Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

December 9, 2014

Two Hour Delay

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 7:44 am
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I had absolutely no idea this morning there was any weather in the works that could call for a two hour delay to the start of school. I got in the shower at 5:30 am like I always do, and apparently shortly after that, the phone calls came in: one for the district I work in and one for the district I live in – 2 hour delay for icy roads due to some freezing rain in the wee hours.

Too wide awake to go back to bed at this point, plus I was already showered (wet hair), dressed and had put make up on by the time I discovered the calls on my cell phone. What to do? Make a cup of coffee (darn it no half n half or almond milk in the house, have to go with regular milk) and sit down to write a blog post.

That crazy-busy time of year is in full swing. Did LOTS of shopping this past weekend plus Amazon will be making regular deliveries to this house over the next few days. The tree is up.
Tree '14

I missed having Meghan around so much last year when we did the tree that this year I used “FaceTime” on our iPhones so we could have a video call while we decorated. Sarah and I picked out some ornaments for Meghan to “hang”. Here’s a couple of them:
Hers
Snowman on the left has her name on it and the one on the right is in her birthstone color. There were various others that were considered “her” ornanments and we showed them to her one by one on the phone and then pointed the phone at the tree so she could choose where to put them. It wasn’t the same as having her here of course, but it was nicer than last year when I was really feeling her absence.

Christmas time also includes regular embarrassment of my dogs:
Yearly dog embarrassment
Daphne was a good sport about it long enough for me to get a photo. Teddy was less cooperative. He had the hat off before I could focus the camera.

Remember my post where I talked about changing traditions? Two of my Christmas traditions seem to be going by the wayside this year. I don’t know if they are permanent changes or just temporary. I don’t think I will be sending Christmas cards or putting up my Christmas Village this year. I usually make photo cards with cute pictures of my daughters and dogs on them in November. Time has gotten away from me. I know it isn’t too late to make them, address them and send them out before Christmas, but I feel like it is one added “pressure” to my time these days at this point. So to any family or friends who may be reading this who normally gets a card from me, don’t feel I’ve dropped you from the list! I feel the same way about the Christmas village. It is a huge labor to set up and to take down. Perhaps I will find some space here and there around the house to display a few favorite pieces.

How is your December going so far? Holiday hustle and bustle for you?

November 28, 2014

When did all this happen?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:55 am
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Is there a conspiracy out there? Mama Nature and Father Time must be in cahoots. How is it possible that I am already looking at this?
My world right now

I’m sure it was but a couple weeks ago that I was settling in to my temporary teaching job, sitting in the sunshine on the deck correcting papers, thinking that it would be time to close the pool soon and getting used to Meghan being back at college for another school year. What? It is time for Meghan to be home for Thanksgiving break already? What? There’s a snow storm coming the day before Thanksgiving?

Teddy really did not seem to care about all this.
First collie in the snow pic of the season
Maybe I should take a cue from him!

Meghan arrived safely home Tuesday afternoon before the snow began on Wednesday. I’ve been enjoying spending time with her and having conversations about what has been going on in our worlds during these months that she was back at school and I’ve been playing teacher. We talked as snow covered Teddy and I cooked and baked several items to bring to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. There were mishaps that afternoon, due to my multitasking of cooking, cleaning, listening to music and enjoying my daughter’s company however. I overcooked some delightful little brownie cheesecake bites for one thing. I thought they needed a couple more minutes in the oven after the timer went off, and neglected to re-set the timer for those couple of minutes. About 7 or so minutes later, I remembered them – thoroughly browned and a bit too crisp for my taste. Then there was this:
Shattering surprise

At one point during the day, I had 3 of the 5 burners on my gas cooktop cooking away. That glass lid had been left out in the chaos on a burner that wasn’t on, but was surrounded by burners that were on. I was draining some pasta at the sink and then walking back toward the stove when a sound like a shot going off scared the you-know-what out of me! The glass imploded within the metal frame of the lid into a zillion small pieces. One more cleanup chore added to a long afternoon of them.

