Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Smiles can come from the smallest things

Trent coordinates a weekly smile post over at his blog, inviting us all to find at least one thing each week that made us smile, and then share it with all of you.

Nice concept, don’t you think?

I’ve been out walking a lot and this little bit of nature made me smile a whole lot…

A bit of green in early April always makes me smile.

…because it felt like spring.

What made you smile this week? Share with us! Cause it’s going to snow here soon and I’m pretty sure we could all use a smile.


Signs of spring

It’s kind of scary to say out loud but I think we’ve turned the corner from winter into spring.  The male gold finches are gold now, and the grass has greened up with all the rain.  Here are a few other signs of impending warmth way up here in Michigan.

There are lots of pretty things popping up all over.

There are pretty things showing up  at stores too.  Have you noticed?

We’ve got a new neighbor who’s settling in at the local pond.

There are buds on some of the trees; here’s a big bud unfurling on the pear tree.

And my favorite, the red bud tree is getting ready to put on a show any day now.

But mostly the biggest sign of spring is that Katie and I get outside a lot more!

It feels pretty special and we’re trying hard to take the time to appreciate it.  She figures that means more walks.

She’s probably right.


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 slides away

Maybe it’s just me being hopeful, but this morning I could almost feel spring in the air.

Yes there’s still snow on the ground.  In fact it snowed yesterday and it’s supposed to snow again this weekend. But like the snow sliding down the windshield of the car parked out front I feel winter sliding away.

This morning Katie and I were out in the driveway practicing our heeling.  (I think I almost have it down now.  She says it’s about time.)  Across the street birds began singing and as I glanced that way I think I saw a flock of robins!  Squirrels are playing.  The SUN is shining!  The birch trees in the back yard are glowing.  And there are tulips poking their little green heads up through the snow by the front door.  Mostly I think spring is in the air because Katie wants to be OUTSIDE NOW MOM!  And she doesn’t want to come back in after our trip to the mailbox to mail our weekly letter.

I bet if I checked blog posts from a year ago I’d find that I was saying the same thing.  Every year I get my hopes up.  Maybe this year, after such a difficult winter, spring will slide into my world without first dashing my hopes.

Hope springs eternal.  So they say.


Signs of spring

We still have snow on the ground even though it rained all day yesterday.  And with so much water on and in the ground this morning we are waking up to a fog advisory.  Less than an 1/8 of a mile visibility here.  It’s going to be another interesting commute!

But last night, at 2:30 in the morning as Katie and I were exploring outside to find the perfect spot I noticed how quiet it was.  I could hardly hear the freeway, and the air felt soft and warm.  I almost wanted to stay out longer to enjoy it.  But it was 2:30 in the morning and I have to go to work today.

This morning as Katie and I were outside looking for another perfect spot I heard what I thought was one cardinal calling from high up in a tree to my left.  Or was he to my right?  Or maybe across the street?  As I listened I realized there were three cardinals all calling together, one after another, around and around me.  Singing their hearts out.

And yesterday driving home from work I saw two hawks sitting side by side in a tree near the freeway.  I’ve never seen hawks sit next to each other like that.  I prefer to think that they’re in love…another sign of spring.

But the clincher was this morning when, while picking up the newspaper at the end of the driveway, I could hear my neighbor, two houses down yelling at his boys.  I never hear that in the winter…but it’s an all summer long thing.

Must be spring.



This was going to be a Wordless Wednesday…but I had to get my food blog up…

So I present these photos as a sign that spring can not be that far away… even though some of you are getting buried (yet again) by winter’s wrath.

The first is a sign in front of our local nursery…and the second is inside my local grocery store.

Time to smile.  There is hope.


Our peony adventure

I’ve been wanting to take husband’s Aunt to the peony gardens in Ann Arbor for years.  It’s the kind of place I knew she’d enjoy.  And I knew I’d enjoy sharing it with her too.

Each year it just didn’t happen.  Stuff got in the way and I usually forgot until my own peony plants were  in bloom, and by then down in Ann Arbor the show was past it’s prime or over completely.  This weekend everything came together,  and husband and I, along with husband’s aunt and uncle, drove down to see what we might find.  It was kind of spur of the moment and I wasn’t sure if we had timed it right.


Husband’s aunt is 94 and has been through quite a spell of ill health in the past couple of months.   That made me realize that we don’t have infinite time with her, and reminded me of how much I wanted her to enjoy herself out in this beautiful pink and white garden.  Pink is her color, so this trip was extra special.

