Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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My advice – when you’re stressed, take a walk in the woods

Katie here.

Yes, I know you heard from me quite recently, but mama has been really busy and being a responsible dog, I feel the need to fill the void here on mama’s my blog.

Deuce and me before our walk in the woods!

Because mama is so busy it’s pretty easy to make her feel guilty about neglecting me. So I’ve been exploiting using that guilt to get her to take me on walks at several parks.

Sitting together for our obligitory picture in the fall leaves.

Having wonderful October weather doesn’t hurt either. I think mama should thank me for getting her outside to enjoy the last bit of warm weather before it starts snowing.

Anyway…last week I got to meet up with my friend Deuce and explore Dinosaur Hill, a park over near where he lives with his mom.

Deuce thinks he’s going to get a treat photo-bombing my shot!

As you can see, somebody had decorated the park, getting it all ready for Halloween which is coming up soon here in the United States.

What is all this stuff, mama?

We had a real nice walk. So nice in fact that we walked all the way around the little park two times! I felt wonderful, and sometimes I even led out front, something that I never did even back when I was a youngster!

Hurry up you guys, it smells great over here!

Mama was real happy that I was real happy.

I guess I should tell you guys, if you don’t already know, that I have some days when I don’t feel so good. It turns out my kidneys aren’t working at full strength.

Don’t feel bad for me, I’m still a happy girl.

A few weeks ago the vet said I had progressed to stage 4 kidney disease and that made mama and daddy very sad. But then last week my numbers were a lot better, so now they feel a little bit better.

I don’t know what’s in my future, but you can be sure I’ll parlay it into more walks!

Deuce thought he’d find treats up there, but nope!

In fact, a couple days after my Dinosaur Hill adventure mama took me to one of my own parks, Davis Lake Overlook which is right by my house. I call it Katie’s Park II.

It was another beautiful day, kind of windy, but I don’t mind that, wind just makes me more beautiful.

Me at my park on another beautiful day!

Mama said we were only going to go a little ways down the trail. She didn’t want me going too far because she didn’t want to have to carry me back. Silly mama!

I thought we should keep going, right down this big hill. Mama thought I was over estimating my ability.

We got to the top of a big hill and mama said we should turn back. I said no way! We argued about that for quite some time.

I love being in my woods.

And then I won and we went down the big hill and up the other side and around to my favorite part of the park. I walked all the way back too, I never once asked mama to pick me up.

We saw a little bit of color. Of course mama had to take a picture.

So there mama, you don’t have to coddle me! On these bright beautiful fall days I can’t wait to get outside and into the woods!

I thought maybe I’d find something good under the picnic table. But nope.

In fact, mama took me to another of my parks tonight, but I’ll save those pictures for another post.

Hey! Do YOU guys have any treats? Cause mama is restricting treat dispersment around here.

I figure you’re pretty much overstimulated with all these images of me. Though I have to say, there’s not a bad picture in the bunch. Naturally.

Always a cover girl.

Talk later,

Your Katie-girl, rock star, hiker extraordinaire, and all around glamour girl.


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Change

Unexpectedly I have spent the last few days down in Ann Arbor. Before I left town Saturday morning I did a quick drive through the downtown area, reminiscing about the days, more than a decade ago, when I was there every day working on my graduate degree.

I didn’t end up stopping anywhere yesterday, but I saw that my favorite bagle/fragle place, and my favorite flower shop are now canibus stores. (With home delivery!) My favorite ceramic studio and gallery is now a sushi place. And my favorite vegan restaurant is a Christian Science Reading Room.

Nothing stays the same. But I’m gonna really miss that fragle place.


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Princess Katie does Walktober with the Queen

Katie here. Things have been kind of boring in my world lately – as you may have noticed I haven’t gone on any adventures in forever. So this year’s Walktober seemed the perfect opportunity for me to kick it up a notch. Or ten.

The moms put us up here ’cause some really big dogs were coming. And because we are cute.

So I instructed mama to invite my friend Queen Abby (and her mom) to accompany me on my Walktober adventure. Abby was pretty excited about going on an adventure too. We think alike, Abby and me, mostly by ignoring each other. It works for us.

“Hey Katie, let’s not look at them when they take pictures of us, OK?”

Anyway, we met at Hudson Mills Metro Park down in Dexter which is near Ann Arbor Michigan. That way neither or our servants moms had to drive too far.

