Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


19 Comments

Two looks, one princess

Katie here. Mama said I could hijack her blog again, even though you’ve heard from me a lot lately, cause since she and daddy got sick she hasn’t had a whole lot to talk about.

Hey everybody! This is one of my parks!

Me? I’m a sheltie. I always have something to talk about.

So anyway, mama scheduled an appointment for me to go to the groomer. It’s been a gazillion months (2) since I was there, and she said she was tired of trimming my foot furs.

I have so much fun when we walk here!

But she didn’t tell me that right away. Instead she took me to one of my parks, one where I can walk and run around without being on a leash so much, cause no one ever goes there. Plus it’s the right size walk for me, a trail between two picnic areas, it winds through a beautiful woods.

Mama says she never gets tired of watching me run through the leaves.

Mama says it’s just beautiful, no matter what season, but I say it’s the most beautiful in the fall when the trees compliment my coloring.

I picked out this spot myself, just ran up on this little ridge and sat down. Mama said it was a good choice.

Don’t you agree?

Mama says she figures if she’s going to pay a lot of money to get me all nice and clean and white, well, we should probably go muck around in the woods the day before my bath.

Did you say BATH?

You’d think I’d figure this out by now, it’s mama’s normal mode of operation. Take me somewhere really messy and fun, and then drop me off for a bath. Yep. I should have known that was her plan

But instead I just spent a couple hours having the best time running through the leaves.

I picked these two red maple leaves just for you mama!

And since mama remembered to bring treats I was pretty patient when she asked me to sit in all those leaves. She said she needed photos for our 2021 calendar. Did I ever tell you I’m a calendar girl? Yep. Mama makes a calendar for her and daddy and my Aunt Beth every year from the Katie-girl photos the year before.

Coming in for a treat, mama!

I think she’s silly. After all these photos look just like the ones she took of me last year. But mama says she can look at each photo and remember where we were and what the woods smelled like and whether she was cold or hot or got rained on.

I look good in red, too, don’t you think?

She says every photo makes her smile, and I can understand that. These little adventures make me smile pretty big too.

Then after the park we drove back through a little town that always has a giant pumpkin on display.

What’s over there?

And every year mama asks me to sit next to it for a photo. It’s hard for me because it’s right downtown and people are walking by and worse, cars and trucks are going by too! Every year the people on the sidewalk stop and watch my photo shoot. They know a celebrity when they see one!

Posing pretty for all my admirers.

The next day after my park/pumpkin adventure I found myself at the groomer. Not fair. But mama has found a groomer that takes me right in at the appointment time and I get done in an hour and then I’m safe back in my princess chariot.

This is how I looked when I got home. Mama says she thinks I look like a boy. But most people think I look cute, so mama just needs to get over it.

I’m not sure about this, but I’m glad to be home.

Then this morning mama said might be our last sunny day for awhile, so she took me up the street for a mini photo shoot in a neighbor’s yard.

The morning light was sure pretty today!

She says she guesses my fur cut turned out OK, cause I look pretty spectacular today.

I have to say I agree. Otherwise I wouldn’t allow her to show you photos of me. A princess only shows the good stuff, you know what I mean?

Yea, I got a treat for this one too.

Of course you know.

Signing off, your princess-girl Katie.

Off to have mama polish my tiara.

Always something.

I’m a happy girl.


34 Comments

Walktober in times of covid

Part of our back yard showing up in fall colors.

I look forward to Robin’s Walktober all year. She has hosted it for many years, a period of time in October where we all go for a walk, take a few (or a lot) of pictures, and share the walk with all of you by linking back to her blog. She’ll gather all our walks and present them in a compliation near the end of the month.

Color in the trees dances with the clouds.

I had a lot of plans for this year’s walk. I’ve been thinking about it for months. There are a couple of bird sanctuaries I haven’t visited that I considered exploring. There’s a hilly park closer to home that I think is photogenic no matter the season that I could share.

Light plays in the dying maple leaves.

Our weather has been beautiful, sunny sky, trees bursting with color. Perfect for a Walktober. I just had to decide which direction to take you.

Bitersweet – summerizes how I feel about this fall.

And then covid.