Once we arrived we found a bench in the shade and let her sit there, while the rest of us went off to explore.

Here are some of my favorites.

Aunt V. said that everyone that walked by stopped and exclaimed over a dark red peony near her.  It was breathtaking, and so unusual.

So much to see, such a beautiful place.  You just can’t help but smile.

Even now, just thinking about it I’m smiling, and I’m sure Aunt V is smiling too!

So…if you live near Ann Arbor, and you haven’t been to the peony garden over by the UM hospital…go there now!

We had a wonderful time.  Family and flowers – just perfect for a Memorial Day adventure!



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I had my whole day planned out yesterday.  The 2 mile run, some job searching stuff, then off to the grocery store for Aunt V,  deliver the groceries to her and visit a bit, then on to donate my old cell phone to a woman’s shelter, then maybe a bit of shopping just for fun.  But you know what they say about the best laid plans.

I got the 2 mile run in, and completed a job application for a library job nearby.  I was crabby because I had suffered a lack of sleep the night before.  I was hanging onto my plan somewhat desperately –  all I really wanted to do was head back to bed – when the phone rang and husband said it was my Ann Arbor Aunt.  For a moment I thought “DRATS!  I can’t fit anything else into my overly planned day!”

And it’s true she DID want to get together to do something.  In the beginning I wasn’t feeling very gracious, but reason overcame my illogical crabbiness.  She wanted to meet me and Katie down at our favorite park, which is halfway between where we both live.  And it was sunny out!  AND I’d been thinking I should take Katie to that park someday soon, it’s so beautiful in the spring.  So I revamped the plan and agreed to meet her.

I packed up Katie and all her stuff (you know the drill; water, bowl, leashes, treat bag, poop bag) and me and the camera and off we went.  I could feel the morning’s tension seeping away.  Especially when we crested a hill and I noticed the beautiful clouds.  I just had to stop and capture them.  Good thing I left the house early for our 2:00 p.m. meeting…lots of time for pictures!

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Then about half way to the park I realized I had forgotten the poop bag!  And Katie ALWAYS does her job almost as soon as we start our walks in the park.  It’s like she saves it up for a public place.  SIGH.  So I did a little U-turn and stopped at the bank to get some cash, then a bit later on we stopped in at Colsanti’s, a little grocery store.  It’s kind of a plant nursery, gourmet groceries and produce market complete with a bird aviary.  I’d been there once before a long time ago.  My plan was to find something to buy that I actually needed and which would require them to give me a plastic grocery bag.  Which I could use as a poop bag.  Good thing I left home early….lots of time for grocery shopping!

As I was contemplating purchasing white potatoes or strawberries I heard a strange sound directly overhead.  I glanced up and saw a large toy train chugging along on a suspended track.  Strange I thought, but then as I looked around, the whole place was quite eclectic.  Mounds of fruit and vegetables, a gift store with cute little things, pots of plants, a wonderful deli, and a train circling overhead.

I bought some potatoes, a few scones and some crunchy cheese sticks and headed back to the car and Katie.  As I stepped outside something made a terrible screeching sound.  The noise was coming from a huge outdoor bird aviary.  Peacocks!  Dropping off the groceries, checking on Katie who was waiting patiently in her crate in the car, I grabbed the camera and went to investigate the birds.

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They were beautiful!  Several blue peacocks, and a giant white peacock who was showing off.  Plus some turkeys all puffed up.  I watched them for a few minutes then realized I needed to get to the park!  Good thing I left early…

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When Katie and I arrived at the designated meeting place deep in the park (at exactly 1:59) my Aunt was already there, and soon Katie, she and I were off on a walk.  The place was beautiful, swans out on the water, wildflowers tucked into the trees, dogwoods in bloom, the redbuds were splashes of bright fuchsia among the lime green new leaves of the larger trees, huge patches of wild purple violets smudging the ground.  Gorgeous.  You won’t see pictures of this because the camera battery died right about then.  So you’ll have to imagine it yourself, which in reality is sometimes better anyway!

We walked 2.4 miles, and Katie did really well.  And that poop bag that I went so far out of my way to acquire?  We never needed it.  Of course.

So the lesson learned is this.  When you’re crabby, when you feel like you need to get certain stuff done, when you’re not feeling creative or adventurous, let it go, take the road presented to you, keep your eyes open and I bet you’ll see some beautiful stuff.

When you’re least expecting it.

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