much more painful than doing it to other body parts?)

I’m DREADING it!

IT’S NOT FAIR, IT’S NOT FAIR, IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!!

I expect to be resting with ice packs on my arm for the remainder of the week.

I’ll give you an update when I’m able to.

And yes, I’m very frustrated, very sad, and also scared.

PLEASE let the PRP injection work!!

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A Medically Induced Week

I’ve got a super exciting (???) week to attend to.

Monday:  PT

Tuesday: Three-plus hours of allergy testing – because I’ve been getting sinuses headaches/infections for two years straight and my doctor INSISTED I go.

Guess what?

I’m allergic to RATS.

That’s right!  No pet rats for me!

I am NOT allergic to dogs.

(I wouldn’t give up my dogs even if I was!)

I do have some miscellaneous other allergies (to every pollen in the world), but doesn’t everyone?

Wednesday:  No PT today because I have a follow-up visit in Los Angeles with my elbow surgeon.  He’ll use an ultrasound to see inside my elbow and look at my tendon repair.  I hope he says the tendon is past the 50% point of healing because when it is, I get to begin doing more with my arm/hand/shoulder.

Thursday:  Consultation with an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist – because the allergist guy insisted they make sure there’s nothing structurally wrong with my sinuses.

(Ummm?  I’m absolutely sure there’s not, but I agreed to go under duress.)

Friday:  Physical Therapy

In my spare time this week, I’ll also be doing some exciting things like purchasing a new mattress.

(!!!!)

LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN THIS FUN!!

On the home front, my pool contractor is showing up occasionally to work on rebuilding/resurfacing the pool.

I’m pretty sure, at this rate, it will take months to complete.

To put it in perspective, if the workers showed up every day and worked all day, the job could easily be completed in two weeks or less.

But, it has already been over two weeks, so ….. months!

I’m very happy because Labor Day is approaching.

After Labor Day the majority of tourists leave Orange County.

I’ll get “my” beaches back.  (I hate to visit the beaches in the summer when it’s crowded.)

If my doc clears me for some shooting, the timing could be just about perfect.

Fall is my favorite season!

P.S.  Please don’t send me any pet rats.  I’m highly allergic!

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Frank The Newf – 6 Months Old

Frank is a six month old Newfoundland puppy now.

I took my camera to his puppy class recently.

I thought you might enjoy seeing a few photos of puppy Frank.

Frank 6mo Sitting © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Frank is always happy!!

I enjoyed taking a few photos during his class.

I think I’ll bring my camera more often – arm permitting.

Frank’s tongue is huge and I frequently laugh just from looking at it/him.

Frank doesn’t drool yet.

Fred began drooling when he was around 9-10 months old.

I’m expecting Frank will probably begin drooling once he’s that age also.

Frank is, of course, the largest puppy in his puppy class.

I think of Frank as small because he’s so much smaller than Fred was at the same age.

But, seeing Frank with large breed puppies puts his size in perspective.

A Chesapeake Retriever and Labrador Retriever provide perspective on Frank’s size.

I know Fred wouldn’t want to be forgotten so here’s a recent Fred photo:

Fred examines an olive for an extraordinary amount of time.

Fred couldn’t decide what to think about the olive.

Was it food?

A bug?

After awhile, I checked back on Fred and The Olive.

The olive had gone missing.

I’m not sure if Fred ate it,

Or, if Fred buried it in the backyard.

Fred loves to bury treasures in the backyard.