Queen Abby refused to smile, stating she was too regal to stoop to the paparazzi’s level.

It was a pretty day, though it started out foggy. But I don’t mind that, foggy means cool, and cool is, well cool to us shelties. We wait all year for the temperatures to drop so we can show off our beautiful but heavy coats for everyone to see

OK, maybe a little smile.

But I digress. I’m here to show you all the fall color, right? Hmmmm….down here in lower Michigan there’s isn’t that much color quite yet.

Mama says the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is at peak color right now. She’s not up there. I think she’s sad about that, but she sure wasn’t sad about going on an adventure with me!

A little bit of color against a beautiful blue sky.

Abby and I even put up with all the photos the moms wanted to take. As long as they didn’t want us to sit too close together we were willing.

Not going to look at you, mama.

And we managed to find some color under a couple of trees so that the moms felt like this walk qualified for a Walktober.

We paused to rest at this spot that was right next to a disc golf tee, so we got to see lots of guys throwing stuff. I thought that was facinating.

We had a wonderful time. The moms were very careful to let us rest as much as we wanted. After all, both I and the Queen are seniors now.

We sat in this pavilion, the concrete was nice and cold.

But we walked a good long way too, just real slow. The better to appreciate our adventure, you know.

Seriously Katie, does your mom always take so many pictures?”

I think Queen Abby was glad she granted me the playdate so we could go on on a Walktober together.

All hail the Queen!

And I was really glad to share my adventure with her too. But, eventually, we had to leave. We each went back to our waiting carriages.

I was disgruntled because my treats had not been placed in my private compartment as requested.

I don’t think Abby was quite ready to leave. I didn’t want to say goodbye either.

See you later sweet Abby-girl!

But I was ready for a nap, and slept most of the way home. Except when mama stopped to take pictures of barns. But I forbade her from showing those on my Walktober post!

Geeze mother!

I swear, that woman has no boundries! But I’ll forgive her, cause I had a stupendously fun day!

Talk later, your adventuring girl Princess Katie.

PS: Thank you to Miss Robin for hosting the Walktober again this year! It got mama to take me to a park, so I owe you!!

Come along with me, there’s another adventure just over here!


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Practice makes perfect

Our community band headed back to rehearsal this week. Tuesday night was the first time we’ve played together since March of 2020. Though we normally start up again in September after the summer break, this year we delayed starting so that the school system could decide what the protocol for our playing in their buildings would be.

We are required to where a split mask while we play, and our instrament bells must be covered as well. It’s kind of crazy, because, at least for woodwinds, air blows out through all the keyholes too which remain uncovered.

Several people protested that playing band instruments while wearing a mask was ridiculous. I suppose it is. I’m on the board and we decided early on to send out a survey, telling our musicians what the requirements would be and asking if they would be playing this season. About 50% decided they weren’t comfortable and opted out.

I understand, I waffled myself.

But in the end, for me, the chance to play overrode lingering fear of contrating covid again. Though I have to tell you, playing while wearing a mask is not easy. Playing while wearing a mask when you haven’t played more than a handful of times in the past 18 months is really hard. Playing while wearing a mask when you haven’t played much in the past 18 months and while wearing glasses that fog up is really really hard.

We’re practicing Christmas music; our first concert will be in December, and Santa will be there, so we’re motivated. I’ll be practicing this week while wearing a mask so I can figure out how to breath without fogging up. And so I can blow for longer than one measure without getting winded.

Santa from another concert, another year, another lifetime ago.

Yep, I have a lot of work to do. But we’re playing music again, a sure sign that the world is beginning to right itself. And that makes me smile. I hope you have found reasons to smile this week too. Even if you’re wearing a mask and fogging up your glasses.

Change is hard.


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Northern Lights

No, I’ve never seen them in person. Well. I might have seen a tiny bit of some once, but I’m not sure.

I’ve been watching all the great Northern Light images popping up on Facebook. Many are being shot in northern Michigan, often very near where I used to live a lifetime ago. Sometimes I can tell exactly where the photographer was standing because I’ve stood there myself.

Creating pollution, light and otherwise while waiting for the Northern Lights.

Now days I live far away from the northern reaches of the Upper Peninsulia which would be my first choice of viewing locations. It’s just not practical to jump in the car when conditions are right and drive ten hours on the off chance the dancing lights appear.

It was a crazy night.

