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Long Lost Friends – Found Again!

I have a fairly public life.

It’s hard to hide when you work on (via?) the Internet.

There are good, and bad, things about being “out there” publicly.

For instance, I think every guy I’ve ever dated probably knows at least a little about my current life.

(Sometimes that’s FINE, and sometimes it’s just weird.)

Every medical professional who has treated me since the accident,

And there have been a hell of a lot of them in various capacities,

Seems to keep tabs on my arm/shoulder/pain progress and setbacks.

I write about my life, but I dare not really write about my life because there could/would be unknown (and unpleasant) repurcussions.

Over the weekend, I turned the tide, and I was the one “finding” a long lost friend.

And yes, it was on Facebook … because how cliche!

I have always (my entire life) had mainly male friends.

When I was in college, my college boyfriend had a roommate I’ll call Ben.

Ben and I became good friends.

I haven’t seen Ben since college.

I’ve thought of Ben innumerable times.

I was attached to Ben.

I’ve missed Ben.

I don’t know why Ben and I didn’t stay in touch.

Several years ago, I even tried to find Ben – to no avail.

I’m not sure what prompted me to try again,

But all of a sudden – there was Ben’s, slightly older, face looking back at me via Faceback.

“Is it really YOU?” I messaged him.

“How many could there be?” he asked in return.

A flurry of messages followed.

We have a “phone date” set up for Wednesday afternoon.

I’m SO happy about finding Ben, it’s ridiculous.

I can’t wait to hear about his life,

The people he loves,

The journey he’s been on.

Life is such a fun, amazing, adventure.

Have you ever “found” a friend years after he/she disappeared out of your life?

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Surf Art

It was beautiful at local beaches yesterday.

Of course, I was out hiking around – camera in hand.

I’ve been feeling very artsy with my photography lately ….

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

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Newport Beach Civic Center

Newport Beach is building a new civic center.

It isn’t quite completed yet.

The construction has made the traffic on nearby streets a total pain.

The city designed the roof of the new (huge) structure to look like ocean waves.

Paul Newman has been nagging me to suggesting I take some photos of the center.

Yesterday, I finally had some time to do just that.

Of course, I couldn’t take a normal, boring, photo of the building ….

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

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The Good and Bad About Me

I recently saw an article where the author listed 100 things he liked about himself.

Seriously, it would take me years to come up with a list of 100 ANY-things.

But, it did make me start thinking about qualities about myself I like.

It also made me think about things I need to work on.

Sheesh!

There’s always so many areas for personal improvement, aren’t there?

Five Things I’m WORKING ON  (areas for improvement!)

•  I think I’m smarter than you.  Yes, I really do.  Well, maybe not YOU – but I’m definitely smarter than THEM.  You know, the not-so-smart-ones.  They bug me. 

•  Patience.  I have some patience for the world (not a lot).  I have none for myself.  Why do I STILL have so many areas of myself to improve on, for example?

•  I’m a perfectionist (in a bad way) … but not with everything.  The things I’m a perfectionist about, however, I expect to be damn perfect.  Most of the time, I’m much harder on myself than I am on the rest of the world.  For instance, the minute I publish a photo I think of the many ways I could have improved it.  It is never good enough.  Also, if I’m going to give 200% to something, I expect you to at least give 90%.  I’m a big believer in taking pride in the things you choose to do.  Half ass just isn’t acceptable.

•  I don’t have much of a mouth filter.  If it crosses my mind, it often comes out of my mouth.  Snickering at a sexual innuendo only I thought of?  Honest to a fault?  Outspoken about things I believe in?  This is more true if I feel comfortable around you.  Yes, I can be a reserved, responsible, grown-up when I try.  (And, I’m actually very shy in group settings and with people I don’t know.)  There’s a positive side to my “openness”  –  you always know where you stand with me.  My honesty may startle you, but I’m never fake.

