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Angel Island, San Francisco

One year ago, today ….

I was on Angel Island in San Francisco.

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

The view of the bay, the sailboats, and the Golden Gate Bridge was spectacular.

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Real Life

It seems like it’s almost easier to get posts written when I’m on the road vs. when I’m home.

I’ve been super busy this week trying to get my “real life” caught up.

Part of My Real Life included cancelling a mini-vacation I was scheduled to leave on next week.

I’ve been trying to juggle too many balls and something had to give.

My priority right now is being available when my sister needs me.

(It’s a day to day thing right now.)

Being home has also made me realize how behind I am on every single aspect of my life.

So …

I’m “on call” for my sister, but otherwise home for now.

At the end of the month, there will probably be puppy related travel.

(I can hardly stand the wait!)

It’s incredibly hot here right now so I’ll try to work indoors during the next few days.

I’ll probably only come out at night.

Kind of like a vampire …!

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Fall in Southern California

It’s October first and it feels like fall.

In Southern California, fall means the air is so dry it almost crackles.

(Please pass the hand and body lotion!)

The air is so clear you feel like you can touch the mountains while standing on the beach.

Santa Ana winds, or the threat of them, are a subject of constant attention.

It’s hot … and many days are hotter than hot.

If the temperature drops into the 80’s everyone brings out their boots and scarves.

The leaves on most trees don’t turn fall colors.

They turn brown (maybe) and then they’re blown off the trees by wind gusts which can easily reach 60mph.

Concerns about wild fires run rampant.

The hummingbirds haven’t migrated anywhere – why would they?

You can buy pumpkin flavored everything – anywhere.

If you feel festive you might order a pumpkin coffee – iced, of course, because of the heat.

Most people have colds and/or eye/sinus issues due to the dry air and winds.

It seems like everyone is sniffling and/or rubbing their eyes.

There are heavily publicized heat advisories, wind advisories, and “red flag” fire warnings.

The locals are back to enjoying the beaches now that the tourists are gone.

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Dog Surfing Contest 2014

The Surf City Surf Dog contest in Huntington Beach was last weekend.

A few years ago, I shot the event and met a nice man named Colin.

Colin has a landseer (black and white) Newfoundland dog named George.

Colin has stayed in touch with me.

He lives in Toronto, Canada, and decided to bring George back to California for this year’s surfing event.

Colin invited me to come shoot the surfing contest.

I was thrilled to be provided a coveted “puparazzi” media pass.

Here’s a photo of Colin and George before the event:

Surfing Dog 3 George © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Colin and George check out the waves.

It was great to see them again.

Colin gave me a hug and George gave me a few slobbery kisses.

Surfing dog photos are always fun for everyone.

A bulldog named Newman did very well:

Surfing Dog 2 © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Newman, the bulldog, catches a wave.

Bulldogs are heavy with a low center of gravity.

It makes them good surfers.

I think this next dog’s name was Faith.

She seemed to know what she was doing.

Surfing Dog 1 © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Faith, the dog, looked like a veteran surfer.

I couldn’t believe the media – they were out in full force!

There was a huge section to allow us to get good photos, but photographers were popping up everywhere.

Poodle Surfing © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

This poodle was a great surfer and was unfazed by the cameras.

It’s impossible not to smile when covering an event like this.

There are dogs jumping into the water when they shouldn’t.

There are dogs chewing on surfboards.

There are dogs who ham it up for the crowd.

This particular dog knew when a wipeout was inevitable and decided to bail out at the last possible moment:

Surfing Dog Bails © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Dog wipes out surfing.

Some of the dogs have even learned tricks.

For surfers, it can take a lot of practice to learn to do a reverse.

This Westie pulled it off easily:

Westie Surfing © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Westie surfing backwards – a perfect reverse.

George swam some, but had no interest in surfing this year.

Maybe he was tired from the long trip from Toronto to Huntington Beach?

