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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.



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.

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The Latest and Greatest …

I’m spending three days each week at physical therapy with Paul Newman.

Physical therapy has become my “job” for the time being.

My arm is doing great, but there was a lot wrong with it prior to Surgeries #10 and #11.

The recovery is going to be a very long process.

I knew that would be the case going into the surgeries, but the reality is sometimes hard to take.

I definitely get frustrated because I want my life back.

But, I’m a zillion times better than I’ve been (!!) in the last ten years.

Patience with the process is probably the most difficult piece for me right now.

Thank goodness, Paul Newman understands all of this (and ME) and somehow manages to motivate me into not giving up.

Lately, we’ve been working on changing my shooting style so I can, hopefully, shoot more as I continue to rehabilitate my arm.

Being at PT more frequently means I have less time for everything else in my life.

I still spend lots of time with Fred and Frank.

Fred is a total mama’s boy and SO GOOD!

Frank is still a naughty puppy … but, he’s definitely learning and improving.

I love that he’s wanting to snuggle with me more and more lately.

They’re both healthy and happy, and make me smile several times each day.

I spent an afternoon last weekend painting … and ended up covered with paint splatter.

I’ve been taking an online art class for several weeks.

Sometimes I fall behind, but that’s okay.

It’s fun.

It’s also a nice distraction until I can shoot full time again.

Today, there’s a crew of men jack-hammering my pool.


The pool will be re-surfaced this week with new pebble tec.

In the evenings, I’ve been obsessing over the Olympics.

I love the Olympics; I always have.

Are you watching the games?

I have to force myself to turn off the TV at night so I can get enough sleep.

Why does NBC show the games until after midnight?

And why do their announcers keeping making really sexist comments?

I think, perhaps, they should just show the games announcer-free.

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Best Cappuccino EVER??

When I was in Santa Barbara, I was served a “Havana Cappuccino” at Jeannine’s restaurant.

I generally drink “normal” coffee and I never sweeten my coffee and/or coffee drinks.

However, my “Havana Cappuccino” was so (!!!) delicious.

It was almost like having dessert for breakfast.

I thought I’d try to replicate it at home so I can serve it when I have house guests and/or for special occasions.

This might not be the exact recipe from Jeannine’s, but it’s close enough.


It couldn’t be easier.

I suggest you try this out for yourself first, and then add it to your special occasion recipes.

(Or?  Go ahead and treat yourself every day!)



•  Espresso

•  Condensed Sweetened Milk

•  Milk and/or Cream (I’m pretty sure Jeannine’s used cream.)

•  Cinnamon

If you have a coffee machine that makes cappuccinos, all you need to do is blend 1-2 Tablespoons of the condensed milk (per cup of coffee) into the milk/cream you normally use.  Make sure it’s blended well so the thick condensed milk doesn’t clog your coffee machine.

Top the cappuccino with cinnamon and you’re ready to go.

If you don’t have a coffee maker that makes cappuccinos, you can follow this easy/shortcut method after making your espresso:

  1.  Place condensed milk and milk/cream mixture in a one cup microwave safe measuring cup. Microwave, uncovered, on high for one minute or until the milk is hot enough to form small bubbles around the edge of the cup.
  2. Place a metal whisk in the cup and whisk vigorously by holding whisk handle loosely between palms and quickly rubbing hands back and forth.  Remove the foam to a small measuring cup as it forms.  Continue whisking until foam measures one third cup.  Set aside.
  3. Pour espresso into a mug and then add in the remaining hot milk.  Spoon the reserved foam over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve.

Again, this is a great way to make a routine morning special.

It’s also a perfect way to “wow” house guests with very little effort.

You’ll probably end up with some extra of the condensed milk.

If so, you can easily make:


  • Brew coffee
  • Spoon two Tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk into each glass.  (Two Tablespoons for each one cup of coffee you’ll be adding so if it’s a huge 32 once tumbler, add more as needed.)
  • Pour one cup of hot coffee into the cup and stir to dissolve the condensed milk.
  • Pour the hot coffee over 4-6 ice cubes and serve with a long handled spoon.

