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July

I’ve spent the last few days doing very little other than editing fitness photos.

I’m very happy with how they’ve come out.

Hopefully, WrightWay Fitness will be happy with them also.

I have guests here for a few days.

Blog posts might be hit or miss between now and the end of the 4th of July weekend.

I imagine readership will be down over the holiday weekend anyway.

(It seems like everyone I know is on vacation this week and/or next.)

In the meantime, here’s another photo from Pearl Street beach in Laguna:

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

We don’t get many seashells on our local beaches.

I was thrilled to find the perfectly placed shell in the above photo.

I left it where it was – I never bring shells home.

Still, I was happy to find it “posing” so perfectly for the above photo.

I usually try to avoid the beaches on holiday (and summer) weekends.

I could use a dose of ocean, though.

Maybe I’ll go for a walk at the beach one evening after the holiday crowds have gone home for the day ….

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Trip Planning

I’m planning a trip to Oregon to see my parents.

They’ve moved (downsized homes) recently.

They’d like me to see their new home and I’d like to see them.

It’s always difficult to find a big enough chunk of time to make the trip.

I’ve decided to drive round trip, alone, this time.

The drive could be made in three days (each way), but I think I’m going to take four.

After all, if I’m driving past some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States, I want to be able to SEE it.

I’ve driven up and down the California coast numerous times in the past so I don’t need to stop and do everything.

On the other hand, I don’t want to be setting driving records without noticing my surroundings either.

I’ve made tentative plans to depart mid-July.

On the first day I plan to leave in the afternoon and make the jaunt to Santa Barbara.

I will visit with friends that afternoon and evening.

The second day, I’ll drive up the coast from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz.

If it works out as I hope, I’ll have a chance to shoot with my friend Barry Blanchard (and a few others?) that evening.

The third day, I’ll drive to Eureka.

The fourth day, I’ll drive to Eugene, Oregon.

I haven’t figured out how many days I’ll be in Oregon -

Probably three or four days.

I hope to route my return trip to stay at different spots than those I stop at on my way up.

(I’ve booked hotels for my trip up to Oregon, but haven’t booked the return trip yet.)

I’ll be staying at a decent hotel in Santa Barbara, but all my other hotels will probably be sketchy.

Since I won’t be spending much time in the hotels except to sleep and shower, I don’t want to spend much money on them.

On the other hand, a woman traveling alone (with professional camera gear) and staying in sketchy hotels might not be the safest combination?

In an attempt to make things as safe as possible I’m going to take the minimum camera equipment possible with me.

I will keep it with me at all times – no exceptions.

Also …?

I’ve ordered hands-free pepper spray.

I always carry pepper spray when I’m out shooting, but I like the hands free design of the type I just ordered.

(No fumbling for it if I need it.)

Like my camera gear, I will have it with me at all times.

I also bought a personal alarm.

I’ve heard great things about it.

I don’t want to go overboard on the safety thing, but it’s smart to take a few precautions since I’ll be alone.

I was talking with one of my male photographer friends the other night.

He commented on how he never has to think about where he goes, what time of day it is when he shoots alone outdoors, etc.

He was almost apologetic about this fact of life.

Gender still plays a huge role for women whether we want it to or not.

Misogyny runs deep in our society.

Over the next few days I’ll be trying to nail down more details for my trip.

I’ll also begin booking hotels for my return trip.

If you have any suggestions of places or things I *must* see and/or photograph,

I’d love to hear them.

I may not have time to do everything I want on this trip,

But, of course, I’ll be squeezing in as much as possible.

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Brown Widow Spiders

A few days ago, my “Bug Man” came for a routine, maintenance, visit.

My house borders a wilderness area so I never have a shortage of critters.

Bug Man discovered lots and lots of brown widow spiders in my yard.

Brown widow spiders are dangerous just like black widows (which we also get here).

Apparently brown widow spiders are taking over Southern California in record numbers.

Who knew?

I *hate* spiders.

I’ve had a spider phobia my entire life.

When I was a child, my mom read me Charlotte’s Web in an attempt to rid me of my spider fear.

(Nice story E.B. White, but it didn’t work.)

Spiders have too many legs and creep me out.

I try telling myself spiders are good beause they capture mosquitoes in their webs,

But, let’s face it, a poisonous spider is NOT good.

I was happy Bug Man was here to eradicate the spiders.

A problem arose, however.

One (big, gigantic, hairy, scary!!) brown widow must have managed to elude Bug Man.

It came walking across the ceiling right above my workspace yesterday morning.

I was home alone.

I thought about calling (the very hot!) 911 guys, but I they *might* laugh at me??

“911 What’s your emergency?”

“There’s a hairy, scary, spider in my house!”

**  Click  **

Alas, I decided this was an emergency I had to take care of on my own.

A scene ensued.

It might have involved ladders, screaming (me, not the spider!), a flying spider, resulting multiple freak-out sessions, a search for the poisonous flying spider, a bad case of heebie-jeebies, etc. -

I eventually found the (enormous, hairy, sinister) brown widow spider.

