Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 29, 2013

State of My Year

WordPress’s Daily Prompt today says to “Write up a mid-year “State of My Year” post.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us NOW.”

I’ve been receiving the Daily Prompt in my email for quite a long time now and often thought the idea presented sounded interesting to blog about, but I’ve rarely participated for no good reason other than being busy with other things or just being distracted by daily life. I was thinking I’d like to write a blog post today but wasn’t sure how to collect my thoughts. The prompt arrived in my email and seemed like an interesting “take stock” idea. The prompt calls it “mid-year” – it is the end of July, that’s really a bit past mid-year, isn’t it? It is also just a little past the mid-point of summer vacation from school too, so here’s where things are at for me.

Anticipation for Meghan’s move to campus has begun. We’ve been out shopping for dorm supplies.
dorm supplies
Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Christmas Tree Shops have all provided us with some great deals and bargains to get her set up in the place she will live for 9 months starting on August 22nd. It is exciting and scary and happy and sad all at once. My stomach does flip-flops whenever I think about it.

My garden seems to be doing nicely. I’m pretty much keeping up with the weeding this year.
garden mid-summer
Those piles to the right of center are weeds I’ve pulled and hoed and raked, but I just haven’t removed from the garden yet. I’ve harvested some of nearly everything I’ve planted this year, including tomatoes.
garden harvest
I’m not used to having tomatoes until mid-August, so those early girls were a nice treat.

The butterfly bushes are in full bloom and the swallowtails and hummingbird moths have returned to drink their fill of nectar.
tiger swallowtail

hummingbird moth

Other plants surrounding my deck, I’m ashamed to admit, have not fared so well. During the intense heat wave most of the country endured a little over a week ago, I spent little time outside and forgot about my poor little potted plants needing water!
oops forgot to water them
Oops! I’ve never been so neglectful. I killed every one of my potted annuals, except for this mini-rose the girls gave me for Mother’s Day.
mini-rose
It was lucky enough to be planted in a “self-watering” container with a little reservoir in the bottom of the pot, so it survived. Maybe I should look for a few more of those containers, huh?

looks ok
Ah, the pool. It has been both a blessing and a thorn in my side this summer. I told you in this post about the liner tearing and needing replacing. Then, I explained here what happened when we did replace it. Since then, hoses have sprung leaks and needed replacing and parts have come loose, unbeknownst to me at the time, and drained a couple hundred gallons of water from the pool. Then last night, as I was cleaning up from dinner, I noticed the lights in the house were flickering. I looked around trying to figure out if there was a brown-out going on, when smoke billowing up from my backyard caught my eye! At that moment, a small burst of flame appeared in the area of the pool’s filter. I ran outside, unplugged the filter and turned on the hose. The flame was gone, but this was discovered:
yikes
I have no idea why but the power cord to the filter shorted out and fried. Goody, yet another pool part that needs replacing this year. I do feel lucky, however, that the flame didn’t go anywhere and cause any other damage.

Before the smoking adventure with my pool, we had just returned home from our annual camping trip. This is a tradition 20+ years in the making which you can read about here if you are interested. I didn’t take any pictures this year on our trip to Tolland State Forest in Otis, Ma, except for this pretty great one of our whole group of campers, couples and families who have been friends since we were teenagers/young adults:
da gang
We were all pretty happy we made it through the weekend without a drop of rain. That isn’t usually the case for our camping trips! In fact, this past weekend had to be one of the nicest we’ve ever experienced while camping: sunny skies, pleasant temperatures and no humidity.

I am looking forward to the rest of what summer holds. My younger daughter turns 16 this week! Party and learner’s permit coming soon. Our annual vacation to Maine is less than two weeks away.

That’s the “now” of my life at this little-more-than-mid-point of the year. How is your “now”?

