Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

June 28, 2016

Fitness Journey Continued

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:14 pm
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A couple months ago, close to my 47th birthday, I decided to mark a milestone in this fitness journey which I began in earnest in November of 2013. I’ve journaled here and there along the way about my progress. In March of last year, my fitness guru friend who has helped me all along the way, changed my primary mode of training to weight lifting. My personal weight and size has maintained at about the same level but I’ve really started to notice the changes to my physique now that I’ve been working this way. So in honor of training this way for a year and for feeling the fittest I ever have in my life as that birthday approached, I went to a photographer friend to have a few portraits taken.

I’ve been uncertain about sharing these pictures for a while now. I’ve always been self conscious being in front of a camera rather than being behind it. As a step in the direction of gaining self-confidence in the person I feel I am meant to become, I decided to share a few of the shots here today. I recently endured a big setback at work after the school year came to a close, a moment that temporarily rocked my belief in myself, but I’ve recovered, and I’m ready to move on and put that setback behind me. I present these pictures today as another step forward in my journey to me.

Karen 4b

me wall

me look

Karen flex

me sit

It sounds so cliche to say life is journey not a destination, but cliches come from somewhere Рand that somewhere in this case is truth.  This is a journey of meaning that I will continue as long as I am able.  Improving my body deepens my mind and spirit connection, my desire to live in and enjoy the moment, to feel present in my own life.

 

 

 

 

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!

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!

April 6, 2015

5 Years of Blogging!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:21 pm
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Wow, it has been 5 years since I began this blog – WordPress kindly reminded me when I logged in today. I remember not knowing how long I would keep this up when I began, but here I am still blogging when I feel like it. You just never know when a post will show up around here!

I hadn’t planned to blog today, but since today is the 5 year anniversary, I thought why not?

Back when I began, Meghan was a freshman in high school, and Sarah was still a middle-schooler in 7th grade. Meghan is nearly finished with sophomore year of college now and Sarah will be graduating from high school in 2 months.

Back when I began, I was still shooting photos with my frustrating Olympus camera. Now I’m still using my first DSLR, my Canon Rebel, but I am happily learning and growing with new lenses for it. Has my photography improved? I hope so, but I’m still creating photos that make me happy!

Back when I began, I was very casual about my health and exercise routine. Today, I’m continuing my fitness journey. I’m happily maintaining the weight loss I achieved last year and I am working on building strength. I’ve moved on to weight-lifting routines and am hoping to achieve a new level of fitness.

Back when I began, I was still hoping to become a social studies teacher at my middle school. Those dreams are pretty much dashed now, but I’ve moved on to a new goal. I am actively studying to pass the state test that would allow me to become licensed as a middle school math teacher.

Back when I began, the Red Sox won their opening day game against the Yankees. Today I am enjoying watching the Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day (it is the 7th inning with a Red Sox 4-0 lead as I type this post)!

Opening day

Back when I began, we were enjoying record-breaking high temperatures in April of 2010. It certainly has NOT been that way around here recently, but I have hope that spring is finally coming through. We have a cloudy but mild day today.
Today
I will take it! And a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee to go with it!
DD

Over the course of 5 years, much has changed but much has stayed the same!

January 1, 2015

My View of 2014

January 1st. A day for looking both forward and back. I spent some time yesterday looking over the photos I took in 2014, trying to mentally select some for one of those year-end reviews I usually do, but the format for how to do it just wasn’t coming to me. I think my photography lost some focus, figuratively and literally, last year as my focus was in other places. 2014 was a year of changes and struggles, but of triumphs as well. My photography became more about story-telling and memory-keeping than of creating technically good photographs. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. I do, however, miss having a lot of those moments when I sat back and reviewed my shots on any given day and thought to myself, wow, I really like that one.

These days I really am about moving forward and continually trying to discover and create a better me. However, 2014 had some moments I will chronicle here that were big and small parts of becoming who I am today, and who I will be as I continue to find my place in my changing world.

image
This book was the inspiration for my approach to 2014. I honestly did try to find as much joy as possible in the events of my life. There were definitely several days throughout the year where this proved impossible: the closing of our home away from home, our dance studio, finding out that I would not be a candidate for the teaching job at my school for which I had been hoping dearly for 9 years and, worst of all, learning that my best friend in the world since I was 6 years old had breast cancer.