I’m not ashamed to admit I squished him.

I used a fly swatter.

I could never do it with my actual hand!  Ew!

Then, fearing he might rise from the dead and chase me,

I flushed him down the toilet.

(And closed the toilet lid soundly, for good measure.)

Shudder!

It was an emotionally exhausting experience.

P.S.  Later in the day I found a lizard’s tail outside my door.  Not the lizard, mind you.  Just a tail.

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Babysitting Reggie

My friend, Nike, went out of town for a wedding.

While she was gone I took care of her “baby,” Reggie.

Reggie is a rescue dog.

Nike’s college-aged son adopted Reggie when Reggie was just a puppy.

Now Reggie lives with Nike.

Reggie is pure love and sweetness.

Reggie © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Reggie

I think Reggie enjoyed his brief dog-staycation.

He seemed to love my backyard … bunnies to chase, lizards to run after, dirt to dig in, etc., etc.

Nike only lives half a block away.

Reggie spent his vacation time between our two houses.

I’d bring him to my house to play for awhile and then let him nap at home when he seemed worn out.

I think he enjoyed the combination of new adventures and familiar surroundings.

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At This Moment

I’m pretty sure I only exist to refill the hummingbird feeders with two gallons of food each day.

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

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Pearl Street, Laguna Beach

There are coves off of almost every ocean-facing street in Laguna Beach.

The tourists primarily flock to Main Beach.

The locals avoid the tourist beaches, particularly in the summer.

A long time favorite of mine is the beach at Pearl Street.

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

The beach is nearly empty compared to the crowded well known beaches.

An almost-hidden staircase leads down to the sand.

(It’s an easy staircase to navigate compared to many others in South OC.)

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

And, of course, Pearl Street is “famous” for its beautiful arch.

You can cross through the arch at low tide.

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

A lot of wedding/engagement photos have been taken by the arch.

I’ve come very close to losing camera gear in and around the arch too.

The tides can be tricky, the rocks are slippery,

And sometimes the waves make the sand under the arch have big holes you can’t see until you fall in one.

If you have a chance to visit, enjoy the beauty.

And …?

Be safe.

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Grumble, Grumble, Attitude Adjustment

Yesterday, Paul Newman squeezed me in for a “bonus” appointment.

My shoulder has been popping on and off (in and out?) for about a week now.

It’s very painful when it gets like this which means I’ve been taking pain meds off and on for several days also.

(Boo Hiss!  The dreaded pain meds!)

I’m sure Paul Newman could sense my frustration yesterday, because he felt the need to have a “talk” with me.

And, to be honest, I needed it.

He’s so calm and logical and matter-of-fact about my arm.

I can always use a dose of Paul Newman CALM when I’m in a lot of pain and teetering on the edge of a meltdown.

I tell everyone how much better my arm is.

And …?

He told me it really isn’t.

In some ways it is.

If I don’t attempt to use it, I’m in less pain than I used to be when not using it.

In other words, doing absolutely nothing hurts a lot less than it used to.

Plus, there’s all the stuff inside of my arm that has been repaired over the years.

(Pretty much everything!)

Also, Paul Newman can move my arm much more than he was able to move it when he first adopted me.

He’s broken down scar tissue and loosened up muscles that were locked down tight.

I, however, still can’t move my arm myself.

Well, not in a normal way.  I can move it some by using my neck muscles, etc.

Paul Newman tells me I’ve built my life into “a little box” I live inside.

As long as I stay within that box, adapting and modifying my limited movements,

I can function in a convincing, but totally faking-it way.

If I attempt to do anything outside of my little box, like *actually* attempting to use my bum arm,

It “bites” me.  (His words.)

In other words, I go into a pain flare-up.

Pain flare-ups can last for days or weeks, depending on what I’ve done and how badly I’ve done it.

As most of you know, I was a total mess post car accident.

Nine surgeries (and nearly eight years) later, I *am* way better than I was.

And …?

There’s a surgery which could possibly hold my bicep in place so my arm would not pop out of the shoulder joint so often.

(I think the surgery is called bicep tenodesis.)

But, nine surgeries later I don’t think I want to go through more surgeries.

Also, if the surgery fails, I could find myself with pretty much no use of my arm.

I don’t think I can take that chance when I have so little use of it already.

(It isn’t a simple surgery – some orthopods won’t even do it.)

I get frustrated at the things I can’t do.

I can’t, for instance, do upper body exercises.

I can’t work (shoot) more than a few hours at a time.

I can’t lift or carry anything.

I’m very dependent on my Paul Newman visits to keep the movement I do have.

(He also helps keep my pain levels in check.)

I asked him yesterday if any of his other patients need him as much as I do?

Since “normal” patients get better and stop visiting him, I don’t think they do.

Being in pain puts a damper on my spirits.

Facing the reality of a lifetime of physical limitations is also frustrating.

