Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Wordless Wednesday??

Wait!   It’s WEDNESDAY?  Are you sure?  I haven’t known what day it is all week – I seem to live in perpetual confusion.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so I guess here it is Wednesday night.  I should be finding a picture of Katie to post.  I should be leaving all these words out.

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But I guess I’m going rogue.  (Do people still do that?)

Katie checked herself into the Doggie Ritz this morning because I’m doing a bit of traveling and she decided she wanted to be pampered instead.  You believe that…right?  Well let me tell you how last night and this morning went down.

The real truth.

Katie and I went to bed late.  I like to be asleep by 9 or 9:30, and Katie usually falls asleep before then.  But we were up running around getting me ready for that traveling thing I mentioned.  So we went to bed about 11:30.  She was restless.  Me too, as we watched the Tonight Show monolog.  She was on the bed, off the bed, looking for a good spot.  We both finally fell asleep with the TV still playing.

Until I accidentally rolled over on the bed’s remote.  Yes we have a high tech bed that moves.    It also has a massage feature that basically makes a buzzing noise and vibrates the bed.  It’s irritating and Katie hates it.  And of course that’s the button that got pressed in my sleep.

Suddenly the bed is buzzing and shaking and Katie is pouncing and barking and I’m confused (my natural state) and I can’t find the remote and when I finally do I can’t read the buttons because it’s dark and I find the bedside lamp and I can’t read the buttons  even then because I’m not wearing my glasses and I can’t find them and Katie is pouncing and barking and I can’t get the stupid bed to stop vibrating and I finally find my glasses and I still can’t figure out which stupid button on the stupid remote is the one to push to get it to stop!  So I’m randomly pushing buttons and yelling at Katie and finally, finally the bed stops making it’s ruckus, though Katie continues expressing herself for awhile.

And then it is quiet.  And 2:00 a.m.

Except for someone (not me) has got herself so worked up that she has to go outside.  Where it’s freezing cold.  But whatever.  Out we go for a walk around the yard where she is interested in everything except doing her job.  Eventually we head back inside.  She flops down on the bed, rolls over on her back and is sound asleep instantly.  Me?  Wide awake

Until a bit before 4:00 a.m.

Katie does her normal “got to get the mama up” at 5:00.  I tell her in no uncertain terms to GO LIE DOWN.  She does.  The alarm goes off at 6:00.  She prances to the bathroom for my shower.  I groggily follow.  She’s going to camp this morning but she doesn’t know it, so I feel a bit of vindictive satisfaction as I shower away my sleepy headache.  I’m going to drop her off at the kennel on my way to work, get to work early and get some stuff done.  Yep.  I’ve got it all worked out.

I hustle her into the car ignoring her “WHAT ARE YOU DOING MAMA!  I DON”T GO TO WORK WITH YOU!!” look.  She doesn’t make a peep the whole 35 minute as we drove through the dark, down the crowded freeway, and up to the front gate of the kennel.   Which is closed.  Because they don’t open until 9 a.m. on Wednesdays.  I thought they opened at 6 but that’s only on Friday mornings.  And this is not Friday morning even though it feels like it.

It is 7:30 a.m.

Decisions decisions.  I can sit there and wait.  I could continue on to work, leave her in the car and get some stuff done.  Or we can go home.  We went home.  She doesn’t make a sound all the way.  No complaining.  No whining for attention, no barking.   And when I lift the back hatch of the car and unzip her pen and she realizes she is home she does a happy dance.  She expands to happy sheltie circles at the front door and delighted frenetic dancing as I give her the breakfast I had skipped earlier.    I didn’t tell her we were going to do it all over again in about 40 minutes.

She figured she was home free.

In fact she’s so certain that she doesn’t even protest when I hustle her into the car again a little bit later and off we go.  After all what’s another adventure with her crazy mama?  And she likes to ride in the car.  But when we pulled up to the kennel again there were six or seven cars full of people and dogs, and she realizes the truth.  She starts to shake which makes everyone feel sorry for her.  It’s part of her grand plan.  But it doesn’t change the fact that the worst possible thing is going to happen.

Mama is going to leave her at the Doggie Ritz!  And that mama doesn’t look the least bit guilty about it!

Tonight there is only peace and quiet in the house, and mama is going to bed early.  She’s going to sleep all night; there will be no wandering around the yard under the stars.

