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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.

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How Many Newfoundland Dogs?

How many Newfoundland dogs are too many?

I spent the weekend with five adult Newfies and six puppies.

Here is mommy dog, Vada, with two of her six puppies:

Vada w Two Pups © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

The puppies are five weeks old now.

(I keep thinking they’re six weeks old, but they’re only five weeks.)

They were ten pounds when I arrived on Friday.

They weighed twelve pounds when I left.

They’re growing SO fast!

Here’s the puppy I *might* be getting:

GreenBoy92114I say “might” because he needs to pass a heart check when he turns nine weeks old.

Heart problems are common in Newfies.

If he doesn’t pass his heart test he won’t be available for adoption.

But, he’s adorable and I want him.

Here’s a photo of the same puppy getting a drink of water:

Green W Bucket Square © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

He looks like a panda bear with gorilla sized feet.

Newfies are such messy drinkers.

Most owners have them drink from buckets outdoors.

Here he is getting some one-on-one time with his mom:

Green W Mom Vada © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

Of course, I spent a lot of time with ALL of the puppies.

I also really enjoyed the adult dogs.

Newfoundlands are so sweet, so tender hearted, and very loving.

This is Hannah:

Hannah © SHaggerty 2014 W-1Hannah is almost two years old.

She and I bonded very quickly.

Hannah didn’t want to leave my side the entire time I was visiting.

We even went hiking together.

After our hike, Hannah cooled off with a swim in a lake.

Hannah is full of enthusiasm for life.

I already miss all my Newfie friends!

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Newfies!

I had a great visit to Canada.

I got home late, late, last night.

I’ll have more to share with you tomorrow, but here’s a glimpse of how I spent part of my visit to Canada:

Me w Newfies © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

There’s nothing like a BIG dose of love from a group of Newfoundland dogs and puppies.

I had so much fun!

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Happy Weekend

I’m doing the all day travel thing today.

My flight times (combined) aren’t really that long.

But, you know how it goes with all the shuttling between airports, etc.

It’s going to be a long day.

I thought I’d leave you with this beautiful sunset.

I took this photo at one of my favorite sunset spots in Southern California.

It took my breath away at the time,

And it still does now.

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

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I Need to Slooooow Down?

I knew I had a hectic, over-scheduled, few months …

But I think it’s gotten a little ridiculous.

Today is my fourth consecutive day home and I’m spending it packing to leave.

The four days I’ve been in town have been filled with “must do’s.”

I saw my orthopedic surgeon yesterday morning and shamelessly begged him not to hurt me.

He went easy on me.

I followed that appointment up with a much needed treatment with Paul Newman.

He was pretty gentle with me too.

Did you know I can’t think, let alone talk, when Paul Newman massages my always hurting neck?

(My neck muscles do a lot of the work for my bum arm.)

I become this puppy ….

puppyTickle

It’s kind of embarrassing, actually.

I probably should be more embarrassed, but I think Paul Newman is used to me.

I literally lose all thought mid-sentence and go into some type of instantaneous Neck Rubbing Coma.

Tomorrow will be a very long travel day as I head north to Canada.

Have I mentioned (a billion times?) how much I hate the traveling part of traveling?

Also?

I’m going to try my hardest not to travel at all from Thanksgiving through March.

I am very excited, however, for my first visit to Canada.

It will be a quick three day trip, but I’ll be making notes for my return in a few weeks.

(I hope to have a more leisurely visit when I pick up the puppy in a few weeks.)

My arm is “done” from my North Carolina/Georgia/Texas trip, so I’m doing everything I can to go easy on it during my Canada trip.

I’m taking one small rolling carry-on bag, my camera, and only two lenses.

While I’m up north, I’ll be having a few adventures with my new Canadian friends and their gigantic dogs.

They’ve scheduled a very busy weekend for my visit.

Some of our plans are weather dependent, but I’ll be sure to update via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook whenever I can.

I’m not bringing my laptop (in the interest of my arm), so I might not have a blog update regarding the Canada trip until Tuesday.

I’m sure Canada will be a great adventure.

At the same time, I’m really happy I’ll be in town for two full weeks after the trip.

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Boy Dog Names?

I’m in search of the perfect boy dog name.

About a month ago, I had a list of one hundred possible names.

I narrowed it down to two.

Now, I’m starting all over.

My future dog will be my constant companion as a service dog.

He has to have the perfect name.

I know I do NOT want a name like Samson and/or Goliath … there are zillions of Newfoundlands with those names.

There are also way too many Newfoundlands named after bears.

An adult male Newf is HUGE but that doesn’t mean he has to be named Samson/Goliath/Yogi/Baloo.

I head to Canada on Friday to meet the litter.

I hope, once I meet “my” puppy, a certain name will seem to fit him.

However, I’m looking for suggestions.

Maybe something related to photography?

Maybe something related to Canada?

Maybe something related to his role as my assistant?

Maybe a literary character?

I’m open to any and all suggestions!

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Mouthing Off About Random Things

I seem to have a lot going on in my brain lately.

Much of it has to do with puppies.

PurpleBoy4wks

Four weeks old!  Newfoundland Puppy.

I also seem to have a lot of opinions about random things.

Here goes ….

