Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Arlington musings

Gate to the Cemetery and the Robert E Lee house up on the hill.

Gate to the Cemetery and the Robert E Lee house up on the hill.


We meant to spend part of the day at Arlington Cemetery and the rest of the day at the Air and Space Museum. After all, it wasn’t our first trip out to Arlington, and we’ve been to the National Cemetery in Michigan a few times as well.

Turns out we underestimated our time wandering the cemetery grounds.

We spent nearly the entire day exploring, searching for particular grave sites, contemplating, watching. Listening. Listening to taps being played at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, listening to a marching band playing military music off in the distance during the changing of the guard…

Changing the honor guard.

Changing the honor guard.

…listening to a mocking bird singing high over the endless rows of white marble markers.

Probably not a mockingbird, but he was pretty.

Probably not a mockingbird, but he was pretty.

And toward the end of our visit just when I was commenting about how peacefully quiet it was, how beautiful this particular tree was…

Pretty shade.

Pretty shade.

…a military flyover came roaring up from the Potomac, right overhead, shattering the peace, but raising the awesome level of our total experience.

We saw Senator Frank Lautenberg’s grave site. He was always so supportive of our safety efforts. We miss him – he was a good man. His stone should have proclaimed his work toward saving people’s lives on our roads.

It doesn’t, but we know.

You did good work Senator.

You did good work Senator.

But the stone that touched me the most was that of Medgar Evers. A simple white stone, like hundreds of thousands of others, set down over a hill below President Taft, it was evident that several people had come to visit and pay their respects.

Remembering Medgar Evers.

Remembering Medgar Evers.

He did good work too.

Wandering in Arlington was beautiful, but oh so sad. Because we had to acknowledge that every one of the thousands of headstones represented a person, someone’s child. They all belonged to someone.

Each one an individual.

Each one an individual.

And now they all belong to us.

Sobering.

On the back of the stone for Oliver Wendell Lewis, a Major General who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam but was only 71 when he died, was this quote:

Good advice.

Good advice.

I like to think that those of us working for truck safety are doing just that – walking in the world for our loved ones. I think the General has it exactly right.

I wish everyone had the opportunity to visit this cemetery, to experience the solemnity, the sense of awe, the feeling of pride. I have to think the country would be in better shape if everyone spent a day exploring this special place.

There’s sadness here, but there’s peace and hope too.

Visit if you can.

Always vigilant.

Always vigilant.


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Over the mountains and through the woods…

We’re off on another road trip. And as usual I don’t have enough time to tell you all about it. So I’ll just say that we drove along Lake Erie’s coastline through several small towns that were enticing. (Click on any photo to enlarge it.)

We got to see a few lighthouses, first at Marblehead…

This lighthouse has a great view of the Cedar Point amusement park across the bay.

This lighthouse has a great view of Cedar Point amusement park across the bay.

…and then further along the coast at Fairport Harbor …

What a beautiful lawn!

What a beautiful lawn!

…where there was also an old lighthouse way out in the lake…

It was a cold day but people were kite surfing out there!

It was a cold day but people were kite surfing out there!

…and another way out in the lake at Loraine, all in Ohio…

Far, far away, and  from another time.

Far, far away, and from another time.

…and then way up at the tip of Presque Isle Park in Erie Pennsylvania.

Being restored.

Being restored.

We didn’t get to climb any of these, but they are still beautiful. As was the lake, even though it was cold, windy, and often spitting rain.

Too cold and wet for a picnic today.

Too cold and wet for a picnic today.

Today we drove across some of Pennsylvania, through the mountains (literally, we got to go through a tunnel!) and down to Washington DC.

Inside the tunnel...using the 'dramatic' camera setting.

Inside the tunnel…using the ‘dramatic’ camera setting.

It was a rainy, foggy drive, but because it’s Sunday the traffic wasn’t too bad until we got closer to the city.

Fog?  Or were we just in the clouds?

Fog? Or were we just in the clouds?

We’re staying way out of town, and tonight we took the metro into Chinatown for dinner.

The gate to Chinatown

The gate to Chinatown

Then we stopped at our favorite gelato place on Dupont Circle for a bit of desert.

Never too cold or rainy for gelato!

Never too cold or rainy for gelato!

Didn’t make my 10,000 steps today, too much time spent in the car. But tomorrow we’re going to visit Arlington Cemetery.

That ought to do it.

Rainy days and Sundays...

Rainy days and Sundays…


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April showers

HI!!!!

HI!!!!

Katie here! It’s raining today and I’m bored so I thought I’d share some of my latest adventures with you. Cause I figure you’re bored too and why not share!

Mama says I shouldn’t be sad that it’s raining. We haven’t had any in a long time, and besides, she says, it’s not SNOW! Good point mama. Of course I sort of like snow so I guess I wouldn’t have minded if we got some to play in. Mama, on the other hand, does not want to see any more of that white stuff till next Christmas!

