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Last Night I Got Thinking

Bliss Dance  – a 40 foot metal sculpture.

I’ve fallen in love with the above sculpture.

She’s located on Treasure Island, in San Francisco.

People were flying a remote airplane around her head last night, which created the lights (thoughts) coming out of her head.

I’ll be up here for one more day,

In the last three days I’ve:

•  Walked/shot the financial district.

•  Met my mentor, Thomas Hawk, for some shooting time.

•  Met his lovely bride, also.

•  Had drinks and dinner with Nike, and the Hawks, in North Beach.

•  Strolled the Farmer’s Market.

•  Hung out at the Ferry Building.

•  Walked The Embarcadero (including Pier 39, Ghiradelli Square, etc.)

•  Been a tourist on the Golden Gate Bridge.

•  Hiked Muir Woods.

•  Shot the Marin Headlands.

•  Realized I’m VERY sunburned – San Francisco WHO KNEW????

•  Met a long-time reader for dinner in Chinatown, and drinks.

•  Admitted I’m already addicted to Blue Bottle coffee.

•  Sat by “the dock of the bay” with Nike, for a quiet morning.

•  Visited Alamo Square.

•  Seen “The Painted Ladies” (old Victorian homes).

•  Spent a few hours in Haight Ashbury.

•  Driven to Treasure Island, even though driving on the Bay Bridge makes me hyperventilate.

•  Hypothetically witnessed someone break into an abandoned building.

•  Hypothetically followed said individual(s) inside – only to find pure awesomeness upon my entrance.

•  Had a blast on a photo shoot with several hypothetical photographers, and one model, in the abandoned building.

•  Realized there’s no way out of the hypothetical abandoned building, and that it’s now pitch dark and we’re all trapped inside.

•  Been able to laugh at my (our!) predicament.

•  Wished for a foot massage that could last at least an hour.

•  Taken lots of photos.

I’ve been so busy since I arrived.

I’m sorry I haven’t had photo editing time. (In fact, I haven’t even LOOKED at most of my photos yet!)

I’ll have lots of fun things to share with you in upcoming days.

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The Streets of San Francisco

It’s been a whirlwind couple of days.

I’ve worn poor Nike out.

Have I mentioned I love this city?

It has been far too long since my last visit.

Photo:  The Streets of San Francisco

I took over 400 photos yesterday.

Last night, I was thrilled to have dinner and drinks with a long time reader.

Did I mention … whirlwind?

I can’t wait to give you a full update ……

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Shooting San Francisco

I am having SO much fun!

Thomas Hawk … and me.

My arm is already rebelling, but – so what!

(I know The Neanderthal is cringing if he’s reading this and seeing me all hunched up in the above photo.)

I’ll have more photos and updates for you soon!

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The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yesterday sucked.

On my way to my follow-up mammogram,

My almost brand new car stalled out.

For no reason.

It left me, temporarily, stranded in the middle of a busy intersection.

“Not today,” I groaned.

Then I swore because what new car STALLS FOR NO REASON?

Also …?

I have no time to take it into the dealer to be looked at.

(At least it’s under warranty, right?)

Also …?

I was not in the best of moods because of the breast-concern-problem-call-back.

Black and white photo taken several weeks ago as a storm approached Santa Monica.

I spent most of the day in the “bad” section of the breast center, surrounded by worried and terrified women.

I had a more thorough mammogram than my initial one.

Then I had an ultrasound with much frowning and concern.

Then the technician called a doctor into the ultrasound.

More frowning.

A biopsy was scheduled for next Tuesday morning.

I’ll have the results by Friday of next week.

So – yay, I have this cloud of “try not to worry” hanging over me for the next week.

My brain absolutely knows, the odds are in my favor for a benign, non-cancerous, biopsy.

My heart, however, knows too many friends who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

I’m not panicked, or freaking out –

But I also know nobody’s bullet proof.

Life, sometimes, sucks.

As a result of my “lost” day yesterday,

I got absolutely none of the errands on my “San Francisco To-Do List” done.

Instead,

I’m tossing some old sweatshirts and stuff in a suitcase and leaving this morning.

I did get my lenses all packed, because I DO have priorities.

(Having my camera gear with me is way more important than having a matching wardrobe.)

I think a busy, fun, four days in San Francisco might be just what I need to distract me.

I return to Orange County late on Monday night.

I’ll try to (at least) get a few photos published in my absence.

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Every Woman’s Fear of Breast Cancer?

* A few of you have requested I upload a few additional/more recent photos to my photo site.  Hopefully the ones you’re interested in are now available.  (Photos are organized by galleries.)  Let me know if I missed any! *

Yesterday, I got “the call” every woman dreads.

I was informed my routine mammogram had left the radiologist “with concerns.”

“We don’t want to alarm you, but we’d like to see you tomorrow morning for approximately three more hours of testing.”

