Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


WordPress photo challenge – dialogue

Two photos that relate to each other is called a photo dialogue.    We didn’t get to Smith Mountain tower this trip, but here’s my photo dialogue from last February when we climbed the mountain.

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You can see other interpretations of  photo dialogues at this WordPress blog.  Or you can find a few of my favorites here, here and here.   And this one too.


WordPress Photo Challenge: Between

Finding Shakespeare.

Finding Shakespeare between these hills.

During a recent warm summer evening, as dusk settled among the hills and along the Huron River, Shakespeare walked.  And I was lucky enough to witness it all.  The University of Michigan presented “Shakespeare in the Arb 2014, As You Like It,” an outdoor interpretation where characters run through meadows and down hillsides sorting out their love and angst in front of a few hundred enthralled peasants — us.

The audience moves between scenes.

The audience moves between scenes.

Rather than changing the set on stage between each scene the whole production, along with the audience, moved to beautiful new locations within the Arboretum.


Contemplating his next move.

Contemplating his next move.

And, as the audience moved through the woods or across expanses of meadow carrying their chairs and blankets we often came across characters from the play or were entertained by magical music that floated across the tops of the trees.

Discussing strategy.

Discussing strategy.


I hope you enjoy these photos of the action between scenes.

Musical joy.

Musical joy between scenes.

For more entries to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  Between, click on the link above, or check out a few of my favorites, here, here, here and here.  Or here.

I hope you enjoyed my evening with Shakespeare.  I know I did!





Goal met


I’m not particularly good at follow through on ideas.  Even ideas I really think, at the time, would be fun, or good, or responsible or even required.  It’s hard for me to commit to doing anything every day.  But somehow I knew that writing a blog each day would work out just fine.

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Especially in November when I had so much going on, so many activities to mine for blog material.  I only had one day when I had nothing to say.  I probably filled that one with pictures of Katie.  I am lucky to have photogenic filler.


NoBloPoMo was fun.  I’d do it again.  The only down side was that sometimes more important topics were too soon covered up with insignificant fluff, just because the sun came up on another day.

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Today’s post is brought to you by random photos that never had a chance to shine in the craziness of November.  Hope you enjoyed being overrun by me and my family.  I already know you smile when Katie shows up.

So here she is.



Ice cream in November

Chilly little calf

Chilly little calf

It’s cold here in Michigan.  Really cold. (20 degrees F  which is -6.66 degrees C).  We have been spoiled with a very mild fall…

I'm looking at you

I’m looking at you

…but I think winter has finally arrived.  And what do we do to celebrate winter?  Where do we go when our toes and fingers go numb on the daily walk?  What do we do the day after Thanksgiving when the world seems to have gone shopping?

Got any ice cream for me?

Got any ice cream for me?

We visit the local dairy farm and get extraordinary ice cream!

A four legged ice cream maker

A four legged ice cream maker

Of course…don’t you?


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Family time

I hope all of you in the States had an opportunity to spend some of Thanksgiving day with family or friends.  We traveled down to the farm where my Mom grew up  and spent some time with family over a wonderful meal.


Lots of talking, lots of laughing, lots of eating.



While there we took my brother, who hasn’t been back on the farm in many years, on a quick tour of the barns where we all used to play.


It was very cold.  Especially for my brother’s girlfriend who is from El Salvador.

We noticed little things while exploring the barns, like what my uncle used to call a patented barn door handle…


…and a clamp in my Grandfather’s shop…


…with a view of the old farmhouse through the shop window.

While we were wandering among the barns huge flocks of sand hill cranes flew screeching overhead.  There were at least 3 groups of them, each as large or larger than this group:


This is not a great shot, I took it blindly up into the sky without being able to see what I caught, then cropped the heck out of it so that you could see something of what we saw.  It was so cool.

Barns, birds, family…


…you can’t get much better than that.

And to top it off there was pie.   Happy sigh.



How far would you go?

I was distractedly listening to CNN while cooking up some holiday goodies Monday night when I heard the President dealing with the immigration hecklers in San Fransisco.   Apparently he was there to talk about immigration and many standing behind him  as he spoke were members of an immigration advocacy group.  One or two began to shout, asking him to exercise his executive powers to help their cause.  Many began to chant.  He took it in stride.

