Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


College dorm

Visiting her at the nursing home we talked about how difficult it is for her to adjust to her new life. Rules and roommates, the shared bathroom, the shower room down the hall.

“Sounds like you’re back in college and living in a dorm.” I laughed. “You just need to find some boys and a keg of beer and you’re good to go.”

She laughed too, but then her smile faded.

“It’s hard” she said. “There’s so much to learn here and that’s not easy when you’re a hundred and one!”

“You can do it,” I replied. “And I expect by next week you’ll be learning Italian.”

She laughed again. And then she said it. “Change is hard.”

I nodded in agreement. Yes, it certainly is.

Her bird, Charlie, aka Buddy, died this week, while in the care of a friend back at the apartment building. Maybe he died of a broken heart. Maybe he just got old. Regardless, it is another loss for her to absorb.

Loss after loss. She is strong, has been for 101 years. But this is a lot, would be a lot for anyone.

She says it best. “It’s hell to get old.”

RIP Buddy.

RIP Buddy.


Sheltie soaker

Katie here. I know, I know, you just heard from me, but that was back when I was thankful and right now I’m not feeling very thankful at all! Mama got home from her big Thanksgiving adventure and you’d think she’d be so happy to see me that we’d go to my park and celebrate.

But nooooo.

And it’s even worse! I have a little boo-boo on my front leg that I like to lick in the evenings when I’m bored. Mama and daddy keep telling me to stop and sometimes I do, sometimes I ignore them — it just depends how I feel about following directions. I am a princess you know.

They took me to two different vets and this last vet is going to do a little surgery on me soon to take it off. But meanwhile I keep licking it, and daddy noticed some pus coming out of it while mama was out of town. He called the vet and they gave me some medicine and told him to soak my leg in Epson salts.

Huh! Like that’s going to happen, right?

Well, now that mama is home they decided to try. First mama tried to train me to put my front leg into a big pot. She was giving me treats and saying ‘touch!’ Sure, I’d touch it with my nose but I’m not going to put my foot in that pot! She cooks in that thing, what is she thinking?

So I guess they decided to go big time. Tonight they filled the laundry room sink with warm water and salt and then they put me in it! All four legs!!!! With water up to my tummy!

This is not fair at all!

This is not fair at all!

I wanted out! I tried my darnedest but they were right there saying ‘no baby’ and pretending to pet me but really they were holding me down!

It was sheltie abuse!

After a little bit though I kind of thought that the warm water was nice and I sat down. I kept my ears flat and my eyes big, and I gave them a combination of the sheltie stink eye and pathetic poor baby eye…when I’d look at them at all. Mostly I just kept my head turned away.

I was mortified.

I had to sit in that warm water for ten whole minutes! Then daddy rinsed me off with more warm water. Geeze. I already went to the groomer last week! I don’t think I needed another bath!

After that mama lifted me out and bundled me up in a couple of big fluffy towels and I got rubbed all over. Don’t tell them but I sort of liked that part. Then I shook the rest of the water out of my fur all over her. I think she was more wet than me when we left the laundry room. Plus she had to clean up the floor. And the door and the cabinets and some of the walls.

I don't like being wet mama!

I don’t like being wet mama!

I looked pretty bedraggled when I finally got away from her, and I don’t know if I can forgive them. I’m making mama play a rousing game of piggy tonight to make up for getting me all wet.

And I think I deserve some treats while I'm drying out!!

And I think I deserve some treats while I’m drying out!!

She said something about the vet telling daddy to soak the boo boo every day for a week. I can tell you right now that tomorrow night is not going to go nearly as smoothly as tonight. Oh no. I know what’s up now people and I refuse to allow any sheltie soaking to occur ever again!

It’s war now! An Emsom salt war!

And you can bet on me to win. Shelties always win. And I’m a princess too so it’s guaranteed that this is not happening again.

Stay tuned.

Throw the pig mama!

Throw the pig mama!


Giving Tuesday

Dad at my wedding in 1990

Dad at my wedding in 1990

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day to remind people to donate to charitable organizations. I’d like to plead the case for donating to the Truck Safety Coalition.

Many of you already know this organization because of all my posts about Dad who was killed by a tired trucker December 23, 2004. We’re coming up on the anniversary again, and though it’s twelve years now, it seems like yesterday that my family’s world was turned upside down.

Back then we weren’t sure what had happened to us, or why, but we knew it wasn’t right. And the more we learned, about the long hours truck drivers work, the conditions they work under, the more we realized it was something we wanted to help fix.

Just like Dad always fixed stuff for us.

TSC is the only organization singularly devoted to supporting victims of truck crashes as well as the families and friends who have lost a loved one in a truck crash. I encourage you to go to their website to learn more about all the supportive programs and advocacy in which the Truck Safety Coalition is involved.

Please donate to TSC this Giving Tuesday by clicking here ( to help make a difference in the lives of people dealing with tragic crashes and to help save lives by improving highway safety for everyone, including those driving commercial trucks.

If you were to talk to any of the families volunteering for TSC they’d tell you that they work for safety to honor their loved ones and to keep other families from suffering the same tragedy they cope with every day.

Please join us as we stand for safety.

And thank you very much for all the emotional support you’ve provided my own family over the years. We couldn’t have made it through without all of you.

Grew up to be my Dad.

Grew up to be my Dad.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Katie here. I’d like to take this opportunity while my mama is away to thank all of you for reading my blog. Well, it’s actually her blog, but I know for sure that your favorite posts are mine!

She and I have loved meeting so many of you in person, and we hope to meet even more of you someday soon! In the meantime I hope you have a wonderful day and a fantastic weekend with family and friends.

