Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Wordless Wednesday




102 today

I can’t imagine what it’s like to turn 102. But I’ve been watching and I can tell you it isn’t easy. It’s not romantic and it’s not fun.

Most of all it’s lonely.

My husband’s aunt turns 102 today, though we had a little birthday party yesterday in her room. She ate a couple of bites of cake and peered at the birthday cards through faded eyes.

She was glad for the company, and we were glad to spend some time with her.

Aunt Vi and her cake.

Most of the time when you sing Happy Birthday you wish the recipient many more years, but that’s not what I wish for Aunt Vi now. For her I wish a smooth transition to her next chapter, one without fear or pain. I wish that she be allowed to drift away feeling unfettered, free of regrets, joyful in a life well lived.

And for today I wish peace to the 102 year old birthday girl.



Extension of summer, the last camping adventure

Katie here! I just have to share my end of season camping adventure!! I can’t believe that mama and I got to go so late into September!!!

(Hmmm…mama says I need to cut out the !!!!!! all the time. Not everything I say is exciting. She says. Little does she know. Ahem…)

What’s up there mama?

I’ve been telling mama that it was going to be warm this week and that we shouldn’t waste weather like this hanging around in our house. And she finally listened to me. For once. She booked us a site up at Hartwick Pines State Park, and we ended up in the exact same campsite as last year!

Mama liked the site OK, but this year what she really noticed about the park was the grasses up front as you drove in. In the evening the sun touched the seedpods on top and made the grass shine silver…

The light shines on me. As it should.

…and in the mornings the grasses looked red.

The morning light shows off my coloring, don’t you think?

Mama and I walked out there every morning and every evening just to see the light on the grass. I got sort of tired of sitting next to it in all different light, but that’s the price I pay for mama taking me camping! Apparently my role in every camping adventure, heck any adventure at all, is to be the photogenic element.

No problem mama. I’ve got that down.

We had company one afternoon — mama’s friend Gerry and her dog Sadie stopped by. We went for a walk but it was oh so hot. Mama and Gerry wanted to keep going but Sadie and I decided it was just too much so we both turned around half way down the path and pulled our mamas back to our shady campsite where I could hang out on the cool earth under the table. Sadie dug a nice cool hole to settle into while the mamas talked.

Sadie was proud of her work.

The mamas talked a long time, but Sadie and I were fine with that. Especially when treats were handed out. That’s the only time we really wanted to hang out too close to each other.

We were polite and each ate only our own treats.

Treats trump personal space in my book.

Mama tried to take me on quite a few walks down beautiful trails. She tried early in the mornings and late in the evenings.

This is probably a pretty trail mama.

She tried paved trails and pine needle covered trails. She coaxed me with treats and she tugged on my leash.

These trees make me feel small mama!

But each time I only went a little way down the trail and then I turned around and tugged her back to the car. I just didn’t want to go for a walk! And what I don’t want to do, we don’t do. It’s a rule of mine.

Evening light and me.

Mama says she doesn’t know what was going on. Maybe it was the heat, but she remembers a walk she took me on, earlier in the week, where I did the same thing. We started down a cool woodsy trail and I only went a little way and then pulled her back the way we’d come. Yes it was a hot day, but deep in the woods it was nice.

Anyway, she drove me to see a couple of beautiful lakes that we would have come to if Sadie and I hadn’t protested on our walk that day. I didn’t even want to walk down the short path to see them. Mama pulled me along, and once I was there I had fun sniffing the water.

Let’s get back in the shade mama!

I didn’t like the docks though cause they moved and made noises when we walked on them. Once we got out to the end it was OK, but I’d rather not do that again mama!

Our last evening at camp there was a big wind storm and thunder and lightening. Mama was busy trying to pack everything up before it rained, and I was busy barking. Finally the thunder got so loud mama hustled me into the car and we both waited it out in there.

We never did get any rain, and after the storm blew over we ventured out to see what was what. Of course we headed back to the front of the park where it was open so mama could see the sky. And the grass.

The world through rose colored glasses. Only I wasn’t wearing glasses!

Man, the sky was pink and the grass was bright red! Of course mama made me sit right in the middle of it. She couldn’t stop taking pictures. I was bored, but since she brought treats I figured I’d stick it out and not go on strike.

