Photo: San Francisco
I’m so glad it’s Friday, how about you?
I’ve been in a pain flare-up ever since I went to L.A.
As a result, The Neanderthal hurt me more than normal this week.
A little while ago I took a pain pill.
I, apparently, didn’t have enough to eat prior to taking it …
I can’t seem to THINK now, so it’s Follow Up Friday time.
• Yesterday’s post about cell phone manners seems to have hit a nerve with a LOT of people! If you missed it, you can read it (and some very interesting comments) by clicking here.
• Orange County has had crappy Gray May/June Gloom weather this week. We’ve had such a thick layer of beach/marine fog, its been gray all day, every day. It’s my least favorite California weather. (It’s supposedly going to be improving this weekend.)
Photo: Man at Orange County beach during Gray May foggy weather
• I had a meeting with my web designers this week. They’re hard at work on some of the changes I promised for this little blog of mine. For those of you waiting for more photography news/info/tips – I appreciate your patience.
• The whole process of purchasing my prints will be much easier in the next few weeks, but my print prices will be increasing at the re-launch. (I’m sorry about the price increase, but it can’t be helped due to some of the upcoming changes.) I wanted to let everyone know in advance in case there’s a print you’ve been been meaning to purchase.
• My earthbox is doing great. I know it isn’t “really” gardening if other people’s arms had to do a lot of the initial work, but it makes me so happy to have a (mini) garden again. My basil is growing like a weed – I have more basil than I know what to do with! (If you live locally, let me know if you’d like some.) The cilantro I planted wasn’t doing too well at first, but it’s finally taking off too. (I even used it in a recipe last night!) In addition, I’ve added some sage and rosemary to the same planter. (I have a separate pot with mint in it, too.)
• When I was at the OC Pet Expo I met a hairless dog for the first time. He was a funny looking creature, and it felt really strange to pet him.
Photo: Hairless dog
• The best way to clean a bottleneck hummingbird feeder is to use the brushes made to clean fish aquariums. (Fish aquarium brushes can be found at your local pet store!)
Photo: Hummingbird drinking at feeder
• I continue to love using Farm Fresh to You for home delivery of organic produce. This week I was excited to see baby bok choy in my box. Yes, little things like cute baby bok choys DO make me happy!
Photo: Organic produce delivered to my house by Farm Fresh to You. (Discount code: 6164 available)
Last photo, for today anyway,
One of my favorite flower photos from my day at The Huntington:
Photo titled: I Miss Being Entwined With You
I hope you have a great weekend!
I love my smartphone as much as anybody.
I like being in touch with the people I care about when they need to reach me.
I also love being able to check in with friends/email/social media when I’m bored.
(While waiting at a doctor’s office, or waiting at an airport, or waiting for anything.)
My iPhone is with me always, unless I’m in the shower or swimming.
Yes … always.
[Although, I might silence it for special (!!) occasions.]
And OK, I admit – as much as I love my phone, it does stress me out sometimes to see the emails piling up on it.
But people …?
Yes … YOU!
You’ve become damn rude.
Our whole society is getting to be self-absorbed, inconsiderate, and just plain bad-mannered.
It might have began when talking went out of style, in favor of texting.
As a shy introvert,
I admit, I really appreciate and love the convenience of texting.
Recently, I took this photo:
Photo: We’re absorbed in our phones instead of having conversations with the people we’re actually with.
Taking the above photo really made an impact on me.
I keep coming back to it, staring at it, thinking about it, time and time again.
It made me start thinking about how smartphones have changed our lives, our relationships, our society.
Anyone who drives in Southern California knows there’s a big problem here with texting/emailing/smartphoning while driving.
It’s a HUGE problem.
We have seriously bad traffic here. (It’s much worse in L.A., but The OC and San Diego have a lot of traffic too.)
People multi-task on their phones so their drive-time isn’t “wasted time.”
People swerve in and out of lanes because they’re distracted.
People only give driving a small fraction of their attention.
People get injured and sometimes die as a result of smartphone distraction.
