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Laguna Beach Sunset

I’ve officially  abused  broken in my new camera.

I took it to Laguna Beach late yesterday.

I sat, fully dressed, in the surf and took photos of the sunset.

It was one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve seen in months.

Summer Sunset in Laguna Beach.

I drove home once the sky had turned completely dark.

My car is full of sand.

My shower is full of sand.

And today I’ll be spending hours cleaning multiple lenses and my no-longer-new camera.

I’ll also be going through all the photos I took.

I really put the camera through its paces.

I was constantly changing settings and experimenting with how far I can push it in various circumstances.

I have to say, based on my first glance at the photos,

The camera is capable of stunning results with an experienced user.

(For those of you photo nerds out there, I took seventy percent of last night’s photos with my Canon 11-24 lens – which is pretty damn amazing in its own right.)

I hate going to our local beaches around holidays and/or during the summer months when they’re overrun by tourists.

But, we’re having funky weather so I *must* go.

Funky weather equals stunning sunsets.

There’s no better way to get familiar with a new camera than to shoot with it.

I’m already scheming on some possible mixed media art pieces using some of last night’s photos.

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The Very Hot Weekend

I was so happy to have Paul Newman work on me last Friday.

I really needed him.

I’m seeing him again today because he’s about to take off on a way-too-long vacation.

(I need all the help I can get prior to his departure.)

Fred did well during his first “real” grooming last week.

He came home looking very fluffy.

Of course, he was fluffy even before he had a bath.

Fred has no shortage of fluff.

Look Ma!  I see a pelican!

Fred enjoyed going shooting with me on Saturday.

We went to Crystal Cove State Park.

(Oh, how I love my annual pass for all the California state parks and beaches!)

Due to the remnants of a tropical storm, Southern California was hot and muggy all weekend.

I hate muggy!

I couldn’t stay at the park long enough to shoot sunset, but I did enjoy photographing the unusual, storm related, cloud formations.

Weird clouds in Southern California!

Aren’t those the craziest clouds?

It was nice to find it slightly cooler at the beach compared to my  way-too-hot house.

Did I do a good job helping you take photos today?

The clouds did bring a little rain to a few spots in Southern California, but I only saw a couple isolated rain drops myself.

On Saturday night I attended a party.

On Sunday, I tried to recover from the party.

It was super hot outside, and I was REALLY tired ….

It was a pretty slow, lazy, Sunday.

My schedule is much more relaxed than normal this week.

(Because of the upcoming 4th of July holiday.)

I’m really looking forward to it.

I have a few photo projects I want to work on.

I’m loving my new camera so far, but I have a lot more situations I want to test it out in.

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Funky Friday

I can’t believe it’s Friday already again.

This week FLEW by!

The friend who was going to groom Fred on Wednesday ended up cancelling out on me.

(After I spent hours waiting for her!)

Sigh.

Maybe she thought twice about the beast I call Fred?

As a result, Fred is going to a grooming “salon” this morning.

The owner of the salon has a Newfoundland and is, I’m told, “THEE” Newfie groomer for South Orange County.

Let’s hope Fred doesn’t come back looking like a poodle!

While Fred is being groomed, I’ll be spending a much needed morning with Paul Newman.

In completely unrelated news, I need a bigger house for all my craft supplies.

???

Remember, awhile back, when I said I’ve always wished I had artistic talent?

And, of course, I have none.

(At least, not in the traditional sense.)

I mentioned I’ve ALWAYS wanted to learn to paint with watercolors.

I’ve known about watercolor “pencils.”

The idea of them doesn’t get me very excited.

But, I didn’t know there are also watercolor markers.

I want to try them!

I think I can learn to use them as long as I keep my expectations  very low  reasonable.

I’ve been looking for them and they seem to be out of stock everywhere.

(Are they a new invention?  Why are they so hard to find?)

Anyway, I placed an order from a company in Japan.

I suppose, sometime in the next six months?? I’ll receive some watercolor markers.

I’ll let you know what I think when I get them.

I’m not going to mention what brand they are, or any other details, until I get a chance to try them.

I don’t want anyone to buy them just because I mentioned them … because what if they’re terrible?

Once I receive them, I’ll let you know how long they took to arrive, if they’re easy to use, if an untalented person can get any real use out of them, etc.

I guess this is my summer to be artsy.

I don’t have any vacation plans this summer … which, I think, is a FIRST for my entire life.

(Can it really be summer if you go NOWHERE and do NOTHING?)

Maybe I’ll beat the summer heat by experimenting with artsy things during the hottest hours of the summer days?

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Watering The Lemon Tree

Fred likes to help me water the lemon tree in my backyard.

Sorry I didn’t have time to write a “real” post, but I thought this would make you smile.

I think it’s especially funny when he goes all crazy-eyed!

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Oh, What A Week!

I’m having quite a week.

I was so overbooked yesterday, I couldn’t BREATHE.

OK, I could breathe.

But, I couldn’t catch my breath.

Also?

I need Paul Newman.

My arm is really pissed off at me.

Today, I have one (long) appointment in the morning.

In the afternoon, a friend is coming to visit.

She also happens to be a dog groomer.

