Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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WordPress photo challenge: Sunset

When I saw this week’s prompt I knew immediately the sunset I wanted to show you.

Fire to the south of me.

I was in northern Michigan in December of 2015 when one evening the sky just exploded. To the south it was burning in orange and reds, and to the north the sky was sighing in shades of pink and purple.

Cotton candy to the north of me.

The air was pinkish gold. I couldn’t shoot fast enough, and I never felt the cold.

The waves were tipped in light.

Though I usually limit myself to one photo for a photo challenge, this time I just couldn’t decide. So since the sunset itself was divided between fire and sweet I decided to go with full disclosure.

The islands out at the horizon were crowned by gold and purple.

Picture me turning from south to north and back again, trying not to miss any detail.

It just kept getting better.

It was amazing and I’m so glad to be able to relive it through these shots.

What a place to sit and enjoy the show!

And, as always, I’m glad to share them with you.

A firestorm in the sky.


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A February boat ride

Leafless trees, evergreens, mountains and clouds. Breathtaking.


February and boats don’t generally mix up where I come from, unless you’re in an ice boat skimming over a frozen lake. I’m sure that’s fun, but when I’m in a boat I’d rather worry about sunscreen than frostbite.

Saturday morning, the sun bright in a blue sky filled with puffy white clouds, was perfect for a little boat exploration.

Let’s go mama!

The boat traveled under a few bridges and then up a creek, looking for the resident eagle. It was a beautiful day, and it turns out there was a fishing competition going on. We came across several father/son teams tucked in the backwaters of the lake. We slid by them as quietly as we could.

Spending time together.

The creek narrowed, and I moved to the front of the boat looking for the eagle. Katie kept a close eye on me from the other side of the wall.

Whatcha doing mama?

This was her second boat ride ever, but she wasn’t too concerned about the engine vibration or noise. She likes being outdoors, and she’s always up for an adventure.

The creek winds through beautiful country.

Eventually we were as far as we could go up the creek. We hadn’t found the eagle, but a bit further was a low waterfall making lovely splashing noises, and more fathers and sons were fishing from kayaks. We dropped anchor to listen to the water and enjoy a biscuit breakfast.

Water running over the rocks just up there made such nice background music.

Then we turned around and slid as quietly as we could back down the creek to the larger waters of the lake. The clouds were piling up in the blue sky.

Couldn’t have had a more perfect day!

Out in the open water Captain Carl throttled up and Katie and I enjoyed the wind in our hair.

Mama! We have the same stylist!

She’s a very brave little dog and enjoyed every bit of her boat ride adventure. I did too.

Can we do this again soon mama?


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Just call me Adventure Girl

Mama stopped at my park as we were leaving town so I could say goodbye.

Katie here!

Mama says this blog needs a little levity and I think I’m just the girl to provide it. Besides, you haven’t heard from me in a long time and I have been off adventuring! I knew you’d want to hear all about it.

So let’s begin at the beginning. With snow. Mama and I decided we needed to escape winter. This year we’ve had plenty of snow up in Michigan and the lake house in Alabama was calling our name. So Wednesday morning, bright and early, we hopped in the Katie-mobile and headed south.

It took us forever! We had to stay in a hotel for two nights! (Don’t tell mama but I sort of like that, all those new sounds and smells you know.)

Both times we were on the second floor so I got to do the elevator a bunch. I am very good at elevator, though I have to say I don’t really like it. I mean, who wants to get in a little windowless box and then stand there while the floor shakes and there are noises and then get back out of the box again? What’s the point people?

Our first hotel near Louisville KY

Sometimes we used the stairs. I have no trouble going down stairs now, if mama goes ahead of me to show me the way. But I refuse to go up them. I don’t see so well and I misjudge the distance and end up flopped on my tummy. That hurts (mostly hurts my ego) so now I don’t want to go up stairs at all. Mama carries me and says she’s glad I don’t weigh any more than 20 pounds.

On the drive I made mama stop a bunch. Just about every rest stop. I just love rest stops, all those dogs before me leave messages and I leave my messages for the dogs that will come after me. It’s a great communication system.

The rest stop in Tennessee had these big silent people in it!

The very last rest stop had the best dog walk ever! It wasn’t just some mowed pasture, it was a trail that went up and down a ravine. It was like being in the woods! There weren’t any big trucks nearby and no cars either.

This is the best rest stop mama!

Mama and I walked around in there for a long time. Some other dogs just walked along the top but my mama and I are adventurers and we went way down to the bottom and then up the other side even though it was really steep and mama is a wimp.

Our trip was a little longer than it needed to be because mama fell in love with a bunch of barns in Kentucky and she had to make a few side trips looking for more. She says it’s not fair that she sees all these great places when we’re on the freeway and there aren’t any exits. I let her have her way, but I’m not letting her post her barn pictures in my blog. No siree. She can post them later while I’m taking a nap.

