Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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WordPress Photo Challenge: The Road Taken

Walking a forest fire access road around the mountain we were surprised to find a bit of the lake hiding in back.

Let's go explore that shoreline mama!

Let’s go explore that shoreline mama!

We were glad we took this road a bit further than we ever had before.

Wonder what surprises other people have found on the roads they’ve taken? Check out the link above. Or here are a couple I especially liked.

Katie says she hopes everyone gets out today on a walk filled with wonderful surprises.

And that you all get to take a nap after.

Come along with me!

Come along with me!


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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.

img_8586_edited-1

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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Mama is so confused

Katie here. Geeze. I let mama blog for one day without me dogervising her and she fails! Did you see what she did? She posted a “Wordless Wednesday” while I was napping and it was Tuesday! She doesn’t even know what day it is anymore. Obviously she can not be left alone. Good thing I’m around to straighten everything up.

So here it is Wednesday. No sense doing a wordless post, I mean seriously have you ever heard of a quiet sheltie? I thought not. So I’ll give you a brief update.

The Pigeon River flows through downtown.

The Pigeon River flows through downtown.

We are still stuck in this stupid hotel. I know, I know. I am supposed to be grateful that we are somewhere warm and safe and stuff. But I am bored! I’m tired of hogging all the pillows. I’m tired of hearing weird sounds outside my door and having my mama tell me not to bark. Of course I have to bark! It’s a weird sound mama!

The car fixer place was supposed to have my car all fixed by this morning, but yesterday afternoon mama found out that it won’t be done today either. I don’t know if we’ll ever see my car again. I’m an adventurous kind of girl, but this is getting ridiculous.

Big sign for this park!

Big sign for this park!

Yesterday mama took me to a city park so that I could have some time outside that is away from the hotel. It was an OK park. It was pretty big with tennis courts and softball fields. Lots of jungle gym type stuff for kids to play on too. I wasn’t interested in playing. I was having a pretty good time just sniffing all those smells.

What are those kids doing over there mama?

What are those kids doing over there mama?

There was a bright red train car in the park; I have no idea why, there weren’t any signs explaining it. Mama thought it was interesting and of course I had to sit in front of it. Boring mama!

No one cares mama!

No one cares mama!

We stopped by a river walk on the Pigeon River downtown too. The river was pretty, but a storm was coming in so we didn’t stay long. Not that exciting either.

Stop with the pictures mama!

Stop with the pictures mama!

Once we got back to the hotel and mama found out that we won’t get the car today she got all bummed out. I decided to be a very good girl and not bark so much at the rain. It was hard. But I can be good if I try.

Storm blowing in.

Storm blowing in.

I understand that sometimes mama just needs a break.

Winds fluff me up.

Winds fluff me up.


31 Comments

Respect

Life in the woods goes on undeterred by politics.

Life in the woods goes on undeterred by politics.


Four years ago, or was it eight, I had lunch with a good friend. We’ve known each other for more than 40 years, adventured together decades ago, worked together, grieved together, laughed a lot. That kind of friend. But at that lunch we learned our politics were light years apart. I was surprised. So was she. By the end of lunch we had silently agreed to leave the politics out of our friendship, and it’s never come up again.

My philosophy, which I voiced then, was that you didn’t have to like the person, but you had to respect the office.

I had lots to reflect on.

There’s a lot to reflect on.

Yesterday the United States peacefully transferred power and, though I still believe in respecting the office, I’m having a hard time this time. I needed to settle, so instead of watching the inauguration I left home for the day and went to a place where I’ve always found peace.

Kensington Metro Park.

The world feels colorless.

The world feels colorless.

It was a dreary, soggy, grey day and few people were braving the raindrops and cold. I should have worn warmer and dryer shoes. And a hat. Still, the birds, always eager to great me, made me smile.

Thanks for coming by lady!

Thanks for coming by lady!

And there was color to be found if you looked for it.

