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Alive, But Rushed

I’m racing out the door for the conference right now.

My arrival flight was delayed by fog in San Francisco yesterday.

As a result, I’ve been running about two hours behind since the moment I stepped off the plane.

I didn’t get to my hotel to unpack until after midnight last night.

So far, I can tell you this –

Photographers, in general, are awesome people.

Photographers, in general, drink too much and THEY gave me a BAD hangover.

I’ve taken almost no photos yet.

The St. Regis is the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in and I HAVE to spend some time here –

And yes, that may mean skipping out on some parts of the conference.

More as soon as I get a chance …..

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The Guilt of Being a Woman

I hope you had a nice weekend.

I started my weekend with  a Moscow Mule lunch on Friday.

What a great way to start off a weekend.

They’re such perfect summer/pool/beach drinks.  I think I’m officially on a Moscow Mule kick for the summer.

(They absolutely MUST be served in a chilled copper mug – copper has health benefits, therefore, a Moscow Mule is a health drink!)

I’m en route to San Francisco today.

As most of you already know, I’m married to a man who travels (for business) more than any other human being on the planet.

When he travels – he packs and goes.

He knows everything in his (and our family’s) life will be taken care of while he’s gone.

When I travel, I spend a week doing a lot of extra work so everyone and everything will “be okay” while I’m gone.

It’s exhausting.

I do laundry, water plants, go grocery shopping, cook ahead and freeze/or refrigerate food for my family (if I have time), I make sure I get gas in my car so whoever uses it in my absence doesn’t need to.  I go to the bank so I can leave emergency cash with my kids, the dishes have be done, the house cleaned, and blah, blah, blah until eternity.

No, I’m not OCD.

I’m just FEMALE.

[In addition, I try to have at least one blog post written before I leave.  (This is it!)  I also have to pack like a “normal” person, pack whatever camera equipment I’ll be needing (usually a lot), bring a laptop, make sure I have four bazilion chargers with me, figure out how I’m going to transport so much crap with one arm, etc., etc.]

After I’ve done everything I can possibly do, I STILL feel guilty for inconveniencing my family by not being there for them.

Don’t get me wrong,

I don’t feel guilty enough to NOT GO places … I was born with a restless soul.

(My mom tells me I was also born with a very independent soul.)

But, at the same time, there’s a constant little tug on my guilt strings.

I even worry about my temperamental/needs babying/please don’t forget to water it/I love it so much fucshia.

Pink Fuchsia

What are you like when you travel?

Do you clean/do laundry/etc. before you leave?

Can you walk out of your house without concerning yourself with it, or anyone in it, while you’re gone?

Or are you like me and feel like you “have to get everything done” before you can leave?

(Yes, I want to hear from my male readers too!)

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Preparing For A Trip

I hate packing for a trip.

I always seem to end up over-packing, while still managing to forget something essential I need.

I’ve traveled a lot (for both business and pleasure), so I really can’t use “lack of travel experience” as an excuse.

As fun as it is to BE someplace new/exciting/different,

It’s not a lot of fun to pack, or go through all the airport hassles of flying.

It seems like once upon a time, travel was easier.

Do you  remember when “taking a flight” was exciting and fun?

Hummingbird in flight

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Day Trippin’

I like to go places.

I like to see things when I go places.

Otherwise, why go?!

Often, when I travel, I’m working a good part of the time.

And by working, I mean I’m at a conference,

Or in meetings,

Or at a seminar,

Or meeting up with other photographers and/or bloggers to discuss some type of project,

Or possibly actually working on a particular project with the people I’m meeting with.

The Naked Cowboy, NYC

Photo:  The Naked Cowboy, New York City

In the above photo, I particularly love the woman in the purple tank top, seen in the background.

She looks SO touristy.  It makes me smile every time I look at her.

Chinatown, San Francisco

Photo:  Chinatown, San Francisco, at night

It’s fun to see different places, and explore what they’re all about.

Acorn Street, Boston, MA

Photo:  Acorn Street, Boston MA

Every city has its own special, unique, things to offer.

“What’s different here?” I ask myself over and over again.

Not for photography purposes,

But because the joy of traveling is in seeing/exploring/experiencing the things you can’t see at home.

Ice Cream Cart in Los Angeles

Photo:  Ice Cream Cart in Los Angeles

It doesn’t matter if I’m visiting someplace far away, or local.

It’s all about what’s different from what I have in my day to day life.

Photo:  San Francisco

I’m looking forward to returning to San Francisco next week.

It’s going to be a crazy-busy week.

