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Hello Again San Francisco

My flight was delayed yesterday, so I didn’t arrive in San Francisco until late afternoon.

It was a beautiful afternoon, and (as always) I was happy to be in the city.

I met up with some old friends last night at Hotel Nikko.

(I’m not staying at Hotel Nikko – we just met there.)

We had a couple drinks, some yummy food, and caught up on each other’s lives.

It was really nice.

I haven’t taken a single photo yet.

I had a small “incident” on the plane involving one of my carry on bags, my attempt to lift it with my left (good) arm, and the wreckage that ensued.

It wasn’t pretty.

So, um, yeah … lesson learned.

I will get assistance from the flight attendants in the future – for the sake of random strangers everywhere.

In an attempt to rest my arm, I didn’t take any photos yesterday.

If you know me, you know that means I’m hurting.

Today, I’ll be wandering around the city with my camera, regardless.

I expect I’ll get lost several times, at least.

There are few things as wonderful as roaming around San Francisco (with a camera) on a beautiful day.

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The Painted Ladies, San Francisco

**  Click here to see the winners of my photography-related giveaways!  **

I’m in San Francisco today through Friday.

The Painted Ladies, San Francisco

I’m really looking forward to a few days in the city.

Every time I go to San Francisco, I start humming and singing Do You Know The Way to San Jose for several days prior to my departure.

It doesn’t matter I’m not going to San Jose.

What is wrong with my brain?

Speaking of my brain, I met with New PT yesterday.

Along with my car accident related physical problems, he also feels my brain needs re-training.

Hmmmph.

I suppose he’s right though,

I’ve been picking up pencils with my neck for over six years now …

I’ve forgotten how to do it any other way.

He’s very sneaky at pretending we’re having a conversation and then voicing an observation like this:

“Do you realize you talk with your hands, but only your LEFT hand?  You need to re-learn gestures.”

Sigh!

I have a long road ahead of me –

I hope he has the patience to stick with me.

I think he’s incredibly smart about my not-normal body, and very good at what he does.

He’s even picked out a new photography wardrobe for me already.

The last thing he said to me as I left was, “Give me a nice blog name.  Don’t name me Asshole.”

Ha ha!

And I won’t …!

(But, it is tempting since I’m very (!!!) sore from my first session.)

So far, I’m very impressed with New PT’s knowledge, his demeanor, his sense of humor, his ability to put up with my smart-ass-ness, and most importantly –

The fact he uses warm lube.

A girl’s always going to like a guy with warm lube, right?

Remember, if you’re in the Bay Area this week and would like to meet me, you can RSVP to a fun public photowalk by clicking here.

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Gorillas Encounter Caterpillar

Apparently, I’m very easily amused.

I had a really busy day yesterday, and I STILL managed to watch this several times.

(I also now want a pet gorilla …!!)

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A New Man In My Life?

It takes a village to raise a child.

I’ve come to the conclusion it also takes a village to “manage” me.

My mountains this weekend.

I’ve been very fortunate to have some very talented medical-type folks help me since my car accident.

There were a couple people I’d have been better off without, too.  But hey, life is not perfect.

Some of the people who have helped me have become more than doctors or physical/occupational therapists to me.

They’ve become friends.

(That happens sometimes when you’re The Patient That Never Goes Away.)

In any case, it has gotten to the point where I have a team helping me live my life better.

I have Dr. Painless, my pain management specialist.  Thank God for him.  I might have jumped off a bridge if he hadn’t come into my life.  I sure as hell wouldn’t be holding a professional camera again.

I have Dr. BigWig, the best shoulder surgeon in the world.  When he first saw me, I’d already had three previous surgeries.  I was in terrible pain.  I adamantly refused more surgery.  He insisted.  I’m grateful.

I have The Neanderthal, who tortures me regularly with A.R.T. treatments.  (A.R.T. hurts like hell, but helps my continually freaking-out muscles de-spasm.)

