Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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It’s my birthday part 2

Katie here! I’m taking time out from my day-after-birthday-nap to let you know how it went. While it wasn’t spectacular with balloons and cake and hundreds of guests giving me presents, it was nice, and very specific to mama’s and my relationship.

We spent it in the woods.

Nobody out here but us!

You know mama can’t give me anything more special than a walk in the woods, right? No amount of toys or treats….wait a minute…let me revise that. No amount of toys could add up to the joy I get spending time in the woods with my mama. Especially with mama and my treats.

So yesterday afternoon, after I napped outside a good part of the morning, mama took me to two parks! First we went to my park here in town so that I could get a little antsy worked out. Plus she wanted pictures of me with this stupid grass.

Hey! It’s MY birthday, why do I have to sit over here?

I figured since it was my birthday I’d get double my usual fee for portrait sitting. Sounds fair, right? But noooooo. Mama’s new camera has a different sound when the shutter goes off so I didn’t recognize it, and mama got lots more images than usual before I got up and came for my reward.

I have a strict one click one treat contract and mama broke it!

After I got over it (cause what are you gonna do, right?) we went to mama’s favorite park. Again I ask you, if it’s my birthday why are we doing what mama loves?

At first I was all whiny and stuff cause it’s kinda far away and I had to sit in the back seat for longer than I felt a birthday princess should be confined. But I guess mama really does know best, because we ended up at Kensington Metro Park, and in a special spot that looks like nature trails but isn’t really a nature trail. (Cause they don’t let dogs on nature trails.)

I’m so happy to be out here!

Usually when we’re at this park we walk on the bike path, but that apparently stresses mama out because she has to always listen and watch for bikes and joggers headed our way.

I like walking on the bike path, there are tons of great smells!

I like to walk on the opposite side of the path than mama walks on, just on principle, and she’s worried about me tripping up somebody going by. Not to mention my propensity for barking and lunging at all moving objects within range of my mama.

Mama says all of that doesn’t make for a very relaxing walk.

So she found a spot with a track between two picnic areas. It was covered in leaves and smelled really really good. We found all sorts of pretty places, even though the light was ‘dead,’ a term mama used for the fact it was a flat grey day again.

Look at the beautiful color mama! No, not me, silly, the tree trunk!

We walked for a long way through the woods and down by the lake which was frozen. Mostly I got to be off my leash because we didn’t see anyone else there at all.

I’ll sit here, mama, if you want me to, but I’m not going to pretend that I like it.

But mama put my leash back on when we were near the lake. She could just imagine me exploring out on the ice and she has a vivid imagination. Silly mama, she knows I don’t get my feet wet. Still, she says her first responsibility is to keep me safe and I appreciate that about her.

I also appreciate that she’s a treat dispenser.

Did you happen to bring birthday cheese?

We had the best time! OK, mama did slip in the mud and maybe mess up her shoulder, the other one, not the same one she messed up a couple years ago, but I figure she’s a tough old broad….um…mama and she’ll be fine. It did slow down the number of pictures she took, so I was sort of grateful.

Don’t tell her I said that.

Thank you all for the happy birthday wishes you wrote on yesterday’s post. Gee, I got to get on here two days in a row! That’s probably a world-wide record or something.

There’s some green over here!

Mama says I shouldn’t get used to it but I’d like to point out that she gets more comments on my posts than most of her other posts. Combined.

Just saying.

Well, I guess I’ve monopolized your time long enough. Plus it’s time for me to bug mama about making dinner. I know. Dinner isn’t for four hours, but a girl’s got to keep things in line around here, and there’s no time like the present to remind her of her meal prep duties.

Have a wonderful Sunday everybody! I’ll see you around I’m sure. Mama’s got that new camera you know, and who better to capture in imagery than me?!

Talk later, your birthday girl Princess Katie.

PS: Mama says to tell you that these pictures are the way they came out of the camera, no editing required. So far she’s happy even though she hasn’t figured it all out yet.

Got another treat mama?


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It’s my birthday!

Katie here. Mama said it was OK for me to hijack her blog cause it’s not every day that it’s my birthday. I know I get spoiled every day, but that’s not the same thing. That’s just what’s due me as a princess.

