Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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The misadventures of a Katie-girl

Katie here. HEY! It’s not my fault if I had a few unsettling adventures around here. It’s not like mama takes me anywhere fun after all.

Happy at my park.

First I thought I was going on an adventure and I ended up at camp for a whole week while they were off frolicking in Florida. I like Florida, I’ve been there three times, I love to run on the beach and stuff. Plus my boyfriend Mr. Reilly is there. So I don’t get why I couldn’t go with them.

Me, my boyfriend Mr. Reilly and his little brother Denny on our first beach adventure way back in 2017!

So I showed them. The morning after I got home I talked mama into taking me on a walk. She was tired cause she just flew home herself, but she felt guilty (as she should) for making me stay at camp, so she took me up the street.

Me in my yard, which is not an adventure mama!

I was doing my sheltie prance, butt wagging, sniffing all the good stuff like usual when suddenly I slowed down. Mama thought that was odd. Then I turned around and looked at her and threw up! And then I threw up two more times!

Then I just lay down in the middle of our street and I started to quiver all over.

I told mama not to show anyone my tummy!!

Mama said that was not normal. And even though we were only about four houses away from home she called my dad and he came and got us. Then she called the vet.

So the next car ride I get was to the vet! This is not an adventure mama! They poked me and looked in places no princess should allow, and they took my blood. I didn’t give permission for any of this, but I felt kinda miserable so I couldn’t argue much.

I guess my backyard is better than nothing.

The vet couldn’t come up with anything, but mama had a sinking feeling cause I had an episode just like this in 2015, also one day after being sprung from camp. We didn’t figure out anything then either.

I finally convinced mama to take me to my park.

So the next day I was feeling all happy again, but mama put me on a low fat wet food for awhile just to see. Boy that was good! And when I stayed happy for several days mama did a bad thing.

She scheduled me to get my teeth cleaned, and while I was out she asked them to do an ultrasound of all my innards!

So the next week I find myself at the vet again! This is so not fair, especially because this time daddy left me there! Mama couldn’t even come because she fell on some ice and had both hands and wrists wrapped up in splints and she didn’t feel so good herself.

I would like to say, for the record, that mama’s fall was not my fault!

My park needs my inspection more regularly!

Anyway, I got all sleepy and stuff and when I woke up I didn’t feel so good and my tummy was cold! Mama and daddy came to get me and I was sort of happy but kinda confused. The vet said he didn’t see anything on the ultrasound, but he’d send it off for a better look by an expert.

All I wanted to do was get out of there.

I watched two sandhill cranes very carefully. Not going to chase them though, cause they are bigger than me!

I got home and I slept and slept and slept. But when I went out to do my business my #2 was liquid. And you know what? It’s been four days now and it’s still not right. But the vet said the ultrasound didn’t show anything abnormal.

Sigh.

Mama and daddy are talking about my poo all the time now and deciding what to do. They have even cancelled their next adventure because they don’t want to send me back to camp. Score one for Katie!

They say they might have to take me back to the vet. Uh oh. Minus one for Katie!

Trying to look cute so they don’t take me to the vet again.

Somehow that’s not a win for me, ya know? So I’m doing my best to produce a normal poo for them so we can get on with some fun stuff. Mama did take me to my park yesterday for a short walk around the pond. That’s where most of these pictures come from. It was a beautiful day and I was very very very happy to be there.

We didn’t get to walk all the way around the park because mama’s hands are still wrapped up and her mittens don’t fit. She is a wimp!

Mama says if I straighten up my act (and if her hands ever heal) we’ll do something fun cause spring is almost here. Heck I told her, I like cold weather, we need to be out there enjoying it right now!

All that poo talk made me sleepy.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I hope all of you are having a much better end to your winter than mama and me. She says to watch out for black ice. I say to watch out for car rides to the vet!

Talk later, I got stuff to do now….maybe even a #2!

Your gal Katie.

I’m outta here people! I’ve got adventures to plan!


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Don’t take your hands for granted

Monday this week I went for a long walk. I’ve been trying to do that more often, and even though it was cold and very windy I decided I was going to stick with the plan.

Out at the park there was about a mile and a quarter out in the open before the bike path turned into the protection of the forest. I held my hood over my face, bent my head and tried to walk that part as fast as possible.