Maybe the waves were too rough, or maybe George is just getting a little older.

Surfing Dog 4 George © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

George, the Newfoundland, looking disappointed.


It was clear George was a little disappointed with his surfing results for the day.

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Tomorrow I’ll be posting photos of this year’s dog surfing contest – Surf City Surf Dog.

The event was held over the weekend.

I had a media pass stating I was one of the “Puparazzi.”

I haven’t had time to go through all my photos yet.

In the meantime, I wanted to update you on a few other things.

•  First of all, thank you to everyone for the outpouring of concern for my sister.

She’s in the hospital still, of course.

I was able to talk to her very briefly last night.

She has a long road ahead of her, but she’s making improvements.

I certainly know a lot about long recovery roads ….

I hope my experience enables me to be a good support system for her (even though we don’t live in the same state).

•  Are you one of the many people flooding to Ello?

Ello is a new social network.  It’s in beta.  It’s still very rough around the edges.

It’s also ad free which is why so many people seem to find it appealing.

I don’t know if Ello will grow or fade away, but it will be interesting to watch either way.

•  I’m still struggling to find the perfect boy puppy name.


Mom Newfoundland with “my” puppy.


My list of names changes daily, but here are a few of the current possibilities:

–  Higgins  (this is the name I had picked prior to meeting the pup)

-  Watson  (like Sherlock’s assistant)

-  Hugo

-  Nelson

There are (lots of) other possibilities on my lists.

(For instance, I really liked Ansel – as in Ansel Adams the black and white photographer – but no one else in my family seems to like it.)

The above four names keep recurring on every list though.

Of those four names, do you have a preference and/or any thoughts?

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Granola Recipe

Last weekend, my friends served me delicious homemade granola.

I didn’t want to bother them by asking for the recipe.

I figured I could come pretty close figuring it out on my own.

The great thing about granola is you can serve it so many different ways.

My friends served me a sliced nectarine in milk with a small amount of granola sprinkled over the top.

(Granola is high in calories so, for most of us, it’s wise not to consume huge quantities at one sitting.)

You can use it as a topper on fruit, ice cream, and/or frozen yogurt.

You can sprinkle a little on top of pancakes or waffles.

In any case, I decided to experiment and make some of my own.

It’s a very easy recipe so I thought I’d share it with all of you.

It’s easily modified so feel free to include, or exclude, certain items based on your particular tastes.


iPhone photo of the granola I made this week


•  3 cups oats (not the instant/quick cook kind)

•  3 Tbsp. brown sugar

•  1/4 tsp. kosher salt

•  1/2 tsp. cinnamon

•  1/3 cup honey  (some people prefer maple syrup)

•  1/4 cup coconut oil  (you can substitute vegetable oil)

•  1 tsp vanilla

•  Dried fruit.  Some options are:  raisins, cherries, apples, dates, cranberries, blueberries, shredded coconut, etc.

•  Nuts and seeds.  Some options are:  sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, chopped pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc.

Preheat oven to 300F.

In one bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

In a smaller bowl stir together the honey, coconut oil and vanilla.

Combine the two bowls together and mix thoroughly with your hands.

Spread the granola mixture into a thin layer on a baking sheet.

(I used a Silpat baking sheet on mine.)

Bake on the middle rack of your oven for about 10 minutes and then stir.

Continue baking for 5-15 minutes longer until the granola is lightly browned.

Let the baking sheet cool on a wire rack.

The granola will harden some.

You can crumble it with your hands.

Add the nuts/seeds/dried fruit and toss to combine.

Homemade granola can be safely stored at room temperature (for about two weeks) in a tupperware-like container.

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I Am A Neanderthal

I don’t know how to begin this post other than to inform you I’m a sub-species of human.

Wait … let me first tell you I have a big rib cage which I’ve always hated.

I passed it on to my daughter who hates it also.

