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March Madness

While the rest of the world concerns itself with basketball,

I’m busy with my own version of March Madness.

I decided to organize my “life,” but now my house is a mess.

I’ve got piles everywhere that I’m “working on.”

I have notebooks, and dividers, and page protectors and they’re all waiting for me.

I never seem to complete a task without some type of interruption ….

Like, for instance, a perfect Orange County sunset needing my attention.

Perfect sunsets can’t wait, can they?

And, of course, I have a constant Interruption-Maker in my life now …

Fred The Newf – 20 Weeks Old

Fred is SUCH a good puppy, but he IS a puppy.

Last night he decided he needed to sit on my lap.

Yes, all 75 pounds of him.

There was no turning him away.

He is, after all, just a very young baby.

He doesn’t understand his size … he just knows he’s still a baby and needs some cuddle time.

And, maybe that’s one of the best things about Fred.

When I have a lot to do, and start feeling stressed,

I have no choice but to stop and take care of Fred.

If that means sitting on the floor cuddling my seventy five pound puppy, so be it.

I think it’s probably the best thing for both of us.

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The Weekend

I had a relaxing weekend – and I needed it!

I think Fred enjoyed himself too.

Fred cleans out the last of a peanut butter jar.

I had a lot of catch-up stuff to take care of over the weekend.

I also took Fred for a walk in Laguna Beach.

I try to get Fred out and about a lot.

It’s important he be exposed to *everything possible* as part of his service dog in-training socialization.

Fred has NO problem socializing when we go out.

We were stopped every few feet by people wanting to pet Fred, ask questions about Fred (“What kind of dog is he?”), and/or have their photos taken with Fred.  I know puppies attract attention, but Fred REALLY attracts attention.

Fred, apparently, is a crowd stopper.

I blame it on his cute puppy face.

But …?

I imagine Fred will be a crowd stopper when he’s full grown and GIGANTIC also.

There’s just something about a Newfie that people love.

They’re like teddy bears who have come to life ….

Fred (20 weeks old) enjoyed watching sunset in Laguna Beach.

Fred did a good job minding his manners.

He didn’t jump on anyone.

He let people of all sizes and shapes pet him … and enjoyed every minute of it.

He sat when I asked him too.

He listened to me.

And, 99% of the time he did what he was supposed to.

I thought it was pretty remarkable for his young age.

Fred still has a lot to learn.

But, I can honestly say, he’s way ahead of schedule with his training.

I’m very lucky to have such a motivated, intelligent, eager to please, dog.

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Fred’s Latest

I’m sorry, but I haven’t taken a single “real” photo of Fred since last weekend.

This week was all sorts of crazy, and I’m glad it’s over.

But, I can give you an update on how Fred is doing.

Yesterday, I took Fred to be weighed.

Fred weighs SEVENTY FIVE pounds and he is VERY, VERY, TALL!

You can see in the iPhone photo below, Fred still has a mouth full of both baby and adult teeth.

FullSizeRender 18

Fred, happy, at 20 weeks of age!

One of Fred’s brothers (who was the smallest in the litter) is now fifty six pounds.

Little brother may catch up and pass Fred someday, but Fred continues to be very big/tall for his age.

Fred is doing very well with his training.

He really amazes me.

He’s learned so much more than I would expect at four and a half months old.

Of course, he’s still a young puppy and he definitely has puppy lapses –

Especially when there’s a lot of excitement/distractions around him.

Fred LOVES people … especially the girls next door who play with him.

And, the neighbor down the street who keeps buying him toys.

And, everyone else he encounters.

A female golden retriever lives a few houses down and she flirts outrageously with Fred.

I can’t say I blame her … after all, a new handsome guy has shown up in her life.

Fred seems to think he belongs in a show ring.

Sometimes he tosses his head in such a way …

It seems like he thinks he’s damn good looking.

Can “showiness” be passed through dog genes?

Fred seems to have gotten a big dose of showiness from his parents.

Other times, Fred has ATTITUDE like I’ve never seen from a dog.

He doesn’t show attitude by misbehaving.

No, he just gives you a look of total disdain when he disapproves.

I admit, it sometimes makes me laugh out loud.

I’ve never met a dog who can communicate as much with facial expressions as Fred can.

It’s hard to believe Fred has only been “home” for ten weeks.

He’s such a big part of my life already.

Fred is loved.

And …?

Fred is very loving.

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The Roller Coaster of Life

Yesterday, in ONE day …

I had really GREAT NEWS in the morning,

And, later in the day – really BAD NEWS.

I was emotionally drained by 5 p.m.

[Here’s a random, beautiful, sunset photo of two children playing by the ocean.

It makes me feel better about life when I look at it ….]

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

I think most of the time I stay on an even keel.

But, yesterday wiped me out.

All the experiences we go through help us get stronger and grow, right?

Or not?

