Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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First snow!

I wish I could be as enthusiastic as Katie about the first snow of the season.

Really mama? It’s snow. I should be running, not sitting here getting my picture taken again!

I know that people in the South had much more snow than we’ve received. I guess I should be thankful that we don’t have more.

That’s better mama!

But I also know this is only the beginning of the long winter in Michigan.

Let’s do that again mama!

Katie thinks it’s about time there is snow to play in.

I think it’s time for a treat!

Of course she’s not going to shovel the driveway.

Silly girl.

This is my woods mama!

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It’s all about the parks!

Katie here. I’m certain you’ve all been missing me terribly. I know that mama and daddy have been busy and stuff, and you’re getting to read all about their adventures, but I’m positive you haven’t forgotten about me!

I don’t know why she wants me to sit in this grass.

When I finally got sprung from the slammer….ahem….kennel last month I gave my parents the stink eye for a couple of days and then I forgave them. I mean, what am I supposed to do? They hold the keys to the food bag you know? So I can’t stay mad at them for too long.

These reeds and berry briars are pretty mama. But not as pretty as me.

But then we had a string of bad weather days and I didn’t get to do anything fun for a katrillion billion days. I made my mama’s days miserable. I figure that’s only fair, right? If I’m miserable, everybody’s miserable. It’s a law or something.

Lately, though, she’s been making it up to me. Every nice day she takes me to another park! She says something about not wasting nice days because winter is coming.

I like the way my fur looks here.

I don’t know what she’s talking about, winter is lots of fun! I love running in the snow and I make sure to get her out in it as often as possible. I know she appreciates all those trips outside after she puts on her boots and coat and hat and mittens and scarf and stuff.

More leaves to sit in for mama!

Anyway, this week mama took me to three parks! We went to my park, just a couple of miles away and mama figured out how to use the timer on her camera and we got a picture of us together. That almost never happens.

Hey mama! What’s that over there?

We had to do it about five times and never once would I look at the camera. I mean, why would I do that? The camera doesn’t disperse treats. If it did maybe I’d consider looking at it. Maybe.

Then mama took me to her favorite park (That’s where most of the pictures here were taken.) It was really windy, and lots of oak leaves were blowing around.

Hey mama! It’s too windy here for photos!

We walked down a bike path and I was very good. I didn’t chase the joggers or the people on bikes at all. I didn’t bark at anyone! I even sat still and posed for mama when people were walking by. The only way she even knew there were people walking in back of her was the way I turned my head to watch them. I am such a good girl.

They’re not running away from ME are they? I didn’t even bark at them!

And I let a kid pet me! He even kissed me on my head and I was good with that. I guess all that training mama took me to was worth something after all.

I love walking in the woods with my mama!

And then today I got to go to a big park with my pal Deuce! There was hardly anyone there and the moms didn’t take too many pictures, which was fine by Deuce and me.

This is a pretty cool bench mama, I don’t have to sit too close to the BOY!

We did have to sit together a couple of times, but we’re used to that. We figure it’s the least we can do for them since they take us to these awesome places.

So…three parks in one week! It’s been amazing, but mama says after this weekend all this sunshine is going away. I hope I can convince her to take me fun places even without sun.

I might need your help on that, I know all of you can convince her. I’m counting on you to make sure she pays enough attention to me and I get to have adventures all winter long.

You can start bugging her now.

I got an oak leaf stuck on me mama! Get it OFF!


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In between. And food.

My laptop died almost three weeks ago. Though I’m relying on my phone to stay in touch I feel a bit adrift without the laptop’s warm weight on my lap in the evenings. Luckily my husband was able to save the contents of the laptop’s brain, and the pictures and documents are now resting comfortably on a external hard drive. A new laptop has been ordered and might show up next week. Or not. I don’t know how to download the photos I have on my camera to the desktop, though I think I did that back in 2014 when I was also without a laptop for an extended period of time.

I have figured out how to download to the desktop photos I’ve taken with my phone and posted on Facebook.

There is comfort in that, because long gone are the days that I seem to be able to write without photos. Hence the lack of posts lately. The requirement for photos in a blog is kind of thought provoking. Have we lost the ability to read without pictures?

When I first began to blog, in 2006, there were only words. I took more time over what I posted back then. I chose my words more carefully, let them paint the picture. Now I just place the fingers on the keyboard and see what happens. Most of the time it’s the images that inspire the words.

Occasionally it’s the other way around.

Speaking of inspiration, it’s been more than a year now that I’ve been attempting to cook vegan or at least vegetarian for a few of our meals each week. Sometimes (OK, often) I post pictures of the dishes I make. One of my favorite things about cooking this way is the color in the food.

