Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Change

Have I mentioned lately that change is hard?

My laptop went through an update. I don’t even know for sure who was doing the updating, and I certainly don’t know what was being updated.

Cardinal on a can

What I am certain of is that I didn’t request the update. It just happened.

So I’m finding, in the process of working on stuff, what has changed. Mostly, it seems, it’s in how pictures are being stored.

And where.

Crow with a snack.

I was feeling pretty cocky when I figured out how to find my images. It looks different, and it’s in a different place, but they’re all there. That was a relief.

But then I went to download images I took yesterday.

Buck looking for love.

WHOA. That process seems to be entirely different.

I don’t know how the images are being chosen to download and even scarier, I don’t know WHERE they are being saved.

Cardinal in a bath.

I used to be able to choose to download only the most recent images and I could pick which folder I wanted images to go into. Now there doesn’t seem to be a choice.

Since I can’t figure out where the images will go, even if I am successful in finding the download link, button or whatnot, I stopped.

Chickadee complaining about having to drink bath water.

I put the card back in the camera and I will do some research before I try again.

Female cardinal wondering what all the fuss is about.

Why do things have to be changed? Was there something wrong with the way we downloaded files before? Or is this some sort of job security for the people that design software?

Couldn’t there be some sort of warning and maybe even some instructions before they do these things?

Bluejay calling his mates to come and get something to eat.


And who is this ‘they’ that has such power anyway?

Darn.

Woodpecker reflecting on why dinner is not on his feeder. And staring at us inside to make sure we are aware of his discontent.

Change is hard.

(Meanwhile, enjoy some images I had already downloaded but never got around to using before today)


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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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Selma musings

Staring at the map from here in central Alabama I searched out places to explore nearby. Right away I noticed that Selma was only a couple hours away.

Why did I not know this? Why have we never visited before?

Selma on a pretty Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, predicted to be a day filled with sun sandwiched by days of rain, seemed to be the time to go to Selma. So I did.

Armed with a map of Alabama for backup I memorized my route, I-85 to Montgomery, then highway 80 into Selma. I didn’t really figure how much time either leg would take, just went for the ride. I’m retired, I can take my time.

The trip started in grey fog, cold and damp.

I passed miles and miles of cotton fields, shorn of last year’s crop, waiting in the damp fog for spring.

Let me tell you, there’s a whole lot of nothing between here and Selma. Even the southern part of Montgomery wasn’t particularly interesting. Though I did see a miles long line of cars there, waiting, I’m guessing, to get their vaccines, complete with sheriff’s cars, lights flashing, managing the crowd.

That brought me back to reality. I’d been hanging out at the lake, no national news, sort of losing track of what was going on out in the rest of the world. That line of cars, all those people waiting, woke me up to the fact that things are still crazy dangerous.

Eventually I was driving through an area with strip malls, empty commercial spaces and tiny brick houses. Up a slight rise and I realized, with a quick intake of breath, that I was going over the bridge.

Suddenly I realized where I was.

The bridge where on March 7, 1965, Bloody Sunday, marchers for civil rights were met with violence. The bridge where just last year John Lewis’s body, in it’s casket, paused for a national moment of reflection.

I held my breath as I drove slowly over it and into the town itself.

I took these images after I had parked and walked back over the bridge. I walked over the bridge a total of 3 times, the light just kept getting better.

I parked near the bridge and walked back over it, stopping to take pictures of the backside of town, and of the river.

The Alabama River was still that morning. So was the backside of Selma.

There’s was a moment, at the top, where I had to stop and just be. I imagined what it must have been like, sounded like. Felt like. It seemed like a sacred place, even with cars speeding by only a foot away.

If these steel beams could talk.

Then I walked around downtown a bit. It’s in a sad state of disrepair. The whole place needs a huge cash infusion.

Closed for covid? Or closed forever?

I don’t know why there aren’t tours to be had. (Though there was one young man who offered to give me a tour.) Why there’s not a 1960 diner with chocolate malts or strong coffee.