Delicious for a hot day!


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My Happy Place

I’ve returned from a couple days in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara is truly my happy place and it has been for most of my life.

My visit was short, but I really needed the change of scenery.

It can give me such a great boost just to go away for a couple days.

Unfortunately, I encountered extremely bad traffic while driving both to and from Santa Barbara.

It reminded me of why I usually avoid beach towns in the summer.

(I prefer the fall for California beaches!)

I stayed at The Canary Hotel this time.

Sunset from the rooftop deck of The Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara.

The hotel is very nice, and best of all, it’s in a location that allowed me to walk almost everywhere.

Santa Barbara has a lot of one way streets and parking issues.

I really LOVE when I can get around town without a car.

I had the opportunity to enjoy breakfast at my favorite Santa Barbara breakfast spot, Jeannine’s.

I did a little shopping in the State Street stores and boutiques.

One afternoon, I drove to El Capitan State Beach.

I feel nothing but happiness whenever I visit El Capitan State Beach.

El Capitan is one of my favorite places on the planet.

It was crowded with campers and day visitors.

I used my annual California State Park Pass to get in without charge.

Then, based on years of visits, I headed to some areas of the park few people even know exist.

Feeling like the only person on earth!  El Capitan State Beach, Santa Barbara, CA

I also had the opportunity to visit a new-ish area of Santa Barbara, The Funk Zone.

The area used to be primarily warehouses.

Gradually, more and more contemporary businesses have moved in.

Art galleries, boutiques, breweries, wine tasting, restaurants – the area is definitely worth exploring.

Taken on State Street, Santa Barbara, as I walked back from The Funk Zone one evening.

I wish I could have spent more time both in Santa Barbara and El Capitan.

But, I’m really just so glad I was able to visit at all.

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Let Me Tell You About …

I got a great report from my surgeon on Monday.

He’s THRILLED with the progress my arm is making.

It made me so happy!

I gave him a HUGE hug.

I can tell he’s so proud of his work, very happy for me, thrilled with the work Paul Newman is doing on my arm, and very hopeful for my future.

Have I mentioned how hard it is to be patient with what will be a very long recovery?

I just want to GO and DO, but … I have to force patience for so, so, long!!

On Tuesday, a family member underwent his second brain surgery in the last six weeks.

I just couldn’t bring myself to blog that day … I wasn’t feeling the cheerfulness and I’m sure you understand.

Yesterday, I was back spending time with Paul Newman.

It was a beautiful day in Newport Beach.

(Maybe I can talk Paul Newman into doing PT on the beach sometime instead of in his office?)

On Friday, my daughter and I are taking off for the weekend.

I need a change of scenery and a mental health break from life.

I’m sure I’ll be “snap chatting” every day, as usual, while I’m gone.

I’ll also be using my “real” camera!  Yay!!

My car has been in the shop for a few days and I’m hoping SO MUCH that it’s returned to me before I leave.

(I’m never as comfortable driving loaner cars.)

I’ve got a lot of stuff to get done before I leave, so I don’t expect to have another post up until the beginning of next week.

As always, I will be posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (a little bit?) and SnapChat (suzannehaggerty), between now and then.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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Magical Monday: Sunflowers!

I’m up in L.A. most of today, meeting with Dr. Itamura, my shoulder surgeon.

He’s the doctor credited with removing the vast majority of my pain.

It’s possible I’ve actually proposed to Dr. Itamura at past visits.

(I’m just so incredibly grateful to him.  He figured out my arm when so many other doctors failed to do so.)

In any case,

Today,I thought I’d share a few of my sunflower photos from last week’s shoot at Muller Ranch in Yolo County.

I apologize to those of you who have already seen a few of these shots, on one form or another, of social media.

I spent a chunk of time printing several sunflower photos this weekend.