A soothing soak in the hot tub with Meghan while the snow fell around us made the aches and pains of the afternoon fade away. Thanksgiving was a wonderful day spent with family and friends. I am so very thankful for all the good I have around me. I hope your Thanksgiving was the best that it could be.

Now on to getting ready for the next holiday that will soon be upon us! No Black Friday shopping for me, at least I’m not thinking so as I type this post. We will see how the day progresses. I am open to the possibilities.

November 22, 2014

My Changing Ways

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 2:24 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

It has been a year since I made a new committment to changing my body, my health, myself. I announced it in this blog post. I did a few updates about how things are going throughout the year. You can see those posts, if you are interested, here, here and here.

By the numbers, I am about 25 pounds lighter than the heaviest weight I’ve ever been in my life that was not due to pregnancy, and I am wearing clothing sizes that are 2-3 sizes smaller than the size I figured I’d be wearing for the rest of my life. But this is about so much more than numbers. I feel so much better about myself in many ways. I have more energy when I get up in the morning. I truly don’t remember the last time I felt sick. My frequent headaches of the past are for the most part distant memories. I feel confident when I walk into a room. I enjoy going shopping for clothes and trying them on.

I’ve moved through new levels of exercise over the course of the year. I started out last year with trying to make exercise a habit rather than a second thought. I worked through Rockin’ Body by Shaun T and several Jillian Michaels videos. I discovered I liked the way Shaun T’s Focus 25 fit into my life and gave me results I could see. I recently started the 3rd level of T25 known as “Gamma”, which includes lots of weight lifting.
Gamma

My tastes have changed too over the course of this year. I’ve lost many cravings for the not-so-good-for-me foods and learned to enjoy foods that I would not have bothered with in the past. I never want “fast food” anymore and I can’t tolerate the sicky-sweet way I used to drink coffee. Eggs are a regular part of my diet, as are homemade protein shakes, for examples. And I don’t feel deprived either. One day a week I have a “treat day” and eat whatever I feel like; it is good both psychologically and physically. I am eating well and I don’t count calories.

Here’s a look photographically at my progress.

The only pictures of me from approximately 1 year ago are all bundled up, understandable since it is November, so I went back to Meghan’s graduation in June of 2013 to find a full-length shot of how I was looking when all this began.
mom n grad

A little closer to a year ago, Halloween Murder Mystery party 2013:
1380843_10202502162979048_1746274262_n

April of this year:
964329_10152093275771699_6020905455331090437_o

June:
Our crew

July:
10473188_827759213901493_3187402494947345880_n

Last month:
10584079_871045719572842_4935303657983883927_n

My journey continues.

ETA: When I first posted this yesterday, I included two small photos of myself, post-workout. I am dressed in a sports top and shorts, posing to try to accentuate the muscles I’m starting to build. I hemmed and hawed a bit about it. Then I came back again last night and deleted them, feeling like maybe posting something like that could be construed as somehow inappropriate. If you choose to comment, could you tell me your opinion of posting such pictures?

ETA (2) Okay, the pictures are back. We will see for how long ;-)
photo (5)photo (6)

November 16, 2014

More “-ings” of Life These Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:21 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Back in the summer time (*sigh* it seems so very far away right now), I wrote a post called “The -ings of getting ready for vacation”. I’ve got more “ings” to share with you, of the things that are occupying my days 3 months later.

Screenshot (1)
Data entering
This is the reality of education today. Government requires the collection of data to make sure that we teachers are doing our job and making sure the students are getting the common core standards. This is a screenshot showing a sample of the 1100 pieces of data I needed to enter into a program that analyzes such data.

Papers to correct
Paper correcting
I’m teaching operations with fractions these days – adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.

Thinking of the future
Preparing
I really do love my current teaching position. It will be difficult when January 20th arrives and I have to hand it over to the permanant teacher. I’m planning to take the middle school math MTEL to add a math grades 5-9 certification to my other licenses and hopefully make myself more marketable as a teacher in the future.

Asian pear
Discovering
A pear for the teacher? Yup. I’m continuing on my path of better eating and fitness. I find myself scouring fresh and whole food style markets looking for different foods to enjoy. Last week I found these really delicious Asian pears that have a creamy vanilla flavor to them.

