Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 26, 2014

Icon and Cape Cod

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 1:38 pm
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Friday, day 36 of summer, was a quiet day. A few errands, a bit of housework. While visiting with Renae on Wednesday, we were talking about a place that is pretty much a Hampden/Wilbraham icon (Hampden is the town next door that our school system is regionalized with). So after dinner last night, Sarah and I headed over to Mountain View Restaurant in Hampden.

This place has been around as long as I can remember and little has changed except the name; it was known as Sullivan’s when I was kid. The draw here for my family has always been the soft serve ice cream. In addition to the basic vanilla, chocolate or twist, they have always offered less traditional flavors for soft serve ice cream. Last night’s offerings included pistachio and black raspberry, and yogurt flavors of red velvet and triple chocolate!

Sarah went for black raspberry.

I had a twist of the red velvet and triple chocolate:
I would swear they made a mistake and said this was yogurt when it was really ice cream. It was so smooth and creamy, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between ice cream and yogurt here.

Today is Saturday, day 37 of summer. Tomorrow the girls and I are headed down the Cape for a few days to visit my mom. I will likely be away from the blogosphere most of that time. The forecast is iffy for the time we will be there – temperatures in the mid 70’s and 50% chance of showers or thunderstorms. I will keep my fingers crossed that the 50% will work in the other direction and we will be able to enjoy the outside. I’ve got my bag packed and ready to go!

See you soon!

July 25, 2014

Beautiful Evening

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 9:04 am
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Thursday was day 35 of summer. It started out as a routine, ho-hum kind of day. I exercised, mowed the lawn, did some reading. Meghan went to work and I wasn’t expecting her home for dinner. Work ended earlier than she expected and she was home in the late afternoon. Around 6pm, I stepped inside from being out reading, starting to think about preparing dinner. I flipped through the mail on the counter, including the copy of the free local paper, the Wilbraham Times. As I flipped, I remembered it was Thursday night. On Thursday nights in the summer, there is a free series of concerts in Fountain Park. I quickly looked up who was playing on the internet, and it turned out to be a band called the Tom Ingram Band which covers all kinds of rock music from the ’60’s forward. The concerts start at 6:30 and it was now 6:15, but I asked the girls if they wanted to go and they said sure!

I abandoned cooking dinner and we ran to Subway and grabbed sandwiches to eat in the park.
I have no idea what Sarah is doing in this shot; it is rare that she ever lets me get a simple little candid!

It was a gorgeous night. Not buggy or humid, perfectly comfortable temperature. And the music was good!
Free concert

I ran into a good friend enjoying the show with her parents, so we moved our seat and sat with them for the night. The local photographer came by and took our picture. I hope I’ll get to see that shot either online or in a future edition of the Wilbraham Times.

So nice when a spontaneous idea works out so well!
Here’s a little sample of the music, cover of “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder:

July 24, 2014

Sweet Friendship

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 8:27 am
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Yesterday, day 34 of summer, I spent with my dear friend Renae. The girls and I drove out to visit. Renae’s children adore playing with Sarah. I should have taken a picture of my almost-17-year-old goofing around Renae’s nearly-10-year-old daughter and nearly-8-year-old son (all 3 of them have August birthdays). I think they wore her out pretty well by the end of the day. It used to be the other way around when they were younger!

While the three of them enjoyed play time, Meghan, Renae, Renae’s mom and I went out to lunch. Not to Pickity Place this time, just a spot local to Renae.
When we walked in, I thought this display of after dinner mints was pretty:
Mint display

We enjoyed our lunch, and at the end, the waitress brought over the tempting dessert tray for us to peruse. Had I been there without Meghan, I would have easily refused the tasty-looking treats; it isn’t my habit to order dessert. But when one’s 19-year-old daughter, who one knows will be disappearing back into her own special world at college in just a few weeks, leans over and looks up at you with her pretty aqua-colored eyes and says, “We could split something…” one has a tendency to cave in! We ordered this:
Super rich dessert

That was a super-rich, incredibly dense piece of chocolate. The waitress called it cake, but it was really more like fudge. Even the two of us sharing could not finish it all.

I’m very happy for the time we spent together yesterday. Renae’s husband took a picture of all of us together – I hope to share it here later if Renae agrees and sends it to me.

July 22, 2014


Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 8:19 pm
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Today is day 33 of summer – halfway through already! Boy this season flies by for me. I know there is more summer once I go back to school, but it will feel differently, that’s for certain. I’m calling this post “Detour” for two reasons: a literal one and a figurative one.

First the literal one. Sarah had a driving lesson today and after I picked her up from it, I decided to drive a different way in to my favorite local farm store (Randall’s for anyone local who may read this) because of the direction I was coming from picking Sarah up. We approached the intersection where I needed to turn to get to my destination and there were cruisers with flashing lights and police officers with waving arms. Turning the direction I needed to turn wasn’t going to happen. So I went straight and figured I could find a different way around. I really wanted some local fruits and veggies!


