Change Is Hard

…but change is a certainty.


Greening of the park

Katie here!  Did you have a good weekend?  A wonderful Easter?  A beautiful Passover?  Mama says she’s glad she didn’t invite anyone to dinner because she just slept and slept and slept all morning!  I could hardly make her get off the sofa until later in the afternoon when my Dad went outside and started up the lawn mower.  Well.  That got me barking and Mama decided we should go to the park.  Wonder how that’s all related.

So anyway.

Guess what?  The burned up park is already green and it’s only been a week!  We had the park almost all to ourselves…guess everyone else was home eating Easter dinner.

Mama says here’s a reason we don’t go down the hill and explore the train track:

Hey Mama!  What's THAT?

Hey Mama! What’s THAT?

I didn’t like it one bit when that train went by.  I barked and barked at it until it ran away.  Got to protect my Mama that’s for sure.  I’m good like that.

Get out of here train!

Get out of here train!

The rest of our walk around the park was pretty uneventful.  My Mama made me stand on this stupid log like she does every year.  But since I get cheese I don’t mind.

I'll pose for cheese.

I’ll pose for cheese.

We practiced recall too, once.  I got cheese again…and then somehow my Mama lost my treats.  So that was that.

Cheese Mama?

Cheese Mama?

No more working for me!  I did spend some quality time in the shade under a picnic table getting a drink while my Mama watched the pond.  That was nice.

Chillin in the shade

Chillin in the shade

Then we went home and I took another nap.

Yep it was another great day!






WordPress photo challenge

For quite awhile I’ve been getting photo challenge prompts from WordPress on Friday afternoons.  They have been so much fun; I looked forward to them eagerly as Friday mornings went by and I’d check while I was still at work, eager to find out what the current week’s challenge would be.  Then I’d think about it on the long commute and generally by the time I made our driveway I’d have an idea.

I haven’t received a photo prompt in two weeks, and it looks like maybe there haven’t been any.  I’ve always wondered who comes up with the challenges and where they got their ideas and how long they could keep it up.  But, still, it makes me very sad to think there will be no more ideas coming.  Especially since I couldn’t find what I was looking for on the last challenge “threshold.”

I never did post the photo I thought I might use for that challenge.  It’s a stretch, but here you go.

Imported Photos 00510I think of the sky between the old building and the new building as the threshold between time.

This was on the University of Michigan campus, I was wandering around and happened to glance over my shoulder and saw the two eras standing in the bright sunshine.

So there you have it…..’threshold.’   Sort of.

I’m going to miss the photo prompts.  I hope they come back.  In the meantime if anyone has a challenge for me…well…I’m up for it.

Imported Photos 00506


Picture a photo

I’ve been enjoying the photography of Heather in her blog for a long time; she captures life in the north so beautifully.  Her photography website showcases her art and if you take a moment to stop and peruse, you can enjoy all four seasons of the beautiful north country in just a few minutes.  This winter she had the opportunity to take amazing photos of the ice caves along Lake Michigan, who knows if we’ll ever have another chance to see something like this, so go take a look!

I especially enjoy her photos of the Point Betsie Lighthoue, both because it’s beautiful, and because it’s where my folks went on their honeymoon in 1953.  I’ve been there a couple of times myself and have my own photographs, but I’ve never been in winter so I was especially taken by this shot:


I know, I know, it’s a bad photograph of a great photograph!  It was hard for me to decide which Point Betsie lighthouse photo to purchase but I eventually chose this one because it was different and because I loved the shapes of the ice in front of the lighthouse.  I plan to hang it in my folk’s house down in Alabama, a modern twist on their love of northern Michigan.

Thank you Heather!  For taking wonderful photographs that remind me of my trips to the north, and for making them available on your website!  I can’t wait to see what you discover next!



Brahms and magic

Saturday evening + the Michigan Theater + the Ann Arbor Symphony = magic.  Guaranteed.  And even though I knew that going in I was still blown away from the start of this concert until the last thundering applause faded after the encore.

I’m no classical music scholar, I never took a theory class, didn’t play beyond high school until I reconnected through the community band, but I know when I’ve experienced something extraordinary.  That happens every time I hear the Ann Arbor Symphony, but this weekend was beyond any expectations I could have had.

Saturday night it was all about Brahms, starting with Academic Festival composed by Brahms in response to being nominated for an honorary doctorate degree.  The piece includes several student drinking songs, woven through the music.  Who knew that composers back in the mid 1800′s had a sense of humor?

The second piece was The Black Swan:  Intermezzo in A Major.  What a stunningly beautiful piece of music.  Transcripted for orchestra by Bright Sheng, a University of Michigan professor,  the piece is based on Brahms’ composition for piano.  It’s so beautiful you just have to listen to at least a little of it.  Lush, contemplative, you can’t help but let the cares of the week slide off your shoulders as you let the music wash over you.

The last piece before intermission was Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A Minor, played by two amazing young musicians, Itamar Zorman on violin and David Requiro on cello.  They played seamlessly, often one began the phrase and the other completed it, almost as if there was a single instrument. Such talent.  They so obviously loved doing this piece, and we loved hearing it.  Mr. Requiro said it was an ‘indulgent’ thing to play because the first movement begins after only a few measures with a beautiful cello solo.  My favorite movement, though, was the third.  Listen to a little bit of it; how playful it is. I had a stupid grin on my face through the whole thing.

And as wonderful as all that was, after intermission I fell in love with Symphony No. 1 in C Minor.  Though they say Brahms was a bit intimidated by Beethoven you can hear him pay homage to the other composer in this piece.  It’s beautiful, from the suspenseful beginning to the triumphant conclusion.  And the Ann Arbor Symphony pulled every bit of beauty out of the music.  They left nothing in reserve, put it all out there on the concert stage.  The audience didn’t even wait for the last note to drift away, the applause started immediately and continued until we convinced them to play us one last encore.

