Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Watch out world, Katie’s back in town!

Katie here! Let me tell you, I’ve had an adventure! I’m not quite sure how I feel about it, but that’s because I’m under the influence of drugs. These drugs make me feel warm and fuzzy….wait, I’m always warm and fuzzy….well anyway, the drugs make me sleepy and mama just gave me another one so I have to type fast before I lose all motivation.

When I first got home.

This adventure all started back in December when I went in for my usual “you’re a very healthy dog Katie” inspection. Usually I’m in and out of there and good to go for another year. Which is good cause I don’t really like going to the vet. That guy pokes me in very private places, you know?

Anyway, this time when my folks got my bloodwork back my liver numbers were all crazy high. The vet said it was nothing he was worried about, cause “old dogs have leaky livers.” Huh. First off, who is he to call me old? And second off, mama knew better and asked for an ultra sound of my liver and gallblader. And you know what he said? He said mama shouldn’t worry about it because “what are you going to do if you find something, she’s 14 years old.”

Then he sent us home noting I was surprisingly healthy for an old dog.

WELL!

My first nap at home post surgery.

Mama and daddy weren’t happy about this at all, so when we got home mama and I took a walk up the street to visit a neighbor who had a vet quite a ways away that he liked a lot. Mama had never considered going to her because she was located so far away, but she thought maybe we needed a second opinion.

So in January mama, daddy and I went way over near Lansing and I got poked and prodded some more. The vet talked to my folks over the phone and mama asked for an ultrasound and the vet said “Absolutely!” and did one right then! She saw the beginning of problems with my gallbladder, and put me on a bunch of meds to treat that and my liver numbers.

Can I get something to eat, mama?

Mama and daddy had quite the process figured out for the next three months, getting all those pills into me at the right times but they had it down. And every month I went back over to Lansing and had another ultrasound and more blood work. The liver numbers were going down but the vet was worried about my gallbladder and told mama and daddy to watch me very carefully, and if I seemed like I was in pain they were to get me to an emergency vet in a big hurry. Cause that would mean my gallbladder was getting dangerous.

So guess what? Last Tuesday night I threw up my dinner without fanfare, right in back of mama who was washing dishes in the kitchen sink. She seemed a bit worried, but the vet had changed some of my meds and the folks thought maybe something didn’t agree with me.

Then the next morning I threw up my breakfast, and mama hadn’t put any of the offending medcine in it. She waited a bit and offered me another small breakfast which I gobbled down and promptly threw up. Then I took a long drink of water and threw that up too.

And then, just to make my point, I started quivering.

I’m actually not that unhappy in my cone. But I keep smashing it into the back of mama’s legs.

Mama and daddy looked at each other and started throwing on shoes and coats and grabbing my meds and stuff and the next thing I know we’re in the car and mama and daddy look stressed.

So I end up in the doggie hospital. They took me inside, away from my parents, and mama had tears in her eyes and kissed me on the nose while the nice lady held me,and then I didn’t see mama again for forever! And all the time that mama and daddy were lost they were poking and prodding me and doing more ultrasounds (which meant they shaved my tummy again!!) and I swear no one was feeding me!

They called mama and daddy that evening and told them I needed that bad gallbladder out of there right away, so on Thursday morning some people came and took me away and I got really sleepy and when I woke up my tummy was cold and I didn’t feel well at all!

Sometimes, though, I give mama the stink-eye. Just because I can.

I stayed there for two whole days. Let me tell you, there’s no rest in the hospital! They’re always checking something, and I was hooked up to all sorts of stuff, I even had a tube down my nose. I guess they did that while I was sleeping cause no way would I have let them even try. A tube down my nose is not a look for a princess!

I was sad and scared and I didn’t feel very well, and my tummy hurt and stuff. I thought mama and daddy were lost forever and I was going to have to stay in this place with all these very nice, but nosey people. But one day a lady came along and put a leash on me and we went for a walk and all of the sudden I was outside. That scared me too, cause I didn’t know where we were going, and so far this adventure hadn’t been very fun.

Mama saw me coming out the door, lagging behind the nice lady, and she jumped out of the car and ran up to the front of the building and let me see her. At first I wasn’t sure if it was really her. After all she had been lost for a hundred days! And she was wearing a mask. But then I realized she was there and I started trotting, although wobbly, toward her. The nice lady smiled and said I was a good girl but I didn’t listen to her, I just wanted to get to mama!