No diner, but you can get a haircut!

Why there’s not a welcome center with a documentary playing around the clock in a little theatre off the main display hall.

Jubilee headquarters.

There is an interpretive center a few miles away, but I doubt that contributes to the revenue of Selma itself, and of course it was closed due to covid anyway.

A pretty staircase to nowhere.

There’s some beautiful old buildings, some are kind of restored, some are in disrepair.

I don’t think they had a room available. But not because they were busy.

There are several huge beautiful churches.

The Blue Jean church.

There was a bit of eccentric art here and there.

This poor little ghost was the character in a local author’s books, and moved around town as part of a promotional effort several years ago.

In fact there was an air of eccentricity over most of the town.

After market additions to this souped up chevy.

I found a couple of pretty places.

A Rotary Club park, with mural and benches where buildings once stood.

But mostly what I felt was sad. Sad that this piece of history is only acknowledged on anniversaries, or this past year, the death of John Lewis.

I hope this Board of Education building doesn’t reflect the condition of the school system. But it might.

Sad that I grew up during the period of racial tensions (the ones back then, they’re still going on, I know.) and I didn’t really have any idea.

I didn’t see a lot of evidence of living the future.

Sad that, if I’m honest, I still don’t really have any idea.

A little park, also falling into disrepair, at the beginning of the bridge.

The town seems stuck in 1965, it’s moment of fame, but there are people living here that have been left behind, just like people in small rural towns all across the country. People in big cities too, if we’re being honest. Places where money and technology just don’t reach.

I agree, the name of the bridge needs to be changed if this town is ever going to move forward. Doesn’t have to be the John Lewis Bridge, but that would be nice too.

It’s a huge problem with no easy answers. But if more people visited Selma, found ways to spend some money here, maybe at least one historical place would begin to move forward, respecting the past but moving into the future.

Sagging under neglect.


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A political smile is not an oxymoron

This week President-Elect Biden nominated Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation. This made me more than smile. It made me grin and then sort of tear up.

No matter your politics, if you have an issue you want your government to understand, it’s akways a relief when you find someone willing to listen without judgement. And you all know I have some truck safety issues I’ve been trying to get heard for the past sixteen years.

The last four years have been frustrating as safety advocates were not welcome to the table at the Department of Transportation. Numerous requests for meetings were ignored or flatly denied. In past years we’ve been able to meet with the Secretary, but not in the latest administration. I don’t know that it would have changed anything anyway.

So I’m relieved that the President-Elect has nominated a person that appears willing to listen to all sides of an issue. I watched Buttigieg during the debates and found his comments to be thoughtful and measured. Calm. Just the kind of person I’d like to present my facts to.

I have high hopes that the person nominated for the Admistrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will also be willing to listen to safety’s side on all the issues. I think if we remind Buttigieg that safety is in their title and therefore their main responsibility we might have a shot.

Anyway…this was my biggest smile of the week. I hope his confirmation goes through without a hitch. I know he’s had some issues when he was mayor. I know he’s young. I know he doesn’t come from the trucking industry (and for me, that’s a plus), but he’s wildly intelligent, compassionate and personable.

He can learn the industry stuff. After all, the families of the thousands killed and injured each year learn it the hard way. It’s got to be a lot less painful to learn it just by being willing to listen.


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A moment of grief

I’ve been away on a three day adventure and I have many things to share with you. But on my return drive, after seven hours of photography interspersed with driving, and one exit away from home I turned on the radio to listen to the news. I’d been out of contact with the world; I wondered what might have happened while I was gone?

And the first sentence uttered by the newscaster was something about “pancreatic cancer” and “her” and “28 years on the court.”

I couldn’t, for a moment, wrap my head around what that could all mean. I knew. But I didn’t want to know. As reality slammed into my brain I pulled off the freeway, found a parking lot, and cried.

RBG was a hero to me and most women I know. A role model. A beacon. Hope.

