Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Best of Carson

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” – Khalil Gibran

Hi there!

For many years one of the joys of spending time here at the lake was a neighboring dog named Carson. We’ve watched him grow up from a soft fluffy bundle of joyous energy …

OK, I’ll hold still for your photo lady. But be quick about it!

…to a soft fluffy sophisticated man about town of eleven.

You’ve been taking my picture for years! I just keep looking better!

Carson liked to visit everyone in the neighborhood, and he seemed to know when we were in town, showing up by the door to check in with us, sometimes meeting us at the car when we unloaded luggage. Each time he asked for an ear rub or a tummy tickle.

That’s a good spot lady!

He wouldn’t decline a treat if you happened to have one on you…

nom nom nom

…but mostly, for Carson, it was about a little loving, a little play. And the lake.

My favorite place to be – my lake!

His favorite thing to do was to walk along the shoreline, knee or chest deep in the water, hunting for those pesky minnows. When he found some he’d pounce on them and then grin.

There’s one over THERE!

All summer you could find him in the water. And year-round you could find him on a neighbor’s porch, getting some loving.

Hey Katie-girl…want to PLAY?

Katie wasn’t too sure about him visiting us. It wasn’t that she was afraid of him. But he was so big…and when he barked it was with one deep baritone WOOF! She always jumped.

She just didn’t know what to make of him, but the rest of us? We loved Carson. It didn’t matter that he didn’t belong to us, we all just loved him.

Is he still back there mama?

Carson was most famous for being the softest dog any of us had ever touched. And he smelled good. Yes he was a dog, and yes he loved to wade in the lake, the muddier the better, but he always started each day smelling good.

You still taking pictures lady?

I imaged he took a shower with his person each morning because he always used to smell like Irish Spring soap. This last week he smelled like some other shampoo, but he still smelled too pretty to be a boy.

Everybody loved Carson, the dog that smelled so good.

Sunset is my time to head for home. See you tomorrow lady!

Sadly Carson crossed the rainbow bridge this week, suddenly and without warning. I’m so glad he stopped by a couple times since I’ve been here this trip so that I got some Carson loving.

My last Carson loving.

But man. We are all so going to miss him. I look for him every time I leave the house, he was so often sitting on my porch. I look for him along the lake shore. I listen for his bark.

We’ll always remember you sweetie!

I am more than sad. But I’m trying to remember that I was lucky to know him.

Somehow it’s not enough.

Who wouldn’t love this face?



WordPress Photo Challenge: Out of this world

I suppose anything, photographed in closeup, could seem out of this world.

And as I walk the backyard here at the lake and step on the sweetgum tree seed pods I notice that many of them look like horrified alien faces.

Can you see the faces in there?

So I gather some up and set them out on the dock in order to take advantage of the late afternoon light.

Does it help if you get closer?

You can’t deny there’s someone or something out of this world hiding in there.

Would you like to see a few other out of this world images? Here, here and here are a few of my favorites so far.

What’s out of this world in your world? Share with us, we want to see!

Don’t step on these with your bare feet!


Got er done


Much better




When a screwdriver turns into a walk in the park

I’m at the lake house, enjoying the view and the weather and what appears to be spring happening all around me. But evening comes early in this part of the country and during the long dark hours I wander the house, noticing stuff that needs to be done.

Like cleaning — especially those places that aren’t automatically done during a regular visit.

So I decide that the cold air return needs to be spiffed up. I doubt it’s been cleaned in the almost fourteen years since mom and dad left us the house. It’s not something a person would normally pay attention to, but after two weeks of living here, it’s moved to the top of my to-do list.

I look at it more closely and figure I’m going to need a phillips-head screwdriver to get it off the wall. We still have dad’s workshop set up in the basement so I traipse downstairs to search.

Hmmmm….where would I find the right screwdriver?

There’s a lot to choose from, and I quickly find what should be the perfect tool.

Back up the stairs I tromp, petting Katie-girl who is waiting anxiously at the top, unsure of where her mama went. I get down on the floor to begin loosening the screws. But darn! The screws need a flat screwdriver. I don’t know what I was looking at before.

There’s one of everything here.

Shaking my head I get myself up off the floor (which isn’t all that easy these days) and stomp back down the stairs to the workshop. I put the phillips-head back in it’s appointed spot and grab a flat screwdriver.

At the top of the steps Katie waits patiently, wondering what in the world mama is doing now.

Back on the floor again I get the first three screws out; both sides and the top of the grate came out pretty easily. But the screw on the bottom, right down at the floor, is smaller. And, as I peer at it my head flush with the floor, and through my trifocals, I see that it needs a phillips-head screwdriver.

“Hey Katie,” I say, “Want to go to the park?”

Parks are good mama!


Wordless Wednesday




A missing mom kind of day turns extraordinary

I started feeling melancholy last night, laying in bed staring at the ceiling in a house she and dad built a long time ago, surrounded by some of her special things.