Thank you everybody!!

Thank you everybody!!

Mama will be home soon. I’m pretty sure she won’t be mad that I hijacked her blog cause I did it just to say thank you to all our readers!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

And how can she ever be mad at me? I’m just so darn cute!

Anyway…Mama and I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Hope she brings me some turkey!

Hope she brings me some turkey!


3 quote challenge – Day 3

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” — Rabindranath Tagore

The sky over Katie's park.

The sky over Katie’s park.

For me there’s nothing more spectacular to photograph than the sky. Sure there are beautiful oceans and spectacular mountains, gorgeous open farmers’ fields and the intense fall color of the deep woods.

And of course there’s Katie.

Good morning mama!

Good morning mama!

But always, always there is the sky turning colors beyond description morning and evening, huge, always changing. Accenting a beautiful tree with a puffy cloud, hanging low, heavy with stars above the ocean, outshining the sun with brilliant hues.

Sunset over Lake Michigan.

Sunset over Lake Michigan.

Sometimes I think I’d like to live in a little house in the middle of a big woods. And then, as I’m walking the dog under the dark, starry sky, I know that I’ll always want to live in a place where I can see the sky in all it’s immense splendor.

I’ve been challenged by Carol over at Wandering of an Elusive Mind to post a quote each day for three days. This is the last post of that challenge but I’m finding I sort of like finding quotes to add to photos. So don’t be surprised if you see more going forward.

Change isn’t always hard.

A foggy morning greets the sun.

A foggy morning greets the sun.


3 Quote Challenge: Day 2

“In every change, in every falling leaf there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow. – – Amit Ray

My favorite tree.

My favorite tree.

I was challenged by Carol over at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind to post quotes for three days. If you’d like to play along we’d love to have you!

I have a young ginko tree in my backyard. Every year the leaves turn a wonderful yellow color and hang on long after most of the maple trees have released their leaves to the wind.

Golden ginko

Golden ginko

And every fall I wake up one morning and find all the leaves huddled like a life ring of gold around the base of the tree. After a hard frost all the leaves drop at once.

It must be an amazing site, to see all that gold come fluttering down at once. It would be magical.

This year I kept track of the weather, determined to see my tree shed it’s summer clothes.



But I missed it again. I guess it’s shy and only disrobes in the dark. Next year I’m going to have to camp out and keep watch all night, become a tree paparazzi.

If I capture the image I’ll share it with you. Next year for sure.

Mama makes me sit in these leaves every year.

Mama makes me sit in these leaves every year.


3 Quote Challenge: Day 1

“There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender, or disability. — Sharron Angle

I’ve been nominated by Carol at Wanderings of an Illusive Mind. (For a smile and a look at something beautiful, go check out her blog header…she paints with alcohol inks and the horse you’ll find there is stunning!)

Life here is pretty busy at the moment, though I suppose it’s busy everywhere now that the holidays are upon us. Here in the US the combination of politics and holidays don’t seem to go together very well, especially this year.

But I don’t want to talk about that.

I’d rather talk about the value of a life, regardless of the age or location of a person. Especially because of the age and location of a person.

Our elderly family member is settling into a new home, one she wishes she didn’t have to accept. She lived in her own apartment until she was 101 ; that’s longer than most of us will ever live alone. But her legs and her heart just aren’t strong enough for her to live alone any longer.

She knew that someday she’d have to move into a nursing home. Still, now that the time has come, it’s hard.

It’s hard on those of us watching her struggle with emotions as we struggle with ours. It’s hard telling her over and over that she can’t go home again. It’s hard to listen to her voicing her objections to her new location. And it’s hard to leave her there after each visit.

It’s hard to tell her the sky is a brilliant blue and the air is warm and see her sad eyes at the realization she can’t see out the window on the other side of her shared room. It’s hard to listen to her talk about the noises made by other residents at night without having an acceptable resolution. To think about her never having her favorite cinnamon raisin toast again because there’s nowhere to toast it for her. To realize that her space is too small to give her fresh flowers, that she never gets fresh fruits with a meal, that she can no longer enjoy the company of her bird. That she enjoys no privacy at all.

Mostly it’s hard for her.

I believe her life still has value, regardless of the age she has attained and regardless of where she now finds her physical self. And I believe that somehow we need to find a way to make her feel valuable again. Because right now she’s not feeling like she matters to much of anyone at all.

And that’s not right.

Change is hard.

Charlie misses his mom.

Charlie misses his mom.


Holding time still

Used to be full.  Will be again.

Used to be full. Will be again.

This morning I walked out of the gym wearing shorts, probably the last time I’ll be able to do that for awhile. After all, it’s mid-November. And though today we hit a record high of 72 degrees (22.22 Celsius) I know this weekend we’ll get cold rain, maybe even a bit of snow.

After the frost.

After the frost.

As I left the gym, moving out into the warm sunshine, I wished that it could stay this warm and sunny until next spring. Then I noticed the business next door was playing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Carol of the Bells. Loudly. The music was rolling out the open door and I was reminded that Christmas is right around the corner.

End of season colors.

End of season colors.

Time is marching on whether I like it or not.

I remember my mom wanting to stop time when we were growing up. She was already mourning our youth before we moved away. Sometimes I do the same, and I certainly hear other parents voice that sentiment.

Autumn morning light.

Autumn morning light.

But time slides away and before you know it the holidays are here, and then the next year, and the one after that. Years fly by, seasons even faster. The sun sets on today before I realize it’s potential. I want it all to slow down.

Unless it’s snowing. If it’s snowing then time needs to scream forward into spring.


Hanging onto fall.

Hanging onto fall.