Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Just call me a mountain dog (but don’t call me late for supper)

It’s really pretty up here mama!

Katie here!

Guess what? Yesterday I got to climb Smith Mountain with my mama! I told her it was about time cause she’s already been to the top of the mountain twice this trip and I haven’t been up there at all!

Come on with me, this is a cake walk!

Why last year at this time I’d already scaled that mountain three different ways! But mama says I’m slower this trip and besides it was sort of warm out and she worries about me you know.

I’ll wait for you right here mama

So we took it real slow and every time I looked at her she was offering me water. Which I took by the way, I am not a foolish sheltie, no siree.

Let’s get into the shade mama!

Still, I had a really good time and we spent a lot of the climb in the shade, hiding among the long leaf pines and the big rocks.

Mama just loves these big pine cones. I have no idea why. I thought they were sort of boring and not worthy of my time.

Do these look at all interesting to you guys?

We finally got to the top and there were lots of young people there, and a couple dogs too. All the dogs ran up and down the stairs; obviously they are not royalty. I made mama carry me.

They’re trying to get a selfie. The boy dog would rather look at me. Of course.

We found this place that used to be the picnic area when the mountaintop was a ranger station. Can’t you just imagine the rangers out here in the evening roasting something yummy for dinner? I checked out the fire pit area very carefully and unfortunately there were no leftovers.

What do you mean you forgot our picnic mama!!

I thought this rock was interesting too and mama asked if I’d sit on it, cause it (and I) was pretty. I said no way mama, and even when she put a treat up there I wouldn’t get on it. I have my limits you know.

I’ll smell it but I’m not getting on it. Nope, not happening.

Finally we got to the top and mama took the obligatory picture of me with the tower just so you all know I really went all the way up there. Not up the tower you understand, just up the mountain. Mama said no way no how was she carrying me up that tower. She said I wouldn’t have liked it up there anyway. She’s probably right.

People would believe me without proof, mama.

Then we started back down the mountain but I didn’t want to go! I liked it up there! So we sat around a bunch more and she took some pictures of pretty things that were not me. Like this orange rock.

Not getting on that rock either mama.

And this crowfoot violet. Mama says that her mom used to look for these all the time. Mama says she’s seen quite a few this year and they make her smile. Whatever mama.

Reminds mama of her mom.

Once I got her moving down the mountain we made pretty good time. Near the bottom I was even trotting. It was time for supper don’t you know and I have a rule: Never delay the supper of a Princess.

Get a move on mama!

Signing off for now, your mountaineering Princess Katie.

Next time let’s go in the morning when it’s cooler mama!



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.


Just call me Adventure Girl

Mama stopped at my park as we were leaving town so I could say goodbye.

Katie here!

Mama says this blog needs a little levity and I think I’m just the girl to provide it. Besides, you haven’t heard from me in a long time and I have been off adventuring! I knew you’d want to hear all about it.

So let’s begin at the beginning. With snow. Mama and I decided we needed to escape winter. This year we’ve had plenty of snow up in Michigan and the lake house in Alabama was calling our name. So Wednesday morning, bright and early, we hopped in the Katie-mobile and headed south.

It took us forever! We had to stay in a hotel for two nights! (Don’t tell mama but I sort of like that, all those new sounds and smells you know.)

Both times we were on the second floor so I got to do the elevator a bunch. I am very good at elevator, though I have to say I don’t really like it. I mean, who wants to get in a little windowless box and then stand there while the floor shakes and there are noises and then get back out of the box again? What’s the point people?

Our first hotel near Louisville KY

Sometimes we used the stairs. I have no trouble going down stairs now, if mama goes ahead of me to show me the way. But I refuse to go up them. I don’t see so well and I misjudge the distance and end up flopped on my tummy. That hurts (mostly hurts my ego) so now I don’t want to go up stairs at all. Mama carries me and says she’s glad I don’t weigh any more than 20 pounds.