Anyway.

I’ve been to lots of parks lately. Mama is home all the time and we get to go go go! I love that. I think mama does too, though maybe not quite as much as me. Cause she doesn’t get treats at the park, not being a princess and all.

I’ve been over to my park quite a bit already this month. It still doesn’t look like spring over there, but at least the snow is gone. There aren’t any leaves yet, but after this rain I bet things begin to bud out!

This is my majestic look.

This is my majestic look.

It’s been a bit wet with all the snow melt, and windy, but I don’t mind. I even walked through a puddle at the back of the park this year! Mama was surprised; she usually has to carry me through that part of the trail every spring. I guess I’m growing up and taking on more responsibility now that I’m almost ten.

Art in my park!

Art in my park!

Did you know they are advertising the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) at my park? There are these big pictures with notes about the artist there! My mama reads them all to me but she says I can’t go to the DIA because I’m a dog. Seems unfair. I mean, why put art in my park if I can’t go?

One day at my park I didn’t feel like walking all the way around, so I took my mama over to the library and we walked around there. And you know what I accidentally did?

Uh, she's on to me!

Uh, she’s on to me!

I walked down this long line of stairs! Without thinking! I forgot that I don’t do stairs! Now my mama is sure that I’ve been scamming her all these years when I made her carry me up and down.

And one time, over by one of the ponds mama thought she’d take a photo of the two of us enjoying my park. But she never did get the hang of setting the camera up. Most of the shots looked like this.

Mama doesn't move fast enough.

Mama doesn’t move fast enough.

I’ve also spent lots of time at home in my own pretty yard. Mama is getting worried that she’s already behind on the weeding, but I think the flowers are beautiful just the way they are.

I look good in blue, don't you think?

I look good in blue, don’t you think?

AND…best news of all! Mama and I got to go camping in the back yard two nights in a row! I was very very good and only barked a little (OK a lot the first night and only a little the second night) at the snorting deer that trespassed on our camp site around two a.m. each night. The second night I slept all night and never even moved around on my princess pillow!

This is MY tent and MY stuff.  Mama takes care of it for me.

This is MY tent and MY stuff. Mama takes care of it for me.

Of course I got mama up at 5:15 a.m. each morning but she doesn’t seem to mind now that she doesn’t have to go to work anymore. I love camping! She says we’re going to a real campground in May and another one somewhere up north in June! I can not wait!

And you know what else? Last night I got to go for a wonderful walk with my pal Deuce and his mom at his park! It’s in a town and there’s a creek that runs through it and there’s ducks and lots of people and oh! The wonderful smells!

Deuce and me at his park!

Deuce and me at his park!

I could hardly lift my nose from the ground anywhere, it was heaven! I walked a mile and a half and wasn’t even tired. I didn’t want to leave! Deuce was a real good host and showed me all the best spots to sniff. And his mom was so patient and let me sniff as long as I wanted. Even my own mama was pretty indulgent about it all.

I’ve been having the best time this spring so I guess it’s OK there’s one day of rain. I could probably use the rest anyway. I’m sure mama has more adventures up her sleeve, and I need to be ready!

Signing off now,

Katie.

PS: I got a little damp this morning.

The wet dog look.

The wet dog look.


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How to celebrate 60

Strong women.   Every single one of them.

Strong women. Every single one of them.

It’s certain there are about 3,500 women, mostly in this state, who are having trouble walking down stairs today. And tomorrow may be only slightly better.

If you’re not a runner you have no idea the quadricep carnage that occurred Sunday morning over in Grand Rapids the result of the Gazelle Girls half marathon and 5K, a women’s only road race. Thinking about it now, if you are a guy, this was the place to be. More than 3000 fit women dressed in running gear swarmed the city.

But that’s probably another blog.

Friends race for the finish line

Friends race for the finish line

I turned 60 on Saturday, an age I’m not too happy about. But what better way to boost my confidence, convince myself that age is just a number, that I’m not old, that it’s going to all be OK, then to run a 5K for the first time in umpteen years.

Superhero giving out high fives

Superhero giving out high fives

Many of my friends ran the half marathon (13.2 miles), but I was thrilled to be running a 5K (3.1 miles). I’ve been walking so when this race came up, a time to reconnect with many of my cyber running friends, I thought I’d throw a little jogging into the training mix and be good to go.

Superhero sees his mom coming!

Superhero sees his mom coming!

And that’s exactly what I did. I went on more walks than I might have if I wasn’t ‘training’ and I threw in some quarter miles of jogging sometimes. Maybe once a week. Or so. Surely that would be enough.