Shortly after Katie did her Walktober covid invaded our house and now we’re isolating at home. My isolation will be up October 18, and though I know Robin would give me a few more days, I don’t know if I’ll be up to tromping up and down hills even then.

The pond across the road provides any number of photographic opportunities.

So this year, reluctantly, my Walktober has been around my own back yard. Katie says I shouldn’t feel sad, that we have a very pretty back yard, and she’s right.

Our yard is beautiful, especially when I’m in it!

Still, the adventurer in me wishes I could get up early some morning and drive across the state to somewhere not seen before. Wishes I could walk new paths, shoot new vistas, breathe free.

The oaks are beginning to glow.

So far the symptoms my husband and I are experiencing are mild, and we hope they stay that way. The hardest part, for me, is the staying at home part. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only two weeks.

Last bit of summer hangs on for a few more days.

So, I hope you enjoyed the images in this post of my official Walktober meander through my back yard. And I hope each of you can go for a walk and share it with us too! Just link to Robin’s blog, we look forward to seeing another part of the world.

Royal color welcomes fall.

Especially since we can’t go there in person.

The view from our deck.


31 Comments

Some politicians are just regular folks

Let me tell you a story about politics that makes me smile.

I know, I know. Politics and smiling haven’t seemed related in a very long time. But trust me, there are plenty of great people holding down policital jobs these days. We don’t hear about them often, but we should.

Those of you following this blog for the past few years know that in 2016 I stepped way out of my comfort zone to work on the campaign of a woman running to become my district’s Representative. You know that politics is not my thing and if I had my druthers I’d live in a little house in the woods or on a lake and not turn the television on at all.

But then my dad was killed by a tired trucker and my life changed. I tell new truck safety families all the time that they don’t know how strong they are until they have to be. That we can do anything that’s important to us, that we’re passionate about.

And changing the Representative for my district was important to me, because the incumbent, representing a party that had been in office for years, refused to meet with me to talk about truck safety issues, even though I was his constituent. And the challenger, Elissa Slotkin, was willing to hear me out at the very beginning of her campaign.

So in 2018 I canvased for her, which was much more scary to me then speaking in public about truck safety issues, scarier than meeting with the Secretary of Transportation, or testifying in front of a Senate subcommittee. And she won, by a slim margin, in a district that is primarly made up of people not in her party.

Katie was happy when Elissa won too.

Since she’s been in office she’s signed on to support one of our issues, trying to get automatic emergency brakes mandated in commercial trucks, and she’s always been willing to talk with us about whatever safety issues we’re fighting.

This year my husband and I have focused on getting people the yard signs they’ve requested. We live in a township that is very red, the roads are lined with signs of the opposing party. I take it as a personal victory when I can get one of Elissa’s signs into a yard that is surrounded by her opponent’s signs.

A couple weeks ago we were notified that one of her signs, a large one on a main road, had been defaced. We didn’t know how it was defaced, but we said we’d go out and see if we could salvage it. We hoped it was just kids having a crazy Saturday night.

Discouraging.

We were wrong.

Maybe we should have left it defaced, to make a point, but signs are expensive, and the defacing seemed malicious, so we went to work to try and clean it up. It took 3 hours and a whole lot of elbow grease. And even after all that, the sign was still disfigured.

But while we were working on it we had several cars honk in support, and a few people stopped by to offer ideas on supplies that might work, or to help clean it. We probably created more goodwill cleaning that sign than we would have if it had never been defaced. And no we didn’t deface it ourselves.

Working to clean it up.

But here’s the really cool thing. Today the Congresswoman called and left a long message on our landline, thanking us for cleaning up the sign, saying she had just driven by it and she wanted us to know that she appreciated the work.

At first, while I was listening to the message, I thought it was a robo call from her campaign — you know the kind where the candidate leaves a recorded message thanking you for support and asking for you to chip in a little more. But no, this wasn’t her office calling, wasn’t a recorded message, it was just a woman saying thanks, like any regular person would, directly and in person, sincerely, asking for nothing more.

As good as we could get it.

Just saying thanks.

