Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

January 30, 2016

As I See It

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:50 pm
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A month into the new year already and this is my first blog post of 2016. I’ve been full of inspiration for blog posts and they just haven’t come to fruition. My favorite bloggers have been inspiring me and I’ve seen some really great things that have been making me go, “Oh I should do something like that!” Amy over at PlainMama has started blogging regularly about gratitude – I loved what she had to say in this post. Two bloggers came back from semi-retirement recently as well: Scott at Views Infinitum was first to re-enter explaining about a challenging 2015 and then Gerry, of Torch Lake Views, much to my delight popped back on the scene. Sybil, up there in the north, moved from Eastern Passage to Sacksville and has started sharing the romps of her and her fourlegged friends once again. Katie the princess sheltie and her mama Dawn at Change is Hard, have had all kinds of adventures to report on in recent weeks. Despite being harrassed by Winter Storm Jonas, Robin has kept a steady stream of beautiful photography and well wishes and thoughts over at Breezes at Dawn. And who can forget Carol of Wanderings of an Elusive Mind – blogger from the other side of this country, but with whom I so often agree with her sentiments, sometimes I feel like we must have been related somehow in another life! Then there’s Mike at Picture Day – carrying on with the things I always say I want to do – get out there with the camera and get better at photography.

Look at all that inspiration! So many ideas, so much lack of blog post writing.
In the context of a walk I took today with Teddy, on a fairly mild January day, here are some of the thoughts that have been meandering through my mind. I took the Rebel with my 50mm lens attached on this walk for two reasons – its a nice lightweight lens so I didn’t feel burdened on the walk and they say 50mm is approximately the view of how we see with the naked eye, so you’ll see my walk as I saw it, for the most part.

our stop
Teddy at the first place we always stop on our walks. Missing Daphne here as no matter the weather she always wanted to lay down in the water

Gratitude. Joy. Confidence. These are concepts I’m doing my best to focus on for 2016. Time to really put the work into discovering and taking care of me. Does that sound selfish? I hope not. It isn’t meant to be. The joy of having my girls home for their winter break from college, and their subsequent returns to school, have redoubled my determination to find my true happy place, who I am outside of being a mother – motherhood defines me, but not every part of me.

"Daphne's" creek
“Daphne’s” creek (how I will think of it from now on) not frozen over

Heartache happens but it doesn’t stop the world from going on around us. Like this creek, we continue flowing with time. My wishes are to keep progressing and getting better in a holistic way as I flow through time.

the tunnel path
Along the “tunnel” path

This is a familiar sight, that feeling of a natural tunnel – the feeling is intensified when the weather is warmer and the green fills the scene, but this is a piece that feels unchanging and constant to me, that part of life that gives you the foundation you need to deal with….

cleared out
Formerly filled with brush, this section of path has been mowed down

…change. Change – some of us try to fight it, some of us welcome it, but it is inevitable. I’m learning to welcome it. There was a time I dreaded it, but I think I’m seeing things more clearly now. Don’t simply accept change – create it. Take the new circumstances and make them your own.

Doggy blink
Blinking against the wind

No closing your eyes and pretending whatever the problem is will go away. We all have those days when we’d rather just pull the covers over our heads and tell the world to leave us alone. A good friend recently said to me, the obstacles we encounter are just bumps in the road. We will get over them and move on to bigger and better things.

shadows
Shadow of Teddy and me – connected by leash and by heart

As I continue on my journey, I have a sense of authenticity in my mind-body-spirit connection; it is becoming real and tangible for me. I’ve been calling it a fitness journey but it is really so much more than that – it is a journey to who I’m meant to be!

December 30, 2015

Christmas Wrap

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:22 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I felt like sharing a little peek at our Christmas this year. With only 2 days of 2015 left to go, I’m feeling reflective as many of us are at this time of year.
Tree

After a breakfast of cinnamon rolls, bacon, and fruit, we did what we’ve done every Christmas morning for 20 years and sat by the tree and opened gifts. The girls are no longer up super early, eager to find out what Santa has left, but there were still some gifts to be excited about.

IMG_9500

Sarah’s “big” gift was tickets to see the band Imagine Dragons.

Tix

She and I will be headed down to Foxwoods tomorrow. A great gift for both of us – precious time together and a fun way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I enjoy the music of Imagine Dragons as well so it should be a good time.