I’m still on a HUGE organize-my-life kick.

Yesterday, I started organizing a new (pretty!) purple Filofax planner.

Have I ever mentioned I like the color purple?

I’ll try to post a photo of my planner once I get it a little further along in my set-up.

(Because it really is pretty!)

Some of you may be aware, there are a lot of women who go all-out crafting and decorating their planners.

I had no idea this was a “thing” until someone mentioned it to me about a day ago.

I’m sure it’s fun, and cute, and a great hobby.

It would be nice to look back at pretty, decorated, pages (diary-like) someday.

Right now, however, I’m just trying to get my (very busy!) life in order.

The first step of getting organized is knowing your priorities, right?

For instance, I bought a bunch of stuff to get organized with …

I should probably figure out what to do with it?

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Where Did I Go?

I had a one day, unexpected, trip out of town.

It was related to a corporate project I’m working on right now.

I could, maybe, have crammed in a blog post, but I was feeling a little meh.

(Allergies – and my always terrible sinus issues that come with them.)

If you live nearby, you probably know the pollen count here is currently off the charts.

I guess that’s what happens when summer arrives in March.

In any case,

I’ve been very busy with several things.

One of my projects is an attempt to streamline both my business and personal  chaos  schedules.

I feel very fortunate with my work lately,

But … it’s time to update my systems.

What worked great two years ago, doesn’t necessarily fit my business now.

It’s so hard to keep life BALANCED, isn’t it?

I also have a tendency to put everyone, and everything, ahead of actually taking care of myself.

(I think this is a common problem with women/moms?)

I’ve been researching *better ways* to get/keep my life organized.

Currently, I keep track of my various meetings/appointments on my iPhone.

I also use a “list book” my daughter gave me.

Everything (work/personal/random) goes in the list book, but I’m realizing the way I use it now isn’t working well for me.

I like having everything in ONE book, but I can’t always find things when I need them.

My ONE book has a zillion post-it flags on various pages, etc.

So …?

I’m branching out and I’m going to experiment with several new organizational systems.

If possible, I’d have my home, my business, my travel schedule, and my personal life put into perfect order by tomorrow.

In reality, it’s going to take  quite a lot of  some time.

Every week, so far, I’ve been finding a few things around the house to throw away or donate.

It doesn’t sound like much but it’s easy to do every single week no matter how busy I am.

Slowly, gradually, I’m decluttering.

I’m also about to begin experimenting with new planners for scheduling my time more effectively.

I’ll still keep appointments on my phone, but I want to be able to SEE my life (and upcoming weeks/months) too.

I want to be able to plan in more detail than I can on my phone.

I’ll share with you what I try.

What will work?

What won’t?

Of course, what works for me might not work for you.

And vice versa.

Do you have a planner of any type?

Do you use it for work and personal/home stuff?

Do you use multiple planners?

No planners?

How do you keep your life organized?

I’d love to hear what you’ve tried/liked/disliked/had success with, etc.

I’m spring-cleaning my life!

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March Heat Wave

It was hot, hot, hot here over the weekend!

I had lots of family at the house for the weekend ….

And now, sadly, everyone has left.

On Saturday evening, Fred made his first trip to the beach.

Fred has been hiking on the trails above, and around, the beach before.

But, this time it was ALL ABOUT THE ACTUAL BEACH.

I was having one of my traditional beach nights with my friend, Nike.

Nike explains “waves” and “ocean” to baby Fred.

Fred, clumsily, attempted to walk and run on sand.

He liked the ocean water, but then a wave hit him and scared him a little.

He watched other dogs dig in the sand, and then he tried it for a minute or two himself.

Nike brought her dog, Reggie.

Fred had a joyful time playing with a dog-pal.

Reggie is a very fast runner and Fred is … not.

Sometimes, when Reggie would get tired and stop to rest Fred would sit on him.

It was Fred’s way of trying to make Reggie stay with him and play.

The problem is Fred, at four months of age, is bigger than adult Reggie.

Reggie was patient with puppy Fred.

When he got tired of it, he’d give Fred a little growl to say, “You’re way too giant of a puppy to sit on me buddy – get off!”

It was pretty funny.

Poor Fred … he’ll never be as fast as Reggie.

He’ll also soon realize he can’t go around sitting on his friends in an attempt to keep them close.

(Thank you Reggie for helping to teach this to Fred!)

Sunset was beautiful.

Fred The Newf enjoying a California beach sunset.

The two dogs played until around 9:30 p.m.

When it came time to leave, Fred was so tired I wasn’t sure he’d make it back to the car.

He was asleep before I pulled out of the parking lot …

With a huge puppy smile on his face.

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Fred Friday

It was very warm here yesterday.

Fred The Newf, my son, and I went swimming.

It was supposed to be my son and I swimming,

But, well ….

I couldn’t help it Mom!