I understand their passion for their cause.  But he is the President.   On the other hand when will those folks ever again get this close to someone they believe can fix their problem?  So they chose to make a statement.   Were they brave?  Or were they stupid?

I have an issue I feel the same passion for.  I have often wished that I could just sit down with someone as powerful as the President and explain things, ask for help.  But I’m sure I could never, ever, heckle him at a public function.  Protest outside the venue perhaps, but never to his face, never interrupt his speech.  In fact I don’t think I could interrupt any public official’s speech.

So I’ve been thinking about this.  Thinking about the public officials I’ve met, the ones  I’ve asked politely to help us in our cause.  Thinking about how little progress I’ve made.  Wondering just what exactly it would take for me to be brave enough to demand that help publicly, even rudely.  Maybe polite doesn’t work.  But who knows if rude works either.

What about you?  Do you have something that matters enough to you that you’d heckle the President of the United States?  Do you think it was brave of them?  Or stupid?

I’m undecided.


Weekly photo challenge – Unexpected

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is Unexpected.  I have a photo in mind, but as I mentally work through my schedule for the week I realize I’m probably not going to get there.  That felt disappointing.

And then I was going through photos I took on a drive down to Ann Arbor Saturday afternoon and found something.  I took this through the windshield of a moving car.  At the time I thought the light on the lines was…well…unexpected.


All I have done to this photo is crop it, taking out the noise of the rest of the street scene.

And that other unexpected subject?  It might show up later.



It was a gift

Saturday night in Ann Arbor….for me that means the Ann Arbor Symphony.  And though weather threatened snow we made the trip down for an evening of music.  It was worth the drive.

They started out with Fratres for Strings and Percussion by Arevo Part, a contemporary composer.  This work was written in 1977 and showcases his minimalistic style with six bars of music repeated, slightly differently, throughout the piece.  It begins in the violins so softly you can barely hear and crescendos as cellos and finally the basses are added near the middle of the piece, then fades away again until you aren’t sure where it ended.  The sound is contemplative, meditative, soothing.

The symphony’s Concertmaster violinist Aaron Berofsky was the featured soloist and masterfully played Tchaikovsky’s  Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op. 35.  He has a beautiful sound, extraordinary technique and it was a joy to hear this melodic and technically challenging piece.  Mr. Berofsky spoke at the lecture before the concert and said he first began working on this piece when he was 15 and it has continued to teach him throughout his lifetime.  The audience was so moved that it burst into extended applause between the first and second movement.

After intermission we were delighted by Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op.13 “Winter Dreams.”  Though I enjoyed the full and lush orchestration (usually my favorite parts of any symphony) of the first, third and fourth movements,  I was caught off guard and extraordinarily moved by the second.  (It begins at 11:42 on the link I provided.)  Only a few minutes into it I realized my eyes were filled with tears and by the time the oboe and flute began their work together the tears were sliding down my face.  I wiped them away surreptitiously thinking surely no one else was so moved.  This piece is not played frequently and I told my Aunt after the performance that I could listen to it again right then.  She grinned and responded “Wasn’t that second movement wonderful?  I felt like I was floating.”

Symphony No. 1  has everything, the huge symphonic sound, the gentle tug on emotions, outstanding music for string, woodwinds, stunning horn work.  If you’ve never heard a symphony please take the time to listen to this one.  It’s worth every bit of the 44 minutes,  I promise you.   At least listen to the first two movements — I’ll bet you’ll be hooked and will stay for the rest.

Symphony No. 1 was composed in 1866, when Tchaikovsky was 25.  As we drove home I tried to remember what I was doing when I was 25.  I know I wasn’t creating something so beautiful that hundreds of people would sit mesmerized 147 years later.  The combination of Tschaikovsky and the Ann Arbor Symphony is amazing; so wonderful so powerful, so relaxing.  So beautiful that it defies description.

Last night the music was bigger than the hall.  Surely it could not be contained in one room.  Surely the music must have blown through the walls, burst through the ceiling and floated above the city of Ann Arbor.  Surely it must have seeped into the spirit of all who live there, been expelled on the breath of everyone walking by, mingled in the hearts of all within miles, given up to the heavens and received by God.

As we walked out into the night we were greeted with snow.  The holidays are upon us and the Ann Arbor Symphony had just presented us with our very first gift.

All I can say is thank you.