Now, I have a new man on my “Let’s help Suzanne function as best as possible” team.

He’s a physical therapist and he’s an addition, not a replacement to my team.

(Sorry, I don’t have a “blog name” for him yet, although endless possibilities have already presented themselves.  Ha!  Poor man!)

New PT came into my life at the suggestion of Dr. BigWig.

You know what’s fun?

Meeting someone new, and realizing they already know a lot about you via your blog.

Hello.  I’m Suzanne.  Apparently, you already know about my bikini waxes?!

Anyway,

New PT seems to have a sense of humor.

He also doesn’t seem to be fazed, in the least, by my inappropriate sense of humor.

My no-filter mouth might have already blurted out my fear of permanently inverted nipples.

(By the way, I don’t have inverted nipples.  But, that’s not the point …?!  Point, get it?  I’m SO funny!)

Some info for those of you who have followed my whole car accident saga:

•  New PT seemed to “get” my current physical situation.  I usually baffle people due to the high degree of my fucked-up-ed-ness since the accident.    I was glad he understood what’s going on with me so quickly, because … hello, six years of medical history.  (If I can’t remember what happened during which surgery, how can anyone else?)

•  At one point, I might have stamped my foot like a three year old and told New PT, “I want to be able to do MORE.”  (Kudos to him for not running out of the room immediately.)

•  New PT isn’t about “curing” me, but IS about increasing my function, and hopefully decreasing my pain level at the same time.

•  New PT is all about modifying me/my life/how I move/work.  (He already showed me how I can rotate my arm a little bit with certain movements and decrease some of the pain.  I will MARRY the person who someday invents a bicep tendon replacement.  I hope someone invents one soon!)

•  New PT understands (anatomically/physically) why I would currently fail at normal PT, and understands I’m a very long term project.

•  New PT might have called me unstable.  Are you surprised?

•  Oh wait, I think he meant my body – not ME??

•  New PT seems to have the patience for very slow progress over a lengthy period of time, and asked me if I do too ….

•  I don’t know if I could bear to trust in a PT wholeheartedly again, and have him give up on me.  There’s a huge vulnerability, and trust, that comes with an ongoing  PT/patient relationship.

•  New PT emphasized the need for what I’ve lived for years now –

•  Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps!  

I want to LIVE my life, not spend it at non-stop medical appointments.

New PT and I are going to take things slow

And isn’t that always the best policy when you’ve got a new man in your life?

P.S.  My first “real” appointment is tomorrow, Tuesday.  Not surprisingly, I was sore just from my (unplanned) consultation last week.

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Saturday’s Sunset

Sadly, I wasn’t at the beach last night.

I don’t think it really matters – sunset was still spectacular!

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

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Things I’m Liking Lately

Today, I thought I’d share with you a few things I’ve been liking lately.

•  My latest favorite sneaker is this shoe:

I (ahem) wear my shoes right into the ocean a lot when I’m shooting.  For years, I was hooked on Nike Free shoes.  I’ve now fallen in love with Nike Lunarbase.  I bought the color shown above just prior to my North Carolina trip.  (This particular version with pink came out for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.)  They are so comfortable, and provide a little more support than the Free’s do.  I’ve already thoroughly abused my “new” shoes – mud, rain, sand, and salt water.

•  The Kindle Fire HD –  I love the new Kindle!  In August, I opened my old (first edition!) Kindle as I got comfortable for a very long flight to Kauai.  It had died.  The reset button couldn’t save it … it was just DEAD.  The timing was terrible since I had a five and a half hour flight ahead of me.  Oh, how I loved that Kindle!  Could it have been sent somewhere for repairs?  Possibly, but Kindles have been updated so many times over the last several years, it didn’t seem worth it.  When I got home a few weeks later, I replaced my Kindle with the new Kindle Fire HD.  Because my “old” Kindle worked fine for so many years, I hadn’t paid much attention to how much they’ve changed over the years.  Wow!  I love it!  Kindles have come a long way!

