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Wide Angle Lens

I’m testing out my new Canon 14mm lens.

I can’t wait to have a full frame camera so I can get the full effect of my new lens.

In the meantime,

I’m thrilled with the “look” it provides, even now.

Mocha doesn’t sit like a normal dog.  Her butt stays on one step, and her legs on another.

The wider angle will be particularly useful for landscapes, and architecture shots.

The steps up to our outdoor deck look very cool when shot with a 14mm lens.

It also comes in handy when looking UP.

Photo taken while at Downtown Disney yesterday.

Can you tell I live in Orange County?

Obviously, I’ve spent as much time as possible playing with my new lens this weekend.

I hope you’re having a great weekend too!

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Strawberry Season

The strawberry stands go up on February 1st, every year, in Orange County.

I get so happy when I see them.

We don’t have a lot of agriculture in Orange County these days, but we still have strawberry fields.

I stop by the roadside stands almost every week.

My name is Suzanne, and I’m addicted to fresh strawberries.

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Friday Follow-Up

Since I’m still a little “out of it” from yesterday’s anal probe,

I’m going to publish a Friday Follow-Up post today.

I’ve received several questions from readers.  Friday always seem like a good day to address reader questions.

Manhattan Beach Pier and Beach

•  Did everything go okay yesterday?  Yes, yes it did.  They gave me the same drug that Michael Jackson died from.  That was comforting.  I don’t remember anything about the procedure, which is always for the best when your husband’s friend sticks a camera up your ass.  Apparently, I now have a very healthy looking colon.  A girl always wants to look her best, right?  Tidbits from this wonderful experience:  It’s surprising how full of shit I can be.  Also?  My doctor (and I do love him) is a little anal.   Hahahahahahaha!!  (My apologies if you’re reading today doc – how could I resist??)

 Why is San Francisco the first stop on Road Trip 24?  What’s in San Francisco?  I’m long overdue for a Bay Area visit.  It’s a place I love, and a place I’ve been to often.  (I lived in Northern California for a couple years right out of college.  Briefcase also proposed to me in San Francisco.)  Since I’ve been able to hold a camera again, I’ve been wanting to get up north for some photos.  San Francisco is such a beautiful, photographic, city.  My friend, Nike, has wanted to visit Muir Woods for a long time.  This trip will allow us to both knock out something on our wish list.  It also looks like I’ll finally get to meet up with someone who has become a great online mentor to me.

•  Where are you going next?  Will you be coming to visit me?  I believe my next few visits will be in California. ( I’m going to take my son to visit a few colleges over his Spring Break.  I’ll tie college-visit trips into some photo visits.)  I will be working on a schedule for my other Road Trip visits, and publish it, soon.  It definitely looks like Ohio will be on the list for June or July.  I got a lot of Ohio requests from readers!

•  Was the rape post fiction or nonfiction?  Not long ago, I told you I would be taking on some writing projects here on 24.  Some of them will be based on true stories from my life (or the lives of people I know), some of them will be based on  partially true stories from my life (or the lives of people I know), and some will be fictional.  I will be leaving each story open to your interpretation.  I’d like to publish one of these “story” posts every ten days or so, but don’t hold me to it.  Some of them will be difficult to write.

•  How is The Neanderthal?  He’s fine.  Maybe a bit obnoxious at times?  He’s helped me a lot.  My biggest improvement since beginning Neanderthal treatment, has been with all the “extra” pain I get in the muscles surrounding my bad arm/shoulder.  He’s really gotten those areas to calm down.  At least a few times a week, he asks Are you okay? as he works on me.  (I get very quiet when I’m in a lot of pain.)  I then swear loudly and say THIS REALLY HURTS.  The Neanderthal’s answer is always the same:  I know.  (And then we carry on.)  I’m now a big believer in A.R.T. (Active Release Technique).  It may not help with everything, but it has helped me a lot with the peripheral areas of my injuries.

Like any medical treatment – I’m sure the results are very dependent on how good the A.R.T. provider is.

The Neanderthal’s real life friends and acquaintances think his blog name fits him perfectly.  (Ha!)

