Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Watch those treats mama!

Hey mama!  I'm stuck behind this big log!

Hey mama! I’m stuck behind this big log!

Katie here.  Those of you that live around here are probably noticing that spring has arrived!  Oh I know sometimes we still get a snow flake or two, but all in all stuff is really beginning to green up and some people even have gardens that are blooming already!

My mama says she doesn’t know how this happened.  She didn’t notice the willow trees turning yellow before they popped out in green buds, and she didn’t see her goldfinches when they were green with gold tufts of new feathers.  She says suddenly the grass was green, the willows were green, and the birds were gold!  She doesn’t understand how she missed all this.

I do.

She works too much.  It’s hard to notice stuff like trees and birds when you go to work in the dark and come home at dusk.  I’d say it’s even hard to notice things like a princess.  Who is sitting right by her feet.  Holding a pink pig in case she wants to play.

Or anything.

So I look forward to the weekends, because then, sometimes, if I’m lucky, my mama will take me to the park.  Like she did today.  Of course she wanted to take some silly pictures.  Honestly mama…don’t you have enough photos of beautiful me sitting beside grasses at the park?

Got anything good over there mama?

Got anything good over there mama?

Today she liked the way the sky looked and she was trying to get me and the grasses and the sky.  But she couldn’t get me to look at her.

I have a new rule about having my picture taken, but don’t tell her.

When she gets out that stupid camera and makes me sit I do.  But I look the other way.  And when she calls my name I look at her for a split second and then I look the other other way.  Even when there’s really nothing over there that interests me.  I do this a lot until she gets really frustrated and just takes the picture anyway.  She has to be really fast to get one of me looking at her.  It’s my little way of letting her know who’s boss.

Not going to look at you Mama.

Not going to look at you Mama.

We all know who’s boss.  Right?

So anyway, today she thought she’d trick me and she pulled a plastic bag of treats out of her pocket and she’s squatted down trying to take a picture of me with the sky and she was waving the bag of treats around and I’m focused on the ground just next to her and I won’t look at her and she can’t figure out why until I stand up and she stops looking through the camera and says “STAY!” in her school voice, so I do, and she gets the shot and then she stands up and says “come!” and I do and then I start scarfing up all the treats that had been flung out of the plastic bag all around her.

Ha ha ha ha mama!  See?  I am such a good girl!  Even though there were treats flying everywhere I stayed until you said come!  But I wasn’t really interested in looking at you when there were all these great treats lying all over!

My cover girl shot.

My cover girl shot.

Mama.  Sometimes she’s not very perceptive.  But I love her anyway.

Especially on the weekends.

Can't we just go for a walk mama?

Can’t we just go for a walk mama?



Early morning musings

Katie is excited because it’s the weekend.  Me?  Not so much; it’s just another work day for me.  So when she wakes me up extra special early, even for a work day, I roll out of bed.  The sooner I get to work the sooner, in theory, I can come home.

My mind wanders as I get ready for work in the darkened house, Katie gone back to sleep on a rug in the bathroom.

Did you know that it is possible to fall asleep in the shower?  That’s why they invented those benches.  Far better, I’ve found, to sit down than fall down.

And when did it get so hard to put on socks?  I remember standing in the middle of a room on one foot, tugging a sock onto the other without thought.  Now I have to place my foot firmly on the floor and lean on the bathroom counter to get a sock on.  Better that I sit down for this too.

And wandering out to the living room, turning the TV on to watch the news as I eat my whole grain cereal I notice the traffic reporter is excited.  About what I wonder, thinking of my commute.  Turns out she’s excited because there are no traffic backups.  Of course not.  It’s 4:30 a.m.   And I wonder why all traffic reporters are young, blond, thin and so very chipper?

And what’s with the weather guy?  Do I need a countdown on how many minutes until the sun comes up?  Who really needs to know this?

Maybe I’m just grumpy that it’s Saturday and I’m making a peanut butter sandwich to take to work.  The better to avoid those vending machines that call my name when I’m frustrated.

No more delay.  I’ve shared my snarkiness with you.

Off to conquer my emails.




To love a dog

Social media.  Who knew way back in 2006 when I first started blogging that I’d meet so many people.  Who knew when I stumbled across a blog about an agility dog down in North Carolina that one blog would lead me to other dogs with blogs, and their wonderful owners.

The years slid by with warp speed and, inevitably, some of my favorite dogs have grown old and ill or suddenly (at least to me) moved on to their next adventures on the other side.  So many dogs.