Love the blues and greens.

Blue and green living together in harmony.

Even when the fog began to drift in and the cold made it’s way into my bones I didn’t leave. So much on my mind, I debated both sides of the argument I’ve watched unfold in the news and in my friends.

Only time will tell.

Only time will tell.

Can a man who has spoken such vile things, a man who apologizes for none of it, a man who essentially uses his wealth and celebrity to bully, can such a man lead the free world? Can he be my president?

Can't we learn to get along?

Can’t we learn to get along?

You don’t have to like the person, but you have to respect the office. Somehow that’s harder to do when your candidate didn’t win. I’m reminded by my more conservative friends that they quietly accepted a candidate they didn’t support for the past eight years.

Can I trust you lady?

Can I trust you lady?

Still…this president scares me.

On the other hand….respect the office.

I am more liberal than many of my friends and family, more conservative than others. Yet we all care about each other and I hope that will continue far into the future, beyond the term(s) of this president, beyond the terms of presidents to come.

Looking for a treat.

Looking for some resolution.

Today I will respect the office, but am mindful that there must be accountability. It’s early yet, but I reserve my right to respectfully, peacefully but loudly protest any actions that take away benefits and rights from members of my family, my friends, and even strangers that deserve the same respect I give the office.

I’ll respect the office Mr. President. But I think we all expect some respect in return.

Change is hard.

Thanks lady!

Thanks lady!


34 Comments

Walktober

Time to go for a walk!

Time to go for a walk!


It was a beautiful Monday morning when I drove to my favorite park, intent on capturing my “Walktober.” Every year I do Robin’s walk, and every year I think I want to do it out at Kensington Metro Park. But this was the first year I actually got out there.

Let's start out here, shall we?

Let’s start out here, shall we?

Have a seat. It was so beautiful that I couldn’t stop capturing images. And then how could I choose only a few? So this is going to get kind of long. You can skim if you want, or take your time and meander along with me.

Whatcha doing lady?

Whatcha doing lady?

That’s the benefit of heading out on a Walktober….there’s no real definition and you get to do whatever suites you best.

So here we go.

Back in the woods the trees were still mostly green, but there was a bit of red if you looked.

Standing out in all that green.

Standing out in all that green.

On the entire walk the sun and I were racing each other; big puffy clouds kept obstructing the light. I’d see an image and get all set up and then the sun would go under a cloud.

So I’d wait.

A touch of sunlight made things glow.

A touch of sunlight made things glow.

Inevitably the sun would peak out again, though sometimes only for a moment. I had to act fast.

Golden light.

Golden light.

Along the way there was a lot of detail to notice too. Like this fungus on the ends of a tree that had fallen…

Orange woodland ruffles.

Orange woodland ruffles.

…and the first of the bittersweet berries beginning to ripen.

Berries glow.

Berries glow.

This is the park where the little birds like to be fed. And even though there are signs not to feed the wildlife it’s hard to resist when they fly down and hover in front of your face hopefully.

What did you bring me lady?

What did you bring me lady?

This time I got really lucky. I’ve had chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers land on my hand before, but never a nuthatch. They’ve always hovered around, wanting to get something, but a little too scared. Not today!

I decided to trust you!

I decided to trust you!

At one point I dropped the rest of the seed in my hand onto the path and walked away. The little birds flew in to finish it off. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this guy swoop up to a branch overhead.

Looks like dinner down there!

Looks like dinner down there!

“Oh no you don’t,” I said. I marched myself right back there and waited until the little birds finished off the seed. Disappointed, Mr. Hawk flew off to find lunch somewhere else. Darned if I was going to present my birds to him for a meal!

A little way further up the path I came upon a clearing.

Inviting place to sit and think.

Inviting place to sit and think.

This land was donated to the park by the estate of George and Virginia Danz in 1997. It was the site of their summer cabin. It’s just beautiful and I sent them up a silent thank you.