We drove by some pretty, open farmland with cows (squee!) during this detour; I found myself wishing I had my camera with me. I did eventually find my way around, only to come to the reason why the original turn was blocked. Electric wires down in the road, crews working, and my destination of choice? Closed for business due to the power outage! *sigh*

Managed some local corn at the grocery store but not the other things I was hoping for.

My other detour I’ve been working on for a while now, but I read a quote from Mark Twain this evening that seemed to express the way I have been feeling:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Nicely said, Mr. Twain.


Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 10:04 am
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I titled this post “Delight” because that is what I immediately felt yesterday (day 32 of summer) when I saw this butterfly on my zinnias.
pipevine swallowtail 4

I haven’t seen as many butterflies as I normally would have by this time in the summer, I think because my butterfly bushes suffered terribly this past winter. One of them is completely dead (sadness!!) and the other is alive, but not yet blooming. So when I saw this butterfly enjoying the zinnias, I snapped away.
pipevine swallowtail 2

I think this photo is the first shot I’ve ever gotten with both of a butterfly’s eyeballs visible at the same time:
pipevine swallowtail face

I played again with Lightroom on these shots, although they really didn’t need too much work with the bright sunshine I was shooting in.
pipevine swallowtail 1

Want to see something kind of neat? Go see what Robin was taking pictures of yesterday too! How cool is that!

July 21, 2014

Little Adventures

Yesterday, day 31 of summer, was one of those days weather-wise that you wish could go on forever. The sun shined, the temperature was a moderate 80°, a gentle breeze on the air.  A great day, I said to myself, to take the dogs for a walk.  I hadn’t done so in quite a while and figured the dogs would be more than happy to get out to our old path.

Out our driveway and up the street…

off we go

…around the corner and past the house with the goat…

past the goat

…plowing through the tall grass at the edge of the parking lot for the soccer fields…

plowing through

… and entering the preserved farm lands of (really and for true!) Old MacDonald.

Alton's way

We followed the path as though it hadn’t been months since we’d last been there…

the path

…and arrived at Daphne’s favorite stopping spot, the little brook…

Daphne's favorite spot

…that runs from a quiet swamp.

peek into swamp

Perhaps not too quiet: red-winged blackbirds and cicadas regularly call out from this place.

Black-eyed susans were in bloom every where I looked. The dogs must have been thinking, doesn’t she have enough pictures of those things? But they patiently waited for the sound of the shutter before moving along again.
black eyed susans

Although by the 4th or 5th time I stopped near bunches of them, Teddy was starting to push his nose into stems, sure that there must be something far more interesting that was getting all this attention.

Upon my return, my girls had an idea for another little adventure: frozen yogurt at one of the seemingly many new places that have popped up around here. Who was I to say no to a fabulous idea like this?

Drear and Cheer

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer,What's Blooming — Karma @ 9:33 am
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Blog posts are starting to stack up on me here! I have photos to share for both days of the weekend but I think putting them all in one post might be a little much. Here’s my post for Saturday, day 30 of summer. I’ll write another for Sunday.

The day was overcast and a bit dreary. Motivation was low. Late in the afternoon I decided to take my unmotivated self for a walk around the yard, and I’m glad I did. Things had changed since the last time I really took a look. Different flowers and such were in bloom.
These are what originally drew my attention outside. I saw a blur of purple that I hadn’t seen yet this year so I went to investigate. If I remember correctly, these are delphinium, part of my perennial garden in the front yard.

From that little garden, I walked along the side of my house to where my neighbor has an interesting variety of plantings. These lilies face my side of our properties.
neighbor lily
I’m not sure what kind these are but I found their color to be warm and inviting.

As you continue along the side of my yard and through the gate into the backyard, you’ll find my crazy concord grape vines. They’ve spread, with the help of birds I’m sure, from a little trellis they started on, up my house into the rain gutters and across into a bordering pine tree. At this point in the year, it is looking like it will be a plentiful grape season come September, if the birds don’t get them all first.
backyard grapes

Another flash of color caught my eye as I continued into the backyard. Do you remember when I planted bee balm for the hummingbirds a couple years ago? I was starting to wonder if that plant was yet another victim of this past harsh winter, but a few small blooms have survived.
bee balm

It is the time of the year for day lilies too. The bright orange of these flowers can be cheerful on the dreariest of days.

Well, I’ve finished my morning coffee, visited new blog posts from many of you, and enjoyed editing these flower photos in my Lightroom program. They seemed like the perfect shots for playing around with editing. I’ve got more to post about with Sunday’s little adventures – I’ll return later today with that post.

