Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 31, 2013

Answering Some Questions from Cee

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:07 am
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I know that Cee’s “Share Your World” questions come out on Mondays, so I am rather late in providing some answers, but I decided to share anyway!

1. While in school who was your favorite teacher – what grade and why?

This was an easy one for me. My favorite teacher was my social studies teacher in 11th and 12th grade, Miss Mary Lou Brewer.

(I took this photo from my high school yearbook)

I had her for Honors U.S. History and Senior Seminar in U.S. History. She was the person who inspired me to want to become a teacher. History was never a subject I was terribly interested in until I had her classes. She took history and made it come alive, made it so much more than boring names and dates. We learned about the people and their times by becoming characters from history and putting them on trial and recreating events like the Continental Congress. She also saw something in me, a shy, unsure 16-year-old and mentored me and helped me blossom into a much more confident, self-assured young adult. If I could find her today (she has retired from my high school) I would thank her again and again.

2. Would you accept $5,000 to shave your head or die it bright lime green and continue your normal activities while not explaining the reason for your haircut or color?

I’d have a really hard time doing this without being able to explain myself! I do work in a middle school, afterall, and enduring the stares of 11-14 year-olds, not to mention my colleagues, without an explanation would not go over very well. I’d probably get pulled into the principal’s office to be questioned about what the heck was going on, and was I feeling alright?

Meghan and her dance class, however, pulled off the look quite nicely some years ago, lol!

Image89

3. You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with?
GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is my secret phobia! I avoid elevators as much as possible. I’d feel sorry for anyone trapped in an elevator with me!

(Dear family friend Brianna “trapped” in a tiny space from a camping trip several years ago)

4. When you are with your friends, do your interactions include much touching—for example, hugging, kissing, rough housing, rubbing backs? Would you like to have more of this? (Note: the answers may vary depending on where you live on this wonderful planet.)

In general, not too much. A hug hello and goodbye when there has been a gathering of our wonderful group of friends. Silly grab-ass-ery, especially among the guys, will happen at a party like this one:

(From our murder-mystery party last October)

Thank you Cee, for another very interesting batch of questions!

August 24, 2013

Sunrise

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:49 am
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Sunrise on Hills Beach
I took this photo bleary-eyed through the window of the porch of our cottage one early morning in Maine last week. The sun woke me that morning and teased me to go outside with the camera, but my body wasn’t listening. I grabbed the camera, took this less-than-perfect picture, and put my head back on the pillow for another hour.

I’ve been doing a lot of introspective thinking lately and this shot seems to tell a bit about where I am at these days. I realize the sun is rising on a new chapter in my life.

On Thursday, we moved Meghan in to her new school-year home, Clark University in Worcester, Ma.
Meghan's dorm
I don’t know how I will handle not seeing her smiling face and hearing her stories about what is going on in her life every day. I told you I left a piece of my heart in Maine in an earlier post this week, now another piece of it is in Worcester.

Sarah is of course still at home with us for another two years, so I am not an empty-nester, but I’ve been giving a lot of thought as of late to who I am aside from my role as mom. Who am I when I’m not playing mom on a daily basis?

I feel like I need a path to discovery, and I don’t even know where to begin searching for that path. I know many of you reading this have been down this road yourself, and if you have any thoughts or suggestions about a place to begin this journey, I would be happy to hear them.

August 21, 2013

Maine Discoveries

Each morning on my vacation in Maine, I would take a walk on the expansive beach. At Hills Beach, I think I’ve mentioned before that when the tide goes out, it goes WAY out:
Hills Beach, low tide
Low tide allows for long walks and exploration. The tide times lined up beautifully for most of the week for me to wander the sand bars and make simple discoveries.

Fun Footprints
I was focused on these gull footprints ambling up a little incline in the sandbar, and made the happy discovery when I later looked at the photo of the sparkling water in the upper right corner.

Here is a better view of the somewhat “steep” sandbar:
sand dollar haven

This particular sandbar turned out to be a great place for discovering these:
sand dollars
I just love sand dollars. I took home 4 this year. I’m trying to decide what I could do with them to display them.

