Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Whiting Overlook Park

After seeing several photographs of eagles and pelicans on Facebook I decided to head up to Midland and see this park for myself.

Nature and industry coexisting.

I could tell from many of the photos that this was not a conventional park filled with hiking trails and wide swaths of woods for wandering.

But I was still surprised to find that it consisted of a parking lot on top of a high hill overlooking ponds which are part of the Dow Chemical complex.

As I drove up the hill I could see an eagle sitting in a tree.

Guarding the park.

The light wasn’t good, a bank of clouds was encroaching on the sunshine I’d left at home, two hours to the south. Still, on occassion when I first arrived, the sun broke through the clouds.

Oh! And a juvinile down below!

And it was windy! Between trying to focus on the eagle who flew out over the water as soon as I arrived, and trying to keep my hair out of the frame, I almost missed the pelicans swimming very close to the edge of the pond, behind the chain link fence.

It was hard shooting through the chain link fence.

While I was trying to catch an image of them, shooting through the fence, I lost track of the eagle until I heard a whole lot of eagle type noises coming from the trees.

Look closely, there are three juviniles here, all landing in a tree.

Turns out there were three juviniles, all landing close together. I’m pretty sure one of them had a fish.

This little diving duck was surprised when he came up right in front of the pelican!

Pretty much the whole time I was there I was pointing the camera either at the water following the pelicans, or the sky trying to get a sharp image of the eagles.

The light felt like it was evening, but it was 9:30 in the morning.

I was facinated how these beautiful wild birds coexisted so well with industry.

Such an unusual place to witness an eagle in flight.

I was unsure if the eagles coexist with each other quite as well.

Looks like the adult has something to say.

Mostly the eagles soared round and round, higher and higher. I never saw any of them dive into the water, though when they were flying closer to the ponds the ducks seemed to scatter.

The sky was interesting, but made shooting the birds so difficult.

It was hard to keep track of the big birds, they were really very far away. Sometimes the only way I knew where they were was their noisy discussion amongst themselves.

The light caught his head and the lead edge of his wing.

When the sun slid out for a moment it was easier to find the adult, with his bright white head…

Sometimes the tail was the give away.

…and tail.

The whole time I was there, sitting in the car until an eagle took off from a tree, then popping out to try to get an image, I didn’t think I got anything worth looking at.

He turned into a painting.

I was shooting pretty much into the light, what light there was. And the birds were so darn far away. These were all shot with my longest lens, and they are still cropped a whole lot. Hence the painterly looking images.

I think I’ll go back some day when the sun is shining brighter, and perhaps later in the day to get the sun behind me rather than shining in my eyes.

The best part of the day was just sitting and watching them fly.

I felt lucky today that they were so active. I didn’t get the perfect eagle (or pelican for that matter) shot, but I got to see them flying, so much more fun than watching them watch me while they sit still on a branch.

Landing gear down, more pelicans arrive.

None of these images are great, but I had fun, and I figured you’d have fun looking at them too.

Soar like an eagle….

If you’re a birder, this would be a fun place to visit with powerful binoculars. You can sit in the car and watch some amazing birds. Can’t beat it! (You might want to look at these pictures on something bigger than your phone!)

The clouds moved in and I moved out.


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Waiting on my numbers

Hey everybody! Katie here.

So most of you know that I’ve been fighting kidney disease for much of this year. I go to the vet every month and donate my blood so the lady vet can see how I’m doing.

Me at my park where they have a children’s storybook walk.

Daddy and mama took me to the vet yesterday, they say I shouldn’t be so scared every time, but they aren’t there in the back room when those vet techs get my blood! I’m starting to feel like a pin cushion, all those needle pricks over the past nine months!

At a rest stop on our way home from the vet yesterday.

It’s scary back there, I tell you, and I’m so glad when they take me back to my daddy; I’m always ready to go go go back out to the car where mama waits impatiently for me.

During one of my neighborhood patrols.

But the lady vet and daddy always have to stand around and talk after I give away my blood. They usually look at all the test results, but this time they just talked about my poop!

Checking out my yard.

Geeze! Can’t a princess have a little privacy about anything? Mama and daddy have been taking pictures of my poop for weeks! I guess having soft runny poop is not a good thing. Who knew?

My yard has a katsura tree and all the leaves fell off in one day!

Now I have medicine to help my poops get back to normal. Mama says we’ll see. Literally I guess, right?

My yard has a ginkgo tree too. It’s leaves also fall off in a single day!

And the test results? The ones that will tell us if I’m getting worse? Well, the lady vet sent my blood out to a lab instead of running the tests right there, so we won’t know until sometime next week.

At my park.

I’ll keep you posted, cause I know you want to know!

Meanwhile, I’m chowing down like the food hog I’ve always been and that makes mama and daddy smile.

A little snow.

