Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


A walk in the Arb


Last night I was in Ann Arbor watching the University of Michigan’s Brigadoon with my Aunt.  This morning, before driving back to home I took myself for a walk in the arboretum, a park on the banks of the Huron River.

As I got out of the car I was met by these two.  They were welcoming me to the park.

I was looking for spring, and there were a few signs.

I was out early, and the park was full of animals and birds, but no other people.  I saw a little red squirrel chasing a bigger brown squirrel, and above them was a red tailed hawk just squawking away.  Then I heard footsteps behind me; a little herd of deer was passing me on the hill, coming up from the river.  They looked at me, I looked at them, and I think we all smiled, it was such a beautiful morning even though the sky was heavy with clouds and the threat of rain.

I moved along, looking for more signs of spring.  If you looked closely you could see quite a bit of green.

And I was thinking of Diana when I took this photo; it reminded me of snakes.

Eventually I got back to the memorial to my parents that sits near the canoe landing.

Even though it’s been there a few years now it still makes my heart beat faster when I first see it.  I wish they were walking in the Arb with me, but I guess in a sense they are.

This is the canoe landing near their stone.  Pretty, ey?

Nearby was a downed ash tree, with the pretty but fatal marks of the ash borer that killed it.

And another friendly goose.  My Mom always liked the Canadian geese that visited her dock down in Alabama.

Then I looked just down the river and saw this graffiti on the train trestle.

It seemed fitting.  So I did.


Got to the park before the sleet got to us.

There’s another (perhaps the last?) cold front coming through now.  Katie and I watched the weather on the news this morning and decided we would try to squeeze in a small adventure before the storm hit.

We just made it.

It was cold.  And windy.

And the park people had recently done a controlled burn of acres and acres of fields.


It smelled pretty bad to me, probably worse to Katie.

But we had fun anyway, and made it home just as the first spits of sleet hit the windshield.  I’d tell you what it’s doing now but I promised not to talk about s*&! anymore.



Did you know that’s a word?  Mashup.  I had to get a graduate degree in information to find that out.  And I’m still only vaguely sure what it means.  So for the purposes of today’s post, class, we will define it as a bunch of unrelated topics mashed into one post.

First up are technological problems.  There was the blog issue where it suddenly one evening stopped behaving in the way I’ve become accustomed.  Even with the graduate degree in information I have a phobia about technology.  And when things don’t work the same way they’ve worked before I get a little weirded out.

I’m trying to be better.  I really am.  And braver about clicking away at different things in an attempt to fix stuff without making other stuff worse.  But it’s still uncomfortable for me to do that.  And during the past two weeks we’ve been having cable issues here at the house as well.  Intermittent outages, little blackouts, for a few seconds, or hours.  So the odds of having internet work when I needed it were low.  The combination of blog problems, work problems and internet connection problems was, at times, overwhelming.

So I did what any good person does when technology lets her down.  I made soup.

I haven’t made this recipe before.  It’s the Weight Watcher version of potato soup.  I make another potato soup full of Velvetta cheese and bacon that is purely heaven but hardly healthy.  This one is full of onions and leeks, and though I’ve only tasted a bit of it as I cleaned up the pan, I think it just might be a different version of heaven.

And after the soup was made and put away Katie and I went for our weekly adventure. I’ve been wanting to take her on longer car rides.   I’m hoping to get her used to trips of greater and greater lengths so that we can explore further afield on weekends this summer.

So with high hopes, and virtually no planning, I loaded her up and off we went.  I got approximately 1/2 a mile down the road when she started complaining.  Loudly.  Seems I forgot to do the potty break prior to the loading of the sheltie.

So we stopped at her favorite local park.  I figured she’d do her thing like she always does, as soon as she’s out of the car, then we’d continue on our way.  But no.  We had to EXPLORE first.  Did I tell you it was cold yesterday?  We had blue skies and sunshine, but the temperature was in the high teens.

Yes it was very very cold.

Eventually she got her jobs done and I started back to the car.  She was like “WHAT?!  We haven’t done much of anything and this is MY FAVORITE PARK MOM!!!!”

But we headed off to MY favorite park, about 40 minutes away anyway.  Because I had the car keys and she doesn’t even have her learners permit to drive yet.

Once at my favorite park we headed out to the end of a point of land that extends into a big inland lake.  It’s a picnic area when times are warmer, but during winter it’s just a part of the park with no cars going by and no runners and nobody on bikes.  And it’s down a long hill so it’s sort of out of the wind.  Did I mention it was COLD out?

There are some big old hickory trees out there with the most beautiful bark.

There are lots of beautiful places to look at the lake and enjoy the sunshine.  It was almost totally frozen over with a smooth sheet of ice that reflected the blue sky.

We saw a pair of swans who were doing synchronized swimming just for us.

We had fun walking around and pretending it was summer.  Which it clearly wasn’t.