This stupid cone doesn’t slow me down getting to my food, no siree!

Then daddy was there too and everyone seemed very happy and very emotional all at the same time and I told mama to hurry up and get me in my chariot cause I needed to go home! So she did, and she sat with me in the back to hold me cause I wouldn’t lay down. I insisted on standing up the whole way, watching the traffic and smelling the air of freedom blowing in the open window.

It was glorious!

And at home I checked out my house and then asked daddy for something to eat and then I flopped down on my favorite pillow and zonked out for a bit and then I got up and asked for more to eat and then I followed my people around and tried to find a comfortable spot and then I got up and asked for more food…and so on and so on and so on.

Mama says it was a very long first night.

But today is day two at home after being sprung from that camp (which doggies, let me tell you, stay away from the doggie hospital camp, it’s definitely no fun!) and I’m feeling lots better. Mama and daddy are figuring out a new set of pills and I’ve been getting multiple small meals. Personally I think they could make those meals a lot bigger, but I’m still working out the new rules around here.

Mama and daddy say they are glad I got rid of that troublesome gallbladder, they sure didn’t want me to die with a burst gallbladder! What a horrible way to go! And now, after I rest for a couple weeks, we can plan a real adventure. One that doesn’t involve anyone prodding me or taking my temperature in unmentionable places, or giving me a bath or making me wear this stupid hat.

Sometimes if I’m really zoned out and if mama or daddy can sit right there and watch me I get to nap without the cone.

Mama says this is too long, so I need to quit. Plus I’m really tired. I think she slipped me another one of those pain pills that makes me feel good, but oh so sleepy. She says she needs a break. I don’t understand why, it’s not like she had her gallbladder out!

And mama says I need to remember to thank all of you for the kind thoughts and comments and prayers you sent. They made me and her and daddy less scared while we were separated. It’s good to know you’re not alone, you know?

So thank you all, very very much.

For now I’m signing out. Another nap looms on my horizon. Darn drugs anyway.

Love, your Katie-girl, still a very healthy senior princess.

This is not a fashion statement designed for a princess, mama!


54 Comments

Our girl update

I’m sure Katie feels all the love and prayers you’ve been sending her. She always knew she was a celebrity, though sometimes her mama felt she carried that a bit too far, especially in her demands regarding treats durng photo shoots.

But I digress.

By the time I got to the park it had begun to rain.

I just had a call from the doctor in charge of ICU where Katie is recovering. They are going to begin weaning her off of the IV pain meds and get her on oral meds today.

They offered her some chicken this morning and she just about bit their fingers off as she scarfed it down. I laughed and told the vet that Katie would eat chicken all day long if she was offered it. That she’s all about her food.

Artsy-fartsy last of winter’s pretty.

She has gone for a short walk, and they will get her out more today. She might be able to come home tomorrow. The vet sounded a little surprised at that, maybe she thought a 14 year old would be more frail.

Every small thing should be celebrated.

The vet doesn’t know Princess Katie like we know Princess Katie, does she. Katie is a strong little girl, and very stubborn. She always gets what she wants.

It didn’t look at all like spring on this trail.

I imagine what she wants about now are her own pillows (note plural, a princess must have multiple pillows) and her own water bowl and her own food and especially her own people.

Oh…and her squirrels. She doesn’t ever want to be derelict about her squirrel warning responsibilities.

Kind of like a squirrel’s tail. But not.

We, Katie’s subjects, are gratefull for your love and support. It’s been a difficult couple of days, but it was easier with all of your messages. I’ll make sure Katie reads your well wishes when she gets home; I know she’ll want to tell you all about her experience herself.

In fact she’s probably asking them for a laptop as we speak.

We have a lot to be thankful for.

Images in this post are from a walk I took yesterday afternoon after we knew she was doing OK. I walked a short nature trail at a park near me, sat on a bench and took a deep breath and said thanks to the universe that we get to keep our girl for awhile longer.

Grateful for the light in the midst of the storm.


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Our girl

On this beautiful spring day our girl, the Princess Katie, is at an emergency vet clinic having surgery to take our her gallbladder. They will also biopsy her liver while they’re in there, as her bloodwork shows a marked increase in values that are worrisome.

Our backyard this morning.

I had planned on putting the tent up yesterday afternoon, and spending last night with her camping in our backyard. We’re having unseasonably warm weather and she’s been a bit listless. I thought she’d enjoy a night outside.

Hopeful yellow everywhere.