I know you think you can multi-task flawlessly while driving, but guess what?
You’re the one who almost hit me today and you didn’t even know it because you were looking at your phone.
OK, so now you’re thinking, “Nope, it wasn’t me. I never even glance at my phone while I’m in the car!”
First of all,
I call bullshit,
Particularly if you live in Southern California.
Second, let’s pretend you’ve never once glanced at your phone while driving ….
I think we, as a society, have an even bigger problem.
Do you text, or check email, or “glance” at Facebook (or Instagram, or Twitter, or Pinterest or anything else on your phone) when you’re with people?
And by with people, I mean in the company of other human beings you’re spending time with.
Yes, you do!
How rude are you?
Well, the more often you look at the phone while in the company of Real Living People, the ruder you are.
It’s as simple as that.
(And no, I’m not claiming to be remotely perfect in this regard – but it IS something I really try to be conscious of and considerate about.)
When your phone gets your attention over the Real Living Person your with, you’re sending a strong signal to the Real Living Person.
The signal you’re sending is, “I’m inconsiderate, bad mannered, and rude.”
Yes, it’s true.
Don’t even get me started on people who talk on their phones (loudly) while in restaurants.
(And the reason why you can’t excuse yourself and walk outside for that Very Important Phone Call is …??)
Or people who sloooowww down to text while walking in a crowd -
Maybe even stopping completely, blocking the path of those behind them.
(Why do people always seem to do this right in front of the entrance/exit of escalators – or narrow grocery store aisles?)
WHY CAN’T THEY JUST STEP OUT OF THE WAY AND TEXT THEIR MERRY HEARTS OUT???
Of course, there are times when we have to be on our phones while we’re with Real Living People.
Recently, I told a friend who stopped by for a visit:
“I just want to let you know upfront, I need to be checking my phone because I’m expecting an urgent message from my doctor.”
I felt (a little) less rude, for having forewarned the person I was with.
Perhaps, you’re at a meeting and everybody’s communicating via phones at the same time.
(BlogHer comes immediately to mind!)
There are, of course, situations that vary -
But most of the time -
Being on your phone (in any manner) when you’re with Real Living People is just rude.
Very few things in our every day lives are THAT urgent.
OK – now it’s your turn!
What’s your smartphone (bad manners) pet peeve??
My California readers are probably already familiar with Burke Williams.
For those of you who live further away, Burke Williams is a day spa here in California. They have several locations within the state.
When we (locals) talk about Burke Williams Spa we tend to get a little misty-eyed.
It’s just so … nice.
A few weeks ago the spa threw a promotional event at their Mission Viejo (South Orange County) location.
I was thrilled to be invited.
My camera was invited to the event also, of course.
The evening had a few sponsors, one of which was Little Black Dress Vodka.
Photo: Little Black Dress Vodka.
I said, “Thank you, LBD, I will!”
The vodka was a nice touch. I had come straight from the longest day ever in L.A. Being handed a cocktail upon arrival, instantly set my “relax” button.
There were a lot of OC women at this event. (About one hundred, I think!)
[I hid behind my camera, because there's no telling what OC women will do (especially while drinking vodka)!]
Photo: A room full of OC women
I was really excited when I discovered my favorite bakery, Meringue Bake Shop, was also sponsoring the event.
Photo: Cupcakes baked by Meringue Bake Shop
Don’t tell anyone, but I stole two cupcakes from their display. I stuck them in my purse and took them home to my son. He inhaled both of them within seconds of my return home. (He loves their cupcakes!)
Guests of the event were spoiled and pampered.
Photo: Paraffin treatment for our hands.
We also each had a choice of receiving a massage or a facial.
I decided on the complimentary facial because my skin has been unusually dry lately. My facial was about a half hour long, and it was absolutely wonderful. I almost fell asleep on the table. (Did I mention, longest day ever?) I’m not usually a facial-loving person, but it was so relaxing and soothing. The esthetician mentioned I should start using a Vitamin C serum on my skin. It’s one of those things I’ve read about, known about, been meaning to do ….