•  A Discovery of Witches – was the first book I read on my new Kindle.  I would absolutely never have downloaded it if it hadn’t been recommended vehemently by someone I know in the literary world.  Was it the best book I’ve ever read? No.  Did I find myself having a hard time putting it down?  Absolutely.  I would categorize this book as historical fiction.  The “real” history intertwined in the story makes the reader start to believe the fictional parts could have possibly happened.  Sometimes it’s just nice to get lost in a story, isn’t it?

•  Skin Medica TNS Eye Repair – This eye cream is expensive, but worth it.  Skin Medica makes amazing products.  Fortunately, you only need a teeny-tiny bit of this to get great results so a jar lasts a long time.  (A friend told me it has been rated as the best eye cream by somebody.  (It might have been “top dermatologists” surveyed by Good Morning America?)

I do know I really like it a lot.

•  Metal Prints –  A customer recently ordered a large (24×36) metal print of this Maui Sunset:

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

Metal prints … well, you have to see them to believe them.

AMAZING!

I was so glad I had an opportunity to see this particular one in metal before it went to live with it’s owner.  Metal prints look like magical luminescent paintings.

I have a mad crush on them.

Would it be weird if I started plastering them up and down the walls all over my entire house?

Probably.

Hmmmm ….

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Upcoming Events You Might Be Interested In

•  Next Wednesday, October 10th, I’ll be flying up to San Francisco.

One of my “online” photographer buddies, Gordon Laing (from Camera Labs), is visiting the United States from New Zealand.

My friend, Thomas Hawk, has been kind enough to organize a dinner and photowalk for the evening of Thursday, October 11th.

This event is open to everyone – you don’t need to be a photography phenom to attend.

(In fact, if the only camera you own is your phone – it’s perfectly fine.)

I think there are already close to 100 people participating.

I would love to meet those of you who are able to join in.

You can get details about the event and/or RSVP by clicking here.

Photowalks with a lot of people are very social and fun.  You don’t need to know anyone ahead of time.

Photographers are friendly folks.  It’s easy to strike up a conversation even for those of us who are shy.

(Just ask one of us what camera we use, or what we like to shoot ….!)

In fact, sometimes I get so busy chatting, I forget to take photos.

Sadly, I won’t be able to stay in San Francisco for the weekend.

(Oh how I LOVE visiting and photographing SF!)

•  I’ll be flying back to Orange County on Friday so I can attend Bald for Boobs the morning of Saturday, October 13th.

Twenty Four At Heart is one of the sponsors of Bald for Boobs.  One of my prints will be donated as a raffle item.  (!!!!!)

If you’re located in Orange County, I encourage you to attend even if you’re only interested in stopping by the salon to do a little shopping.

All money raised that day will be donated to Hoag Breast Care Center in Newport Beach.

•  As of right now, I’ve been wait-listed for the Worldwide Photowalk that same day.  (That’s what happens when you procrastinate signing up.)  If I don’t make it off the wait list, I’ll probably spend the afternoon wandering around Orange County with my camera anyway.  I’ve already had a few people mention they’d like to join me in an un-official walk.

•  I will be in Austin, Texas, on (and around) November 3rd.  My arrival and departure dates are still in the works, but November 3rd is a definite.  Again, I’d love to meet any of you who are in the area when I visit.  I have yet to make my travel arrangements for the Austin trip.

If you have suggestions on hotels (or sights I should see) in Austin, I’d love to hear them.

P.S.  I just published a post on my Photography Page explaining how I make a “dreamy” looking landscape photo.

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Life Is Complicated

Late yesterday, I published a new photo titled Life is Complicated.

Life is Complicated:  Click on photo to purchase, or view larger, in 24atHeart gallery

After I published it, I left to meet up with my friend, Nike, for the evening.

One of the many things we talked about was the unexpected journey my life has taken since the car accident.