I know she wanted to stay on the court until after the end of this year. We all wanted that too. But we have to respect the fact that she was 87 and in poor health, and though she was a fighter, sometimes things are not in our control.

As I watched some of the tributes last night I saw a small clip from the documentary about her. How her mother had died when she was 17. Seventy years ago. Seventy years since she’s seen her mom, had a conversation. A hug.

I had to smile. Just think of them together again, the amazing conversations they must be having right now! And the hugs! I’m pretty sure there were hugs when Ruth arrived.

So that’s what I’m focusing on today. She’s with her mother and other members of her family. She’s no longer in pain, she deserves her rest. I send my condolences to those friends and family still here. She left a huge hole in their hearts, and in the hearts of a nation.

Many of us are mourning her today and that’s only right. Next week is soon enough to get to work mitigating the damage her empty seat may cause our nation. We have work to do to honor her legacy.

Change is hard.
(photo credit, CNN)


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Change is hard

From earlier in the week. I drove by this, went home, got the camera and came back for this shot.


Unfortunately my laptop memory is full.

Fortunately I got a new laptop with even more memory for all those pictures I take.

Unfortunately I had a very old version of Lightroom that I can’t move to the new laptop.

Fortunately I purchased a new version of Lightroom.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a clue how to download it.

Fortunately my husband did.

Unfortunately it is quite a bit different than the old version.

Fortunately it supplies tutorials that pop up when the program is opened.

Unfortunately there seem to be a dozen tutorials, each four to six minutes long.

Fortunately I am retired and have the time.

Unfortunately I do not have the patience.

Fortunately, if you bang enough keys you can work your way through it.

Unfortunately I haven’t figured out where the newly edited photos were exported.

Fortunately I accidentally found them in an obscure file.

Unfortunately this hours long exercise has resulted in only two photographs being edited.

Fortunately I like how they came out.

Unfortunately I’m tired now and need a nap.

Fortunately (Did I mention this before?) I’m retired and have the time.

Change is hard.

The barn next to the hayfield. All the bales in the trailers are rectangles, all the bales in the field are round. Hmmmm??


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The birth of summer

Katie and I went on an early morning walk around the yard today. It was already hot, the kind of hot that reminds me of summers growing up. Some of you remember those days, oppressive heat pressing down on you even early in the morning. Sweaty sleepless nights with a rattling box fan ineffectively moving the stifling air.

Morning light slices through our backyard.

As kids all four of us got to spend a week at grandma’s house on the farm each summer. No air conditioning there either, but I don’t remember being so insufferably hot in the big old farmhouse. We each got to choose the week, though I remember in later years my uncle requesting my brothers during certain harvest weeks.

Neighbor’s flag celebrating in morning light.

I usually tried to be there when the wild black raspberries were in season. They grew behind my grandpa’s work shed and every morning I’d go out and pick a small bowl of them, and grandma and I would put them on our breakfast cereal. So good.

Katie and I shared these in the backyard.

And I remember the summers when I was much younger and my folks bought a lake lot with the intention of building a cabin someday. I remember the orange lilies blooming in the ditches on the road to the lake.

Bringing back memories.

They always represented summer to me. Now when I see them I am instantly transported back to that lake lot and the summer days spent swimming off the dock and rowing the big green rowboat.

Queen Anne’s lace getting ready to spring into summer.

This morning while Katie was busy sniffing I was noticing so many reminders of summers past, right in my own back yard. Lots of evidence, too, that summer is progressing regardless of the craziness happening in the world.

Looking for something to cling to.

Even as we stay home, curtailing plans, missing family, time is moving and mother nature is pushing forward. A lesson, I guess, for all of us not to give up hope either. For more than sixty years I’ve watched summer unfold, leaf by leaf, petal by petal.

I guess I should stop worrying about what tomorrow will bring and just let it be.

Sneaking quietly into summer.


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Spring is out there just waiting for us

I’ve been feeling a little mind-numbing cabin feverish after staying inside for days on end. Grey skies, and yesterday’s almost two inches of rain haven’t help.