Obviously.

We got sunshine!

But today, Saturday December 15, is my birthday! I am now a big mature girl of 12. Mama says I am too old for cake and ice cream and presents and that I should be happy to just go to my park for a birthday walk.

Does she think I’m going to buy that?

Whatcha mean no presents mama!

Well…going to a park for a walk is my most favorite thing to do. But geeze, mama already took me to two different parks this week. So she’s going to have to up the ante a bunch to make it a special enough walk to qualify as my birthday adventure.

Do I get an extra treat for standing up here?

The pictures I’m posting today are from our two walks. One was last Tuesday when we had our one day of sun. Mama said we shouldn’t waste it and we hurried right over to my park.

It was extra cold that day so I was very very happy. I trotted around that park like I was a puppy! I love it when it’s cold out. Mama? Not so much.

Yep, the pond’s frozen. Must be winter now.

She was wearing about 50 thousand layers and she was still cold, but she let me sniff wherever I wanted and we stopped to take a lot of pictures (of course).

Mama says it’s very hard to take a selfie with a sheltie. I personally think it’s very hard to take a selfie with a mama.

What’s that over there mama?!

Then on Thursday we woke to new snow all over my yard and mama said we shouldn’t waste that either, so she bundled me up in the car early in the morning before it all melted.

Are you going to make me sit in front of a bunch of stuff again today mama?

I was scared. Usually when we go somewhere in the morning I end up at the vet or the groomer or camp. But this time we ended up at a new park!

There was a nice wide path that had been mowed and it moved through the woods which were covered in the new, wet and sticky snow. It was beautiful!

It was hilly too, mama said we did the equivalent of 6 flights of stairs!

But not as beautiful as me!

I don’t know what I’m getting for my birthday, but mama got a new camera for an early Christmas present and Thursday was her first time taking pictures with it. Of course most of them were of me.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

Personally I don’t think she needed a new camera to take pictures of beautiful me. I look good no matter what camera she uses. I can’t help myself.

Which way should we go mama?

But anyway. We had a great time walking through the snow even though the sun didn’t shine until we got home. Mama says that figures. I don’t know what that means but I hope it means we get to go out again soon.

Come ON mama! You are sooooo slow!

Like today, for the promised birthday adventure. Maybe even without the silly camera.

A princess can only hope!

Happy Birthday to ME!


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Sharing the light

On this last night the Jewish Hanukkah I wanted to share an image:

I borrowed it (with permission) from Daily Musings at A Day in the Life.

I share it with hope that we can all become more tolerant. I believe that all religions are variations on the same theme and that we are not so very different.

Let this year be the year we begin to objectively listen to each other.


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Release

Contemplating this past week.


It’s been a long and reflective week, beginning Saturday morning when I woke to hear the news that former President Bush had died. My first response was a deep sadness for his family, particularly for his children. My second thought was joy that he was reunited with his beloved Barbara and daughter Robin.

I guess that’s typical, the intertwining of sadness with joy during times like this, the emotions washing up and even overlapping as you maneuver your way through the tasks that must be done to celebrate a life.

Being retired I was able to watch the last journey of the President’s body from lying in state at our Capital to the beautiful ceremony at the National Cathedral and then his flight to Texas and the train ride to his library and final resting place in Houston.

A bit of joyful color in the bleak winter landscape.

And I watched his children and their spouses as they stood time after time watching the transfer of the coffin, on and off planes and the train, into and out of buildings, up and down stairs, all the while being watched by an entire world. Showing their grief or holding it in. Probably exhausted and moving on adrenaline. It’s a lot to ask of anyone, to have such a prolonged and public goodbye.

I’m glad they had a private time together when they said their last goodbye at the library. And I hope today, the day after all the ceremony is done, I hope today they are spending time with each other quietly remembering, laughingly remembering, wistfully remembering.

Looking for simple beauty.

This holiday season will be the first without their parents. To lose booth of them within the same year is so hard. So much change in such a short time, celebrations will never be the same. This year, for sure, will have sad undertones.

But there’s that sneaky joy that will infiltrate too. At times when they least expect it they’ll hear Barbara or George’s voice, telling a story, singing a silly song, laughing at an old joke. They’ll see them in the food they prepare, family favorites or maybe not, if broccoli is on the menu.

