Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 19, 2014

Summer is Slipping Away

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 2:52 pm
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ACK! Everywhere I turn, I find reminders that summer nearly over. I’m in the single digits of days left to enjoy in that carefree, summerlike way. Meghan moves back to college on Sunday, I return to work on Monday, Sarah begins her senior year of high school a week from tomorrow. As if I needed one more reminder, yesterday, day 60 of summer, we picked up the proofs for Sarah’s senior portraits.
Senior portraits
This is a sample of the 30 or so shots that I have to choose from.

Today, day 61 of summer, is a day of errands and chores, blah, blah, blah. Here have a pretty butterfly that I saw on my butterfly bush instead!
Tiger swallowtail

You didn’t want to see pictures of housework anyway, did you?

August 18, 2014

Coming Home

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 8:24 pm
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Day 58 of summer was that most bittersweet of days, the day to go home after vacation. I was up early and took pictures of the sun rising on what looked to be a beautiful day at the beach (of course!)
Sunrise between the islands

Sunrise at Hills Beach

Just me and the fishermen and the seagulls were awake at that hour. Shortly thereafter, the car was packed, the family piled in and we made our way back home.

The return home means chores to do – unpacking, laundry, mowing the lawn. Mowing the lawn, however, brought me a sweet surprise! While mowing under the various small trees and shrubs that surround my house, I saw a group of dark berries on the ground, and not those yucky weedy things I call “bird berries” because only birds like to eat them. I looked up and saw this:
Surprise find!
Black raspberries that I had not planted! I’m not sure where they came from – I grow red raspberries in my backyard. I’m sure birds must be responsible for the appearance of these vines, but I have no idea where they originated.

When I finished the lawn I went back with a bowl and happily picked a sweet treat.
Black raspberries

Yesterday, day 59 of summer, was the return to routine.
Meal planning and grocery shopping,
Meal planning

and back to blogging about my rapidly diminishing days of summer!
Blogging with a snack
(with a snack!)

The Maine Thing – part 3

Thursday, day 56 of summer, dawned sunny and windy after the storm the day before. The high tide in the wee hours of Thursday morning came up extremely high.
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It washed all the way up to the beach grass. You can see in this shot two of three kayaks that washed up along the beach. They didn’t get too far from their owners, but they were filled with mud. Our beach stuff was too.

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I’m surprised that tube didn’t float away somewhere. The blue plastic is a sun tent that we collapsed over our beach chairs. It did a decent job of keeping the chairs fairly dry, but the mud holding it all down was very heavy.

In addition to kayaks, I found other things washed in with the storm, like this jellyfish.
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There were spectacular waves for this area as well. The tides at this little inlet beach are usually extremely mild. Even at high tide the waves are normally just very gentle rolls. When I walked near Basket Island at low tide, I was shocked to find loud, crashing waves.
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Here’s a little video I took.

While I wasn’t able to get any close pictures of the resident blue heron, I was happy to once again find a snowy egret.
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Thursday was a good day for finds!

Friday, day 57 of summer, and our last full day in Maine, was “iffy” weather-wise. It was cloudy and cool as I took my last morning walk.
Cloudy cool morning

I normally like to spend my last vacation day basking on the beach all day, but the weather wasn’t cooperating, so I suggested to my family that we take another short jaunt out for a while, in hopes that maybe the clouds would clear and allow us some late afternoon beach time. We headed up to Scarborough. We scoured for treasures at the large Christmas Tree Shops and had lunch at the Sebago Brewing Company. I really enjoyed my seafood chowder and lobster BLT!
Sebago Brewing Company lunch

No visit to Scarborough is complete without a visit here
Famous Maine place
to buy candy and see Lenny the life-sized chocolate moose!
Lenny the life sized chocolate moose
Lenny is made from 1,700 pounds of milk chocolate!