•  I don’t know who the fat girl is, but I think she might be me?  How did that happen?  I was in such great shape when I had the car accident.  I *tried* to stay fit through the first couple years and the first few surgeries.  Then there were evil fat inducing drugs and more, and more, and MORE surgeries, and even more fat inducing drugs …. and suddenly I’m this out of shape person I don’t want to see in the mirror.  It feels kind of hopeless.  How can a body get SO BAD?  And yes, I’m working on it … but I also feel angry at myself for letting this part of my life fall apart.  There’s so much wrong with my physical body – sometimes it feels overwhelming.

Things I LIKE About Myself

•  I’m unwaveringly loyal to the people I take into my heart.  I don’t let many people into my “real” life, but the people I care about have a friend for life.  I will be there for my friends (even years down the road) when they need me.  Always.

•  I’m passionate … about the things I love – and life, in general.  I think I always have been, but the car accident magnified this characteristic.  I feel very intensely.

•  I’m extremely intuitive.  Are you unsure about the person you’re thinking of hiring/dating?  Give me a couple minutes in their presence, and chances are I’ll have an accurate read on them.  I’m a bit of a loner, so it’s an odd trait for me to have – but it definitely comes in handy.

•  I have a really good memory.  In fact, I can tell you the phone numbers of repair people I used once ten years ago.  Of course, not everything stays locked in my memory.  Still, it’s a little uncanny sometimes – what miscellaneous facts have been stored away in my brain.  Now, if I could only clear out some of the memories I don’t want to have ….

•  I’m creative.  I think differently than “most” people.  (That’s probably apparent in my writing.)  I see the world differently too.  (I hope that’s apparent in my photography.)  When I was a kid, it bothered me.  As an adult, it’s one of the things I value most about myself.

Wow …

It was a lot harder to come up with things I like about myself than things I’m trying to improve.

OK, let’s see how many people are willing to list at least TWO things they really LIKE about themselves in today’s comments.

It’s harder than you’d think ….!

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The Strangest Week Ever?

I have the weirdest life.

I know I must be feeling better because I’m able to notice how not-normal my life is.

Here’s a random update of some of the things that are happening (or going through my head):

•  I’ve ignored multiple marriage proposals this week.  Yes, men I’ve never met send me proposals via the Internet.  (This is the exciting life of a photographer/blogger?)

•  My son has been accepted to several colleges.  He isn’t sure where he wants to go yet.  I’ll be scheduling some college-visits with him soon.  Maybe I’ll have the opportunity to meet some of you along the way?

•  Almost everyone I know is sick, but I’m not.  (Yay!!)

•  Miss Kay is one of the many sick people and it makes me sad.  It’s amazing how quickly she’s become a part of my life.  Was their life before Miss Kay?  How did I ever manage?

•  My son has been home from school (also sick) for a couple days now.  I made him homemade chicken soup last night.  If Miss Kay lived closer, I would have taken her some.

•  If I catch my son’s germs I will disown him.

•  Aren’t I the greatest mom ever?

•  I absolutely can’t get sick because  1)  It wouldn’t be fair since I haven’t fully recovered from Surgery #9  and  2)  I have a Big Trip coming up.

•  Big Trip  =  I will be in Arizona shooting for 4 full (very long!) days beginning Friday, February 15th.

•  Miss Kay is unable to join me in Arizona.  And yes, I’m a little concerned about so much unassisted shooting post-surgery.  It will be a challenge.

•  I will be packing a suitcase full of pain meds??

•  If you live in the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Tempe area, and want to connect with me while I’m visiting, send me an email and let me know.  It’s going to be a very action-packed four days, but there’s always time to connect with readers.

•  Yesterday, Paul Newman caught me in his office chatting to several of his employees.  (I had brought in a couple of my metal prints and I was very innocently putting them in his office.  It’s completely not my fault all his employees followed me.)  When I first saw him scowling at me, I thought he might be mad because so many of his employees were in his office with me.  But, the first thing he said to me was, “Did you carry that?” while pointing at a sort-of-large metal print.  I scampered right out of his office into the exam room I belonged in.

•  OK yes, I did carry the metal prints but I used my left arm for 99% of the carrying.  Also, a really nice man in the parking lot saw me awkwardly trying to lift the print box and he helped me get it all the way from the parking lot into the elevator.