But I’m sure, sooner or later, I’ll be in the right place at the right time. In fact I was, kind of, a couple years ago.

I never saw this fist cloud that night, only when I reviewed images later.


These are photos from 2019 when we were in the UP in the fall and northern lights were predicted. Not only predicted among local northern light buffs, but also on national news networks. Everyone knew there should be lights that night.

Is there some green light over there?

Which is why we found ourselves on a beach looking out at Lake Superior along with a few thousand of our closest friends, all of whom were enjoying bonfires producing smoke obscuring the sky.

Bad composition, but the Milky Way is there.

Yep. That’s the closest I ever got to seeing the Northern Lights.

They’re out there somewhere. I never did figure out what that red spot was in the water.

It was a crazy night, and though I was facinated by the others on the beach, mostly Michigan Tech students, we couldn’t see much of anything out over the water. I didn’t even look at these images when we finally made it home from our adventures. We’d seen so many other wonderful things that trip I never thought about these shots at all.

But I have to say…maybe, just maybe I did see some Northern Lights that night. In spite of myself.

There were people and bonfires as far down the beach as we could see. In both directions.

Note: These aren’t great images, but to see them at all you’ll probably need to be in a dark room and looking at something larger than your phone.


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Brown sugar

I think about Aunt Vi nearly every morning. Some of you will remember she was my husband’s aunt who lived to be 102.5 years old.

She liked to use that extra .5, because at her age, every month counted. Kind of like a little girl who might answer the question about her age with “4 and a half!” eager to head to kindergarten when she turned five.

Back in her younger days

Anyway, I think about her most days as I make my morning oatmeal. During her last year of life she lived in a nursing home, where the only meal she would eat was her breakfast oatmeal. And the only thing that made that meal edible was the brown sugar she kept in a baggie in her nightstand drawer.

At her 100th birthday party.

She showed me that bag on one of my visits, a worn out baggie, opened and closed numerous times. The kind where you have to line up the two sides correctly to get the bag to seal.

At 101, still at home with her bird Charlie

It it wasn’t completely sealed, the tiny bits of brown sugar hardened at the bottom of the bag.

And I think about it now. Sprinkling that brown sugar on her oatmeal (which she said was often cold by the time it got to her) was the highlight of her day. Those bits of sweetness were like gold might be to someone else.

And it never occured to me to offer to bring her more. I could have shown up one visit with a fresh bag of brown sugar, sugar that was still soft, but more abundant. Sugar she wouldn’t have to ration so tightly.

Her 102nd birthday.

Every morning when I make my oatmeal, when I sprinkle it with brown sugar I think of her.

And I send up a silent apology that I was so blind.

“What are you doing?” she asked me when I took this with my phone


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Can’t ignore me, mama!

Katie here.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that mama has been gallivanting all over the state again. You might have also noticed I was not invited.

Just napping, it’s so boring around here.

Well I certainly noticed. When I got sick, way back last spring, mama promised me she’d never leave me again. Apparently she is not to be trusted.

But, since I am a sheltie and since I love my mama so much I have decided to forgive her, because she feels bad enough that I wouldn’t eat my kibble while she was gone. Daddy had to feed me chicken and rice again.

These are my flowers, over near my driveway. I think pink is my color.

I suppose, in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that mama made the chicken and rice for me before she left, just in case daddy felt like he needed it to make me happy.

This dead tree fell into my yard while mama was off camping.

So I guess she was thinking about me even though she was off having fun without me.

The pictures in this post were taken at my house and in my yard. Mama took me on a walk around the yard as soon as she got home. She thinks that makes up for leaving me.

This is where we’d be camping in my backyard if mama hadn’t been off having fun. I guess I should be thankful she and her tent weren’t home, ey?

I might let her believe that, ’cause it makes her happy. And don’t tell her, but whatever makes mama happy makes me happy.

Signing off, your girl Katie.

OH!! I almost forgot! Miss Robin is going to do Walktober again this year! That means we all should go for a walk, sometime between October 11th and the 25th, and then blog about it and link back to Miss Robin’s blog. (Mama says the link above is to an old post, but it explains how Walktober works. Miss Robin will have a new post about it soon.) Mama says she’s thinking about where I can go now that I’m a senior and walk so slow. She says she’ll figure it out. I can’t wait! You should check it out too. Just tell Miss Robin that Katie sent you. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’ll stay vigilant on squirrel patrol.