Ann Arbor, you have a gem in your symphony.  Every concert is astounding and leaves us shaking our heads in amazement.  Even if you don’t think you like or understand this kind of music take a moment and listen to a little bit through the links above.  And if that intrigues you go to one concert of your symphony next season, try a little taste, open yourself up to the possibilities.  You’ll have an experience you won’t forget.  It’s so much more wonderful live and your symphony is..well…there’s no other word…just magical.  Attend a concert next fall, let the music take you away, overwhelm you, transform your soul if only for one evening.  Go listen to the Ann Arbor Symphony and experience the magic yourself.

You won’t regret it – I promise.



Park burn

Katie here.  I bet you’re getting tired of hearing from me every weekend, ey?  I just wanted to tell you that they burned my park between when I was there last weekend and today!  HUH!

Look at all the burned grass!

Look at all the burned grass!

My mama says they do that every other year or so, it helps keep invasive plants away.  I don’t know.  I just know it smells bad.

It’s a beautiful day here in Michigan and my mama took me for a quick trip to my park after we cleaned up the deck and sat out there for a bit.  I was, as usual pretty excited.

It was windy.  This is not my most flattering angle mama.

It was windy. This is not my most flattering angle mama.

Along the walk to the back of the park I stepped on a bunch of big burs and started limping.  My mama is very observant and checked out my foot right away and found 4 big burrs tangled in my fur and running down right to my pads!  She pulled them all out and I felt lots better, but when we got way back to the point furthest from the car I decided to limp again.  Just to see what she’d do.  She checked my foot again and didn’t see anything, but geeze, she wasn’t wearing her glasses so how much did she think she was going to see?

I decided I’d refuse to walk at all.  I do that sometimes when I feel like messing with her.  Then I asked her to pick me up so she did and we walked a little like that, but it got hot pretty fast, all my fur and her sweatshirt and all.  So she put me down and told me I needed to walk.  I did a little and then I stopped again.  She sighed and picked me up for awhile.  But it’s a long way back to the car and she said I needed to suck it up and walk some more.  Then you know what she did?  She dropped the leash and went on without me!  HEY MAMA!


She walked up to the top of the next hill and turned around and you know where I was?  Right in back of her that’s where I was!  She can’t get away from me!  Na-uh.  So we walked a little bit more and then when I refused again she just left me again.  After awhile she turned around and said “KATIE!  COME!” just like in school and I ran really fast with all my furs flowing and sat in front of her just like I’m supposed to and she gave me a treat!

Well!  After that I just walked along with her like a good girl, no more messing with her cause this time she got me good!  Mamas are sometimes smarter than you think.

Anyway, it’s a good thing mama took pictures of the field of grass last weekend…

Last weekend's grassy field.

Last weekend’s grassy field.

…because this weekend it’s all black.

Smelly black field.

Smelly black field.


But it will be green soon, the grass is already coming up.

Bits of green.

Bits of green.

See you guys next weekend I’m sure.  Maybe she’ll take me somewhere new!  I’m off to take a nap now.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

See you later!

See you later!


FedEx and tour bus, a deadly mix

This morning we all woke to the news that a FedEx semi crossed the center median of a freeway in California and collided with a tour bus filled with students touring college campuses.  At least ten people are dead.    The crash is being described in any number of ways, though this morning most of the focus is on the tour bus.  One of the headlines I found actually calls it a tour bus accident.   Of course tour bus accidents are as horrific as semi crashes and certainly are issues that need to be worked on.  But this was not a tour bus crash.

The news media is slow to mention that it all started with a semi crossing the center median.   That’s not the most news worthy aspect of this crash so it’s getting little press.  Rightfully we need to concentrate on the families of those killed and injured, on the students who were headed toward bright futures as college students who will never see another day, on the survivors who are traumatized, and on the drivers, both of the truck and the bus who were also killed.  But when things calm down we need to take a serious look at why that semi crossed the median in the first place.

There were two FedEx drivers.  Were they tired?  Were they distracted?  Did some medical event cause this traumatic crash?  Was speed involved?  How long had they been driving?  Or were they just avoiding something in their path?  This will not be an easy investigation as both drivers are dead.  It will, of course, be done, but you and I won’t hear the result.  By the time this investigation is complete the media will have moved on to the next horrific event.  Most of us won’t even remember this story a month from now.

And that’s how the trucking industry likes it.  If  investigators end up concluding that the semi was at fault, that rules were broken, allowable hours of service exceeded, texting happening, whatever the reason,  we won’t know, and if we don’t know the outragousness of this whole event will be lost and nothing will change, our roads won’t become safer, and truck companies will continue to profit at the expense of other drivers.  Somehow we need to convince the news media that there is more to the story than the initial crash details.  That there are many more important facts to uncover than how long the road will be closed to commuter traffic.

It’s hard to make a big noise when you’re only a small group of safety advocates.  It’s hard to get noticed when we aren’t splashy, or over the top.  It’s hard but it’s something we have to figure out how to do.



Come on summer

Katie says:

Let's get moving people!

Let’s get moving people!

I think my park ranger people should set these picnic tables up and get this summer started!

And guess what? Guess what, guess what, guess what?!!!

Mama made a reservation for us at Hartwick Pines State Park!  For two whole nights in June!  She’s got a campsite in the woods and there are trails for us to explore!

You remember I had so much fun when we went camping at a real campground last summer, right?  Well, this will be even better!  I can hardly wait!  She says we can explore stuff, and people watch, and go for a walk, and then we can take a nap and then we can do it all over again!

I am so excited!




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