It was such a beautiful day for a walk. As I came to intersections on the path I always took the one that sent me further away from the parking lot. I didn’t want to stop!

Pretty no matter which way I went!

Pretty no matter which way I went!

The path wandered in and out of the woods, along wetlands, and groves of ceder. The sun poked it’s way into the deep reaches of the woods. The birds sang. I didn’t see anyone else out there until I got back almost to the parking lot.

Enticing me to go further.

Enticing me to go further.

It just kept getting better and better.

Red pops.

Red pops.

I’m sure there’s a story about this old farm implement that was sitting way out there. All of this land used to be farm so maybe this was from the original owners. Or maybe it was put there to tell a story. Guess we’ll have to come up with one on our own.

Lost in the woods.

Lost in the woods.

There was something fun no matter where I looked.

You looking at me?

You looking at me?

Eventually I had to stop, so I headed back toward the car. Of course there was one last photo…and then another…

More color across the way.

More color across the way.

…and when I finally got back to the parking lot these two guys were waiting for me. Silly birds, they’re supposed to be heading south by now.

Is it time to leave already?

Is it time to leave already?

But I’m glad I got to see them up close and wish them safe travels.

I had such a wonderful time on this year’s Walktober. Thank you Robin for organizing this every year! You make me get out and take a walk!

Peachy.

Peachy.

And for all of you readers out there, there’s still time for you to go on your own Walktober. Take a walk. Urban. Country. Somewhere in between. Take a few pictures (you don’t have to go overboard like I did!!!) and link to Robin’s blog, or just comment in her blog, and she’ll organize it all at the end. The timeframe is from October 15 through the 23rd, with blog posts due by October 25. But she’ll stretch the timing for you if you need a few more days.

I’d love to see what you see in your worlds as you walk! Share with us!

Golden.

Golden.


17 Comments

Inspired to be kind

Thank you rises to the ceiling.

Thank you rises to the ceiling.


Reading blog posts yesterday afternoon I was inspired by Nancy’s notquiteold piece on kindness. She had, you see, been a bit rude to a Medicare employee on the other end of the phone the day before and she wanted to make amends.

Who does that?

The remark she made didn’t seem all that rude to me. Really, it was just a tiny bit off color and I’m sure the people working the phones at Medicare have heard a whole lot worse. But Nancy felt bad, so she called back the next day and apologized, and though the person she spoke to wasn’t the same as the one the day before, I’m sure she made someone’s day.

Because, really, who does that?

Nancy is right, in this election year filled with accusations and taunts, lies and misconstrued actions, we seem to have accepted rudeness as the new normal. But we don’t have to.

We can be trend setters.

Today each of us could go out of our way to be kind to someone. Consciously kind. Take the extra moment to look someone in the eye when you ask them how their day is, then listen to the answer and respond with empathy. Add a little extra to the tip at lunch and thank the server with a genuine smile. Offer to grab something at the grocery store for your neighbor. Visit an elderly relative who lives alone. Hold a door open for someone, let a car cut in front of you, slip that guy who’s always on the corner a dollar with a smile.

Do something kind today. And tomorrow. Start a new trend.

Let’s shrug off the negativity of this year’s campaign. You’ve probably made your election decision by now, so turn off the TV. There’s no point in letting more of that into your brain or heart. There’s no room these days for more drivel and spite and lies.

Spend the spare time you have doing something you love and spread a little kindness about while you’re doing it. The world will benefit and you’ll feel better too.

Thank you, Nancy, for the inspiration. Sometimes we just need a gentle nudge in the right direction.

PS: And if you need to clear your head, today is the first day of Robin’s “Walktober.” The concept is to take a walk, take a few pictures, and then share that walk with all of us. You have until October 23rd to do your walk and until October 25th to share it with us by linking to Robin’s blog. I think a walk in the beautiful October sun (or cool October rain if that’s what you’ve got going on) would be a very good way to spend a few minutes or hours. Go check it out at Robin’s blog!

