Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Busy Princess reports in

Hi all. Princess Katie here. I’ve been way too busy to blog, but mama says I need to keep up with my responsibilities so I’ll give you the short version of what I’ve been up to lately.

As you all know I visited Reilly last month…and then I went over to my lake house for a few weeks, and then my daddy came down to join mama and me and we visited my Aunt and Uncle for a few days.

Me and my guy Reilly!

So…then instead of going home we went back to Florida and I got to spend five more days with my intended Reilly and his brother Denny and their mom! Wow!

Five whole days of running on the beach…

I love running on my beach!

…and walking through the jungle!

It’s a jungle in here!

Mama and daddy and Reilly’s mom went off and looked at forts and zoos and lighthouses and such too…but that’s not important. What is best about this time is I got to spend it with my guy.

One morning we all got up early and went out to the beach to watch the sun rise. I got to run around and mama took pictures of stupid birds. There were some flying really low to the water with their beaks open. Mama thought they were really neat.

Skimmer birds.

And some just stood around a lot. I thought those were much more interesting.

Nobody was out there that early so I got to run a whole lot. I loved running free on the beach!

There was a cool breeze, perfect for a sheltie-princess!

And then another day we went out in the evening when it got cool and played on the beach some more. We watched some big ships go out to sea. I barked at them, as is my right as a Princess.

Watching the ships go out to sea.

Mostly though the three of us hung around waiting for our folks to stop taking pictures of the ships from the seawall.

Whatcha doing up there people?

I don’t know why they were interested in the ships more than us. We three were adorable.

Mama and I ran on the beach again too, until she tried to trick me by running close to where the tide was going out and the sand was really wet. I don’t like getting my feet wet mama! I went and walked with my daddy after that.

Sadly we had to leave, so we drove across a beautiful bridge and headed north.

Mama’s artsy-fartsy bridge image.

But, lucky me, we got to stop along the way and spend a few hours with a friend of mama and daddy’s. She has two beagles! Wow! More doggie friends for me to hang out with!

Me and my new friends!

We all got along just great and we got to go for a long walk.

This has been the best adventure ever, but I think I’m ready to head home now. This hotel living can wear on a girl you know.

This is the good life!

And even a princess needs to return to her castle once in awhile.

Your gal Katie.


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Meandering

Headed out for a day on the lake.


Retirement. What a gift! Here Katie girl and I are wandering without time constraints or obligations.

We’re visiting family…

Riding the waves.

…sleeping in.

Good morning!

Taking lots of pictures of nothing much in particular.

Evening light on azalea.

Exploring places we’ve been many times, and other places we never knew existed.

Morning glow.

We’re watching the weather up north, trying to figure out when we might go home again. There doesn’t seem to be an urgency.

Dangerous dive bombing mockingbird.

Especially when we watch the weather patterns slide across the country full of snow and rain.

Might have to snuggle down here in the South for a bit longer.

Condo living.


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Pictures for my mom

My mom was an artist, she painted and crafted, and back when we were kids she ran a ceramics store and tried to instill in her students bravery to try new things.

I’ve often thought of her during this trip. I’ll shoot something and automatically think ‘mom will like that one.’ Most of these images don’t make it into a blog, because they’re not part of a story. These are just individual shots, not related to each other, that I liked.

Turns out there’s quite a few.

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You’ll notice there’s not a single shot of Katie-girl, and that’s intentional. She gets plenty of blog time, and though she’s certainly beautiful this time it’s all about other pretty things.

I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them. Though that would be hard to do, because I really really enjoyed being in the moment and capturing these beautiful places and things.

And after all, since mom was right there with me, I guess she’s already seen them. That makes me smile.


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And then there was the eagle

Headed up the river.

Headed up the river.

While we were on our boat ride yesterday, traveling up the river into the wilder part of town, we came across an eagle. It would have been a great photo…the sun was behind us, shining on him. But by the time we realized he was there he had flown off behind the trees. I only saw a bit of his white behind before he disappeared into the pines.

So I focused on shooting other pretty things.

I'll just wait over here while you go by.

I’ll just wait over here while you go by.

But on our way back down the river I was ready for him. Sort of. The sun would be behind him, I figured I’d get a silhouette at best. Still I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try.

We puttered down the river, I could see him far far away in the top of his favorite tree. Just a spot really. I took a few shots.

See that black dot up in that tree?

See that black dot up in that tree?

He let us get closer, closer. I continued to shoot. His back was to us and he turned his head to watch us approach.

What are you people looking at?