The following thoughts went through my brain in a millisecond:

•  Tomorrow morning?  That soon?

•  Soon is good … less time worrying.

•  Three hours?  That’s some serious testing.

•  But wait, I can’t!  I’ve got so much to do for my trip Friday morning!

•  THAT was a ridiculous thought.

•  Shit!

•  It’s probably nothing.

*  She didn’t make it sound like nothing.

•  I’m sure it’s nothing.

•  Pink.  Pink, pink, pink.

Pink flowers.  Pink for breast cancer.

My brain flashed back to the technician who did my mammogram, and the serious frown she got on her face while I was there.

I’ve never had a technician act like that before, and I definitely noticed her reaction.

It isn’t my first abnormal mammogram.

A couple years ago,

I got called back from a mammogram for a “follow-up ultrasound.”  As it turned out, I had a couple small (completely harmless) cysts which were aspirated during a biopsy.

At the time, I swore I would never panic over a “call-back” from a mammogram again.

Most of the time, in fact 90% of the time,

Whatever is spotted as “suspicious,” resulting in a call-back, ends up being nothing.

My brain knows that for the truth it is.

Yet, at the same time, the doubts are there.

Fear grips my heart, even as my brain tries to push it away.

Last year, I had my first mammogram post breast reduction surgery.

I expected a call-back since there was undoubtedly scar tissure, and things surely looked different.

But?

No call-back.

Instead, I got the dreaded call-back this year.

February and March are my body maintenance months each year.

I go to the dentist.  (I’ve NEVER had a cavity!)

I get a mammogram.

I go to my annual gyn check-up.

I get my eyes checked.

I get a skin check.  (Skin checks are SO important for everyone of every age!)

This year, I also had a colonoscopy.

I lead a very exciting life.

I made a “maintenance” joke to a doctor friend recently.

His reply?

It’s all about preventative medicine and early detection.  There’s no question it saves a lot of lives.

Today, I will not be doing all the things on my “To-Do” list for my San Francisco trip.

(I can always buy warm clothes while I’m there, right?)

Instead I will be spending a good chunk of the day at our local breast center.

By the way,

I consider myself very lucky to have a great breast care facility in our area.

Nonetheless,

I’m hoping, after today, I won’t need it.

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Phone Conversation With a Friend

Before I get started …

I thought you might like to see what the view from my backyard looked like yesterday.

Snow on Orange County mountains!

I took the above photo from my patio.

We rarely see snow on “my” mountains because of their low elevation.  It’s such a treat when they’re capped by the white stuff.  It usually happens once or twice each year, and it rarely lasts more than a couple hours.

(No snow at my house, just rain and about 30 seconds of hail.)

And on to today’s post —–

Actual phone conversation with my friend, Nike, yesterday:

24:  Hello?

Nike:  Hi it’s me!  I’m SO excited!

24:  You’re excited?

Nike:  I think we should walk around Chinatown!!!  What time does our flight leave?  I’m excited about our trip!  You can photograph lots of things in Chinatown.

24:  Chinatown is fine.  Chinatown is fun.

Nike:  We could learn the history of Chinatown!!  (Very enthused!!)

24:  Um … yes, I suppose we could.

Nike:  You know?  Like how it began and all that.  And you can take PHOTOS!

24:  Sure.

Nike:  I haven’t been there as much as you have.

24:  I know, Chinatown is fine.  Chinatown is always fun.

Nike:  I’m on my way to work right now.

24:  I hope you have a good day.

Nike:  How are we getting to the airport?  It will be COLD up there, won’t it?

24:  I haven’t thought about the airport, I usually drive to the airport.   And yes, it will be cold.  It’s always cold in San Francisco.

Nike:  Your NIPPLES!

24:  They’re coming too!  I’ll be sure to pack them.

Nike:  Your nipples!

24:  Yes, I take them everywhere I go.  Even when it’s cold.

Nike:  (laughs!)  We could get a ride to the airport!

24:  Sure, we can do that.

Nike:  I want to be your photo assistant and meet Thomas Hawk.  I feel like I know him.  Ya know, from reading him on my computer.  He’s such a GOOD photographer.

24:  Yes, he’s really good.  I could get a photo assistant for the weekend to help carry my stuff?

Nike:  NO!!!!  I WANT TO BE YOUR PHOTO ASSISTANT.

24:  Okay, okay!

Nike:  Because of your arm!

24:  Yes, I need help.

Nike:  I’ll carry your stuff.  And it will be so exciting to watch him.  And you.  And you two doing what you do!!

24:  You might find it really boring?  You might want to do something else for a little while?

Nike:  No!!  It’s very exciting!

24:  Okay ….

Nike:  What are you going to pack?

24:  Pack?  I’ll probably think about packing an hour before I go ….

Nike:  I know, but I’m so excited!  And before you know it, it’s going to be time to GO!  I heard there’s a GREAT store in San Francisco.

24:  A great store?  What kind of store?