All day today, as I ran errands in town, I felt a certain heaviness as I drove past stores we shopped in together, past the university where she worked.

Not much going on in the sky. Yet.

Heading back to the house late in the afternoon I noticed the redbud in bloom, the delicate purple-pink flowers shining against the still bare branches of the rest of the forest. She’d have liked that.

I thought I’d take Katie to a park, sort of a reward for patiently waiting for me all day. But she wasn’t in the mood, and to be honest, neither was I. I thought I’d settle for a nap. But I was restless and sleep wouldn’t come.

A gentle circle in the grey water.

So Katie and I headed out to the dock to sit and wait for the sunset. I wasn’t expecting very much, there were only a few clouds in the sky and the last few nights haven’t been very interesting.

Still. It was nice to be sitting on the end of the dock with my feet hanging down over the water and my Katie-girl laying tight up next to me. I was still feeling sad, but it was a peaceful sort of sad.

Circles within circles.

The water was still, reflecting the sky and clouds. I smiled, and watched the water move as small minnows just touched the surface, creating gentle circles that quickly moved outward.

I couldn’t see the actual fish, just the circles appearing like magic and spreading across the water. Soon there were circles intersecting other circles.

Expanding lines intersect.

I focused on capturing those gentle patterns. Katie fell asleep beside me.

I was so intent on trying to get those circles, trying to get the light right, the focus crisp. I almost forget to check the sky. But the sun waits for no photographer; the sky was beginning to show a bit of color. And I was starting to feel a bit better.

A little bit of pink turns up for the show.

But those little fish were still making circles and I wasn’t sure I had captured the exact perfect one. So I turned the camera back to the water.

And then I realized the circles were now pink. The water was pink. Which meant the sky must be…

The circles begin to glow

I looked up. And had to hold my breath.

Katie stirred and agreed to pose with the sky. She didn’t even ask for a treat. The sky was enough.

I can’t believe how beautiful this is mama!

It’s impossible to overstate how the sky this evening picked me up. I was laughing and running up and down the beach trying to capture it all.

Katie stood on the dock and watched me with a patient look on her face. She knows her mama and she was happy that I was happy.

No words can adequately describe this.

Thanks mom, for sending me the sunset tonight. I know you were there watching me watch it. It looked like something you might have painted.

For all I know you did.




A February boat ride

Leafless trees, evergreens, mountains and clouds. Breathtaking.

February and boats don’t generally mix up where I come from, unless you’re in an ice boat skimming over a frozen lake. I’m sure that’s fun, but when I’m in a boat I’d rather worry about sunscreen than frostbite.

Saturday morning, the sun bright in a blue sky filled with puffy white clouds, was perfect for a little boat exploration.

Let’s go mama!

The boat traveled under a few bridges and then up a creek, looking for the resident eagle. It was a beautiful day, and it turns out there was a fishing competition going on. We came across several father/son teams tucked in the backwaters of the lake. We slid by them as quietly as we could.

Spending time together.

The creek narrowed, and I moved to the front of the boat looking for the eagle. Katie kept a close eye on me from the other side of the wall.

Whatcha doing mama?

This was her second boat ride ever, but she wasn’t too concerned about the engine vibration or noise. She likes being outdoors, and she’s always up for an adventure.

The creek winds through beautiful country.

Eventually we were as far as we could go up the creek. We hadn’t found the eagle, but a bit further was a low waterfall making lovely splashing noises, and more fathers and sons were fishing from kayaks. We dropped anchor to listen to the water and enjoy a biscuit breakfast.

Water running over the rocks just up there made such nice background music.

Then we turned around and slid as quietly as we could back down the creek to the larger waters of the lake. The clouds were piling up in the blue sky.

Couldn’t have had a more perfect day!

Out in the open water Captain Carl throttled up and Katie and I enjoyed the wind in our hair.

Mama! We have the same stylist!

She’s a very brave little dog and enjoyed every bit of her boat ride adventure. I did too.

Can we do this again soon mama?



Cee’s B&W photo challenge: Structure

Some of my favorite things about visiting the lake house in Alabama are the long leaf pines. Their long green needles glimmer in the Southern sun, and the pine cones littering the ground underneath are huge. After years of collecting them I now just gaze at them wistfully, wanting to add to my collection but knowing they look most beautiful in the wild.

Resting in the sunlight.

On yesterday’s walk up the mountain I couldn’t help but stop to grab an image. The structure was just perfect in the afternoon light.



How to fill the days

This is the entrance to the park. Isn’t it pretty?

Katie here. Mama says she’s getting behind and asked me to please catch everybody up. I swear. She’s only got one responsibility, to keep my subjects advised on my activities, and she can’t handle it. But I guess you, my loyal fans, deserve to see what I’ve been up to so I’ll sacrifice my nap. This time.