At the end of the night, guests also received a spa gift bag.
(I love getting presents, don’t you?)
Inside the gift bag was a three day pass to use the spa.
The gift bag also contained lavender-chamomile scented: body butter, a massage candle, soap, and room/body mist.
It all smells so yummy.
Just writing this has made me crave spa time.
It’s definitely time to take advantage of the pass they gave me.
(Thank you Burke Williams, for the gift bag AND a great evening!)
My husband (I swear!) thinks I sit around and do nothing all day.
Maybe he thinks I play computer games (I don’t), or leisurely nibble on bon bons.
(Has anyone ever eaten a bon bon? Do they even exist??)
Of course, I think he spends all of his days talking sports with his colleagues while standing around the water cooler in his office.
The grass is always greener, right?
When Briefcase and I went wine tasting last January, he glanced at my computer one day. He was floored when he saw how many emails came in for me over one weekend.
“You get more emails a day than I do!” he exclaimed shocked.
Um … yes, I do Mr. Vice President Husband.
If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you know Briefcase travels a lot.
That means, most of the time, I’m in charge of running our house, our lives, our kids needs, etc., etc.
I do this one-armed, which makes everything take a lot longer.
(If you question me on this even a tiny bit, please tie your dominant arm to your side for an entire day and see how your day goes.)
Add in high pain levels (which is my reality more often than not), and you’ll realize it takes an incredible amount of energy (and sheer willpower) to get everything done that needs to be done.
Routine stuff like grocery shopping (which is HARD one-armed), dishes (left hand only!), taking care of our dogs, sorting mail, laundry (drag the baskets because you can’t lift them), basic cleaning, blah, blah, blah – takes up a lot more time than it would if I had two working arms.
(Not to mention squeezing in kid stuff, exercising, cooking, physical therapy, pain management appointments, etc., etc., etc.)
Jealous of my life yet?
It takes pig-headed determination for me to do it all.
(Let’s be honest here, for me, being one-armed is less of a handicap than living with chronic pain. Without question, continual pain is the harder obstacle to live with.)
The other day I was talking to a very nice woman who works for the city of Beverly Hills.
We were discussing photography jobs.
How do you do it? she asked. (She was referring to photography in conjunction with my bum arm.)
I had an immediate flashback to the day I was told I would never hold a camera again.
My mind flashed back over the last several years, and all I’ve gone through.
I looked at her and sighed, wearily.
“I’m really a stubborn bitch,” I answered.
She smiled and nodded.
That’s a good thing, she said.
I know, in my case, it is.
In addition to running a house and a family one-armed,
My daily life includes blogging and photography.
Photo: Pink fuchsia. (This fuchsia plant is hanging in my backyard – I love it SO much!!)
For me, the blogging/photography work is never the same two days in a row – which is part of the appeal, and part of the problem.
Organization is difficult when the world throws chaos at you from every direction.
I get 200-400 emails per day. I skim all of them, and only open some of them.
(But I always read every comment left here on 24!!)
I try to respond to all blog comments, all people seeking help with photography, and all people interested in hiring me now (or in the future) for a photography assignment.
The number of PR/Advertising pitches I get each week is staggering.
My name/email address is clearly on some monster list, somewhere.
I spend a portion of each day writing a post.
I spend time every day editing photos for those posts.
In addition, I edit several other photos each day for the community of people who follow my photography in places other than here.
Editing photos takes a lot of time because I have to do it one-armed.
(My method of working on a computer, in a manner that limits the discomfort it causes, would be funny if it wasn’t so awkward. And SLOW.)
Of course, there are no photos to edit, to market, or to sell, if I don’t spend time shooting.
I take my camera with me (almost) everywhere I go. I’ve learned to use it (for limited amounts of time) with my Wrong Arm.
I’m producing content constantly for one forum or another.
I know, due to my arm, I can’t take on all the photography work I’d like to.
