Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Storms brewing ahead


Today I took the dog for a walk at a local park. The clouds were heavy, dark, and hanging low over the fields and ponds. I felt melancholy and I wondered why.

And then I remembered.

The time is coming for me to attend another Sorrow to Strength Conference in Washington DC. The Truck Safety Coalition hosts the conference every two years; I’ve been to six of them since dad was killed by a sleepy semi driver in 2004.

The conference is a time for families to join others, all of whom have been damaged by preventable truck crashes, to share their stories, gain support, and learn about truck safety issues. Some families are struggling with permanent injuries, others are grieving the loss of loved ones. And some are trying to deal with both injury and loss.

It’s almost too much to fathom, all those people in one room.

But it’s a good thing too, because you won’t meet a better group of people to support a family in the throes of grief. These are people that know how it feels to get that call or to sit next to a hospital bed knowing that life will never be the same, but hoping for at least a semblance of normalcy sometime in the future.

It’s a difficult conference to attend, but it’s called Sorrow to Strength for a reason. We begin filled with sorrow, and leave, after several days, stronger for having been together. We’ll be talking to Congressional members, agency employees, and the media about truck safety issues. The current political environment in DC is not particularly conducive to regulation these days. But we aren’t giving up finding compromises that make our roads safer for everyone.

Everyone has trepidation as they head to DC for this conference. Attending dredges up all the old memories and emotions. Even after almost thirteen years I still get anxious thinking about the crash, anticipating the questions, planning for the meetings.

But then I think about dad. And so many others that I’ve come to know over the years. There will be new families attending this year, there always are. They are stark reminders that every year, every month, every day that goes by without solutions more people are being injured and killed. This is no time to let politics get in our way.

Wish us luck.


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Spring redux

Spring. It happens in waves across the country. When Katie and I were in the South we saw spring in all it’s glory. We reveled in the sun and warmth. We forgot that it wasn’t spring everywhere.

One reason to be in the South in the winter.

And then we drove home, north into the gray skies, leafless trees, muddy trails. Cold. It snowed this week.

Why is it snowing??

It was a shock, but all is not lost. As Katie and I explored the yard this past weekend we found traces of spring. Daffodils are popping up from the wet cold ground. So are some of the perennials. The bleeding heart is reaching for the sky.

Purple pink sprouts pushing up through last garden debris.

It will be in bloom sooner than you think. And the monkshood is peeking out too….

Monkshood, excited to see the sun.

..it will bloom next fall — which will also be sooner than we think.

Katie and I went for a walk in her park this weekend. The sun was out, the water was blue. It felt like spring had arrived.

Mama! Is it spring now??

We weren’t fooled. We know, here in Michigan, that winter will take at least one more swipe at us before April ends. But don’t tell that to the goldfinches, they’re already changing into their summer gold.

Hey lady! This feeder needs to be filled!!

Katie and I are very lucky this year. We get to watch spring arrive twice! The daffodils are all done down South. But here they will be arriving any day now.

That’s a very good thing.

You’re going to make me pose with our Michigan daffodils next week aren’t you mama!


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Home is where the sheltie girl lives

Let’s follow that road mama!


Katie here with the last post of my big adventure. Mama did the math (cause my toes don’t work very well on those little calculator keys) — we drove 5,842 miles! And I got to go on every one of ’em! You could say I am a well traveled sheltie-girl.

On our trip back up to Michigan I insisted on taking my dad to the Smoky Mountains. Mama and I visited there when we were stuck in Tennessee way back at the beginning of February. I took dad on my favorite path…

There’s a good smell over here dad!

…and posed with them on a mountain ridge. It was a fun day!

A nice lady took our picture.

Then I took him to see Cumberland Falls. Mama and I went there too, back in February, on a cold day when the spray from the falls was freezing all over the rocks. I had more fun this time when we got to walk around more…

Me and a bridge and the Cumberland River.

…and it wasn’t so darn cold out! The waterfall was huge and the river was full and beautiful.

I was getting tired of being picked up.

The rest of our trip turned out to be rainy and cold, so I didn’t have to put up with mama taking so many pictures. Now we’re home again and mama is doing laundry and cooking and stuff. I’m going to take a nap right after I post this.

I was such a good girl on this adventure. We were gone almost two whole months! I never complained once and was always interested in the new places we visited. I only barked a little bit at the hotels, and I let lots of people pet me. Even better I met lots of great dogs, especially Reilly and Denny in Florida. Mama, Dad and I had a really good time.

The life of luxury.

I’m absolutely positive mama can never top this adventure and I’m going to have to settle for tame visits to my park for awhile, though I know mama has some camping trips planned already.

I guess I better rest up!