What are you people looking at?

He let us get nearly under him before he rose up from his perch and majestically flew behind the trees.

You're bugging me people, I"m outta here!

You’re bugging me people, I”m outta here!

He was magnificent!

Bet you guys wish you could fly like this!

Bet you guys wish you could fly like this!

The light still wasn’t great. And he was pretty much a shadow. But boy oh boy.

An American icon.

An American icon.

Just look at him.


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Walktober

Time to go for a walk!

Time to go for a walk!


It was a beautiful Monday morning when I drove to my favorite park, intent on capturing my “Walktober.” Every year I do Robin’s walk, and every year I think I want to do it out at Kensington Metro Park. But this was the first year I actually got out there.

Let's start out here, shall we?

Let’s start out here, shall we?

Have a seat. It was so beautiful that I couldn’t stop capturing images. And then how could I choose only a few? So this is going to get kind of long. You can skim if you want, or take your time and meander along with me.

Whatcha doing lady?

Whatcha doing lady?

That’s the benefit of heading out on a Walktober….there’s no real definition and you get to do whatever suites you best.

So here we go.

Back in the woods the trees were still mostly green, but there was a bit of red if you looked.

Standing out in all that green.

Standing out in all that green.

On the entire walk the sun and I were racing each other; big puffy clouds kept obstructing the light. I’d see an image and get all set up and then the sun would go under a cloud.

So I’d wait.

A touch of sunlight made things glow.

A touch of sunlight made things glow.

Inevitably the sun would peak out again, though sometimes only for a moment. I had to act fast.

Golden light.

Golden light.

Along the way there was a lot of detail to notice too. Like this fungus on the ends of a tree that had fallen…

Orange woodland ruffles.

Orange woodland ruffles.

…and the first of the bittersweet berries beginning to ripen.

Berries glow.

Berries glow.

This is the park where the little birds like to be fed. And even though there are signs not to feed the wildlife it’s hard to resist when they fly down and hover in front of your face hopefully.

What did you bring me lady?

What did you bring me lady?

This time I got really lucky. I’ve had chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers land on my hand before, but never a nuthatch. They’ve always hovered around, wanting to get something, but a little too scared. Not today!

I decided to trust you!

I decided to trust you!

At one point I dropped the rest of the seed in my hand onto the path and walked away. The little birds flew in to finish it off. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this guy swoop up to a branch overhead.

Looks like dinner down there!

Looks like dinner down there!

“Oh no you don’t,” I said. I marched myself right back there and waited until the little birds finished off the seed. Disappointed, Mr. Hawk flew off to find lunch somewhere else. Darned if I was going to present my birds to him for a meal!

A little way further up the path I came upon a clearing.

Inviting place to sit and think.

Inviting place to sit and think.

This land was donated to the park by the estate of George and Virginia Danz in 1997. It was the site of their summer cabin. It’s just beautiful and I sent them up a silent thank you.

It was such a beautiful day for a walk. As I came to intersections on the path I always took the one that sent me further away from the parking lot. I didn’t want to stop!

Pretty no matter which way I went!

Pretty no matter which way I went!

The path wandered in and out of the woods, along wetlands, and groves of ceder. The sun poked it’s way into the deep reaches of the woods. The birds sang. I didn’t see anyone else out there until I got back almost to the parking lot.

Enticing me to go further.

Enticing me to go further.

It just kept getting better and better.

Red pops.

Red pops.

I’m sure there’s a story about this old farm implement that was sitting way out there. All of this land used to be farm so maybe this was from the original owners. Or maybe it was put there to tell a story. Guess we’ll have to come up with one on our own.

Lost in the woods.

Lost in the woods.

There was something fun no matter where I looked.

You looking at me?

You looking at me?

Eventually I had to stop, so I headed back toward the car. Of course there was one last photo…and then another…

More color across the way.

More color across the way.

…and when I finally got back to the parking lot these two guys were waiting for me. Silly birds, they’re supposed to be heading south by now.

Is it time to leave already?

Is it time to leave already?

But I’m glad I got to see them up close and wish them safe travels.

I had such a wonderful time on this year’s Walktober. Thank you Robin for organizing this every year! You make me get out and take a walk!

Peachy.

Peachy.

And for all of you readers out there, there’s still time for you to go on your own Walktober. Take a walk. Urban. Country. Somewhere in between. Take a few pictures (you don’t have to go overboard like I did!!!) and link to Robin’s blog, or just comment in her blog, and she’ll organize it all at the end. The timeframe is from October 15 through the 23rd, with blog posts due by October 25. But she’ll stretch the timing for you if you need a few more days.

