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.



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.




A February boat ride

Leafless trees, evergreens, mountains and clouds. Breathtaking.

February and boats don’t generally mix up where I come from, unless you’re in an ice boat skimming over a frozen lake. I’m sure that’s fun, but when I’m in a boat I’d rather worry about sunscreen than frostbite.

Saturday morning, the sun bright in a blue sky filled with puffy white clouds, was perfect for a little boat exploration.

Let’s go mama!

The boat traveled under a few bridges and then up a creek, looking for the resident eagle. It was a beautiful day, and it turns out there was a fishing competition going on. We came across several father/son teams tucked in the backwaters of the lake. We slid by them as quietly as we could.

Spending time together.

The creek narrowed, and I moved to the front of the boat looking for the eagle. Katie kept a close eye on me from the other side of the wall.

Whatcha doing mama?

This was her second boat ride ever, but she wasn’t too concerned about the engine vibration or noise. She likes being outdoors, and she’s always up for an adventure.

The creek winds through beautiful country.

Eventually we were as far as we could go up the creek. We hadn’t found the eagle, but a bit further was a low waterfall making lovely splashing noises, and more fathers and sons were fishing from kayaks. We dropped anchor to listen to the water and enjoy a biscuit breakfast.

Water running over the rocks just up there made such nice background music.

Then we turned around and slid as quietly as we could back down the creek to the larger waters of the lake. The clouds were piling up in the blue sky.

Couldn’t have had a more perfect day!

Out in the open water Captain Carl throttled up and Katie and I enjoyed the wind in our hair.

Mama! We have the same stylist!

She’s a very brave little dog and enjoyed every bit of her boat ride adventure. I did too.

Can we do this again soon mama?




Snow attack on the back yard.

It’s snowing here in lower Michigan. Nothing surprising about that, it is after all early February. They say we’ll get five or more inches and that it will snow all day.

Maybe all weekend.

With the weather forecast in mind I stopped at the grocery store on my way home last night. I and about a hundred of my best friends shopped mindlessly, wandering up and down the aisles not sure what I wanted, not sure what I had at home, just sure that I needed something.

Goldfinch scans his food options.

Pushing my shopping cart across the parking lot into the wind driven snow I noticed a woman in a car driving out of the lot. Something about the way she held her head, or her haircut, something about her made me think, for a moment, that it was Janet Yellen. Her last day as Chair of the Federal Reserve was just last week.

Sometimes things are just upside down.

Obviously, now that she had time, she needed to stock up before the snow arrived just like me. It didn’t occur to me that it was highly unlikely she’d be in my town in rural Michigan on a snowy Thursday night.

This much snow makes me want to drink too.

No, the reason I discounted the whole idea was that certainly Janet Yellen doesn’t shop for her own groceries.

Snow can be very isolating.

Or does she?

It’s warmer in a crowd.


Wordless Wednesday. Again.




It’s a winter wonderland!

Katie here!

It’s a perfect day to play!

HEY! Mama’s been complaining about the snow and I had to point out that some shelties never even get to see snow! In fact we were just reading over at Arron and Arthur’s site, that they were playing in something called sea snow! Go see, it’s really cool, and it’s nothing like my snow here in Michigan! It jiggles!

This is one of my trees.

I’d sure like to see it, I’m a traveling kind of girl you know, always up for an adventure. I have to say it’s been kind of boring around here. I go outside and do my business and sometimes mama takes me for a walk through the neighborhood. But geeze.

Mama needs to stop taking so many pictures.

Oh wait. I did have some excitement last week, but not the kind I like. Mama took me really early Friday morning on a car ride and we ended up at my vet! MAMA!! We were just at my vet a couple weeks ago and I got a clean bill of health, so why were we there again!

And even worse? Mama left me there!

Now things get a little fuzzy in my recollection at this point. I know a nice girl picked me up and took me in the back. She had to pick me up because I refused to come out from behind mama’s legs. This made my mama tear up for some reason. I don’t know. Mama is weird like that.

Mama and Daddy planted these trees for me before I was even born!

Anyway, next thing I know I’m in a crate and all woozy and my leg is shaved and they have an IV in and I’m really really hungry and then I take another nap. After a million years they take me out of the crate and I pull on my leash looking for a way out of there and they open a door and there’s mama!

She’s trying to pick me up and hug me and I’m pulling for the front door. No time for kisses mama! We’ve got to blow this pop stand before they find out I’ve escaped!

Hey! Wait for me mama!

I have no idea what that adventure was all about, but mama says my toothies look nice and shiny. Whatever mama.

So now she owes me. BIG time. Yesterday I was still sort of sleepy and pretty quiet, but I’m BACK NOW MAMA! I spent today asking to go out and play in the snow. We’ve been out several times.

Tastes good!

I make mama throw snowballs for me to catch. And then we chase each other around the trees in the backyard. And mama is letting me sniff stuff out there as much as I want even while she’s getting super cold and wet. I make sure to spend extra time with my nose in the snow just to aggravate her. I think it’s working.

It’s still snowing here, I think we’ll get about 5 inches today. That’s a perfect amount, not to deep for me to run around in, but deep enough to get inside mama’s boots.

What’s that over there??

Yep, today was perfect. I expect tomorrow will be too; I plan on asking to go out four or five times, and I know she feels bad enough about the vet that she’ll stop what she’s doing and go out to play with me.

I just love snow!

We have an agreement, mama and me, if she takes me somewhere bad one day, she has to do fun stuff with me for about 5 or 6 days after to make up for it. It’s taken her awhile to come around, but I think she gets it now.

Mama. I think I’ll keep her.

Guess I’ll take a nap now.


Wordless Wednesday



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Wordless Wednesday