IMG_9503

We did not surprise Meghan with her “big” gift this year. As I’ve mentioned before, Meghan is a member of Clark University’s ballroom team, assistant captain in fact, and it is a huge joy for her. This is her third year competing, and for the first time, she will have a custom-made-for-her ballroom gown to wear. We are awaiting its arrival. This was something she needed to choose and many measurements had to be taken to place the order. Just to be silly, I took a picture of the dress from the website we ordered from and pasted her head on it. This is what it will look like but in emerald green:
dress

I can’t wait to see her in the real thing.

IMG_9504

Other fun things received – Sarah got a Chewbacca bathrobe and this cap relating to a character from the “Homestuck” web comic that my daughters read.

New Kindle
I got a new Kindle, as my old one has been acting rather wonky as of late.

My girls got together and gave me some grown-up coloring books and nice colored pencils. Have you noticed this seemingly growing trend of coloring books for adults? They have intricate designs that take some time and patience to color. My daughters had a couple of their own, and I’d remarked how I’ve always loved coloring and that I’d probably enjoy them too. Here’s my first picture I’m working on:

Hippie fish

Interestingly enough, my sister had a similar idea, and also gave me one of those books. She put together a well-appreciated “zen” themed gift that also included yoga clothes and a gift certificate for the yoga studio I attend.

My sister and the rest of my family Christmas guests arrived in the early afternoon. We had a delicious feast – wish I remembered to take a few pictures of all the wonderful food!

IMG_9505
Uncle “Sonny”

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Jim (my stepfather) and Sonny

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Joan (my mother-in-law), Mom, Jennifer (my sister) and Larry (her husband) Craig managed to avoid being within view of my camera’s lens!

Christmas celebrations continued and will still continue this week. We had a Christmas dinner with my father the day after Christmas at my sister’s house. She made a delicious white wine coq-au-vin. And this Friday, New Year’s Day, will be the famous annual Pig Out!

I hope the holidays are treating you well. If I don’t get my 2015 wrap up post done before midnight tomorrow (and I imagine I won’t since I’ll be seeing Imagine Dragons as we ring in the new year) a very happy new year to you all!

December 24, 2015

Keeping my blog tradition alive

It is Christmas Eve morning
And I’ve so much to do
But instead of getting started
I’ve chosen to write my blog post for you

A little tradition I began
2011 was the year
Though my blog habits are waning
I thought if I skipped, there could be a tear

I scratched out my thoughts
On paper at first
Hoping as I wrote
Inspiration would burst

Writing

This Christmas will be strange one
It’s green and it’s wet
Forecast today for 70 degrees
A new record we’ll set

Our first in ten years
Without Daphne near by
I’m missing her sweetness
Please Facebook, with memories, don’t make me cry

Yearly dog embarrassment

Two legal adult daughters for the first time this year
No longer children but they still bring me glee
I love having them home
It’s best part of Christmas for me

Life brings us changes
On that we can depend
This poem is turning reflective
Perhaps I should end…

Christmas collie

With a wish for you all
That I hope won’t seem trite
Have a wonderful Christmas
And to all a good night!

Tree

November 27, 2015

A Sad Goodbye

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 11:17 am

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My sweet 10-year-old golden retriever Daphne passed away in her sleep early this morning.

I knew that my time with her would be limited but I never expected her to slip away as quickly as she did. She had started slowing down this year, and getting that “old dog” face as her fur began to turn white. Just last week, it appeared she was having difficulty walking, losing control of her back legs, especially on the tile floor in the kitchen. Goldens are known for having issues with their hips, I thought perhaps time was finally catching up with hers. I noticed a couple times that her breathing seemed a bit heavy but thought maybe a little doggy cold was creeping in. She still had her pleasant doggy-soulful personality and did not appear to be in any obvious pain. My husband took her to the vet on Tuesday to have her checked out. He came home with awful news. She had cancer. A massive tumor was impinging on her spine, causing those rear legs to collapse. When they did x-rays to confirm, cancer was also found throughout her lungs. She was not getting the oxygen her body needed to sustain her. She gave us a prescription of prednisone to ease her pain, and we took her home, uncertain of how much time she had left.

The girls came home for Thanksgiving break on Wednesday and knew something was wrong with our sweet girl right away. We had hoped we might be able to keep the bad news from them until they were finished with final exams at college, but it was becoming clear Daphne might not have that kind of time left. We comforted her as best we could, hand feeding her some meats and wet dog food, hugs and pets and a comfy pillow to lounge on.