I’m pretty sure of it.

If Katie could she would wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I’m sure she will tell you all about her holiday weekend first chance she gets.  I’m probably going to look like the villain again.

I’m pretty sure of that too.

 


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WordPress photo challenge: Angular

 

 

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I haven’t visited the local hospital since the new wing was completed.  It’s very beautiful.  More beautiful is the fact that I wasn’t there to visit anyone, just to shoot a photo challenge.

You can see other interpretation of angular here, here, here and here.  Or go to the original link and see many more!  I like this one too, and her short explanation of cultural differences was was interesting as well.

Over the course of the week I expect more people will be posting their shots, so it’s worth going back to visit again later on.  And look around your own world.  I bet you can find something angular yourself.  Post it to your blog and connect to the original link and you’ll find people stopping by that you’ve never met before.  The hunt for an appropriate shot and then the visits of people from all over the world is what makes these photo challenges so much fun for me.

Come along and join the fun!


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Freedom v.s.security

I ran across this documentary today, and though I can’t say I identify with every person in it, and I don’t necessarily think the government is deliberately creating fear and demanding that we buy more stuff for some evil purpose, I do identify with those in this piece that value their freedom enough to learn to live with less in order to enjoy it.

I recognize that everyone has different dreams and that sometimes practicality wins over any dreams at all.  But I don’t think a person should give up on the dream, and in the end that’s what this documentary is all about.

It’s 50 minutes, and for me the best parts were scattered throughout.   If you’ve got the time, watch.  And then think about what stuff you would be willing to  live without if you could trade all your stuff for the ability to do what you love every day.

Even if what you love doesn’t include living in a van off the grid in the wilderness.

 


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The Fitbit saga

While we were in Green Bay visiting the big truck company the executive in charge of safety  kept parking a long way away from various destinations.  He said he was doing that to accumulate more steps.  We probably looked confused, so he fished out of his pocket this little black electronic thing that tracks his steps, the number of flights of stairs he climbs and other things that add to his activity levels.  He said he knew it was silly but he liked to see how active he could be.  I asked how many steps he usually took in any given day.  He said somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 depending on his schedule.

Right.

He talked about discipline in several meetings that we attended.  He’s retired military so he knows a thing or two about discipline and it’s a hallmark of his management style.  He says it takes discipline to follow safety rules every time, every day, every mile driven.  It takes discipline to make sure you get enough sleep before you begin your driving shift.  It takes discipline to pull off and rest when you’ve reached the maximum hours of service allowed.  It even takes discipline to call in when you know you’re not fit, for whatever reason, to drive.

I liked that concept, and I admired him for recognizing and taking care of himself even if it just meant parking far away from the lunch reservations on a cold windy day when it would have been more comfortable to park next to the door.  I’ve parked out at the end of the parking lot at work for years for exactly the same reason.  Sometimes it’s the only exercise I get aside from walking the stairs up to my 4th floor desk.  But I had no idea how many steps I walked in any given day.

So I bought myself a little black electronic Fitbit.  The first day I tossed it in my pocket and didn’t think about it till I got home.  Lounging on the couch I pulled it out and realized that in an entire day I had only walked a little over 2800 steps.  Sure I climbed 8 flights of stairs.  But still.  I handed it over to my husband for inspection and that’s the last I thought about it that night.

In the morning I looked for it on the coffee table, on the dresser, up in the cubbyhole in the kitchen where I keep my work badge.  It was nowhere to be found.  I searched the pockets in my pants, checked under the couch, and finally gave up as time was ticking and I was going to be late for work.

Well darn.

That night I searched some more to no avail.  It was garbage day the next day and husband put the garbage out after I went to bed.  In the morning I hauled the garbage back from the curb and went through all the stinky bags just in case the Fitbit got caught up in newspapers or magazines or who knows what.  No luck.

So I figured it was really lost and I was bummed.  How wass it possible to lose something without even getting up from the couch?  I felt old.  I had no recollection of getting it back from my husband.  He had no recollection of what he did with it after he looked at it either.  I swear we need someone to follow us around and pick up stuff we leave laying around in random places.   Later in the week I got a Fitbit update in my email.  It said it hadn’t been used since the previous Monday and it had a sad face to make me feel even worse.