The next morning mama finished packing up our site. I was sad, but also ready to go home. It was so hot even though our site had lots of shade. I looked forward to our air conditioned house!

The end of another adventure.

After the car was packed mama took me on one last walk on a trail across the street from our site. It was wide and shady and it was the only walk that I had any enthusiasm for.

I like THIS path mama!

I would have walked further but mama played it safe and we only walked a little way down the road. It was still pretty back there and mama took a few (hundred) photos. I got a few treats and posed a little, but mostly I got to be off leash following my nose.

Maybe that’s why I was happier on this walk than all the others we tried to take. I like going at my own (mama says slow) pace. But mama wasn’t rushing me the other times either. So who knows.

The ferns were all brown. They matched me!

Mama says she’s worried because we’re going to go visit Little Ricky in a little bit and one of the best parts of visiting him and his sister Callie is going on walks with them in their parks. Mama says she hopes that I decide to participate.

I’ll think about it.

Mama says she’ll do another blog to show you all the beautiful things that she found, all those things that don’t involve me. Imagine that; something is beautiful besides me! Hard to fathom, but I guess I’ll read it. A girl can always expand her horizons.

Even a princess.

Signing off for now – Princess Katie.


When a walk doesn’t count

We walked a lot while on vacation. Most days five miles, sometimes as much as eight. Now that we’re back home I feel I should try to keep the momentum going. Plus I get a kick out of my Fitbit numbers when they’re good.

So this morning I decided to go to my favorite park and take a walk. I figured I’d do two or three miles out and then walk that same distance back to the car. The whole way around the lake used to be eight miles, back in the days when I trained for marathons out there.

Goldenrod and milkweed filled meadow.

Eight miles is a lot, and I wasn’t expecting to do that much, but in the back of my mind I kind of wanted to walk all the way around the lake. I wanted to see what had changed, what was the same. I wanted to reminisce about those days, so many years ago, when I used to do my weekly long run circling the lake in all kinds of weather.

So I figured I’d walk a couple miles and see how I felt. And after two miles I felt fine, so I figured I’d walk another mile and then decide. I knew that I should probably turn around after three. If I was smart anyway.

The bike path circles the lake through all kinds of terrain.

Logically I should stop at six because my back would start aching somewhere between miles five and six. It always does. So a sensible person would turn around at the three mile mark. Still. I really wanted to walk the whole way around the lake.

It was a beautiful sunny day, 74 degrees. The maple trees were relinquishing summer, way too soon in my mind, becoming turn-coats in bright reds and oranges. The locust and choke cherry trees were beginning to yellow too, but the oaks were standing firm in their belief that there is more summer to enjoy, their strong arms still clothed in shades of deep green.

The maples are giving up too soon!

Virginia creeper had long since turned bright red, climbing up the trunks of trees and running along the ground. The white pines were sporting yellow needles against the bright blue sky.

Creeping up the tree trunk.

Everywhere there were memories. Here’s the spot where I once sat down on a hillside next to the path and took my shoes off with more than a mile left to run. And here’s where a friend tripped over something and landed in a snowbank.

Here’s that hill that always made me stop running and walk up to the crest, and the spot where I slipped on black ice during one winter long run and fell, resulting in me limping four miles back to the car in a blizzard.

Magical morning at the lake.

There’s the boat rental place that will soon close for the season and where I keep meaning to rent a kayak and explore the lake, and there’s the peninsula where Katie and I had a picnic a couple days after my retirement two summers ago.

Over there’s the place my dad stopped to watch the carp in the pond when we were exploring the nature trails, I think of him every time I pass this way, and here’s the spot where I came across a whole passel of artists one winter, out painting the landscape on a frigid morning.

Geese behinds.

So many memories triggered by this park that I love. When I got to mile three I pondered what to do. Should I turn around? Or continue on to mile four when, by default, I’d have to walk all eight miles around the lake.

I bet you know what happened.

A little sweaty, but so much fun to see the whole lake.

And I’m glad I did…so many memories, so many pretty things. White puffy clouds, a blue sailboat. Purple asters.