Once in the woods things were decidedly better and I began to enjoy myself, glad I had stuck with the plan. Still winter hasn’t let go of us here in Michigan and there were dark, seemingly just wet, spots on the path that I skirted because I knew, with temps below freezing, that they’d be slippery ice.

The plan was to walk 6 miles, and just before the 3 mile turn around there was a very large and very wide dark patch. With steep declines on either side of the bike path there was no good choice for going around. Reminding myself that I needed to be careful, not wanting to fall way out there in the woods all by myself, I inched my way across what seemed to be just wet pavement.

And suddenly I noticed that both my feet were up in the air in front of me. And just as suddenly I was flat on the path.

After a quick check that nothing seemed broken I rolled to my knees and crawled to dry pavement. The only thing that hurt were my hands, and those weren’t that bad.

I felt lucky.

Back at the car I posted pictures of the walk, checked my emails and prepared to drive home. But steering hurt my hands, and they were getting worse. I drove home slowly, using my forearms and elbows. My husband wrapped both hands in Ace bandages and I took a bunch of pain relievers to get some sleep, hoping the next day things would feel better.

But things weren’t better in the morning so we went to the doctor who took xrays, proclaimed no broken bones, and prescribed splints and heavy duty pain relief. And now I’m in day three of wearing splints.

I miss my hands.

I had a good friend in college, and for almost 30 years after, who had rheumatoid arthritis. Her hands were in a permanent curve, and she used both of them for simple things like holding a mug, or opening doors. These past three days I am the same, and I’ve been thinking about her a lot.

Michelle was eternally happy, she was a bit older than the rest of us and we used her as a mom substitute. She was the best listener and I wonder, now, if she realized how silly our young problems were. She kept on enjoying her life, though she was in constant pain, until lung cancer, probably caused by the meds she had to take, claimed her 15 years ago.

This week, though the splints make life more difficult, I appreciate the lesson my injured hands have taught: Don’t take hands for granted, they are under appreciated and needed for almost everything.

I’m hoping to be out of splints and back to normal by the end of the week. I’ve got a concert to play on Tuesday.

And I’m pretty sure I can’t do that without my hands.


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Beaches, beaches everywhere!

I think it would be hard to visit Florida and not walk at least one beach. We got lucky and visited four.

After Bok Gardens we made a beeline for Honeymoon Island State Park in hopes of seeing the sunset. Traffic through Tampa was brutal.

I’m glad we got to see this.

We barely made it, paying our $4.00 entry fee and rushing to find a parking place as the sun was beginning it’s rapid decline into the Gulf of Mexico.

Time to pack it up and head home.

Lots of people had obviously spent the day at the beach and were packing up for the evening. We didn’t look like beach goers in our shorts and running shoes, but I didn’t care.

Even after the sun was gone these umbrellas glowed.

It just felt good to be near the water.

We had to head north for a bit to find a hotel, but the next morning we went in search of more beaches and a chance for me to put my feet in the water.

We started at Fred Howard County Park in Tarpon Springs. We thought maybe it wouldn’t have a fee. Silly us. I think it was $5.00 to park in their lot all day.

Busy day at the beach!

It was a Sunday and the beach was already crowded when we arrived. Luckily we found a parking space, then wandered down to the water, weaving between umbrellas and blankets. I was a bit disappointed, the shore was filled with old weeds and the beach was overwhelmed with people.

Just ignore all those people over there.

Still, some found their own bit of peace with their toes in the water.

On the other side of the small island there were a whole lot of toys to be rented. I’d never seen the big bicycles before. They were sort of like paddle boats.

Work those quad muscles!

The island was at the end of a long causeway which we walked a bit to see what the fisherpeople out there were catching. Along the way we saw more than one group of people sunning on blankets in parking spaces.

Future dermatologist patients.

Not my idea of a great way to enjoy the beach! By the time we walked back to the car the parking lot on the island was teaming with vehicles circling, looking for a space. We gave our space and ticket to a grateful family and left, looking for longer beaches, softer sand, more space.

We found all that at my favorite beach of the day, Clearwater’s Sand Key Beach.

My first glimpse of the beach made me smile.

It was crowded too, but there was a long white beach with a clean sandy shore just begging to be walked.

The water was so enticing that I was out of my shoes as soon as we arrived.

And the further you walked the less crowded the beach was. Down a ways was a place where people were flying kites. We had to walk at least that far!

