Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Three cities in one week has to be a record

We’ve been away – yes again. In the space of one week we were busy in Baltimore, MD, Washington DC, and St. Louis, MO. Not long enough at any of them, but all together too long to be away so soon after getting home from our Canadian adventure.

Katie says no more trips until she gets to do something fun.

Winging our way to Baltimore on Southwest very early Monday morning.

I didn’t take my laptop or my camera, and most of the time that was fine. We were too busy to do much in the evenings anyway, except collapse and try to rest up for the next day. But there were probably five or ten or a thousand times during the week that I wished I had my big camera with me.

Oh well, the photos in this blog were all taken with my phone which does an OK job, and in some situations even a better job, than the big camera would have.

Baltimore street in evening light.

So let me catch you up on our travels!

We flew last Monday into Baltimore where we stayed with a friend who, along with a journalist, has written a book about the horrendous experience of losing his wife in a truck crash. His two sons, also with her in the car, were injured, one of them permanently.

A little corner of the library caught my eye.

The book release was last Tuesday and we attended the author event at a huge, beautiful public library in downtown Baltimore. It was fun and we enjoyed supporting our truck safety family member Ed as he spreads the word about unsafe trucks and the extraordinary costs regular families pay so that goods can get to all of us faster and cheaper. And why that has to change.

The next morning we took a train from Baltimore to Washington DC, were we spent the next three days in meetings, educating our lawmakers about four bills we’re supporting.

The DC public transportation system is amazing. Locals there don’t appreciate it as much as those of us who only visit.

It’s a different sort of feeling being proactive rather than reactive. For once we’re asking for support on safety related bills instead of protesting unsafe trucking provisions attached to pending legislation.

One evening we spent the golden hours up near the Capital…

The sun sets on another day of work trying to make our roads safer for everyone.

…and noticed the sun shining off of the Supreme Court building. They were letting people climb the court’s steps, not something that’s always allowed. So of course we ventured up too.

Sitting on the steps of justice.

And just as we were moving on, heading to the train station for our trip back to our hotel, the sun made the building glow.

Like a painting.

Evening back at the hotel was nice too. Our view of the Rosslyn area was stunning, though I was usually too tired to appreciate it.

The phone camera does night shots really well.

Another evening we went to see a baseball game.

Going to the game.

It’s the end of the season, and the local Washington Nationals have already clinched their playoff spot. But the crowd was still excited to be there.

Getting the fans excited.

And as the sun set and the sky went dark the game began. It was perfect out at the ball park, balmy weather, a bit of a breeze…

Play ball!

…and the Nationals won!

It was a good game, lots of scoring, lots of organ music and lots of people watching.

After the game we dawdled on our way back to the hotel, waiting for the crowds on the Metro to thin out. We sat by a fountain at the DOT and watched the water change colors and height.

Blue and pink and green and red lights made this a fun fountain to watch.

Lots of people stood among the trailing water. I just took pictures. No sense heading back to the hotel with wet shoes. Or worse.

Soon our time in DC ended. Saturday morning we headed back to the airport to fly to St. Louis.

Southwest flies out of an older, sort of retro part of National airport. This is the center post and I thought it was cool.

Why St. Louise you ask? Well, this has gotten long enough so I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Plus we pick up you know who tomorrow morning so I need to get my sleep tonight. She’s going to be in a fine fit and I’ll be occupied for some time trying to placate the princess.

You never know how that will go. Well. I guess you do know how that will go, and if you don’t I’m sure she’ll tell you.

Stay tuned.

Oh, she’s going to make us pay for having fun without her. Guaranteed.


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Smiling on the run again

I’ve got this road race coming up at the end of August. It seemed like a good idea when I registered and paid the pretty hefty fee months ago. But now August is sneaking up on me and I’ve been away from home for weeks at a time not training.

Oh, I took running clothes with me wherever I went. I’m sure they were quite comfortable sitting nice and secure inside my luggage.

Meanwhile, I need to get back on track. I’ve given myself permission to walk as much of the ten mile race as I need to. I’ve never run the whole thing, and I’ve run this race a bunch of times over the years. But still it would be nice to finish in a reasonable time. At least within the same day. Walking is sooooo slow!

A running friend and I are planning on doing the race together, at least part of it. Funny, we are both worrying about whether or not we can stick with each other. She’s training by running 4 minutes, walking 1 minute. I’m training by running a quarter mile, walking a quarter mile.

I think my run portion likely is about 4 minutes, though I’m not sure. It’s a proven fact that it is impossible to do math in your head while you’re running and this morning I was trying to divide my average time into quarters to get some idea of my pace. I definitely know that my walk portion is way longer than her one minute walk break.

