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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Reflections

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Sitting here in the house that dad built I can’t help but keep one eye, sometimes both eyes, on the water.

Sure the lake level is low, as it is every winter, making it difficult to enjoy this huge lake, but just our little part right here is beautiful.

And it’s always changing. The light moves and twinkles and shifts and the water ruffles and calms.

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I have lots of time to sit and reflect as the sun goes down and the shadows lengthen across the slew.

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I wish my parents were here. But the house is still filled with their presence. Not the same of course, as having them physically here.

But not as sad as it was in the beginning.

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Lots of good memories flit through my mind as I watch the water shift in the changing light.

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We’re lucky they left us this place. I think they’re glad we come to visit.

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But I bet they miss us all too.

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Ain’t no mountain tall enough

Katie here.

I have sufficiently rested up from my mountain adventure to tell you all about it. I know you’ve been wanting to know. (PS: Most of the photos here were taken by my aunt. That’s how mama got to be in so many of them! Thank you Aunt B!)

A little bit of a huge lake.

A little bit of a huge lake.

See, there’s this big mountain near my lake house and it has a restored fire tower on it. Almost every time mama comes down here she and her family and friends climb up the mountain and then up the fire tower.

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But this year she had me and she wasn’t sure, at my advanced age of ten, that I’d want to climb a mountain. Plus it’s pretty warm here and she always worries about me overheating my pretty self. After all I do carry my fur coat everywhere I go. (I don’t trust it to the coat check guy. At all.)

Hurry up mama!

Hurry up mama!

My aunt and uncle came over to the lake house this past weekend and they wanted to go up the mountain. They didn’t worry at all about how I would do, they knew I was a brave sheltie-girl and just assumed I’d want to go. Mama decided to pack a bag with all the essentials like water and poop bags and treats and see how far I’d go. She didn’t want to go so far up that she’d have to carry me down. No siree.

Good spot for a photo shoot...and a rest!

Good spot for a photo shoot…and a rest!

Well it turns out that I love being in the woods. I don’t know why mama was surprised. Once again she underestimated me. We took lots of breaks and most of the path up the mountain was in the shade. She gave me lots of water, in fact I drank almost a whole bottle of water myself on this adventure.

I sniffed lots of cool stuff and scrambled up and over lots of rocks, and pulled mama along cool paths covered in soft pine straw. It was fantastic.

Another pretty spot to rest!

Another pretty spot to rest!

Mama had to carry me the last bit…because stupid people had thrown bottles over the top of the rocks and there was broken glass…and then there were a bunch of steps up to very top and you all know about me and not doing steps. I did all the down steps just fine, but I was scared to do the up steps. Don’t ask. I can’t explain it.

At the top of the mountain I sat on a nice cool slab of concrete with my aunt while mama climbed the tower to get a few shots. She says she doesn’t know why she did that, the images she took look just like the images she took when she was there in November. But she loves being up at the top of that tower.

I'll wait for you down here mama!

I’ll wait for you down here mama!

She says she could stay up there for hours, but she knew I was waiting for her down below so she hurried on down. I said no rush mama, cause I was meeting all sorts of nice people and some nice dogs too! It was a beautiful Sunday with blue skies and warm temperatures so there were lots of folks and a few of their dogs out. Everyone said I was really cute. Of course.

Mama and me on top of the world.

Mama and me on top of the world.

Then we walked back down the mountain which I found easier than the trip up. That’s a good thing because truthfully I was getting a little tired. I stopped half way down and looked at my mama. She said no way was she carrying me the rest of the way, so I took a long drink and trotted down on my own.

I’m a good girl.

Monday all we did was go to the little park which was OK.

I've named this Katie's Park II!

I’ve named this Katie’s Park II!

And take some photos in town. Which was boring.

Mama says this is grandma and grandpa's church.

Mama says this is grandma and grandpa’s church.

And today…so far all we’ve done is this.

BORING!

BORING!