On the drive I made mama stop a bunch. Just about every rest stop. I just love rest stops, all those dogs before me leave messages and I leave my messages for the dogs that will come after me. It’s a great communication system.

The rest stop in Tennessee had these big silent people in it!

The very last rest stop had the best dog walk ever! It wasn’t just some mowed pasture, it was a trail that went up and down a ravine. It was like being in the woods! There weren’t any big trucks nearby and no cars either.

This is the best rest stop mama!

Mama and I walked around in there for a long time. Some other dogs just walked along the top but my mama and I are adventurers and we went way down to the bottom and then up the other side even though it was really steep and mama is a wimp.

Our trip was a little longer than it needed to be because mama fell in love with a bunch of barns in Kentucky and she had to make a few side trips looking for more. She says it’s not fair that she sees all these great places when we’re on the freeway and there aren’t any exits. I let her have her way, but I’m not letting her post her barn pictures in my blog. No siree. She can post them later while I’m taking a nap.

We did stop and explore a little town when I decided I wanted to take a walk. We looked for a park and found one way down a big hill. We walked a bit along a flooded river, but it was pretty muddy and mama made me get back in the car.

Then we walked around the downtown area a bit. Mama saw this cool mural and wanted my picture with it. She tried to make me sit on that bench in front of the mural but that didn’t go so well so she settled for this picture of me with the mural in the background. Sometimes I win our little arguments.

Hurry up mama. This is embarrassing.

Well, as you know, we eventually got to the lake house. We immediately explored the back yard and I marked it as mine. Mama wanted me to sit on the dock so she could get me and the clouds that were reflected in the still water. But just as she set me up a boat came roaring down the shoreline. She tried to get the picture quick before the water was disturbed, but I wouldn’t look at her. So this is what we got. Mama gets aggravated sometimes, but never with me.

Mama! Here comes a boat!

So far mama and I have been mostly napping. One time I was taking a great nap on my deck when suddenly a boat showed up! I thought that was very interesting and I watched intently as these guys kept throwing something out into the water. I swear, people are crazy. They didn’t even have a dog with them to fetch all that stuff back!

Silly people out there on the water.

Our first day here was sunny but it rained last night and made my driveway all green. Mama thought it was pretty so I had to sit there and let her take more pictures. Sheesh. But I made her pay for that one by taking me to Keebler park in town.

Lots of green down here, especially after it rains!

It’s a pretty little park with a paved trail. I only walked half of it because, after all, I am a princess and a princess does what she wants to do. Even though I made my mama drive me all the way there I soon let her know that it was time to head back to the house for another nap.

Thanks for bringing me to this great park mama, now can we go home?

I’m sure we’ll go on more adventures down here, at least to visit my Uncle on his lake and my Aunt at her house. We might even get some visitors here, you never know. I’m just very happy to be here where things are blooming and it isn’t snowing!

In my own backyard!

Stay tuned, if I do anything exciting I’ll let you know!

Sunshine and no snow!



A day at the park

Katie here! I had the best day yesterday!

You know how I’ve been stuck in this house for a gazillion years? And when I did go out it was so cold that mama made me wear those silly booties? Well, I’ve been telling mama off. Repeatedly.

This is a lot of snow mama!

I’m doing my best to make her life miserable and it must have worked because yesterday mama bundled me into the car really early. I was suspicious at first because we hardly ever go anywhere that early unless it’s to the vet or the groomer or camp.

So I was sitting in my crate in the back of the car being very very quiet(so that she’d forget I was back there and maybe not take me somewhere bad) when I smelled my park! Well! I got all exited and started barking and pawing at my crate. Mama told me to be patient.

Right mama. I’m a sheltie, remember?

It was cold and windy out but mama and I walked around my pond so that I could make sure everything was good there. I hadn’t been to my park in a very long time, and you know how things can get out of hand if you’re not there to supervise.

Checking out my pond at my park in the early morning light.

It turns out things were just fine in my park and I wanted to stay longer but mama said her face was freezing and we had to go back to the car. Halfway back I refused and sat down. After all I am a princess, and this was my park. I wasn’t ready to leave.

