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!



No snow here

Sweet gum ornaments

I know that several of you are suffering through a northern winter. I would be too if I hadn’t run away to Alabama. I sympathize with you still there, those of you bundling up, shoveling driveways, slip-sliding to work.


So I figured I could warm up your lives just a bit by showing you more pretty things from down here.

Needs a bit of fixing up.

Not to make you feel sad or gloomy, but to let you know that spring is not so far away, that it’s just resting down here a bit in order to marshal the strength to push winter further north and win summer back for you.

The last of the winter camellias.

Pretty things come in all shapes and sizes down here. Probably the same where you are too. Sometimes it’s just easier to see when they’re not covered in snow.

Turtle love.

And when your fingers can work the buttons on the camera without being frozen or covered in gloves.

Pretty barn.

But I bet, even if you are stuck in the snowy north, that you can find something pretty to share with all of us. I can’t say I miss the snow, but it sure is nice to look at from my warm space down here.

Cows don’t mind a little rain.

Not that I’m trying to make you feel sad. Or gloomy. Or anything.

Really, I’m not.



Hunting the bluebird

There’s so much beautiful down here in Alabama. Spring is here, things are blooming, mostly the sky is blue and the sun shines and even when it rains it’s just moving spring deeper into my soul.

And I realize that I haven’t shown you much of that.

Watching from afar

So I started looking at the hundreds of images I’ve grabbed during the almost four weeks Katie and I have been here. There are so many to share with you.

Swallow or bluebird, who’s going to get the gourd?

Today I’ll focus on the bluebirds that are flitting around all over around here. There’s nothing happier than a bluebird, and when you catch that glint of intense blue you just have to smile.

Mrs. Bluebird joins the show

I’ve found out they’re not that easy to capture. They like to sit between you and the sun so all you have is a silhouette. I swear they plan it that way.

Sometimes the sun doesn’t shine.

In this post I’m sharing some of the successful shots, and some that didn’t turn out quite the way I’d wish. But once in awhile, oh once in awhile, you’ve got the sun on your side and that blue just glows.


And that motivates you to try again.

Mrs. contemplates a new home.



Maybe I rushed to judgement

Katie here.

I may be a princess, but I can admit when I’m wrong. Sometimes anyway. Mama woke up and told me to go read this blog that tells the other side of the story. It’s possible that mama didn’t cheat on me, but was merely protecting me from a band of redneck pupsters who maybe wouldn’t treat me as a princess rightfully expects.

Me and baby long leaf pine trees.

So I might have been just a tad premature in my accusations.

Then, because mama felt bad that I felt bad she took me for a walk over on the mountain, just me and her. It was beautiful.

Come ON mama! We’re going for a WALK!

She let me stop and sniff most everywhere I wanted, though sometimes she told me to move along sweetie. She said at the rate we were walking we’d be out there forever and I asked her what was wrong with that. She just smiled and shook her head and told me I’d be scared if we were out there in the night. But I don’t think so…mama was dreaming about camping while we were out there, she can’t deny it.

This time we didn’t walk up the mountain, we walked almost all the way around it! And of course I had to stop and be photographed at each new beautiful location.

Like along the edge of the logging road where the moss grew and a stream ran behind me…

Do I get a treat for this?

…and down on a little beach near the water, with the maple tree above me in full red blossom.

Yes this is really pretty, mama, but we need to get back to our walk!

We were the only ones out there except for some people fishing from a boat way out on the water. It was lovely!

Can we get going now?

Once mama wanted to get down to the water to get a picture of some silly trees and I didn’t want to go, so she tied my leash to a branch and left me up there! Well! I told her she didn’t need to tie me up, I was perfectly capable of waiting for her on my own, but she didn’t believe me.

I’ll wait for you up here mama!

So, a little bit later, while she she was busy looking through that view finder thingy and wasn’t holding my leash, I decided to go for a wander. And when she turned around I wasn’t where she left me and she couldn’t see me anywhere! She got all panicked and called and called me and I didn’t come!

Well, not right away.

Mama likes lines of trees. I don’t know why.

I was just around a corner checking out another trail that smelled good. When she called my name again I ran right out of that trail and toward her laughing all the way. Mama laughed too. She said she didn’t know how I could get away from her so quick. I said…mama…there’s nothing quick about you and taking photographs!

Pretty little things. But not as pretty as ME!

She didn’t let go of my leash after that. Bummer.

We walked a long way, and eventually mama said we had to turn around because she wasn’t sure the logging road would circle back to the parking lot. You know I don’t like turning around and I put up quite a fuss. I wanted to go further!

I don’t want to turn around mama!

But mama is smart. She said she didn’t want to have to carry me all the way back to the car. So after awhile I gave up and followed along. Don’t tell her but I was kinda tired, and I was glad when she wanted me to lay down next to these pretty tiny blue flowers.

Aren’t these pretty? I think we should stay here and study them for awhile.

Eventually we got back to the car. I didn’t let on by I was glad to see it. It was a lovely adventure and I’m glad mama and I made up. It’s just the two of us down here and I’d be lonely if I had to get rid of my mama.

She says she’d be lonely too.

That looks interesting over there mama!




Katie here!

I am livid! And depressed. Oh man, I’m just all wound up because my mama cheated on me! Oh yes she did, and she can’t explain this one away either.

I looked up the definition of cheat, just to make sure I was accurate, and this is what the Urban Dictionary said: “Someone who is in a committed relationship and breaks the trust of his or her Katie-girl by getting physically or emotionally involved with another dog.”