Continuing down this sand bar, I noticed a noisy group of gulls flocking in one particular area.
snowy egret 3
I figured the fishing must have been good that day and watched them happily dipping in the water and calling out. Suddenly my eyes caught something just a little bit different in this group. Did you see my discovery?
snowy egret 2
A snowy egret! (There are actually two of them in the first shot) This is a new-to-my-camera bird. I’ve of course heard of them before, and may have seen them at some point, but I’d never been close enough to get pictures. I sat down on the sand bar and happily snapped away.
snowy egret 4

snowy egret 1

snowy egret 5

I guess you wouldn’t call these other birds discoveries, since I have photographed them before, but I’d still like to share them with you. I have a bit of a history here on the blog with attempting to photograph birds of prey. I was surprised one morning while eating my breakfast to see a small hawk swoop down right in the neighbor’s front yard:
beach hawk

It landed on the fence and seemed to be chasing a rather cheeky squirrel who didn’t seem afraid. Here’s the squirrel on the lower rung of the fence, and the hawk is on the ground to the lower left of the shot:
Cheeky squirrel & hawk

I also visited with my friend the great blue heron, who I always seem to find hanging out in the same spot near the tiny harbor around the bend from the beach.
great blue heron

One evening when I had taken the camera outside to capture those beautiful colors I showed you in the last post, I saw the heron wading in one of the tide pools. Most of my attempted shots of it came out too blurry due to the fading light. I did get this one of it taking flight, which I think could have been very lovely if I knew how to do it correctly:
heron take-off
I would have loved for the edges of this bird’s silhouette to have been more defined so that you could see it more clearly, but that is beyond my photo editing skills, if it is even possible with this shot.

Discoveries old and new – hope you enjoyed exploring Hills Beach with me.

August 19, 2013

A Piece of my Heart

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 9:35 am
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My heart in Maine

Each year when I return home from our vacation in Maine, I feel as though I’ve left a little piece of my heart behind.

After this year’s long and unusually traffic-filled ride, I took that much more pleasure in filling my lungs with the salty air and letting my soul settle in to the place where it feels so at home.
breath deep and relax

The colors of the evening never failed to disappoint…
sunset at Hills beach

stunning color fading light

And the morning light sparkled on the water like diamonds.
water sparkle 1

water sparkle 2

Although Maine is far from the tropics, when I put my head on the pillow at night I’d see this pine tree out the bedroom window that for some reason made me think of tropical breezes and palm trees lulling me to sleep.
"tropical" Maine

To avoid overloading you with photos in one post, I will continue with another post this week showing some of my Maine “discoveries”.

August 8, 2013

Sometimes It’s the Little Things

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:56 am
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You can feel it in the air. You can see it in the light. You can hear it in the heat bugs. Summer is in its downward spiral.
zinnia

Kate was saying it too. It seems strange to be thinking this way when we are still in the single digits of August, but the end is much nearer than I’d like it to be.

We leave for Maine for our annual week’s vacation on Hills Beach this Saturday. When we return, time is going to fly. Meghan moves into her dorm only 2 weeks from today. School begins again for me on Monday the 26th.

In the little time that I have left, I’m trying to remember to enjoy the little things, like the little visitors to the area of my backyard deck.

All of these little ones appeared just yesterday.
A great spangled frillitary
great spangled frillitary

What I believe to be a juvenile ruby throated hummingbird(according to what I’ve read it is difficult to tell the females from the juveniles)
tiny hummingbird

Can you see him (or her) sitting on the other side of the feeder? Here’s another shot with the head tipped back and a wing out for balance.
having a sip
I thought the bee in the background was kind of neat too.

While I sat with my current summer read (Under the Dome by Stephen King – have you read this one? Excellent so far!) I noticed a hopping motion out of the corner of my eye.
This tiny visitor was making its way across my deck:
frog visitor

It occured to me that there was no frame of reference for just how tiny this little guy is in the photo, so I grabbed a dime and quietly slid it over to where it was sitting, hoping it wouldn’t decide to hop away before I took this picture:
tiny frog

This will likely be my last post before we leave for Maine. I’ve got my fingers crossed for nice weather. We may have wi-fi available during this trip, so I may check in with you from time to time during the week and on Facebook if we are friends there.