Fred is a dirty mess right now.

I have visions of an afternoon filled with soap, water, and Newfie hair clippings.

My visions also include a gigantic, wet, bear of a dog running like mad through the house getting everything wet and soapy.

I wonder if I could film what happens?

Because, I honestly have no idea what will happen.

I’ve, obviously, given Fred baths before.

And, I brush him daily.

But, how will he be for a “new” person who tosses him in the shower?

I was perusing the “Newfoundland Dog Owners Forum” on Facebook last night.

There are over 8,000 members in the forum.

I noticed a recurring theme of “the terrible teens” Newfies go through …

Beginning right around eight months of age.

Fred isn’t “terrible” by any means.

He’s really a great dog.

But?

There’s no question he’s become a bit more challenging recently.

If you happen to think of it, send good wishes my way this afternoon.

Fred and I just *might* need them.

P.S.  I’ll try to get a few photos if I can.  

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Outsmarting Humans, Rabbits, And Lizards

Oh, Fred!

Fred is so freakin’ smart.

I was so happy to discover I had a smart puppy because it makes him ideal for service work.

But now …?

Fred is outsmarting ME.

Fred – a very smart Newfoundland puppy!

Yesterday, Fred woke me up by knocking on my bedroom door.

Fred has learned how to open TWO different “baby” gates in one week.

(I have my kitchen and family room gated off to keep Fred in those rooms at night.)

After opening two gates, Fred came upstairs to find me.

Newfies aren’t supposed to go up and down stairs because it’s bad for their joints.

Apparently, Fred doesn’t care about that?

Next, Fred must have used his keen sense of smell to determine which room I was in.

He came to the door and whacked at it with his gigantic gorilla paws.

(Note:  Fred didn’t scratch at the door – he WHACKED at it with the enormous puppy pads on the bottom of his feet.)

I admit, I was a little startled to be woken up by WHACK!  WHACK!  WHACK! on my bedroom door.

I’m not sure if I should purchase a third gate?

I’m pretty sure Fred will teach himself how to turn doorknobs by next week.

Why WHACK! on a door when you can just open it?

Fred was clearly overjoyed to have discovered where I go each night.

Two days ago, while out walking Fred,

He suddenly dove his entire head deep into a bush we were walking past.

He’s never done anything like that before.

His entire head was completely inside the bush with only his body visible.

Before I had time to grapple with this new, odd, development –

A cottontail rabbit emerged from the bush and speedily hopped away.

I guess, as we passed the bush, Fred smelled a bunny and just HAD TO go in head first to find it?

Fred has also recently taken up lizard hunting in my backyard.

To be honest, I don’t know what has taken him so long.

My other dogs always chased lizards from the very first time they saw one.

Fred, on the other hand, didn’t care at all when Godzilla came inside my house.

But now, Fred fiercely guards and protects me against lizards.

It’s interesting watching puppy Fred grow up.

His head is enormous – much larger than mine.

I’m now realizing his brain must, therefore, be larger than mine also ….

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The Weekend In A List

I hope you had a nice weekend.

Mine was on the slow side ….

Friday:

•  PT was cancelled … so my day was less scheduled than normal.

•  Fred and I hung out in Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach) for a few hours to cool off with a little beach fog.  (It’s always a lot hotter at my house than at the beach.)

The beach was packed – summer has begun!

•  Fred and I met a lot of really nice people while we were out.  People approach me all the time … either to talk to me about Fred, pet Fred, ask questions about Fred, and/or because they see I have a “big” camera and want to talk photography.  I can’t remember the last time I went out in public and was NOT approached.  (I don’t mind, but I do find it interesting since I’m a total introvert and people-magnet at the same time.)

•  My friend, Nike, came over in the evening for a glass of wine and to chat.  Somehow, at some point, we migrated to her house where Fred and her dog, Reggie, played until  we  they were exhausted.

Saturday:

•  Training with Fred.  I won’t lie, I was a little frustrated during our (longer than normal) training session.  Fred flunked.  OK, he didn’t FLUNK … but he definitely was not cooperating.  Fred has developed a stubborn streak and is enjoying testing me lately.  Don’t get me wrong … he’s “almost” perfectly behaved when we’re out-and-about, in public.  But, he plays deaf occasionally and has definitely begun his dog “teenage” phase.  The trainer assures me all of Fred’s behaviors are very normal for his age.

•  Errands, errands, errands, and chores made up most of the rest of my day.

•  I watched three episodes of The Jinx on Saturday evening.  (Because my life is so exciting?)  If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend you do.  I did a little coloring while watching.

Sunday:

•  Fred and I went for a walk at Dana Point Harbor.

A tall ship entering the harbor.

We stayed at the harbor for hours because the weather was so nice compared to the heat a few miles inland.  Also, Fred enjoyed meeting the forty bazillion dogs and people who spend their time walking at the harbor.  By the end of our visit, Fred was a mess.  He had played in sprinklers, played with lots of dogs, and allowed zillions of people to pet him.

Fred rests for a minute next to his “portable” water bowl.