I was thinking about some of them this weekend as my friend Ellen struggles with the terminal cancer of her second ‘Merle Girl’ Boost.  She lost her Tika just last month and now faces the loss of another sweetie.

It’s almost too much to bear, and they aren’t even my dogs.

Tika in 2011

Tika in 2011

I was lucky enough to meet the three of them a couple of years ago.  We even got to go for a walk and I felt honored to hold Tika’s leash while Ellen took some photographs.  After reading about them for so many years I felt like I was in the company of celebrities.

Boost plays with her leash in 2011.

Boost plays with her leash

And now hearing the tragic results of Boost’s tests my heart breaks for Ellen.

I think back to all the great dogs I’ve been lucky enough to get to know, even a little bit, here on the internet.  Sarah’s Misty; I cried all day the morning I read she had been set free.  Most of you remember Honey the Great Dane who danced with her mom at competitions and how sad we were when she had to go.  Eva’s mother Hana who left Eva when she was just a puppy, way too soon, and Dog Dad’s Deacon and Essex  the collies who had to go early as well.   And of course recently Katie’s Maizey and Debi’s Norwood.  Heartbreaking, all of it.

There are more, so many more, and all of these losses make me very sad — but the sadness never cancels out the joyous fun of knowing them in the first place.  And as Ellen herself said many years ago, if you hang out in a world filled with people and their dogs you’re going to face heartbreak.  But she says, and I agree, it’s worth it.

Katie the sheltie-girl puts it succinctly.   “We are only promised today, mama, let’s go to the park!”


Sharing my park with all of you.

Sharing my park with all of you.

Good advice sweetie.  And while we’re there we’ll take a moment to send good thoughts out to Ellen and her Boost.

Ellen and her Merl Girls

Ellen and her Merle Girls


WordPress photo challenge: Early Bird

This photo challenge was supposed to be about getting out at dawn and finding something spectacular to photograph, something that glows in the early light or floats magically in early fog.

That’s all well and good, but in our household Early Bird can only mean one thing.

I love mornings mama!

I love mornings mama!

Here she is after this morning’s walk through dew covered grass, sitting in the morning glow.  Yep, she’s the one responsible for me catching many beautiful early morning shots.

What does Early Bird mean to you and your family?  Share a photo or two of your world as the sun comes up.

You can see all the posted responses that have come in so far here at the original post.  Or check out a few of my favorites here, here and here.

Mornings.  Gotta love my early bird Katie-girl.

Stepping out with mama.

Stepping out with my girl.


WordPress Photo Challenge: Afloat

After a long week of work visiting my favorite park keeps me afloat.

Imported Photos 00526

You can see other interpretations of ‘afloat’ at the original post.  Or see a few of my favorites here, here and here.  I like this one too.  And this.

OK.  I have to stop now.  But this one made me giggle.

Care to share what floats your boat?  This challenge lasts till next Friday.  Let’s see what’s floating near you!




Saturday morning light

Weekend possibilities are endless.

Weekend possibilities are endless.

Saturday morning, early because some short furry member of the household insisted that I get up before 5 a.m., I am puttering around trying not to feel grumpy and tired.  But I am grumpy and tired.  Said furry member of the family has long since gone back to sleep when I notice the sun tipping the tops of the trees out back.

Happy light.

Happy light.

I hurry her awake and we go outside, slipping on the frosty deck and almost falling, but feeling decidedly less grumpy.  I take a few shots of sun on birch.  Katie stands hopefully in her kennel.

Hey mama!  Can I stay outside?

Hey mama! Can I stay outside?

And then I notice this:

Imported Photos 00457_edited-1

Two sandhill cranes flying silently across the sky.  Amazing.  And I would have missed it if someone hadn’t insisted I get up.

I forgive her.

Told you mama!

Told you mama!


Need an adventure

Hey Mama!

Hey Mama!

Katie here.  Mama’s busy working on that truck stuff so I figured I could get a little blog in while she wasn’t looking.  Shouldn’t be hard, she doesn’t pay attention to me much anyway.  She works works works and then she comes home all tired and stuff and doesn’t want to play with my pig or my cow or my elephant.  I bring them to her and she doesn’t even realize until my dad tells her that I want to play.  Good thing he’s around to make sure I get the attention a princess deserves.

I really want to go on an adventure with my mama, but all she will say is not now baby.  Maybe the weekend baby.  It’s almost summer baby and then we’ll go camping.  Sure mama.   Whatever.