My husband must have felt bad too because he went out and bought me a new one!  Over the weekend he was entering the new data into their website, getting me all set up to get back to work when he noticed there was a way to see if the Fitbit was syncing with the laptop.  And as he watched it did.  The website said that if you lost the Fitbit (apparently I am not the only senile Fitbit owner out there) you could take your phone or your laptop around to places it might be and check to see if it synced.  And if it did it would be within 15 feet.   The laptop was sitting on the coffee table.  Right next to the couch.  We looked at each other and started to laugh.

Then we tore the couch apart.

In addition to the fork and the spoon and several really gross pieces of random crud there was a little black electronic thing between the cushions.  Resting I guess, getting ready to count steps and flights of stairs and calories used.  Back into my pocket it went.  Sunday Katie and I walked over 5000 steps.   (She says she knows she had that many because wherever I go she goes.  Naturally.)   Today, back at my desk it’s down a couple thousand.  Obviously I sit too much at work, but isn’t it good to have that gut feeling validated with real numbers?  And I did 11 flights of stairs today.

So far.  There’s a load of laundry in the basement just calling my name.

That’s my Fitbit saga.  I’m going to try not to put it in the laundry or lose it in a restaurant or the couch cushions again.  I’m going to try to install some discipline and get my feet moving.  Even when I’m at work.  I’ll be interested in finding where I can add steps in my daily life.  I bet it won’t be that hard.

But 10,000 to 13,000 steps a day?  Now that’s going to take some real discipline.

 


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FedEx and all of us

Photo credit Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Photo credit Wyoming Tribune Eagle

In Wyoming last Saturday three innocent people died when a FedEx truck crossed the median and hit their minivan.    While the initial story indicated two people in the van died, a subsequent article, which describes those killed as involved in their community, shared the sad news that a third person, the son of the woman, died as well.

Does this sound familiar?

I bet most of us have forgotten all about the crash last spring in California where a FedEx truck crossed the median and hit a tour bus filled with college students.  At least ten were killed including both drivers.  The NTSB still hasn’t issued a report telling us what caused that crash, though they shared a report earlier on the sequence of events.  And at the time there were lots of heartbreaking stories about the individuals who were killed and injured and how they and their families were coping.  When ten people are killed in a senseless crash in California it’s a big story. But still, we all forget as soon as the next big story comes along.

It’s inevitable.

Internet photo by Lockett

Internet photo by  Jeremy Lockett

So when only three people die in a remote state like Wyoming there’s little press.  Not so much national coverage.  It’s not headline news.  And when one person dies here, another one there, over time and across 50 states, no one notices at all.

Except those of us that have been there.

And when it’s the same company that has killed innocents we sit up and take extra notice.  FedEx warrants some of our attention, some research.  I know people will say that it’s early and we don’t know the cause of this latest crash in Wyoming.  That we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.  But it has been proven that a driver involved in one crash, regardless of fault, has a bigger probability of being involved in another.  Logically that is because a person involved in a crash, even one not their fault, may be a less observant driver, perhaps not as defensive, as someone paying more attention who might have been able to avert disaster given the same circumstances.   I can extrapolate on this theory to assume that a company that has been involved in one fatal crash has a larger probability of being involved in another fatal crash, perhaps due to the culture of the organization.

What’s the culture at FedEx?

I’m not the only one wondering what’s going on.  Turns out others are investigating their safety record.  And included in the article are some numbers from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration comparing FedEx and other carriers.  Notice the 3.8 crashes per 100 drivers for FedEx compared to 1.74 crashes per 100 drivers for UPS.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it.  And don’t you doubly wonder when you realize that FedEx is one of the large shippers lobbying hard to get longer and heavier trucks approved to travel on all our roads?

The holiday season is upon us.  More and more packages will be shipped and companies like FedEx will be busier and under more stress to get your baubles and gifts shipped faster then ever.  We all leave holiday shopping to the last minute.  We all want instant gratification.  We all want that next day delivery.  And so we all contribute to the culture of pushing drivers to go faster and further just to make our dreams come true.

Let’s just stop.