July 18, 2014

It’s Really Happening

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 7:27 pm
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My baby is NOT going to be a senior in high school. NO, NO, NO, NO! This is simply unacceptable. She is NOT turning 17 in two weeks and she did NOT have her senior portraits taken today! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Yeah, she did have her senior portraits taken today (day 29 of summer), and she looked lovely. My Sarah is not a “girly-girl”: she eschews make-up, hair-do’s, dresses and high heels. She concedes to make-up when required: dance recital, prom, and at my begging, some natural looking, not-heavy-handed make-up to make her lovely features “pop” in her portrait session. This is a shot I took with my iPhone before we left for her sitting:
Portrait time

I just love the arched eyebrow she is giving me in this photo.

The photographer gave me a little preview of the photos on the LCD of the camera when we finished today. I’m very pleased already at the RAW view and can’t wait to see the proofs in a week or so.

July 17, 2014

“What, Again?” and “Happy Birthday”

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 3:03 pm
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Yesterday, day 27 of summer, was one of those one-day-blends-into-the-others kind of days.  Errands, dishes, laundry, exercise etc.  Went outside to sit and read for a bit and cranked up the umbrella on my deck so I could use my Kindle.  Take a wild guess what fell out of the umbrella!  I bet you know!

Really? This again?
Seriously?  Really, frogs and toads don’t bother me but I’m starting to wonder…

Did I ever tell you that story of my 3- or 4-year-old self with the little toad? Probably not, it’s kind of gross.  My parents moved out of the city and into the suburbs when I was about 3 years old.  I remember being delighted with my new bedroom, all my own, and my yard and all the wonderful things it contained.  Apparently one day in my excitement to show my mother the little toad I’d just found, I squeezed it just a little too hard.  Poor thing’s guts squeezed right out of its mouth in my grip.  Maybe “frog karma” is finding its way around to me!


Today, day 28 of summer – 4 weeks out of school and hubby’s birthday.  Bought this fabulous looking cake at our local Big Y supermarket:

Birthday cake
This is for dessert tonight and we are having slow-cooked brisket (this link will take you to a guest post I did about our recipe over at my sister’s old blog) and “loaded” baked potato salad for dinner. I used ranch dressing to mix up with the potatoes and added in red onions, bacon, chives, and shredded cheese for the “loaded” part.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with what I am blogging about today, but here it is anyway:
Would you like my coffee too?
Cedric took my spot here at the computer this morning when I got up to let the dogs in. Looks like he’d like my cup of coffee as well.

July 16, 2014

Doing a Little Sharing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:47 am

I’m taking a little break from the 66 Days of Summer with this post. It has been a long time since I’ve done a Cee’s Share Your World post, so I thought I’d give it a try on this rainy morning.

Have you ever been a participant in a parade? What did you do?
Nope, never have. I think Meghan was fond of playing “parade” when she was little, however. I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on in this photo of her with my best friend Renae.
According to my archives, this photo is from 1998 – Meghan would be 3 years old.

If you were handed free opera tickets, would you go or sell them? Why?
I’m with Cee on this one – I’d sell them. I know very little about opera and it isn’t something I’m interested in experiencing. Also, like Cee, the ballet would be a different story. Readers of this blog know the love of ballet I have. The girls and I got to see the Moscow Ballet perform “Sleeping Beauty” this past April and it was beautiful. My apologies, I only have lousy shots from the finale – as you can imagine, real photography wasn’t allowed.

Why did you start your blog?
I started it as way to share my love of photography. I’m only a hobbyist, but I enjoy it very much. Before I started the blog, I found myself participating in photo challenges from other blogs I was reading. I used Flickr to participate, but Flickr doesn’t allow the kind of interaction that a blog does, in my opinion, so I jumped in and gave blogging a shot. I’ve been at it over 4 years and I’m still having fun with it. The first photo assignment I participated in once I started the blog was Scott Thomas’s assignment on Creative Exposure. This was my entry. And here is my favorite photo from that assignment:

What is your favorite tradition? (family tradition, church tradition, whatever)
This is an easy one for me – Pig Out! I’ve mentioned this tradition on the blog before, but rather than make you follow a link to another post, I’ll quickly summarize. Pig Out is a tradition that has been happening with me, my sister, Renae, my mother, Renae’s mother, and Renae’s aunt for 20+ years now. It started as a way for us to find time to see Renae and her mom and aunt at Christmas time. The first one was haphazard – it took place at Renae’s aunt’s house and she just kept pulling different snack foods out of her fridge and pantry. Now we plan it well in advance and take turns hosting the event and all bring food, potluck style. This is an example of one of our Pig Outs:

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
Some of my gratefulness that I would like to answer about is a little more than a week old, but I think it’s okay to bend this answer just a wee bit, right Cee? I’m grateful for the time I got to spend individually with each of my daughters. As I told you in this post I had the unusual circumstance of just Meghan and me being home for dinner. Then I had the chance to enjoy some shopping time with Sarah (shopping is NOT one of Sarah’s favorite activities) last Thursday.

I’m looking forward to taking Sarah to have her senior portraits done this Friday. Hard to believe all the events of senior year of high school are beginning with my baby!

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