New weights
Lifting
I’ve added heavier and more frequent weight lifting to my fitness regime. That is a 15 pound kettle bell in the background, and 8 pound dumbbells in the front. The one year anniversary of my new commitment to fitness is approaching in a few days, and I am hoping to share a 1 year retrospective with you on that date.

The end of the year is rapidly approaching. Many other “ings” will soon be occupying my time and probably yours too: raking, shopping, cooking, eating, celebrating. Any “ings” that you are especially looking forward to?

November 9, 2014

Sharing Answers to Interesting Questions

I found today while reading Carol’s post at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind that Cee has some intriguing questions this week. Sharing my world with Cee is always a great place to jump start a blogging block.

1. What is your most vivid memory of the kitchen in your childhood? I have this really strong memory of my parents doing some remodeling in the kitchen. I think they were taking down the paneling you see in this shot to left of me (that’s my sister in the foreground) and the big yellow refridgerator:
1970's kitchen
I can’t remember what they put up in its place, but I remember that my sister and I were allowed to doodle on the wall before whatever the replacement was went up. When my parents sold that house, we always wondered if the new owners would have a laugh when they some day discovered what was on the wall!

2. As a child, who was your favorite relative? I’m assuming this question means a relative outside of your immediate, nuclear family that you grew up with, at least that is how I am interpeting it. I’d have to say my Uncle Sonny. He’s pictured here between my mom and her husband:
sonny
Uncle Sonny (real name Maurice, but my grandmother called him “sonny” therefore he became Uncle Sonny to me) is 21 years older than my mother – he is the eldest of 9 children in the family where my mother is the youngest. He is much more like a grandfather to me than my actual grandfathers were, neither of whom I knew very well when they were alive.

3. What did you like or not like about the first apartment you ever rented? I never rented an apartment. It’s one of things I feel I missed out on in life – living in a place that was just mine. I went from living with my family to living with my husband in the house we still live in today.

4. What kind of TV commercial would you like to make? Describe it. I’d make a public service announcement for taking responsibility in life and passing that responsibility on to your children when you decide responsibly to become a parent. I feel there are so many bad cycles in life that could be broken if everyone was responsible for their own actions and didn’t expect other people or the government or lawyers to step in and fix things. Take credit where credit is due and accept the blame if it is yours.

Because I don’t feel I could leave a blog post on a sour note like this and because my daughter just sent me a video clip of ballroom contestants marching into the room to the famous John Phillips Souza march that opens every episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus…

and now for something completely different…

So relaxed

A totally relaxed kitty from our last visit to Pickity Place who cares nothing about what I choose to babble on about in this space!

November 2, 2014

Hallowasn’t

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:40 am
Tags: , , , ,

As often happens to me as I do my best to keep up with all of you in the blogosphere, I got inspired for my own post by reading this post from Robin who was inspired by reading this post from Bo. Many beautiful thoughts can be found in both of these posts, and they got me thinking about my own changing rituals.

I titled this post “Hallowasn’t” because for the first time in a long time, Halloween was no big deal around here. It usually has been in some way or another whether it was big parties or murder mysteries or just enjoying the excitement of my daughters as they went out to trick or treat. I’ve written several posts about ways we’ve celebrated in the past. I did dress up for Halloween for school (sorry forgot to take a selfie for ya) and I did have a wonderful dinner with my friends last weekend which I alluded to in this post, but the real Halloween spirit was not here. Friends seemed too busy to want to put much thought into costumes for a party and my girls are far past trick or treating age. ONE trick-or-treater came to my door! As I told you in this post, my dance studio closed its doors this year. My dance teacher is one of the most Halloween spirited people I know. I missed the excitement of planning for several Halloween parties the week before Halloween at the studio. We did still get to have a little Halloween fun at the new studio, but of course it wasn’t quite the same.