I woldn’t mind living in a condo on this beach. As long as I didn’t have to drive anywhere.

We walked a long way, me in the water as much as I could be.

Turquoise water, blue sky, white sand. Can’t get much better.

Eventually we went to find lunch, and then on to our last beach of the day, on our last evening of our trip, to see what the sunset might bring at Madeira Beach a bit further south.

An interesting breakwater caught my attention right away.

We had a longer wait for the sunset than the night before, and it was windier and getting chilly. I looked for things to photograph to keep myself busy. There’s always something.

It was kind of chilly but that didn’t stop these two from having fun in the waves.

The sun was hiding most of that last hour behind clouds. But once in awhile it would break free and light up the buildings further south of us.

The colorful buildings warmed in the evening light for a few moments.

A few other people waited on the beach for the sun to set too. And the balconies of the condos and hotels behind us began to fill up with people, some with cameras, some just watching.

I kind of wish I’d gotten an email for this couple so I could send them the picture.

Everyone waiting for the evening ritual.

And finally it happened. The sun dropped below the band of clouds and lit the sky and beach and water with a golden glow.

For a few minutes everything turned pinky gold.

It wasn’t as pretty as the night before up on Honeymoon Beach, but it was worth the wait.

A little explosion of joy.

And when the sun had sunk beneath the waves we turned and slowly made our way back to the car. The trip was over, nothing left to do but prepare for our flight home.

Another day closes it’s eyes.

It was a good trip, this time in Florida, but we were ready, almost ready, to face the snow and cold in Michigan, knowing that flowers were blooming somewhere, and spring couldn’t hold out forever even up there.

Bye bye Florida, see you next time.

Besides, Katie-girl was waiting. Time to go home.

I’m WAITING people!


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Let’s explore Bok Gardens and Pinewood Estate

We’re back home in snowy, cold, shades of white Michigan this evening. But I have so much more to show you from sunny, warm, colorful Florida, so let’s pretend we’re still there, shall we?

The front of Pinewood Estate.

I last left you with a tease about Bok Gardens, a wonderful place full of magical gardens, a winter mansion and an amazing bell tower. I don’t want to leave you hanging, so here we go!

We wandered under huge trees enjoying the azalea bushes that were in full bloom.

Bok Gardens is a 7 acre slice of heaven, including several types of gardens designed by Olmstead brothers landscaping company (the same that designed the gardens at Biltmore in North Carolina, and Central Park in New York City), a new children’s play and educational area, what seems like acres of azaleas, a Florida desert trail, and towering live oaks covered in lichen and ferns.

I’ve never seen red sugar cane before.

The home, built in the center of all of this beauty, was the winter home of industrialist Charles Buck (not Bok, I know, it’s confusing) from 1932 to 1945. After that it was purchased by a couple of families before being acquired by Bok Gardens in 1970.

The house from the back.

The house, with over 12,000 square feet, feels much more intimate than many of the seasonal homes of the wealthy back in those days.

Dining with color everywhere.


The rooms were smaller, and many had lower ceilings.

One of several bedrooms.

There wasn’t gold gilding, unlike many homes of this vintage, but there were plenty of wonderful details.

An ibis acts as a doorstop, holding up the heavy and intricate door.

Tilework acted as wainscoting throughout the first floor, and ran up the stairs to the less public rooms.

Beautiful tile covers the risers on the front stairs.

The floors on the main level were covered in handmade red tiles, each room with it’s own pattern.

One of many patterns of these tiles.

The docents told us the gardens were put in first, and then the house was built so that each area had a different garden view. Pretty spectacular.

Magnolias, azaleas and camellias were all in bloom.

And then there’s the bell tower, with it’s huge carillon and sixty tons of bells which are played regularly. It is absolutely stunning.

Glimpsing the tower through the trees.

There were two concerts the day we were there, one we heard as we wandered the garden, and another that we purposely sat and listened to.

Details of the top, the colors are beautiful.

Bok Tower Gardens is located between Tampa and Orlando, and I think time spent there is well worth the admission for you and your family. Kids can play in the kid garden and run on the lawns up by the tower.

Stonework at the entrance to the childrens’ garden and play space.

Parents can let the beauty wash over them…and I guarantee everyone will smile.

And after all that, we made it over to the Gulf for the sunset.

A pretty ending to a very good day.