July 25, 2013

Summer ‘Round the ‘Ham

Summertime in Wilbraham. A simple small town with simple tastes.
One of our most famous tastes (at least in the northeast):
Home of Friendly's

We feel pretty strongly about ice cream around here. In fact if I ever tell someone I’ve just met where I’m from, they say, “Oh yeah! Home of Friendly’s!” as it so clearly proclaims on the Massachusetts Turnpike. (Click here to see a photo of that proclamation that I took for one of Scott’s assignments way back when) In fact, Friendly’s just set a Guinness World Record to do with ice cream.
A World Record!

I’m not 100% positive, but Friendly’s may have chosen to do this in conjunction with the fact that our town is celebrating its semiquincentenial – 250th anniversary – this year.
Semiquincentenial
There have been a variety of events around town this summer (and had I been aware of Scott’s assignment earlier I might have made more effort to get out and photograph them!) including a parade, a town-wide tag sale, an antique car “hill climb” (sorry Scott, I bet you would have liked to see photos of that!) and there is a picnic/festival still to come this August.

In addition to eating ice cream, we like to go the movies too. This theater is not in Wilbraham, but it is very close to the town line.
movies
I know you can go to the movies any time of year, but we enjoy seeing many of the big summer releases and like going at just about any time of the day since there is no school or work for the girls and me in the summer.

Other things I enjoy about summer happen right here in my own backyard, literally:
pool time
(I tried very hard to use the self-timer on my camera to take a picture of myself lazily floating on that raft, but that was as far as I could get in the 10-second maximum allowed by the timer!)

corona
What’s nicer on a warm summer evening than kicking back like this?

Well, Scott, I don’t think I’ve compelled anyone to book their next summer vacation in the Home of Friendly’s, but I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at summer in Wilbraham!

July 21, 2013

Checking Back in with Edward and Bella Swan

Filed under: For the Birds — Karma @ 10:07 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Hard to believe it was 3 years ago the last time we heard from the lovebirds. Let’s check in and see how Edward and Bella are settling in to married life.
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Bella: Edward darling….

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Edward: Yes Schmoopy-woopy?

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Bella: Did you remember to get bread like I asked you to, Cuddle-cakes?

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Edward: Hmmmmm, bread, bread let me think….

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Edward: Bready – bread! Hey, bread rhymes with head! Glub, glub, is there bread down here?

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Edward: Hey Bella! Look what I can do with my beak! (spitter, spatter)

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Bella: Edward! Did you get the bread or not?

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Edward: Ummmmmmmmmmm…….

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Bella: **sigh** Sometimes if you want things done you just have to do it yourself!

July 18, 2013

Jumping Back in with Cee!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:44 am
Tags: , ,

Cee has returned with more questions about Sharing Your World. Here are my Week 23 answers.

Are you mostly a clean or messy person?
I think I am a messy person who would like to be a clean person. The usual state of this house is clutter! Then I get bursts of energy, wanting things to be clean. But it is a losing battle. The people (and animals!) that I live with, take no time in undoing the cleaning that I have done. Case in point: I spent a good part of my day yesterday on a cleaning binge cleaning things that haven’t been cleaned in a while and un-cluttering a lot of clutter. This is only a small example, but look at how my husband has left this kitchen this morning after making his breakfast – and no, he wasn’t running out the door to work afterward:
messy kitchen
Everything he cut, cooked and ate with are still in place and his shoes are in the middle of the floor. This is a small mess, mind you, but an example of what I fight against.

As a kid was there any kind of candy that you didn’t like to get? How about now?
Yes! ICK!
Icky!
I detest any kind of candy with black licorice. Same goes for coconut too! Been that way as long as I can remember.

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?
Heck, I believe there is extraterrestrial life on this planet! 😉
Jose Jalepeno

Have your blogging goals changed?
I don’t know if I ever really had blogging goals. I really started blogging just to have a place to share my photos and tell my stories. I also wanted a place to participate in Scott Thomas’s photo challenges, which I continue to do. His next assignment is due next week – I’m hoping to go out and take some photos for that today. I hope you’ll think about participating in the assignment, and maybe answering some of Cee’s questions too! Tell me your answers in the comments, or write a post of your own!