So mama sighed and picked me up and carried me to my car. Mama does not play fair.

I was sad thinking that all the fun was over, but no! Mama took me to another park! There was a fenced area and no other doggies in it so mama let me run without my leash! I haven’t run in a very long time!

I don’t know why I have to stand on these things, but if it makes mama happy…

And then mama found a tennis ball! Oh boy my eyes lit up and I told her to throw the ball woman!

Throw it, throw it, throw it mama!!!

I wouldn’t actually pick up the ball, after all who knows what mouth that ball had been in, but I’d chase it and circle it and then run back to mama with a grin and make her go get it and throw it again.

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It was a very very fun game, and we played it for a long time. Then we walked around the park a little bit and I met a new friend. This is Louie. He and I sniffed each other and decided we could be friends. But Louie’s dad was calling him and Mama said it was time to go home and check on stuff.

Louie ignoring his dad.

Stuff? What stuff mama?

Well! When we got home there were trucks in our driveway! And lots of people coming and going! What was going on? I needed to be here to supervise! Let me at em mama!

Mama said we were getting a new furnace and that’s why she and I left so early, so that they could all work without my interference. Interference? Really mama?

Anyway, I got to supervise the last 5 hours of the furnace installation and all the people said I was a very good girl. I watched them go in and out, and I checked things out regularly. It appears they did a very good job, but it wouldn’t have been as good without me there to make sure things were done properly.

I’m watching you guys!

So I didn’t get any of my usual naps in yesterday. I figure that’s the sacrifice I have to make when my family needs me to oversee a project. Today I’m taking the whole day off….wait…what’s that you say mama? That today is going to be the warmest day in weeks? That we shouldn’t waste it inside? That we should maybe go to another park?

Well OKAY then mama! Let’s get moving woman, no time to waste! The princess demands her chariot…um…car…be brought around front for her next adventure.

Talk later people, I’ve got places to go.

Your Katie-girl.

This might be a bit much mama.



Happy Birthday Baby-Girl!

It’s Katie’s 11th birthday today. She’s celebrating it with a few of her closest (literally closest — they’re in the same facility) friends at the kennel because her negligent mama and daddy are traveling.

It’s my party mama, and I’ll cry if I want to.

I’m pretty sure she will make us pay for our lack of planning, but I promise she’ll tell you all about it when she gets home. Meanwhile, Happy Birthday sweetie. We miss you and we’ll be home soon.

And yes you can tell me off if you need to. I’m sure you’re practicing right now.



Still learning night skies

Another super moon visited us last night and the sky was clear all day, so I couldn’t pass up a chance to try to capture it. A year ago last November I stood on a bluff overlooking our library and attempted to catch the pink moon rising. It was freezing cold. I was only sort of successful.

So last night I tried again.

I drove out to one of Katie’s favorite parks where I knew there was a nature trail up to a lookout hill.

Evening descends as I ascend the hill.

I had set the camera up for the moon shots in the nice warm car, but on the way I saw stuff I wanted to photograph (of course) and I forgot, in the moment, that the camera was set for night skies. Hence this:

Flying geese. Put your glasses on. Oh wait. It looks the same even with glasses.

It’s a bad shot that not even Lightroom could fix. But I thought it was kind of cool. OK. I’m weird.

Once up on the hill I settled in along with another family to wait. The sun set behind us and we almost missed it because we were staring at the horizon where the moon was supposed to appear any minute.

The quiet sunset behind us got ignored.

And then it did.

What is wrong here???

And my tripod wasn’t steady, and that bothered me so much I didn’t even register that the moon was completely blown out and I needed to speed up the shutter. Eventually I figured that out, but by then the moon was higher in the sky, past the ridge of clouds it had been shining through.

It really was this color!

I couldn’t get the clouds and the trees and the moon all in one shot. Either the clouds disappeared or the moon was too bright.