But we found out yesterday that she’s listless for more scary reasons than just being bored.

One strong blossom sitting alone.

She’s in surgery now. She (and we) would appreciate any good thoughts you have to spare. She’s a senior girl, but she’s one of the strongest seniors I’ve ever met.

Hope shines.

If any dog can get through this at her age, she can.

Pure love.

Our girl.

UPDATE: 11:30 am She’s out of surgery, in ICU, they are waking her up now. She did good, some biopsies were taken and are off to the lab. Now we wait for those reports. She’ll stay in the hospital for another day or so. Can’t wait to kiss her nose again.


37 Comments

Working on the backlog

Husband bought me a new camera lens for my birthday. No it’s not my birthday yet, he’s just an early shopper. I have all sorts of ideas about where I should go to try it out, but I’ve been reigning myself in because I had hundreds of images waiting to be processed while I struggled with my editing function.

As the sun came up in the east, the birds began to move.

Or lack thereof.

But now I’m back on a roll and I’ve spent a couple hours (OK more) sorting through the hundreds of images I have of my last trip to the Shiawasee National Wildlife Refuge a couple weeks ago. (I think you’ll enjoy these images more if you’re looking at them on a large screen.)

Looking to the west, with the sun rising behind me, the meadows began to glow. And more birds flew overhead.

You got to see a few of the images, straight out of the camera, in a previous post. And to be honest most of these images didn’t need much editing other than cropping to get closer to the interesting stuff.

The refuge is just over an hour away from me and I like to get there prior to sunrise, because, especially when the birds are migrating, there is so much noise and movement in the early morning moments.

A kingfisher came to sit right above me, surveying the water below.

The first time I visited I was about 30 minutes too late. That morning I could see waves of sandhill cranes flying away while I was driving down the last road, still about half a mile away. This time I got there half an hour before sunrise.

Way cropped and shot in low light, so quite noisy, but look at his colors! He caught breakfast right in front of me.

When I first got out of the car at the parking lot the sky was relatively quiet, and I wondered if I had missed them again. But moments later…well…it was incredible.

Just two of hundreds.

I stood in the parking lot watching wave after wave of noisy sandhill cranes fly by. I began to wonder how so many large birds could be sleeping in the refuge, and where in the world they were all going.

As the sun came up the undersides of the birds, the cranes, geese and ducks began to glow.

Magic.

It was pretty wonderful, and I hadn’t even left the parking lot yet. In fact I thought if that was all I did, stand in a parking lot, watching and listening to these birds, that was enough to make me smile.

Follow the leader.

Finally I made myself move on, though the birds were still flying overhead. And not far down the road I saw this group beginning it’s morning stroll. I loved how the electrical lines and the fur on some of their ears glowed with the early light.

There were about a dozen of them.

The further into the refuge I got the higher the sun rose. My objective was to get to the viewing platform, two miles from the parking lot, sometime before lunch. 🙂 I don’t move along very fast when I have my camera.

Loud singing added to the morning din.

Last fall when I was here the waterways were filled with ducks, but this time the waterways were pretty quiet. Still, the reflections were pretty stunning.

Reflecting as I walked.

And I could hear the cranes out in the open wetlands. So I moved along.

I don’t know what this tree was, but the chickadee was eating parts of the buds.

On the way I met a man coming back who pointed out a tree, surrounded by water, where eight eagles of assorted ages were sunning themselves. If he hadn’t pointed it out I never would have seen it.

A perfect place to enjoy the sun.

It wasn’t on the way to the viewing stand, but it was worth the extra walk to go out on a dike to get the best shot I could. My lens wasn’t long enough to get close, so some of these shots are pretty cropped. But you get the idea.

Such huge birds!

They watched me walk out on that dike across from them, and eventually the two mature adults and a couple of the kids flew off to another tree, further away. A couple of the teenagers weren’t bothered by me and hung out in the tree. You know how teenagers are.

We’re out of here, lady!

After the eagle adventure I made my way back and then on to the viewing platform. From there I could see across the wetland.

Incoming!

There were hundreds of sandhill cranes and ducks and seagulls out there, and wave after wave of them coming in for a landing.

It was pretty noisy.

Move over, I’m coming in!

Again I wasn’t really close enough, nor did I have a big enough long lens (though that would have been pretty heavy to carry all the way back there!) so these are really cropped. But take these images and expand them by 10 and you’ll get the idea what it was like. Everywhere there were cranes.