Enjoying the moment

Enjoying the moment

I didn’t carry a camera with me on my 5K race, but so many times along the route I wished I had it with me. So you’ll have to use your imagination when I tell you I followed a woman with a pink shirt that read “too inspired to be tired” most of the race. And that the shadows of a mom and her two seven year old twins followed mine. And then they caught up with me. I ran either just in front or just behind them most of the race. They were adorable. And yes… they finished before I did. Seven year olds.

Running mom into the finish line

Running mom into the finish line

You’ll have to use your imagination when I tell you many women were wearing tiaras or tutus. Or both. A majority of them were dressed in the wildly beautiful bright colors that seem to be in style these days. The shoes pounding the pavement in front of me were beautiful. I so wanted to shoot them. With a camera. Seriously. A camera.

Suddenly I was tired.  I sat on the curb and shot through the fence.

Suddenly I was tired. I sat on the curb and shot through the fence.

Pick up your feet, pick up your feet was my mantra as I kept watch of the crumbling city pavement. I’m too old, now, to fall. I could break a hip, land in a nursing home. It felt quite a bit like that’s where I should be anyway. Especially that last long uphill at the end, that final left turn toward the finish line. Pick up your feet, pick up your feet. Breath.

There was joy...

There was joy…

I went back to the hotel when I finished my race to get my camera because I couldn’t be that long without one. The photos here were taken while I was waiting for my half marathoner friends to come across the finish. There were lots of great people to watch. So many strong women. Such great family and friend support. Beautiful children excited to see their mom or sister or grandmother race by.

...there was angst.

…there was angst.

It was a wonderful way to celebrate my 60th birthday with friends who truly believe you are never old. As evidenced by our “Energizer Betty” who Sunday ran a half marathon at age 72. Who ran a marathon on her 70th birthday.

Our Betty!

Our Betty!

Who I want to be when I grow up.

Politics.  It's everywhere.  :)

Politics. It’s everywhere. :)

And there is one thing I know is true; 3.1 miles is a very long way to run. Thank goodness I didn’t have to do ten more!

Me and my water.

Me and my water.


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Grief strikes

Imoene painted Morgan, taken from her Facebook page.

Imoene painted Morgan. Photo taken from her Facebook page.


Oh Imogene.

That’s what’s running through my brain, has been ever since last night when I read the news. Oh Imogene.

I never met her, not in person. But she was my friend. Sure, there are many that knew her better, and she has family that love her even more. But people around the world considered her a friend.

I ‘met’ her many years ago when I ran across a whole bunch of people on the internet who wrote blogs from their dogs’ perspective, a group called Dogs With Blogs. Imogene wrote for her sheltie named Morgan. I loved both of them instantly.

Imogene was the kind of woman who put bright colored streaks in her hair long before it was mainstream fashionable. She took her dogs to canine Halloween parties. She described the protocol of reserving street parking with kitchen chairs during blizzards.

And last weekend she asked her Facebook friends whether she should order pizza or work on her taxes, after all her appointment with her tax guy was in two days. We all voted for pizza and later it turned out she ordered it and then stayed up all night sorting through receipts. She dropped her documents off at the tax guy’s office on Monday, but that doesn’t matter now.

She died yesterday.

Imogene died and legions of people are in shock. We aren’t ready to say goodbye to this spunky, sarcastic, witty, funny, truly lovable woman.

Oh Imogene.

Her sister says she didn’t like funerals. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t like all the attention now. The stories. The pictures. Especially the sad comments. Our tears. I’m pretty sure she’s probably all ticked off, not at us, but at the fact she had to go too soon. I hope it’s fodder for her new blog in heaven; that first post of hers is bound to be a zinger.

So…till we meet again Imogene…and I’m sure we will…I was glad to be included in your huge circle of friends. I am so going to miss you. And if you are getting a tax refund this year I hope it gets put to good use at one of your many charitable organizations. I know you’d like that.

But oh Imogene…

Taken from Imogene's Facebook page.  With her girls.

Taken from Imogene’s Facebook page. With her girls.


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It’s a Horned Lark!

In Tuesday’s post I had been walking in a local park and saw a bird I wasn’t familar with. Turns out a friend of mine knew just what it was.

A Horned Lark! From my walk earlier this week.

A Horned Lark!

I’ve never heard of such a bird; I’m beginning to realize that I’m only truly familiar with birds that come to my feeder. Last year, while camping I saw a new bird for the first time and a friend had to tell me that it was an American Redstart. I haven’t seen one since, but I hope to again this summer when I camp at the same park. Also last year, while mowing the back yard, I noticed a King bird for the first time. All of these birds are supposed to be common around here…but I’d never noticed them before. Obviously I have not been observant.

Anyway…to learn more about the Horned Lark, check out this link done by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. You can hear the sounds they make on that site too. The bird I saw was definitely singing, that’s how I noticed him at all.

So thank you Linda for letting me know what this was! Now I’ll be looking for him on my next trip to the park, and around my own backyard too.

Internet photo

Internet photo

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