Do you ever look at where you’re life is right now, and wonder how you got to that particular spot?

I know no one’s life turns out exactly as they expect it to …

But, so much has changed in my life, so rapidly.

It’s difficult for me to fully comprehend how much has happened in this year alone.

I will never say the car accident was a good thing.

It absolutely was not.

It was a horrible thing.

I also don’t believe “it happened for a reason.”

Although, it did – the reason was because Mr. Asshole ran a stop.

But, the car accident most definitely turned my life in a different direction than it would have gone otherwise.

I lost a lot.

My pre-accident life disappeared.

Through all the struggles, I gained some things too.

There are some really wonderful people in my life now.  People I would not have known otherwise.

(For instance – you!)

I’ve fought so hard to do the things I love again.

I still fight.

Every single day.

I know life is difficult for many people, in many different ways.

There are a lot of people with much more difficult challenges in life than I have.

For me, it takes longer to do things than it takes a “normal” person.

Also, almost everything I do results in increased pain.

But …

Look at the progress I’m making.

I can’t hold a camera for long periods of time.

But, I’ve learned to hold a camera left handed.

My (seemingly impossible) goal was just to be able to take photos again.

And now …

More people than I could have ever imagined are embracing my art.

It feels like a fairy tale!

Most of the people following my photography don’t even know about the accident or my bum arm, or the pain

To them, I’m just a photographer.

Isn’t that amazing?

I’ve never stopped fighting to move forward, but I never imagined so much wonderful was in store for me either.

When I got home from my evening with Nike, I was shocked to see such a strong positive response to the photo Life is Complicated.

One person left the following comment:

Absolutely love this. Curious, why did you caption it with “life is complicated”.

Well ….

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Carolina On My Mind

I really wish I’d been able to spend more time in North Carolina.

When I arrived, it was hot and summery.

A short while later, we drove directly into a fierce lightening storm.

!!!!

We rarely get lightening in Orange County, so it was VERY exciting for me.

After the lightening, the rain came down in buckets.

Eventually, we drove through the storm – which was a good thing.

(I’m not used to being in such bad driving conditions.)

There are so many trees in North Carolina.

Green, green, green!

(Our freeways look a LOT different in Southern California … they’re six lanes wide in each direction and all concrete and pavement.)

In some areas, the trees were starting to turn.

I took all the above photos through the car windshield.

I can’t imagine how beautiful it will be in 2-3 weeks as all the leaves turn colors.

I love fall.

I wish we got fall weather and pretty fall colored trees here.

It was 106F/41C at my house in Orange County yesterday.

Sigh!

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A Visit To The South

It’s hard not to love The South.

Especially in the fall.

I had a very rushed trip, which I regret in so many ways.

I was up at 4 a.m. on Friday (after going to bed at 1:15 a.m.).

I was booked nonstop every minute I was in North Carolina.

(Above photo taken by a drunk person who prefers to stay nameless?)

For one thing, there was a very important Beer Pong Game I had to win.

I’m a beer pong secret weapon.

I’m so terrible, no one expects me to sink a ball.

But hey, I made four shots so our team could come from behind and win!

Woot!

(I held my right arm up high with my left hand so I could throw the ball with my right hand.  Trying to throw it with my left hand/arm was clearly never going to sink a shot.)

I might have jumped up and down with joy and screamed a lot every time I made a shot.

Did I mention I had the worst hangover of my entire life the next day?

I’m pretty sure my brain might have exploded.

I also had the opportunity to taste a bite or two of North Carolina BBQ, grits, biscuits, and fried green tomatoes while I was traveling.

(Not all at one sitting – and no, I’m still not a fan of grits.)

I returned to California last night.

Yes, I really did spend over 11 of the last 72 hours on a plane.

No, I haven’t slept well (or nearly enough) in at least a week.

I’ve vowed to spend more time whenever I next pay the Carolina’s a visit.

After all, there are so many things in The South I’ve yet to experience ….