Today I did six miles, at my favorite park, trying to get a feeling for my speed, or lack of it. I tried to find the stopwatch on my phone app, but realized pretty quickly that I can’t actually see my phone apps without my glasses. So I don’t know if I’ll be able to stick with Betty at our race, but I’ll work between now and then to run her style, 4 minutes of running, one minute of walking.

We’ll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, here’s a montage of pretty things I saw on this morning’s run/walk.

So…how does all of this fit Trent’s weekly smile? Well, it felt great to be back at my favorite park, one where I used to run long every Saturday with a multitude of running friends. Lots of beautiful things to see, so I took photos during my quarter mile walks.

During one of those walk breaks a beautiful doe stood just behind a bush, she stared at me, I stared at her. Would have been an amazing photograph, but my phone didn’t have enough storage to take one more image. So she and I just watched each other for a long time. Made my mile 5 extra long, but extra special. So it all balances out.

I think I was smiling the whole six miles. In fact I was so happy to get the six miles done that I pulled into a cupcake place on the way home and bought a lovely lemon creme cupcake.

No I did not!! But I did look longingly at the cupcake place as I drove past. Hope the thought of a lemon cupcake made you smile!

But really, please write a post about what you’ve smiled about this week and link to Trent’s blog. He’ll recap all the smiles next Monday. It’s always good to begin Monday with a bunch of smiles!

Can’t wait to see yours!


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I’ve been waiting mama

Katie here!

I know for a fact you’ve been missing me, cause I haven’t been able to blog for months and months! OK. Weeks. But it feels like forever!

I’m bored mama!

There are a lot of reasons why I haven’t blogged, most of which have to do with the fact I haven’t done anything fun in ages. It’s not fair. Mama has been gallivanting all over the world.

And where did I get to go?

Seriously bored, mama.

I got to go to the kennel, that’s where I got to go! I seriously don’t understand why mama thinks that’s an adventure. I mean, while she was climbing mountains in Norway and the Hill in D.C. I was napping in my cell, um…room at the kennel.

Don’t get me wrong, they treat me fine there, but it’s definitely not an adventure.

I don’t think this is the kennel!

So yesterday, when mama got up early and started hustling around I got sort of nervous and went to hide somewhere, hoping she’d forget I was around. But that never works, and it didn’t work this time either.

A pretty river runs through the park.

I ended up in my crate in the car and we drove for almost an hour. I was definitely nervous when she opened the door, but you know where we were?

We were at Deuce’s house!

This is my friend Deuce!

Boy oh boy, I haven’t seen my buddy Deuce in a long time! This was way better than the kennel!

Being at a park is way more fun then the kennel or the groomer or the vet!

And then we all went, Deuce, his mom and mama and me, to one of his parks! It’s a perfect little park, just my size and it’s all shade.

Deuce and I spent a long time sniffing stuff, he’d be up front doing the scouting for us, then I’d come along and sniff the good stuff that he marked for me. It worked perfectly.

We’ll sit next to each other but we’re not thrilled about the interruption to our sniffing.

Of course along the way the moms had to make us pose for pictures. I swear, I try to use my new deafness as an excuse not to follow directions but darn mama uses hand signals so I end up posing for her.

We saw a couple deer in the park, a mama deer and her baby. My mama only got good pictures of the mama deer, after we moved on we looked back and saw the mama licking the baby’s face. It was so cute, but there was too much brush between us to get a good picture. Mama was still glad she saw it through.

You can see the two, mom and baby, looking at us, even though the photo isn’t in focus.

After we made one tour of the park I still felt good so we walked around it again. This time we noticed the numbers and we found the number 12 for me, cause I’m 12 years old!

Look! They’re celebrating my age!

The vet a couple weeks ago said I looked real good for my age and I have to agree I’m fabulous.

So anyway, that’s my adventure, and I’m grateful to my Aunt Karen, Deuce’s mom, for inviting us over to his park and for being patient when I was a little slow.

Sitting in a spot of sun for mama.

Though to be honest, it wasn’t always my fault. Don’t forget, I had mama attached to me and she has that darn camera that slows her up all the time. She’s always taking these artsy-fartsy pictures.

Mama is fascinated with light.

Frankly, if the focus isn’t me I don’t think it’s worth taking up the pixels.

Am I right or am I right?

Talk later, your park girl Katie.

I think I deserve a treat.


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Running toward the past

Once upon a time, more than two decades ago, I joined a online group of women who wanted to run. I met some of them out at Kensington, my favorite park, and that first day we walked and ran around the lake, eight miles. We walked the uphills and ran the downhills and had a great time talking.

Today I ran behind this guy for quite awhile, but at 3 miles I turned back and he kept going.

Over the years we’ve run plenty of training runs either together in person or together in cyberspace. Plenty of races too, including several half and full marathons. We’ve even been on a few road trips to do races, those are the most fun!