I found this message posted on my mom’s fridge the last time I went to visit her.
Message
It is true and a good one to remember. Doesn’t necessarily make accepting some of the changes easier though. I know this is the way of the world. If you’ve done your job as a parent well, you’ve created good people who go on to create their own good lives. Doesn’t mean I can’t miss enjoying the days like this:
Tiger baby

Lunette
does it?
(Does anyone remember the PBS children’s show “The Big Comfy Couch“? It aired on PBS when my girls were little and they loved it. Meghan is dressed up as Lunette the Clown, the main character from the show. I made that costume and was quite proud of it!)

Life brings changes, and with those changes, changes in our rituals. Party and costume planning was always a big ritual for this family at this time of the year. It seems that ritual could be fading into the past.

Connecting with the people who mean the most to you is one ritual that I hope never fades. A few weeks ago, I once again got to go to visit dear friend Renae, and my sister and mother, and her close friend Katie joined us at a place that has become a new ritual – Pickity Place.
Toffee cheesecake w/strawberry sauce and whipped cream

My sister made a new friend of one of the Pickity kitties:
Kitty loves my sister

Last night I had the pleasure of a delicious dinner with some wonderful women: Sherry, Tracey and Sherry’s mom Carol (who is also Tracey’s mother-in-law). I was the only one who wasn’t “officially” family, but that’s okay, I’m close enough! We went to a local restaurant, La Cucina di Hampden House and enjoyed great food and drinks and each other’s company.
Espresso martini
espresso martini

Eggplant tower
eggplant tower appetizer

This occasion came up because our husbands were together playing poker and visiting in support of a man who has had some health issues recently and was joyed by the idea of spending time with the men he has known since they were boys. We ladies toasted each other and Carol even suggested that this dinner become a tradition. A new ritual, so-to-speak. I like that idea.

October 26, 2014

Strolltober?

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 9:53 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m sliding in at the last moment to participate in Robin’s Walktober. Life’s busy pace really hasn’t slowed down but I am not complaining! But that is my reason for only having a “mini-stroll” to share with you rather than a nice meandering walk like I would prefer. In the middle of a busy but wonderful day yesterday, I took a few moments to enjoy some warm autumn sunshine and have a little stroll. These are iPhone photos that I’m using once again. (I can hear the Canon Rebel grumbling in the corner).

In the middle of many errands and preparations for a wonderful dinner with great friends at my house last night, I decided to stroll by our local pond and enjoy a breather of fresh air and sunshine.
Color and reflection

It was about 65 degrees yesterday and I took a few moments to appreciate that as I ambled the tiny beach.
Autumn pond

There is a pretty path that goes a little further into the trees surrounding the pond, but I knew I didn’t have the time to spare to walk it on this particular day. This is the entrance to it.
The path not taken

Instead I enjoyed the leaves and the light floating on the water…
Sunshine on the water

…and breathing deeply and remembering that life is good.
Sparkling water

Thank you Robin for once again hosting Walktober.

October 13, 2014

Camera Neglect

I was thinking that once the long weekend of Columbus Day arrived, things would slow down a bit and I’d be spending more time with my camera and the blogosphere. I’m not sure just why I was thinking that way! I have definitely started adjusting to the way of life as a teacher for now, but the amount of time I spend correcting, planning and organizing really hasn’t changed since I started this gig. I’m not spending any time on school work on this long weekend (thank goodness) but of course I find myself attending to the other parts of life that need my attention. So what do I mean by all this? It has been ages since I’ve lifted my Canon Rebel to my face! The last pictures on that screen are from that wonderful warm day in September that I posted about a month ago. And here it is autumn in New England. So much beauty around me, and what do I have to show for it photographically? Nada. Hoping to have the opportunity to change that, but it is already Monday of the long weekend. I will see how the day progresses and get back to you, okay?

In the meantime, let me say that it has definitely not been all work and no play if I’ve given you that impression! This past Thursday night was the annual “powderpuff” flag football game at my daughter’s high school. Sarah played hard – both offense and defense – but sadly, the senior girls were defeated. Camera-neglecting mama that I am, I have no photos of my football playing daughter. I found this picture, by Thomas Henry Photography, of the field that night:
10472829_780003408725105_1092457685122217191_o

Meghan came home from school to see her sister play, which I thought was really nice. All the more disappointing that the seniors lost though. Sarah had no school the next day (teacher professional development day) so the girls had time to hang out together while I went to work.