I hope you all have a great week, and those of you in the United States enjoy Thanksgiving! Mama and daddy say they are very thankful for me. Well of course they are. And I guess, if I’m honest, I’m very thankful for them too.

Another favorite park.

And I’m also thankful for each of you, my loyal subjects. Thank you for stopping by and reading about my poop during a holiday week. I should probably talk to mama about being more appropriate, but you know how mama is. No sense of decorum, that woman.

I love being in the woods with mama!

Anyway, these photos were taken the past couple of weeks during all the walks at my parks and around the neighborhood that mama’s been taking me on. She says she knows how much I love the colder weather and she wants me to get out and enjoy as much of it as I can.

Just another thing I’m thankful for, fall in Michigan!

Come on, mama!

Talk later, your cool air loving, pincushion girl, Katie.

All this walking makes a princess sleepy.


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A little crane conversation

Last week I ran up to the post office on my way out to Katie’s park. Katie was in the back seat. My camera was on the passenger seat. I dropped off the letters that needed to be mailed and was headed to Katie’s park when I noticed these two having an intense conversation.

Or something.

“I’m tired of discussing it.”
“We haven’t solved anything yet.”
“But I don’t WANT to talk about it anymore!”
“We should be able to talk about it like rational adults.”
But I don’t WANT to!”
“I swear, you never let anything just go!”
“OMG, you are just too much!”
“Whatever.”


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My advice – when you’re stressed, take a walk in the woods

Katie here.

Yes, I know you heard from me quite recently, but mama has been really busy and being a responsible dog, I feel the need to fill the void here on mama’s my blog.

Deuce and me before our walk in the woods!

Because mama is so busy it’s pretty easy to make her feel guilty about neglecting me. So I’ve been exploiting using that guilt to get her to take me on walks at several parks.

Sitting together for our obligitory picture in the fall leaves.

Having wonderful October weather doesn’t hurt either. I think mama should thank me for getting her outside to enjoy the last bit of warm weather before it starts snowing.

Anyway…last week I got to meet up with my friend Deuce and explore Dinosaur Hill, a park over near where he lives with his mom.

Deuce thinks he’s going to get a treat photo-bombing my shot!

As you can see, somebody had decorated the park, getting it all ready for Halloween which is coming up soon here in the United States.

What is all this stuff, mama?

We had a real nice walk. So nice in fact that we walked all the way around the little park two times! I felt wonderful, and sometimes I even led out front, something that I never did even back when I was a youngster!

Hurry up you guys, it smells great over here!

Mama was real happy that I was real happy.

I guess I should tell you guys, if you don’t already know, that I have some days when I don’t feel so good. It turns out my kidneys aren’t working at full strength.

Don’t feel bad for me, I’m still a happy girl.

A few weeks ago the vet said I had progressed to stage 4 kidney disease and that made mama and daddy very sad. But then last week my numbers were a lot better, so now they feel a little bit better.

I don’t know what’s in my future, but you can be sure I’ll parlay it into more walks!

Deuce thought he’d find treats up there, but nope!

In fact, a couple days after my Dinosaur Hill adventure mama took me to one of my own parks, Davis Lake Overlook which is right by my house. I call it Katie’s Park II.

It was another beautiful day, kind of windy, but I don’t mind that, wind just makes me more beautiful.

Me at my park on another beautiful day!

Mama said we were only going to go a little ways down the trail. She didn’t want me going too far because she didn’t want to have to carry me back. Silly mama!

I thought we should keep going, right down this big hill. Mama thought I was over estimating my ability.

We got to the top of a big hill and mama said we should turn back. I said no way! We argued about that for quite some time.

I love being in my woods.

And then I won and we went down the big hill and up the other side and around to my favorite part of the park. I walked all the way back too, I never once asked mama to pick me up.

We saw a little bit of color. Of course mama had to take a picture.

So there mama, you don’t have to coddle me! On these bright beautiful fall days I can’t wait to get outside and into the woods!

I thought maybe I’d find something good under the picnic table. But nope.

In fact, mama took me to another of my parks tonight, but I’ll save those pictures for another post.

Hey! Do YOU guys have any treats? Cause mama is restricting treat dispersment around here.

I figure you’re pretty much overstimulated with all these images of me. Though I have to say, there’s not a bad picture in the bunch. Naturally.

Always a cover girl.

Talk later,

Your Katie-girl, rock star, hiker extraordinaire, and all around glamour girl.


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Gotcha Day

Hi you guys! It’s me, Katie! Guess what, guess what, guess what?!?!?!?!

Today, Wednesday March 31, is my Gotcha Day! For those of you that don’t know, it’s sort of like a birthday but it’s the anniversary of the day that a doggie (or a cat I suppose, though really do cats truly celebrate anything?) moved into his or her forever home.

Here we are on my Gotcha Day at one of my parks!

Fourteen years ago today I picked mama and daddy to be my furever parents. Don’t tell them but I think I got a good deal. I mean seriously, look at the wonderful life full of adventures that I’ve had so far!