Mama says she doesn’t know what she can do to top walking in the Smokey Mountains and on the Atlantic Ocean beach with my boyfriend Reilly, and taking a boat ride and seeing an eagle and climbing a mountain. She says she’s running out of exciting things to do. She better get thinking. I don’t know how long I can be patient.

Because as you all know, it’s not good to keep a princess waiting.

What's next mama?

What’s next mama?


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The princess and a boat

At my uncle's house.

At my uncle’s house.

Katie here. Guess what, guess what GUESS WHAT?

This is my bench, but I'll share.

This is my bench, but I’ll share.

I got to go on a boat ride!!!! My mama was all nervous and stuff cause she has no faith in me at all. She didn’t think I’d like being in a boat. She thought I’d be afraid of the sound of the engine. She thought I’d be shaking like a leaf and want to get out. She thought it would be a very short boat ride.

She (once again) underestimated me.

So let me tell you all about it. We drove over to my Uncle’s house on another lake. I thought this was gonna be another drive all day sort of thing and I protested about half an hour into the trip, but mama told me we were almost there, so I settled back down. She lied of course – it was another half hour before we got there. And then there were all new smells to sniff and I liked it right away.

Me and mama smiling.

Me and mama smiling.

Then mama and my uncle discussed going on a boat ride and decided to see if I liked it. They agreed to drive real slow and if I wasn’t comfortable they’d just go back. The entire focus was on whether or not I’d enjoy it.

What do you think?

Relaxed on my yacht.

Relaxed on my yacht.

I thought it was the best thing since cheese! I got to sit on my princess bench between mama and my aunt. And I got to sniff the air a lot. And watch the water go by at the back of the boat. I didn’t shake one little bit. Sometimes I even smiled.

And once I almost fell asleep! Can you believe that?

Lulled to sleep by the engine vibration.

Lulled to sleep by the engine vibration.

My uncle drove us way up the river, so most of our trip was pretty slow but I liked the fast stuff too. Once, on our way home we were going fast into the wind and mama and I both had a bad hair day!

Matching crazy hair mama!

Matching crazy hair mama!

But all in all I thought this was a most excellent adventure. We’re back at our own lake house now, and I have been all wound up, wanting to play with the toy that Mr. Reilly gave me, and wanting mama to pay attention to me and wanting my dinner, and wanting to go outside and not wanting to come back inside. Mama is exhausted. So to give her a break I’m gonna take a little nap now.

I expect more adventures tomorrow mama! I hear the uncle and aunt are coming over here and I’ll get to show them around.

Can’t wait!

Captain princess.

Captain princess.


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Exploring

Katie here. My mama has been very remiss in getting my posts online in a timely manner. OK, so she’s been driving and getting food for us and stuff. But still, I’m going to have to play catch up now and that is so frustrating. I hope mama gets her act together now that we’re in Alabama and apparently resting a lot.

So last time you heard from me I was in Florida with the love of my life Mr. Reilly. But you only got to see one of our beach excursions. We went out another day really early (I was good at the really early thing since I’ve been getting mama up at 4 a.m. for months and months!) to the beach so we could see the sun rise. We didn’t count on it being so foggy.

My handsome guy disrupts the shore birds.

My handsome guy disrupts the shore birds.

Still…it was pretty on the beach in the fog. There was hardly anyone else out there. Just us and some birds and a couple other people and their dogs.

Mama and Reilly’s mom got some very nice photos of us. I tried to be good about it but I really just wanted to get up and explore. Mama takes way too many pictures if you ask me.

The three of us tolerated more photos.

The three of us tolerated more photos.

Sadly we had to continue on with our adventure, mama and I, the next day. So we said goodbye to my favorite Florida family and headed across Georgia to visit my Aunt Beth. It was fun to stay at her house overnight. I hadn’t seen her in a lot of years!

My Aunt Beth's front door!

My Aunt Beth’s front door!

The next morning mama took me over to the lake house. This is where my grandma and grandpa used to live. I never got to meet them, but I’m pretty sure I’d have liked them cause I like their lake house a lot. I can see out the big windows and watch the world go by. I get to choose between the comfy chair and the comfy sofa to snooze, and I’ve been snoozing a lot.