In the past several months, I’ve been given some amazing opportunities in the photography world.
I pick the projects I think I’ll enjoy, or the ones that will provide a good paycheck, or the ones that will provide good blog fodder to entertain you with.
Getting photography work requires being VISIBLE.
(Hence, my ongoing participation in photowalks, and seminars, and photography conferences.)
I love everything photography related. I’ve fought long and hard to hold a camera again post-accident.
Loving photography doesn’t mean it isn’t a very difficult challenge.
Everything photography-related I do is slower and more difficult than it would be for a “normal” person.
I want to do it, though.
In fact, I have to do it.
There are no words to describe how terrible it was to lose everything I loved doing in those first 3-4 years post-accident.
Thank you for listening.
It’s time for me to go take a nap on the couch.
(You know, right after I eat a few bon bons and play some computer games.)
Last week, while up in L.A., I spent a few hours at The Huntington.
The Huntington is actually called The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens,
But that takes (at least) five huge breaths just to say.
Photo: Entrance to The Huntington
When I was a kid (elementary school), I went on a field trip to The Huntington. I think we looked at art.
We had to be really quiet and good listeners.
It was really boring, but I was happy we got out of school.
I haven’t been back since.
The Huntington is one of Southern California’s biggest treasures, and now that I’ve seen it (as an adult),
I’m kicking myself for not having visited sooner.
I only had three hours to visit last week, and I didn’t even see a fraction of what there is to see.
I’d like to go back and spend at least another two days there.
The gardens alone take up 120 ACRES!
Photo: Huntington Gardens. The view shortly after entering.
I fell SO in love with this place!
The beauty, is simply amazing.
There’s an enormous (three and a half acre/about 4,000 plants!) rose garden at The Huntington.
Photo: Pink Roses
There were types of roses I’ve never seen and so many of them!
The scent walking through the rose garden -
Well, it was just plain yummy!
Photo: Bench in the rose garden
The women in the above photo were so nice to let me take their photo.
I have no idea who they were, but in my imagination they were mother and daughter.
There’s a cafe at The Huntington, which I didn’t have time to visit. There’s also the (famous!) Rose Garden Tea Room. You have to make reservations ahead of time to visit it.
I’ve heard it’s wonderful.
(I actually tried to get reservations about a week ahead of time, but the Tea Room was already booked for the time slot I intended to visit.)
I’ll definitely go back sometime again.
Photo: The walk towards the Tea Room
I spent most of my visit in the Rose Garden and in the recently renovated (nine acre!) Japanese Garden.
I was there during the harshest sunlight hours, on an 80 degree day.
(In other words, it was the worst time possible for photography.)
Of course, even if it should have,
Harsh sunlight didn’t stop me from taking lots and lots of photos.
Photo: Purple roses (Midnight Blue Roses)
Have you ever seen dark purple roses?
They were so beautiful ….
I’m still up in Los Angeles, although I’ll be headed back to The OC sometime tonight.
Photo: L.A. Live as a tropical storm prepared to roll in.
I’d like to say everything has gone perfectly on this trip, but things just haven’t quite fallen in place.
My hotel, my (free!) upgraded suite … all of that is wonderful.
A lot of things on this week’s L.A. to do list have not gone as planned.
Primarily, I’ve had a really bad migraine for the last two days, and it has really thrown me off my game.
(Is there such thing as a GOOD migraine? I think not!)
It’s probably a result of no PT this last week, and way too much camera time.
(My post-accident body is such a mess. I’d say it’s a train wreck, but in truth – it’s a car wreck.)
My neck muscles are clenched in a fist.
Can neck muscles form a fist?
Can they be so spasmed they’re popping my head off in the form of a migraine?
I think it’s the most likely explanation for the migraine from hell.
Anyway, this trip hasn’t been all bad -
And it hasn’t been all good.
One nice thing, was ordering room service breakfast yesterday.
Photo: Room service breakfast
I normally don’t eat much for breakfast. (I also rarely spend money to order room service – it’s always incredibly overpriced.)