I have more family arriving today.

Temperatures are expected to soar this weekend as we endure our first summer heat wave of 2015 … in March.

I’m sure Fred will find his way to the pool and/or ocean more than once over the weekend.

I’ll try to take some photos of him for you, too.

I need to put him next to a person (for a frame of reference) so you can see how big he is now.

Hint:  He’s HUGE!

I can’t believe how tall he’s gotten just in the last week.

It really is amazing to watch how rapidly a Newfoundland grows!

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What’s Going On …?

My son is still here so I’m just going to squeeze in a quick post.

•  We had a mom/son day on Tuesday to celebrate his birthday.  It was fun.  I’m so glad he was able to be home for his birthday this year.

•  We’re having a bigger family birthday celebration this upcoming weekend.

•  I’ve been practicing Kendama.  I’m getting better!  (I love it, but I’m really terrible at it – which is kind of funny!)

•  It’s going to be hot, hot, hot here the next several days.  I hope to spend a lot of time at the beach with Fred.

•  Fred is doing REALLY WELL with his training.  We’re still in the early stages, but I’m so proud of him.  He’s doing great.

•  I’m sorry I haven’t had much time for taking Fred photos.  It’s been a chaotic week or two.  I’ll try to do better.

•  Sometimes I wish I could blog about some of the work projects I’m in the midst of, but I can’t.  (Busy is good though!)

•  Here’s a photo I took at sunset one day this week.  It’s definitely  summer  spring.  I was fortunate to catch a bird in-flight as it built a nest.

Nest Building at Sunset:  Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

•  I looked into a 15x magnifying mirror yesterday and I was horrified.  I might have screamed.  I won’t be doing that again – ever!

•  I feel like doing massive spring cleaning.  I’ve done a little here and there, but I need a BIG dedicated block of time.  I’ve had a lot going on work-wise and my son is here, and more family is arriving, and, and, and …!  But, it’s going to happen next week for sure!

•  Most dogs are microchipped these days.  Why hasn’t anyone built GPS into the microchips?  I’m sure it’s bound to happen SOON.  It would be such a great help in recovering lost/stolen pets.  (I’m not too worried about Fred wandering off.  He likes to be right with me.  In fact, he whimpers, pathetically, when I leave the room.  The rest of my family refer to him as “Mommy’s boy.”)

•  I’m waiting for the arrival of the new Canon 11-24mm lens.  I should have pre-ordered it when it was first announced by Canon.  I didn’t, and now I have to wait until it’s back in stock.  This year is going to be the year of many changes to my camera bag.  I will try to get my website “gear” page updated soon to reflect those changes.  I’m very excited about this new lens because I shoot wide the majority of time.  I can think of so many things I want to shoot with it.  Can you tell I’m impatient to get my hands on it?

•  I’ll try to get a post up tomorrow, but if I don’t you’ll know it’s because I’m busy with both work and family events.  Next week should be a little calmer and, hopefully, I’ll have my life back into some semblance of a routine.

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Goofy Newfie

I thought I’d share a recent photo of Fred today.

It’s a good example of why Newfoundland Dogs are often called “goofy Newfies.”

Yes, that’s Fred in all his goofy Newfie glory.

His mouth is a mix of baby teeth and budding adult teeth.

His head was soaking wet when the photo was taken because he kept chasing the garden hose.

He was excited and playful … and crazy-eyed … and smiling.

Most of the time Fred is VERY calm.

(His calmness is pretty amazing considering his young puppy age.)

Sometimes Fred is very regal and majestic.

But, once in awhile (as you can see above!) Fred is absolutely crazy and goofy.

The many faces of Fred …!

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Kendama Craze!

Are you playing Kendama yet?

Kendama is a traditional Japanese toy involving a ball on a string and a … stick/sword with cups and a spike.


It’s not that different from other stick/cup games I played as a kid.

But ….

Kendama has recently become the rage among kids, teens, and adults in the United States.

The basic game is catching the ball in one of the three cups on the stick and/or with the spike.

And, there’s also zillions of tricks you can learn ranging from beginner to advanced.


Everyone in my family has a Kendama including girlfriends/boyfriends/significant others.

We’re going to see who can become the reigning Kendama champion of our group.

(Hint:  It won’t be me … I’m trying to do Kendama left-handed due to my bum arm.  I’m right handed!)

Kendamas are surprisingly addictive no matter what your age is.

(Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

They’re made in varying colors.

Many people like to collect the different colors.

Some Kendamas are made from expensive woods and/or with fancy designs.

I’m a fan of the inexpensive beginning Kendamas.

I don’t need to worry about damaging or losing an expensive Kendama.

If you haven’t yet tried/played, I’d encourage you to consider it.

It’s FUN!

And yes, it’s also challenging.

I think it’s probably good for my brain and hand/eye coordination?

You’re never too old for toys, right?