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Ken Has Been Decapitated!

There’s no kind way to break the news.

Surfer Ken, one of two Ken dolls with me here in Santa Barbara, has been decapitated.

Yesterday morning, I heard loud exclamations followed by laughter coming from the kitchen.

When I went to investigate,

I saw what had caused such a commotion:

Ken doll head in eggs © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Surfer Ken’s lifeless body has still not been found.

Barbie, dressed only in her bikini, was found in an upstairs bathtub.

She looked happy and unconcerned about Surfer Ken.

Update posts about Barbie and Ken were not at all what I had planned to write during this trip.

I knew, however, you’d want to know ….

Someone had to break the news.

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A House In Santa Barbara

I went to college at UCSB in Santa Barbara.

Ever since then, I’ve dreamed of “someday” having a home in Santa Barbara.

I truly believe it’s one of the prettiest cities in the world.

Of course, owning a home in such an expensive city remains just a dream.

But, for a few days I can pretend – right?

And, man, am I ever in the perfect house to dream about.

The views are astounding.

My brain has trouble comprehending so much beauty out every window.

It’s breathtaking during the day,

And even more so at night when the city lights reflect on the water.

Gorgeous!

I haven’t had much time to edit photos, but I’ll share more as soon as I can.

In the meantime, Ken and Barbie are still missing.

The longer they stay away the more I dread how they will reappear.

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Haunted House?

Let me tell you a little about where I am and what is happening here.

I’m staying in an old, enormous, beautiful, house that’s just shy of 100 years old.

The house is high in the mountains of Santa Barbara, and looks down at the city and the ocean.

I’ve seen deer in the yard,

And watched woodpeckers in nearby trees.

Some people think this house is haunted.

(I do not.)

There’s a cat named Jinx who apparently lives here full time.

I’m not a big cat person, but Jinx has been very nice and hospitable so far.

In fact, I’m pretty sure Jinx thinks she’s a dog.

Every time I walk by, Jinx rolls over for a tummy rub.

It doesn’t seem like normal cat behavior.

I’m supposed to be taking photos of Santa Barbara, but the weather was “meh” over last weekend.

(Some bleh weather remnants from a hurricane down in Mexico.)

The weather is now beautiful,

But for the first couple days, I had to amuse myself.

For instance,  I happened to bring along a Barbie and two Ken dolls.

(It’s a long story and not worth telling right now.)

Barbie and one of the Ken dolls went missing the first night here.

I *might* have had something to do with their disappearance.

Let’s call their absence a small, teeny-tiny, prank.

A few days later Barbie and Ken re-surfaced.

I did NOT have anything to do with their reappearance.

From inside the house, this is what I saw:

Ken Barbie hanging © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Yep, Ken and Barbie were hanging from nooses off of an upstairs balcony.

Ken Barbie 2 hanging © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Now, either the house really IS haunted -

Or, the people staying here are having great fun playing pranks with the two Kens and one Barbie.

As of this writing, all three have once again gone missing.

Where will they turn up?

I can’t even imagine.

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Santa Barbara

Somehow I found myself spending the weekend in the most beautiful home.

High in the “riviera” neighborhood of Santa Barbara … what an amazing view!

The weekend weather wasn’t the greatest, but I did get a few photos late yesterday.

Here’s one of my sort-of surrealistic photos of last evening’s sunset view.

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

I hope to have more for you soon.

I’ve got spotty Internet service though, so I can’t make promises.

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Family Time

My (North Carolina) son got home home last night.

He’s in town visiting for awhile.

I’m going to take a few days off to enjoy some family time.

I will probably put up a few photos and brief posts while he’s here.

Don’t worry if I go missing for a day or two, though.

I’ll be out and about (playing) with my camera in hand …..

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

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Eight Years

Eight years ago, today, my life was irrevocably changed in a matter of seconds.

It only takes seconds for two cars to collide and be crushed.

Eight years is a long time.

I don’t like to think about the actual day of the accident.

In fact, I don’t like to think about the nightmare of the first five years post-accident.

It was bad …. so bad.

It’s better not to think about it.

Nine surgeries are behind me.

I have a life again.

(Definitely not the same life I had before the accident, but a life outside of operating rooms and doctor’s offices.)

I live with chronic pain, but it’s definitely better than it used to be.

Some days are better than others.

For instance, yesterday my arm popped off and I emergency-texted Paul Newman.

He helped me to get my arm re-attached.

It wasn’t my best day pain-wise, that’s for sure.

I’ve learned many things from my car accident journey.

•  Having the best medical team for support is mandatory.  I need them, greatly appreciate them, and can’t imagine my life without them.

•  I’m stronger, emotionally and physically, than I ever knew.  I’ve been to hell and I survived.

•  I can (with help from my medical folks) “manage” my pain level about 80% of the time.

•  It’s better for everyone if I hibernate when I can’t manage it.  I crawl in a corner and hide until the worst is over.

•  I can learn to compensate for my damaged right arm/shoulder in a multitude of creative ways.

•  I can “fake it” well enough so when Average Joe meets me he rarely realizes there’s anything wrong with me.

•  Sometimes faking it is physically and emotionally exhausting.

•  There are things I will never be able to do again.  (I *think* I’ve accepted my new reality.)

Now, at the eight year point there are a few things on my mind as I look towards the future.

•  My biggest concern is the possibility of losing Paul Newman.

He has helped me more than any single other person.

I am grateful, indebted, and terrified of ever not having him in my life to help me.

Without him, I would regress to where I was when I met him.

It gives me nightmares to think about it.

I need him.

Also?