I saw this flock of male woodducks too.

And on the other side of the dike, in a body of water, were swans.

Swans flying west, cranes flying east.

It was all pretty amazing. I stood there a long time taking picture after picture, all of them, it turns out, pretty much the same, but it felt like I was in a snowglobe with cranes rather than snow filling the air.

I didn’t see any beavers, but obviously they were somewhere around.

I wish you all could come with me when I go back there some day. You never know what you’ll see. It probably won’t be filled with cranes (I don’t think) but there will be something else interesting.

Such a beautiful place.

Guaranteed.

And a barn.


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Resolution

We’ve solved my technical issues, based on many of your comments and research. And because my husband was willing to spend lots of time backing up my laptop and deleting Lightroom’s library.

So things around here are a lot more relaxed, as evidenced by our resident little red squirrel. Thank you to everyone who offered a bit of advice or support.

Katie says I need to get to getting in shape all those images I took of her so she can share them with you. She says you guys can only go so long without a Katie fix.

I told her to go take a nap. She didn’t seem the least bit offended by that, but I know she’ll be demanding her share of time on the blog soon.

I best get to getting.


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Technology frustration

It’s my own fault. I don’t like technology, I feel like I don’t understand enough, and I avoid figuring stuff out until stuff breaks and I’m stuck having to do something.

I feel like I’m half a generation out of step with the world. I can read instructions, and think I know what I’m supposed to do, but I can never quite execute it. That’s how I ended up with an A- on a coding class I took my last semester of grad school. I spent hours slaving over the homework, and got it all turned in, but each assignment was a marathon of agony.

She was showing off her best side.

Thank goodness the final grade was based so heavily on homework and not the final hands-on exam which I managed to get my name on but not much else.

Anyway. I’m still without Lightroom, my editing software. I’ve used up the 20 GB alloted storage just since last July when I purchased it. I don’t even need their stinking storage, I store all my photos on my laptop. Which had to be updated because I used up all the storage on my previous laptop too.

I think I have purchased the wrong version of Lightroom. There’s one called Lightroom Classic that doesn’t put your images into the cloud. So there would’t be a limit. But that’s not where I am.

Nom, nom, nom.

So my options are to delete the library in Lightroom, which also deletes those images from my files on my laptop, or buy more storage.

Of course as I explore these options I note that I can’t even figure out how to buy more storage. I’ve followed their links several times trying to find out what the next steps in storage might cost and I get absolutely nowhere. I’ve even followed the links through their help buttons and end up in the same nowhere place.

Just because this shot makes me smile. And I could use a smile.

I could start over and purchase Lightroom Classic…and just let my current version sit there, but I have to keep paying each year to keep what I have. Otherwise I guess they delete me. And my images, which deletes them from my files on my laptop. This infuriates me, as they don’t own those images.

But I digress. I could look for something entirely different that is more user friendly. Though I am not sure it’s not just me and I might struggle with any editing program. For example, one of my readers suggested a free program she uses called Fotor. I looked that up and there are versions for different Windows operating system. I don’t know what I have. So I tried to look that up by googling “How do I know what Windows I have?” and the explanation was so complicated I couldn’t even get through it.

This week in Michigan.

Which leads me back to this post. Any ideas or suggestions, preferably written in Grade 4 English, would be appreciated. Meanwhile I’ll keep adding photos straight from the camera to my posts.

It’s the least I can do in appreciation for your support.

Thanks everybody, sometimes mama just needs a little help.


34 Comments

Gotcha Day

Hi you guys! It’s me, Katie! Guess what, guess what, guess what?!?!?!?!

Today, Wednesday March 31, is my Gotcha Day! For those of you that don’t know, it’s sort of like a birthday but it’s the anniversary of the day that a doggie (or a cat I suppose, though really do cats truly celebrate anything?) moved into his or her forever home.

Here we are on my Gotcha Day at one of my parks!

Fourteen years ago today I picked mama and daddy to be my furever parents. Don’t tell them but I think I got a good deal. I mean seriously, look at the wonderful life full of adventures that I’ve had so far!

OK, so this past year has been pretty passive, no real adventures at all, but on the other hand they’ve been home with me just about every single day. And to be honest, that’s all I really want, to be near mama and daddy all the time.

Mama says my park still matches my furs, not much green around here yet!