Maybe I should be nicer to her, cause yesterday she did take me to a very beautiful park. We visited it last year and mama took time to remember the name of the park and look up an address. She gets points for that.

Notice how things are already getting green down here?

It’s called Town Creek Park and it’s in Auburn Alabama. It’s a little park, but really pretty. We liked it a lot last year, and we explored even more this year. There’s a trail that goes off through the woods and because it was sort of hot here yesterday mama took me on that first, so that I’d have shade.

We saw some squirrels and a beautiful red bird while we were back in the woods. I didn’t chase the squirrel but mama spent a long time taking pictures of the cardinal.

Getting pine needles to make a nest? Or getting something to eat? You decide.

Then we went out and walked around the pond. There were a lot of turtles, I remember them from last year. They still seem sort of lazy, just laying around in the sun and I’m not sure what they’re good for so I mostly ignored them. Mama thought they were interesting, but she loves turtles. I don’t know why.

It’s not like you can take these guys for a walk in the woods or anything.

We were walking around the pond and enjoying the pretty sights…

Quick mama! Take the picture, there are CHILDREN coming!

…when suddenly mama noticed this group of people, mostly little kids, headed our way.

Cropped until it’s almost abstract, but notice that little blond boy out front.


Mama hauled me off of the trail and we waited for them to go by. Of course the little kids noticed me and got to us way before the adults who were on their phones realized what was going on. Especially the little blond boy who ran at me with outstretched hands. Mama was debating about picking me up as we became surrounded by curious little people.

But miracles do happen. The adults told the kids to “FREEZE!” And they did! So with mama crouching down next to me I let each child come up and pet me. I stayed very still, and after a little bit I actually leaned into some of their little hands. They said I was soft. And pretty. I thought they were very well behaved for such short people. After they left mama said I deserved an extra treat. So it turned out to be a win/win.

By the time we got home I was very sleepy so I mostly slept through the beautiful sunset we had. Mama and my Uncle and I sat out on the deck and watched the sun go down.

Sunset on Lake Martin

It made the water all pink and purple, and then it turned apricot. Mama said it was one of the most interesting sunsets she’d seen in a long time.

Such a pretty color.

Today my Uncle noticed a heron out on the neighbor’s dock. It sure was big! I didn’t think we should go out to meet it so we stayed inside and mama took it’s picture from the living room.


And they took me to the local park where we got to explore the playground cause there weren’t any short people there yet. We went early on purpose.

This is cool mama!

After lunch they left me at the house while they hiked up the mountain and climbed the fire tower.

Such a beautiful day to be high above the lake.

I tried to make them feel bad, but in reality I didn’t especially want to hike up the mountain in 85 degree (29.4C) temperatures anyway. I took a nap in the air conditioning instead. You can decide who you think made the wiser decision.

Looking for the perfect fishing spot.

SO…now you’re caught up. Except that it’s almost time for another sunset. But I figure it will look a lot like yesterday’s and the day before. You can imagine it, right? So I don’t have to stay awake any longer editing this post?

I thought so.

—Your travel guide, Katie the Princess signing off.

On the climb up the mountain.



Something pretty

Barn in hilly Kentucky on a cloudy afternoon.

As you remember, Katie wouldn’t share her blog post with me, so I haven’t been able to show you all the pretty things we saw on our trip south.

Pretty things that were not Katie.

Light hits the barn.

I hope she’s napping so she doesn’t realize I’m blogging. She gets a tad upset when it’s not all about her. But in a way, this is about her, because we stopped a lot on the way South, more than I might have without her.

Lonely cow.

We drove through some pretty country but often I couldn’t get off the freeway in the places I wanted to take pictures. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, but when I was able to leave the highway and explore a bit of back road I almost always found something good.

Rain was on the way.

I was usually searching for barns, but sometimes I ran across something else. Like an octagon shaped house. I saw the signs for it and we traveled 15 miles out of our way just to check it out. I thought maybe we’d get out of the car and wander the grounds, but there were no trespassing signs everywhere.

Would have liked to see inside.

Thankfully there was also a marker that told a little bit about the history of the house. I shot two quick photos and got the heck out of there before anyone inside could get upset.

A bit of history.

Once we finally made it to the lake there were plenty of pretty things to notice too. Like this pair of bluebirds checking out the purple martin gourds.

“I don’t know honey, it seems a bit small.”

The sun was shining our first day here, and Mr. Bluebird’s feathers shone like sapphires.

Mr. Bluebird glows.

The local grocery store, here since forever, is gone, but I thought this faded mural on the side of the store was pretty. And nostolgic.

Piggly Wiggly fades into history.

Even tree bark here is pretty!

A many colored tree.

I guess it’s true that there’s beauty no matter where you go, no matter the season. And if you’re in the South in early spring you can almost always count on something catching your eye.

Sometimes it’s hard to look away.

The end of another pretty day.