So for now I just focus on doing my job.  I let my mama know when it’s 9 at night and time to go to bed.  I start huffing at her at exactly 8:48.  I have to start early because, as I’ve said, she’s not paying much attention to me.  I keep huffing and stomping my feet and if that doesn’t work I poke her really hard.  That usually gets her attention.  Then she checks the time and is usually grateful that I’ve reminded her to go to bed.

Once she gets settled in for the night I vigilantly watch over her for about 4 seconds and then I crash myself.  My mama’s a big girl, she can sleep without me checking on her.  Plus I need to get my beauty sleep you know.

Then sometime between 5 a.m. and 5:02 a.m. I make sure she’s up!  Oh yes, I know her alarm isn’t set to go off until 6, but I’m saving her the stress of having to hurry in the morning.  I can’t remember the last time that silly alarm even had to go off.  She doesn’t need it.  She has me!

As soon as I’m sure she’s wide awake, (sometimes I have to bark at her quite a bit to get her fully awake, and I find a good walk in the rain helps too), I go to my favorite spot, curl up and go to sleep.  That way my mama can get ready for work without any interference from me.  I’m thoughtful like that.

So anyway.  Don’t you think she should reward me for all my hard work and take me somewhere fun?  Soon?  I think it would do us both good.

Yes I do.

Pay attention Mama!

Pay attention Mama!



A message to the Secretary

I woke up this morning thinking about my dad, probably because of an article I read yesterday.  It’s so much like our own story, and the stories of thousands of other families.

Many of you know about my dad, but some of you are new readers.   And as I haven’t had the opportunity to meet the new Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Fox, yet I thought I’d share my story in a letter to him.

Mr. Secretary:

My dad was driving to the Atlanta airport early in the morning of December 23rd, 2004.  He was planning on spending the holiday with my sister in New Jersey because most of us couldn’t get home for Christmas that year.  Mom had died unexpectedly in July and we didn’t want him to be alone.

On Interstate 85, just past the Georgia line, he came upon an accident.  Police and other emergency vehicles were already there, lights flashing.  Traffic slowed.  There was a car behind Dad who saw, in their mirrors, the semi bearing down.  They drove into the median to avoid the crash, but dad didn’t have a chance.  He was driving 14 miles per hour when he was hit and pushed into the semi in front of him by a 80,000 pound vehicle that was on cruise control going 65 miles per hour.

Dad was partially ejected through the back passenger window even though he was wearing his seat belt.  We saw the car, what was left of it, later that week when we went to the junk yard to retrieve his Christmas presents for my sister, still inside his luggage, in the crushed trunk.  There was blood everywhere, but a particularly long wide stain running down the inside of the back seat door held my attention.

The image shocks you doesn’t it.

I don’t mince words any more Mr. Secretary, don’t shield people from the horror, especially not people who can do something constructive.  It’s been ten years and I’ve had plenty of hand holding comfort.  I don’t need more of that.

Four thousand people die in truck related crashes every year.  Not all of them are the fault of the truck driver.  But there are many tired and distracted semi drivers on the roads because the laws let them drive more hours than are safely possible and because many companies push their drivers to do even more.  Most of these people die as individuals, in crashes that don’t gain press.  They die one by one, two by two, across the country and no one pays attention.

Except the families.  Sixty-three year old Walter Manz, who died this week in a crash that sounds just like my dad’s, won’t be remembered by the President or his Governor, or even his local Mayor.  He won’t make the CNN news loop, his family won’t be interviewed by Anderson Cooper.   He’s just one more person lost for no reason.

But his family will be forever changed.

So while we appreciate you meeting with us and listening to our stories here’s what we really need Mr. Secretary.  We need more than warm support and kind words.  We need more than hugs and tears.

We need you to stand up for safety.

Stand up and work with us to make the transportation industry safer for all of us.  Not just the folks in the four wheel vehicles, but for the professional drivers as well.  Because for every family that is devastated by the loss of loved ones there’s a driver that is emotionally devastated as well.

We can make a difference.  We can make the roads safer.  We just need everyone, and especially you Mr. Secretary, to work together toward a mutually satisfying compromise that will save lives.  Make safety your legacy.  Be remembered as the Secretary that put safety first.

Safety over profits.  Has a sort of ring to it doesn’t it.

Thank you for listening.


Dawn Badger King

Bill Badger’s daughter.


Daddy and me

Daddy and me



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