We did stop and explore a little town when I decided I wanted to take a walk. We looked for a park and found one way down a big hill. We walked a bit along a flooded river, but it was pretty muddy and mama made me get back in the car.

Then we walked around the downtown area a bit. Mama saw this cool mural and wanted my picture with it. She tried to make me sit on that bench in front of the mural but that didn’t go so well so she settled for this picture of me with the mural in the background. Sometimes I win our little arguments.

Hurry up mama. This is embarrassing.

Well, as you know, we eventually got to the lake house. We immediately explored the back yard and I marked it as mine. Mama wanted me to sit on the dock so she could get me and the clouds that were reflected in the still water. But just as she set me up a boat came roaring down the shoreline. She tried to get the picture quick before the water was disturbed, but I wouldn’t look at her. So this is what we got. Mama gets aggravated sometimes, but never with me.

Mama! Here comes a boat!

So far mama and I have been mostly napping. One time I was taking a great nap on my deck when suddenly a boat showed up! I thought that was very interesting and I watched intently as these guys kept throwing something out into the water. I swear, people are crazy. They didn’t even have a dog with them to fetch all that stuff back!

Silly people out there on the water.

Our first day here was sunny but it rained last night and made my driveway all green. Mama thought it was pretty so I had to sit there and let her take more pictures. Sheesh. But I made her pay for that one by taking me to Keebler park in town.

Lots of green down here, especially after it rains!

It’s a pretty little park with a paved trail. I only walked half of it because, after all, I am a princess and a princess does what she wants to do. Even though I made my mama drive me all the way there I soon let her know that it was time to head back to the house for another nap.

Thanks for bringing me to this great park mama, now can we go home?

I’m sure we’ll go on more adventures down here, at least to visit my Uncle on his lake and my Aunt at her house. We might even get some visitors here, you never know. I’m just very happy to be here where things are blooming and it isn’t snowing!

In my own backyard!

Stay tuned, if I do anything exciting I’ll let you know!

Sunshine and no snow!


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Red bird

Aunt Vi’s funeral was Tuesday. She looked beautiful, and though I know she was no longer there, I have to think she’d have been pleased by how pretty she was.

Pink was her favorite color.

She was so ready to move on to her next chapter that I could only feel relief for her. Still, it was hard walking past her for the last time at the end of the service. “I’ll see you soon,” I thought, words I’d often used as I left after visiting.

It was hard, too, to leave her at the cemetery, amid the piles of snow scraped from the ground to make room for her pink casket.

It was so cold that day.

She hated to be cold, and at the last nursing home she took advantage of having her own thermostat to keep her room toasty warm. Tropical, I used to tell her. “Are you too warm dear?” she’d ask me. “No, I’m just fine,” I’d tell her as sweat ran down my back.

It felt wrong to leave her in the cold now.

I knew she wasn’t really there, that she was already celebrating with family and friends, someplace filled with light and music and love and completeness. I knew this, but still.

A beautiful resting place for a beautiful lady.

And then, during the luncheon, all of us sitting in the rec room of the apartment building she had lived in for over twenty-five years, someone across the table from me exclaimed “Look! A cardinal!”

Sitting in a tree just outside the large windows sat a lone cardinal, staring intently at the goings on inside.

“You know Vi really loved cardinals,” I remarked. “She called them red birds.” The red bird outside moved to a different tree, still watching the people inside.

Maybe…just maybe.

The next day Katie-girl and I headed to Alabama in an effort to get away from the snow and cold. Midway on the trip we stopped in a tiny little town in Kentucky at a riverside park to stretch our legs. I took a short video of us walking along the river and posted it on Facebook. A nephew noted that he heard a cardinal in all the bird chatter I captured. Hmmmm…

I stopped by the cemetery on my way out of town the day after the funeral. The flowers hadn’t frozen.

And today on our final day of driving, at the last rest stop of the trip, Katie and I were walking along the top of a ravine. The sun was shining and we were enjoying it’s warmth when a cardinal swooped down low to a branch very near us and began to sing.

“OK!” I said, under my breath. “OK! I believe you!” And then the bird flew off into the trees. Mission accomplished.

She said she’d try to send me a sign that she was alright. I’d say she got her message across.

Loud and clear.

Buddy and all her birds are with her now.

.


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Randomness

Snow attack on the back yard.


It’s snowing here in lower Michigan. Nothing surprising about that, it is after all early February. They say we’ll get five or more inches and that it will snow all day.

Maybe all weekend.

With the weather forecast in mind I stopped at the grocery store on my way home last night. I and about a hundred of my best friends shopped mindlessly, wandering up and down the aisles not sure what I wanted, not sure what I had at home, just sure that I needed something.

Goldfinch scans his food options.