This picture had been on my mind a lot in recent days:
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That’s from our very first Christmas with Daphne in 2005. Before we left the house for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, I took this photo of Daphne and my girls:
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And I’m glad I did. Early this morning, Teddy touched me several times with his nose. I could hear Daphne’s labored breathing in the hallway. Teddy kept touching me until I got up to check on Daphne. I did my best to comfort her one last time, but I knew the dog I loved was fading fast. She died in her sleep a couple hours later. Teddy gave me one last chance to say goodbye to her.

We buried her in the backyard as a family. The girls came outside and Teddy laid quietly near by as we did what had to be done. It was terribly sad, but it felt like the right and respectful goodbye.

It is amazing what dogs seem to know and understand. Daphne stayed with us long enough for the girls to come home and have their last moments with her. She made it through Thanksgiving day, and I was so very thankful for the 10 years she gave this family. We hand fed her some bites of turkey and patted her sweet head before we went to bed last night. Then this chapter of our lives met its end this morning, free from the burden of having to make that decision ourselves to end her suffering.

Goodbye my sweet fur baby.
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Daphne, September 17, 2005 to November 27, 2015 RIP

November 21, 2015

What I’ve been up to

For all the free time I’ve found on my hands since this school year began, I haven’t found myself in the blogosphere as much as I thought I would. I’ve been keeping myself busy in the days since I last updated (and I’ve been enjoying your blogs as well). Here’s a bit of how I’ve been passing the days.

In the middle of October, Sarah and I spent a great day together in Boston. Technically, it was “Family Weekend” at Wentworth but Sarah and I weren’t particularly interested in the events on campus, especially with a great city like Boston at your feet. My baby girl is becoming an expert at using Boston’s public transportation system, known locally as the “T” and she navigated us where we wanted to go. We visited Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market and the Prudential Center. Back on campus we did stop and “Build a Leopard” – kind of like “Build a Bear” only she made WIT’s mascot.
build a leopard

We enjoyed dinner together at the Cheesecake Factory – a first visit for both of us.
Cheesecake Factory

Halloween felt very different this year without either of my girls at home. My enthusiam for it has waned over the years, and now with no dance studio Halloween parties to attend or the kids trying to decide what they’ll be, it passed differently for me this year. I didn’t buy a pumpkin for jack-o-lanterns or candy to pass out for trick or treat (we’ve gotten fewer and fewer trick or treaters in this neighborhood in recent years anyway). I did dress up for school – the reactions of middle schoolers seeing their teachers dressed up is worth it. I picked through dance costumes and such and decided to go as a “Goth ballerina”:
Goth ballerina

That weekend of the 31st and Nov. 1st, my sister and I had a great weekend in Providence Rhode Island. We spent Saturday at a foodie museum on the Johnson and Wales campus, and then went shopping at Providence Place. Federal Hill in Providence is famous for being like Boston’s North End when it comes to restaurants, especially authentic Italian, so we treated ourselves to a great meal at a place called Pane E Vino
Bruschetta

Delish dinner

cannoli heaven

The next day we attended Meghan’s ballroom competition in Cranston and had a lot of fun!
ballroom1

ballroom4

As I think I’ve explained before, there aren’t enough guys to go around on the ballroom team, so Meghan sometimes dances lead as you see in the above photos. She also gets her chance to follow in some styles of dance:
ballroom2

ballroom3

We even got to take our dancer to lunch.
Lunch with Meg

It was a cool little place called the Elephant Room – a combination tea room and creperie.

November hasn’t been quite as exciting so far. I’ve spent a lot of time with my dreaded sycamore leaves, which I believe I have bitched about every year since I began this blog. Hmmm let me check. Ok looks like I started bitching in 2011, the second year of my blog, lol, and I was really crabby about them 2 years ago. This year I tried to be smart about them and take advantage of raking them up before any kind of precipitation bogged them down. Here’s a fraction of what I cleaned up.
getting after the leaves

A milestone passed recently as well. Do you remember this blog post from two years ago? In it I announced the beginning of what I am now calling my fitness journey. It’s a journey without final destination as far as I’m concerned. I’m continuing to see where it will take me. I’ve moved on from the things that I showed you in that post to weight lifting and yoga as my main forms of working out, and while I’m not following any sort of strict diet routine, I mostly “eat clean”. I’m happily and easily maintaining the weight I lost, I’m building new lean muscle and I’ve dropped from a size 8 to a size 2. I love shopping for new clothes! Here’s a pic of how I look today:
fitness journey
I’m not very good at posing for pictures, but this is good enough!