At the end of the day, the girls and I carried out the end-of-vacation tradition: feeding the seagulls any leftover food we didn’t plan to take home.
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The birds gathered in large number quickly.
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Meghan had to check and make sure we weren’t giving away perfectly good potato chips!
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Quite the commotion was caused when a handful of chips was tossed out.
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And Meghan even got one brave soul to take food from her hand.
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Even though the weather was less than perfect, I cherished this time on vacation with my family. I know my years of having my whole family together for this week in the future are running low, so each passing year’s vacation becomes more precious.

August 17, 2014

The Maine Thing – part 2

Or… Bean & Smitty

On Tuesday, day 54 of summer, the fog came on little cat feet.
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The little islands off the shore of the beach completely disappeared in the fog bank.

I still went out for my morning walk, but it was with a bit of a chill as I made my way through the mist.
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And I dreamed about “if only…” as I walked.
I want it!

Deciding it wasn’t going to be beach-sitting weather that day, I suggested a trip to Freeport to the family, home of the famous L.L. Bean flagship store.
Big boot at LL Bean
Size 410 boot!

Clashing moose display
“The Final Charge” – two male moose reconstructed from the remains of a set of locked antlers.

I have no idea why this exists, but it does, and I of course took a picture.
Also from LL Bean

We enjoyed lunch and souvenir shopping and ice cream eating while in Freeport.

On Wednesday, day 55 of summer, most of New England, and I think other parts of the Northeast as well, were deluged by a huge rain storm. The rain started in the morning, not really letting up much throughout the day.
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That made Wednesday our day to enjoy some time at Smitty’s Cinema – a place we discovered a few years ago and have enjoyed going to ever since.

At Smitty’s you can enjoy pub style food, served by a waitress to your table in the theater, where you sit in comfortable high backed chairs.
Annual visit to Smitty's

My family’s choice of movie was “Guardians of the Galaxy”. I’m not a follower of Marvel but this was a fun movie and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

The rain continued and the wind howled and thunder rumbled well into the night. I will show you the results of the storm in my next blog post.

The Maine Thing – part 1

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer,Travel — Karma @ 3:32 pm
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Days 51, 52 and 53 of summer were the beginning of my one week vacation to Hills Beach in Biddeford Maine. This was our 5th year returning to the little cottage on the beach known as “The Dollhouse”.
Path to cottage

After leaving the house bright and early Saturday morning, and successfully avoiding the worst of the highway traffic on our route north, we made our stops for supplies along the way. I’ve told you before about Yummies – this year was no exception for stopping at our favorite candy store. I also grabbed a pint of (expensive! $7!) wild Maine blueberries at a roadside stand.
Wild Maine blueberries
(didn’t think to take a picture until after helping myself to a few handfuls!)

We arrived at the cottage after doing our grocery shopping and unpacked the car. Low tide greeted us at the beach.
Low tide at Hills Beach

I was happy to spend the last hours of the day in a beach chair reading after the work for the day was done.
Ending of a long day

I found myself awake shortly after sunrise on Sunday morning with beautiful light streaming in my window.
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After starting to read a most appropriate book with my breakfast,
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I was off on my morning walk – my preferred way of starting each day on vacation.

The afternoon brought beach time with my family.
Enjoying my girls' company on the beach

On Monday morning’s walk, I brought the Canon along with me.
I found
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ducks enjoying the beach

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the closest (unfortunately) view I would have for the week of my friend the blue heron

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and that strange marker with fortune-telling graffiti on it once again. The last time I took a picture of this marker it said, “Life is a gift” – a message I definitely needed to hear at the time. I found it pretty cool that it seems to say “Everything adventurous” now at a time in my life when I am trying to find the next big adventure!

More to come in the Maine editions of the 66 Days of Summer.

August 8, 2014

Ready to Go

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 7:16 pm

Ready to go
Day 50 of summer – all packed up and ready to go in the morning.

I don’t think I will be writing any blog posts for the next week unless our wi-fi signal at the cottage in Maine is better this year, so have a great week and I will see you when I get back.