Meghan came with us when it was time for Sarah to head to dance class so she got to visit with her former dance teacher. We visited a local farmstand and picked up some of our favorite apples (macouns) and other treats. (all photos managed for the rest of this blog post are phone photos)
Macouns

Meghan’s visit was sadly brief. She had to return to school Saturday night because she had a ballroom competition that she was leaving for early Sunday morning. I made the most of my time with her and took her shopping for various supplies, plus a little “tradition” of hers and mine – after a visit to our local Kohl’s store we head to the near by Dunkin for an iced coffee. We laugh about the fact that it doesn’t seem possible for us to skip the Dunkin part of the trip no matter what.

After our shopping trip, we stopped back home to get everything she needed to bring back to school an pick up Sarah. We had a delicious late lunch or early dinner, depending on how you look at it, together at a Greek restaurant called Zorba’s in Worcester near Meghan’s school.

Meghan returned to school, a little adventure for me continued. A gathering of my gang of friends (I’ve mentioned this group many times on the blog) was happening at the Mendon Drive In for a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was surely a cold night for a drive in, but getting the chance to hang out with thse people is always worthwhile, no matter the circumstances. We ate junk food, watched the movie and enjoyed each other’s company. Some of my junk food:
Cheese fries

Yesterday was Meghan’s competition. She sent me some photos of her hair and makeup:
Pre-comp

Pre-comp2

The best picture she sent, however, was this one from after the competition:
Post comp
Use a bit of hair gel there?

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this holiday weekend, I hope you are enjoying it. I leave you with this quote I found the other day, one with wonderful aspirations I think:
Quote

October 4, 2014

It was a great month!

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 8:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Four days of October have already passed as I sit to write this post, but I just couldn’t let September go by without creating a little memoir of it here on the blog. It was a beautiful, busy and wonderful month. Let me show you some of the great things I got to experience.

I’ll start by saying that the weather was, for the most part, outstanding. August left me desiring more sunshine and warmth, and I feel like September brought all the beauty and heat it could muster. It was my first month of teaching full time and I absolutely loved it – and still am loving it. I often brought papers home to sit outside on my deck and correct and enjoy the sun at the same time.

September is Big E time here in western Massachusetts. The Big E is a huge 6-state fair, and people come from all over to attend the 17 day event – 1,498,605 of them this year. I enjoyed some favorite things on my visit there this year:
Fried food
Fried food (this is a basket of tempura veggies)

Big margarita
A really big frozen margarita in a plastic mug with a handle for enjoying while strolling the fair

Oreo cows!
Oreo cows! Squeeeeeeee!

Belted gallway
I discovered that belted galloways (their “real” name…phffft!…not nearly as interesting as “oreo cow”) also come in other colors.

My sister, Sarah and I made a trip to the Cape to visit mom in September as well. We had one day of lovely weather. Warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a warm beverage at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans…
Hot Chocolate Sparrow Orleans MA
(my sister’s pic of her hot apple cider with caramel)

Smuggler's Beach South Yarmouth
…and watch the wind surfers at Smuggler’s beach (also Jennifer’s pic)

The weekend after we visited the Cape, Jennifer and I visited our dear friend Renae. Renae took us to lunch at a fabulous winery in New Hampshire called La Belle Winery. It was a gorgeous day and we sat outside.
Nice lunch
We enjoyed this wonderful cheese slate as an appetizer. That’s my yummy sangria in the background of the picture!

And then, at the very end of the month, something that I have been waiting for for a very long time finally happened!
New floor
My new tile kitchen floor was installed! The ugly, permanantly dirty nearly 20-year-old linoleum is finally gone!

A beautiful month – and so much to be thankful for and appreciative of. Life is good.

September 23, 2014

Katydid

Katydid

What if katydidn’t? ;-)

Katydid(2)

I’m still here y’all! Been too busy to spend much time at the computer as of late, but I’m still around. Hoping to catch up with you soon. I saw this cool katydid on my screen door tonight and decided to share it with you. See you soon! :-)

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