I post on Facebook about a lot of things. Katie the dog, family, seasons, weather, truck safety. But the pictures that get the most comments, and the most discussion among commenters are those of the food. Day before yesterday I had over 30 comments over a meal I made that my husband didn’t like. People were on both sides of the argument. I even copied the recipe and mailed it off to someone. I hope she tries it.

Why do you think that food is such a conversation starter? Why not gun control or mental health? I get that those got lots of conversation too this past week, but food seems to guarantee a comment, a conversation, a reaction from my FB friends.

So until I can come back and blog again, hopefully on my new laptop, with my archive of photos at my fingertips, here’s a picture of food to get you talking.

Enjoy!


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I’m helping mama

Katie here. Just call me helpful, but mama has been a little stressed out. I guess something called a laptop (what the heck is that? I thought I was the only one allowed in her lap??) died. Mama didn’t cry or anything, and I don’t think there was a funeral, but she seems stressed.

I try to distract her by asking her to pay attention to me. Me me me me! Every morning when we get up I get her to make me a big breakfast and then I bug her to take me out, go for a walk, give me a treat, take me out, go for a walk, give me a treat…repeat. You doggies know the routine, right?

That way she’s not so stressed over that stupid laptop. I can tell it’s working too. This morning she took me for a walk in the neighborhood for a long time. Even though it was very very cold out. Now I’m working on getting her to take me to a park. Or three.

I personally think cold weather is good for her, but she says she has to find her gloves. Mama is a wimp.

Mama says change is hard.


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This didn’t have to happen

It’s happening regularly across our country. Over and over, it seems daily, I read the stories. This one happened yesterday, and not so far from me.

Look at the photos; the SUV is wedged entirely under the trailer of the semi truck. It was a dark and rainy morning, the SUV was traveling on the divided highway when the semi pulled out in order to make a turn.

The SUV driver is dead but he might have had a chance if the truck had side guards installed on the trailer. Most industrialized countries around the world have these safety devices on their trucks.

Our country doesn’t, because the trucking industry protests the weight that would be added to the truck. They say the guards will cost them money – by making those loads that are already at maximum weight be reduced. They say the guards will mean more trucks are on the road.

The truth is most trucks aren’t at the maximum weight and won’t have to decrease their load. The truth is we could probably get the weight limit increased for the 800 pounds side guards might add. The truth is we might be able to get tax credits or other benefits for truck companies willing to help make our roads safer.

Some truck companies and trailer manufacturers are beginning to consider adding guards, not because it’s legislated, but because it’s the right thing to do. They’re willing to absorb the weight and the cost because it could save lives.

There are a lot of potential solutions, but none of them came in time for the driver of this SUV. He was 75, the same age my dad was when he was hit from behind by a semi and pushed into the semi in front of him. This man’s name is William. So was my dad’s.

It just hits so hard. Another man, probably a husband, a father, maybe a grandfather, someone’s brother, neighbor, church friend, local man about town, another man is dead.

And it didn’t have to happen.

We’re working on it but we’re slow and we’re fighting uphill. We don’t have the money that the truck industry has, and it’s harder for us to influence decision makers.

But we’re not giving up and we’re not going away.

Please, if you can, support our efforts. We’re working both with industry directly and within government to get side guards installed on trailers. You can donate to the Truck Safety Coalition via PayPal at their website. Funds donated will go toward our work to make the highways safer for all of us.

And there’s another way to help. A bill is being worked on that will require side guards, and I’ll ask you to call your Senator to ask for support. I’ll let you know when to call.

In the meantime – stay safe.


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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.

Celebrating.


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“I want your smile”

I think this morning, the Sunday morning after Charlottesville, we could all use a smile. Not to trivialize what happened there, what is happening in smaller and less splashy incidents all over our country, but to give our broken hearts a tiny bit of relief.

The sun always rises.

There’s this guy named Trent who writes a blog and weekly asks us to tell him what made us smile during the previous week. I haven’t followed him long, or even regularly, but I happened to read him this morning and knew that I wanted to share the things that made me smile this week.

I wasn’t on an adventure, not camping with Katie-girl, or off exploring by myself. I spent this week at home with the camera, just shooting regular stuff — the things we all see but rarely stop to really look at. Like things in my garden, during this end of summer time when the gardens always look their best even though they’re becoming a bit frayed around the edges.

A pop of color.

And it rained a lot this week, as happens on late summer afternoons. Gushing downpours that wash away the humidity for a bit.

It’s a monsoon!

I stood on my front porch and shot the rain hitting the driveway. Sometimes it seemed as though the drops were creating tiny little fireworks, as if they were celebrating summer.

Celabrate!

After the rain I took Katie-girl to her park. The temperature had dipped down into the high 60s (15.5c) cool enough for a sheltie to enjoy a summer walk. We were surprised mid-walk by another thunder storm.