 Are you still taking Moxxor?  Yes, I am.  I think I will be taking it for life.  I know a lot of you have ordered it.  I’ve also gotten a lot of questions about it.  First of all, it isn’t a drug.  Moxxor is an Omega 3 supplement.  Omega 3 is something all of our bodies need, regardless of whether or not you are a “pain patient.”  You can research Omega 3/the health benefits of Omega 3 or talk to your doctor about it.  In other words, if I didn’t have one bit of pain in my body – I would take Moxxor anyway for the other health benefits it provides.

As my pain specialist can attest, the only time (prior to taking 4 Moxxor pills each day) I’ve had a significant decrease in my pain level within my shoulder joint itself  has when I’ve been on “emergency” steroids.  Why is that?  Well, steroids are powerful anti-inflammatories and a lot of my pain is caused by inflammation in my damaged/injured areas.  Steroids cause cancer and are NOT something I want to take on an ongoing basis.   (My doctor doesn’t want me taking them very often either.)  Why does Moxxor help me?  Omega 3 is also an anti-inflammatory, but it’s a natural and very healthy one.  Moxxor is a very potent Omega 3 source with higher anti-inflammatory values than any other source of Omega 3.  I can’t promise anyone it will help with THEIR pain – I just know it has helped with MINE.

In addition, I just plain feel better on it.  I have more energy.  Many of you have written to tell me you feel better on it too.

By the way, for those of you who are using Moxxor regularly – it’s less expensive per bottle if you buy it on “auto-ship.”  This just means you get it sent out to you when you need more each month, without the hassle of getting online to re-order it each month.  If you’re going to be using the product anyway, why not save money while doing so?

•  Are you on Pinterest?  Yes, I’ve been on Pinterest for a long time.  I don’t spend a lot of time there though.  If you’re looking for me, you can find me here.

•  Why did you order a 14mm lens?  Okay, now you sound like my husband!  There are a couple reasons:  1)  I’m planning to purchase a full frame camera within the next year and my current wide angle lens (10-22 lens) will not work on my future camera.  Rather than spend money on a camera and a wide angle lens at the same time, I’m trying to spread out the financial pain.  2)  I do currently have a 24mm lens which WILL work with my future camera.  I love my 24mm lens, but I also want a lens I can go extra wide with.  My “old” lenses never go to waste.  I either sell them or hand them down to my daughter, depending on their value and/or the situation.

•  Can you tell us more about the hot trainer at the gym?  Oh yes, I definitely can ….

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I’m at the Hospital Today, So You Get THIS

I’m spending the day knocked out at an OC hospital.

I’m fine.

Well, I think I’m fine.  (I don’t really know, because I’m asleep!)

Send flowers!

Pretty, pretty, pink flower!

Just kidding!

Several months ago, I wrote a post explaining I was having a few issues with my digestive system.

Let me tell you, THAT was an exciting read!

A colonoscopy revealed polyps, which were pre-cancerous.  They were successfully, one hundred percent, removed.

By the way, I have the greatest GI doc!

He also happens to be a friend of my husband’s.

(Because we want to share dinner with men who have seen my asshole up close and personal.)

However,

Because absolutely nothing about me can be normal –

The doctor was not quite able to complete the colonoscopy.

I have an extra (!!) long colon, apparently.

Also?

It’s all twisted up in knots.  Not real knots, but all twisty sort-of-like knots.

OF COURSE IT IS!

Anyway,

It was determined at the time of my colonoscopy, I’d have to return in a few months for a bit more involved procedure.

I’m currently knocked out under general anesthesia while some special tools for very special people with abnormal colons are stuck up my ass.

YAY ME!!

Also?

I’ve been fasting for a couple days.

Yesterday I drank a GALLON of disgusting “prep.”  It tasted like warm snot and, hypothetically, might make a person shit at turbo speed.

You’re welcome.

By the way ….?

I hope all of you will get over the embarrassment/inconvenience factor and get colonoscopies if/when you need them.

They SAVE lives.

Did you know colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths?

(And it’s almost entirely preventable, if detected early!)

(And no, you don’t have to have a family history of colon cancer in order to have it yourself.)

In other news –

•  I’m on pain meds on a very empty stomach – Wheeeee!!   (Please take pain meds every four hours, said the nurse.)

