Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Wordless Wednesday

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Surprise visitors

It’s been a weather roller coaster here in lower Michigan. We’ve had record breaking cold, with temperatures well below zero (-17.77 C) and lots of blowing snow. Then this week we had one glorious warm day with temps topping 50 (10 C) followed the next day by plummeting temperatures and more snow.

Crazy, but not unusual.

During one of the cold days, in between snow showers, Katie and I ventured out for a walk up the road. I was attempting to get her to hurry up while she looked for pee-mail from all her doggy friends when I heard a chirping from a tall spruce tree nearby. It didn’t sound familiar, so I searched the tree, trying to see what was making the noise.

Much to my amazement a pair of birds shot out of the tree, chased each other over my head, and then disappeared across the street. I wasn’t even sure what I had seen, but they sure looked like bluebirds. I’d heard that sometimes bluebirds overwintered around here, but I’d never seen proof before.

Hmmmm….interesting. But maybe just a fluke. Or maybe I didn’t really see bluebirds at all.

Yesterday afternoon husband glanced out the kitchen window and exclaimed “bluebirds!!” Out on our heated birdbath were two of them, all puffed up against the cold, taking their time while sipping their beverage of choice.

By the time I got the camera there was just one, and I had a dirty window and a screen between me and a clear shot. Still. How could I resist? I only had one shutter click before he flew away, and it was very very underexposed against the brightness of the snow. The original image is just about black.

Artsy

I call this my impressionistic bluebird.

Today we have sunshine, though it’s still very cold. Katie and I were looking out the back window, debating whether to go out and play in the snow when I saw a chunky bird fly toward the house. It swooped in toward the deck, but I couldn’t see where he landed because the blinds were down on that side of the room. Darn! It looked like a very fat bluebird!

I crept around the corner of the room to a door with open blinds. There were three bluebirds sitting on the heated birdbath! Again I had to shoot through the dirty glass and a screen door. And the light was a problem too.

Drink up little guys!

Still, what joy to see bluebirds on this cold winter day!

I sat and watched them drink and chatter to each other for a long time. And then they flew off — looking for lunch I suppose.

Come back anytime!

I guess I’m going to have to figure out what they eat and make sure I have some of that here for them, since obviously they plan on sticking around for awhile at our hot springs bird spa extraordinaire.

May a bluebird of happiness fly into your world this winter weekend, and may you be lucky enough to notice!

Everybody’s welcome here.


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WordPress Photo Challenge: Weathered

On this dreary winter day I went out to find something weathered. Sure I had stuff in archives somewhere, weathered is one of my favorite things. But I needed something to get me out of the house, yet not take me too far from home.

You know I was expecting a barn, but was hoping for something different.

And I got it.

I was on a road I’ve never traveled before, just a fluke that I came across this house. And I made it home in time to make dinner.

Win/win.

Here are a couple of other interpretations of weathered. You can find all of them at the first link above.


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Christmas music magic


The holidays are long gone, people are taking down lights and trees, putting away ornaments and tinsel and prized family heirlooms. Our community band’s holiday concert was way back on December 20th, barely a memory now. Up here in Michigan we’re hunkering down for the long cold winter, with not a lot to lighten the mood.

Unless you’re me.

You see, Tuesday evening the band’s sound engineer gave me my copy of the CD recorded at that Christmas concert. And today as I ran errands I listened to the music for the first time. Magic. This afternoon I drove much further and longer than I needed to in order to listen to the entire concert.

Twice.

And I’m still smiling

So thank you to the Clarkston Community Band for making such beautiful music, and thanks to Marshall for making CDs for us. And thanks to Shelley for choosing the program and directing it, and for inspiring us to do the very best we can.

This winter, if I need a pick-me-up, I know just what to do. I’ll put that Christmas CD in the player and take myself for a long ride.

May the spirit of Christmas keep you warm and happy until the spring sun comes back this way to brighten your days!


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Katie’s fashion statement

The latest style in boots.

Katie here.

My mama travels too much and she hardly ever takes me! Doesn’t she know it’s all about me? I try to remind her every single waking moment (and some that aren’t waking!) of every single day.

My mama is not listening to me.

Why, she was gone (without me!) almost the whole month of December! She was gone for Christmas! And she slept through New Years Eve. I tell you, mama is no fun.

So now that she’s home she says it’s too cold to go out and have an adventure. She says maybe we’ll go tomorrow.

I don’t even know what a tomorrow is.

But one thing my mama did do for me this week was take me to a store and buy me boots! I was so excited to be out doing something that I wiggle-butted all over the store and could hardly stand still when she asked me to stand on the measure my foot thingy.

I’ll model my new boots for you.

Good thing I’ve had like over ten years of school because I finally realized she was saying “KATIE! Stand stay!!” So I did, and we picked out the perfect sized boots for me.

But then she put them on me! OH DOG! That was an ordeal! The first time she had some upside down and she didn’t make the velcro tight enough and I took two high kicking steps and threw them right off of my feet.

Then I stood and looked at her and dared her to try again.

Mama went and sat down to think about things. And she went online and asked a bunch of you guys for advice. Good thing too because sometimes mama doesn’t think things through very well on her own.

Anyway, the next time she tried to put those boots on she had my dad help. One of them held me and the other put the boots on and cinched them up real tight.

I did not like the boots! I walked around trying to kick them off. Mama and daddy laughed at me. I was humiliated. I put my head down and tried to look miserable but then daddy asked if I wanted to go outside.

OUTSIDE??