I’d love to see what you see in your worlds as you walk! Share with us!

Golden.

Golden.


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Rolling down the river

I arrived in the South on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday my brother, sister and I kayaked down the Chattahoochee River for several hours. What a fun trip!

Floating on the gentle river waters.

Floating on the gentle river waters.

I’ve thought for a long time that I’d like to have a kayak. I’d even toyed with looking for one to buy while I’m down here to store at the house and use during trips to the lake.

Such form there!

Such form there!

My brother has a friend that rents them, so he arranged to pick up three of them just because I was here. We packed some fruit and water in a little cooler and headed out to the river! It was a beautiful day.

Beautiful day.  Beautiful river.

Beautiful day. Beautiful river.

We didn’t go a long distance, we took a relaxing float down the river, and only had to maneuver between rocks a few times. It was a good time for me to try different kayaks in an attempt to decide what kind I might want to buy.

Taking a little snack break.

Taking a little snack break.

I can’t claim to be an expert kayak paddler. We had a few bumps, even in such a wide river. And I ended up with blisters on both hands. But it was so much fun!

uh oh!

uh oh!

And so relaxing! There’s a spot where the river gets narrowed between the rocks and the current is faster. It’s a great spot for a break and a little cooling off float. We floated down and then walked back up the rocks and floated down again.

Floating our cares away.

Floating our cares away.

Could have done that all day!

We saw lots of cool stuff along the way. A great blue heron, several osprey, kingfishers, and lots of other little birds we couldn’t identify. Turtles too, sunning on logs as we went by.

Mr. Blue watched us slide by.

Mr. Blue watched us slide by.

So I’m sending thanks to my brother who arranged for the boats, and to his friend who lent them to us. And to my sister for coming along taking all the pictures of me!

Can't get more fun than this.

Can’t get more fun than this.

The family weekend continues tomorrow and Sunday. I’m a lucky retiree. Yes I am.

Smile, you're RETIRED!

Smile, you’re RETIRED!


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Nothing to do

Remember when you were a kid how you’d hound your mom (or dad) during summer vacations about having nothing to do? And no matter what was suggested it wasn’t what you wanted. Even though you couldn’t exactly say just what that was.

Retirement can be sort of like that. Or not.

Checking out the buffet.

Checking out the buffet.

Katie and I have been camping in the back yard the last couple of nights. This morning, with a thunderstorm in the forecast, I went out to pack the tent up. I was feeling privileged that it was 7:30 on a Monday morning and I wasn’t sitting in commuter traffic on the freeway. The neighborhood was quiet, sun shining softly on the leaves, only the sounds of the birds to interrupt my wandering thoughts.

Got any jelly there lady?

Got any jelly there lady?

A chipmunk and a fat squirrel skittered away from me as I startled them mid-breakfast. A rose breasted grosbeak flew off the feeder, an oriole streaked away toward the woods.

I smiled.

I'll just get a drink while I wait.

I’ll just get a drink while I wait.

And then part way across the back yard two tree swallows flew in formation right toward me, perhaps 6 inches above the grass. They swooped and swirled through the yard. I stood still. They circled me several times, flew low and then swept up over the tomato cages, then down across the lawn again. Like stealth bombers, their wings were silent unlike the other birds that frequent the yard whose fluttering wings and grumpy cries always let me know when the feeder is empty.

I recognized in that moment how lucky I am. I can stand perfectly still in my backyard, in the middle of a weekday morning, and enjoy doing absolutely nothing.

I demand fresh oranges!

I demand fresh oranges!

I’m reading a book, Slow Love; how I lost my job, put on my pajamas, and found happiness. by Dominque Browning. The author is describing her transition from frenzied work to unemployment. This afternoon I read the following passage which perfectly described how I felt earlier in the day:

“I begin to understand how nothing to do is its own state of grace, difficult to find deliberately, nearly impossible to recognize. Nothing to do means I can sit and look and let my mind wander, then empty, then fill again, with wonder or with grief, with anything or with nothing at all. “Nothing to do” is not the same as “Nothing can be done.” One is hopeless; the other the place from which hope becomes possible.”

In the heat of mid-morning, standing still in the light, I realized that nature was enjoying my yard every day. Used to be that I didn’t get to see it, but now, now that I have nothing to do, it’s all right there for me to enjoy.

Pretty darn cool.

Grape jelly again?!

Grape jelly again?!