But I had a wonderful time. It wasn’t freezing cold. The moon was breathtaking, much more beautiful than these poor images display. The family up on the hill left way too soon, while the moon was still in the clouds. I hope they saw it shining bright on their drive home!



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!



Playing with the night

Ok, OK. I’ll show you a couple of my failed night images from last weekend’s trip to Traverse City. My excuses are many, most I blame on the cold wind, rain, and sleet. And fumbling fingers, and bad eyes.

It was a dark and stormy night.

And remember, none of this is the fault of our instructor. She would have gone to the same locations in the same weather and found something much more worthy of your perusal.

The photos here are after I’ve messed with them a bit in Lightroom. I can’t show you the original images because they were shot in RAW and apparently WordPress won’t allow them. They’re probably too big. Or something. Plus when I went back to change the originals into JPEGs in Lightroom they had been replaced with the edited versions and it’s just too much work to go upload the originals and try again. I’ve barely figured out how to get this far.


We started out at the Traverse City marina where the waves were crashing over the end of the pier and the rain was beginning to drive sideways.

That first image up at the top was at the marina. I was pointing at nothing in particular, trying to figure out my camera settings and I accidentally set off the shutter. It turned out very very orange, but the neat thing about shooting in RAW is that when you go to edit it you can change the white balance. So I did. Plus I tweeked a few other things…still, it’s a weird shot and not one I’d normally show you.

The person in the left corner is another of our students, wearing his red headlamp. I liked the reflection in the puddle. That’s about all I liked in this one.

Shortly after that shot I was messing around with the camera, thinking I might get some wave action when a Traverse City Police officer drove up, while my shutter was open, to find out what kind of fool was out in that weather. So this is what I got.

And then there was light.

The original image was completely blown out by white light. So I found it interesting to see that I could push that much light back and still see something. Even though, once again, it wasn’t a shot of anything I really liked.

Still trying to get a shot of the waves crashing over the concrete barrier we tried to use headlights from our own car shining out over the bay.

Caught a little bit of a wave.

It didn’t really work, but still, after editing, it kind of tells you how cold and wet it was that night. The only warmth is the red light shining from my neighbor’s headlamp.

After we gave up on the marina we drove way out to a lighthouse. By the time we got there it was snowing wet sleety flakes. And the wind had picked up.

Oh joy.

It was difficult to face into the wind coming off the lake and take pictures of the lights of Traverse City to the south. So we focused, out of self preservation, on the unlit lighthouse behind us.

Standing in all kinds of weather.

I set the camera up, choosing 28 seconds of exposure, and someone lit the lighthouse up with a pen light for a moment. It’s called light painting. It’s not perfect, and my lens had drops of water on it. But it was fun.

This image doesn’t begin to convey how cold and windy it was out there that night. By the time we headed back to the car we were all soaked through our many layers of clothes.

But my goodness it was fun!

I want to try again some night when it’s not 28 degrees (-2.22 C) with driving snow. Some night when the stars are out and the air is fresh with spring would be good. I’m already scouting out locations.

And I’m beginning to mess around with Lightroom. Between the instruction I received last weekend, and a book I have I’m starting to make sense of it.

My favorite lighthouse

I haven’t found the straightening tool, and I’m having trouble figuring out how to import just one photo instead of the entire folder. And I know there’s oh so much more that I haven’t found yet.

But I’ve started. And that’s the hardest step in any learning process.

It’s a long road.


Wordless Wednesday




New laptop practice

It’s here! The new laptop is here! And husband spent all night setting it up so that I can take it with me on a little trip this weekend.

I should have made more cookies for him.

This morning I uploaded the last series of photos taken the day the laptop died. They’ve been sitting patiently in the camera ever since.

This was way back in October mama!

Katie thought you’d like to see a couple shots of her, given it’s been so long since she’s been online. She figures you need a Katie fix.

And she’s seen my suitcase so she’s alternating between excitement and pouting while she’s attempting to figure out if she gets to go.

No she doesn’t.

But don’t tell her that.

Can we go play now mama?