Then I had to go to the bathroom, so I loaded up the sheltie again and off we drove in search of an open restroom.   Once I got to one I debated leaving Katie in the car.  But I never do she and I walked across a playground to the bathroom building.  Katie didn’t want to go in the big scary building.  But she did.  And she certainly didn’t want to go into the stall, even though I used the handicapped stall so she’s have more space to freak out in.  But she did.  And she was not OK with the fact that the toilet paper holder thingy squeaked.  A lot.  But she held her own and only tried to get under the wall to the other stall once.  But the flushing thing?  In a big empty concrete building with all it’s echos?  Oh boy.  That’s why she was on a leash.  Picture it, crazed sheltie, all four feet going, head down, pulling wildly on the leash and Mama just trying to get her coat back on.  Good thing we were alone.

So after the bathroom adventure we came home.  She was pretty quiet on the 40 minute trip home.  I guess she figured if she stayed quiet she wouldn’t have to go into any more scary places.

And for our third and final mashed up topic, husband and I went to see “The King’s Speech” last night because the TV and internet were down again, and we’d read all the hard copy magazines and newspapers we had in the house.  Technology let us down, so we had an old fashioned date night.  Not such a bad thing.  The movie is wonderful and deserves all the praise and awards that it has received.

When I got home the internet was back up, so I looked up more information about King George VI, his brother, Lionel his speech therapist and Wallace Simpson.  I guess I have a love/hate relationship with the internet.

Class dismissed.



Weekend extra extra…by Katie the Sheltie

Hi everyone, Katie here.  My Mama says I can write this blog about my weekend adventure because she’s too tired after spending the weekend grocery shopping and doing laundry and cooking and stuff.

See, yesterday after she spent the whole afternoon with Daddy’s Aunt Vi, shopping for clothes and food and such she got home ready to put her feet up.  She said they hurt.  But Daddy said I had been a very good dog all day (that’s mostly cuz I napped all afternoon while waiting for my Mama to come home)  and Mama should take me to the park! The PARK?! Yes Mama..that’s a VERY GOOD IDEA.  I got all excited and I don’t know why Mama was glaring at Daddy and telling him to shush up!

Well you know us sheltie-girls….once an idea about going to the park is in our pretty little heads…well…we’re pretty persuasive.   And you also know what a pushover Mama is.  So guess what?  We went exploring..just Mama and me.  Daddy stayed home.  I think he had his feet up but I’m not going to tell Mama that.

And you know what else?  My favorite park in the whole world was open!  It closes for the winter, but the gates were open yesterday so we went there!  And we had it all to ourselves!  There was still ice on the pond…but we heard red winged blackbirds calling..and even more special…we heard FROGS PEEPING!!!!  How cool is that!

Everything is still brown, but that’s ok.

Lots of good sniffings anyway, no matter what color the fields are.

We walked around the whole thing.  I don’t know how far that is, but I’m sure it’s over a mile.  Maybe lots more.  Hard to measure when you’re busy checking everything out.

I was pretty good.  I even did some heeling for Mom.  The only way she could get that picture was of our shadow.  Don’t we look good!?  OK…so maybe my butt was out too far and stuff…but I was paying attention to Mama and that’s what counts?  Right?  Right?

Anyways…we had a whole lot of fun and Mama even forgot her feet hurt.  She’s glad she went to the park with me, and I’m awfully glad we got to spend some time together when she wasn’t grumpy.  (You know she’s been sort of grumpy mad for awhile now, right?)

Mama’s cooking in the kitchen now, and humming along with the show tunes playing on the TV.  She said it’s fun to guess what show the song is from before she looks to see if she’s right.  I think that walk in the park did a lot for her spirits.

Glad to be of assistance.

-Your gal Katie…


Winter wonderland

Hopefully this is the last big snow of the season.  So with that in mind Katie and I went exploring this afternoon.  The trees and bushes, covered in wet yet fluffy snow, were beautiful.

We wandered around a small park in a nearby town.

Katie found her agility skills very useful today.  She got to “walk it” across dogwalks…

and “jump” across small creeks…

and  “climb it” up big hills.

We spent about an hour exploring…

…and when we got home the sun came out and is melting the snow!  YEA!!!


Just a few more…

Here are just a few more photos from the Meijer Gardens…starting with the conservatory, which is a giant glass structure holding a tropical garden as well as desert plants and a small room full of carnivorous plants.

The art glass was mingling among the tropical plants.

…sometimes hidden and sometimes displayed more obviously.

Sometimes the art glass was the plant…

…and sometimes it just enhanced the plants.

Outside we were treated to larger pieces…

…but the glass never competed with the sculptures that live at the garden permanently.

This is me when I was in grad school…

…and this will be me, balancing life, when I go back to underwriting next week!

We enjoyed some quiet time along a boardwalk edging around a lake filled with blue mini-icebergs.

…and a walk in a tiny garden at the front of the park that introduced us to the art glass in a more dramatic fashion.

For whatever reason I found this sculpture intriguing.

I liked all the textures…

…it had so much character, almost ominous…but somewhat reassuring in it’s solidness as well.

I have no idea what it meant, any more than I did this one, which is supposed to be two disparate lines…

…nor these sculptures, people sitting made out of letters of the alphabet, though I couldn’t find any actual words in the one I studied.

Maybe it’s not my job to understand the art.  Maybe it’s just my job to enjoy it.

I hope so, because I’m really good at enjoying it.

Hope you enjoyed it too!