And after each race or long run I’d post my ‘nature report,’ things I’d seen along the way. Even in marathons I could usually remember one thing from each mile to comment on in my race report delivered to our common website after I was home.

The cowslips and most of the trillium are gone, but I found a few still blooming.

Then, ten years ago I ended up with a stress fracture in my right foot, training for a local half marathon, and the running, for me, stopped. I stayed in touch with the group though, cheering on those who were still running, celebrating life events like children’s weddings and the birth of grandchildren too.

The group is much smaller now, but they still support my attempts to get back to running. On my 60th birthday I met some of them for a race in a small town several miles away. Some of them did a half marathon, I did the 5K and then waited to cheer them in after their race. (If you want a giggle, read the post at the link above.)

I don’t know what this is, it was about knee high, all these blossoms are connected to one stem.

Still, even after that I didn’t get back into the running groove. And time moved on.

I miss my friends, I miss the comradery of preparing for a race together, even if it is online. I miss writing my nature reports.

There’s quite a bit of this, reminds me of perennial geranium in my garden.

So a couple of months ago I registered for a local race. It’s a 10 mile race in Flint Michigan at the end of August, and I used to run it all the time – I think the first time I ran it was 1990. In the past decade I’ve run the 5 mile event, and I’ve walked the 10 mile, but I haven’t really trained to run the long, hot and humid race.

And now that I’m registered, well, I have to get cracking. So for several weeks I’ve been trying to get out the door every other day at least for a long walk. And in this past month or so I’ve been adding running bits.

This little whippersnapper passed me a couple of times. Then she’d walk and I’d pass her.

At first just a quarter within each mile. Sometimes not even that. Some days are just walk days. But this week I had a four mile run/walk where I ran the middle two quarters of each mile back to back. A half a mile each mile run.

OK, so run might not be exactly the right word. It’s not that I’m fast. But still.

Then she got further ahead and when I went around the next corner she was long gone.

Some weeks are better than others, and I’m worried that I’m nowhere near ready to do 10 miles, but I’m trying not to get injured, so I’m going slow.

I’ll be traveling a lot this summer which always makes it more difficult for me to train. But I hope that we’ll be doing lots of walking and somehow I’ll stay in shape.

Hot and sweaty but still smiling.

Once I get in shape of course.

Set the phone camera on ‘selfie’ and held it under the may-apple leaves, shooting up.


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This week’s smile

Trent, over on Trent’s World, hosts a weekly blog post that collects smiles from bloggers all over the world. This week his featured smile is the bees that survived the Notre Dame fire.

And he wonders what all of us have found to smile about lately.

I did plenty of smiling this week, given the first part of the week I spent in Florida, walking beaches and exploring parks, and especially hanging with good people and wonderful dogs.

Hi mama!

And of course I flew home on Wednesday to my husband and my Katie-girl. Lots to smile about there too.

Then last night I attended a community orchestra concert in a small town about an hour from here.

A fun evening.

On the early evening drive over to the venue the sky was filled with big beautiful blue bottomed clouds. I wished I had my camera and time to find a place to stop.

I had neither.

The concert was fun, and it was good to see an almost full house to support a community orchestra. There were some really talented people playing, and you could tell they were having a great time.

Pretty amazing!

After it was over I emerged from the high school to see the clouds were thinning, but still in evidence. And they were turning purple and pink.

The barns were glowing.

With only my phone to capture the beauty and in a community I didn’t know I set out trying to find an open field with a place to pull over before all the light was gone.

Everything was beautiful.

I got a few good shots, and that, in combination with the evening’s music, made me smile.

What made you smile this week?

The last glow of a great evening.


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Nobody asked me if I wanted to go

Katie here.

You’re going to think I’m being repetitive if every time you hear from me it’s to complain about mama. Yet here I am once again having to deal with a mama that obviously doesn’t think about me before she goes off and has a good time.

This time it was even worse because she came home after being gone a whole week and she smelled like my boyfriend Reilly! Can you believe that?

Denny and Reilly my boyfriend at the beach.

She went to visit Reilly and his little brother Denny and she didn’t take me!

OK. So yes she flew and yes I would not like flying. And yes I didn’t have to go to camp and yes my daddy was with me and yes daddy and I had a great time.

So maybe it wasn’t all that bad. I guess.

She came home Wednesday night and I made sure to get her up very early Thursday so that we could spend lots and lots of quality minutes together.

She was very appreciative.

Red skies early in the morning.

She did get to see the sunrise because of me. She said it was pretty. I guess it probably was, I don’t know because I went back to sleep as soon as she was up and moving around.

She did take me to my favorite park Thursday afternoon and we even got to watch some guys do a managed burn at one of my other parks!

This was at one of my parks!

I’ve never seen that before, it would have been scary if I hadn’t been in my car with my mom right by me. Mom thought it was very interesting even though emotionally she has a hard time with something burning up right in front of her eyes.