This morning started out shrouded in fog, but the sun burned it off and suddenly it was a glorious day. Fifty-nine degrees warm, blue skies and big puffy clouds.

On our search for a park to explore.


Katie insisted we go to a park. I thought that was a pretty good idea too. Some time outside would be just the ticket to clear our heads.

So we headed out to find a park without a lot of people. The first one we drove by had four cars in the lot so we kept on driving. We ended up at her regular small park, only one car there so we unloaded anticipating a lovely walk.

At Katie’s park.

Katie was wriggling with excitement.

As we began our exploration the wind began to whip, but we didn’t let that stop us. We were outside and it was wonderful! There was so much interesting stuff to see.

A huge fungus on the side of a tree.

Katie was more patient than usual with me taking pictures of things not her. I guess she knew it had been awhile since I’d been out too.

I’ll wait for you, mama, take your time.

As we turned the second corner I noticed to the west skies looked a little dicey. I left Katie out on the path and walked through some brush to get a clear shot of a pretty stunning sky.

Uh oh. Maybe we better get a move on.

She waited patiently. She’s such a good girl.

I’m keeping my eye on you mama!

I told her maybe we needed to pick up the pace. She told me not to worry and continued her slow nose work. I figured she was probably right.

Because we got so much rain yesterday a lot of the path was either covered in water or a muddy mess. Surprisingly my girl pranced right through both, never once asking to be carried.

Not to worry, mama, I can handle it!

Either she’s matured or she was so excited to be out there she didn’t care.

We saw all sorts of evidence of spring, but the wind was picking up and the dark clouds were overtaking us, so we decided to skedaddle to the car.

Trees are in bud now, just waiting for some warm weather to burst into leaf.

It’s a good thing we did, the wind is really whipping now, and Katie is asleep on the hearth here at home.

Clouds overtake us.

The rain should arrive any minute — I’m glad I followed her advice this morning or we’d have missed our opportunity to enjoy the brief minutes of sun.

You should follow my advice more often mama!

We hope you get out there too, we’re sure it will do you a world of good.

Just let me know when you want to explore, I’m ready to show you around!


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Healing walk

This morning was the 15th anniversary of the semi-truck crash that killed my dad. Fifteen years of working on issues to make our roads safer. Fifteen years of missing him every single day.

For whatever reason this year was rougher than usual. So after my physical therapy session I planned to take myself off for a walk in the woods. Unseasonably warm, at 52F (11.11C) this December afternoon, I packed extra water for Katie-girl who insisted on going along. “We can’t waste a day like today mama!”

Early afternoon sunlight felt warm on this December day.

Though it was a Monday there were plenty of people enjoying the sunshine. Everyone we met smiled at the cute sheltie who was showing off her good side by letting little kids pet her. We even ran into a woman who said she used to handle shelties at dog shows and that “someone did some good breeding” with Katie.

A perfect day to walk in the woods.

We moved at Katie’s speed which means we walked very slowly. There was so much to see and sniff. I was in no hurry either, thinking about Dad and Mom, and how much they would have enjoyed a walk in this woods on such a beautiful day, and that made me smile.

Do I get to choose which way we go mama?

About an hour into the walk my phone, which I had set to map our walk, intoned “Mile 1, split time – not moving.” I laughed out loud. We were so slow that the GPS in my phone didn’t think we had moved at all. Katie was insulted.

We’ll come back here soon.

All in all it was a lovely walk in a beautiful park. It’s new to us, we were introduced to it just this past fall by a friend. Katie says we owe her cookies or something else equally nice, as this is a wonderful place to walk. While we were there I bought a pass for 2020 as I’m sure we’ll be back!

Sometimes life throws you curves.

There’s nothing quite like spending time outside to shake the blues. I’ll always miss my parents, but it felt good taking them with me on today’s walk.

And I bet they enjoyed it just as much as we did.

Made it through another Dec 23rd.