OK, so this past year has been pretty passive, no real adventures at all, but on the other hand they’ve been home with me just about every single day. And to be honest, that’s all I really want, to be near mama and daddy all the time.

Mama says my park still matches my furs, not much green around here yet!

Lately, even though they’re home more, it’s harder for me to keep track of them. I don’t hear them moving around as well as I used to, and if I rest my eyes for a moment they disappear. I have to go hunt them up all the time — they’re usually just in another room, but sometimes it takes me a long time to find them and I start to panic. I think there should be some kind of rule that they have to wake me up if they leave the room.

I’ve told mama off a few times when I couldn’t find her right away. Also when she left me home with daddy and went on an adventure without me. Not fair, but I guess she deserves some mom-time once in awhile. Even I admit I’m sort of high maintenance.

There was hardly anyone out here! I guess that’s cause it was Wednesday, and not everyone is retired like mama.

Today mama took me to a park to celebrate my Gotcha Day. It was pretty perfect, cool with a wind that made mama wish she had worn gloves. We didn’t walk very far. Mama said I could walk wherever I wanted and I did, but turned around sooner than she expected.

I say, no sense over doing, right? Plus mama took me to the park late in the afternoon and it was getting close to supper time. A princess like me doesn’t like to be late to dinner.

Mama likes it when my furs glow.

Anyway, I enjoyed my quiet Gotcha Day. In 2018 I was adventuring down south on my day. You can read about it while I dream about it. It was pretty cool, but I’m thinking I’ve maybe outgrown those big adventures now. I’m much more mature, if you know what i mean.

Surprise! It’s spring in tiny little ways!

I hope you had a great day too and that you spent some time outside enjoying spring (or fall if you’re from the Southern Hemisphere!). Mama says she knows it’s spring now because the skunk cabbage is coming up!

Whatever mama.

Skunk cabbage coming up! Another sign of spring!!!


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Reading obituaries

Who else does this? I’ve always read obituaries, especially back in the days of paper newspapers. I remember the Sunday editions had pages of them and I read them all. I particularly focused on those people close to my age, tried to figure out what killed them, so as to reassure myself that something like that couldn’t happen to me.

A little over a year ago I looked up someone’s obit, I can’t remember who, but it was someone from my hometown. I ended up at the website of the local funeral home, a funeral home that’s been in town forever, whose family owners went to the church I attended as a kid.

A flock of wood ducks.

I signed up for an email notification whenever they have another person’s obituary. I’ve found that a lot of people that went to my church as a kid have now passed through this particular funeral home.

It’s an odd feeling when I see the notification in my emails. I always take a deep breath before I click on the link to see who it was. Lots of times it’s not someone I know, not a name from my childood, not a friend of my parents, or worse, a friend of mine. But sometimes it is someone I know’s parent or sister or brother, or child.

Beaver damage.

Sometimes it’s not anyone I know, but after reading the obituary I sort of wish I had known them. Today there were three, and a couple of them struck me. The best obit opening line I’ve ever read showed up today:

“Michael XXXX, age 73 of Howell Michigan, passed away on the golf course after a frustrating double-bogey on March …” Even though I’m not a golfer I smiled as I read that first sentence. And if you can make people smile while reading your obituary, well, you’re a pretty special person in a pretty special family.

Talkative robin.

And this man was someone five years younger than me that I would have enjoyed talking to:

“Mxxx strongly believed in education. He earned Masters Degrees in Economics from Indiana State University, Business Administration from Lewis University, and Information and Library Science from Wayne State University. He was a volunteer at the Salvation Army and the Livingston County Democratic Party. He was passionate about politics, the Chicago White Sox, and the music of Bruce Springsteen.”

I wish everyone’s obituary shared such interesting and fun bits of information. I’ve often thought I’d like to write obituaries. During such a stressful time I would want families not to have to come up with it on their own. And the help from funeral homes isn’t always much more than a fill in the blank option.

I would want families to look back at that obituary and know it summed up their loved one just exactly right. A last gift to the family I guess.

Anyway…how many of you read stranger’s obituaries and consider whether they were lucky to live a full life, how many of you feel grateful for your own life when you read an obituary for someone your age, or someone who seemed to have so few loved ones left.

Or am I just odd? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that.

Reflections.

Pictures today are from my walk last week at the Shiawasee Wildlife Preserve. I still don’t have editing capabilities, so I looked for images that you could enjoy straight out of the camera. They don’t have anything to do with obituaries, but that’s OK. I know you can deal with it.

And somewhere along the line I started getting my captions in the picture, which is sort of OK, except it darkens the picture. And I haven’t figured out how to get the captions out of there. Or even to delete the whole image. So you’ll have to image that these are decent pictures with interesting colors and stuff.

Seriously WordPress, don’t you realize we already have a lot on our plates?