I’m headed out even as we speak.

Another, cooler walk.

A cool walk years ago.


23 Comments

A walk in the woods

On my last full day ‘up north’ I stopped by the Leelanau State Park hiking trails. I’d spent most of my three day visit near the water, understandable given how much I love Lake Michigan, and I thought I should see what was going on in the forest before I left.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot I realized that I’d been here once before, a few years ago during the winter when we’d all gone cross country skiing on these trails. It looked different now, but not that much different. And walking was so much easier than skiing!

What's over that hill?

What’s over that hill?

It was a dreary and rainy day when I went into the woods, which only served to intensify the green that was waiting for me to discover. The path was soft and squishy with fallen needles and leaves. The only sounds where the chirps of chipmunks, the cries of bluejays and a slight breeze in the trees.

Hey lady!  Stop clomping around in my woods!

Hey lady! Stop clomping around in my woods!

Since it had been so damp, days and days of rain and clouds, everything was lush including the mushrooms and toadstools growing on the forest floor. Luckily I had my tripod with me, so I was able to get up close to these little orange guys, even in the low light.

Orange is very in this fall.

Orange is very in this fall.

It took me a few times to figure out the white balance and the ISO, not to mention the f-stop and shutter speed. But thanks to some advice Heather of Snap Happy Gal gave me the night before I was able to fiddle around and get the shot using manual settings on my camera. The hardest part was getting my knees to unbend and to stand up once I’d been down there for awhile.

It was such a beautiful day, as overcast and dreary as it had been out on the road, it was fresh and green and pleasantly cool in the woods. I appreciated finding these informative signs at each intersection so I didn’t worry about getting lost.

Which way should I go?

Which way should I go?

I wanted to keep going and going from one marker to the next. I wanted to explore all of it, but it’s pretty big. I guess I’ll have to go back to see more of it the next time I’m up that way.

I sure enjoyed my walk in the woods, watching the ground for beautiful stuff…

Little red guy growing right in the middle of the path.  So I couldn't ignore him.

Little red guy growing right in the middle of the path. So I couldn’t ignore him.

…and watching the treetops for more beautiful stuff.

Deep in the woods the trees are tall.

Deep in the woods the trees are tall.

And then, surprise, surprise, the sun came out! Suddenly light flooded into the woods, and the trees smiled.

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

So did I.

While I was in the woods exploring the sun fought it’s way out from under the clouds and when I emerged from the trees blue sky and puffy white clouds greeted me.

Nothing but blue sky...

Nothing but blue sky…

Back in the parking lot, sitting in the car drinking some water, I noticed one last beautiful thing. I couldn’t help but get the camera and tripod back out. It reminded me of Lake Michigan which also has a wide range of colors, depending on the light.

Look at all the colors!

Look at all the colors!

It turns out that after my walk in the woods I found one of the prettiest things I had seen that afternoon on a tree standing right next to the parking lot. I guess you never know where you’re going to find something beautiful!

So tell me, what beautiful things have you seen lately?

Good spot to contemplate

Good spot to contemplate


22 Comments

Free to take a walk

Back when I was working I’d glance out the window at the subdivision behind our building, a pretty neighborhood with tree lined streets. Often there would be someone walking their dog and I’d be struck with such longing. I wanted to be out there walking my dog in the sunshine on a weekday morning, enjoying the breeze, the light, the freedom.

And that’s what I was remembering this morning as I walked my dog up our neighborhood street enjoying the late summer blue sky, the cool breeze, the quiet. The houses were largely silent, empty of their people.

People who were off at work while I was out walking my dog.

I recognize how lucky I am to be retired. Katie recognizes it too, though she’s too much a princess to admit she enjoys the extra walks, the extra treats, the extra belly rubs. But she clearly does.