Katie signing off for now.


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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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Are flat rocks exciting enough for a Princess?

Katie here.

Flat rocks at Flat Rock Park.

I know, I know. Mama’s been using valuable space on this blog posting pictures of pretty things that are not me! It’s outrageous. I’ve demanded equal attention and since I am royalty she has agreed to let me tell you about our latest adventure.

We went to Flat Rock Park in Columbus Georgia! It was a sunny day with blue skies but it was cold! Down in the 30s and low 40s! Mama was wearing her winter coat again and a hat and gloves and a scarf. And she was still cold. I told her to suck it up. I thought the temperature was just perfect for climbing up and down rocks.

This rock could fall on me at any moment mama!

But wait! The rocks are supposed to be flat, right? So what rocks would I be climbing up and down? Well! Let me tell you! There was plenty of up and down exploring to do, and I pulled my mama right up those rocks no problem.

Waterfall, bridge, and me.

Some of the park was along a pretty little stream and there the rocks were flat.

Pretty out here in the sunshine along this little river.

And they were flat in other sections too. But right in the middle were really tall, really big chunks of rock sticking right out of the ground!

The sound of the waterfall doesn’t bother me mama!

Mama kept taking pictures of pretty stuff, mostly me, but sometimes not.

Pretty, even without me in the shot.

We walked all over! Some of it we walked more than once! And I never complained or got tired or whined, even when mama ran out of treats!!! (Though I was secretly disgusted by her poor planning.)

A little sunbathing by the river.

I don’t want to admit it, but mama wore me out this time! I’m going to have to sleep for several days just to get my energy level back up to sheltie standards. Don’t expect any news from me for awhile; I guess I’ll have to trust that mama keeps you abreast of our adventures.

Cause a sheltie princess is never far away from the next adventure. You just never know where I’ll turn up!

Looking for a treat mama!


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I was tricked!

Come on mama, this looks like an AWESOME park!

Come on mama, this looks like an AWESOME park!


Katie here. Mama asked me if I wanted to go to a park, and I said “OF COURSE MAMA! Are you crazy? I want to go to a park! Let’s go right now! RIGHT NOW MAMA!

So we did.

We drove and drove and drove and I started to get vocal. Mama told me to settle down but I didn’t really. I was just expressing my opinion, and a princess is entitled. Right?

Isn't this a pretty lake mama?

Isn’t this a pretty lake mama?

So anyway, mama was going to take me to visit Auburn University but she couldn’t find anywhere to park the car. We drove around and around and mama saw lots of stuff but I didn’t see anything cause I was in my crate in the back.

Not fair.

But when we finally stopped and mama got me out it was at a park! A beautiful park! Mama says she’s not sure where it was because she was lost by then. And she said she wasn’t going to take her camera, we’d just walk around a little bit.

Mama liked the row of trees.  I liked the shade.

Mama liked the row of trees. I liked the shade.

And then of course she found a gazillion pretty things that warranted a camera. So we walked around this beautiful little lake and then mama and I went back to the car, got a drink and her camera and walked around it again!

Isn’t it great? There was a blue heron the first time we walked, but he had moved on by the time we came back. We did get to watch these turtles though. Mama said they were all looking at me. Well of course they were, I’m the princess!

A little warm for my taste, but these guys liked the sun.

A little warm for my taste, but these guys liked the sun.

And there were these exercise things. Mama tried a couple of them, she said they were really fun. I was not interested, given that I already have a svelte sheltie figure.

These look fun mama!

These look fun mama! For you anyway.

Once we got around the lake the second time mama loaded me in the car and drove some more and when she parked again I couldn’t figure it out. It was a busy parking lot? What are we doing here mama? I dutifully followed along and suddenly we were inside a groomer’s place!!

Mama tricked me!

The lady put my on a table and there were all these little dogs, bichons and chihuahuas and other little fru fru dogs running around on the floor, and then a great dane walked into the room and stretched! Why he could reach as high as the table I was on! And the lady was clipping my toenails! And trimming my toe fur! I turned my head and looked at my mama and pleaded with her to get me out of there!

Mama says she wishes she had the camera, because the whole thing was ridiculously funny, dogs running all over and me looking pitiful up on the table. But she left her phone in the car, so no pictures.

I’m personally glad. It was humiliating.

When we left I was in such a hurry to get out of there that I ran up the 8 stairs outside. Up the stairs. Wait…I forgot I don’t do stairs. Mama called me a little stinker. I think that’s a compliment…right?

I’m ticked at my mama. Taking me to a wonderful park does not negate the secret groomer appointment. But I have to say my feet do look a whole lot better.

Don’t tell her I said that.

Pretty feet.

Pretty feet.