OK, I edited the definition just a bit. But she still cheated.

Three boy dogs and a car – that’s just asking for trouble.

What you say? You don’t think mama would ever do something like that? That she loves me with all her heart and I’m the most important dog in her whole world?

Well. I have proof.

Yesterday, at approximately 11 hundred hours a car drove up to our house. A nice lady (I remember her from visiting her farm last year) got out of the car and petted me and she smelled good and I liked her right away. (She’s a regular treat dispenser, ya know what I mean?)

Well, I guess mama isn’t actually TOUCHING them.

I gave her a tour of my lake house and then she and mama went back outside and I wasn’t allowed to go with them. Huh! Something is up. But I didn’t see or hear anything so I waited expectantly. I figured I was due another treat.

Then mama came back inside and got her camera and I still didn’t get to go with her. That’s definitely a sign that something’s amiss. Usually I am the center of all her photography and if she’s not shooting beautiful me, then, I ask you, what is she taking pictures of?

This is my tower. Mama should only bring other dogs here if I give written permission.

But I heard the car drive away and my mama didn’t come back in the house, so I settled down to wait (not nap, people, wait!) by the door.

I’m not going up there!

Eventually she came back and do you know what? She smelled like boy dogs! More than one boy dog! I think my mama is cheating on me with more than one dog! And these aren’t the harmless neighborhood dogs either! I know all their smells and she’s usually with me when they come around.

That’s a tall tower!

So…while she was sleeping last night I snuck on her laptop and found pictures! I have proof people! She went up the mountain without me (that part is just fine) and took the nice lady and her three boy dogs!

And then, the worst part is she brought them back to the house and they got to explore my back yard! And I didn’t even see them out there because I was waiting (not napping!) by the door on the other side of the house!

HEY! That’s MY lake!

What do you think I should do? Should I kick my mama out of the house? Or should I go find a new mama and a new lake house with my own special bed and special dinner bowl and my own special food and treats and toys?

I think this is the one I have to worry about the most. You know how mamas fall for younger guys.

I need advice and I know you guys are just the ones to tell me what to do. You can comment here, but do it quick cause mama will be awake soon and you know she’s always on her computer. I don’t want her to find out she’s been caught.


Not yet anyway.

PS: Mama woke up. She says to go to this blog to read about the other point of view.


Wordless Wednesday




WordPress Photo Challenge: Out of this world

I suppose anything, photographed in closeup, could seem out of this world.

And as I walk the backyard here at the lake and step on the sweetgum tree seed pods I notice that many of them look like horrified alien faces.

Can you see the faces in there?

So I gather some up and set them out on the dock in order to take advantage of the late afternoon light.

Does it help if you get closer?

You can’t deny there’s someone or something out of this world hiding in there.

Would you like to see a few other out of this world images? Here, here and here are a few of my favorites so far.

What’s out of this world in your world? Share with us, we want to see!

Don’t step on these with your bare feet!


Wordless Wednesday




A missing mom kind of day turns extraordinary

I started feeling melancholy last night, laying in bed staring at the ceiling in a house she and dad built a long time ago, surrounded by some of her special things.

All day today, as I ran errands in town, I felt a certain heaviness as I drove past stores we shopped in together, past the university where she worked.

Not much going on in the sky. Yet.

Heading back to the house late in the afternoon I noticed the redbud in bloom, the delicate purple-pink flowers shining against the still bare branches of the rest of the forest. She’d have liked that.

I thought I’d take Katie to a park, sort of a reward for patiently waiting for me all day. But she wasn’t in the mood, and to be honest, neither was I. I thought I’d settle for a nap. But I was restless and sleep wouldn’t come.

A gentle circle in the grey water.

So Katie and I headed out to the dock to sit and wait for the sunset. I wasn’t expecting very much, there were only a few clouds in the sky and the last few nights haven’t been very interesting.

Still. It was nice to be sitting on the end of the dock with my feet hanging down over the water and my Katie-girl laying tight up next to me. I was still feeling sad, but it was a peaceful sort of sad.

Circles within circles.

The water was still, reflecting the sky and clouds. I smiled, and watched the water move as small minnows just touched the surface, creating gentle circles that quickly moved outward.

I couldn’t see the actual fish, just the circles appearing like magic and spreading across the water. Soon there were circles intersecting other circles.

Expanding lines intersect.

I focused on capturing those gentle patterns. Katie fell asleep beside me.

I was so intent on trying to get those circles, trying to get the light right, the focus crisp. I almost forget to check the sky. But the sun waits for no photographer; the sky was beginning to show a bit of color. And I was starting to feel a bit better.

A little bit of pink turns up for the show.

But those little fish were still making circles and I wasn’t sure I had captured the exact perfect one. So I turned the camera back to the water.

And then I realized the circles were now pink. The water was pink. Which meant the sky must be…

The circles begin to glow

I looked up. And had to hold my breath.

Katie stirred and agreed to pose with the sky. She didn’t even ask for a treat. The sky was enough.

I can’t believe how beautiful this is mama!

It’s impossible to overstate how the sky this evening picked me up. I was laughing and running up and down the beach trying to capture it all.

Katie stood on the dock and watched me with a patient look on her face. She knows her mama and she was happy that I was happy.

No words can adequately describe this.

Thanks mom, for sending me the sunset tonight. I know you were there watching me watch it. It looked like something you might have painted.

For all I know you did.