•  In the late afternoon, I talked to my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day.  (Earlier in the week, I mailed him his favorite home-baked cookies.)  He then handed the phone over to my mom who shared with me how much coloring she’s done in her coloring book … which is more than I’ve done.  My mom is very artistic.

•  I spent a few hours cooking.  I know I have a busy week ahead, and I’m trying to eat super healthy.  I wanted to get a few things cooked over the weekend so they’d be available for meal options in upcoming days.

•  Sunday evening, I watched two more episodes of The Jinx.  (That means I only have one more to go … there are six episodes total.)  I would have watched the final episode, but instead I watched the first episode of this season’s True Detective.  I watched more TV in one weekend than I have in the last several weeks.  It was kind of nice to just RELAX!

And, just like *that*  –  it’s Monday!

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Flipped Out Friday!

Can you tell I enjoy making titles for my Friday posts?

What are you doing this weekend?

I’ve jammed a lot into the weekdays this week.

I’m excited for a slower paced weekend.

I’m not a huge TV watcher, but I’m looking forward to True Detective starting back on Sunday evening.

Fred and I will be working really hard with his trainer on Saturday.

Fred is definitely hitting his doggy “teen” years.

He’s been acting up when I leave him … something he hasn’t done before.

He tore up/chewed up a book this week.

It wasn’t just ANY book … it was a one-of-a-kind, very dear to my heart, book.

It’s the first time he’s been out-right NAUGHTY … and he was very PROUD of himself.

Well, until he saw I was unhappy with him.

Then he acted all loving, and sweet, and gave me those “I’m sorry” puppy eyes.

It’s my fault for not putting him in his crate while I was gone.

I’ve just never HAD TO before.

I’ve let him hang out in the house without any of the usual, expected, puppy issues ….

Until this week and The Incident With The Irreplaceable Book.

Fred is extremely bonded to me.

In most cases, it’s a very good thing.

He is, after all, my service dog.

The problem is, he feels he should be with me “taking care of me” all the time.

I think he has separation issues when I don’t take him along?

Anyway, discussing it is on my list for the trainer this weekend.

I’m learning and Fred is learning … it’s an ongoing process.

In addition to training,

Fred and I also hope to do a little weekend hiking along the coast where it will be cool(er).

(I’ll bring my new camera along.  I want to try it out with different lenses, and in different types of light, and situations.)

My first few test shots from it have been amazing.

Other than that, I don’t have any concrete plans.

Which is NICE.

I’m overdue for a relaxed weekend.

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A Camera Day!

This morning I will be retrieving my camera from Canon Professional Services in Orange County.

It was in need of maintenance and a super-extra-thorough cleaning.

To put it mildly, I’m not easy on my gear.

Kudos to all the people who treat their cameras and lenses like they should be treated.

When I’m shooting, I toss cameras and lenses in and out of my bag … along with dust, dirt, sand and pollen.

I definitely USE my gear.

It will be nice to have my camera back with me again.

I know it will need a new (costly) shutter very soon.

And yes, I’ll replace the shutter when the time comes.

Today, however, my beloved camera (a Canon 5D Mark III) will become my back-up camera.

A Canon 5DS R will become my primary camera the minute the UPS man shows up on my doorstep.

My new camera is more of a “need to have” than a “want to have.”

I do want it.

But, if I didn’t NEED it … I’d put off buying it for a year or two.

I won’t bore you with all the work related reasons as to why I needed to purchase a new generation camera.

I don’t get as excited about new lenses and/or cameras anymore.

It isn’t that I don’t appreciate them,

It’s just that they’re tools for work … not toys for fun.

But, I’m going to allow myself a few days just to “play” with the 5DS R before I take it too seriously.

There’s no better way to get to really know a new camera than to experiment with it.

I wonder if Fred will be willing to pose for me?

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Day #2 – Starting Over

I’m on a mission to get my life in order.

Yesterday, I pushed the “reset” button and began the process.

I promise not to write about my Starting Over Project every single day.

But …?

I’m feeling proud!

I knocked eleven things off my “to do” list yesterday!!

It’s amazing how much I can accomplish if I don’t travel and/or have house guests. (Ha!)

I began the day by getting a shot in the a$$ from Dr. Painless.   [Toradol]

Of course, that’s not something to be happy about.

But, it immediately took the edge off my pain level.

Sometimes, I just need a little RELIEF … even if it’s a short-term decrease in pain.

I don’t even realize how bad it’s gotten until it isn’t as bad.

(And then, the whole world looks a little brighter and life is a bit easier to handle.)

Yay for less pain!

Fred and I are both all about healthy eating too.

Drool Bib @ 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

Fred howls in delight – wearing his “drool bib” after grooming, and before volunteering, at Special Olympics.)

Fred doesn’t understand why everyone he meets asks how much he weighs.

Fred’s favorite treat is when I give him a whole, large, carrot straight from the refrigerator.

He thinks it’s the best thing ever!

(He and I are both snacking on veggies for the next two weeks.)

My “to do” list is a mile long, so I’m working on it again today.

My goal is to have it to a manageable level by the one week point.

First on the list for today, is dropping my camera off for servicing with Canon Professional Services.

My camera, just like me, is overdue for some much needed maintenance!