And that’s the kind of person I am proud to vote for this November. A decent person who tries to make the best decisions at her job under stressful conditions every day. A person working for the betterment of all the people in her district – whether they voted for her or not. Someone who will listen to anybody’s issues, will give them all careful consideration, who doesn’t dismiss anyone. Someone who is always upfront and honest with her constituents.

She’s such a regular person that sometimes it’s hard for me to remember she’s actually a Congresswoman. I think of her as Elissa. I really need to work on giving her the respect and title she’s earned. She’s my Congresswoman and I’m proud of the work she’s doing while still being just regular folk. It’s such a relief to have someone like her representing me.

She makes me smile.


32 Comments

2 smiles, one weekend

I’m a lucky lady, I got to experience two big smiles jammed into one weekend. Plus we are experiencing beautiful weather, warm and sunny with the trees starting to turn color. The morning and evening light makes the trees just glow.

But that’s a different blog post.

My first smile of the weekend was Saturday evening when I got to play in a pop-up concert with some of my Clarkston Community Band mates and several professional musicians who came to fill holes in our orchestration.

The neighbors came out to listen to us play on their cul-de-sac.

We haven’t played together since early March. Many of us haven’t played at all since then, though most of us frantically practiced these past few days trying to get our lips back in shape. The professionals sightread the music and sounded wonderful. I was grateful to get to play with them.

Thankful for these guys coming to help us out.

It was a lovely night and we are reminded again why we play long after school ends. As our Director, Ms. Roland said, tonight we’re not talking about politics or bingewatching silly shows on TV, we’re not thinking about virusus or worried about the future.

ALl about the music.

Tonight it’s about the music. And what a relief that was.

Keeping us in time.

I hope the neighbors who came out of their homes, sat in lawn chairs and waited while we did a little rehearsing before we began, I hope they had as much fun as we did.

Making a big sound.

But I don’t see how they could have had more.

He’s played with us since he was a kid, now grown up and still making music.

Then this morning I did a virtual 5K with my friend Tami who lives in California. So that we could run/walk together she went out at 6 a.m. while it was still dark, and I waited until 9 am. here, an hour or more later than I would normally go out.

At the turn around point.

It was a compromise on both our parts because we wanted to motivate each other. Compromise works, I wish it was something that happened more in our world, but I’m not going there in this post.

Nope, this post is all about smiles. I hope you had something fun to do, or pretty to see, or beautiful to listen to this week.

As we march toward November we all need to remember to smile. And that’s as political as I’m going to get today.

Trombones all in providing the bass sounds.


34 Comments

A walk through Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

I follow a wildlife group on Facebook. I’ve been seeing pictures of what were identified as Brown Pelicans that people were seeing out at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge which is only a little over an hour from me. Pelicans in Michigan?

Early morning at the refuge.

I’ve been to this refuge once before, about a year ago. I saw lots of pretty things then, but no pelicans. I’ve never heard of pelicans in Michigan and I wanted to see them.

I startled a racoon as it swims over to a log to exit the water.

But life, as it usually does, interfered. I had too many commitments, too many places I needed or wanted to be. I kept putting off my trip up to Saginaw County, but those images of these beautiful birds continued to show up on Facebook.

Huge flocks of sandhill cranes flew overhead in the early morning light.

Finally I decided to add a stop at the refuge to a scheduled trip north to my happy place along the shores of Lake Michigan. I figured since I wanted to be at the refuge at sunrise I could spend as much as four hours there and still get up to Northport at a reasonable hour.

Water on either side of the dike I was walking on.

So one day last week I let Katie get me up at 3:30, put on my waterproof shoes and lightweight hiking pants and headed out the door by 4:30, prepared for a double adventure.

I arrived at the refuge as the sun was coming up. In hindsight I should have arrived even earlier, because it’s a two mile walk back to the wide open wetlands where the pelicans were supposed to be. But I saw plenty of things on my two mile walk, even as the sun crept higher and higher into the sky.

A damp egret watched me walk by.

I crept along as well, because the trail was covered in crushed stone and my heavy, waterproof shoes were so noisy on the rock that every few steps ducks rose up from the water on either side of the dike I was walking on. The noise of their flight up out of the water is startling, even after I heard it a few dozen times.

I frighten a wood duck couple into leaving.