•  Paul Newman was acting like Dexter yesterday.  Purposefully.  Apparently, he didn’t mind being compared to a serial killer in my post the other day.  He thinks I’m “entertaining.”

•  I’m trying to make myself look better this week.  What I mean is, I’m about to go to Arizona with some of the world’s top photographers and I know what they’re like.  They take photos of the people they’re with all the time.  (Why do photographers DO that?)

•  In preparation for having my photo taken when I don’t know it’s being taken …  I tried using teeth whitener stuff yesterday.  Guess what?  It made my teeth feel like they want to scream.  Yes, it really did.  But I have SUCH a pretty smile now.  How much do you want to bet, one of my photog friends will take a shot of me right when I have my mouth full of food?  My screaming white teeth won’t even matter.  (Also?  Teeth whitener stuff is very gaggy!)

•  I wish they made wrinkle remover for faces, not just for clothes.

•  Oh wait, I think they do.  It’s called photoshop.

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Ferris Wheel

Last week, I visited the Irvine Spectrum on a short photography outing.

It was a weeknight, and there wasn’t much going on.

Still, I managed to get a couple shots I really like.

I think my favorite photo was this one.

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

Miss Kay and I were the only ones on the Ferris Wheel when I took it.

I was so busy shooting, I didn’t have time to think about my fear of heights.

I guess I should keep my camera in my hands always – ??

It makes me feel confident and safe.

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What’s A Girl Do When Alone With Paul Newman?

Last week I received a comment from Kathy.

She asked:

Your posts about PT really make me wonder what actually goes on during PT. maybe some day you could write a post describing what you and Paul Newman do during your time together?

Well, I’m sure Kathy can probably think of all sorts of things she’d like to do with Paul Newman?

I hate to disappoint her, and possibly you,

But ….

The time I spend with Paul Newman is very post-writing-boring-ish.

What I DO (and what is done to me) at PT varies from visit to visit, and will continue to vary as time goes on.

Some things stay pretty much the same, however.

I arrive and immediately begin distracting his nice receptionist from her work.

This goes on for as long as possible, but rarely long enough.

(Paul Newman is very prompt with his patients.)

I’m pretty sure my prolonged chit chat with the receptionist increases her happiness at work.

Everywhere I go, I seem to have the ability to distract employees from doing their work.

Paul Newman doesn’t appreciate this particular talent of mine.

(Why are bosses always like that?)

Paul Newman wants me very relaxed when he works on me.

Chit chat with Nice Receptionist is, therefore, followed by dark rooms, blankets, pillows, and very warm cocoons.

(He tries to lull me into a sense of manipulated relaxation by making me cozy when I arrive.)

I know what he’s doing,

But I like it anyway.

In fact,

I wish I could stay in a warm cocoon all day.

The world would be a much nicer place if we all spent more time wrapped in warm cocoons.

Induced relaxation usually works for me.

I’m nothing, if not easy.

Paul Newman and I chat while I’m being forced to relax.

I think he and I suffer from When-We-Are-Together-ADD because our conversations wander all over the place.

We laugh a lot.

(He’s all about DISTRACTING me from the fact he wants to hurt me.)

Once I’m all toasty,

And we are sort-of caught up with each other’s lives,

He starts working on my now-relaxed arm/shoulder/whatever part of my dysfunctional body he’s chosen for the day.

He starts off very soft and very gentle,

But, of course, stuff like that never LASTS with men.

Paul Newman takes a lot of pride  (!!!)  in bending my body into very unnatural positions.

Since I can’t move my arm myself,

I need someone to move it for me.

If I don’t have someone move it for me, all the areas around my damaged parts stop working too.

Then my body (very quickly) forms a self-made vice and tightens up more and more via terrible muscle spasms.

Pretty soon I can’t move at all, and everything hurts way more than my Normal Hurt.

Moving me around a little bit actually feels good.

It kind of feels like a Big Sense of Relief ….

Things are moving that are supposed to be moving.

If I miss a PT appointment, my body craves that part of it.

Paul Newman never moves me “just a little bit” for very long, though.

(That’s the thing about those physical therapist types!!)

When he moves me hurts me, a LOT, I’m always shocked he would do such a thing.