Pushing my shopping cart across the parking lot into the wind driven snow I noticed a woman in a car driving out of the lot. Something about the way she held her head, or her haircut, something about her made me think, for a moment, that it was Janet Yellen. Her last day as Chair of the Federal Reserve was just last week.

Sometimes things are just upside down.

Obviously, now that she had time, she needed to stock up before the snow arrived just like me. It didn’t occur to me that it was highly unlikely she’d be in my town in rural Michigan on a snowy Thursday night.

This much snow makes me want to drink too.

No, the reason I discounted the whole idea was that certainly Janet Yellen doesn’t shop for her own groceries.

Snow can be very isolating.

Or does she?

It’s warmer in a crowd.


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It’s a winter wonderland!

Katie here!

It’s a perfect day to play!

HEY! Mama’s been complaining about the snow and I had to point out that some shelties never even get to see snow! In fact we were just reading over at Arron and Arthur’s site, that they were playing in something called sea snow! Go see, it’s really cool, and it’s nothing like my snow here in Michigan! It jiggles!

This is one of my trees.

I’d sure like to see it, I’m a traveling kind of girl you know, always up for an adventure. I have to say it’s been kind of boring around here. I go outside and do my business and sometimes mama takes me for a walk through the neighborhood. But geeze.

Mama needs to stop taking so many pictures.

Oh wait. I did have some excitement last week, but not the kind I like. Mama took me really early Friday morning on a car ride and we ended up at my vet! MAMA!! We were just at my vet a couple weeks ago and I got a clean bill of health, so why were we there again!

And even worse? Mama left me there!

Now things get a little fuzzy in my recollection at this point. I know a nice girl picked me up and took me in the back. She had to pick me up because I refused to come out from behind mama’s legs. This made my mama tear up for some reason. I don’t know. Mama is weird like that.

Mama and Daddy planted these trees for me before I was even born!

Anyway, next thing I know I’m in a crate and all woozy and my leg is shaved and they have an IV in and I’m really really hungry and then I take another nap. After a million years they take me out of the crate and I pull on my leash looking for a way out of there and they open a door and there’s mama!

She’s trying to pick me up and hug me and I’m pulling for the front door. No time for kisses mama! We’ve got to blow this pop stand before they find out I’ve escaped!

Hey! Wait for me mama!

I have no idea what that adventure was all about, but mama says my toothies look nice and shiny. Whatever mama.

So now she owes me. BIG time. Yesterday I was still sort of sleepy and pretty quiet, but I’m BACK NOW MAMA! I spent today asking to go out and play in the snow. We’ve been out several times.

Tastes good!

I make mama throw snowballs for me to catch. And then we chase each other around the trees in the backyard. And mama is letting me sniff stuff out there as much as I want even while she’s getting super cold and wet. I make sure to spend extra time with my nose in the snow just to aggravate her. I think it’s working.

It’s still snowing here, I think we’ll get about 5 inches today. That’s a perfect amount, not to deep for me to run around in, but deep enough to get inside mama’s boots.

What’s that over there??

Yep, today was perfect. I expect tomorrow will be too; I plan on asking to go out four or five times, and I know she feels bad enough about the vet that she’ll stop what she’s doing and go out to play with me.

I just love snow!

We have an agreement, mama and me, if she takes me somewhere bad one day, she has to do fun stuff with me for about 5 or 6 days after to make up for it. It’s taken her awhile to come around, but I think she gets it now.

Mama. I think I’ll keep her.

Guess I’ll take a nap now.


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Stretch

Some people, at the beginning of each year, pick a word they’d like to focus on for the next twelve months. Last year I picked stretch, hoping to remind myself as often as possible to try new things, keep an open mind, think about stuff in different ways.

I wasn’t always successful – this past year has been a challenge for me, especially in the open mind department. But I did do a lot of different things, traveled more than usual and tried to spend as much time as possible in my tent in the woods.

Now here it is February 1 and I don’t know what my word is for 2018. It hasn’t seemed to be a priority to me to figure one out. Or maybe it’s just that nothing has popped into my head. I guess I want the word choice to be easy without the more difficult analysis and deep thought that might well be required.

I guess I’m still stretching.

I took a water color class in January, four weeks, an hour and a half a week, held at our local community center just half a mile down the road. The last session was last night and I brought all my ‘projects’ home.

None are works of art, most aren’t even finished. The purpose of the class was to introduce us to different techniques used in water color, not to produce a stunning piece of frame-able art.

Good thing that wasn’t the goal.

Anyway, my purpose in talking about all this is to remind you (and me) to mix it up a little. Don’t worry your way through today the same way you worried your way through yesterday. Pause and take a moment to breath. Look for something fun to do, even if it’s only a few minutes a week.

Try something new. Make something pretty or interesting or sweet. Spend time with other people, share a laugh or a cookie or a pot of paint.

During these dark winter days spread a little color in your life and share it with us. We could all use the pick me up as we move toward spring.