Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 7, 2014

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.
IMG_1272

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? ;-)

August 3, 2014

Another Party Day

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 7:57 pm
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Day 45 of summer was another birthday party day – this time celebrating the summer birthdays of my dance teacher’s children.
The theme of the party seemed to be water! Sharks for her son, mermaids for her daughter. Water guns, water balloons, wading pools and the biggest inflatable waterslide I’ve ever seen filled her backyard.
Waterslide

17!

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 8:44 am
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My baby is 17! The 44th day of summer was Sarah’s 17th birthday. In a few short weeks my youngest daughter begins her senior year of high school. How the @#%* did that happen?
17 year old

blow out the candles
Sarah blows out the candles while her boyfriend and besties from school look on.

All the kiddos in our lives are of course growing up, no matter how much we don’t want them to. At the party yesterday, I got to photograph a picture I’ve been wanting to recreate for a couple years now. Twelve years ago, at Sarah’s 5th birthday party, I took this picture of my daughters along with the daughters of great friends of ours. The girls have grown up as friends, getting together with our “gang” of friends as often as possible.
Our princesses then...
In this photo (from left to right) Eva is 6, Meghan is 7, Sarah is 5 and Brianna is 9.

The tiaras were part of the party favors for a 5-year-old who was into dolls and dress-up at the time (my how times have changed!)

I’ve had the idea to take a picture of the girls all together, all grown up, with tiaras on their heads for a while now. I got my chance yesteday when they were here for the party and I remembered earlier in the week to get the tiaras at the party store.
...and now
Eva 18, Meghan 19, Sarah 17, Brianna 21
(I couldn’t take the photo in the exact same spot the original was taken because my hot tub now occupies that space.)

The girls patiently complied with my request and I was happy with the result. I hope these are shots that will become favorites of theirs some day, as they are favorites of mine now.

August 2, 2014

Another First for this Summer

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 10:28 pm
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It’s happening again, the blog posts are stacking up! Today is actually a very special day, my younger daughter Sarah’s 17th birthday. However it is after 10 pm as I am writing this post, and I never posted yesterday’s photo. I will address Sarah’s birthday post tomorrow when my head is a little clearer and my body is hopefully a bit less tired!

Friday, August 1st was day 43 of summer. It was a day of running around, cleaning up and getting ready for Sarah’s party – none of which would provide a very interesting photo. I did get to photograph my first tiger swallowtail butterfly of the summer now that my one remaining butterfly bush is in bloom.

I feel like I’ve been having some issues with focus and exposure lately and I’m not sure if it is my camera or me! I’m guessing it is probably me. I did notice the exposure dial was not set in my normal position of “P” this evening, and I don’t know how long it has been that way. I’ve gotten lazy in my photography technique lately. Time to start paying better attention.

July 31, 2014

Gone Tomatoes

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 7:39 pm
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For yesterday and today, days 41 and 42 of summer, I present you with tomatoes!
A vegetable garden can change a bit when you are gone for a couple days. As I perused my cucumber and zucchini plants to see if anything needed picking, I noticed a bit of red out of the corner of my eye.

IMG_1219

The first of my early girl tomatoes were beginning to ripen.
IMG_1220

That one in the upper left of that photo, looked like it would be ready to eat very soon. And today it was!
First of the season

I sliced it up and ate it with my dinner. Nothing quite like the first garden fresh tomato of the summer.
Dinner tonight

July 30, 2014

Cape Cod Days

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 10:13 am
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For days 38, 39, and 40 of summer, my girls and I visited my mom on Cape Cod. We were hoping the weather forecast would improve, but it remained overcast with occasional showers until the day we needed to come home. But we made our own fun.

We started on Sunday with a lunch that definitely doesn’t fit into my fitness plans, lol:
Dog House lunch
That’s a split dog with bacon and cheese from the The Dog House in Dennisport.

I spotted some beautiful lilies across the street while we ate our lunch.
lilies 2

lilies 1

Visits to the Christmas Tree Shops are always a part of our trips to the Cape. Sarah has a tradition of finding the silliest hats she can while we are there and trying them on.
Christmas Tree shops hat

Another hat

Of course we never miss a visit to the candy store either!
Candy sand sculpture

The Yarmouth Sand Sculptures were back again this year, although they did not seem as expansive as I’ve seen in the past.
sand sculpture 2

sand sculpture 1

We found a unique window box at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans, where we stopped for afternoon treats.
Funky window box

An afternoon walk along a small boardwalk at Grey’s Beach in Yarmouth turned up a personalized board that I had to take a photo of -
boardwalk boardWe
I hope Daphne does not take offense!

A little visitor stopped by at my mother’s house when we had returned from our day’s adventures.
bunny face

bunny & hydrangea

In an attempt to enjoy a little warm, sunny beach time before we had to head home, we enjoyed a treat from Dunkin Donuts Tuesday morning.
Dunkin at the beach

I’m very appreciative of this time I got to spend with my family. Excellent treats, excellent times!

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.
image

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.
image

I had a twist of the red velvet and triple chocolate:
image
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!
image

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.
image
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:

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