I’ll post more about the beaches in another post. We did spend a bit of time walking those white sands. After all…it’s Flordia.

Door knob detail.


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Baseball and nature

It’s always a great day to be a Tiger fan.


Baseball and nature – not really related, but that’s the way we’ve spent the past couple of days down here in sunny, hot Florida.

Friday we took in a Tiger game at their Lakeland spring training facility. Have to say it’s a pretty impressive stadium, and run really professionally, with lots of volunteers handling everything from checking bags, helping with seating and answering questions about the building and the team.

Field lights and palm trees.

We had great seats right behind the Tiger dugout, too bad the Tigers didn’t play very well.

Miguel made it to first base with this swing.

The second pitch of the game the New York Mets player hit a home run, and it was downhill from there. Miguel Cabrera, one of the Tigers star players came up to bat three times, managed to get on base once, but never scored.

He didn’t seem happy, and ran rather slow, just back from an injury that kept him out of the game most of last season. Still, it was cool to see him up close.

Not such a great
day.

The Mets just had better pitching, the score ended up 7 to 1.

Looks like another one of his 98 mph strikes. Sigh.

The one run Detroit scored was a homerun. That was fun to watch.

Giving thanks for the home run.

It would have been more fun to see today’s game against the Atlanta Braves. We hear the Tigers won 7 to 4, and Miguel hit a home run in the 5th inning.

Sigh.

But I can’t dwell too long on what we didn’t see, because today we saw an awful lot of beautiful. We went to two parks; the first was Hollis Park which is in Lakeland and sits on a beautiful pond in the middle of town with lots of water birds.

Just getting a drink.

And today it also had lots of runners as there was a 5K and 10K road race going on when we arrived.

It was already way too hot to be running, even early in the morning.

This little park is a gem sitting in the middle of town. Lots of beautiful flowering things…

Messing around with depth of field.

…koi in a fountain…

Looking for a hand out.

…and some very unique sculpture tucked away amidst the plants.

Sunshine made it glow.

It’s a wonderful little park, and there’s more to see than what I’ve shared. Maybe I’ll put together a slide show of the things that didn’t make it into this blog.

A green space filled with color.

For sure I’ll do a separate post about Bok Gardens, the stunning garden we visited in the afternoon, complete with a carillon and a winter estate home built in the 1920s with wonderful winding paths through azaleas and camellias, and huge mossy live oaks.

Enter here to see the 1920s home.

And then we made it over to the Gulf of Mexico just in time to see the sun set.

Another beautiful day comes to an end.

I’ll share more about all that in the next post. Right now it’s time to get some sleep, tomorrow is our last day in the sun.

Better rest up!

Enter here to see some beautiful craftsmanship. Next post.


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Two photo challenges in one

This week Cee’s black & white photo challenge is to get an image of an isolated object, and Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge asks us to post a black and white image.

So this is a two for one kind of post.

I like black & white images that have clean delineation, almost graphic art. I really liked the light making the wing look like modern art. I thought about focusing more on the goose and less on the background.

I think there’s a way to mask out the goose and then smooth out the water behind it. But I haven’t figured that out yet. Doing that would make this even more like graphic art.

I don’t know though, I sort of like the reflection/shadow that is included in the first image.

What do you think?

Oh, there was this guy out there that day too.


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How much fun can a girl squish into a sunny day?

Katie here!

Hey, hey, hey, hey!!!!! Guess what? I am bored! For the last two years mama has taken me to warmer places to visit friends (and my beloved Reilly the Cowspot Dog) and to race around on the beach and hang out at my lake house and stuff.

Me, my boyfriend Reilly and his little brother Denny at the beach in Florida a couple years ago!

This year? Nothing.

Plus here in Michigan it’s been snowing and raining and sometimes it’s so cold I have to wear the dreaded booties! There’s hardly any time when it isn’t just yucky outside, and you know how important being outside is to me.

Before I got to explore mama made me sit for this picture.

Outside is my favorite place to be bar none. Well. Except when I’m in front of my full supper dish, then that’s my favorite place to be. But other than supper there’s no better place for this sheltie girl to hang out than outside with it’s wonderful smells and cool breeze.

I liked this bridge but mama said the shadows made it hard to photograph.

And sun. I haven’t seen the sun in a million years. Oh wait. We had one day last week when it stopped snowing and raining and freezing and the sun came out! Mama said we had to get cracking because we didn’t want to waste a single second of it!