Most of my time will be spent at the conference, not sight seeing.

If the conference gets dull, I won’t hesitate to play hookie.

I’ll bring you right along with me, of course.

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My (Recent) Life In Photos

I had a lot of fun as a panelist on Photo Talk Plus last night!

Yesterday was my (oldest) son’s first full day home.  It’s SO nice to have him home again.

(Of course, the daily routines I had prior to his arrival have gone right out the window.)

The Neanderthal (my physical therapist) saw fit to do an exceptionally long, brutal, treatment on me yesterday afternoon.

He did so because:

•  I’m really screwed up.  (You’re surprised to hear that, aren’t you?)

•  In addition to using a camera which I’m not able to hold “normally”, I’ve also been swimming (one-armed) lately.

•  In other words, I’m over-using/over-stressing parts of my body to compensate for other disabled/non-working parts of my body.

•  I’m, therefore, more screwed up than usual.

•  I’m getting ready to travel which always ends badly as far as the upper right quadrant of my body is concerned.

I really (really, really!!) needed yesterday’s physical therapy session, but I almost passed out from pain in the process.

The Neanderthal actually oohed and ahhed with glee as he forced my damaged bits to comply with his every whim.

Wow -that last sentence sure sounded inappropriate, didn’t it?

As difficult (!!) as the treatments are,

And there really are no words to describe them,

I know they allow me to function at a higher level than I’d be able to otherwise.

(I have to remind myself of that fact frequently.)

Here are some random photos of what my eyes have been seeing lately:

Photo:  Orange County beach house

The house in the above photo has an amazing bluff top view of the ocean.

Last weekend, Briefcase and I took our retrievers out on a hike.

Trabuco CanyonPhoto:  The beginning of the hiking trail

They’re very lucky dogs.

(They get use of our swimming pool, lots of hiking and outdoor time, the beach ….)

Everywhere I turn I’m still seeing,

Flowers, flowers, and more flowers –

Pink Rose Bokeh

Photo:  This pink rose caught my attention

I have pots and pots of lavender in my backyard.

I love lavender.

Macro photo of a bee on lavender

Photo:  Bees think lavender is yummy!

Have I mentioned we’ve been getting some really beautiful sunsets?

This time of year the beach fog/beach haze adds  “that special something” to the atmosphere.

Sunset in San Clemente, California

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Random Wednesday

I’ve got so much in my head right now,

Is it okay if I just spill some of it out in scattered randomness?

•  I’m scheduled to be a panelist on Photo Talk Plus tonight at 8 p.m. Pacific time.  It will be airing on VidCast Network.  I hope you can watch.  I’m even going to put mascara on!  It should be a lot of fun.  (I plan to drink wine while the show is being recorded.)

•  Yesterday, I watched a woman with misplaced eyebrows beat the hell out of a watermelon at Trader Joe’s.  I swear, cameras should just follow me around all day and tape the reality I live in.  It was such an odd, comical, sight.

•  Next week, I’ll be in San Francisco for four days.  (Monday – Thursday)  My primary reason for the trip is to participate in the Google + Photographer’s Conference.  I can’t wait to see some of my photographer friends.

•  I submitted a few of my photos for “Blind Photo Critiques” at the conference.  In other words, my artwork will be ripped to shreds in a public forum.  (Conference members won’t know who submitted the photos for critiquing.)

•  Why the hell did I do that?  I’m already so nervous about it, I want to BLEH all over the place.  (I’ll be the one running out of the conference and throwing up in the bathroom!)

•  If you think you don’t care what people think of your photos, submit them to the world’s best photgrapher’s for critique and prove yourself wrong.

•  Traveling is always really difficult for me due to my disabled arm/luggage/photo gear/laptop.  I might need a separate suitcase just for painkillers.

•  I recently made a purchase from Camilla.  I love their tunics/kaftans/beachy clothes.  Camilla is very “in” lately for celebrities and everyone else who lives a beachy lifestyle.  (I realize not all of you live somewhere beachy, but I’ve been hunting for something like this for my Kauai trip.  Living where I do, I can also wear stuff like this year round both at the beach and at the pool.)

•  Hypothetically, if you order something from Camilla, which is located in Australia, your credit card company might promptly call your house to see if there’s fraud involved since your credit card was used outside of the country.

•  Hiding a purchase from your husband might be impossible if something like that were to happen.

 Not that I would know, of course.

•  I love Moleskine notebooks way too much.  Do you?

•  I have a 17 year old and a 21 year old “boy” in the house right now.  I’ve never seen food disappear so quickly!