It was hard to get a decent image of anything in the low light, no matter how high I set my ISO. But I had fun trying.

A juvie green heron, just out of focus.

By the time I got out to the open wetlands I was already tired. Such an early start, so many missed images. But then I rounded a curve and saw these guys. They sounded an alarm as I slowly approached them.

“Should we stand our ground or get the heck out of here?”

They were between me and where I needed to be in order to check out potential pelicans. I wanted to get a good picture of them flying, so I stayed prepared with the camera held up to my eyes as I moved forward. Eventually they gave up and rose into the air with great fanfare, warning about my trespassing into their space to anyone else out there that cared. They were absolutely beautiful.

The sun on their wings was so beautiful.

I coldn’t stop shooting as they rose higher and higher.

They looked like a painting.

Once they had flown off over the woods and the sound of their calls had faded I looked around and saw what I thought were some swans preening on a log on the other side of some open water.

Those are swans over there. Right?

I couldn’t see them very well, even with my long lens because I was shooting into the morning light. I was pretty sure it was a bunch of swans, so I spent some time seeing what else was out there.

Egrets discussing the weather. Or something.

The egrets were beautiful in the morning sun. And everywhere I went something flew out of the water. It was hard to keep up.

I startled this blue heron too. He left without looking back.

Still, those swans out there called me and I took more pictures. But time was ticking, and how many images did I need of a group of swans? I was getting tired and I was disappointed that I hadn’t seen the pelians.

A female wood duck takes off. I seem to be disturbing everyone!

I turned to go, and over my left shoulder three large birds flew by. Three large white birds. Could it be? Yes! They were pelicans! My settings weren’t right for a moving bird, but I got some OK shots.

White pelicans!!!!!

Then I took some more shots of those ‘swans’ back where I had turned around. Because you know what? There were more and more gathering there. And behind them were hundreds more, out of camera range. Pelicans masquerading as swans.

They call a group of pelicans a ‘pod.’ This pod was getting bigger by the minute.

I looked them up and I think these are not Brown Pelicans, but American White Pelicans. They have big black stripes on the ends of their wings, just like the images in the article. I feel lucky to have seen them.

All those white birds flying in the background are pelicans too!

After spending a long time watching them I turned and began my long walk back to the car. By now the sun was really up and so were all the little birds. Lots of hopping around in the underbrush, chirping, flitting across the path. I only got one of the little ones in a decent shot.

A little round yellow bird. Maybe a warbler?

But I saw several others too, though the images are terrible so I won’t share. I’m just glad to have seen a juvinile rose breasted grosbeak, and a white throated sparrow, who, people say, is only around in winter. Uh oh. Winter??

What a beautiful place to be on a beautiful morning.

On the way back I concentrated on moving along, but also stopping to notice the flowers still in bloom…

Everything was yellow, green or red.

…and the beautiful fall colors just starting.

The maple trees were glowing in the early light.

Four hours later I had walked a little over six miles, my feet hurt, my back hurt but my heart was full. I still had a four hour drive to Northport, but I was headed to my happy place, and had been in a very beautiful refuge. Couldn’t complain, that’s for sure.

Morning light.

Plus….I had seen hundreds and hundreds of pelicans! And now you have too!

Definitely worth getting up early!


10 Comments

Had so many smiles this week I haven’t had time to share

This week was filled with smiles, so filled in fact that I’m having trouble finding time to process all the photos to share with you. So how about I show you just a couple, a teaser of sorts, to keep your interest for a few more days.

The maple trees were turning.

I traveled north on Wednesday, stopping at the Shiawasee Nature Preserve on the way to my final destination. I took you for a walk there a year ago, this week, unlike that walk, the colors haven’t peaked but I saw lots of really neat things.

I startled ducks wherever I walked.

Including pelicans. Did you know there are pelicans in Michigan? Me neither! But there they were. I felt lucky to have seen them, I’m sure they’re just passing through.

See all those white birds back there? Pelicans. And notice the blue heron down on the left bottom? Busy place.

Anyway, the four hours I spent there early on Wednesday morning made me smile. A lot. I will share more of this magical place as soon as I can finish looking through the more than 800 photos I took.

Avoiding the noisy human.