On today’s walk through the neighborhood she was too busy sniffing pee-mail on one side of the road to notice the twelve geese standing in a driveway on the other side of the road. They turned as a group and silently moved up the driveway, away from the princess. I smiled at them and we kept moving. Out of the corner of my eye I saw another three geese over in the yard. I turned my head to look at them as Katie tugged me down the road.

They weren’t geese. Standing stock still were three sandhill cranes — probably a couple with this year’s offspring. Without movement they blended into the trees, silent watchers of the neighborhood, vigilant but not disturbed by the princess.

And me without my camera.

With not even a phone in my pocket, you’ll have to see exactly what Katie saw which is absolutely nothing. The little princess continued to pull me up the street, nose to the ground checking out the latest doggy news left by her friends earlier in the morning. I continued to smile as I was tugged along.

Cause I’m not trapped in the office on this beautiful Friday morning.

Good morning mama!

Good morning mama!


16 Comments

Just a walk in the park

I'm at my park!

I’m at my park!


Katie here. It’s been forever since I’ve been able to blog. Mama has been hogging it with all her travel adventures, which by the way, she did not take me on. Just to point out the inequities here. But she flew back home on Friday and this morning she said that it was such a pretty day she’d like me to take her to my park!

Well! You know how I love my park. So I barked and jumped around her ankles until she got moving toward the car! Heavens, I haven’t been to my park in a long time! Mama says it was only the month of July, because she was gone, but in dog years the month of July is a bajillion years!

If you have a treat I'll sit!

If you have a treat I’ll sit!

I had so much to catch up on that I stopped a whole lot along the walk. I had to smell everything! And leave pee-mail for my dog friends. Everywhere. After a long time my mama said, “Come on now Katie-girl, you don’t have to pee on everything. Everyone will know you were here. After all, it’s YOUR park!”

Mama was sort of sad because the only flowers left out there were queen annes lace and (oh no!) goldenrod! She says the summer is slipping away and she can’t figure out how to hold on to it. I told her that the reason the summer was going by so fast was because she’s spent most of it somewhere else! And that she needed to spend the rest of it with me. Me me me me me.

Late summer flower.

Late summer flower.

But anyway.

The best part of my walk this morning was that I met a new friend! A little girl and her mom and baby brother were out walking in my park! I was resting in some shade when they showed up. The little girl was so beautiful! And she asked the right questions before she came up to me. She asked if it was OK to let me sniff her hand, and then she asked if I liked to be petted!

Only a little of this still in bloom.

Only a little of this still in bloom.

Mama told her that she asked exactly the right questions and that it was always important to ask the doggie’s mom or dad first. And that if she petted me on my side I’d like it better than on my head. Mama says she was hoping I wouldn’t back up and shy away, cause I break little kids hearts like that all the time. But I was thinking my mama should just quit talking and let the little girl pet me!

And you know what the little girl said as I was lying down and letting her pet me on my soft fur? She said I looked just like a princess! Isn’t that cool! She knew I was a princess! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, everyone should know I’m a princess, it’s perfectly obvious.

Mama told her she was right, I was a princess! And that we had named the park after me. She smiled and asked if she could get a picture with me. I guess she knows royalty when she sees it! So I sat on a bench and let mama take a picture of the two of us. Mama is going to email it to her mom.

I was having so much fun I didn't even notice this guy.  Do you see him?

I was having so much fun I didn’t even notice this guy. Do you see him?

It was special and I’m glad I met her. She is a very nice little girl, a princess herself I think. I hope we meet her again some day at my park.

I had a wonderful time and now I’m hogging all the air conditioning in my living room by sleeping on the vent. I’m so glad my mama is home. She says we’re going on a walk with my friend Deuce tomorrow night! It’s about time she gave me the attention I deserve.

Natives and invasive mixed together, on our way out of the park.

Natives and invasive mixed together, on our way out of the park.

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer too. And that you all have an air conditioning vent to nap on.

When are we going back to the park mama?

When are we going back to the park mama?