•  My sweet, 12 year old, Golden Retriever had to have a molar pulled on Tuesday.  His tooth was cracked and getting infected.  He might have chewed on a rock.  It wasn’t the smartest thing he’s ever done.  He’s on pain meds too.

•  We can recuperate together.  I love my dog.

•  I might be getting divorced.  I ordered a Canon 14mm 2.8 (extra wide) lens yesterday.  (Briefcase just found out by reading my blog.  Hi husband!)

•  I couldn’t help myself.

•  I really, really, needed the lens for an upcoming shoot.  Also, it will be very important for Road Trip 24!

•  At least, I never spend money on clothes, make-up, or jewelry – right?

•  Right????

•  I’ll hopefully be back tomorrow with an update on my life.

•  If not – I should be able to at least get a pretty photo or two up for you to view this weekend.

• Zzzzzzzzzzz!

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Valentine’s Day, Sexual Flowers, Etc.

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day.

I’m not a huge Valentine’s Day fan.

Don’t get me wrong,

It’s nice to be acknowledged by people who love me.

Valentine’s Day just seems so forced.

It’s “the” day when that special someone has to say they love you, right?

It always means more when a declaration of love isn’t planned.

Heart Bokeh

Briefcase was in town yesterday, but he was at work before I even woke up in the morning.

Later, he flew out of town for a meeting.  He stopped home, briefly, for a rushed dinner before his flight.

I woke up Valentine’s morning to flowers he left for me.

Flowers are always nice, especially for us photographer types.

My romantic contribution to the day was providing chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

During the afternoon, I decided I’d take a few macro shots of the flowers I received.

It wasn’t until I got the photos onto my laptop, that I noticed this one –

The most sexual macro shot of a flower ever?

Is it just me?

Or is this an extremely phallic flower?

I’m embarrassed to even publish the photo.

It is just a flower, though.

I absolutely did not photoshop the flower to make it look more johnson-like.

It was quite dick-ish enough, all on its own.

Do you think my husband was trying to drop a not-so-subtle hint?

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A Child, A Predator, An Assault, A Rape

She’d just turned sixteen when she had her first sexual encounter.

There’d been some kissing (with clueless boys) before that, but not much more.

Ellen had been asked to house sit for vacationing family friends, Matt and Kathy.

She’d jumped at the chance.

A week of acting like a grown-up.

A week without annoying parents.

She’d invite friends to stop by.

It was summer –

She had a house to herself!

Ellen had been house sitting for two or three days when it happened.

House sitting was fun, but maybe not quite as much fun as she’d hoped.

A knock on the door one afternoon didn’t surprise her.

It was probably her friend Carrie stopping by.

Instead, when Ellen opened the door, she saw a very big man standing there.

“Is Matt home?” he asked cheerfully.

“No,” Ellen answered.

“Really?” the man asked, seeming puzzled.

He went on to explain his name was Terry.

He was Matt’s best friend.

Ellen instantly lit up.

Although she’d never met him, she’d heard Matt mention Terry many times during the last couple years.

Apparently, there had been some type of communication breakdown between Matt and Terry.

Terry needed some papers from Matt.

Terry seemed puzzled.  He said he must have been confused about Matt and Kathy’s vacation dates.

He thought he knew where the papers were if he could just come in for a minute and grab them

Terry was Matt’s best friend.

It didn’t occur to Ellen to doubt him.

Ellen opened the door wider.

Terry came in.

She let Terry come in.

The door closed …

And then –

She was being thrown against a wall, violently.

Terry had morphed from a cheerful man at the door, to an angry monster attacking her.

Her clothes were ripped off.

Trying to fight against Terry proved to be useless.

He picked Ellen up and threw her over his shoulder as if she were weightless baggage.

A moment later she was tossed on Matt and Kathy’s bed.

She tried to run –

She was brutally slammed against a wall.

Like a rag doll, she thought repeatedly.

He tossed her around like a rag doll.

She was shocked at the sight of the first adult penis she’d ever seen.

It was so big.

Gigantic really.

Terry was a big man.

He was strong and powerful.

Ellen felt like a toy in comparison.

How much time passed?

A few hours, at least.

He assaulted her repeatedly, but the worst part of the attack were the words coming out of his mouth –

Mean, angry, hateful, unforgettable words that would terrorize her for years after the physical wounds had healed.