The light before the storm.

The wind blew and the rain drove down in sheets. We got wet, though the camera was safe inside my pack. Katie and I both smiled.

And of course I’m totally smiling over the fact the orioles are still visiting my feeder. Sometimes they get confused as to which feeder, but they’re still visiting.

Wrong cafeteria, girl!

I expect them to leave for the season any time now. I’ll miss them all. This morning there were two males and at least four females all vying for the feeder. I think that signals that they’re getting ready to head out for their winter home.

Gotta get my share before all those girls come back!

And last night I went out into the backyard after midnight to look for meteorites. Here in Michigan it’s supposed to be the best time to see them, and I did see one which was amazing. And no, that’s not the it, that’s a plane. The meteorite was much much brighter. Still I thought this was a cool shot.

All kinds of light last night.

Our backyard is too full of light, mostly from the neighbors huge yellow light over his garage, to really get great pictures of the night sky, but I had fun messing around with the camera anyway.

Starry starry night…

So these are some of the things that made me smile this week. What about you? What did you smile about? Care to share? Just link to Trent’s blog, we all need another smile!

She always makes me smile!


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My drive home – a study in green (plus a few other colors)

Click on any photo and you’ll be able to scroll through larger versions of all the images above.

I stopped at a few places on the way home. What would have been a five hour drive turned into nine. And I got rained on. A lot. Still, it was so much fun.

I have lots of other things to show you, but they weren’t necessarily dominated by green…so they didn’t fit here. I suppose that will mean a post with random photos coming soon.

On the other hand, Katie-girl has much to say and you know how hard it is to silence a princess.


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A walk in the woods…and sunset too

Yesterday, after the fog lifted I wandered in the Leelanau State Park hiking trails that wind through cedar and beech trees, then up to the dunes that separate the woods from the shore of Lake Michigan.

Come with me for a walk in the woods!

It’s a magical place, and I was lucky – there were very few bugs! I loved how the light sifted through the newly minted leaves.

Spring green.

And though there were few bugs, there were plenty of natives scurrying around in the leaves on the forest floor…

Anything good to eat down there?

…and scolding me from behind tree trunks.

Stay away lady!!

I enjoyed the cool trail through the damp deep woods…

What’s down there?

…but after a bit the trail left the dark woods and began to climb up and around sandy and more open dunes. The trees changed too, from deep dark forest to open and airy.

Let the sunshine in!

Eventually the trail spilled out onto perfectly beautiful dunes and provided a view of the lake. What a pretty picture!

Such a pretty place.

I probably should have climbed over those dunes to the lake. You never know what you’ll find. But it was getting late in the day, so I headed on through the woods. I met a new friend sleeping in a sunny spot on the trail. He wasn’t as excited to meet me as I was to notice him, and he silently moved away.

See you later lady!

And just before the parking lot I found a sweet little patch of forget-me-nots.

As if I could.

Later in the evening I waited in anticipation for sunset. I must have run down to the beach a dozen times, hoping that this was the one great shot. Turns out it was a pink and purple, more gentle kind of sunset. Still it was pretty. I’ve put together a short slide show for your enjoyment.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That way you don’t have to do all those stairs yourself.

Magical


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Foggy morning

No swimming today.


Overnight I listened to a lighthouse fog horn warning ships that the shore wasn’t visible. This morning the horn was still blowing and the lake had disappeared behind a heavy veil.

My plan for today was to explore nearby orchards; I’ve never been here when they were in bloom, and I saw several on my drive that looked promising. But in the fog?

Mysterious beach.

I thought about it while I was eating cereal, staring out into grey nothingness. Contemplating. After all, a flowering tree is beautiful in the sun, but might it be more interesting in the fog?

Certainly worth a walk.

Going for a walk.

Everything is so green up here, and the fog made it seem to drip green dew into the green air.

Green green everywhere.

At the top of a hill was an orchard in full bloom.

Standing in formation despite the weather.

I’ve tried many times to catch the patterns and symmetry of orchards. It’s hard to show the patterns, they’re so large. But every time I’m up here, whatever the season, I try.

Trunks create a pattern.

I guess I find orchards fascinating.

Rows line up.

I love the patterns and textures, especially when they’re in bloom.

So pretty.

Later this afternoon the sun came out. I went for a walk in the woods, and on my way back I drove by the orchard to see what it might look like without fog.

Hills full of orchards.

Turns out they are just as pretty in the sunlight.

Sun shines through blossoms.

I’ve got to organize the photos from my walk in the woods. Maybe you’ll see those tomorrow. But the sun is still shining here, sparkling on the water. There’s a chance we’ll get a sunset tonight.

If so you’ll probably see that first.

Sun diamonds.