Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Nancy’s photo a week challenge: Circles and Squares

Most of my photography is nature related. Plus Katie, of course. Not things that generally lend themselves to circles and especially not things that lend themselves to squares.

Still…I filed this challenge in the back of my head and pretty much forgot about it. Until I was walking Katie on the neighbor’s property this week and she was sniffing around the back of their old chicken coop.

And as I turned to call her I saw it.

All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Or is it the other way around?

The round kiddy pool propped up against the shed, with the square nesting boxes leaning there next to it.

Made me laugh out loud.

And then Saturday a friend and I were eating lunch at a restaurant and I noticed the big round lampshade against the grid of the black ceiling.

But the black squares didn’t show up well in my phone camera shot. And as I was putting the phone away, explaining to my friend why I was taking a picture of the ceiling, she said…

…”don’t you see it? Look at that other lampshade right next to the big white one.” And there were the squares.

So this week it’s a two-fer. And a lesson learned; if you just keep your mind and eyes open you’re likely to see the most unlikely things.


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PS

Katy here again. (If you didn’t read it, I did the previous post too. Just saying.)

I bugged and bugged mama this morning, whining to go outside. At 6 a.m. In the rain.

And because of me she got to see this. It lasted less than a minute.

You can thank me later. She already did. As is appropriate.

Your gal, the damp but still beautiful Katie-girl.


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Yard spectacular

Katie here. Mama says I can show you a little bit from my back yard. She and I went ‘sploring out there this afternoon.

A bit of sunbathing in my yard.

At first I was reluctant to go out with her cause I thought she was going to put me in my kennel. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time in my kennel, but only when I want to be out there, not just cause she’s tired of my whining politely requesting treats.

Looks like this little bug was out exploring too!

Mama and I love spring, so many subtle colors! And then there are the brilliant colors of spring. I like those too!

I’ve got hearts on my shoulder mama, and forget-me-nots at my feet!

I think my folks have done a pretty good job of keeping my yard looking nice. I should probably appreciate them more.

Isn’t this pretty? It’s a quince blossom.

This week mama and I weeded one of the gardens. I was the motivator and she was the labor. Every time she stood up to stretch I barked at her to get back to work. She said I’m something of a taskmaster!

I love this color, don’t you?

I told her that as a princess I expected the best out of my people. She sort of nodded wearily.

More pretty color!

We have lots more gardens to weed, I hope she maintains my high expectations.

This evening mama took me to a neighbor’s land again. We got to run through the woods and I had a wonderful time, but it sort of wore me out, so I’ll have to share that adventure another time.

Sometimes a run in your own backyard is the perfect way to enjoy an afternoon.

I hope you all are enjoying spring wherever you are!

Talk later, your gal Katie.


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The weekly smile

It’s harder, some weeks, to find a reason to smile, and this week has been one of those. What with the deaths of Tim Conway and Doris Day, the fall and hip fracture of former President Jimmy Carter, some health issues within my family and a semi crash not far from me that has critically injured two people just today, it seems there’s not a lot to smile about.

But if I take a moment (and a deep breath) I know the truth, that there’s always something to smile about. You just have to pay attention.

For instance – today the sun came out.

Really mama? Can’t we just get on with our walk?

To those of you living in Florida or Arizona or California that might not seem like a big deal. Now that I think about it, maybe all of you in those far away states are sun hoarders, unwilling to share a little light with us in the northern, damp and bleak states. Well, today the sun came out and we reached 70 degrees.

And Katie and I reveled in it.

The neighbors have a beautiful pond.

We took a walk, my girl and I, on a neighbor’s land across the street. I let her off her leash and she trotted along the pond, nose to the ground, then up and down hills so happy to be free to sniff all the good stuff.

Come on mama, there’s good smells over here!

I was happy to be free of the wet dripping rain.

And it was enough, this one day of sun, to make me smile.

Spring pushes winter out of the way.

Katie and I hope you have something to smile about too. Let us know what’s making you happy and put a comment in Trent’s Weekly Smile post (pingbacks aren’t working at the moment.

We look forward to reading all about your smiles.

Big thanks to our neighbors for letting us wander in their yard!


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Spoiled

Oh I bet you thought I’d be writing about a certain princess, one who lives here and rules the house from her princess pillow. Well, I could, but you’ve heard it all before, mostly from her I might add.

No, I’ve been thinking about how some people are portrayed on television, specifically on some of the real estate shows on HGTV, which is pretty much all I watch these days. So maybe it’s just this particular genre, maybe spoiled whining people aren’t everywhere on TV.