I am so much looking forward to next week! A nice short work week, my girls coming home Wednesday afternoon and Thanksgiving dinner with my family on Thursday. It’s all good!

October 3, 2015

Wow, Another Month Gone By

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 12:46 pm
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September! Poof! Where did it go?

For me it was a month of adjusting to a new pattern of life, the beginning of this new chapter. This house still feels quite lonely, but I guess I am starting to adjust to the new routine. Once I leave work, the hours are mine to do what I want or need to do on my own schedule. I never thought I’d say this, but I do find myself missing the running around from dance classes to track practice to getting the things my girls needed in between. The dogs are certainly lonely for their girls as well:

Teddy

Daphne

It is a more leisurely pace. I’m continuing my workout routines and eating well, without worry if anyone besides me will like what I’m cooking. I made this for myself the other night:

Delish dinner
(filet mignon, sauteed asparagus, stuffed portobello mushroom cap)

I’ve been reaching out to friends too, who when life’s pace was busier, I had less time to see. I was lucky enough on Labor Day weekend to have plans with two friends. One lovely morning, Sherry and I took our dogs for a walk up a small local mountain. Teddy made the walk with me while I left senior citizen Daphne at home. She wouldn’t have been comfortable for the entire hike and I certainly wasn’t going to carry a 65 pound dog when she decided she was done. Dog walk Peaked Mountain
Here we are at the peak, and it was rather beautiful. A large hawk circled in front of us and dozens of very large dragonflies hovered near by.

On Labor Day, Julie and I went out to lunch at a restaurant at a small local lake, and spent the afternoon in the sunshine talking and catching up.
Visit with a friend
It was a beautiful day spent with a friend I don’t see often enough.

The best parts of September came from getting to see Sarah. Jennifer and I had been planning a visit to the Cape to see our mother and celebrate Jennifer’s birthday. The day before we were going, last minute plans came together for Sarah to join us on the trip.
On the way to the Cape
(the sunshine backlighting the clouds on our journey)

She took the train from Boston to a station along our route to the Cape, where we picked her up and then surprised our mother with Sarah’s appearance. It was a great moment.

The weather was beautiful and we even had the chance for a visit to the beach in the warmth and sunshine.
Beach visit Orleans MA

Untitled

Untitled

beach group shot
(left to right: Jennifer, Mom, Sarah, me)

Two weeks after our trip to the Cape, Sarah decided she’d like to come home and go to the huge six-state fair, The Big E. We did what we do best at the Big E and ate all kinds of delicious bad-for-you food, shopped and saw the sites. You know I can’t resist an Oreo cow…
Oreo cows!!!!

And this year I couldn’t resist a Big E selfie with my girl:
Big E selfie

September was a beautiful month, full of sunshiney weather and emotional highs and lows. October is creeping in with cooler weather and the leftover flickers of rain to this area from Hurricane Joaquin. I’ll have bright spot today though – I’m headed out to see Meghan for some “girl time” with shopping and dinner. And I have a gathering of friends at my home to look forward to for Columbus Day weekend. It is the moments like I’ve just told you about, and having more to anticipate that are getting me through as I continue my adjustment.

I hope all is well in your world, and you have the positive energy of the people who bring you the most joy in your life surrrounding you.

September 7, 2015

August Dreaming

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 9:37 am
Tags: , , , ,

It is Labor Day here in the USA – a day to celebrate work by playing all day! For most people it is also the day that feels like the end of summer, even though that isn’t “official” for 16 more days. It has been a beautifully warm and sunny long weekend in the northeast, and I hope you’ve been enjoying whatever you’ve been up to. I’ve been taking my baby steps toward adjusting to both girls being off to college, reaching out to friends for help along the way.

Maine sunset
a memory of mine from August

Today is also the day to have a look back at August. At the end of July, I made the suggestion that we play along with I Heart Faces August photo challenge in the loosey-goosey style of the “When I Feel Like It” way.

As of this writing four bloggers posted pictures for the August photo hunt.

Mike over at Picture Day decided to do an approximately weekly look at August. He started off here, and added more here, here, and here Did I get them all Mike? I enjoyed following along with Mike’s thinking process and seeing the very creative results!