I do believe that things happen for a reason, although I’m sure there will never be one for my friend going through this horrible experience. She is an amazing woman, currently undergoing chemotherapy. She is unbelievably strong, even keeping her wicked sense of humor that I love so much about her intact. We are counting down the days with her until chemo is done – January 27th is her last treatment. Celebrations will surely be planned.

focus.jpg (1 of 1)
2014 was a full year of taking better care of me physically. I began what I consider to be a new way of life, a new way of thinking about and experiencing health and fitness. I eat as “clean” as possible, meaning as many whole, one-ingredient foods or minimally processed foods as I can. I workout 4 to 5 days a week. As I result I’ve lost about 20 pounds and I’m feeling more physically fit than I remember for most of my life. Hopefully this work will result in a me who is ready to live fully and experience many new things as the future comes our way.

Our crew
It was a year of keeping connections with an amazing group of friends. I’ve mentioned before how much these people mean to me, and I do believe that what we have is unique for adults in our age group. The fact that this connection that began in the 1980’s when we were teenagers (earlier for some of the guys here) and continues to the new generation of our children, who are now becoming adults, is surely not something that happens every day.

My amazing girls
It was a year about discovering, defining and accepting my place and who I am to these two wonderful young women. My changing role as a mother has not been an easy one for me to come to terms with. The loving, caring about, trying my best for, doing whatever I can for them will never ever change, but I know now that I am no longer the director of their life experiences. It is now my job to support their decisions, offer guidance when asked for and be here for them whenever they need me.

image
It was the year I got to experience teaching in my own classroom, albeit temporarily, for the first time. My time as 6th grade math teacher is now winding down. I will have only two weeks left of this excellent opportunity when we return to school from this holiday break. I have no idea if this experience will lead me somewhere in the future, but I have loved every moment of it – the teaching, the planning, the kids, even the correcting.

The more that I scroll through my Flickr feed as I’ve composed this post, more I realize that I did have at least a few of those “aha” moments with my photography. As I said earlier, not necessarily in the creation of a technically good photo, but photos that bring me joy from the memory or the simple beauty of the moment. Here are a few of them.
Robins

IMG_0898

pool ducky

Applause

pipevine swallowtail 1

image

...and now

dragonfly face

IMG_1284

IMG_1294

Oreo cows!

Color and reflection

Reindeer dog

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015 full of promise and hope.

November 16, 2014

More “-ings” of Life These Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:21 am
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Back in the summer time (*sigh* it seems so very far away right now), I wrote a post called “The -ings of getting ready for vacation”. I’ve got more “ings” to share with you, of the things that are occupying my days 3 months later.

Screenshot (1)
Data entering
This is the reality of education today. Government requires the collection of data to make sure that we teachers are doing our job and making sure the students are getting the common core standards. This is a screenshot showing a sample of the 1100 pieces of data I needed to enter into a program that analyzes such data.

Papers to correct
Paper correcting
I’m teaching operations with fractions these days – adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.

Thinking of the future
Preparing
I really do love my current teaching position. It will be difficult when January 20th arrives and I have to hand it over to the permanant teacher. I’m planning to take the middle school math MTEL to add a math grades 5-9 certification to my other licenses and hopefully make myself more marketable as a teacher in the future.

Asian pear
Discovering
A pear for the teacher? Yup. I’m continuing on my path of better eating and fitness. I find myself scouring fresh and whole food style markets looking for different foods to enjoy. Last week I found these really delicious Asian pears that have a creamy vanilla flavor to them.

New weights
Lifting
I’ve added heavier and more frequent weight lifting to my fitness regime. That is a 15 pound kettle bell in the background, and 8 pound dumbbells in the front. The one year anniversary of my new commitment to fitness is approaching in a few days, and I am hoping to share a 1 year retrospective with you on that date.

The end of the year is rapidly approaching. Many other “ings” will soon be occupying my time and probably yours too: raking, shopping, cooking, eating, celebrating. Any “ings” that you are especially looking forward to?

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!

June 20, 2014

66 Days of Summer

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 12:16 pm
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focus.jpg (1 of 1)

Today is June 20th. The first day of my summer. The official first day of summer is tomorrow, but my summer vacation begins today. A couple months ago, I had talked to Kate Austin about this idea I had about a photo or theme for all the days of my summer vacation this year. I know that I was inspired by something that she is working on, but that something is escaping me at the moment. Unfortunately Kate has decided to discontinue her blog, Crossroads, and has deleted it, so I can’t find what originally inspired me. Kate is still posting her beautiful shots at the link I provided up there, so I’m hoping we will still be interacting.