Just me and my shadow.

So we jumped in my car and we raced to one of my parks. I don’t go to this one very often, it’s sort of not on the way to anywhere, but mama said we also had to go to a store that was near it, so it all worked out great.

Hey mama, you didn’t forget the treats, did you?

No one was out there, so we took a meander around to see what there was to see. Nothing amazing, but still it was pretty. I had fun mostly because she didn’t take too many pictures, and because I didn’t have to wear those stinking booties, and because she let me sniff stuff while she was busy taking pictures of not me.

Yes, mama, I will sit on this red bench for you. But hurry up, we’re wasting sunshine woman!

Mama already posted a couple of pictures from that walk, but I figured you really needed the sheltie perspective.

Then after we were done with the park mama took me to a store! I got to sniff all over, except for the cat side, cause they had a bunch of cats out in crates to get adopted and she figured I didn’t need to upset them. And she didn’t want to fall in love with a cat.

I agree mama should never fall in love with a cat!

Hey mama! Don’t you think I need a life jacket for next time we go on a boat ride?

I walked up and down the dog food aisles more than once, there were good sniffs there, but mama kept telling me that the food I picked out wasn’t good for me.

This smells especially good mama!

Well duh mama. The food you pick out for you isn’t always healthy either! And no one yanks on your collar and pulls you away! It’s OK for me to just smell the yumminess!

Mama let me walk around the store a long time, but the only thing she bought was some stuff for my arthritis. Yep, I’m an older princess now and I groan a little bit when I lie down at night. Mama already got me some meds to go with my breakfast, but a little something for the evening might be just the ticket.

I like the fox, but mama says I have too many toys already. Silly mama.

She looked at orthopedic beds too, but I wasn’t interested. I thought the fox toy would be more fun. I’m not all that old yet. Though when we finally got home I did fall asleep on my sofa for a long time.

I told mama it was just a power nap.

Still young enough to pose on a stump for my mama!


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Smiles this week were harder to find.

Everything looks pretty against a blue sky.

Trent suggests we share a smile each week. Well, here the week is almost over and I haven’t even thought about what I might have smiled about.

I’m sure there’s something.

The weather sure wasn’t good, going from bitter temperatures to freezing rain and then back to blustery snow and gale force winds. Yep, it’s been wonderful here in Michigan.

But yesterday we had sun. And temperatures in the 20s. Katie and I actually got to go for a walk together in one of her parks.

Sunshine made the river glow.

That made me smile. And when we got home Katie sank into a peaceful, happy sleep. That made me smile too.

zzzzzzzzzz…


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Coasting down Michigan’s western shore

Last Sunday a friend and I drove north and west to see Point Betsie with it’s lighthouse in winter. We were hoping to see some waves and some ice, and we saw a bit of each.

Taken by my friend, look how she caught that wave action!

On Monday we meandered under a blue sky down the western coast of Michigan, enjoying the shore and beaches at several parks along the way.

Lake fog danced on the relatively warm water in the single digit air temperatures.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to show you some of the beautiful sights we saw. There are so many it’s hard to choose what to share.

The view was worth the climb!

We stopped across the river from Frankfort early in the day and admired their tugboats…

Tugboats waiting for spring.

…and the lighthouse against the dark sky.

The white buildings pop against the darkening sky.

Then we drove up to a bluff overlooking the harbor and the sun came out. I was a bit scared to drive up the steep, snow covered road, but the view was absolutely worth it.

From up on the bluff.

The early light made the lighthouse glow out there in the blue lake.

Further down the coast Ludington’s shoreline held lots of lovely sights. Even with all the wonderful white snow and blue water, this was one of my favorite shots:

Shadows mimic fence.

And this, the ice on the railing, deserves some attention too.

Ice interest.

So many pretty things to see, I put together a little slide show.

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Our last stop was Muskegon State Park where the views weren’t as stunning, but still very interesting.

A lonely tree on a lonely beach.

We had such a fun time wandering the coast of Michigan even though we didn’t get it all done. That just means we have something to anticipate some weekend when the sun shines and the lake glows.

Oh, and just for me, we stopped along the way for a photo of a barn.

Every road trip needs at least one barn.

I’m looking forward to our continued adventure. It’s nice when you can make something out of a cold winter weekend in the north.

Colors out of this world.