Our first sunset at the lake house.

Our first sunset at the lake house.

Here at the lake I have my mama all to myself…and she has promised to take me to parks for long walks. Yesterday we got to go to Horseshoe Bend Military Park where we read all about the Battle at Horseshoe Bend between General Jackson’s army and the Lower Creek and Cherokee Indians in 1814.

The battle site is along the Tallapoosa River. The river was beautiful in the sun when we were there, but I was more interested in smelling around the trees, looking for pee-mail left by other dogs. I didn’t find much to speak of. I guess we were one of the first there after the early morning rains went through.

Pretty river mama, but boring if you're me.

Pretty river mama, but boring if you’re me.

We climbed a big hill and I got to explore the cannon. And mama only took one picture, so that worked out. I guess even mama can learn if I give her time.

Way up on a peaceful hill is the remembrance of a bloody battle.

Way up on a peaceful hill is the remembrance of a bloody battle.

I enjoyed the park, but it wore us both out. We fell asleep at 7 last night! Now I’m ready to find out what mama has up her sleeve for today. I told her we need to explore somewhere new each day. She says she’ll try. I guess that’s all I can expect from mama.

After all, she’s on vacation too.

I'm getting soggy mama!

I’m getting soggy mama!


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Throwing plans out the window

We're in the mountains now.

We’re in the mountains now.

Katie here. Again. Apparently I have to do everything. Mama says she’s been too stressed to tell the story, and besides, I’m the princess, so it’s all about me. Right? Well not always, but anyway I’ll give you the short version of our latest adventure.

So this was day 2 of our great adventure. I’m in the car a lot, but today mama stopped at a couple parks to let me stretch my legs. Did you know that Kentucky has zero rest stops on I-75? ZERO! Who let that happen? How’s a princess supposed to..um…pee…and other stuff if there aren’t any rest stops?

That's a really big river mama!

That’s a really big river mama!

Anyway, because we couldn’t stop like we normally do, mama took me on a side trip to visit Cumberland Falls! It was way back in the woods, 15 miles of narrow winding road before we got there. But when we did it was all worth it!

You're buying me something at the gift store.  Right mama?

You’re buying me something at the gift store. Right mama?

We didn’t get to see the big falls really well because the lower observation decks were closed. But we got a little peak at them.

This looks very very cold.

This looks very very cold.

Mostly we walked along the rocky shore and enjoyed the blue green water and the bright blue sky.

This is a really big rock mama!

This is a really big rock mama!

What a perfect day! It was still cold, and mama was glad she was still wearing her winter coat and gloves, but I thought it was wonderful!

Awesome colors!

Awesome colors!

Of course stopping there put us behind schedule but mama wasn’t worried, who needs a schedule anyway? We were about 2 hours away from our hotel when something happened. Our car quit!

Well not exactly quit….but the power seemed to go right out of it and we were in the mountains of Tennessee! Mama pulled over and called Onstar who sent out a tow truck. The tow truck driver said I couldn’t ride in his truck so mama seat belted me in and I got to ride in the car on top of the tow truck!

Mama was worried I’d be scared, but I’m a big girl and did just fine. OK, I was awfully glad to see her when we arrived at the dealership and she got me out of the car. And I didn’t like the diesel engine on the tow truck at all!

But in the end the tow truck driver was really nice, and took us to a hotel that my daddy had found for us that takes dogs…and now mama and I are all snuggled up in a king size bed with a big TV and some books and we’re going to wait out the rest of the weekend right here.

Notice the lack of cars....cause we don't have one!

Notice the lack of cars….cause we don’t have one!

We’ll be just fine.

We even got to see a little of the sunset behind the hotel when I made mama take me out for the 5th time to check out the pee-mail. I didn’t want her to miss it.

Sunset on evening #1.

Sunset on evening #1.

I’m good like that.

Talk to you later…

Your adventure reporter Katie-girl.

Our room has a holly tree outside our front door!