I plan to add them into my altered book art project …. painting faces on the flower heads, etc.

Sunflowers are just perfect for turning into people/creatures.

For example, I intentionally took this photo of some older flowers.

I can hardly wait to draw faces on them reflecting their individual “personalities.”

SunflowerField2 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Don’t these sunflowers look like they need faces?

Most of the fields I spent time in looked more like this:

SunflowerField1 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Sunflower Field

There’s something intoxicating about seeing acres and acres of sunflowers.

It’s impossible not to smile.

All that bright, cheery, yellow is an automatic mood lifter.

Me And My Shadow – Fisheye Self Portrait at the Sunflower Fields

In the above, fisheye, photo I see something very, very, remarkable.

My right arm is lifted above my head.

Most people wouldn’t think anything of that … but hello, it’s been ten years since I could do that!

(There’s no weight being held by my right arm in the above photo – my left arm is doing all the work, but STILL!!)

This fisheye photo might be my favorite sunflower shot?

If you ever decide to take photos of sunflower fields, be prepared for thousands upon thousands of bees.

And, a lot of pollen!

I have allergies to begin with, and my sinuses went crazy!

Sunflowers make me happy!

Sunflowers are my daughter’s favorite flower.

I’ve already told her she gets to pick out one of my photos for a print.

I’m not sure yet if she’ll want one for her apartment or her office.

Macro photo of a bee on a sunflower.

And, of course, I couldn’t shoot sunflowers without bringing my macro lens for close-ups.

I still have a lot of photos to go through of both the flowers and the ranch.

It was a privilege to work with Muller Ranch.

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Sunshine and Sunflowers

I’ve had a busy several days.

I was in Woodland, California (Yolo County – north of Sacramento) shooting at/for/with Muller Ranch.

Muller Ranch is HUGE and they grow lots of different things like cucumbers, peppers, olives, nuts …

And sunflowers.

Colin Muller and I had been working on my visit for awhile.

Everything was dependent on the crops … which are, of course, dependent on the weather and other variables.

When he contacted me and said, “Now!” I knew I only had a short window to work with.

So, last Sunday, I drove seven and a half hours up the Central Valley (the most boring drive on earth!) and arrived in the late afternoon.

After checking into my hotel, I decided I’d venture to the town of Dixon because I heard they also had sunflowers blooming.

Dixon was about a twenty minute drive from my hotel.

(I wasn’t scheduled to be at Muller Ranch until the following morning, Monday.)

I had visions of sunsets over sunflower fields, but the reality on Sunday evening was much different.

I found Dixon easily enough, but I got lost in an orchard in search of the sunflowers.

(Getting lost is my specialty.  I have no sense of direction and GPS does not understand when you search for “sunflowers.”)

Eventually, I found some sunflower fields and they were beautiful.

Each individual flower seemed almost human-like with its own, very distinct, personality.

Sunflower in Dixon, CA

Once I was in the presence of sunflowers, I remembered something I learned as a child.

Sunflowers always turn their heads towards the sun.

That means, without a lot of photoshopping, it isn’t generally possible to catch the sun setting BEHIND their “faces.”

I mean, I did see some flowers that were a little slower to turn than others, but you aren’t going to see an entire field ignoring the sun.

Before I got many photos in Dixon, I had a mishap of epic proportions.

With my camera in hand, I walked toward the fields.

And, quite suddenly, I SANK waist deep into quicksand.

The speed, and the strength of the suction … it was scary.

I wasn’t sure I could get out and what if I sank forever?

Oh, and by the way, it turned out to be MANURE not quicksand.

My new (pretty expensive!) running shoes actually got sucked right off my feet – never to be seen again.

One sock went with them … the other, clung stubbornly to my left foot.

I had to fight my way out of the muddy, manure-filled, trench – and it was not easy!

I finally got to dry ground, my feet now filled with sharp stickers and painful burrs, and my body covered in filth.

(Yes, even my arm brace and my camera had manure on them … although, of course, I held the camera up high so it was never fully submerged.)