Me at my park, with the burned area right across the creek.

Mama said she liked the bits of spring she found better than all the smoke and flames across the way.

Hope buds eternal.

And she says we better enjoy it while we can because those weather people are predicting snow this weekend.

So anyway…I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on mama. My Mr. Reilly wanted her to visit for a few days and she went to take care of him, and I’m thankful she could do that, cause Mr. Reilly is a very very special guy.

I hear the boys are very good at asking for treats too.

The fact that mama got to walk on the beach without me is something I will just have to forgive. Forgiving will be easier if there are treats involved. You, my faithful readers, may want to remind mama of that important detail.

Guess who forgot to bring treats on this walk?

She seems to have forgotten that part of our contract.

Talk later,

Your gal Katie, patience is my middle name.

Yea. Right.

You can’t hide treats from me mama!


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Dutton Island Preserve

On my last full day in Florida my friend took me to another sort of park. Not on the ocean, no waves pounding the shore, no shells to collect.

I loved the subtle color of the grass curving into the brilliant blue of the water.

No, Dutton Island Preserve is quieter, more reflective and sits among the salt marshes, an entirely different world.

The water was so still.

We walked among tall pines and over boardwalks. We listened to the birds calling, and watched for fish to jump.

So much texture and color!

It was a small park compared to the vastness of the ocean, but it was beautiful. Though we only saw one woodpecker, we heard plenty of things rustling in the grass or hopping about overhead.

Hungry bird.

It was a wonderful way to wind down a lovely week spent in the warm sun with good friends and good dogs.

Great day for a paddle.


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Little Talbot Island State Park

Monday my friend took me out to Little Talbot Island State Park where we wandered on a beach totally different from the beach at Mayport Naval Base.

Wide sandy beaches meet the turquoise ocean.

Instead of a beach covered in shells crunching under foot there was a wide span of white sand stretching as far as the eye could see.

And hardly anyone was out there aside from a few people fishing from the shore.

More birds than people at the beach on Monday.

We walked a long way. I kept noticing how the sand changed the further we went. The tide was out and the hard packed sand showed evidence of how the water had massaged the sand into fascinating shapes, then left it to bake in the Florida sun.

Memories of the last tide etched in the sand.

I kept taking pictures of the sand, thinking to myself…who does this? Who focuses on the sand and not the beautiful vistas?

Don’t you wonder how this pattern was made?

Well…I do.

And you’ve already seen beautiful beaches with turquoise water reflecting brilliant blue skies. I wanted you to see something different.

The colors of the water close to shore were spectacular.

Next time you’re out on a beach somewhere look down and pay attention to what you see. There’s all sorts of color and patterns there, mostly taken for granted.

The last bit of water flows back to the ocean.

Interesting things live there too, like this ghost crab that we found far from his home on dry land where he would typically live.

Don’t mess with me people!

We think a bird picked him up and dropped him out near the water. He was in rare fighting form, always facing us and waving his claws. I thought he looked a bit like a Lego robot myself.

This looked like the badlands of South Dakota as seen from a plane.

Most of all we just walked and enjoyed the beauty of the water and the beauty of the sand and sun.

Sunshine, palm trees, sand and water.

And we enjoyed the fact that we are retired and can spend a Monday afternoon doing nothing more than appreciating the world around us.

A lonely beach didn’t feel lonely at all.

I hope you can all take a moment to do the same, no matter where you are.

Driftwood looks like angel wings flying into the sky.

And Katie-girl….I’ll be home soon.

Definitely not in Michigan.


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Sunshine and smiles

This week I’m in Florida taking care of a pair of sweet dogs so their folks can take a short vacation. The boys and I are getting along great, though I know they miss their mom and dad.

No more pictures Aunt Dawn! Let’s play!

Sometimes they seem a bit confused, but most of the time they’re happy as long as they get fed. Sounds just like a little girl I know.

Being in Florida I wanted to spend at least a little time wandering the beach. This morning I drove over to the Atlantic to see how the beach fared in yesterday’s storm.

The beach is just down there.

There are miles and miles of beaches to walk, and I only explored a small part of one. It was windy and a bit cool, not exactly beach weather. Still plenty of people were out enjoying the sun after a yesterday’s thunder, rain and tornadic winds.

A peaceful place to read.

There was color out in the water too, and waves tipped with spray under brilliant blue skies.

Wind whipped the waves into froth.

The shore birds were bouncing around.

Hey Fred, is the restaurant open yet?

The waves were spreading out over the sand…

Such a pretty day after stormy yesterday.

It was a good day for a run.

Hurry up dad!

Not that I ran, but it was a good day for one.

And this little guy came out to talk to me on my way back to the car.

Nice day, isn’t it lady!

All and all it was a morning filled with smiles.