Migraine, blah, blah, blah, don’t have to pay for the hotel, blah, blah, blah.
I decided to indulge.
(There was so much more food than I could eat. The portions were huge. Also? A migraine pretty much kills a persons appetite.)
The coffee was great, and the fresh cut tulips were a cheerful treat.
I also really appreciated the “to go” cup they provided. When it was time to get on with my day, I took my coffee with me.
(It’s the little things …!)
Most of my yesterday was spent in a photography seminar. It turns out, I’m already very proficient in what was being taught. (Which made the classes seem much looooonger than they were.) I was expecting to know some of the material, but not all of it.
I guess I’m smarter than I realized.
(Quick! Someone tell my husband!!)
I met some really nice people at the seminar though. That in itself, made the day worthwhile.
Have I mentioned the views from my room are amazing?
I took this photo through one of my (tinted) hotel windows yesterday. The sun was setting, the storm clouds were still hanging by the mountains ….
Photo: Los Angeles
It was beautiful -
And so, L.A.
I love going places, even when it’s someplace local.
A tropical storm is hanging around Southern California right now, so yesterday was hot and muggy in L.A.
We don’t get a lot of muggy in California.
I’m not a big fan of muggy.
By late afternoon, I was done taking photos (outside all day), and ready to be in a nice cool, air-conditioned, hotel room.
I came back to my room, took a quick shower to get the sweat residue off me, and walked around my room, naked, for a couple hours.
I’m staying at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live this week.
(And no, they aren’t sponsoring this post.)
(Although, that’s a good idea! Hey Marriott, how would you like to send me around the world to your various resorts and hotels? I’d be so happy to write about it if you did!)
As I was saying,
I’ve stayed here one other time – some of my long time readers might remember.
My husband (due to all his business travel) was able to get me a “free” room with his accumulated hotel points.
He’s a bigwig in Marriott’s eyes, because he travels more than any other person on the planet, so they upgraded me (at no cost) to an enormous suite.
And by enormous … I mean, ENORMOUS!
This hotel caters to a lot of business people having meetings at the nearby L.A. Convention Center.
(L.A. Live is right here too, as is the Staples Center where the Lakers play.)
Here are a few shots I took to share with you:
Photo: The sitting area of the hotel suite.
There’s also a long bench for additional seating. The couch is big enough to seat four adults comfortably. Add in the bench (which I haven’t included in my shot), and you could easily seat 12 people in this area for a social or work gathering. I don’t know if you can really get a feel for the size of it just from my photo, but it’s way bigger than my family room at home.
(It’s so lonely here, just with me!)
This next photo isn’t the greatest, but it shows you where I’m sleeping.
Photo: Bed with cool lamps at each side – pull down extendable reading lamps!
There’s nothing like crawling into bed at the end of a long day of shooting photos!
I admit, the room isn’t decorated to my tastes. It’s modern, it’s minamilist.
I’m more traditional and antique-y and vintage-y.
Still, it’s a nice place to visit.
My only real complaint is the Internet access. It works, but I can’t seem to have my phone and my laptop working at the same time. It’s a pain in the ass. It seems like a business hotel would do better. (Also, they charge for Internet access which, to me, is absolutely ridiculous in this day and age. It should come with every room like TV.)
The bathroom is bigger than most people’s kitchens.
Photo: Hotel bathroom
There are two sinks, and there’s plenty of storage under the sinks for whatever you might bring.
The shower is big enough for you, and forty two of your closest friends.
(Only slightly exaggerating!)
There are also several drawers and dressers, a big closet, a safe, a refrigerator, a large desk, wifi, etc., etc.
My favorite thing, though?
Is the amazing view I have out of my (many) windows. It’s a corner suite, so I can see a full 180 of L.A.
It’s especially awesome at night.
Photo: A Room With A View
By the way, the above photo is the “smaller” sitting area, at the other end of the suite.
If I’d known they were going to give me such spacious quarters, I would have planned a party ….
Of course, I’d have invited you!