Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


8 Comments

The people of DC

I love people watching, and though I didn’t take a camera to DC last week I managed to capture a few people with my phone. I only grabbed the images I felt I could get without intruding. And I try never to show children’s faces clearly.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Washington DC is extraordinarily diverse and has so much energy. In between working on issues I tried to capture a little bit of all that. Though I know my new phone has a way to change settings in the camera I didn’t have time to figure that out, so the images are the way they are. Good or bad, this is the DC I saw.

I hope you enjoy!

Loving mass transit!


18 Comments

Saying goodbye to WordPress Photo Challenges

I’ve enjoyed doing the WordPress Photo Challenges over the years, but this week, with no explanation, they have decided to stop. The last photo challenge is to post your all time favorite photo.

Well that’s not going to happen. Even if I found the time to sort through thousands of images I’m fairly certain I don’t have an all time favorite.

Broken heart and tears.

So I’ll post an image I took yesterday. It represents my broken heart and feeling of loss.


9 Comments

The last night of music

We played the last concert of our regular season last night, though there will be an outdoor performance June 29th when we open for the main act in a summer concert downtown.

I was worried about this one. I’d missed the first three or four rehearsals while I was still in Alabama, and I missed the last rehearsal because I was in Washington DC. I tried to practice enough to make up for missing so much of the work, but there’s only so much I could figure out on my own.

It turns out, for me anyway, the concert went just fine. Sure I skipped a few measures, but for the most part I kept up and at least knew where I was. Trust me, that can be key!

And anyway, the night was more about saying goodbye to our seniors. We are lucky enough to have several students from the local high school play with us each year. Many of them play with us through all four years of high school.

We get sort of attached to them. We’ve watched them grow up from shy freshmen to confident almost adults. And we’ve benefited from their enormous talent.

And then comes the end of May and it’s time to say goodbye to another crop of seniors. They come up to the front of the stage and tell us and the audience what they’re going to do next, be it school or the Armed Services, or internships, or family businesses. Whatever it is that they’ve chosen we’re always happy for them, but sad for us, because this will be our last concert together.

This year we also had the privilege of a college senior playing with us. She just graduated from Central with her degree in music education and she’s going to be the music director at a town several miles northeast of here. She’s a talented sax player and has made us sound pretty great on more than one piece.

Last night she directed the band in a piece of music she chose for us. And as I watched as she led us through to the magnificent and joyous ending I noticed her smile, almost a grin. Her face lit up, she was having so much fun leading the music. Just imagine the joy and wonder she’ll provide to an impressionable young group of middle and high school kids.

I hope we did her and all the other seniors proud last night, and all season, and I wish them much success in the next chapter of their lives. I can’t imagine it not going well for each of them; they are all so very talented and genuinely nice people.

And if we’re lucky maybe they’ll stop back someday, play with our group again at a rehearsal or a concert. Or just update us on what’s new in their lives. We’d be glad to have them, after all, they are and always will be part of our family.

I received a lovely rose at the end of the concert, a token of appreciation from our director to me and many others who have played with the group a long time. This morning it’s fully open and just beautiful.

Sort of like summer, opening up before me, full of possibilities.


16 Comments

Truck Safety – the details

It’s a very busy place, Washington DC.


It all started when my dad was killed by a tired semi-truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel and didn’t see the traffic stopped ahead of him early in the morning of December 23, 2004.

Since them members of my family have been traveling to Washington DC regularly to tell our story and lobby for safety on our nation’s roads. This past week my husband and I were there again, talking to the staff of House Representatives and Senators, as well as people at the DOT, about the bigger, heavier, longer trucks that are once again being proposed by some in the trucking industry.

Riding the metro to the Hill on a beautiful day.

Back in 2015 double 33 foot trailers were proposed by the trucking industry, they say because of a driver shortage. What they didn’t say is that adding 5 feet on each of two trailers, hauled in tandem, made the entire truck 83 feet, 8 inches long. That’s similar to an 8 story building. Try passing that on a busy freeway.

We worked long hours and got back to the hotel after dark most nights.

They also don’t tell you that it will take longer to stop, that the back trailer doesn’t track correctly going around corners and that they’re harder to drive, requiring a special endorsement on a driver’s commercial license.

In one of the lady’s rooms, mid century modern makeup chairs.

There’s already a shortage of drivers, finding experienced drivers to haul double 33 foot trailers isn’t going to be easy.

Mountain sculpture in the Hart Senate Building lobby.

Aside from the safety issues, many companies ship their goods ‘intermodal’ meaning they move over land on rails as well as highways, and across the ocean on ships. The 33 foot trailers won’t fit on rail cars as they are configured now, and container ships may have to change the way the trailers are stacked as well. Some people fear that smaller transport companies will be forced out of business as shippers and brokers move to the more competitive larger trailers to ship their goods, regardless of the level of safety attributed to these trailers.

Waiting for a shuttle I thought the metro lines above were interesting.

There’s an appropriations bill in the House of Representatives right now. It’s the kind of bill that ‘must pass’ because it funds most of the Federally mandated programs across the country. Some members of Congress have added amendments to the bill that we consider anti truck safety. Allowing for a study of the double 33 foot trailers is one of these amendments.