Nike:  I’m not sure, but I heard there’s a great store with all sorts of different stuff.  You would like it.

24:  I’m sure I would.

Nike:  I don’t know what it’s called or where it is.

24:  Okay.

Nike:  Well, I’m at work now.  I should probably go.

24:  Okay.

Nike:  I’m SO excited.

24:  We’re going to have fun!

Nike:  I’ll talk to you soon?

24:  Yes, we’ll talk really soon.

——————-

Sigh …

San Francisco?

You have no idea what you’re in for next weekend!

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Santa Monica, Again

Life is different in California.

Southern California and Northern California are like two completely different states except they’re not.

(I’m so excited to go visit Northern Cal at the end of this week!)

Orange County and Los Angeles County are also two very different places.

Both counties have good things to boast of,

And not so good things (I like) to make fun of.

I’ve spent my entire life between the two counties.

(Well, except for a couple year stint in Northern Cal – thanks to my former employer.)

I’ve shared a lot of information, and photos, of Orange County with you.

I thought I’d share a little bit of L.A. County too.

I love the address of this building.  I SO want to live at One Two Three California.

Do you see the bike on the third story balcony?  Bikes are so much easier than fighting traffic.  The above photo sums up so much about Southern California.  (Sorry about the lens flare and sun glare in the photo – I was shooting almost directly into the sun because I just had to take a photo of this address.)

Living in West L.A. -

Everyone is “in the business,” or wants to be.

Or so it seems, anyway.

Yes, your waiter really does sing/act/dance.

The older man at Starbucks?

He’s a producer/director/writer.

It seems like everybody’s a wannabe except for those who are has-beens.

Here’s something you won’t see in The OC ….

Santa Monica Beach

Can you see the police truck racing down the beach with its lights flashing?  Simultaneously, police cars were racing down Pacific Coast Highway (sirens blaring, lights flashing) going in the same direction.  The police cars on PCH were slowed down by traffic.  The police truck driving down the sand arrived “at the scene” first.  (I’m still not sure what was going on – but it involved a lot of police cars.  The “incident” was on the highway, not on the beach.)

I spend a lot of time on OC beaches, and I’ve never seen a police car racing down the sand.

When I think of L.A. beaches, I think of huge, wide, flat beaches.

When I think of Orange County beaches, I think of cliffs, and coves, and bluffs.

(And yes, I’m making generalizations.)

Have you ever watched the TV show, Private Practice?

They frequently show scenes filmed on the Santa Monica pier.

As a young kid, I used to beg my parents to go to Pacific Park.

Pacific Park – an amusement park on the pier.

A roller coaster, a ferris wheel, arcade games – it’s fun no matter how old  you are.

Making-out (and sneaking alcohol or whatever) under the pier is fun when you’re a teenager.

Not that I would know, of course.

Santa Monica pier is also one of the most photographed places in Los Angeles County.

Santa Monica pier at sunset.

It’s so beautiful.

There are a lot of interesting people to check out, also.

After all, a lot of people in L.A. want to be noticed.

For instance, you don’t see a lot of this in Orange County:

The Patriotic Man?

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Los Angeles Photo Walk

I apologize in advance –

This post is being put together in a matter of seconds due to a bit of a time crunch.

(I’ll do better tomorrow!)

I spent yesterday visiting with my daughter.

I was in the Los Angeles area anyway, so it was a good excuse for us to connect.

A red umbrella at the beach.

It’s so nice to have her back in California.

Later in the day, and into the evening, I participated in a (huge) L.A. Photo Walk.

The photo walk was actually in Santa Monica, beginning by the pier.

Trey Ratcliff and Tom Anderson.

It was fun.

I had the opportunity to meet people I’ve only “known” via the Internet.

Of course, as expected, I didn’t really focus much on taking photos while I was at the photo walk.

(That would have made too much sense, right?)

(Also?  Did you notice I said, “I didn’t really focus” – ??  Ha ha ha!!  Aren’t I funny?)

It sure seems like the vast majority of photographers are really nice people.

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Photo Walk

I’m up in the Los Angeles area today, on a photo walk.

Trey Ratcliff organized it.

I originally thought he had capped it at 200 photographers.

(It was a R.S.V.P. required event.)

Yesterday I heard over 400 photographers have said they’ll be attending.

(It won’t surprise me if the actual number is much higher.)

It’s going to be a crazy, insane, MOB.

How fun!

(As a side note, the Academy Awards are ALSO today – Los Angeles traffic, anyone?)

I doubt if I’ll take many photos.

I’ll be too busy chatting and people watching.

There will be a lot of THIS going on:

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Gold on the Ceiling

I went for a hike along the bluffs on Thursday.

It was a beautiful, warm, sunshine-y day.

I was struck by the amazing view this particular house has.

House with an amazing ocean view.

And yes, I’m sure it’s probably worth tens of millions of dollars.