With that as background,

I’m now going to share with you the text stream my daughter and I had two nights ago.

ME:  Pretty sure we have big ribs because we’re Neanderthals.

Daughter:  Probably.

ME:  No, I’m serious.  I did a 23andMe DNA check and it says I’m in the 99th percentile for the amount of Neanderthal for living humans.  I’m shocked.  And frightened.  And freaked out.  I am 3.3% Neanderthal.  That’s super high.

Daughter:  Haha oh my God.  Wait what is the rest?

ME:  Still waiting for other results.  The first part was so odd they contacted me before the rest is done.  I don’t want to tell your dad cuz if I do I’ll never hear the end of it.  I was better off not knowing.  No wonder I like to be outdoors.  I should know more in the next two weeks.  Probably one of my Swedish relatives f*cked a caveman.

Daughter:  Oh my God – what is even happening right now?  Is this some weird internet DNA test?  And so there are Neanderthals and then what are the other ones?  I’ve never understood this.  

ME:  Ok.  Now you’re making me laugh.  This is a strange text stream.

Daughter:  Probably the weirdest.

ME:  We are Homo Sapiens.  Maybe a caveman dragged her by the hair to his cave?

Daughter:  And Neanderthals are the dirty, dirty, caveman monkeys that kind of look the same?

ME:  Yes!!!

Daughter:  Ah I see.

ME:  Undoubtedly with big ribs!

Daughter:  That really would explain so much.  Because the size of the ribs is not.right.

ME:  Agree!  (I then pasted in some wikipedia info on Neanderthals.)  I’m disgusted with myself.  You shouldn’t worry though because you should have less Neanderthal in you than I do.

Daughter:  I just … I don’t even know what to say.  I really don’t.

ME:  I need a therapist to come to terms with this new found information.

Daughter:  But I don’t understand how there could still be so much after 40,000 years!

ME:  I KNOW!!  Maybe they kept a few as slaves and they weren’t extinct when everyone thought they were!

Daughter:  I’m still confused about it.  Not going to lie.  So they were like pre pre human humans?

ME:  A sub-species.

Daughter:  Creepy.

ME:  So creepy!!

Daughter:  I filled [friend] in on this and she suggests Clan of the Cavebears for  your reading pleasure.  haha

ME:  [sends googled photo of Neanderthal]


ME:  He has extra head!

Daughter:  Oh my God stop.  Ick ick ick

ME:  Ok, I have to go.  But, my eyes do sort of look like his …

Daughter:  Yeah that’s some really excellent visual aid.  And now you just drop this bomb, walk away leaving me here with unwanted knowledge of my roots.

ME:  At least you’re diluted.  Apparently I’m not.

Daughter:  I mean, how diluted could I be?

ME:  Your dad does have a big head …

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Because Life is Full of Complications …

One of my siblings was in a bicycle accident last Saturday.

She apparently hit a rock while she was riding.

I didn’t have phone service in Canada, but I could receive text messages.

My brother kept me updated with a flurry of text messages.

My sister was found unconscious with a serious head/brain injury and transported to an ICU unit.

My heart has been in my throat since I got the news.

On a positive note, last night (after four days), she was moved out of ICU.

I was ready to hop on a plane, but I’ve been told there’s nothing to do right now but wait.

It’s excellent news to hear she has left ICU.

I know she’s sleeping most of the time.

The nurses “make” her wake up every two hours.

I know she has no memory of the accident.

She is confused and her memory, in general, has been affected.

All of these things are normal after a brain injury.

No one can say, at this time, if there will be lasting cognitive changes.

We have been told recovery will be slow.

I’m focusing on the fact she was moved out of ICU.

I know it’s a very positive sign.

I’ve told her husband I can fly out and help at any point.

He feels, since the hospital is taking care of her now,

It might be best to wait until she comes home.

They will probably need more help then than they do now.

I’m trying to take a deep breath and relax,

But my stomach is still in knots.