Right then an old red pickup truck stopped by with an old-man farmer in it.

He had a long white beard and he peered at The Spectacle I Had Become from his truck.

(It wasn’t his sunflower field; he was just passing by.)

He asked if I was okay.

He informed me “You should stay away from the trenches.  They look dry on top, but as you found out they’re not.  They’re very dangerous.”

I nodded, as I stood barefoot in a field of sharp stickers, while dripping mud and manure everywhere.

(If I had known it was a TRENCH, I wouldn’t have stood on it!)

Eventually, after staring at my Manure Self for awhile longer, he drove away.

Fortunately, I had a roll of paper towels in my car.

I scraped off as much filth from my body as I could.

Then I climbed in my car, drove 20 minutes back to my hotel, and humiliated myself walking through the lobby and back to my room.

Filth © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

This was as cleaned up as I could get with just paper towels and a bottle of water.  Taken just before I hopped in the shower.

After my shower, and a change of clothes, I needed to buy shoes.

I had only brought one pair because I was only scheduled to shoot one day at the ranch.

I was in a bit of a panic about meeting Colin Muller in person for the first time the next day … with no shoes!!

I ended up driving to WalMart, and shopping for five dollar sneakers while barefoot.

(No one in WalMart even noticed I had no shoes on!!)

Things went much smoother for my scheduled shoot on Monday.

Thank goodness!

I’ll share some of those photos with you tomorrow, or on Monday at the latest.

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Road Trip

I’m going to be on a whirlwind, out of town, shoot at the beginning of next week.

I’m not sure if I’ll have time to blog, but I’ll be documenting my trip with lots of photos and written notes.

If I have time, and Internet access, I’ll post here.

If not, I’ll fill you in on all the details upon my return.

It’s going to be a quick, but intense, trip.

I can’t say where I’ll be quite yet, but it will be public information once I arrive.

You can follow my travel and adventures on SnapChat (suzannehaggerty), Instagram, and/or Facebook.

My most frequent, and most casual, updates are on SnapChat.

I rarely post more than one photo per day on Instagram and Facebook.

I’ve got lots of gear to clean before I depart ….

And a bridal shower to attend.

Wish me luck!

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Busy Doing Nothing

I seem to have no free time lately, and I’m not sure why.

I’m doing absolutely nothing.

Sunset with lots of lovely lens flare.  Newport Beach, CA

Maybe I’m just adjusting to the increase in PT days?

That’s probably it, because I’m definitely living at PT a lot these days.

The positive part of is, I’ve begun doing new and different PT things I couldn’t even imagine doing a year ago.

So yay (!!) for progress … even when it takes ten years to show up!

I’ve begun making plans for a weekend away with my daughter also.

There are no words to convey how badly I need to have a change in scenery.

It will just be a two night trip, and it’s still a couple weeks away.

But, I’ve already purchased two books to take with me on my mini-getaway.

Maybe some of you have read them?

I’ll be taking A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

Knowing me, I’ll probably toss a few art books and/or photography books into my bag also.

It’s possible I’m being overly optimistic to think I can read two books during a three day trip, but I’m a super fast reader.

I’ll probably either not read at all because I’m busy doing THINGS,

Or, I’ll do absolutely nothing but relax and read.

(I’m an all or nothing type girl?)

In other news, I caught a Pokemon while getting my hair cut this week.

(I also caught one at PT, but shhhhh! don’t tell Paul Newman!)

Are you playing Pokemon Go?

It seems like everyone is.

On another unrelated note, I’ll be attending a bridal shower next weekend.

I suppose this means I have to dress and act like a lady?

I’m pretty sure I don’t own any shoes except flip flops and sneakers.

I might have to go shopping – and I really hate shopping.

I don’t know which is worse?

Shopping for girly things?

Or having to wear them and act proper?

If you have any wardrobe suggestions –

Or bridal gift ideas,

Please let me know.

I need all the help I can get!