Well of course I wanted to go outside! I love outside! I love the cold! I love the snow! I love everything about outside!

I’ll wait for you up here mama.

So we went out and I forgot all about the silly boots and I pranced down to the mailbox with my dad. I was so happy! Then we went to my pee room (daddy shovels out a special place for me to do my business because the snow is too deep right now.) and I did my stuff pretty fast and then I pranced inside and mama helped me get the boots off and everybody was happy and I got a treat!

HA!

Now I have this whole boot thing figured out. Sometimes I forget that I like them, and I do a back foot high kick right at first but most of the time I let mama or daddy put them on with no objection and I wait patiently by the door, all four boots locked and loaded, while they put on their coats and hats and gloves and boots. It takes them a lot longer to get ready than it takes me. Mama and daddy are super slow.

So now I think we should be able to go for an adventure, right? But mama says it’s still too cold to be outside very long. I have to agree. This morning she filled the birdfeeder and I waited for her on the deck. She took forever and I finally went back to the door and barked to be let in.

Did I tell you that mama’s super slow? Sigh.

She says maybe tomorrow we’ll go to the park. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Stay warm everybody. And if your toes are cold have your mama take you to a store to buy you some boots! I’m sure you’ll look as stylish as I do!

Talk later….your fashionista girl Katie.

Standing on the deck is not all that exciting mama!


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It’s a new year, what will be different?

More snow on it’s way.

I feel stuck. Which seems wrong, somehow, here at the beginning of a new year, when everything is supposed to be a fresh start to something new.

I still have photos left from my recent trip north, where, even though it snowed every single day, I still got out a little bit.

Ice, snow and water.

Two years ago I was up there and the weather was so much better. I was out and about hiking through woods and along the beach. This year I was lucky to get out one of the 6 days I was there.

Making more ice.

I am reluctant to fill this blog post with the remaining pictures from my trip up there because it feels like I should be showing you something new and fresh.

Changing weather out there.

Not more snow and ice and wind and bad weather. But I don’t have anything new and fresh. I don’t have anything to talk about but weather and the few moments of sun we have between cold fronts and snow squalls.

Lake volcanoes were everywhere.

Katie, on the other hand, has plenty to say and if I don’t start blogging again she has threatened to take over and do it for me.

Waiting for spring. Me too.

And, she says, it might not be exactly what I’d have said if I were her.

Stay safe and warm as we face the latest series of storms.

Snow crusted.


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Birds!

It’s been cold up here and I’ve been hibernating in the house. The day before yesterday we finally got to double digit temperatures (Fahrenheit and above zero!). Sitting on the sofa, camera by my side I was watching the lake when this big guy stopped by to look for lunch.

I got to see him run up and down the tree, then fly past my window. He was really cool in flight, maybe someday I’ll catch that too.

And yesterday on a walk down the street I got only two driveways away when I heard a soft chirping. I looked up and saw this:

A whole flock of something. Can you guess? Does this help?

Yes you are correct! A huge flock of cedar wax wings! Those in the tree were resting after a big lunch. Lunch was a buffet on a tree full of red berries.

I cropped the heck out of that shot, and I liked the artsy form it took on when I tried to get the bird’s colors to show.

I think I saw a bald eagle when I was out too, but it was way too far away for me to be sure. I’ll be here another day, and I’ve seen them fly down the shore before, so you never know.

Stay tuned.


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Chilly Tourist

Thursday the snow slowed a bit and someone plowed the driveway. I took the opportunity to go to town with groceries and visiting in mind.

But before I got to town I had to stop and grab this barn with the dark clouds.

There’s a storm brewing over there.

And this orchard with the rope of clouds above it.

Striking clouds that morning.

Once in town I stopped by Dog Ears Bookstore to visit with owner Sarah and her person Pamela.

Queen of all she surveys.

We chatted for awhile and then I got brave and drove eleven miles over curving hilly snow covered roads to Leland where I spent a few bone chilling minutes wandering historic Fishtown

Cold and lonely.

I don’t know what the temperature was, but with the wind blowing I know it was below zero.

Snowy fish.

I’d see something interesting, take off the gloves, shoot the image, and put those gloves back on while stowing the camera under my coat as fast as I could.

Icy cold.

I didn’t stay very long. This town is definitely a tourist destination, though there were plenty of locals out and about. They didn’t seem that cold.

Crazy cold.

Along the way home I saw a few interesting things that made me pull over and attempt a capture.

The snow is starting back up again.

I was only out there a couple of hours, but by the time I got back to the house I was glad to look at the view from the sofa.

There’s a lot of color out there.

And I was grateful for the little lap warmer named Lydia too.

Pet me!


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Every day is different

Sometime in the middle of the night I woke to the absence of sound. I smiled as I realized that the wind had died down and the lake had stopped it’s incessant pounding. The quiet lulled me back to sleep.

This morning the bands of lake effect snow drift across the lake toward the house. I watch them like I used to watch rain on the lake where I grew up. The snow dances like fog out along the horizon and then moves closer until my entire view is obscured. And then, just as quickly it is gone.

More snow on the way.

Yesterday ice began to push against the shore. Today there is an even wider band of ice on the beach, and large pies of ice floating free in the slow rocking waves further out.

Cold.

And, today, in between bands of snow I spotted my first freighter headed north.

See that ship out there?

For a brief moment the snow abated and the colors of the lake, though muted, began to glow.

Catch the light when you can.

And then the snow closed in again, the vignette disappeared, and I headed back up to the house.

Another day of beautiful blues.