Let’s shop locally.  And early.  Or send gift cards from your family’s favorite local store.  Let’s not demand instant delivery.  Let’s spend more time with our families and less time shopping.  And while we’re doing that let’s remember the families and survivors of the crashes in California and Wyoming, and all the other crash victims we haven’t even heard about.  Let’s remember that they are going to face their first holidays in what is their new normal.  Let’s be thankful for what we have while we remember those we’ve lost.  Let’s never stop working toward fixing this problem, investigating those responsible, and supporting those hurting.  Let’s not forget.  Ever.

And maybe, just maybe, let’s not use FedEx until they can understand that profit over safety is unsustainable.

 

 


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A simple thank you

Great Lakes National Cemetary

Great Lakes National Cemetery

Today was Veterans Day; the eleventh day of the eleventh month and designated by President Wilson in 1919 as a day to honor those who have given so much so that we here in the United States remain free.

It was a day for all of us to say thank you to those who have served our country in the military.

Flowers amid the stones.

Flowers amid the stones.

Over hills and across farmland, not far from where I live, is the Great Lakes National Cemetery.  It sits on over 500 acres, was opened in 2005 and is the final resting place for thousands, and someday hundreds of thousands, of veterans and their spouses.  The numbers, even now, are staggering and very visual as you look across row after row of white marble headstones.  You can become lost in the vastness of it.

Thousands of souls.

Thousands of souls.

Or you can stop and wander, read a few of the names and messages found there.

Wandering and reading.

Wandering and reading.

Each stone honors an individual, a veteran yes, but also a person.  A person that had a life outside the military, someone who laughed with family, hung out with friends, traveled, went fishing.

Sometimes the story on the headstone is simple.

Pearl Harbor survivor.

Pearl Harbor survivor.

And sometimes it gives you just a tiny glimpse of the person who once walked this earth.

Animal lover.

Animal lover.

So many of the stones reminds you how short life can be.  How short it was for so many.

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While we were out there we had something of a flyover.  Five sand hill cranes flew in formation directly overhead, crying their own version of a patriotic melody.

In formation.

In formation.

It seemed fitting.

Today was Veterans Day.  But really, shouldn’t we honor those who serve our country every day?  Tomorrow, the day after Veterans Day, take a moment and thank a veteran.  Smile at them.  Shake their hand.  Buy them a cup of coffee.

This WW II veteran understood the truth.

This WW II veteran understood the truth.

Make someone’s day.  And yours.

Let's not forget.

Let’s not forget.

Just say thank you.

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WordPress challenge: minimalist take II

I wandered about today, camera in hand, even though the sky was mostly uninteresting.  The leaves, once colored, are long gone, the crops nearly gone as well.  The landscape was brown.  And gray.  Drab.

But that works for what I was looking for; minimalism in the country.

I honestly think the concept of a minimalistic photograph fits more into an urban setting, at least in my mind, but I wanted to see if I could show you the vast expanses of farm country here in mid-Michigan.  And see if I could convince myself that minimalism can have a country side as well.

I found a few interesting things, but so many seemed busy, cluttered.  I like filling the frame when I’m on a photo hunt, so it was hard to look for negative spaces, to leave part of the frame empty.  I’ll show you some of the shots that didn’t make the minimalist cut, but when I came across this I had to capture it.

harvest time

It’s the end of the harvest here, and the white truck parked and being filled with shucked corn by the harvester in the middle of nowhere just struck me.  The muted colors, the empty field.  It all shouted to be noticed.

So I did.

You can see other photographers’ minimalistic offerings here and here.   Go.  Enjoy.  Spread your arms in all the space.   You can see all of photos by going to the original post.

And give it a try yourself.  No matter where you are you can find something minimal and interesting if you look.

Even way out in the country.

 


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WordPress Photo Challenge – Minimalist

The concept of a minimalist photo is simple.  You might even say minimal.  It should contain a large amount of negative space and a somewhat monochromatic color scheme.  And if you can, it should tell a story.    This morning we woke to our first significant snow, so large parts of our world were monochromatic; I found this right outside my front door.

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I’m not sure this is totally correct, I don’t see negative space for example.  I’m hoping to get out tomorrow to search for another example.  But you never know about tomorrow, so I’ll put this out there for now.  You can see other examples of minimalist photography here, here, here and here.  And especially this one.  Or go to the original link and read all about it, then look at the hundreds of submissions attached.

Meanwhile I’ll enjoy looking for another bit of minimalism.  You can too.  I’d enjoy seeing what you come up with!

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