Along the way I thought about Robin’s annual walk in October. She calls it Walktober and people from all over take a walk (this year anytime from October 1 to October 18.) then describe it in a blog post, linking it to Robin’s blog. Walktober makes you pay attention to the details of your walk, the better to describe it to everyone else. And it’s fun to read about everyone’s walk; each is so different but so beautiful.

Pretty in blue.

You should think about participating this year. When Robin posts about it at the beginning of October I’ll remind you. Meanwhile…think about where you’d like to take a walk. We’d sure like to go along with you.

And you know what? I forgot to put the Fitbit in my pocket! So those eight plus miles didn’t count. Sigh.

Intensely purple.


She can’t silence me people!

Katie here.

Well I never. I never! Mama and Daddy left me for almost three weeks! I was at camp and it was noisy and other dogs got all the attention! I swear no one fed me or played with me or took me outside and I was all alone!

Checking out my gardens.

Oh. You don’t believe that?

Well, OK, it wasn’t all that bad and they love me a lot there and I get to go outside a bunch, in fact they say I don’t want to come back inside when they call me. That’s cause I think I should get all the attention wherever I am, and do whatever I want, given I’m a princess. But it turns out all those other doggies are princesses and princes too! Who knew?

Hey mama! You saved me some tomatoes!


Mama finally came and got me and I told her off the entire ride home as is my right. And when I got home I told daddy off too. For hours. But then mama asked me if I wanted to go for a walk around the yard. Well yea mama!

I also told mama that none of you wanted to see her old pictures of forts and oceans and old houses and stuff. What you wanted (and I’m sure I’m right) is to see me! The Princess! Of course!! So I told her there better be lots of pictures on this blog (I can type but I don’t get the ‘insert media’ part of it. Plus I can’t decide which of my beautiful portraits should go where.) of me and she better get hopping because it’s been way too long since you’ve had the pleasure of seeing me.

And I told her she’s way behind in the camping quotient and I don’t care if it gets cold at night she better get that tent put up and it better be in an interesting place, not just my old back yard. Though on second thought the backyard might be OK, just don’t tell her that yet, I want to make her work for it.

I got to run in my yard!

I’m not vindictive, no I’m not.

Mama says daddy set the alarm clock each morning for 6:30 or 7 a.m. and she doesn’t know why. She thought she should be able to sleep in more, given it was her vacation. Well. I’m here to tell you mama, that 6:30 was sleeping in. Now that I’m back in town we’ll get right back to our normal schedule. Yep, 4:00 a.m. seems a reasonable time for a sheltie-mom to be up and at ’em.

Yes siree, I’m going to whip her back into shape. No more slacking mama!

My flowers are still pretty.

It is, after all, my responsibility as the Princess in the household to make sure my subjects are in shape.

She’ll thank me later.

Your gal Katie.


So much to show you, so little time to share

Jefferson’s haven.

As you have probably surmised, we’ve been traveling. If you’re following along on Facebook you might even know where we are today. And of course you know me. There are photos. Lots and lots and lots of photos. Many were intended to be shared with you on this blog, intended to be a day by day account of the wonderful things we’ve seen and done on this extended vacation.

Washington’s haven.

But somehow that didn’t happen, and now I’m days, even weeks behind. We’ve been to Jefferson’s Monticello and Washington’s Mount Vernon. We’ve wandered among Washington DC’s monuments and explored a few forts and climbed a lighthouse and toured a submarine and strolled an Atlantic ocean beach and walked over three miles along the cliffs of Newport. Just yesterday we explored five golden age mansions and ended our day with another lighthouse.

He had a dream.

What should I share with you? I’ve sorted the mansion photos and I could just catch you all up by starting there, but that’s going to be a long blog and I might do better to put it together when I get home, when I have more time, faster internet, when I’m not packing the suitcase to head for the next adventure.

A light in the haze.

So I’ll leave you with just a taste of everything. And even then it was hard to choose which images to share. I picked them randomly from little thumbnails. Nothing is edited, they’re just the way the camera saw things. No time for messing around, we’re headed out this morning for somewhere new.

Stay tuned. I promise to show you a tiny bit of those mansions someday soon. If Katie allows it anyway.

Submarine history tour