It wasn’t all work. We ate dinner down on the wharf near an old torpedo factory that has been turned into an artist loft.

You might think that we shouldn’t be afraid of studying something, and normally I’d agree. But there isn’t much data out there on double 33s, they are running on some roads of certain states, but not many. We’re concerned that the trucking industry will fund studies of their own, and of course those will be favorable.

Right now the amendment is still in the appropriations bill. An amendment offered by another Representative to strip it from the bill failed by a few votes. So we have work to do.

We walked up and down a lot of stairs.

And this is just one issue. There are so many more that I want to tell you about. We worked all week on the Hill, talking about speed limiters, hours of service, underride crashes and the bill sitting in Congress right now, Stop Underride, that needs to move out of committee.

One afternoon we even got to take some time off and visit the national zoo!

We walked between appointments, from the House side to the Senate side of the Hill and back again, in the hot, humid air of summer in DC. It was hard. But getting the call about Dad was harder and I reminded myself how important this all is.

And yes we got lucky and saw the famous pandas.

I know truck safety is not everyone’s thing. And I know some of you will have differing opinions on how to solve the problem of truck crashes on our highways. I have so much more to tell you, and to show you, about our trip to DC last week. But this is already too long, too boring, and just a little stressful.

We had one peaceful evening on the Mall.

So I put a few photos in for relief — just in case you’d rather just look at cool stuff. I’m OK with that too.

Studying before an appointment.

I’ll tell you more about our work in another post. Stay tuned.

The flight home was thankfully incident free.


10 Comments

Retirement interruption

I interrupt this retirement to go back to work in DC, trying to be a catalysis for change, trying to get people with power to stop and listen, to open their minds to the possibility of doing something a different way.

To open their minds to the fact that they have the power to save lives.

It’s no easy task.

It’s only Wednesday and I’m already exhausted.

Stay tuned.


17 Comments

Flying back into the fray

We’re back in D.C., ready to work for safer roads.

Flying east with hope

We got in late last night; our flight was delayed due to mechanical problems. We arrived at the hotel long past dinner time having only eaten breakfast many hours prior.

The Potomac River gleams pink as we bank into D.C.

The hotel staff was helpful in finding us one last restaurant that would deliver though they were official closed for the evening. It’s nice when people go out of their way to be helpful.

Flaps up we’re in the Capitol now.

We can only hope the lawmakers we’ll be talking to about bigger and heavier trucks are as thoughtful.

Luggage in tow we’re going to work now.


12 Comments

Yellow flower photo shoot

It looks like yellow waves mama!


Katie here. I know, I know, you’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been. Well I haven’t been doing anything exciting, that’s for sure. Mama has been busy with her camera and taking a lot of pictures that are not me. I don’t know why. Surely there is nothing as beautiful as me. Mama is fickle and I usually just ignore her.

But sometimes a princess has to speak up and I think it’s about time that I point out the lack of adventure around here. Totally unacceptable.

You’ve got a treat over there…right?

Mama did take me over to my park a couple of times this spring. She likes to do a photo shoot of me in the pretty yellow flowers. She says most people don’t like these flowers but she thinks I look beautiful sitting in the middle of a huge field of yellow.

Well of course I do mama. I look beautiful no matter where I’m sitting, and I thought all my loyal fans would like to see some of the photos featuring me instead of some anonymous birds.

The crab apples are almost ready to bloom too!

I know mama likes to take pictures of birds, but truly, don’t you think she should stick with me?

Anyway, we had fun over in the field filled with yellow flowers, and mama has promised me an adventure real soon. In fact she says I’m going on my adventure this afternoon.

It’s such a pretty day, let’s stay here for awhile!

Wait a minute.

I’m going on my adventure? Why isn’t she going on my adventure? I’m not sure I like the sounds of this at all. If you get a phone call from a payphone it’s probably me. I’m counting on you to come save me!

You’ll come save me….I’m just sure of it!

After all, a Princess knows she can depend on her loyal subjects. Right!!??

I’m counting on you!


12 Comments

All those extras

An evening walk.


For the past three weeks I’ve been walking a bit every day…part of a challenge to walk for 365 days, each day sharing on Facebook a photo of something I’ve seen.

I don’t think it’s a formal challenge, not something a whole lot of people are doing. It certainly hasn’t gone viral. But it intrigued me, and I figured it would get me out the door.

Plus you know me. I like to find things, big and small, to share with you when I go for walks.

I know you’re not all friends with me on Facebook – some of you probably aren’t on Facebook at all. So maybe you haven’t seen the images I’ve posted there. I guess I could put together a slide show of the first 24 days or so….

A patch of trillium hidden back in the woods.

…but this post was meant to talk about the photos that didn’t make the cut. After the first day I decided to limit myself to posting on Facebook only one photo per day for the challenge. I’m posting my favorite one out of the inevitable batch I’ll have taken on each walk.

Crab apple blooms bright in the evening light.

It turns out, not surprisingly, that I can’t take just one photo on a walk. Even when all I have with me is my phone.

Early spring oak leaves show subtle color.

And now I wonder what I should do with the extra photos. Are they destined for obscurity, never to be seen by anyone but me?

Hungry horse down the road.

All the photos on this post were leftovers, extra images, not used, but not unloved.

What do you think I should do?

Evening light shines through new maple leaves.