I’ve known for a long time I’ll always have limitations but it’s so much more REAL when Paul Newman and I talk about it.

I’m trying to focus on how far I’ve come.

Yes, I may be living in a little box with very limited use of my arm,

But a few years ago I didn’t even have that little box.

I may not be able to shoot more than a few hours here and there,

But I couldn’t shoot at all for several years.

I’m trying to embrace the positives.

I have come a long way.

Sometimes I need to focus on just that.

I’m mentally going through a list of all the arm related improvements I’m grateful for.

(I’m most grateful of all for Paul Newman!)

And really, there have been a lot of improvements.

It’s just been a tough week.

Multiple shoulder subluxations don’t make for a happy dance.

On the positive side, I’m getting photo editing done while I wait for my arm to calm down.

I know this flare up will pass given time.

It’s just a bump in the road.

Bumps in the road are a frequent occurrence in life.

And I am on quite a journey.

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What’s Up Lately?

•  My bum arm has been (extra!!) bad.  Last night when I was cooking it “popped” loudly.  I guess it had fallen off again and popped back on.

•  I’m spending the morning with Paul Newman.  I know he’ll be especially happy to see me?

•  What will I do if my arm pops off while he’s away on vacation?

•  As I approach the eight year anniversary of my car accident, I find I’m very tired of my arm randomly popping on and off of my body.

•  I’ve cooked (a lot) over the last two days.

•  Now I’d like someone to cook for me?

•  Yesterday I spilled two cups of homemade hummingbird food on my kitchen floor.  Hummingbird food is one hundred percent sugar water.

•  I have a “used” brick floor … meaning there are lots of cracks and crevices in it.  Can I tell you how fun it was to clean sugar water off of it?

•  I “worked-out” on an elliptical for a whopping 15 minutes yesterday.  I am easing, very gently, back into post-surgery exercise.  Baby steps.

•  I’ve ordered underwater housing for my Canon 5D Mark III.  It won’t arrive for a few weeks, but it will make me feel much more at ease about the ocean shots I take.  All my gear is insured, but I don’t want to be in a position where I need to replace it.  I’ve done some crazy  acrobatics  things to protect my gear in the past.  I recommend those of you with cameras don’t do what I’ve done.

•  There are rumors swirling Canon will be announcing a 5D Mark IV and EOS 1DX Mark II in coming months.  This is an exciting rumor (if true?) for photography nerds.  Technology is changing at a rapid pace.

•  I’ve been editing fitness photos for WrightWay Fitness.  I’m very happy with the (so far) results.

•  I’m craving a puppy.  (But, I’m not getting one.)

•  I’m also craving a road trip.  (I’m working on freeing myself from my calendar so I can make it happen.)

•  Do you have any fun summer vacation plans?

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When Photography And Music Mix

As many of you already know, my son is home from college for the summer.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned he’s musically inclined?

I wish I could say he got his musical talent from me, but I have …

Absolutely NO musical talent.

None, zero, zip.

(I do sing  poorly  loudly while driving though!)

While other high schoolers were rocking out to the latest and greatest tunes,

My son thrived on writing songs.

And, not the type of songs you’d expect from someone his age.

His dream is to someday compose movie soundtracks.

In fact, his idol is Hans Zimmer.

Hans isn’t a bad person to look up to, is he?

Yesterday afternoon when I returned home,

My son surprised me with a short one minute video he had made.

He said he felt inspired to compose music after thumbing through some of my sunset shots.

My mom-heart was incredibly touched.

If you can spare one minute of your day,

I hope you’ll take the time to watch/listen to what he put together.

If you’re too busy to do so now,

Come back and listen at a time when you can sit, relax, and enjoy.

One minute is such a short period of time,

But his video packs a whole lot of relaxation into every second.

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Monday, Monday

I hope you had a nice summer solstice weekend.

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

I made a concerted effort *not* to pick up my camera (much) last weekend.

(My bum arm has been in a very angry state of mind.  In fact, I think it might have popped off of my body again.)

Instead, I got a lot of one-armed chores and errands done.

I went out to dinner with some long-time, treasured, friends.

We followed-up dinner with an Angels baseball game … the Angels won.

The game was followed by a fireworks show.

The Angels put on a firework show after the game every Saturday night.

Because I’m old (???), I was tired by the time I got home at 11:15 Saturday night.

I’ve also been busy planning a return trip to Napa for October.

I thought I was planning way in advance.

But, it turns out Napa Valley is already almost completely booked for the months of September and October.

I really had to work in order to find a hotel room and get some dinner restaurant reservations.

(And sadly, I couldn’t even get into a few places I really wanted to.)

I guess I’ll know for the future -

Book Napa harvest season a year ahead?!

I’m super excited to have also booked a sunrise hot air balloon trip for my Napa trip.

I know it’s still months away, but I’m really excited about it anyway.

Isn’t it funny how planning a mini-vacation can lighten up your entire outlook?

It’s something to look forward to -

And who doesn’t need that?