•  The NFL has a public relations problem.  The problem exists because the NFL has always lived in a “look the other way” culture.  From the time boys are young, they’re forgiven bad behavior if they excel athletically.  Particularly in football.  Professional football players have a Code of Conduct clause in their contracts.  (As do most executives and employees of most businesses.)  For years, the NFL has looked the other way and rarely enforced the code of conduct.  It needs to stop.  NOW.  Zero tolerance should mean zero tolerance regardless of the ability of the player.  End rant.

•  TSA conducted bag checks on my checked luggage multiple times on my recent nine day trip.  I’m assuming security was stepped up due to the anniversary of September 11th.  Either that, or my travel tripod looks like a weapon when it goes through luggage x-ray machines.

•  One overly enthused TSA employee insisted I needed a pat down since I’m unable to lift my right arm to go through normal airport screening machines.  I informed him I travel all the time and I do NOT need a pat down.  I pointed to an adjacent machine he was standing by.  I told him “they” usually have me go through the other machine instead.  He became even more insistent.  “Fine, if it makes your day – pat me down!” I finally replied.  Right then the TSA agent’s  supervisor came over and questioned what he was doing.  He explained.  His supervisor said, “She doesn’t need a pat down.  Have her go through the other machine.”  THAT’S WHAT I SAID!

•  Speaking of TSA, I found myself explaining to them what to do with an arm disabled person on almost every flight I took these last nine days.  I think I had seven flights over the last nine days.  Shouldn’t the TSA employees KNOW what to do? Why am I the one educating them?

•  How could anyone at Urban Outfitters possibly think it was a good idea to make blood spattered Kent State shirts?  Someone in the company had to maybe, just possibly, suggest it was a terrible idea?

•  I came home to a notice from the DMV I need to renew my driver’s license.  I also came home to a jury summons for a date that conflicts with a week-long scheduled shoot.  I was not thrilled with either.

•  Every six months I stand naked in front of a man and let him look over every bit of my body with a magnifying glass.  It’s humiliating, but I do it anyway because I’m a melanoma survivor.  Yesterday was my get naked for inspection day.  I have to go back in a couple weeks for a biopsy which is no big deal – I’ve had a zillion of them.  I’m sharing this with you because anyone, any age, any sex, any skin color, can get melanoma and/or other forms of skin cancer.  Everyone (even kids) should have a skin check at least once a year.  (More frequently if you’ve ever had any type of skin cancer.)  I’m sure you can think of a million excuses why you don’t have time to do this.  None of them are valid.

Okay, I imagine that’s enough ranting for one day?

I think I’ll go look at a few more puppy photos.

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Holy Heat Wave!

I got back to California last night.

It was 98F  (36.7C)  INSIDE my house when I arrived home….

AT NIGHT!

Sheesh!

The a/c hasn’t stopped running since I got home.

I have four very busy, scheduled, days here in California.

And, oh my!

THE LAUNDRY!

My arm flipped out big time my first thirty six hours in Texas.

It was a very (!!!) bad deal.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by it –

It was a long trip and involved a lot of flights/states/hotels.

I know, from years of experience, the more I use my arm the worse the pain gets.

Luggage is the devil!

It was a different type of pain this time though.

The entire upper right quadrant of my body went into terrible muscle spasms.

I was literally gasping from pain every time I took a breath.

I’m sure it was a result of overusing all the muscles surrounding my bum arm.

They were protesting –

It was my body’s way of telling me I can’t use my back/chest/lat muscles as a make believe arm for any length of time.

There are no words … it was a very BAD experience.

I didn’t know what to do.

It was night so I didn’t want to call Paul Newman or Dr. Painless.

I pretty much just drugged myself into oblivion until the worst had passed.

Pain like that is the stuff (my) nightmares are made of.

It’s not as bad now, but I’m still not back to  my version of  normal.

I haven’t even pretended to use my right arm for anything since last Thursday.

It is hanging by my side – painful and useless.

Sigh!

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I’m in Texas …?

I arrived in Texas late yesterday.

I think.

I keep getting confused regarding where I am, what day it is, and what time zone I’m in.

Before I left Atlanta I took this fisheye photo of my surroundings:

Good-bye Atlanta:  Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I’ll admit to being tired.

I have one more hotel,

And one more flight ahead of me on this adventure.

I knew when I booked this trip I was taking on a lot.

(But, geographically, it made sense.)

What I didn’t know, originally,

Is that after this trip I’d only be able to return home for a few short days prior to visiting Canada.

I guess it only takes a few days to catch up on laundry and re-pack, right?

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Atlanta, Georgia

I’m in Atlanta now.

And, to be honest, I don’t have much time to actually see Atlanta.

I did take a few long exposure night photos.

This is the only one I’ve had time to edit so far:

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

I love the bright green lights on the middle building.

They look stunning at night and they reflect on the other buildings and the surrounding area.

I was happy to get a chance to see my niece and her adorable baby while I was here.

My family is scattered all over the country.

It makes it difficult to see everyone on a frequent basis.

I’m delighted when I can work it out to coincide with some of my photography trips.

I had to pack a ton of stuff for this trip because I’m in so many different places/states doing so many different things.

Lots of luggage is certainly not good for my arm, but ….

It’s only for another five days or so.