•  Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?  I haven’t.  I hear it’s poorly written and juvenile, but it’s SO popular.  I guess because it has a lot of sex in it?

•  Maybe I should write bad sex novels and become rich?

•  When I get old(er) I’m going to buy an old funky camera, sell all my new-er-ish photography gear, and go everywhere I can with an old funky camera and one lens.

•  Speaking of selling gear, I’m going to sell some barely used lenses, etc., sometime soon.  I’ll let you guys have first dibs.

•  Phoebe’s babies hatched.

Birds nest with babies

Photo:  Newly hatched Black Phoebe babies in their nest (in our pool grotto).

•  I got an “alert” on Facebook Messenger yesterday.  When I went to retrieve my message, instead of seeing the message I was just sent, a message from my friend Val (who recently died) popped up saying, “Call me!”  It was a quick, sharp, stab to the heart.

•  Life is short people –

Be kind to each other, and look for the joy in it – even if you have to look REALLY hard.

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Summer in Southern California

It suddenly feels like summer again.

•  My high school aged son, PR,  took his last Advanced Placement exam for the year yesterday.

He still has over a month of school until summer break, but the big “junior year pressure” has now lessened.

(Of course, he still has prom and an SAT test ahead of him … so the high school pressure isn’t completely off.)

After the AP exam yesterday, I let him play hookie from his other classes and took him out to lunch.

Then we came home, just the two of us, and watched Captain America.

I laughed a lot.

It made for a really nice, unplanned, afternoon.

•  I have a new bikini waxer (“waxologist”) this summer too.

She asked me for details about “the Burke Williams event” when I had my appointment with her recently.

It startled me.

I did a mid-bikini-wax double take.

(And that’s not an easy thing to do!)

My initial reaction was … how do you know about the Burke Williams event?

Then, in a flash, the light bulb went on.

A near-total-stranger is reading about my life on the Internet,

And then ripping my pubes out the day she meets me.

Did you know there are over 3 million people living in Orange County?

How likely is it that the person pouring hot wax on my girly bits would be reading Twenty Four At Heart?

•  Tonight my older son, RC, will get home from college.

He took his finals last week and his summer break has officially begun.

RC will be in Orange County off and on all summer.

I haven’t seen him since Christmas.

(!!)

I’ve never gone this long, without seeing one of my kids.

I really miss him.

I’m so happy he’ll be home for awhile.  There will be squealing (and possibly happy tears) at my house tonight.

•  There are other reasons it feels like summer here also.

Doc, my Golden Retriever, and I have both been swimming a lot recently.

The weather is warm, the pool is warm – it’s hard for either of us to resist.

I’m trying to be exceedingly careful with my arm.  (I use a kickboard most of the time to avoid worsening my, already bad, pain levels.)

Doc likes to retrieve the kickboard, as you can see in the above photo.

(Doc’s love of retrieving sometimes becomes a problem when I’m not done using the kickboard yet.)

•  At the end of each day, I feel the pull to the ocean.

There are sunsets to watch.

There are ocean breezes to feel.

I feel compelled to take long walks on the sand.

Suddenly, even the end of each day feels like summer.

Diving pelican

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When Basil Goes Bananas

This is going to be a very quick and simple post.

I apologize in advance, and will try my best to do better tomorrow.

I’m currently covered in basil goo.

C-O-V-E-R-E-D!!

(That’s what happens when you take off the top of your blender to look at the contents as it’s blending.)

I guess it’s a good thing I love the smell of fresh basil?

The basil I planted just a few short weeks ago has gone bonkers.

I have more basil than an Italian restaurant could use in a year.

(I planted TWO basil plants.  Clearly one tenth of one plant would have been enough!)

What’s a person to do?

Photo:  Basil in my blender

I blended batches of freshly picked (washed) basil leaves with just a slight (teeny tiny!) amount of water.

Then I poured the blended basil into ice cube trays.

Photo:  Blended up basil in ice cube trays

I purposely made various sized cubes.

I hated to think of “wasting” all the basil I couldn’t possibly use fast enough.

Now I have frozen cubes of fresh basil in my freezer.

In upcoming months, as I’m cooking, I’ll be able to grab a frozen basil cube from my freezer and toss it into any dish.

I might end up doing the same thing with a few of the other herbs I planted this year.

A big thank you to those of you who suggested I make “herb cubes!”

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Mother’s Day 2012

Whether you are a mother, have a mother, or merely know a mother –

I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day today.

Garden Bench