Lately, even though they’re home more, it’s harder for me to keep track of them. I don’t hear them moving around as well as I used to, and if I rest my eyes for a moment they disappear. I have to go hunt them up all the time — they’re usually just in another room, but sometimes it takes me a long time to find them and I start to panic. I think there should be some kind of rule that they have to wake me up if they leave the room.

I’ve told mama off a few times when I couldn’t find her right away. Also when she left me home with daddy and went on an adventure without me. Not fair, but I guess she deserves some mom-time once in awhile. Even I admit I’m sort of high maintenance.

There was hardly anyone out here! I guess that’s cause it was Wednesday, and not everyone is retired like mama.

Today mama took me to a park to celebrate my Gotcha Day. It was pretty perfect, cool with a wind that made mama wish she had worn gloves. We didn’t walk very far. Mama said I could walk wherever I wanted and I did, but turned around sooner than she expected.

I say, no sense over doing, right? Plus mama took me to the park late in the afternoon and it was getting close to supper time. A princess like me doesn’t like to be late to dinner.

Mama likes it when my furs glow.

Anyway, I enjoyed my quiet Gotcha Day. In 2018 I was adventuring down south on my day. You can read about it while I dream about it. It was pretty cool, but I’m thinking I’ve maybe outgrown those big adventures now. I’m much more mature, if you know what i mean.

Surprise! It’s spring in tiny little ways!

I hope you had a great day too and that you spent some time outside enjoying spring (or fall if you’re from the Southern Hemisphere!). Mama says she knows it’s spring now because the skunk cabbage is coming up!

Whatever mama.

Skunk cabbage coming up! Another sign of spring!!!


11 Comments

Reading obituaries

Who else does this? I’ve always read obituaries, especially back in the days of paper newspapers. I remember the Sunday editions had pages of them and I read them all. I particularly focused on those people close to my age, tried to figure out what killed them, so as to reassure myself that something like that couldn’t happen to me.

A little over a year ago I looked up someone’s obit, I can’t remember who, but it was someone from my hometown. I ended up at the website of the local funeral home, a funeral home that’s been in town forever, whose family owners went to the church I attended as a kid.

A flock of wood ducks.

I signed up for an email notification whenever they have another person’s obituary. I’ve found that a lot of people that went to my church as a kid have now passed through this particular funeral home.

It’s an odd feeling when I see the notification in my emails. I always take a deep breath before I click on the link to see who it was. Lots of times it’s not someone I know, not a name from my childood, not a friend of my parents, or worse, a friend of mine. But sometimes it is someone I know’s parent or sister or brother, or child.

Beaver damage.

Sometimes it’s not anyone I know, but after reading the obituary I sort of wish I had known them. Today there were three, and a couple of them struck me. The best obit opening line I’ve ever read showed up today:

“Michael XXXX, age 73 of Howell Michigan, passed away on the golf course after a frustrating double-bogey on March …” Even though I’m not a golfer I smiled as I read that first sentence. And if you can make people smile while reading your obituary, well, you’re a pretty special person in a pretty special family.

Talkative robin.

And this man was someone five years younger than me that I would have enjoyed talking to:

“Mxxx strongly believed in education. He earned Masters Degrees in Economics from Indiana State University, Business Administration from Lewis University, and Information and Library Science from Wayne State University. He was a volunteer at the Salvation Army and the Livingston County Democratic Party. He was passionate about politics, the Chicago White Sox, and the music of Bruce Springsteen.”

I wish everyone’s obituary shared such interesting and fun bits of information. I’ve often thought I’d like to write obituaries. During such a stressful time I would want families not to have to come up with it on their own. And the help from funeral homes isn’t always much more than a fill in the blank option.

I would want families to look back at that obituary and know it summed up their loved one just exactly right. A last gift to the family I guess.

Anyway…how many of you read stranger’s obituaries and consider whether they were lucky to live a full life, how many of you feel grateful for your own life when you read an obituary for someone your age, or someone who seemed to have so few loved ones left.

Or am I just odd? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that.

Reflections.

Pictures today are from my walk last week at the Shiawasee Wildlife Preserve. I still don’t have editing capabilities, so I looked for images that you could enjoy straight out of the camera. They don’t have anything to do with obituaries, but that’s OK. I know you can deal with it.

And somewhere along the line I started getting my captions in the picture, which is sort of OK, except it darkens the picture. And I haven’t figured out how to get the captions out of there. Or even to delete the whole image. So you’ll have to image that these are decent pictures with interesting colors and stuff.

Seriously WordPress, don’t you realize we already have a lot on our plates?