He makes me laugh and laughing is invaluable when you’ve got a damaged, painful, body.

•  Do I take a chance on a tenth surgery?

My initial reaction to this idea was a quick and resounding “no way”!!

But, Paul Newman has been wearing me down by bringing up this possibility repeatedly over the last year.

The idea would be to fix my bicep tendon so it can’t pop out of place at every little thing I do.

If the surgery was successful, I would regain some use of my arm.

The fear, however, is huge.

After all I’ve been through, I can’t imagine another surgery, recovery, etc.

And, if it isn’t successful, I’m worried about ending up worse than I am now.

Being able to shoot is not optional – it keeps me sane.

The idea of another surgery is one I’m not ready to make a decision on.

It is, however, something I’m willing to at least discuss as a possibility for “someday.”

•  I want to get a service dog to help me.

This is an idea I’ve discussed with friends for a couple years now.

backpack2It first occurred to me when I saw my chocolate lab, Mocha, wanting to “help” every time I went shooting.

She was obsessed with my shooting outings, as if she instinctively knew I needed help.

Mocha, the runt of her litter, wasn’t really big enough to be much help.

Recently, I’ve reached out to Newfoundland breeders to see about adopting a dog.

Newfies are huge, strong, dogs with extremely loving temperaments.

They’re lke giant, drooling, teddy bears.

The Newfoundland breed likes to have a “job” to do, and they thrive on being with their human.

I’m looking for a pup I can train to help with my specific needs.

If it works out and I adopt a Newfie, it will probably be the most loved (and photographed) dog in Orange County.

We will see ….

I will, of course, let you know if I’m lucky enough to add a new member to my family.

Looking forward -

I’m extremely grateful to my support network.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

I’m amazed at what I’ve been able to accomplish, considering where my life was a few years ago.

I’m hopeful for a service dog to assist me.

I’m optimistic I’ll make further strides over the next year.

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McWay Falls – Big Sur

McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is one of the most photographed spots in the world.

Why …?

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

Because it’s spectacularly beautiful.

It’s one of the few spots where you can see a (full size) waterfall tumble into the ocean.

There’s a part of me that doesn’t even want to photograph iconic photography locations.

What could I possibly add to the Golden Gate Bridge, for example,

That my friend, Joe Azure, hasn’t already  done exceptionally well?

I hesitated at McWay Falls in Big Sur for that exact reason.

Everyone takes photos of McWay Falls.

Every single person who travels past.

Every single professional photographer who has the opportunity.

But?

When I saw two people on the (supposedly) inaccessible beach,

I realized I had an opportunity to capture McWay Falls a little differently than most people do.

By the way, I don’t condone people finding their way to a beach they aren’t supposed to be on.

The location isn’t the safest place to be, and I certainly don’t want to see it ruined by people trampling all over it.

And yet,

There they were.

People.

And they provided a rarely seen sense of scale to the eighty foot waterfall.

I found myself wondering if they arrived on the other side of the cove via boat?

Or maybe they scaled down the cliffs?

Regardless, there they were.

By capturing the moment, maybe others will enjoy wondering the same thing.

How did they get there?

How did they leave when the time came?

If I were on that beach by the waterfall would I ever leave?

Would you?

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Monsoon Weather

We’ve recently had hot, humid, weather due to the Arizona/California desert monsoons.

I’m not a fan of humidity.

If I can, I hibernate until it goes away.

Monsoon weather does make for striking photos, though.

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

I took the above photo on Sunday.

It rained a (very) little on my drive to the beach.

In the photo, you can see the rain falling in the distance out at sea.

Towards the end of my visit, the lifeguard pulled everyone out of the water due to an approaching lightning storm.

Lightning storms don’t happen here.

I don’t know if anyone really believed him as he tried to warn people.

(Although, you can see how ominous the clouds were in the above photo.)

I’m sure many of you have heard one person was injured on Catalina Island due to the lightning.

One person died and several more were injured at Venice Beach in L.A. County.

The whole thing is very abnormal for Southern California.

We have extreme drought conditions here.

Rain would be welcome.

Lightning, however, is not.

Lightning creates wild fires ….

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The Oregon Coast

When I was a child, my family vacationed in Oregon for a couple weeks most summers.

One of my dad’s best friends had moved to Oregon after college.

He owned a lot of acreage with rivers, and streams, and forests, and animals.

We’d go visit and camp out on his land.

It was kid heaven.

(Apparently it was also adult heaven.  My parents decided to retire there.)

Many of those trips also involved a few days of play on the Oregon coast.

It was often cold and foggy, but that didn’t stop the beaches from being magical.

I was fortunate to re-visit a lot of the Oregon coast while on my recent road trip.

I was extra-fortunate to be there when it wasn’t cold and/or foggy … definitely a rarity.

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

I thought I’d share a few of the photos I took as I traveled up and down the coast.

I really like this long exposure shot because you can get a concept of how huge the rocks are, by noting how small the man standing on them appears.

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

The Oregon coast changes in appearance, of course, at different locations.

Still, I found it beautiful everywhere I went.

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

I took this next photo of a beach path in a small coastal town named Yachats.  (Pronounced yah-hots.)

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

Nearby, Cape Perpetua was amazing.

I spent a few hours hiking while I was there.

(Did you know hiking with a  shitload  lot of gear on your back gets very tiring?)

I could have stayed at Cape Perpetua for weeks hiking and photographing different areas.

It’s such a beautiful location.

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

I’m sure I’ll have more posts about my visit to Oregon in the future.

But, hopefully you got a nice overview of the coast from today’s photos.