July 10, 2013

A Peek at Peaks

This past weekend, my sister invited me to spend a couple days with her on Peaks Island in Maine. Peaks is a small island in Casco Bay, about 15 minutes from mainland Portland by ferry. Her husband’s family has been vacationing on Peaks for many years. I’ve been to visit a few times in the past, but my most recent trip prior to this past weekend was about 5 years ago, so I decided to take Jennifer up on her offer.

During the ferry ride, I had a view of the iconic Portland Headlight:
Portland Headlight from Casco Bay

Approach to Peaks Island:
Approach to Peak's Island

Each morning I was there, Jennifer and I and her cute little cavachon, Ozzie
happy Ozzie
took an around-the-island walk of about 4.5 miles.

I saw many beautiful flowers in bloom:
black-eyed susan

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This cottage had gorgeous climbing flowers (roses? not sure!)
climbing roses on cottage

Probably of no surprise to anyone who reads this blog, sea birds also caught my camera’s attention.
Cormorants:
cormorants

A blue heron:
blue heron

and I’m not sure what kind of duck this is:
Black and white duck? Any id ideas?
I’ve spent some time on my bird identification site and I’ve been unable to come up with an exact match. Any thoughts?

I also got to photograph a new-to-me bird, a cedar waxwing:
cedar waxwing(1)
Isn’t it pretty? It turned around and appeared to be looking right at me:
cedar waxwing(2)

Here’s a sight you don’t see everyday when you are out for a walk:
mailbox sculpture
Don’t ask me, I really don’t know! 😉

Peaks almost always has a lovely sunset to round out your day:
Peak's Island sunset(1)

Peak's Island sunset(2)

I hope you enjoyed your little tour around Peaks Island!

P.S. Scott has a new photo assignment! Pop on over and check it out!

July 5, 2013

Bubble Wrap

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 9:34 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

bubbles
Did I make you wonder about this blog post with that title? It is me trying to be cute. I had three brave participants (four if you include me) in the iHeartFaces June Photo Hunt, and I’d like to draw your attention to their posts if you haven’t seen them already.

Mike of Picture Day jumped right in, going so far as to create a category for the hunt on his blog page, but then felt he kind of petered out. I gave him a gentle nudge explaining the easy ways of a photo hunt around here and how I’m pretty much “rules shmules”. He ended up finding a beautiful variety of photos to share from the month of June.

I was looking forward to the gorgeous collages that I was sure that Robin of Breezes at Dawn would create. She not only came through, but managed to showcase something for all 30 words of the hunt! Robin has some really lovely photos and was very creative.

Carol of Wanderings of an Elusive Mind also thought that she would jump all over this photo hunt, but lamented that she got distracted and forgot to take the photos she planned. I’m happy that Carol decided to post the photos that she remembered to take. No worries, Carol, about being “feeble” or anything else! I enjoyed your photos and am glad you made the effort to participate!

(Pssssst…. hey Joanne and Dawn….weren’t you going to show me some photos for this hunt? 😉 )

You can find my photo hunt here. I had fun just taking random photos here and there during the month, trying to keep the list in mind when I had down time. On the day I did the post, I had Sarah come outside and blow bubbles for me. I had forgotten how difficult photographing those could be.
Bubbles(2)

That same day, I started picking raspberries from the patch in my yard. I’ve been enjoying at least this many
berries
each day since. I’ve been thinking about making this pie again soon if it isn’t too late to still find local strawberries.

I’m starting to wonder, my friends, is the hey-day of blogging starting to wane? I know we all have busy lives and other things going on. It seems to me that this WordPress community that I feel lucky to have become a part of 3 years ago, has started to lose interest. I was doing a little housekeeping around the blog the other day (you may have noticed a couple widgets I have removed and a couple I’ve added) and realized I haven’t seen posts from plenty of favorite bloggers in quite a while and folks that used to comment fairly often, rarely do anymore. Do any of you find this to be the case at your blog?

Is there interest in another photo hunt this summer? Let me know what you think about this -and my other questions too – in the comments. Thanks!