There are any number of shows these days that feature folks looking for their next home or their beach house, or their place in the mountains. Typically the camera follows them as they tour three houses, as they comment on the pros and cons of each.

And it seems like there’s usually someone who complains that the kitchens don’t have the latest and greatest, that they would “have to replace these counters right away,” or, about the master bedroom closet, “this is enough space for my clothes, you’ll have to use the closet in the spare room.”

I’m irritated the most when it’s the couple’s first home. Who says that your house has to have stone counters and stainless appliances? What happened to being thrilled at the prospect of buying your own first home regardless of the finishes? Make it about the view, or the proximity to family and I’d get it. Pouting about the faucets or the light fixtures seems petty.

And my second biggest irritant is when they are purchasing a beach house. Seriously, a beach house is meant to enjoy family time together at a beautiful location. It doesn’t matter if there’s a spa inspired master bathroom, or high end appliances. You’re going to be outside. That’s the point.

And in the end, when they are deciding which property to purchase, why does the woman almost always get her way? It’s almost a joke. Regardless of budget or what the partner thinks is important, there will be one house that she loves and that’s the way it’s going to end.

I don’t know. This doesn’t seem very true to life. I want them to put together a show that goes back to see these couples about three or four years later. The ones that couldn’t agree on anything, the couples where one was overbearing and mean to the other, the oh so young couples who buy the fixer upper but who obviously have no handy skills, I want to see if they’re still in that house, if they’re even still together.

Cause man, if one or the other is spoiled I have to think probably not.

I’m NOT SPOILED!


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Spring finally fights off the winter blues

Singing with joy in the sun.

We’re done with snow in southeastern Michigan. I think.

It’s been cold and rainy for what seems like weeks, not feeling like winter, certainly not feeling like spring. But with all the rain things are starting to bud, to spring up from the squishy earth, to green almost before our eyes.

Color is popping up everywhere.

I was walking out at a local park earlier in the week, trying to get my miles done, training for a summer race. I know that if I start noticing things, stop to take pictures with my phone, that I’ll never get the miles in.

Subtle color glows.

So I made note of where some of the prettiest stuff was and went back with my camera the next day. I was expecting a quiet walk in the woods, but it turned out to be the most beautiful, sunny, warm day that we’ve had yet this spring and that caused lots of people to go out to enjoy the park.

Light turns skunk cabbage into emeralds.

That didn’t bother me at all. I was immersed in the beauty of light on leaves, light making grass and skunk cabbage glow.

Cow slips, or marsh marigolds, either way they’ll make you smile.

Light bringing color to what has been, for months, a grey and drab woods.

Green life glows in the woods.

I only walked 5 miles on Sunday, but it took me almost three hours. Seems I was stopping every little bit to capture something else.

Tiny bits of color are everywhere if you look.

While others were riding by on bikes, or jogging past with the slap of feet, I was crouched down, my face near the earth trying to capture that illusive image.

Bits of gold hidden near the forest floor.

I couldn’t have been happier. Indeed, I couldn’t stop smiling.


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Truck rant

Several lives changed or ended abruptly in Colorado Thursday, April 25th.

Photo taken from the internet.

As many of you saw on national news a semi truck came barreling down a mountainside, out of control according to witnesses, stopping only when it struck rush hour traffic. Four people were killed. Ten people, including the semi driver, were treated for injuries.

This crash brought out strong emotions in me, the daughter of a man killed by a semi driven by a sleepy driver. I know first hand how difficult the road ahead will be for the families of those killed, and have friends who know all about the hurdles facing the surviving victims.

The driver’s life has changed forever too. He’s been charged with 40 charges, including four counts of vehicular homicide. His family, of course, supports him.

He was newly hired at the Texas company who owned the truck, a company who has had previous safety violations, including those involving brakes. He was only driving a truck temporarily to earn some money. He wasn’t planning on becoming a professional driver, though he was happy to get the job.

But the story gets even worse.

This crash was the perfect storm of all the things that can go wrong when an inexperienced driver gets into the seat of an 80,000 pound vehicle, working for a small, independent company. A company that obviously didn’t care about safety, as evidenced by their earlier safety violations and the lack of training. A small company, with only five trucks, a company that carries only the minimum liability insurance of $750,000.

That minimum insurance is required for a truck company to operate, the law requiring it was implemented in 1980 and has never been increased even though the cost of living, including medical costs, have skyrocketed since. Small companies often carry only that much, even though, as we can see, the death and destruction caused by a semi crash doesn’t correlate to the size or wealth of the company.