I doubt that I will be posting daily. As much as I would like to challenge myself to that, I know that at times over the summer it will simply be impossible. I will, however, do my best to keep track of my photo or theme for each day and post as often as I can.

For today, day 1 of summer, a theme has already emerged for my day: maintenance

I did maintenance chores on the hot tub:
image

I’m planning to do lawn maintenance this afternoon:
image

And I am planning to maintain all the hard work I’ve done to improve my health and get my body into better shape:
focus2.jpg (1 of 1)

Since I finished the 10 week regimen of T25, I’m working on a hybrid schedule of workouts to try to maintain my fitness level, and maybe even move up to a new level. I don’t know what I am capable of, but I’d like to spend some time finding out!

I haven’t forgotten about the whimsy photo hunt, but I think I will officially extend the deadline to Monday June 30th. To those of you who have already submitted your posts, thanks so much! I will be around to see them soon.

March 30, 2014

Rain, rain… well, it’s better than snow!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:25 am
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Rainy day

The rain started yesterday afternoon and is forecast to continue all day today. I could complain, but I won’t. After all, it could be snow, right? Most of the snow, except for a few patches here and there, has finally melted. Oh and except for this snow too:
Collapsed pool
Yeah, did I mention my pool kind of collapsed this winter? Yes, that same pool that I had all those issues with last summer? The pool that I maimed my poor foot in while putting in a brand new liner? All for naught – now we need a brand new pool. Sigh. I’m hoping we can find someone to afford-ably install one for us this spring. I really have no interest in doing this job again. Hubby and I have done this several times and it is not an enjoyable project.

Here’s a more enjoyable project! We have several teachers retiring from my school this June, and retirement quilts are once again in the making. I’ve made quilt squares for three of them, two Red Sox fans and a yoga devotee:
Quilt squares

More joy I’ve found: my fitness journey continues and I’m making good progress! I can happily announce that I’m back down to and so far maintaining the weight that I was before I became pregnant with Meghan 20 years ago! That’s a loss of about 15 pounds. I haven’t weighed this little or felt this fit in as many years. I’m entering Week 5 of Focus T25, the last week of the Alpha round.
Alpha
That makes me just a little nervous but excited too. Week 6 of the program steps up to the Beta round, an even more intense series of workouts. I haven’t followed the program exactly as laid out here because of Zumba. I’ve been skipping the Wednesday workout and the second Friday workout listed – I do Zumba Wednesday night and Saturday morning instead, so I’m still doing 6 workouts a week and resting on Sundays.

The rain unfortunately cancelled a hike with friends today that I was looking forward to, and hoping to bring you pictures of, but it has been rescheduled for next Sunday. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for that. This visually un-pretty month is over tomorrow! Bring on April- I can’t wait to see things turning green and growing again.

January 20, 2014

Day 60

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:53 pm
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Today is Day 60 since I decided on a new fitness commitment for myself. My blogging assistant and I have crunched a few numbers to share.

Blogging assistant
Blogging assistant

I’ve logged 2,410 minutes of exercise since I started paying attention to what I’m doing.

That comes out to just over 40 hours of moving this body beyond its normal daily routine.

Newly added goal of drinking about 80oz. of water daily – been meeting that for about a week now.

Grams of protein suggested for woman of my size for maintaining muscle: 100. Not easy to do! However I’ve been really bumping up my breakfast protein content lately. Here’s today’s:
Breakfast today

That’s turkey bacon on my plate, by the way. Not bad tasting but a little dry in my opinion. It looks really weird before you cook it:
Turkey bacon

Pounds lost: maybe 5? Hard to say with all the normal fluctuations in body weight, day to day. Not really a goal of mine anyway, but it has been interesting to watch the numbers on the scale.

So far, I still feel motivated. I exercise 5 days a week and rest 2, generally following an exercise 3 days, rest 1, exercise 2, rest 1 routine. My energy has been good for the most part and my attitude has been better. I’m enjoying seeing the small changes: looser clothes, stronger feeling muscles. I have no idea what me and my 44-year-old body are capable of accomplishing, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

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