August 7, 2014

The “-ings” of getting ready for vacation

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 1:35 pm
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Errand running

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Laundry doing

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Cat feeding

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Garden picking

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Suitcase filling

These “ings” are the things I’m doing on day 49 of summer!

Vacation Count-down

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 8:39 am
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Yesterday(Wednesday) was day 48 of summer and my count-down to my week’s vacation in Maine began. We leave Saturday morning, bright and early. Preparations are underway. It seems there are always never-ending errands in the days before a vacation, doesn’t it? I did some of them yesterday. I also recently learned that our suitcases were in pretty poor condition, so a new set was purchased.
Time to travel

I did have some time to relax in the afternoon. I started reading The Wrong Right Man by Pamela Wight of Roughwighting, as I sat outside on the deck.

The hummingbirds were active at the feeder again, but a close-up shot was not to be. This little one zipped over to the small trees along the side of my yard and I was able to get this photo of him at rest.
hummingbird at rest

I imagine today will be a day much like yesterday- errands and checking things off my list as I get them done.
What are all of you getting done these days?

August 5, 2014

A Focus on Flying Things

Today (day 47 of summer) was a stay-at-home day after our visit to Boston yesterday. I started my morning as I normally do, with a cup of coffee and visiting you out there in the blogosphere. While I did so, I heard some raucous bird-calling out in the back yard. I took my camera with me to try to investigate what might be going on. I followed the sound to the trees in the back near my shed and peered up. The sound seemed to be coming from birds like this one:
flicker or woodpecker
That bird was close to the top of the tree so that is a tightly cropped shot – not as clear as I would have liked, but enough to identify as one of two kind of similar birds. I think this is either a northern flicker or a red bellied woodpecker. This scruffy looking thing seemed to be following closely, so I am going to assume it to be a fledgling of whatever type of bird this is.
fledgeling

My day continued in a low key manner. I vacuumed the pool (not very satisfactorily by the way! Any pool owners have some good tips for vacuuming up the super fine silt-like material that gathers at the bottom of the pool and “poofs” up into the water when you approach it with the vacuum?), had lunch, finished reading one of the oddest, but interesting, books I’ve ever read (The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, if you are interested) and enjoyed some time floating around the pool on my air mattress.

Other critters with wings that I enjoy photographing teased me and my lens this afternoon after I got out of the pool. Hummingbirds buzzed and chased at my feeder but never stayed long enough for me to focus a shot. The hummingbird moths and dragonflies, however, were a little more cooperative.

This hummingbird moth still gave me a bit of a time focusing – each time I had it in frame ready to go, it seemed to think another blossom on the butterfly bush looked better, but eventually I got this shot.
hummingbird moth

I found this friendly dragonfly face on a tomato cage in my garden.
dragonfly face
I was really impressed with what I was able to do with Lightroom to improve this shot. I was able to bring out detail that I never saw in my original photo. Normally I don’t like to show you the “less pretty” photos, but I think the difference is really something here.
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August 4, 2014

College Visit

Although I am continually trying to deny the fact that Sarah keeps insisting on growing up, our search for the right college for her continues. Today (day 46 of summer) we traveled into Boston on a beautifully sunny day. Despite missing a turn that Google maps told me to take, we arrived at Wentworth Institute of Technology without too much trouble.
Wentworth

The summer preview program was from 1-4pm, so we arrived in the city with plenty of time to walk around and find a good spot for lunch. And a good spot we did find! A little unassuming corner spot called Sweet Cheeks Q. It is a southern BBQ style place and the food was wonderful. Meghan and I both had the brisket sandwich.
Sweet Cheek BBQ

Sarah chose pulled pork, and both girls had that fabulous looking mug of mac n cheese as their side.
More good lunch

My delicious sweet tea was served in a mason jar.
Jar of tea

We returned to campus for an information session and tour. Sarah believes this school will definitely be one that she will apply to. I liked the fact that even though it is in the heart of the city, it still has a comfortable not-so-urban feel to it.
WIT
But Sarah isn’t really old enough to be applying to college yet, right? ;-)

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