I should be over that by now, but I’m not.

It surprises me every single time.

Yes, six and a half years later, I’m still startled a physical therapist would intentionally hurt me.

After Paul Newman hurts me more than usual,

He says things you’d expect a serial killer to say,

Stuff like,

I have to

You need this

Sorry, but it’s good for you

If you weren’t so bad, I wouldn’t have to do this to you

I always forgive him once he explains his Serial Killer Reasoning to me.

I forgive him, because I trust him.

I’ve just begun a New Phase of PT.

I’ve healed enough from Surgery #9 to step things up a little.

New Phase involves more days each week with Paul Newman.

Paul Newman is now attempting to re-teach my body how to move my arm.

(I move my arm some now, but I do this by using my neck muscles to move it.  It’s hard.  It also makes my neck hurt a lot.)

He tells me I’m like a stroke victim –

My brain, after six and a half years and nine arm/shoulder surgeries, no longer knows how to move my arm.

He’s trying to re-wire my brain.

I failed my first brain re-wiring lesson last week.

It was very frustrating.

How can I NOT do something as simple as move my hand the way he wants me to move my hand?

He wasn’t even asking for me to move my whole arm, or for me to use my shoulder …

Seriously, it is the most frustrating thing in the world.

It makes me get (really!) mad at myself.

To be fair,

Paul Newman and I talked about this very thing the first time we met.

He told me it would be a long road, and the progress would be slow.

I asked him (begged him?) not to give up on me.

There’s so much TRUST required in a long term PT relationship.

I honestly don’t know if physical therapists even realize how much.

(And yes, it’s very different than a short term PT relationship for a “normal” injury.)

I mean, you’re voluntarily letting another person hurt you over and over and over again for forever.

You’re trusting them with the most vulnerable part of yourself.

I needed to know I could count on Paul Newman.

He, on the other hand, was worried about me quitting.

He asked me if I could accept snail-pace progress.

He wanted to know I wouldn’t give up.

We made a pact.

Exactly what we do at each session will vary, but the goal remains the same.

Less pain.

Increased function.

It’s going to be a very long, long, road.

I’m extremely grateful to Paul Newman for many things.

Most of all, for being willing to walk such a long road with me.

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January Beach Shots

Obviously, I’ve lost a lot of the last 3 weeks to my recovery from Surgery #9.

January is almost always a month of beautiful sunsets in Orange County.

I didn’t take many photos last month –

However, I had fun with the photos I was able to take.

(Fewer shots = more time to be creative both taking and editing them!)

Can you believe it’s already FEBRUARY??

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

The above photo was taken in Laguna Beach.

I ended up completely soaked by waves by the time I finished shooting.

It was worth it, of course.

(Isn’t it always??)

The next photo is a pretty standard seagull shot.

Lots of people learning about aperture like to take similar shots … with the bird in focus, and the background blurred.

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

Even though the above photo isn’t anything special, I like it.

The seagull was very aware of me, and my lens.

Yes, I felt a momentary connection to a seagull.

(That’s what happens when you spend a lot of your life on beaches.)

(By the way, seagulls are kind of yucky birds!  Pelicans, however, are AWESOME!)

(Also?  I like parentheses a lot today!)

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

My final shot was taken in Newport Beach.

It was such a beautiful evening/sunset.

One lone boat was heading into Newport Harbor.

As simple as it was, the scene struck me as beautiful.

I hope you have a very happy weekend.

If you’re attending a Super Bowl party this weekend – be safe and have fun!

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Miss Kay

I had a crazy busy day yesterday.

It ended with a couple hours of shooting in Laguna Beach.

Miss Kay LB @ SHaggerty 2013 W-1

Miss Kay.

Miss Kay carried all my heavy photography STUFF.

I tried to be gentle on my still-healing body.  I didn’t take a ton of photos.

After a couple hours, I was exhausted anyway.

We got a bite to eat in Laguna before ending our day.

Today, I’ll be hanging with Paul Newman and possibly Dr. Painless.

(I’m having more/continued issues with my abdominal surgical site.)

I really recommend you avoid surgeries …

They are never a good thing.