So those four families who’s loved ones died last week, and the families of all those injured, some still in the hospital, will have to split the available liability insurance of $750,000 between them, and share it with the state of Colorado too, if there are any needed road repairs as a result of this crash.

Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand doesn’t begin to cover the costs. It won’t begin to compensate families for their losses. It won’t cover lost wages, or pain meds, skin grafts or surgeries. And what about the company itself, the one who put that young driver in the driver’s seat and sent him off to the mountains of Colorado with faulty brakes?

They will likely file bankruptcy and start up again the next day under another name. And don’t think they’ll have learned anything from this – the likelihood of them becoming a safer truck company in their next incarnation is negligible.

Because for companies like this it’s not about safety. It’s all about the money.

And unless we raise the liability insurance minimum to something substanstial so that the insurance company will underwrite the truck company, including it’s safety record, until we require companies to cover a larger portion of any damage they cause, then there’s no incentive to put safety first.

The opposing argument is that increased insurance requirements would be too expensive, that it would put small truck companies out of business. Well. My opinion is if you can’t afford the actual cost of doing business you should find another business to be in. Don’t pass your costs on to innocents, who will then have to file bankruptcy themselves, buried under medical bills, and eventually get assistance from Medicaid, which is paid for by all taxpayers.

I don’t know about you, but to me it’s only common sense to tie the required level of liability insurance to the rise in medical expenses. But I know that’s not likely to happen all at once, if at all. I’d be happy to get it raised to $2 million, which also wouldn’t have been enough to handle all the loss and expenses from last week’s crash.

This week some of those families are likely finding out there’s little to nothing available to them to help them in their new normal. It’s going to feel like a slap in the face.

Image taken from the internet.

Those people were sitting in their cars in rush hour traffic. Doing nothing wrong. They got up to go to work or school or the grocery store and the world as they knew it imploded in a split second because of greed. Because profit trumps safety. Because people, with no thought of anyone else, made some very bad decisions.

For those involved in the April crash spring will never come again in quite the same way.

And this is why we go to Washington, over and over and over again. Because someday someone will hear, finally hear, how crazy this all is. This year it’s remotely possible that there will be another attempt to get the minimum required level raised. If that happens I’ll ask you all to call and text and email your Washington Representatives and Senators.

It takes a lot to get their attention, so we’ll need you all. Thank you for reading this far, and thank you for your support.

The regulrly scheduled blog will continue shortly. While you wait, if you’re the praying sort, send a little prayer up for the families involved in this crash, and for the victims of all the other crashes happening daily across our country.

Thank you.

Hey Dad. Hope you’re showing the new people around heaven.


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Smiling this week

The week is literally flying by as I smile while watching the spring arrivals at my bird feeders.

Male cardinal, female and male grosbeaks, shot through the living room window complete with reflections.

May 1st was a very very big day, as the first two male Baltimore orioles showed up, brilliant in their orange feathers.

Welcome back Mr. Oriole! We’ve missed you!

Their feeder had only been up one day when they arrived, so perhaps they’ve been around a few days. I hope they didn’t get too hungry waiting for me.

All day today, May 2nd, the oriole feeder has been active, with the beautiful orange birds, plus others who stopped by for a taste.

Energized for takeoff!

Today I saw my first Grosbeaks, two males at my seed feeder fighting each other for space at the table. One finally chased the other off, but then seemed kind of confused.

Waiting his turn at a feeder.

I had his favorite food on the feeder, but he seemed interested in all the activity right next door at the oriole feeder. So he gave that a try.

Hey everyone, there’s desert over here!

Turns out he liked it and sat there tasting for quite some time. And when he noticed me he flew up into the tree to watch…

It’s safe up here to sort out what kind of options I have.

…then sat at the finch feeder eating thistle seed for a long time. He thinks he’s arrived at a smorgasbord. I guess he has.

Hmmmm, this is pretty good too!

And when a bluejay showed up he retreated to another feeder pole to watch the action.

Just resting between courses.

Yesterday I saw the first hummingbird too, checking out the oriole feeder because I hadn’t put up his feeder. I hurried up and got that out and he’s been back today. In fact I just saw him a few minutes ago. No pictures yet, he’s pretty shy.

And of course between the orioles and grosbeaks (a female showed up today too!!) and hummingbirds…

Sharing is hard sometimes.

…I have the usual gold finches and titmice and chickadees and bluejays and blackbirds and cardinals.

And this guy, image caught through the window and a screen.

Good water lady!

What made you smile this week? Tell us your story and link to Trent’s blog so we can all smile with you!

I make everybody smile!