But I like broccoli mama!

And little by little, over the months and years there will be more joy and less sad. And best of all, while the sadness recedes, their parents, grandparents, great grandparents will never be far away.

Today as I watch a gentle snow fall and listen to Christmas music I realize that it’s the same for all of us during the holidays. The losses are always there, but the love is always there too.

Let the light shine on you.

My wish for the Bush family is that they spend these precious days together in privacy and peace, certain of the gratefulness of their nation and of the love they will always share within their family. I wish for them a release from the tension and pressure of such a long and public goodbye.

Let your joy show through.

And I wish, for all of you, peaceful holidays too.

Live in the moment.


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Make a joyful noise

Tuesday night our community band kicked off the holiday season by making a joyful noise.

Last minute instructions before the show begins.

This year we did it with help from talented high school students who sang like angels. There’s something special about young voices raised in song above the music of a band. They brought a remarkable level of joy to the show, raised the bar, and made band members smile.

A little help from our elf.

I think our audience was smiling too, especially when all the little kids came up to ring bells in an invitation for Santa to arrive.

Santa, of course, makes everyone smile, and we enjoyed playing the classic Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson under his baton.

Here we go!

It was even more special this year as the choir sang the carols and the audience joined in. I actually stopped playing somewhere in the middle, just to listen, because I was so enthralled by the glorious sound.

If you ever need reassurance that there is promise in this world, attend a musical event that includes students. These young people are so talented, so sincere, and their joy of music is infectious.

Elves sorting out elf duties prior to the concert.

Check out your local community and I bet you’ll find a Christmas concert near you. Support the arts in your town and hear some beautiful music. You’ll smile, the artists will smile and everyone’s heart will be warmed. And there’s nothing better than a warm heart on a cold winter evening.

Thanks to all of you that came out to our concert. It was magical, and we are so appreciative of your applause, whistles, cheers and of course for the standing ovation at the end.

It was our holiday gift to you, but we feel like we received something special too.

Santa takes a break in his busy schedule.


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I could use a bit of heat, light and holiday spirit

It’s been almost a week since I posted last. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it and all of you. Ideas for posts have slipped through my mind. Bits and pieces of stuff most instantly forgotten.

Fleeting morning light.

I’m distracted and I don’t know why. Could be that it keeps snowing and it’s cold. Could be that we haven’t had more than a few hours of sun in over a week. Maybe it’s the 7 day forecast which shows more snow coming.

And did I mention the cold?

Winter arrived early.

I have no plans for Christmas other than to take the dog for a walk somewhere fun. Unless it snows. Or maybe because it snows. She likes snow.

Me? I don’t think I like snow all that much any more. I remember as a kid having fun building snow forts and sledding down hills and ice skating on the lake. But these days I hurry the dog along on her walks and when she’s outside doing her business.

Quit being a drama queen mama, it’s not that bad.

It’s cold.

Why is it that when you’re traveling and it’s cold it’s fine, it’s part of the adventure. But when you’re home and scraping ice and snow off the windshield in the early dark morning it’s just about too much to bear?

Sometimes snow, sometimes fog. Sometimes both.

Alabama calls me.

But I’m trying to be a responsible adult and I have commitments here in Michigan that I need and want to honor. The most pressing of those being the Christmas concert I’m playing tonight at a local high school. I made a commitment at the beginning of the season to play a certain number of concerts. The dates were provided at the start.

To bolt for warmer temperatures now would be wrong.

Katie says she likes the cold and I should get over it. Katie doesn’t scrape the windows of a car whenever she wants to go to the park.

Can we go play now?

Maybe I should work on my Christmas cards to lift my holiday spirits. On the other hand so far we’ve received only three cards, one from our stock broker, one from Katie’s kennel, and one from an exceptionally organized friend.

It’s possible I’m not the only holiday spirit deprived, disorganized and distracted person out there.

Holiday spirit from another year.

If you need a holiday boost and you’re local, stop by the Clarkston high school tonight about 7 and hum along to some music in a warm auditorium.

I promise any snow you see there will be fake, but the holiday spirit will be real.

Happy Holidays!