Our room has a holly tree outside our front door!


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Doing the best we can

I’ve alluded to stressful times around here recently. We’ve had lots of unexpected and unplanned things to deal with lately. I guess I shouldn’t have expected that retirement would be all golden beaches, blue skies and fruity drinks.

This morning I left early, heading over to my physical therapy appointment a couple of towns to the west. The sky was pretty, big clouds with purple bottoms piling up. I wished I was out with the camera instead of going to PT.

Once that appointment was over, my shoulder iced (which is the best part of my day) I head over to my gym, a couple of towns to the east, intent on getting some cardio in. The sky is filled with more beautiful clouds. I consider heading home for my camera, skipping the gym and the visit to the nursing home.

I debate doing something I want to do v.s. doing the thing I should do.

At the gym I walk three minutes, run one minute, repeat about 11 times on one of the treadmills. It’s an attempt to get back to running after many years of slothful living. But one minute is about all I can run without my heart rate soaring above it’s max rate. Still, I’m pleased I stuck to the plan.

Sweaty I headed to the locker room and dress in layers to head back outside into the 10 degree day. The blast of cold air actually feels good pulling at my sweat soaked hair. It’s afternoon now and I’m hungry. I could stop by MacDonalds….but I only spent 340 calories in my three mile walk/run, and I could waste that in an instant if I’m not careful.

I buy a cup of chicken noodle soup (130 calories) there, and sip it in the parking lot of the nursing home. I burn my tongue, as I always do when I’m trying to hurry.

Inside I visit with Aunt Vi who at 101 is not happy to have given up her own home. She says she’s doing worse today than yesterday, but to me she seems pretty good, though confused about tests she’s having done. More family members arrive, and we spend a bit of time talking, even laughing, but receive no explanation to the pain she’s experiencing.

It’s frustrating.

Glancing at my watch I realize time has flown and I must fly too in order to get dinner into the oven at home. As I prepare the meal I update the husband on the aunt’s status. It’s so hard to know what to do. Everyone wants the best for her, but it’s hard to find that within the health care system.

And then I notice the headlines rolling across the television across the room. The sound is down and I’ve been talking about our daily stresses, not paying attention.

Five dead in the Fort Lauderdale airport. Another shooting. More terror, more grief, more confusion, more debate. I note that the radio playing during my drive home hadn’t mentioned it. The stock market didn’t blink and Wall Street analysts don’t mention the tragedy. They’re talking about the agony of the Dow being within .37 of 20,000.

We have become immune.

My day, filled with stress, seems pretty straight forward now, and in fact quite good. My shoulder didn’t hurt. I got my workout in. Aunt Vi spent some time laughing.

And I recognize I should be grateful.

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PS: The latest test shows she might have a gall bladder problem. We and she are headed to the hospital now. Still, we’re grateful for an answer.


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A New Year Begins

It’s 4:30 a.m. and Katie the dog wants to go out. Just like every morning, her timing is meticulously accurate. I shake the sleep from my eyes as she shakes the tags on her collar and together we stumble to the front door where she prances impatiently as I don shoes and coat and gloves.

And then we step out into the blackness that is early morning.

Deep silence surrounds us. No cars out on the freeway, no stirring in the neighborhood. Only the far away wail of a train intrudes on the thick blanket of quiet. I whisper to her, unwilling to pierce the silence myself, to find a good spot as we wander the yard.

Almost directly overhead is the big dipper, sitting upside down, spilling good wishes down upon us. Orion’s belt has long since gone to bed. “Hi Dad,” I whisper. “Here’s to a New Year. Another one starting without you and mom.”

And then I pause, a bit of happiness floating from me up to him. “Well, not really without you…I feel you right here. See you tomorrow morning…say hi to Mom”

Katie and I head silently back to the house. At the front porch she stands on her back legs asking to be picked up. I do, picking up her awkwardly lopsided bobble-headed cone encased self and give her a tight hug and a kiss.

“Happy New Year baby-girl, Happy New Year.”

Happy New Year mama!

Happy New Year mama!