Carol at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind did three posts on the challenge. The first one is blended with “Share Your World” questions, she continues in this post and finishes, with a little kick-start from her muse here. I always enjoy Carol’s photos from the other side of this country and from her travels all over the world, and these did not disappoint!

I was sure that Robin at Breezes at Dawn would find a unique way to present her August photo challenge. She created a beautiful post, showcasing her month here. Robin pointed out how this challenge ended up being a fun look back at the month for her and mused that maybe it could be fun to wrap up a month in a similar way from time to time. I like that idea too, but won’t be making any blog promises!

Sonali at Dreams Hope Destiny started out with a happy post here and continued with some more shots in this post giving us fun look at her part of the world.

In the spirit of reaching out, I extended the invitation to a couple bloggers who really seemed to want to participate in this challenge but perhaps ran out of time. If they happen to add posts today, I will happily add them to this wrap up.

I’m sure you’ve already seen my posts for this challenge, but if you missed any of them my three posts are here, here and here.

As we transition to the next season, I’m beginning my transition too. My heart is still heavy with ache for the two big pieces who are no longer here on a daily basis. I’m still thinking and sorting and trying things out and wish to maintain a presence here in the blogosphere – connecting with all of you is something I enjoy. I’ve been touched by your comments of support and hope to continue this sharing as I find my way.

August 27, 2015

Empty Nest

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 1:49 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Empty nest

This is what my house feels like today. Yesterday, I dropped my younger daughter, Sarah, off at her new school year home at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. Older daughter, Meghan, returned to her school on Sunday. I know I’m not “officially” an empty-nester, since my girls still technically live at home, but this is how it feels. Another piece of my heart is now beginning her adventure in the exciting capitol city of this state.

The dorm room

Fun, quirky, introverted, intelligent, caring, sweetheart Sarah in her dorm room.

With Wentworth leopard

A new chapter of my life begins. It’s a chapter I’ve never been ready for but knew was inevitable. How will I adjust and fill the pages of this chapter? My girls have been my focus for the last 20 years of my life, and while they will continue to be my first priority forever, my daily role as “mom” is now no longer. It is such a huge part of my identity – where do I go from here?

August 23, 2015

I Heart Challenge, Part 3

Visit

A visit to Pickity Place

A great visit – Renae and Meghan and I visited Pickity Place for a lunch date in early August.

Fresh

fresh

The water at Pickity tastes extra fresh with the addition of lemon and herbs.

Shadow

shadow

Hi there – that’s me taking a picture for you!

Sign

sign

A sign with my surname on it near the beach that I love so much… it must be fate, right?

Splash

splash

Dream

Dream house

This house was being built last summer and it appears it is still for sale. My dream house at the beach! A girl can dream.

Outside

outside

This prompt was a bit on the vague side, but I thought this would be a nice view to have whenever one is outside.

Details

details

Patterns left in the sand by the retreating tide.

Sunrise

sunrise

I made it outside just in time for this one!

Silence

silence

Stars on the water seemed to evoke a sense of silence. One night that week Sarah and I sat outside together, mostly in silence, except for the occasional, “OOH! There’s one!” while we watched the Perseid Meteor Showers.

Warmth

warmth

I stood in this spot one morning near the end of our week, feeling the warmth on my face and trying my best to appreciate the moment and just be.

This completes my August photo challenge. Remember, you have until September 5th to let me know about your photo challenge posts through either a pingback or comment to my original post, which you can find by clicking here.

August 22, 2015

I Heart Challenge, Part 2

Up High

up high

This was a lucky shot I happened to grab on a morning walk, and one of those times I wished I had the telephoto lens attached. I’m pretty sure this is a great egret that was soaring above my head.

Someone Special

someone special

Sarah on her 18th birthday, with her uncle Larry (my sister’s husband)

Throwback

throwback

This is a throwback to 13 years ago this month; the girls were flower girls for my sister’s wedding.

In the Sun

in the sun
Shiny water sparkling in the sun…. ahhhhh…..

Circles

circles

Spirals are kind of circles, aren’t they?

Adventure

adventure

I walked by this scene several times on my morning walk. It isn’t my adventure, but I’ve always thought it would be a great adventure to actually camp out on the beach.

Cool

cool

It was too cold for me to go swimming this year, but this is where Sarah found her cool on several afternoons.

Window Pane

window pane

A nice scene of a beach cottage found on one of my walks.

Simplicity

simplicity

A simple but lovely place to sit.

Before/After

before/after collage

Lunch, followed by dessert, at Pickity Place.

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