Before he left,

He carried her to the shower –

His anger had dissipated as quickly as it had arrived.

Terry cleaned himself up.

He held her under the spray of the water.

He toweled them both off, dropped her on the bed –

Then he dressed and left.

She waited until she knew he was really gone,

Then Ellen, sobbing, called her friend Carrie.

Carrie came over immediately.

She stayed with Ellen for a few days.

For several years, Carrie was the only person Ellen told about the rape.

Ellen felt so ashamed –

She felt so stupid for letting that bastard in the house.

She blamed herself completely for what had happened.

Everyone knows not to let “strangers” in the house.

If her family found out, they’d be ashamed of her stupidity –

And angry with her for “having sex.”

She couldn’t bare to tell them.

She couldn’t bare to tell anyone.

The things she later learned about Terry made it worse.

He was 35 years old, and married.

He had, unquestioningly, known Matt and Kathy were out of town.

He had also known they had a “young teen girl” house-sitting in their absence.

Terry was the father of two kids.

He was an ex-college football player.  He was 6’4″ tall and well over 200 pounds.

Ellen was 5’5″ and 115 pounds.

She had never had a chance against him.

Maybe the worst thing she learned later, was the revelation of Terry’s occupation.

He was a college professor.

He was around women – lots of women – every day.

It took several years, but (in time) Ellen realized the rape wasn’t her fault.

She had been a child.

Terry was a grown man, and a predator.

With that realization another type of shame was born –

For the rest of her life,

Ellen would wonder –

Were there others?

And if so, how many?

If Terry did rape other girls –

She was to blame.

 

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Manhattan Beach

My daughter is living up in the Los Angeles area now.

What does that mean?

I’m seeing more of her than when she was at school in Boston. (Yay!)

Also?

When she visits, and forgets things at our house, we meet in various places to hand off her stuff.

It gives me an excuse to visit haunts from my childhood in Los Angeles County.

Manhattan Beach Pier

This weekend, we met in Manhattan Beach.

Manhattan Beach is famous for beach volleyball tournaments, in particular the Manhattan Beach Open.

It was a beautiful weekend.

Manhattan Beach Boardwalk

I took a long walk and checked out all the Manhattan Beach rich people/celebrity houses.

A lot of celebrities/professional athletes live in Manhattan Beach.

Did you notice all the seagulls in the above photo?

When seagulls come inland, it means a storm is out at sea.

(This is one of the very important things I learned while growing up in Southern California.)

I think I could be comfortable living in Manhattan Beach, if only someone would buy me an oceanfront home.

Skateboarder on the Boardwalk

I also spent some time on the pier taking photos.

There was one couple I found myself watching for a long time.

The love between them was palatable.

So was the sadness, and sense of –

Loss?

Tragedy?

My imagination kept coming up with versions of what their story must be.

They were lost in each other.

Love and Sadness

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To Infinity and Beyond

Have you seen “infinity” pools?

They’re very popular in Southern California.

They’re also very expensive to build.

The water flows over the edge of the pool and into a (sometimes very hidden) drain to be pumped back into the pool.

(In other words, the water level is flush with the edge of the pool.)

Infinity pools are especially pretty if there’s an ocean view from the pool.

When you’re in the pool, it looks/feels like the water continues right out into the ocean.

Two salt water, infinity, pools – oceanfront.

I took the above photo one night while staying at Bacara Resort.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

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Vintage Friends

About a week ago,

I arrived home to find a gift had been left on my front doorstep.

(And no, it wasn’t a pomegranate!)

I like old things.

Antiques.

Vintage stuff … or junk as my husband calls it.

I’d have a lot more old stuff in my house if I had space for it.

Imagine my delight when I saw this:

Crate with “24” stamped on it.

My friend, Nike, had found this small crate with the number 24 stamped on it.

She, being a great friend, “had to get it” for me.

Most of the people who know me in real life,

Have forgotten my real name.

I’ve gotten used to answering to “Twenty Four.”

I smile every time I look at the crate.

I smile every time I look IN the crate too.

 (Twenty Four at HEART)  Dove chocolate hearts. 

I can hardly stand the cuteness!