“..you feel it in the air, summer’s (not quite!) out of reach…” Extra points if you can name the song I’m paraphrasing in the comments without googling it! 😉

August 3, 2013

Butterflies and Memories

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:24 am
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pipevine swallowtail
This is a post that has been bumping around in my mind for a few months, but I was never sure about wanting to write it. Perhaps I am far enough away from the events now to be able to write it, and perhaps it was this little nudging from Dawn this morning that caused me to want to write it today.

As many of you may remember, I work in a middle school as a paraprofessional with sixth grade students. Three years ago, I had a charming girl who had battled leukemia as a young child as a student. I don’t remember how many years her cancer had been in remission by the time she came to us as a happy and sweet 11 year old girl.

Near the end of her sixth grade year, she came to school on several days complaining just a little about some pain in her leg. Sixth graders, I can tell you, change an awful lot during this year of school. “You must be having growing pains!” many people said to her. And she certainly was growing into a lovely young lady.

When we returned to school after our summer break, we heard the sad news that Brielle’s cancer had returned, this time in the bones of her leg. She would be unable to start the school year in 7th grade due to her surgeries and chemotherapy.

Near the end of her 7th grade year, Brielle made some appearances in school. As co-advisor to the student council, we made the decision to dedicate that year’s student-faculty basketball game to Brielle, with all proceeds going to Brielle’s Brigade, a team of cyclists started by Brielle’s uncle who ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge and donate all funds generated to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
[SIDE NOTE: I did not realize that this year’s Pan-Mass Challenge was taking place this weekend when I began writing this post. The cyclists ride today from Sturbridge MA to Bourne MA, then from Bourne to Provincetown tomorrow. I guess something out there was really nudging me to write today.]
Students and teachers wore t-shirts in purple, her signature color and decorated in butterflies, which had come to be known as her symbol in her battle against cancer. Brielle made an appearance at the basketball game, on a walker, and was received with thunderous applause.

Near the end of the school year, Brielle started coming to school for a few hours a day, with the help of an aide and sometimes a wheelchair. She wore brightly colored bandanas, often purple, on her hairless head and proudly showed off the scars on her leg from her surgeries. One day, a day I will always remember, Brielle found me and the special education teacher that I work with in the school library. She sat and talked with us and told us about her surgeries and recovery and her summer plans.

Only a few days before school was to begin again in what would have been Brielle’s 8th grade year, we received the very sad news that she had lost her courageous battle. The bone cancer had spread to her lungs.

When my student council co-advisor and I met to make plans for the school year, we both felt strongly that we would like to do something to honor Brielle’s memory. Our school principal came to us to tell us of the local Girl Scouts’ plan to create a memory garden in our school’s courtyard, and would the student council be willing to lend a hand in fundraising and planning?

We jumped in right away and successfully fundraised. Later in the spring, my co-advisor and I found ourselves handling much of the planning and designing of the garden. With the help of our student council and the local girls scouts, we cleared away a very overgrown area of the court yard, planted new plants such as butterfly bushes and bleeding hearts, added statuary and decoration and arranged for the donation of memorial stepping stones.
This is what the finished garden looks like:
memory

One warm afternoon, after I had spent a good amount of time working on the garden and was feeling quite dirty and tired, I was walking back to my car, carrying my garden tools. At that moment, a single butterfly flew quite close to my face and fluttered in a circle around me. I watched it fly away, and felt quite certain I had been visited by Brielle’s spirit.
transluscent tiger swallowtail

I’m sitting here now, brushing away a few tears, as I get ready to hit that “publish” button. Maybe I’m not as far from these events as I thought I was. If anyone who knew Brielle happens to find their way to this blog, I hope you will find this post to be an appropriate and respectful honor to her memory.